Interstate trucking companies (federal motor carriers) are required under federal regulations to maintain and preserve certain records about their drivers. The purpose of these regulations is to place specific obligations on the part of these companies to make sure that only qualified, competent drivers are safely operating these commercial motor vehicles in interstate transportation. 49 C.F.R. § 391.51 requires that these companies maintain in their “driver qualification files” the driver’s application for employment; the response by each state agency about inquiries into the driver’s driving record during the 3 years before the application for employment; certificate of the driver’s road test; responses from state’s agencies from each state where the driver held a CDL in the previous 12 months; a note naming the person who reviewed, on the company’s behalf, the driving record; lists of all traffic violations for which the driver was convicted, or forfeited bond through the previous 12 months; the medical examiner’s certificate for the driver; and any letter of a waiver of physical qualification.
In addition to these requirements, a motor carrier must review the driving record of each driver it employs on an annual basis to make sure the driver meets minimum requirements for safe driving and is not disqualified pursuant to the regulations.
Obviously if a company, whose driver has injured another person, violates the law and fails to keep these records, this can be very important in lawsuits involving interstate trucking companies.