Driver Files: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

  • Chris Atkinson
  • Monday, October 24, 2016

What needs to be in the driver file?

In Ontario, very little  needs to be in a driver file. There is no specific regulation with statement what must be contained. Based on this, you may not get a ticket during an MTO facility audit for poor driver files, but they are not the only ones you need please. Consider your insurance company and the courts, should there be some litigation.

The following is generally accepted to be a complete driver file from a due diligence point of view. Ontario driver files are often modelled after FMCSA regulation.  (this is for intra-provincial carriers only, if you cross border, you must adhere to the FMCSA)

  • You need to have an application for that goes back at least three years.
  • Due Diligence says you must perform reference checks for those three years
  • You are expected to give a Road Test
  • Must have a copy of the Drivers License
  • Original copy of the Driver Abstract
  • Original copy of the CVOR Abstract
  • Ontario Rules Sheet Receipt for Company Policies or Driver Handbook
  • New Hire Orientation Documentation
  • Fourteen-Day Prior Hours Statement.

As you can see, for an Ontario carrier the list is long. If you are a cross-border carrier then you must conform with FMCSA Regulation 391. The US has a very long list of items that are required to be in the drivers’ file.

So the question is how can you be sure that your driver files are compliant?

You can perform a self-audit. You can take the above list and go through each driver file and make sure that all the components are in the file. To make it easier for you I have made available to you a driver file checklist that you can download from here. Of course, an alternative is to hire a consultant to perform the task for you and to give you a followup report. Your choice.

Either way, it is very important that you make sure your driver files meet  the expected level of scrutiny. Whether it is your insurance company that performs an audit, or (worst case scenario) you have to produce your driver files for court litigation, you need to know that they meet the minimum criteria of the laws and regulations.

There is no easy way to do this check other than to scrutinize each and every driver file to make sure that it is complete. Many small companies leave themselves open to lawsuits because they do not have complete, well-documented hiring practices and driver files. Please don’t be one of them.
Perform the audit or hire someone to do so.  Either way, It will be money well spent and you will have peace of mind knowing that you have met your obligations and comply with the regulations.

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