Don’t be intimidated by software and the trend toward everything digital. We would like to show you that not all software products are difficult to use and that even the conversion process from your old paper files doesn’t have to be a terrifying ordeal.
If you have been thinking about moving to digital for your driver files, but a little uneasy about the training and transition time such a move would impose on your already busy staff, then we would like to introduce you to something so different, so easy to use, you will wish you had done it sooner.
If you are ready to embrace digital, DQMConnect™ can make the journey simple, easy, and painless. While it is true that some software packages take a long time to install, this is not true with DQMConnect™.
Utilize our easy to deploy software and you will be up and running in seconds. Yes, seconds! We want you to start realizing value from the very moment you begin. We have designed a tool that you can operate with no training, it couldn’t be more intuitive.
Your next concern might be all those paper files you have been collecting and storing for years. What do I do with those? How can I transition to digital when so many driver files are already bundles of paperwork in a file cabinet?
DQMConnect™ enables you to bulk upload your documents, making the transition seamless. Once uploaded, you will see how easy finding and reviewing files can truly be. And the most important part…You are in control of your driver files at all times.
And the Benefits? There are many, but here are the top 4:
- Never lose a document
- Easy to manage for multiple people
- Secure encrypted server storage
- Compliance tracking
Still a little skeptical or unsure? Don’t worry. Take a DQMConnect™ tour with one of our compliance specialists. We will show you the simplicity of digital and a well-designed driver file management system.
Embrace digital and learn more about DQMConnect™. The first and only tool that is quick, easy, and keeps you in control of your files.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) imposes a number of regulations on trucking businesses, including driver safety requirements. A DOT audit is a review of a trucking company’s compliance with these regulations. Let’s discuss how DOT driver files and their storage, organization, and file management can help you pass your DOT audit.
The DOT Audit
This comprehensive review of a trucking company’s compliance with DOT regulations typically includes a review of company files and driver records. The audit may be expedited if the company’s records evidence a pattern of noncompliance. A company that fails a DOT audit may face several sanctions, including fines, suspension of its operating privileges, and even criminal prosecution.
What Causes Expedited Actions?
In the case of a company that has a history of noncompliance, the DOT may take expedited action if the company’s records evidence a pattern of noncompliance. Factors that may contribute to an expedited action include:
- A company that has failed a prior DOT audit
- A company with a history of driver safety violations
- A company with a low safety rating
- A company that does not have a DOT permit or has let it expire
What Happens After the Audit?
The Department of Transportation will first notify the company that has been selected for audit. If the company fails to produce the requested documentation, or if the driver records are not in compliance with DOT regulations, the department may take appropriate sanctions, including fines, or the suspension of its operating privileges. It is then the company’s duty to ensure that it becomes compliant with all DOT regulations.
DOT Driver Files and File Management
To help you pass a DOT audit, you should maintain accurate and up-to-date driver files. Driver files should include a comprehensive history of the commercial driver’s employment with the company, including dates of employment, hours worked, and routes traveled. Driver files should also include copies of company policies and procedures, as well as any DOT-required endorsements.
By maintaining accurate and up-to-date driver files, you can help ensure that your company’s records comply with DOT regulations. Additionally, using driver file management tools can help you manage your driver files in a timely and efficient manner.
Start Using DOT Driver File Management from Vehicle Licensing Consultants
DQMConnect is the most advanced DOT driver file management software available. Our software helps you manage your driver files in a timely and efficient manner, ensuring that your company’s records comply with DOT regulations. Contact us today to learn more about our software and how it can help you pass your DOT audit.
Trucking and other commercial driving are tightly regulated by the government, and for good reason considering how large and potentially dangerous a loaded truck can be. Unfortunately, this means a lot of extra burdens on you and your drivers. Your DQFs need to be constantly kept up to date, and Department of Transportation (DOT) inspections could happen on the road at almost any time. Good DOT Driver Qualification File Management systems can help make these processes easier to navigate!
