How To Prepare For a DOT Safety Audit | Episode 42


This is the second episode of a three-part series where I go over some of the most important aspects of compliance with the DOT and FMCSA regulations for motor carriers. This specific episode covers preparing for a DOT Safety Audit.

What To Expect From Episode 42

Even if you don’t have a DOT Safety Audit on the horizon, you should always be prepared for one. Going through the process of preparing for an audit is a good way to make sure you are following all the regulations and won’t get caught with your pants down if you are audited.

If you have all your records organized and are maintaining them as required, you are doing 90% of what is required by the DOT, the other 10% is really just following the rules, like obeying traffic laws and following the hours of service regulations.

What Is a DOT Safety Audit?

A DOT Safety Audit is a review of a carrier’s records designed to verify that you have basic safety management controls in place to ensure compliance with the regs.

Motor Carrier HQ has an audit assurance package that we spent years developing that is designed to help you make sure you are maintaining your records in compliance with the FMCSA Regulations. Learn more about our Audit Assistance Package.

Audit Overview

Because I feel like the package that we developed, with the help of some DOT auditors, does such a great job, Craig and I spend a lot of the episode going over each part of the package and break down what records motor carriers are required to keep.

If you still want more info, you can visit the Motor Carrier HQ page and feel free to give a coach a call. They can provide you additional resources. Here is an overview:

1. Company Records

  1. General Company Info
  2. Insurance
  3. Accident Register
  4. D&A Program and Consortium
  5. IFTA Records

2. Driver Records

  1. DQ File
    1. MVR
    2. Medical
    3. Employment App
    4. CDL
    5. Etc.
  2. D&A Test Results
  3. Record of Duty Status/Hours of Service

3. Equipment

  1. Maintenance Records

Automatic Safety Audit Failures

There are 16 items that will cause an automatic failure of a DOT Safety Audit. Here they are:

  1. Failing to implement an alcohol and/or controlled substances testing program
  2. Using a driver known to have an alcohol content of 0.04 or greater to perform a safety-sensitive function
  3. Using a driver who has refused to submit to an alcohol or controlled substances test
  4. Using a driver known to have tested positive for a controlled substance
  5. Failing to implement a random controlled substances and/or alcohol testing program
  6. Knowingly using a driver who does not possess a valid CDL
  7. Knowingly allowing, requiring, permitting, or authorizing an employee to operate a commercial motor vehicle with a commercial learner’s permit or commercial driver’s license that is disqualified by a State, has lost the right to operate a CMV in a State, or who is disqualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle
  8. Knowingly allowing, requiring, permitting, or authorizing a driver to drive who is disqualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle
  9. Operating a motor vehicle without having in effect the required minimum levels of financial responsibility coverage
  10. Operating a passenger carrying vehicle without having in effect the required minimum levels of financial responsibility
  11. Knowingly using a disqualified driver
  12. Knowingly using a physically unqualified driver
  13. Failing to require a driver to make a record of duty status
  14. Requiring or permitting the operation of a commercial motor vehicle declared “out-of-service” before repairs are made
  15. Failing to correct out-of-service defects listed by driver in a driver vehicle inspection report before the vehicle is operated
  16. Using a commercial motor vehicle not periodically inspected

The Results

You either pass or fail, and the DOT has 45 days after the audit is completed to notify you of the results, but they usually let you know much sooner than that.

If you pass, you are good to go. If you had a comprehensive on-site audit, you should be given a satisfactory safety rating. Any other type of safety audit, nothing really changes.

If you failed, there are a bunch of different things that can happen and we cover those in more detail in this episode.

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