The new driver physical requirement has been put in place this year by the DOT as an important part of keeping America’s roads and highways safe. Let’s take a look at what it is and what you need to do to keep compliant with the new health exam requirements.
What is the new 2022 DOT Physical?
The new 2022 DOT physical is a health exam required of commercial drivers by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to ensure that commercial drivers are capable of fulfilling their job. This exam must be completed by a DOT medical examiner and documented every 24 months.
Are All Drivers Required to Get a DOT Physical?
This requirement applies to the following classifications of drivers:
- Drivers who transport hazardous materials
- Drivers who are paid to operate a vehicle that carries over 8 people
- Drivers who operate a vehicle that carries more than 15 people
- Drivers who operate a vehicle with a gross combined weight of over 10,000 pounds
What does the Physical Consist of?
The DOT exam will cover:
- Health history
- Vision assessment
- Hearing test
- Blood pressure
As well as a number of other health factors that can indicate a risk while operating a commercial vehicle.
What Factors Might Disqualify a Driver?
Here are a few guidelines and some minimum requirements for drivers to pass their exam:
- 20/40 vision in each eye (with or without glasses); 70+ degrees field of vision; the ability to distinguish between red, green, and yellow.
- The hearing test requires you to hear a harsh whisper in your best ear
- Blood pressure below 180/100; blood pressure between 140/90 and 179/109 may require an annual exam.
- Medical conditions, such as diabetes, hernias, obesity, and sleep apnea that are not in control
- Uncontrolled or unstable heart conditions
- Epilepsy or seizure disorders
- Meniere’s disease, an inner ear disorder that causes dizziness
- Use of marijuana, even if prescribed
- Use of illegal substances
- Use of oxygen therapy
- Some respiratory conditions
What You Need to Know for Compliance
Just like any other DOT requirement, if your driver is caught without a medical certificate, they are taken off the road and you will pay for it. Not just in fines, but in the business that is impacted by the loss of a driver.
As driver requirements are changed, increased, and refined, it is so important to have a way to track which of your drivers complies and who may be coming due for their next medical exam.
Take a look at DQMConnect. This amazing application is helping many companies address the same concerns. Real-time alerts and a dashboard view of your driver compliance, puts you in control.
Keep your company safe, your drivers compliant, and your clients happy with DQMConnect.
Your business, including your fleet and drivers, need to be DOT-compliant to maintain its authority to operate in the United States. You will need to complete several steps to become DOT-compliant. While you can try to keep up with all the minutiae of running a business and making sure all your files are in order yourself, there is a lot of room for error.
Thanks to automated processes and DOT file management for everything from your records to DOT driver qualification files, there’s no need to worry about falling out of compliance. Here’s everything you need to know about DOT compliance and how your company’s DOT driver qualification files should be at the center of your compliance strategy.
DOT Compliance Explained
The Department of Transportation (DOT) is responsible for regulating the transportation of goods in the United States. In order to do this, DOT requires that all transportation companies operating in the country comply with a number of regulations.
One of these regulations is driver compliance. When a transportation company is DOT compliant, it has met all the requirements necessary to operate legally in the United States. To be DOT compliant, your company must adhere to several specific regulations.
These regulations cover everything from the qualifications of your drivers to the way you track and report your cargo. To be DOT compliant, you must have a system in place that meets all of these requirements.
Which Companies Need to be DOT-Compliant?
The vehicles and drivers that are used in transportation companies are the most important part of being DOT-compliant. To operate legally, your company must have a valid DOT driver qualification file for each of its drivers. The number of passengers, the purpose, and other factors all influence whether a vehicle must be DOT-compliant.
Additionally, DOT registration is required for a vehicle with gross weight ratings or combination weight ratings of 10,001 pounds or higher. Finally, any vehicle used for the transportation of hazardous materials must be registered with DOT and remain compliant with all standards.
The Many Kinds of DOT Violations and What to Avoid
There are many different types of DOT violations that your company can fall victim to. These violations can range from not incomplete driver files, expired documents, or failure to record and store all the necessary information required for DOT compliance.
Fines, Penalties and Other Risks of Non-Compliance
If your company is found in violation of the DOT’s regulations, it may face fines. These fines can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands. In addition, your company may be subject to other penalties, such as suspension of your most important asset – your drivers.
Other DOT Compliance Factors
In addition to meeting the requirements listed above, your company must also take other factors into account when complying with the DOT. These factors include:
- The location of your company.
- The size of your company.
- The type of cargo you transport.
- The number of drivers in your company.
- The company’s history of compliance.
Having a system in place that meets all the DOT’s requirements is the best way to ensure your company is in compliance. However, there are several factors your company must take into account when complying. By following these guidelines, your company can ensure it remains DOT- compliant for years to come.
How to Driver Qualification File Management Helps Your Company Remain DOT Compliant
The day-to-day stress and demands of running a business can be difficult enough without having to worry about compliance issues. With driver qualification files at the center of your DOT compliance strategy, you can relax knowing your company is in good shape.
