DOT Filing System

Members have asked me how they should keep their DOT files. DOT allows you to keep them in just about any fashion you wish, provided the driver qualification and the drug and alcohol files are kept secure with authorized access only. Here is a suggested method that I have put together for members that seems to work well. These items do not cover every situation, but they will help 95 percent of our members.

Here is what the bullets stand for:
  • Hanging File Folders (retention period)
    • Manila File Folders (retention period)


Files and Suggested Tab Titles
  • MCS-90 (current)
  • Hazmat Registration (three years)
  • List of Drivers (current)
  • List of Commercial Motor Vehicles (current)
  • Accident Register
    • Accident Register (three years retention)
    • Accident Register and Accident Report Forms (blank forms)
  • DOT Accidents
    • (place actual DOT accidents into separate manila folders)
  • Company Policy regarding Alcohol & Controlled Substances (current version)
  • Summaries of Alcohol/Controlled Substances testing (one year of summaries)
  • Driver Supervisor D&A Substance Abuse Recognition Training (current)
  • Documentation of Brake Inspector/Adjusting Training (retained by the motor carrier for the period during which that individual is performing annual motor vehicle inspections for the motor carrier, and for one year thereafter)
  • Documentation of Annual Inspector Qualifications (retained by the motor carrier for the period during which that individual is performing annual motor vehicle inspections for the motor carrier, and for one year thereafter)
  • Schedule of Commercial Vehicle Maintenance (current)
  • Vehicle Maintenance Files (The records shall be retained where the vehicle is either housed or maintained for a period of one year and for six months after the motor vehicle leaves the motor carrier’s control.)
  • Leased Vehicles (maintenance lease only, copies of the lease agreement, current)
  • Roadside Inspection Reports (copy of the inspection and any repair bill kept for one year)
  • Previous DOT audits (either State or Federal)
  • Driver Qualification Files (set up folders for each driver)
    • DQ file folder (kept for three years after leaving or ceasing driver functions)
    • Driver Drug & Alcohol File folder
  • Hazmat Training (training required every three years, current)
  • DOT Security Program
    • Vulnerability Assessment (used for the security plan)
    • Security Plan
    • In-Depth Training on Security Plan (one time only unless you update the plan, current)
    • Security Awareness Training (training required every three years, current)
  • Post Trip 1 (driver daily vehicle inspection forms, three months)
  • Post Trip 2
  • Post Trip 3
  • Post Trip 4

Many people do not have their employees doing their own brake adjustments or annual DOT vehicle inspections, so they would not need the above two files documenting the training certifications (Documentation of Brake Inspector/Adjusting training, Documentation of Annual Inspector Qualifications).

Many people do not have a maintenance lease set up for their vehicles, so they will not need the file that is titled “Leased Vehicles.”

Having these files set up and together in a filing system will really help you keep organized and look very good during a DOT audit.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association
Meet the Author
GAWDA DOT, OSHA & EPA Consultant Michael Dodd is president of MLD Safety Associates in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Members can reach him at 573-785-5111 and at MLDSafety@hotmail.com.