The Department of Transportation (DOT) establishes processes, protocols, and requirements that ensure everyone’s safety on the road. It is crucial that fleet companies comply with such measures, especially compliance with their checklist. Your fleet can be inspected at any time, so it’s a good idea to be as prepared as possible.

What’s DOT compliance? The DOT has a list of requirements that all drivers and fleet companies must follow. This is also referred to as a DOT checklist used as a basis for the organization’s audits. In this blog, we’ve provided what a DOT compliance checklist would check as a reliable reference.  

The DOT Compliance Checklist

1. Hours of Service rule

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s or the FMCSA compliance checklist refers to the hours of service regulations. These set a limit to how long drivers can be on consecutive duty. For example, property-carrying drivers have an 11-hour driving limit after 10 hours spent off-duty.

They also cannot drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after duty, and their off-duty time will not extend this period. Drivers will have to clock in their work and off-duty hours for DOT logbook retention. Make sure there are documents indicating each trip’s origin and destination. It also helps to have receipts that show expenses incurred to prove the drivers took the break. Give your drivers a digital means to upload and save their hour logs. FMSCA record-keeping requirements are at retention for at least 6 months.


The Driver Vehicle Inspection (DVIR) is your driver’s pre-trip inspection. This step ensures that the vehicle is fit for long-distance travel. Drivers need to do this daily, while fleet managers must review the last DVIR and sign off on the listed problems. All issues should be resolved before the commercial vehicle is used again. Your truck driver should also be record-keeping these inspections and your approval.

3. IFTA or the International Fuel Tax Agreement

Consistent records of your fuel taxes based on the IFTA are another integral part of the DOT checklist. The taxes paid are spent on road maintenance across states, so your area wants to ensure these are being given accordingly. The requirement is one fuel tax return for each quarter.

4. IRP or the International Registration Plan

The IRP is a requirement for all vehicles that go above 26,000 pounds and cross state lines in their travel. The IRP pays license fees according to the number of jurisdictions your drivers travel through. More money is saved, and less is spent if your journeys only cover one jurisdiction.

5. Drug and Alcohol testing

All fleet owners and operators need to participate in the DOT’s Drug and Alcohol testing program. The rule applies to interstate and intrastate CMV drivers. The program also covers dispatchers, mechanics, warehouse workers, and other replacement drivers. Register at a DOT consortium and check out the DOT employer handbook for more information.

6. DQF or the Driver qualification file

How long do you have to keep driver qualification files? Keep DQFs in your records for at least three years. A DQF is required for each driver employed in your fleet company. It’s especially crucial as a checklist for the qualification of new drivers.

The DQF is composed of eight parts, which include their employee application and a significant portion of their MVR compliance check. What does MVR mean in trucking? MVR or their Motor Vehicle Record indicates which states they have a commercial license or permit for. The DQF will include their MVR for the last three years, an MVR review, and a list of the driver’s violations in the last 12 months.

The last three components of a DQF are a copy of the commercial driver’s license, a copy or original Medical Examiner’s Certificate valid for 24 months, and a note from the Medical Examiner indicating they are on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners List.

7. CDL Endorsements

Your commercial driver’s license (CDL) endorsements give you the authority to operate different commercial vehicle types. It also allows one to transport special goods. Some examples that CDL endorsements may also require other information in your DQF, such as insurance for hazardous cargo or a background history check on the driver. These endorsements vary per state, so make sure these are updated.

Final Thoughts

Maintaining consistent DOT requirements helps fleet managers conduct their own owner-operator Limited Liability Company (LLC) checklist. The owner-operator report establishes compliance with all the safety rules and regulations of the DOT. Both drivers and other vehicle owners are protected. Have questions about compliance? Netradyne is here to help you keep up with compliance and ensure your drivers’ complete safety on the road. 

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