Driver qualification files are a crucial part of your company’s system. They are used to track all aspects of your drivers and ensure they are qualified to operate in the United States. By using a driver file management system, you can keep your driver qualification files updated and organized.
This will not only keep you compliant in case of an audit from the DOT, but improve operational efficiency, margins, and save your finance and administration departments countless hours and costs.
Handle All Your DOT Driver Qualification File Management with DQMConnect™
Don’t try to do it all yourself, lean on an advanced DOT driver qualification file management system like DQMConnect™. DQMConnect™ is a comprehensive system that helps you manage all aspects of your driver qualification files. From updating and organizing your files to tracking driver qualifications and compliance, DQMConnect™ has everything you need to stay compliant and keep your business running smoothly.
Contact us today to learn more about DQMConnect™ and our DOT driver qualification file management solutions.
“One thing you may not be doing that can affect your DOT!”
Every year at renewal your insurance agency must file your new policies with the FMCSA and Motor Carrier Permit division. Failure to do this can result in your authority being revoked and your MCP to be inactive. Both permits are a foundational permit that can put your operations to a halt. Make sure you are communicating with your insurance agency to ensure they are filing your updated policies on time.
US DOT: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/insurance-filing-requirements (link to insurance requirements)
Motor Carrier Permit: Form MC-65 M. This form can also be filed online at https://www.mcinfo.org/MCInfo/login.
**Both Liability Insurance and Workers’ Compensation must be filed if your company falls under Workers’ Compensation requirement per CA Insurance regulations.
If your business is in the trucking industry, such as a fleet management company, you are likely aware of the DOT audit process. A DOT audit can be a nerve-wracking experience, but if you prepare for it properly, you can make the process as smooth as possible. Let’s discuss what you need to do to prepare for a DOT audit, what happens during an audit, and what happens if you fail one.
Ultimately, the best way to make sure a DOT audit does not become an issue for your company is to have strong DOT driver qualification file management with the help of software.
How to Prepare for a Trucking DOT Audit
The best way to get through a DOT audit is to be prepared before it even happens. Here are a few tips on how you can do that:
- Know the DOT Regulations: Familiarize yourself with the DOT regulations so that you know what is expected of your company. This way, you can make sure that all your policies and procedures are in compliance.
- Keep Detailed Records: DOT auditors will want to see detailed records of your driver qualification files, maintenance records, and more. Make sure that these records are organized and up-to-date before an auditor arrives.
- Be Proactive: If you know that an audit is coming up, take some time to review your procedures and make sure everything is in order. This will help put the auditor’s mind at ease and make the process go more smoothly.
What Happens During a DOT Audit?
During a DOT audit, an auditor will review all your company’s records and procedures. First, you will receive an opening conference where the auditor will explain the audit process and what they will be looking for. Next, the auditor will review your DOT driver qualification files to make sure they are complete and up-to-date. They will also look at your maintenance records to ensure that your vehicles are being properly maintained. Lastly, the auditor will conduct interviews with you and your staff to check for compliance with DOT regulations.
They will look at your driver qualification files, maintenance records, drug and alcohol testing programs, and more.
If you fail a DOT audit, you may be subject to fines, penalties, or other consequences. However, if you are prepared for the audit and have strong DOT driver qualification file management, you should be able to avoid any issues.
What Your Driver Qualification Files Need to Have
To DOT audit-proof your trucking business, you need to ensure that your driver qualification files are complete and up-to-date. This includes maintaining records of the following:
- Driver’s licenses
- Medical certificates
- DOT physical examination results
- Employment applications
- MVR reports
- DOT drug and alcohol test results
- DOT crash reports
- Safety performance history
By keeping detailed records of your drivers, you can be sure that you are in compliance with DOT regulations. This will make the audit process much easier and help you avoid any penalties.
The Pitfalls of Failing a DOT Audit
A trucking DOT audit is unique in that there are DOT regulations in place specifically for the trucking industry. These regulations are designed to ensure the safety of both drivers and the general public. As a result, DOT audits tend to be more stringent than other types of audits.
If you fail a DOT audit, you may be subject to:
- DOT compliance review
- DOT safety rating downgrades
- DOT enforcement actions
- DOT shutdowns
If you are not prepared for a DOT audit, it can be a stressful and difficult experience. However, if you take the time to prepare and have strong DOT driver qualification file management, you should be able to handle an audit with ease.
How DOT Driver Qualification File Management Helps
DOT driver qualification file management is the key to success when it comes to DOT audits. By using software, you can keep track of your driver files, maintenance records, and more in one place. This will make it easier for you to find the information an auditor is looking for and ensure that everything is up-to-date.
Driver file management software can also help you stay in compliance with DOT regulations. The software can remind you when it is time to update a driver’s file or administer a drug test. This will take the guesswork out of DOT compliance and help you avoid any penalties or fines.
