Driver Qualifications

Driver Qualifications

DOT regulations require that drivers be qualified to drive commercial motor vehicles for or on behalf of motor carriers. These regulations require that:

  • Drivers have certain minimum qualifications.
  • Motor carriers investigate and make background and character inquiries of their drivers.
  • Motor carriers perform an annual inquiry and review of employee driving records. 
  • Motor carriers maintain driver qualification and driver investigation history files.

Minimum Driver Qualifications

DOT regulations provide for certain minimum qualifications for persons who drive commercial motor vehicles for or on behalf of motor carriers (whether for-hire or private). Generally, a person is qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle if he or she:

  • Is at least 21 years old.
  • Can read and speak the English language sufficiently to converse with the general public, understand highway traffic signs and signals in the English language, respond to official inquiries, and make entries on reports and records.
  • Can, by reason of experience and/or training, safely operate the type of commercial motor vehicle he or she drives.
  • Is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle.
  • Has a currently valid commercial motor vehicle operator's license issued by only one state or jurisdiction.
  • Has prepared and furnished the motor carrier that employs him/her with a list of all violations of motor vehicle traffic laws and ordinances (other than violations involving only parking) of which the driver has been convicted (or on account of which he or she has forfeited bond or collateral during the preceding 12 months), or has certified that he or she has not been convicted of (or forfeited bond or collateral on account of) any violation that must be listed.
  • Is not disqualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle for any of the following:
    • Loss of driving privileges;
    • Criminal and other offenses;
    • Violation of out-of-service orders;
    • Violation of prohibition of texting while driving a commercial vehicle; or
    • Violation of a restriction on using a hand-held mobile telephone while driving a commercial vehicle.
  • Has successfully completed a driver's road test and has been issued a certificate of driver's road test (in accordance with the regulations), or has presented an operator's license or a certificate of road test which the motor carrier that employers him or her has accepted as equivalent to a road test, in accordance with the regulations.

Background and Character Investigations and Inquiries


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