How long do you have to keep DOT driver files?
How long do you have to keep DOT driver files
Many business owners and managers wonder how long the Department of Transportation (DOT) requires them to keep various company records. To add to the problem, they often receive conflicting information from various sources. Some will say that you need to keep them for seven years, just like tax returns. Others will tell you to keep your records for as long as you operate your business.
In reality, the answer depends on the exact type of records that you’re dealing with. Different types of documents will have different retention period requirements.
Driver Maintenance and Performance Reports
After a day of driving, each driver should create a written report related to the condition of their vehicle and any maintenance performed on it. This report usually states whether vehicle components, such as the brakes, horn, and windshield wipers are working normally or require repairs. Your company will need to keep these records for three months from the date they were prepared.
Records Related to Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance
If the associated vehicle is under your control for more than 30 days, your company must keep the records for at least 18 months after the vehicle has left your control. This requirement applies to trailers as well.
Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports
If a Driver Vehicle Inspection Report is performed by a state trooper or DOT inspector, the carrier is required to keep the related documents for atleast 12 months from the inspection date.
Annual Equipment Inspection Records
Each motor vehicle you operate needs to undergo a complete inspection at leastonce every 12 months. The related inspection records have to be kept for aminimum of 14 months.
Other Types of Records
The DOT has regulations that deal with over 50 other types of documents. Ingeneral, the longest required retention period is of three years afterthe equipment was disposed of or a license or agreement has expired. This meansthat keeping your records for at least three years is a good rule of thumb.