What Is a US DOT Safety Audit?

The United States Department of Transportation is the department of the government that regulates both commercial and non-commercial activities on the highways and byways of the United States. According to Simplex Group, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the agency within the DOT that regulates the commercial trucking industry.

When a trucking company is new, it will have a new entrance audit by the FMCSA within its first year of operations. The USA auditor will make sure that the tracking company is compliant with all of its rules. If a company is not compliant, It can face steep fines and even a shutdown.

As you know, trucking companies must adhere to very strict rules when it comes to the amount of insurance that they carry, the hours that their drivers work, the routes that they take, and the taxes and fuel fees that they pay. trucking companies are required to keep strict and detailed electronic records of basically all the activities that they do during the day. An audit will involve detailed electronic records being looked over and checked for accuracy.

It is helpful to know what records they will look at when they come to visit your office.

Vehicle Records

Your vehicles are your livelihood and it is very important that they are DOT-compliant. You will need the USDOT number of every vehicle that you own or lease. You must have insurance information for every vehicle. Your trucks must have up-to-date stickers displayed on them. They will need stickers for the International Fuel Trade Agreement and any other tax permits that you require in the course of business.

Driver’s Hiring Records 

The process of hiring new employees is held to a higher standard in the trucking industry than it is and other industries. Whenever a person fills out an application, it is always a good idea to call and verify their previous jobs. In the trucking industry, it is legally required. 

You will also have to check a candidate’s driving records In every state in which they have had a driver’s license for the last 12 years. You must keep a driver’s records on file for 2 years after they have been employed with you. You must also keep a record of any drug tests they have taken.

Hours of Service

Truck drivers must adhere to strict regulations when it comes to the number of hours they can work in a day and the number of days they can work in a week. A driver cannot be on the road for more than 11 consecutive hours. Their shift cannot last over 14 hours. They must rest in their berth for at least 7 hours.

You must provide your drivers with electronic logging devices that can record every activity in which they participate. The device will attach to the engine of the truck and record all of the driver’s hours. The driver will record things like lunch breaks and time spent doing tests other than driving. You must keep these records electronically filed

Inspections

A driver must inspect their vehicle before and after they leave on every trip. You must keep an electronic record of each inspection. If there is anything wrong with their truck, it must be repaired before it can go on the road again. You must give a record of the repairs as well.

It is best to hire a compliance company to help you and your first year at a trucking company. They will guide you through the process of your new entrant audit.

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