What are the DOT Recordkeeping Requirements?

July 1, 2022

What are the DOT Recordkeeping Requirements?

The Department of Transportation and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have many requirements regarding recordkeeping. Many carriers have an entire department (or at least a person) dedicated to knowing and enforcing the current FMCSA and DOT rules and maintaining records (including annual inspections) for all vehicles in the fleet. The safety department is responsible for maintaining qualification and safety records for each driver, and conducting random drug and alcohol testing of drivers based on DOT regulations. 

How long do you keep DOT files?

Depending on the record, you may have to keep certain files for up to five years to be in compliance with the Department of Transportation (DOT) rules. 

Five Years

Alcohol test results indicating a BAC of 0.02 or greater 
Verified positive controlled substances test results 
Refusal-to-test documentation
Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) evaluation reports 

Three Years

Annual List of Violations 
Annual Inquiry to State Agencies 
Annual Review of Driving Record 
Medical Examiner’s Certificate 
Safety Performance Evaluation Certificate (if applicable)
Vehicle Maintenance

Two Years

Random selections 
Reasonable-suspicion testing documentation 
Medical evaluations for shy lung and shy bladder situations

One Year

Negative and canceled drug test results 
Alcohol test results with a BAC below 0.02

Six Months

Driver logs and supporting documents

Additional Retention Requirements

The employer’s policy, CDL driver’s signed receipt, and all education and driver training records must be retained while the individual performs safety-sensitive and/or supervisory functions and for two years after. Trucking companies must keep Driver Qualification Files and Safety Performance History documents for as long as the driver is employed and for three years after. 

For every vehicle, motor carriers must keep the identifying information (company number, make, model, serial number, and tire size) and the inspection schedule for one year at the location where the vehicle is kept and for six months after the vehicle is no longer part of the fleet. 

Post-trip inspection reports must be kept for at least three months from the report date. Periodic inspection reports (or a copy) must be retained for 14 months from the report date. Evidence of an inspector’s qualifications must be retained for one year after the inspector ceases to perform inspections for the carrier.

How long do you have to keep trucking logs?

You must keep driver duty logs and supporting documents for six months before discarding. If you are involved in a DOT Safety Audit and do not have these records, you will be found in violation of the DOT rules and regulations regarding recordkeeping. 

What is a DOT safety audit?

The Department of Transportation (DOT) conducts audits to evaluate a company's safety performance and confirm proper and complete recordkeeping. The review also determines if the company has adequate management controls in place to ensure compliance with the FMCSA safety protocols. 

A DOT audit or review is divided into six inspection categories: 

  • General 
  • Driver
  • Operational
  • Vehicle
  • Hazardous Materials (HazMat)
  • Accidents

Each category, or factor, is reviewed and rated satisfactory, conditional, or unsatisfactory. 

In the event of a DOT audit, the safety manager would be responsible for making sure the company is in compliance with all DOT and FMCSA regulations. If the company does not pass the audit for any reason, the safety department would ultimately be responsible for making the changes necessary to get a satisfactory result. 

Fill Your Seats Faster - Request a TransForce Driver Today!

TransForce Group is your #1 source for drivers. With our Driver Solutions you can source, staff and hire drivers quickly so you can keep your business moving.

Get Drivers