Did you know YOU COULD BE HELD LIABLE whether you have 1 or 100 truck drivers – you are responsible for maintaining the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidelines.
Over the past few years, we have witnessed a few of our Policyholders face civil and criminal penalties because they failed to follow FMCSA guidelines as it pertains to record-keeping, specifically targeting the Driver Qualification (D.Q.) Files. In all cases, our policyholders’ driver was involved in a serious accident that required further investigation by the responsible law enforcement of their State. Upon investigation, in those cases, it had been discovered that the truck drivers were operating with expired CDL Drivers’ Licenses and, in some cases, with expired DOT Med Cards, which also disqualifies the CDL Drivers’ License. In all cases, the owner of the trucking operation was found guilty of not maintaining D.Q. Files for which copies are required. A list of all required D.Q. items can be found at www.fmcsa.dot.gov website. It is not the responsibility of your insurance agent to maintain D.Q. Files for your operation; it is the sole responsibility of the business owner. It is also the truck driver’s responsibility to maintain a valid CDL Drivers’ License and DOT Med Card.
SO WHAT IF I AM NOT DOING THE ABOVE????
COMMERCIAL DRIVER’S LICENSE STANDARDS; REQUIREMENTS AND PENALTIES
§ 383.53: Penalties. (a) General rule. Any person who violates the rules set forth in subparts B and C of this part may be subject to civil or criminal penalties as provided for in 49 U.S.C. 521(b).
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:
• Maintain a D.Q. File for each driver – full list of requirements can be found on the FMCSA website.
• Ensure a current copy of CDL Driver License – maintain a control log to track expiration dates.
• Ensure a current copy of DOT Med Card – maintain a control log to track expiration dates.
• Must have a copy of MVR: You must request and approve and keep a copy of a Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) for every CDL driver.
o Also, make sure that your insurance carrier approves the driver’s MVR before letting them drive.
o If you must create another business name where an alternate auto carrier can provide a driver-designated policy for a driver because that one particular driver would not be approved by your major carrier, you need to do a little more research to ensure that driver is a good risk for your business.
o MVR’s must also be reviewed annually, but you must keep the original one from the driver date of hire.
o Your insurance agent is not responsible for keeping these records…YOU ARE.
• Drug tests are required by Law: All trucking operations must have a drug testing policy. All CDL drivers must be tested prior to employment and then be entered into a random testing program. Also, post-accident tests must be performed.
Please contact your Forestry Mutual Field Representative if you require more information, such as a complete list of what is required in the D.Q. File. They are willing and ready to assist you. Education is knowledge, and it takes knowledge to protect yourself from the ever-increasing risk level and the liabilities you face daily.