Handle Your DOT Audit with Ease Thanks to DOT Driver Qualification File Management
If you are looking for an easy way to prepare for DOT audits, DOT driver qualification file management software like DQMConnect is one of the best ways to remain prepared at all times. DOT driver qualification file management software is designed to help trucking companies stay DOT compliant and audit-ready at all times.
With DOT driver qualification file management, you can keep track of your drivers, vehicles, and maintenance records in one place. This will make it easier for you to find the information an auditor is looking for and ensure that everything is up to date.
Contact Vehicle Licensing Consultants today and stay DOT Audit-ready at all times with a free 30-day trial of DQMConnect.
“Don’t get caught with an expired registration because of an unresolved owner citation.”
Registration renewals cannot be completed when the owner or lessee has unpaid Owner Responsibility Citations (ORC) on record.
Here are the steps to resolve your citation before your registration expires:
- Obtain court and citation information
- Reach out to the courthouse to pay citation
- Receive a DL-106R in the mail
- DO NOT OPEN THE ENVELOPE
- Mail the Closed envelope to VLC to process with your renewal
- Receive your renewed registration
Proof of clearance and proper filing procedures must be followed. If you are unsure, contact us… our team can help.
If your US-based operation employs professional drivers who operate vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds, you are required by law to maintain Driver Qualification (DQ) files on every relevant driver you employ. To be specific, this includes:
- Vehicles weighing 10,001+ pounds
- Commercial vehicles that transport at least 8 passengers, including driver
- Any vehicle of any size transporting hazardous materials that require placards
As an aside, this also includes independent owner-operators. In this situation, you are considered to be both employer and employee in the eyes of the law and have all the same legal responsibilities as any other transportation company.
If any of these qualifiers includes your operation, it is critical to stay on top of your DQ files. These may be requested by authorities and investigators whenever relevant. In particular, should one of your drivers ever be involved in an accident due to their own error, a well-maintained DQ file that’s fully in compliance will be one of your best shields against legal liability.
For this reason, it’s highly advised that all transportation operations invest in DOT driver qualification file management software. Automation features and alerts make it much easier to maintain compliance while reducing your own workload.
What Goes into A DQ File?
There are numerous documents you are expected to maintain and update on a periodic basis to remain fully within legal compliance.
1 – DOT Employment Application
The original employment application includes numerous pieces of information which are required for your DQ file. And again, even if it seems silly for an owner-operator to fill out an employment application for themselves, this is a legal requirement.
The employee application should cover:
- The past three years of employment history, with no gaps in time which go unexplained. Any deviations such as time spent unemployed, or as a student, must be noted. Also, if the driver is operating a vehicle weighing 26,000 pounds or more, the requirement is ten years of history.
- All relevant records relating to the driver’s experience operating motor vehicles.
- Any accidents and other moving violations from the past three years. If none occurred, this should be noted.
- If the driver’s license was ever suspended or revoked during this period, this must be noted as well, or else include a statement saying that it has not.
Keep in mind, this application needs to be kept current and updated on an annual basis to reflect the most recent three-year period. (Or ten-year period for heavy truckers.)
2 – Medical certifications
Drivers are required to undergo physical evaluation and medical certification at least once every 24 months. It is the employer’s responsibility to demand these evaluations and keep records current. In certain situations, existing medical conditions may mandate more frequent evaluations to demonstrate the driver’s competency.
3 – CDL testing and certification documentation
The file should include a current copy of the driver’s CDL. If the position does not require a CDL, you need to include alternative certifications demonstrating their competency with whatever vehicle they operate. It is, again, your responsibility as an employer to maintain driver’s license compliance and be able to demonstrate the legal status of your drivers.
4 – MVRs and Violations
You are expected to maintain copies of the drivers’ Motor Vehicle Report (i.e., their driving history) for the past three years, including all states in which the driver has held a license. These should be updated at least once every 12 months.
5 – Safety Performance History Investigations
All drivers in DOT-regulated positions must have a safety history investigation, which includes contacting past employers. This should include:
- Written authorization from the driver to allow the investigation. Yes, owner-operators, you must grant yourself permission to investigate yourself.
- All responses from prior DOT-regulated employers. If a past employer fails to respond to the investigation request, this must be noted, along with documentation of how you attempted to contact them or otherwise obtain the information.
- If this is the driver’s first DOT-regulated job, this should be noted.
Better DOT Driver Qualification File Management Software Keeps You in Compliance
This is a lot of information to gather, review, and maintain – and the difficulty only grows with the number of drivers in your workforce. The best way to maintain compliance is with DOT driver qualification file management software. Modern solutions can automate many aspects of the process, give reminders when key documents must be reviewed/updated/renewed, and prevent any user errors maintaining compliant documentation.
DOT Driver Qualification File Management Software
Vehicle Licensing Consultants specializes in providing the tools that today’s transportation managers need to maintain compliance. DQMConnect™ puts everything you need in one place, with an easy-to-use interface.
If you struggle to maintain your DQ file, click here to learn more about DQMConnect™ or request a free 30-day trial.