DOT Safety Compliance

We take care of your compliance needs, while you focus on growing your business

DOT/FMCSA Safety Compliance Services icon
DOT/FMCSA Safety Compliance Services
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Substance Abuse Testing
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ELD + Hours of Service
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Audit Guidance + Support
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Being a professional commercial driver is one of the most challenging jobs in the nation. Before you get on the road, you need to receive advance training on how to operate a commercial truck, be physically fit for the job, and obtain your CDL. Running a trucking company can be even more challenging. You need to understand and manage a business, hire safe and qualified drivers, and keep your customers happy. You must also follow all rules and regulations according to the Department of Transportation (DOT) safety guidelines under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in order to stay compliant and grow your business. If DOT compliance regulations are not met as mandated, and your CSA score are poor as a commercial carrier, you can easily jeopardize your business by being imposed fines that could eat into your profit margins, increase insurance costs, be targeted for more inspections and audits, therefore putting you out of business

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) under the United States Department of Transportation is responsible for overseeing many aspects of the trucking industry. These mandated regulations, oversee safety compliance on companies, drivers, and the equipment being operated alike. Their authority extends to all commercial vehicles used on public highways.

Who Enforces DOT rules?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for enforcing DOT compliance in America. DOT FMCSA rules are a safety measurement system designed to keep drivers, pedestrians, and passengers safe. These regulations apply to commercial motor carriers. A company will be considered a commercial motor carrier if they fall into one of these categories:

  • Bus companies
  • Trucking companies
  • Vehicles carrying more than 8 passengers when gaining profit
  • All vehicles that are transporting over 15 passengers
  • Any vehicle transporting hazardous materials regardless of size
  • A vehicle whose gross vehicle weight combination is over 4,536 kg

DOT compliance is essential for the safety of the general public. A commercial motor carrier that violates DOT compliance regulations can be fined, have their permits revoked, and even be shut down. Maintaining DOT compliance is crucial for the success of any commercial motor carrier business.

How does the FMCSA go about enforcing its rules?

The FMCSA takes many measures to ensure companies are DOT compliant. Through state agencies and law enforcement, they perform over the road safety inspections of drivers and/or equipment monitoring the safety performance of each carrier. Motor carriers can be identified as potential high risk to the general public and then audited by the agency, which it would be resulted in imposed monetary penalties if found non-compliant. 

As a commercial carrier, you must be completely familiarized with the regulations governing not only drivers, but your company as both parties must comply with different mandates and regulations. 

Driver Compliance

A trucking company owner must understand the complex directives of commercial fleet compliance. If you are starting a trucking company, our compliance experts at Simplex Group will help you get your business started and take care of all your paperwork, allowing you the opportunity to concentrate in managing your business, while we assist you in administrating this comprehensive area of your operation. 

In order to stay compliant, a trucking company must maintain superior safety practice a record keeping. Their program must include safety policies for all drivers, vehicles, including hours of service (HOS), substance abuse testing, transportation of hazardous materials, safety precautions when operating a commercial motor vehicle, hiring practices, among other comprehensive FMCSA rules. 

Driver screening

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Before you hire a driver to join your fleet, you must follow a screening process mandated by the DOT. The applicant driver must complete a full job application specifically designed for commercial drivers, while the hiring company is required to take the following steps: 

  • Verify commercial driver license validity
  • Review the applicants driving record 
  • Verification of proper driving skills for the equipment to be operated by applicant driver (road testing).
  • Written and documented verification of past employments
  • Verification of medical exam records

Driver qualifications files are also imperative to have as part of the hiring and mandated documentation process. A commercial truck driver who is assigned to driving operations in interstate or intrastate routes, must meet certain requirements before assigned to a safety sensitive function, such as operating a commercial vehicle on public road is.

The FMCSA assigns safety scores to carriers resulted from states law enforcement agencies’ safety inspections on carriers when stopped while conducting driving operations.  Maintaining a good safety standing CSA score is crucial when identifying your company as a safety compliant company.  ON the contrary high CSA scores is an indication that the carrier hasn’t maintain it’s safety program to standard as mandated by DOT regulations.  Being identified as a carrier lacking safety standard will lead to imposed audits, fines, higher insurance premiums, lack of trust by freight brokers and shippers, which it could put your company out of business. 

Hours of Service (HOS) Regulations

Hours of service (HOS) compliance is a crucial safety component of your safety program. Drivers are required to comply with this regulations, while carriers are mandated to manage this safety aspect of the regulation with extreme care.

