What is a New Entrant DOT Safety Audit?
The Department of Transportation (DOT) conducts audits regularly on trucking drivers and trucking companies to ensure that everyone complies with all the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations. A new entrant safety audit happens to motor carriers during their first 12 months of operation, but they are monitored for a total of 18 months for the audit.
The Safety Measurement System implemented by the DOT collects and compiles data from all roadside and other inspections throughout the year. The information from the Safety Measurement System is used by the DOT to give carriers a score. Trucking companies that have a high score due to violations are more likely to be audited throughout the year. As well as the new entrant audit, there is a security audit, a hazardous materials audit, and a compliance review.
What does a new entrant DOT safety audit involve?
The audit typically occurs at a carrier's primary location of the business. The audit is performed by either a state or federal official under the authority of the FMCSA. All safety measures that your business has in place will be reviewed at the time of the audit. To pass your new entrant audit, inspectors will generally look at:
Operations to ensure that the systems in place are safe
Vehicle maintenance records
Random alcohol and drug testing policies
How do I prepare for a new entrant safety audit?
The best way to ensure you pass a safety audit is to have the right paperwork at all times. Make sure you pay attention to detail and follow safety regulations at all times while operating your motor vehicle and while running the company. If you notice anything that goes against safety regulations, it is important to improve things immediately.
What happens if I fail the safety audit?
If you do not comply with the FMCSA safety regulations, you will fail the audit. Below is a list of reasons that will make you fail:
Failing alcohol or drug test
Repair and inspection failures
A violation occurs if you do not have a policy in place or don't take immediate action to correct a violation that has put public safety at risk. To avoid a failing circumstance, have all policies in place, implement them, and report everything for safety management.
You will receive written documents from the FMCSA if you fail your audit. This will detail why you failed, so you can correct it. However, if it is a severe violation, your authority will be suspended, and it will go on record with your DOT number. The document will list a date for you to submit a Correct Action Plan (CAP) to the FMCSA. Failure to do this will result in you losing your FMCSA registration. Once your CAP is filed on time, you have 60 days to prove you have implemented the corrective actions. Failure to do so will result in a suspended authority indefinitely.
It is also important to note that it could take up to 45 days to receive documentation of your audit failure.
Carriers that pass the new entrant audit in the first 12 months are then subject to an additional six months of monitoring by other inspections, including roadside. After this period, if the carrier passes everything smoothly, they will be granted full operating authority with regular inspections.
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