How to Maintain Compliant Trucking Driver Files

In order to maintain compliance with Regulation Part 391, there are several key items in your Driver Qualification file that must be regularly maintained and updated during each driver’s tenure with your company.

Medical Certificates

Before operating a CMV, all drivers must submit to a medical evaluation by a DOT-certified physician. Drivers are also expected to have an evaluation every 24 months (or as often as deemed necessary by the examiner) to make sure they are physically capable of driving a commercial motor vehicle. Copies of the updated medical certificates must be kept in the vehicle, as well as at your place of business.

Hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and sleep apnea are examples of conditions that will require more frequent examinations.

Variance Renewals

Drivers with any physical impairment that affects their safe operation of a commercial motor vehicle must have a “variance” issued by the state. This is to be carried with the driver at all times during operation of the CMV. Impaired or missing limbs require what is known as a Skill Performance Evaluation, or SPE.

Variances (including SPEs) must be renewed periodically. The expiration dates must be tracked to assure that drivers do not operate on an expired variance.

Medical Certificate Violations

Operating a CMV without a valid medical certificate is one of the most common driver violations that occur during roadside inspections. Violations for missing, altered or falsified medical certificates are costly, often exceeding $2,000. Further, carriers find themselves out-of-service for medical card violations.

To avoid being the next carrier to get violated or fined for medical card violations, be sure to keep good track of your medical certificate and variance expiration dates. Give your drivers ample time to schedule a medical evaluation / submit variance applications before the certificate expiration dates.

License Expiration Dates

CMV drivers must a valid license as well as any required endorsements and / or classes in place. Similar to medical cards, it is important to keep track of license expiration dates to ensure that no one is behind the wheel with an expired license.

CDL expiration time frames vary based on state of issuance, as each state has individual licensing laws. 

Expired CDL Violations

Driving with an expired Commercial Drivers License is another of the most common violations in road side inspections, with fines of approximately $2,000 per violation. This violation also results in the most out-of-service orders. 98% of drivers who are taken off the road are due to an expired CDL.

Hopefully this list will help you to prioritize important aspects of your driver qualification file. If you have any questions, or need assistance, please give us a call at 877-352-1996.