Driver Qualification & Hiring Truck Drivers
Before operating a vehicle, motor carriers must ensure that their commercial vehicle (CMV) drivers meet the minimum specifications stated in the DOT enforcement procedure. CMV owner-operators must comply with both the laws applicable to motor carriers and the drivers' regulations.
Driver Qualification File
A driver's qualification (DQ) file goes hand-in-hand with a commercial driver's license (CDL).
The need for a DQ file for interstate drivers is dependent on the vehicle size and model being driven. Both CDL and non-CDL drivers are included in the relevant definition of a commercial motor vehicle.
To decide the applicability, intrastate drivers will have to go through the state-specific regulations.
Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) or a gross vehicle weight (GVWR) rating, or a
gross combination weight (GCW) or a gross combination weight (GCWR) rating of 10,001 pounds or more require a completed DQ file. Similarly, vehicles transporting more than fifteen people, or more than eight people, or vehicles carrying hazardous material that requires placarding of the vehicle, need a completed DQ file.
For intrastate drivers, the weight criterion depends on what the state has implemented.
Storing a Driver Qualification File
The rules do not specify where the files are to be kept, as long as they can be processed within 48 hours of being informed of an audit at the motor carrier's principal place of business or other specified venues.
If the DQ files of a carrier are stored electronically, they need to make sure they have passwords set up; only authorized staff can gain access, as with a physical file. As electronic storage is vulnerable to theft or unauthorized access and accidental loss, they need to back up data regularly.
Requirements for a Qualified Driver
Drivers must comply with the general requirements specified to drive a CMV in interstate commerce.
One must be at least 21 years of age and be able to speak and read English satisfactorily. The applicant should be able to converse to the general public, understand traffic signs and signals, respond to official questions, and make legible entries on reports and records. He/she should have passed a driver's road test or equivalent. He should be physically competent to perform all driver's duties and should have only one legal license issued by one state or authority for the operator of commercial motor vehicles. The applicant should provide the employing motor carrier with a list of all motor vehicle violations or a signed declaration that the driver has not been convicted of any motor vehicle violations in the past 12 months.
A disqualified driver must not, for any reason, drive a commercial motor vehicle.
Road test administration
The guidelines do not describe the title or qualifications of individuals who may monitor a road test. To assess and determine whether the driver being tested is capable of operating the type of commercial motor vehicle he would be assigned, Section 391.31(b) states that the person who will review the applicant's capabilities must be competent himself/herself.
A carrier can use anyone (veteran driver, supervisor, etc.) within the company or someone outside the operation, a "designated" person. The rules also mandate that someone other than himself is checked by a driver who is a motor carrier.
When can you accept a Commercial Driver License instead of a Road Test?
The rules give a motor carrier the possibility to accept a valid CDL instead of a road test if issued by a state requesting a road test for the vehicle type to be allocated to the driver. Suppose the employer wants to assign a vehicle on a CDL requiring doubles/triples or tank vehicle endorsement in that type of vehicle. In that case, the employer, too, needs to conduct the road test.
Suppose the employer recognizes an operator's license in place of a road examination. In that case, the employer must hold in the file a legible copy of the permit for the duration of the employment contract and three years after the termination of the employment contract.
Section 391.23 defines details on safety performance background that must be collected from an applicant's previous DOT-regulated employers. The details must be gathered from all the applicant's previous employers who employed the driver to operate a CMV during the preceding three years.
Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE)
An individual who is not physically eligible to drive a commercial motor vehicle because of loss or disability of a limb but who is otherwise eligible to drive a commercial motor vehicle may drive a commercial motor vehicle if granted by the FMCSA that individual a Skill Performance Evaluation Certificate. The procedure by which the SPE is to be applied is outlined in the compliance rules.
If a person is granted an SPE, the driver's medical examiner's certificate will be checked to represent this. A copy of the SPE certificate should be kept in the driver's certification file, and, while in service, the person must have the SPE certificate (or a legible copy) in his / her possession.
