Qualifying a New Driver

What are the things that I need to do to hire a driver? How fast can I put a new driver on the road? What items do I need to have in my hands before letting a driver go out on the road? What should I look for on the motor violation records when deciding to hire a driver? What minimums should I have for hiring a driver? These are some of the questions that I get when someone is trying to put on a new driver. The following guidance assumes that you want a driver for loads requiring placards.

Must Have Items Before Letting a Person Drive

  1. DOT employment application
  2. CDL with hazmat endorsement (if you have a tank(s) bolted to the vehicle with more than 119 gals of capacity, then you need a cargo tank endorsement)
  3. Current medical card certification (either a medical card or an MVR showing current medical certification)
  4. Medical examiner certification where you have checked the National Registry of Medical Examiners to check that the driver used a certified examiner.)
  5. A negative pre-employment drug test
  6. Clearinghouse Full Query with no prohibitions
  7. Road test form and certificate (391.31(g)), or CDL license or certificate accepted in lieu of road test (391.33),
    • A CDL is acceptable.
    • Doubles/triples or cargo tankers must have a road test certification for the specific vehicle within the previous 3 years.

Items That You Must Have Within 30 Days

Motor vehicle record from states (391.23),

  • Must be obtained within 30 days of employment.
  • Must be for the prior 3 years.

Please note that the regulations require this within 30 days, but I suggest that you have this and review it prior to letting the driver drive your vehicles.

  • Previous employer information (391.23),
  • Must be obtained within 30 days of employment.
  • Must be for the prior 3 years.
  • The information must be verification of employment, any DOT accidents (or any other accidents that the previous employer may want to provide), and the drug and alcohol test results/violations. (The drug and alcohol inquiries from previous employers will be phased out by 1-6-2023. This is being replaced by the Clearinghouse Full Query as it adds 3 years of data to the database.)

Items Needed Later Down the Road

Annual review of driving record (391.25),

  • Must be done at least annually.
  • Must keep a copy of the state inquiry results in the file.
  • The motor carrier must consider the driver’s accident record and any evidence that the driver has violated laws governing the operation of motor vehicles, and must give great weight to violations, such as speeding, reckless driving, and operating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, that indicate that the driver has exhibited a disregard for the safety of the public.

List of violations (391.27) (part of the above annual review),

  • The driver shall provide a list of driving violations for the previous 12 months. The driver shall sign this list.
  • If the driver has already provided this information as required by 383.31, then they do not have to repeat the information. 383.31 requires that drivers notify their carrier within 30 days of any vehicle violations, other than parking tickets, of which they have been convicted. The notification must be in writing and contain the 7 items listed in 383.31.

Medical examination kept current, or MVR as required kept current.

Medical Examiner’s Certification kept current.

Annual limited or full query from the Clearinghouse

Suggested Items for the DQ File

Not required, but highly suggested is to have a copy of their current driver’s license in the file.

Common Question

“What do I do about an existing employee that I want to make a driver?”

The easiest and best thing to do is to treat the employee as a brand-new hire. Make sure you have used a DOT driver application form. If not, then have them fill out a new DOT employee application. You still must do the previous employer background checks for the previous 3 years, but you do get to count the time the employee was working for you in that 3-year time period. Be sure to do the pre-employment drug screen.

Driver Eligibility Requirements

See the June 2021 GAWDA Safety Organizer for more suggestions to consider for driver eligibility requirements. The suggestions have some minimum requirements and some items that would possibly disqualify a driver from being considered for a driver position.     



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