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Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Record Retention

Question: How long must I keep records and documents required by the FMCSA Regulations?

Answer: It depends on which documents you are talking about.  The record retention requirements vary greatly.  Below, I have summarized the retention requirements for some of the most common documents by subject area.  I have also indicated the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) of the regulation where the record retention requirements are located:

Driver Qualifications CFR 391

Regulation                                     Document                                   Retention Period

391.51 (c)                        Complete driver qualification file         3 years after date of termination

391.51 (d)                        Driver Applications                                 3 years after date of termination

391.51 (d) 4                     Medical Certificate and long form       3 years from date of execution

391.51 (d) 2                     Annual Review                                        3 years from date of execution

391.51 (d) 3                     Certification of violations                      3 years from date of execution

391.51 (d) 5                      Physical waiver                                       3 years from date of execution

391.51 (d) 1                     Annual motor vehicle record (MVR)    3 years from date of execution

391.23 (a) 1                      Initial MVR at time of hire                     3 years after date of termination

Drug and Alcohol Testing Records

382.401 (b)(1)(i)              Records of Alcohol tests with .02 or     5 years

                                         greater result

382.401 (b)(1)(ii)             Records of driver verified positive         5 years

                                         controlled substance test results

382.401 (b)(1)(iii)           Documentation of refusals to take          5 years

                                         required alcohol and/or drug test

382.401 (b)(1)(iv)            Driver evaluations and referrals              5 years

382.401 (b)(1)(v)             Calibration documentation to testing      5 years


382.401 (b)(1)(vi)            Administrative records of the Alcohol    5 years

                                         controlled substance testing programs

382.401 (b)(1)(vii)           A copy of each annual calendar year

                                         summary required by 382.403(only        5 years

                                         those carriers selected

382.401(2)                       Records relating to the alcohol and

                                         controlled substances collection process 2 years

383.401(3)                       Record of negative and cancelled             1 year

                                         controlled substance results and

                                         alcohol tests with a concentration

                                         of less than .02 

382.401(4)                       Records related to the education and        Indefininite*

                                         training of breath alcohol technicians,

                                         screening test technicians, supervisors,

                                         and drivers shall be maintained by the

                                         employer while the individual performs

                                         the functions which require the training

                                         and for *2 years after ceasing to perform

                                         these functions

Hours of Service Documentation

395.8 (k)                          Record of duty status and all supporting       6 months
                                         documents, and time records

Accident Records

390.15 (b)                        Accident Register and Files                           3 years after the date of
                                                                                                                     each accident

Inspection and Maintenance

396.3 (c)                           Maintenance files as required by 396.3 (b)   1 year plus 6 months after
                                                                                                                          vehicle leaves carriers control.
 396.9 (d)(3)(ii)                  Copy of roadside inspections                         12 months
396.11 (c)(2)                      Driver vehicle inspection report                   3 months
396.19 (b)                          Annual inspector certification                       During employment and 1
                                                                                                                         year thereafter
396.25 (e)                          Brake inspector certification                         During employment and 1
                                                                                                                        year thereafter.

Do you have your US FMCSA Personal Identification Number (PIN)?

To view your CSA SMS information, you will need your US DOT number and US DOT PINs to access the information as it becomes available to the industry.  With the DOT number and DOT PIN, you will be able to “log on” and see your driver's names associated with the various inspections, violations, and crashes, as well as the scoring for “Hazardous Material” and “Crash” basics. The public will not have access to your driver’s name or the “Hazardous Material” or “Crash” indicator basic scoring.

The US DOT PIN was initially provided to the motor carrier when authority was granted.  For many carriers, this was years and employees ago, and the PIN has been lost.

The following are three ways a motor carrier can obtain their PIN.:  (Click on this link to receive a PIN by email)  (Click on this link to receive a PIN by US Mail) Or call 1-800-832-5660 #3 then 0 and Request your PIN number in person.

If you request your US DOT PIN be sent by US mail, allow 1 to 2 weeks to receive your PIN.

The benefit of logging on to the FMCSA websites with your PIN is that when reviewing data, especially inside the CSA program, your driver's names will be populated with the inspections or accidents they were involved in.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has announced this year’s International Roadcheck dates as May 16-18

Roadcheck is a 72-hour high-visibility, high-volume commercial motor vehicle inspection and enforcement initiative. Commercial motor vehicle inspectors in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. will conduct North American Standard Inspections of commercial motor vehicles and drivers at weigh and inspection stations, roving patrols, and temporary inspection sites.

CVSA International Roadcheck 2020

Each year, CVSA focuses on a specific aspect of a roadside inspection. This year the focus will be on anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and cargo securement.  ABS violations are not out-of-service violations; however, the anti-lock braking system is critical in reducing collisions. A properly functioning ABS will prevent wheels from locking up or skidding, allowing a driver to maintain vehicle control while braking.  Improper or inadequate cargo securement accounted for 10.6% of all vehicle out-of-service violations discovered during last year’s International Roadcheck. Past International Roadcheck data routinely found cargo securement violations in the top five of vehicle out-of-service violations.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Motorist awareness is essential to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's comprehensive motorcycle safety program. Over two-thirds of fatal motorcycle crashes involve a motorcycle and another vehicle. The motorist either does not see the oncoming motorcycle at all or does not see the motorcycle in time to avoid a crash. Motorists need to know that their actions affect the safety of motorcyclists. A motorist and a motorcyclist may act differently in the same driving or highway situation. For example, a motorist may ignore a piece of road debris; however, that same piece of road debris may be deadly for a motorcyclist.