Motor Vehicle Report (MVR)
An initial Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) obtained from any state in which the driver has been licensed or approved for the past three years must be put on record within 30 days of the date on which the person's employment commences. If an MVR cannot be obtained, then to get the details, the employer must retain evidence of its "good faith effort."
A copy of each state's record, or a reply to which a document does not exist, must be kept in the driver's certification file for the course of employment and three years following its termination.
The regulations also mandate a motor carrier to obtain an MVR for each driver each subsequent year, spanning the past 12 months. A carrier might more often request MVRs, as the FMCSRs do not forbid this. These annual answers from the State Agency shall be kept in the DQ file for three years from the execution date.
An MVR must be used to check that the driver is medically licensed in the case of interstate drivers keeping a commercial driver's license (CDL) or a commercial learner's permit (CLP).
The MVR must be obtained before the driver is operating a commercial motor vehicle for CDL / CLP drivers whose MVR requires medical certification. A new MVR must be brought any time the medical certification status is changed. For initial and annual MVRs, MVRs received to validate medical accreditation may also be used to satisfy the above criteria.
Suppose a CDL / CLP driver obtains a new medical certificate. In that case, the motor carrier can use a copy of the paper medical certificate as evidence of medical certification for up to 15 days to allow the state licensing agency time to update the MVR. The carrier must have a modified MVR by the end of those 15 days and put it in the driver's register.
Medical Examinations as part of the Driver Qualification File
The medical exam is going hand-in-hand with the CDL.
Those operating the following vehicles need to have a DOT medical examination in interstate commerce:
Non-CDL drivers subject to the medical test provision must have a valid medical certificate (DOT med card) in their possession while driving. A copy of the certificate must be in the driver's certification file for their employing motor carrier.
Drivers carrying a CDL or a commercial learner's license (CLP) must present their state licensing agency with each new certificate and bring a copy for at least 15 days after issuance until their state driving record (MVR) has been modified. The motor carrier hired by them must also have a copy of the certificate on file for a period of up to 15 days. A new MVR must be placed in the employee's file as evidence of medical qualification by the end of those 15 days.
The completed medical examination report ("long-form") doesn't need to be in the driver's certification register. A copy of the most recent driving record showing medical qualification details is only required for the medical examiner's certificate in the file, or (for CDL drivers).
Any person with a physical or mental disability or condition that has affected their ability to perform regular duties must undergo a physical examination and receive a medical certificate / DOT medical card from a new medical examiner.
However, if returning from medical leave, unless the employer doubts the individual's ability to perform his/her job duties, a new physical is not usually mandatory.
A motor carrier may continue to accept this card if there is a current and legitimate medical examiner's certificate if the driver's abilities are not in doubt. In some instances, instead of following a family doctor's opinion, a motor carrier might wish to send a driver to a medical examiner familiar with the DOT regulations, especially if that doctor is not knowledgeable with the FMCSRs. Section 391.45 Interpretations illustrate the carrier's role and duty to ensure that only medically trained persons are placed behind the wheel.
Suppose the applicant is medically unqualified under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (governing interstate trade) and wants to seek a waiver to be eligible to drive a commercial vehicle. In that case, he/she will have to go through the application process set out in Part 381 of Subpart B (except limb impairments referred to in section 391.49).
This will include submitting a written request to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator to review the submission and inform the waiver's acceptance or rejection claimant.
If a waiver is issued, a copy must be held in the file under section 391.51(b)(8) and carried in the vehicle with the person. If the person is only engaged in intrastate (in-state only) trade, within his/her state, he/she will have to review states' specific regulations and the individual waiver policies.
During a compliance process, the documents that a carrier would typically need to generate include:
New Entrant Safety Audits
In general, within the first 90 days of service, a new motor carrier will be checked to see if appropriate safety management controls are in place and follow the FMCSRs. During a safety audit, a new entrant will be asked to generate the following documents:
The above conditions are a summary Driver Qualification and what needs to be taken care of while hiring truck drivers. It becomes a headache sometimes for the businesses to keep all these things on track. CERTRAX makes your job easy and less tiring. All the records and documentation are taken care of.