A new Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) rule will mandate creation of Driver Investigation History Files (DIHF) for CDL holders whenever fleets perform background checks of driver applicants.

The new provision, effective October 29, requires that the DIHF be kept within the driver's employment record. If a driver leaves and goes to another carrier, the “original” fleet must send the file when it's requested; in essence, the DIHF will “go with” the driver.

Duane Baker, FMCSA safety investigator, discussed the new rule while speaking last month at Waste Expo in Dallas. According to Baker, the DIHF for each driver will have to contain at least three years of former employment history, the results of prior drug/alcohol testing, and data on any and all traffic violations.

“If fleets haven't started putting together these kinds of driver profiles they need to start now-to get ready for the new law,” Baker said.

He noted two key provisions:

  • Drivers must give written permission before a DIHF on them is created;

  • If they don't give that permission, they cannot be hired.

“It's part of the drivers' due process rights under the law,” Baker said. “Drivers are allowed to view all information in their DIHF and file complaints to correct any information.”

Another important aspect of the new rule is that previous employers must release all drug/alcohol testing results, work history and other data to an employer creating a DIHF for an individual. If not, Baker said, they will be penalized.

“No longer can a previous employer say, ‘I'll be sued!’ as an excuse for not sharing driver histories,” he stated. “They must share them; that's what the law says.

“This law is designed to get the ‘bad actors’ off the road-the bad drivers that hurt everyone,” Baker added. “And we're depending on you, the fleets, as our front line to help us do that.”