Driver Qualifications (FMCSR Part 391)


General Qualifications

No person shall drive a commercial motor vehicle unless he/she meets the following requirements:

  1. Be in good health and be physically able to perform all duties  of a driver,
  2. Be at least 21 years old if transporting passengers or hazardous materials that require placarding.  All other intrastate drivers must be at least 18 years of age,
  3. Be able to drive the vehicle safely,
  4. Know how to safely load and properly block, brace and secure cargo and,
  5. Have only one valid commercial vehicle operator's license and be able to obtain a medical certificate

Driver Qualification Documentation

Motor carriers shall not allow a person to drive a commercial motor vehicle unless she has completed and furnished the motor carrier with an application for employment. 

Additionally, within 30 days of the date a driver’s employment begins, all motor carriers must maintain a qualification file for all drivers, including an owner, who performs the duties as a driver. These files must contain the following:

  1. Driver’s application for employment.  
  2. Inquiry to previous employers for the last 3 years. 
  3. Inquiry to state agencies for the last 3 years.    
  4. Driver’s road test certificate or a copy of a valid CDL, and   
  5. A Medical Certificate if needed (see intrastate provisions below).

In addition to the above documentation, the file must be updated at least annually with the following information:

  1. Motor Vehicle Report or driving record.  
  2. Annual driver’s certification of violations 
  3. Annual review of driving record.

Related Federal Regulations

A list of required driver qualification file contents can be found in Part 391.51 of the FMCSRs.

Driver application requirements can be found in Part 391.21 of the FMCSRs.

Process for completing a driver background check can be found in Part 391.23 of the FMCSRs.

Driver road test requirements can be found in Part 391.31 of the FMCSRs.

Medical certification requirements can be found in Part 391.41 of the FMCSRs.

Driver qualification file annual update requirements can be found in Parts 391.25 and 391.27 of the FMCSRs.


Intrastate Commerce Exemptions

Colorado Adoptions (42-4-235(4)(a) C.R.S.)

Applies only to carriers operating within Colorado (intrastate commerce)

Part 391 has been adopted for intrastate carriers with the following modifications:

  • CMV drivers must be at least 21 years old if engaged in interstate commerce or transporting hazardous materials of a type or quantity that would require the vehicle to be marked or placarded under 49 CFR 177.823. All other drivers must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Drivers of intrastate vehicles and combination of vehicles are not required to obtain a medical certificate provided the vehicle does not require a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) to operate.