Industry Insights

What's in a DQ File?

Hiring safe drivers will ensure employers maintain compliance with required regulations and standards in the transportation industry. To keep our roads safe, businesses that are regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT) must maintain a Driver Qualification (DQ) file. Employers must maintain a DQ file for all interstate drivers who operate a vehicle weighing more than 10,001 pounds.

What’s in a Driver Qualification (DQ) File?

A Driver’s Qualification (DQ) file contains a variety of documents which are regulated under federal rule 391. DISA’s team of professionals can help you manage your DQ files, saving time and skipping the hassle of storing paper documents. Additionally, you’ll receive exclusive online access to our proprietary online platform, allowing you to manage and monitor all your DQ files. Operators can effectively manage records under FMCSA compliance with our management solutions, including:

  • Real-time, online program access
  • Automatic tracking of annual reviews
  • Expert compliance and audit assistance
  • Automatic expiring item renewal notices
  • Secured confidential information
  • In-depth driver file auditing
  • Reduced liability and decreased risk

DISA can provide these services and automatically include documents into a driver’s DQ file:

  • Pre-Employment Drug & Alcohol Test Results - This is the certificate of the negative, pre-employment, FMCSA drug test results. It is necessary for drivers who are required to hold a CDL. It is not specified under regulations to keep this in the driver qualification file, but it will likely be requested in the event of an audit. Motor carriers are not prohibited from maintaining them with the driver files.
  • Motor Vehicle Records (MVRs)- The employer must obtain MVR’s for every state the driver has held a license or permit over the last 3 years. This must be reviewed and updated on an annual basis.
  • Previous Employer Requests and Responses - Must maintain information from the previous three years of employment for all DOT - regulated positions and must include: - A written authorization form from the applicant permitting an investigation to be conducted. - Documented attempts made from previous employers who do not respond. - Documented responses from previous DOT- regulated employers. - Documentation if the employee held no previous DOT-regulated positions.
  • Clearinghouse - DISA can conduct your queries to check if prospective employees are prohibited from jobs that require safety-sensitive related work, such as operating CMVs, due to an unresolved drug and alcohol program violation. DISA can also assist in the annual queries that employers are required to run.
  • Medical Examiner’s Certificate - It is important that drivers are physically qualified to operate a CMV and must undergo a DOT medical evaluation at a minimum once every 24 months, but some are renewed at 12, 6, or 3-month intervals due to health conditions. A copy of the applicant’s medical certification must be kept on file and employers must maintain its valid status. The medical examiners status on the national registry must be verified and notated in the file.

DISA’s DQ Services offer electronic options to assist you in obtaining compliant documents for:

  • Employment Application - The FMCSA requires an employment application to be on file even if you are an owner-operator and have to fill one out for yourself. The following information is required on an employment application in order to be considered acceptable for the FMCSA, which may not typically appear on a standard employer application.
    • Drug & Alcohol Testing Program/Policy
    • Copy of Driver’s License
  • Annual Driver’s Certificate of Violations - A list of any violations over the previous 12 months must be listed.
  • Annual Driving Record Review - Following the review of the MVRs and violations, the employer must maintain documentation of the driving record review on a yearly basis.

Employers must provide these records

  • Entry-Level Training - All drivers are required to receive training under this rule with required certification by the motor carrier. All drivers with less than one (1) year of commercial driving experience are required to complete training, which must be provided by the motor carrier surrounding four (4) topics including: (a) Driver Qualification, Medical Examinations, Drug/Alcohol Testing (b) Hours of Service for Drivers (c) Driver Wellness (d) Whistleblower Protection.
  • Road Test Certificate - Drivers without CDL’s, or those driving doubles, triples, or tankers must be road tested.
  • FMCSA Evidence of Safety Training - FMCSA regulation 392 requires that drivers are trained prior to performing regulated functions. This documentation is not mandated to be within the driver file but is often requested during an FMCSA audit and can be stored in the driver file.

For more information on DISA’s Driver Qualification file services and assistance, contact us today: https://disa.com/contact/industry

Are you an employer and still have questions regarding employment screening?

DISA can help! Get answers directly from DISA’s subject matter experts with ‘Ask DISA’

Visit www.askdisa.com to ask your questions today.

About DISA Global Solutions

Founded in 1987, DISA is the industry-leading provider of employee screening and compliance services. Headquartered in Houston, with more than 35 offices throughout the U.S. and Canada, DISA’s comprehensive scope of services includes drug and alcohol testing, background screening, occupational health, and transportation compliance. DISA assists employers in making informed staffing decisions while building a culture of safety in their workplace.