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The Driver Qualification File

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A Guide to Your First Year in Trucking

We’ve put together a series of short videos to explain some of the regulations and important topics to know the year after you start your trucking company.
The FMCSA requires trucking companies to keep a Driver Qualification File (DQF) for each hired truck driver. In this video, we’ll look at what needs to be in the DQF, how long you need to keep records for and what should not be kept in the file.

Read the Transcript

This video series, What to Expect as a New Entrant, A Guide to Running Your Trucking Company in the First Year has been developed by Apex Capital to help you understand the policies and procedures that you must have in place in order to pass your safety audit and get permanent operating authority.

Today we are talking with Greg Norman about the driver qualification file or the DQ file. Today we are talking to Reghan Orman about insurance. Reghan is Associate General Counsel at Apex Capital and she also leads the Apex Startup Program. A program that’s designed to help those interested in starting a trucking company get their operating authority.

What is the purpose of a DQ File?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires every Motor Carrier company to have a DQ file in place for every driver they hire and the purpose of that is to help the FMCSA make sure that all motor carriers are hiring qualified candidates to operate commercial motor vehicles. Now you need to have a driver qualification file even if you’re an owner operator under your own authority driving your own truck.

What should be included in a DQ File?

The FMCSA requires you to keep a lot of records in the driver qualification file so for the full list you need to go to here.

What happens if I don’t keep DQ files for drivers?

If you don’t have a DQ file for one of your drivers you are violating an FMCSA regulation and anytime an FMCSA regulation is violated the motor carrier could be liable for civil penalties and even sometimes criminal penalties but this particular violation not having the DQ file qualifies as a record-keeping violation and for this type of violation the motor carrier could be liable for $1,000 a day that maxes out at $10,000 but that’s per violation so if you don’t keep driver qualification files at all you could see how that could really add up.

You have just watched one video in our series What to Expect as a New Entrant A Guide to Running Your Trucking Company during the first year. Please see other videos in this series or download our whitepaper to learn more about being a New Entrant, Insurance, Alcohol and Drug testing, Taxes, IFTA, Safety, the Driver Qualification File, Hours of Service, the Safety Audit, and Additional Filings.

See the Rest of our Series:

What is a New Entrant?

Trucking Insurance Requirements

Alcohol & Drug Testing Programs

Taxes for Trucking Companies

International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA)

Safety Regulations for Trucking Companies

All about Hours of Service

New Entrant Safety Audit

New Entrants: Additional Filings

Get A Free Guide to Running Your Trucking Company During the First Year

To learn more about what to expect in your first year of trucking, download our free white paper and subscribe to our channel on YouTube.