This requirement specifically applies to operators of commercial vehicles where the vehicle’s:
- Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is rated in excess of 10,000 pounds; or
- Is designed to transport nine (9) or more passengers for hire or more than fifteen (15) passengers not for hire; or
- Transports hazardous materials requiring the vehicle to be placarded.
According to the FMCSA regulations, any driver who operates a commercial vehicle (over 10,000 GVWR) requiring a USDOT number must:
- Be at least 21 years old, however most states allow a person to operate a commercial vehicle at 18 so long as they do not cross state lines (intrastate only) and as long as they do not transport hazardous materials (hazmat);
- Can read and speak the English language sufficiently to converse with the general public;
- Must be physically qualified to drive a commercial vehicle (must have a valid medical card);
- Must have, on file, a list of motor vehicle violations drawn from any state the driver has held either a driver’s license or commercial driver’s license in the past three (3) years;
- Have the experience and training to operate the commercial vehicle he/she will be driving; and
- Have a valid state driver’s license or valid commercial driver’s license if they meet the requirements for a CDL, (Canadian licenses are acceptable and federally issued licenses from Mexico are also acceptable).
A completed driver qualification file must include the following documents:
- A driver’s application for employment (49 CFR 391.21);
- A letter from each previous employer of the driver over the last 3‑10 years (49 CFR 391.21);
- A certification by the employer that the driver has successfully completed a road test (49 CFR 391.31);
- A list of all motor vehicle violation convictions by the driver during the previous three (3) years or a statement that no violations exist (49 CFR 391.27);
- A copy of the DMV report of each state where the driver has held a CDL in the previous three (3) years (49 CFR 391.23);
- A copy of the driver’s physical examination (49 CFR 391.41);
- All new entrants into the USDOT system will be audited to confirm that a Driver Qualification File has been completed and is on file for each driver operating a commercial vehicle.
- Apart from federal regulations, certain states have adopted this regulation and require that even intrastate must have a Driver Qualification File.
For a complete reference to the law relating to
Driver Qualification Files see:
49 CFR Part 391