For a trucking company, gathering and maintaining driver qualification (DQ) files is a daunting yet necessary task for carriers, drivers and safety, compliance and human resource personnel.
As a safety measure to ensure that carriers are operating the safest fleet possible, federal regulations mandate that all carriers collect and maintain specific documents on all drivers based on their loads, lanes and commodity hauled. At a minimum, a driver must provide a copy of their motor vehicle record, a certificate of their road test and a medical examiner’s certificate among other documents needed for the federal requirements. An annual review of each employee’s driving record and any violations is also part of the compliance process.
The DQ file management process actually begins at the point of driver qualification and onboarding. Specific documents and information are required when drivers submit an application for employment. This initial group of documents serves as the foundation of the DQ file management process while the driver is employed or under contract with the company and for the following three years after the employee leaves the company.
As you can imagine, the oversight and detail of ensuring drivers qualification files are in compliance provides a huge strain on both the drivers and the safety and compliance staff. If a company dispatches a driver and during a roadside inspection, the driver is found with an expired document, both the driver and the carrier will be penalized. Not only are penalties assigned, but this type of violation has serious impact on a carrier’s compliance, safety and accountability (CSA) scores.
In recent years, trucking companies have been able to streamline their DQ file management process with software solutions that provide a paperless approach. Carriers today have either already converted to managing electronic driver qualification files or are actively engaged in moving in that direction. Safety and compliance software help carriers and drivers manage this process more efficiently. Maintaining electronic DQ documents provides greater visibility to safety and compliance personnel as well as management throughout the organization. Drivers can receive real time updates and a vehicle to upload documents remotely through web-based driver portals and safety and compliance personnel have the ability to manage the process “by exception” in a workflow environment as opposed to sifting through reports and trying to manually process the DQ file management.
Software solutions have helped companies hire and qualify drivers more quickly while reducing the labor costs it takes to manage applications, onboard drivers and ensure the safety and compliance of their drivers going forward. The DQ file management process begins once the driver fills out an application in the software and then through a robust workflow and document check in process, carriers are ensured that the drivers they put in their seats are the most qualified, compliant and safe drivers available.
In addition to managing the drivers’ annual safety reviews and other documents including CDL’s, physicals, training certificates, lease reviews and insurance policies, once the drivers are hired or contracted with the carrier, these software solutions can also monitor additional driver behavior impacting the safety of your fleet. Activities such as training, roadside inspections, log violations, accidents, speed, mpg, hard braking and idle time and can all be managed through the management workflow and dashboard as well as the driver portal.
Each trucking company has a need for skilled, reliable and qualified drivers. Finding these drivers can be a difficult task during this current driver shortage facing the trucking industry. Recruiting and quickly gathering and realizing an efficient DQ file management process is becoming more and more important to the overall operation of a trucking company and can have a significant impact on the operations and health of a trucking company today.
InfoStream, an EBE company, draws upon more than 45 years of experience in transportation safety and compliance solutions to incorporate both outsourced and internally managed compliance services and software. InfoStream combines first-class workflow technology with unmatched customer service to create a standard that is unlike other compliance offerings in the industry, aggregating data from a variety of sources into a single, comprehensive view to improve regulatory compliance and positively impact ROI.