News Channel Nebraska (NCN) shared VLC’s DQMConnect™ product announcement. DQMConnect™ is a driver qualification file management tool designed to serve fleet managers, HR managers, and safety managers with hiring, qualification, compliance, audits, and management.
The unique value of DQMConnect™ is that it is a self-managed software tool that allows companies to remain in control of their own driver files. The benefits are many and the reviews have been stellar. Visit Southeast Nebraska news and read the article they shared. Then, visit the VLC website and see what DQMConnect™ customers are saying about the value of this amazing product.
DQMConnect™ – The #1 Driver Qualification File Management Solution
Drive time into your day!
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.
Accidents are an unfortunate fact of life in the transportation industry. With millions of trucks on the road every day, incidents will occur – and when they do, you need to be protected. Even though over half of accidents are due entirely to driver error, investigators will still expect you to demonstrate due diligence to reduce your own liability. Proper DOT driver qualification file management makes this far easier to achieve!
Why DQ File Management Matters
The Driver Qualification (DQ) file is a set of documents, mandated by the Department of Transportation regulation, demonstrating the fitness of a driver for their job. You must maintain a DQ file on all commercial drivers operating machinery weighing 10,001 pounds or more.
This file includes:
- Current driver’s license and status
- Motor vehicle records
- Credit and background check records
- Drug tests and results
- Driving record and previous violations if any
- Medical evaluations and certifications
- FMCSA clearinghouse queries
- And more
This file is your master record of a driver’s fitness – and your go-to source of proof that you have done your job properly as an employer. Without this information, you could become liable for drivers’ mistakes on the road.
For example, if you were unable to produce proof that you conducted background checks on your driver, that could be used against you if they had black marks on their past driving record. If they were not given regular physical checkups, or you lack documentation, a physical failing on the job could also become your legal responsibility.
In other words, good DOT driver qualification file management isn’t just the law, it’s also a very good idea. If your DQ files are well-maintained while being constantly reviewed and updated according to standards, your operation will be on much better legal footing should an accident occur on the road.
If not, your operation could end up on the hook for any and all damages done, and potentially face criminal action as well, depending on the severity of the situation. This must be avoided at all costs because a single case could be financially disastrous.
DOT Driver Qualification File Management
Vehicle Licensing Consultants specialize in helping professional fleets manage and maintain their fleets and drivers while staying fully within legal requirements. DQMConnect™ is your all-in-one tool for DQ file management! Click here to learn more, or request a free 30-day trial.
Due to the genuine danger that can come from large trucks, it’s absolutely vital to know that your drivers are capable of doing the job – and that’s not just good advice; it’s the law. Under Federal Rule 391, anyone employing professional drivers operating vehicles over 10,000 pounds must maintain a Driver Qualification (DQ) File for every driver.
The DQ file contains numerous documents and information necessary to prove, on-demand, that your drivers are capable of doing their jobs safely. That makes this a critical piece of documentation to have and maintain.
Documentation Needed for Driver Qualification File Management
There are numerous pieces of information on your drivers that you must be able to produce on-demand as part of their DQ file. These include:
Motor Vehicle Records (MVRs)
You must maintain documentation of vehicle records for every driver, covering every state in which they’ve held a license or permit in the last three years. These records should be updated on an annual basis, to reflect the most current past-three-year period.
Previous Employer Requests and Responses
As with MVRs, you must also maintain personnel investigation requests and responses from the past three years, for every employer the driver has previously worked with during that period. This includes all responses from previous employers, as well as any situations where previous employers failed to respond to requests. If the driver has held no previous DOT-regulation positions, this should be documented as well.
Medical Examination Certificates
You must maintain documentation on the physical fitness of every applicable driver. At a minimum, medical examinations must be conducted at least once every 24 months. In some cases, if the worker has documented health problems, this minimum may be lower. This information must always be kept on file, including the medical examiner’s status.
Pre-Employment Drug & Alcohol Testing
All employers must drug and alcohol test their drivers prior to employment, for anyone holding a Commercial Driver’s License. The documentation of the test – and their passing of it – should be kept in your DQ file.
Driver Qualification File Management Solutions
Driver qualification file management can be a hassle, but VLC makes it easier with DQMConnect™ – our custom solution for managing and automating DQ-related tasks. Click here to learn more, and schedule a 30-day free trial!