No more Certification of Violation or ‘annual confession of sins’

By: Tom Bray

Publication: Transport Safety Management Today

Date Posted: 06/07/2022

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a final rule that eliminates the need for drivers to provide a Record of Violations annually. This is also known as the annual Certificate of Violation (or COV) and by some as the “annual confession of sins.” The effective date of the change wasMay 9.

This reason for this change is over time the requirements have become duplicative. The driver’s motor vehicle record (MVR), which must be run and reviewed annually, now shows all moving violations and convictions, including ones that took place out of state. In the past, this was not always true as state licensing agencies had trouble communicating with each other.

Transportation Safety Management Today
Transportation Safety Management Today

This quick-read resource keeps you up-to-date on changes in regulations and safety practices, and provides information on how to develop programs and tools to comply with the regulations.

However, there are some things to be aware of when it comes to this change, including:

  • Carriers must retain COVs collected before the effective date for three years from the document date.
  • Carriers must continue to obtain an MVR at least annually for each driver and have a supervisor review it and note the review (§391.25).
  • When hiring a driver, carriers must secure an MVR from all state licensing agencies the driver was licensed through over the previous three years within 30 days of hire (§391.23).
  • Carriers will be required to run MVRs for drivers licensed in Canada and Mexico and review those MVRs. Canadian and Mexican motor carriers are already required by their applicable safety codes to request MVRs for their drivers from their country’s licensing authorities.
  • The DOT application for employment (required by §391.21) will be changed to require the driver to list each state in which the driver holds an expired operator’s license or permit.
  • Drivers who have a CDL must continue to report any traffic convictions to the carrier within 30 days (§383.31).

Carriers that relied solely on the COV mechanism and do not require non-CDL drivers to report traffic convictions within 30 days should consider a company policy requiring such reporting by non-CDL drivers.

Consider going to an ENS

Continuous MVR monitoring, also referred to as an employer notification system (ENS), will be an even more critical tool in the future. These systems are either state-agency or third-party systems that notify the employing carrier when there is a change in the driver’s MVR. The change could be a violation or conviction appearing on it. However, it could also be a downgrade, suspension, or revocation taking place. Without an ENS, if the driver did not report the change when it happened, the carrier would not find out about the status change until the next annual review.


Key to remember: This change does away with outdated and duplicative rules. However, it does not do away with your responsibilities when it comes to making sure the driver is, and remains, correctly licensed.

About the author
Tom Bray - Transportation Editor

Tom has been with J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. since 2005. He brought with him an extensive background that includes years of experience in DOT compliance, policy development, driver human resources, driver training, training program development, CDL testing, claims management, and accident and injury prevention.

Expert Help

Have a compliance question for Tom? The J. J. Keller Expert Help tool provides you direct access to Tom and other trusted experts to help answer your toughest compliance questions.