What are the most important aspects of DOT inspections to focus on, and how can DQF management software help? Let’s take a look.
The Six Levels of DOT Inspections
When a driver is on the road, they are potentially subject to official inspection at almost any time. These will most likely take place at designated locations, such as weigh stations but could also be randomly conducted on-road. In addition, they must be performed at least once every 12 months.
There are six “levels” of inspection, depending on what the DOT official is looking for and how it’s conducted.
This is the most common – and most thorough – DOT inspection, covering almost every area of a driver and their vehicle. Inspected elements include:
- The driver’s CDL
- Their full DQF, including medical records, Record of Duty status, and any alcohol or drug use reports
- The trailer and cargo securement systems
- A full vehicle inspection, including brakes, couplings, exhaust, frame, fuel systems, wipers, steering systems, suspension, and electrical system
- Tires, rims, and wheels
- All lighting, including headlamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, and internal lights
This is the full complete inspection, which will be conducted at least once a year.
Level 2 is the same as Level 1, except that it omits any items which would require the inspector to get underneath the vehicle. It still includes the full DQF inspection, as well as anything on the vehicle which can be accessed while standing.
Level 3 focuses solely on the driver and their DQF, without inspecting their vehicle. This is when you really want a good DOT Driver Qualification File management system, as part of your overall fleet management software package.
Level 4 is a spot check of one specific item or area of concern. These may be based on direct reports, or due to overall industry trends which the DOT has become concerned about. i.e., if it came out that numerous trucking companies were neglecting their emissions systems, DOT might target emissions for a specific focus.
Level 5 is exactly the same as Level 1, except that the driver is not present when the vehicle is being inspected. This would typically only be done if there were already substantial evidence of wrongdoing.
Level 6 specifically only applies to shipments of radioactive materials and includes specialized checks to ensure the materials are being handled safely, in accordance with regulations, such as proper shielding.
How To Properly Prepare for DOT Inspections
Your drivers should be prepared for a surprise inspection at any time. Even if they are rare, a single failed DOT inspection can cause a lot of trouble for you and your driver.
1 – Invest in DOT Driver Qualification File management systems
When DQFs were handled on paper, by hand, they were prone to error – and errors can be extremely costly! A good DQF management software solution automates most updates and changes to the DQF, as well as issuing alerts when key dates are coming up, such as license and registration renewals. This helps ensure your DQFs can always pass inspection.
2 – Keep up on vehicle maintenance
To borrow a cliche, keeping your vehicles well-maintained isn’t just a good idea – it’s the law. Well-maintained vehicles, tracked as part of a larger vehicle management system, lead to more efficient operations and less downtime due to breakdowns. This also guarantees your vehicles will be able to pass even a Level 1 inspection at any time, if needed.
3 – Coach your drivers on proper behavior
DOT inspections can be nerve-wracking, even for experienced drivers, and it’s easy for newer drivers to be overwhelmed. Be sure to coach your drivers on staying calm and professional at all times. In particular, they should never directly confront or argue with the inspector, even if they believe there’s a problem with the inspection itself. Any disputes should be handled by the company, via proper legal challenges.
Drivers who keep a cool head will have a much easier time getting through inspections without any unnecessary drama.
4 – Do your own inspections
There’s no need to wait for a spot inspection. It’s good practice to occasionally conduct an inspection of your driver and vehicle, according to the same guidelines the DOT follows. Much like a fire drill, this increases preparedness when the real thing happens.
VLC Is Here to Improve Your Fleet Management
Vehicle Licensing Consultants has decades of experience helping fleet operators navigate complex laws and bureaucracy, while staying on top of both their vehicles and their drivers. Our connected systems allow you to manage drivers, vehicles, and even your customers – combining all the data into an analytical system capable of providing deep insights into every aspect of your operation.
Be prepared for your next DOT inspection. Contact us to learn more, or ask for a free demo.