The Department of Transportation (DOT) imposes a number of regulations on trucking businesses, including driver safety requirements. A DOT audit is a review of a trucking company’s compliance with these regulations. Let’s discuss how DOT driver files and their storage, organization, and file management can help you pass your DOT audit.
The DOT Audit
This comprehensive review of a trucking company’s compliance with DOT regulations typically includes a review of company files and driver records. The audit may be expedited if the company’s records evidence a pattern of noncompliance. A company that fails a DOT audit may face several sanctions, including fines, suspension of its operating privileges, and even criminal prosecution.
What Causes Expedited Actions?
In the case of a company that has a history of noncompliance, the DOT may take expedited action if the company’s records evidence a pattern of noncompliance. Factors that may contribute to an expedited action include:
- A company that has failed a prior DOT audit
- A company with a history of driver safety violations
- A company with a low safety rating
- A company that does not have a DOT permit or has let it expire
What Happens After the Audit?
The Department of Transportation will first notify the company that has been selected for audit. If the company fails to produce the requested documentation, or if the driver records are not in compliance with DOT regulations, the department may take appropriate sanctions, including fines, or the suspension of its operating privileges. It is then the company’s duty to ensure that it becomes compliant with all DOT regulations.
DOT Driver Files and File Management
To help you pass a DOT audit, you should maintain accurate and up-to-date driver files. Driver files should include a comprehensive history of the commercial driver’s employment with the company, including dates of employment, hours worked, and routes traveled. Driver files should also include copies of company policies and procedures, as well as any DOT-required endorsements.
By maintaining accurate and up-to-date driver files, you can help ensure that your company’s records comply with DOT regulations. Additionally, using driver file management tools can help you manage your driver files in a timely and efficient manner.
Start Using DOT Driver File Management from Vehicle Licensing Consultants
DQMConnect is the most advanced DOT driver file management software available. Our software helps you manage your driver files in a timely and efficient manner, ensuring that your company’s records comply with DOT regulations. Contact us today to learn more about our software and how it can help you pass your DOT audit.
DOT Audit, FMCSA
A motor carrier’s DOT safety rating indicates whether a company has adequate and functioning safety management controls to meet the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) safety fitness standard based on the results of a compliance review (CR).
Safety Rating Levels
Safety rating are broken down into 3 basic levels and will be assigned to a carrier:
Satisfactory. Functioning and adequate safety management controls are in place to meet the safety fitness standard.
Conditional. Inadequate safety management controls are in place. You cannot ensure compliance with the safety fitness standard. You have deficient areas that FMCSA expects the carrier to resolve. However, you can continue to operate.
Unsatisfactory. Inadequate safety management controls are in place. You cannot ensure compliance with the safety fitness standard. Your safety program has too many deficiencies to allow your fleet to continue operating.
If your organization has never had a CR, your fleet will be unrated on the SAFER site.
Factors that Impact Ratings
The safety fitness standard is determined through the results of a CR. The areas of compliance for the standard are outlined in §385.5. They are based on previous audits and are updated monthly after reviewing accident data and violation status.
The key factors in ratings include:
- Hours of Service (HOS)
- Unsafe Driving
- Controlled Substances and Alcohol
- Driver Fitness
- Accident History
- Maintenance of Vehicles
- Hazardous Materials Compliance
Where Can I Find My DOT Safety Rating?
Your companies DOT safety rating is available to you — and the general public — at FMCSA’s SAFER website.
Since anyone can look at your safety record, a poor safety rating can affect your insurance rates and hurt your company’s reputation, hinder your driver recruiting efforts and result in a loss of customers.
To help avoid a less-than-favorable safety rating, you need to understand what the agency will examine during an audit.
How Can I Improve My Safety Rating?
If your company has received a conditional or unsatisfactory rating, you may request a rating change at any time. The FMCSA would expect to see a safety management plan to address the violations discovered during the CR. Based on the contents of the plan, the FMCSA may issue an improved safety rating.
Maintaining a solid DOT safety rating is critical to your reputation as a motor carrier and can save your company a lot of time and money!
VLC will be expanding our core features to include a safety tracking module to ensure good driver behavior and improve and encourage good CSA scores. Contact us to learn more.
The very words “DOT audit” puts everyone on edge. Here are the top 5 driver file mistakes you should look out for to keep your audit panic in check.
- DQ File doesn’t have HR Documents
- Not having a checklist for your DQ Files
- Non-Compliant Driver Application
- Employment Gaps and inconsistent Equipment Experience
- CA Companies: Not utilizing Vehicle Authorization/Driver Proficiency Form
Start 2022 off Right!
If you have ever struggled through a DOT audit, worried about audit results, or spend an inordinate amount of time in preparation, we have the tool for you. Never worry about another DOT audit…ever! DQMConnect™ will address all the top 5 driver file mistakes and much more.
Let us show you a better way for everything driver related.
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