Accepting the Application from a Commercial Driver

Hiring the Driver and the Qualification File

Under §391 of the FMCSR, any driver who operates a vehicle with a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more must have a Driver Qualification File. The Qualification file begins at the time of accepting the application

driver application info As we begin this discussion we will review what is necessary not only for taking an application but what is required in the driver qualification file and keeping it organized to eliminate the possibility of any lost or lack of paperwork that may inhibit an issue if you were to get an audit.

When accepting an application from a commercial driver, there are certain things that must be completed on the application as described in the Application for Employment by the FMCSA §391.21

All applications must include:

  • The name and address of the employing motor carrier;

  • The applicant’s name, address, date of birth, and social security number;

  • The addresses at which the applicant has resided during the 3 years preceding the date on which the application is submitted;

  • The date on which the application is submitted;

  • The issuing State, number, and expiration date of each unexpired commercial motor vehicle operator’s license or permit that has been issued to the applicant;

  • The nature and extent of the applicant’s experience in the operation of motor vehicles, including the type of equipment (such as buses, trucks, truck tractors, semitrailers, full trailers, and pole trailers) which he/she has operated;

  • A list of all motor vehicle accidents in which the applicant was involved during the 3 years preceding the date the application is submitted, specifying the date and nature of each accident and any fatalities or personal injuries it caused;

  • A list of all violations of motor vehicle laws or ordinances (other than violations involving only parking) of which the applicant was convicted or forfeited bond or collateral during the 3 years preceding the date the application is submitted;

  • A statement setting forth in detail the facts and circumstances of any denial, revocation, or suspension of any license, permit, or privilege to operate a motor vehicle that has been issued to the applicant, or a statement that no such denial, revocation, or suspension has occurred;

  • A list of the names and addresses of the applicant’s employers during the 3 years preceding the date the application is submitted,

  • The dates he or she was employed by that employer,

  • The reason for leaving the employ of that employer,

  • After October 29, 2004, whether the (A) Applicant was subject to the FMCSRs while employed by that previous employer,

  • Job was designated as a safety sensitive function in any DOT regulated mode subject to alcohol and controlled substances testing requirements as required by 49 CFR part 40;

  • For those drivers applying to operate a commercial motor vehicle as defined by Part 383 of this subchapter, a list of the names and addresses of the applicant’s employers during the 7-year period preceding the 3 years contained in paragraph (b)(10) of this section for which the applicant was an operator of a commercial motor vehicle, together with the dates of employment and the reasons for leaving such employment; and

The following certification and signature line, which must appear at the end of the application form and be signed by the applicant:

This certifies that this application was completed by me, and that all entries on it and information in it are true and complete to the best of my knowledge.


(Applicant’s signature)

  • A motor carrier may require an applicant to provide information in addition to the information required by paragraph (b) of this section on the application form.

Before an application is submitted, the motor carrier must inform the applicant that the information he/she provides in accordance with paragraph (b)(10) of this section may be used, and the applicant’s previous employers will be contacted, for the purpose of investigating the applicant’s safety performance history information as required by paragraphs (d) and (e) of §391.23. The prospective employer must also notify the driver in writing of his/her due process rights as specified in §391.23(i) regarding information received as a result of these investigations.

The hiring process for a commercial driver can be complex and time consuming if you do not have consistency and organization in place. There are certain guidelines and requirement that are not only set in place for the Department of Transportation but also the Department of Labor. What are your procedures are you taking when accepting an application and determining who is qualified to work for you as a commercial driver.

As you can see from the FMCSA guidelines of an application of a driver it is very important that you as a company maintain consistency and accuracy when accepting an application. Stay tuned for a guideline of how to accept an application and create the driver qualification file, keeping it consistent, legible and compliant.


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