Some of the key components of this part are:

  • A driver can work no more than 11 consecutive hours.
  • A meal break is required after the 8th hour of driving.
  • A full driving shift can last no more than 14 hours.
  • A truck driver must be off duty for 10 hours before beginning a shift
  • A truck driver who uses a sleeper berth must spend 7 hours in the berth.

The rules are even more strict for drivers who are carrying people. A manager of a passenger vehicle company must keep a careful eye on those who drive for them as well.

Standards for Driving Passenger Vehicles

  • A driver can work no more than 10 consecutive hours.
  • A passenger driver must be off duty for 10 hours before the beginning of a shift.
  • Passenger drivers are not required to take a meal break.
  • A passenger vehicle driver who uses a sleeper berth must spend at least 8 hours in the berth total.

Fortunately, Simplex offers an ELD system, where your drivers will be able to log and report their HOS.

Fleet Equipment Maintenance and Repairs Compliance

The vehicles you operate must be in top condition to comply with DOT rules. Each vehicle must go through regular inspections and have regular safety audits. To show that you as a carrier are in compliance with this regulation, you must maintain a preventive maintenance written program for every vehicle under your operation and control, and carefully comply with all record keeping requirements pertaining to the maintenance and repair of such vehicle.

 The federal government has established safety improvement categories (SICs) to improve commercial motor vehicle safety. These SICs are aimed at reducing crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.

As part of the federal regulations, all interstate truck and bus drivers must have a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL). To get a CDL, drivers must pass both written and skills tests. The written test covers information from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) handbook. The skills test measures the driver’s ability to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Fleet Accident Registry and Post Accident Testing

If a driver is involved in an accident while operating a commercial motor vehicle, the company must enter the occurrence within its Fleet Accident Registry, not just simply rely on accident reports from the police. If applicable in accordance to Post Accident Testing DOT criteria, following the accident, the driver has to take a drug and alcohol test. The driver has up to 8 hours for the breath-alcohol test and up to 32 hours to complete the drug test.

DOT Numbers

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Trucks, passenger cars, and other vehicles used for commercial operations will be issued a DOT number. A USDOT number is assigned to moving companies that perform interstate trips. If you transport anything across state lines, you will be required to have such a number. 
If you transport federally regulated commodities or operate as for-hire carriers transporting passengers, you must also get an MC number. Your DOT or MC number will allow the DOT to keep track of your accident records, safety records, registration status, compliance reviews, and any accidents your drivers have been involved in.

Our DOT Compliance Services

If you are new to the trucking industry or manage a fleet for the first time, you may feel overwhelmed and have a lot on your plate. Our main goal here at Simplex Group is to take care of the tedious part of the job, so you can focus on growing your business and keep our nation running.

We will make sure your safety compliance program is spot on! Our experts will guide you through all your compliance needs and help you prepare for your audits.

Our mission is to ensure that your trucking company meets all regulatory compliance requirements. We will work with you every step of the way to help you avoid costly penalties and keep your drivers safe. Contact us today to learn more about our DOT compliance services!

What is a new entrant safety audit?

A newly established trucking business must go through a safety audit within the first 12 months in business. The auditor will make sure that you are following all DOT compliance regulations in the following areas:

Driver Qualification Files

An auditor will make sure that all of your drivers have a valid CDL. They will make sure the drivers have passed hearing and vision tests and are also medically qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle. They also want to make sure that you have on file the following records:

  • Valid/up to date medical card
  • Job application
  • Verified past employment history for the past 3 years
  • Pre-employment drug test results

Vehicle Qualification Files apply to:

  • Tractors, Trailers and/or Chassis.
  • Registration/Cab Card
  • Annual Vehicle Inspection
  • Maintenance receipts

Drug and Alcohol Testing  

Any company in the trucking business should have a written Substance Abuse Program in place. Each driver within the company must be registered in the Clearinghouse and enrolled in a Consortium or Random Program to comply with the FMCSA drug and alcohol regulations. Keep in mind that a participation letter of enrollment in either of these programs must be kept on file. A Pre-employment test should be conducted for every new-hire and a negative result should be provided before assigning the driver to a safety sensitive function job. Failure to do so, can result in a hefty fine imposed by the government.

DOT compliance regulations require drug and alcohol testing for employees in safety-sensitive positions. The DOT drug and alcohol testing program is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). DOT has established five classes of employees who are subject to drug and alcohol testing:

– Drivers who operate a commercial motor vehicle

– Mechanics who work on commercial motor vehicles

– Loaders and unloaders who work with hazardous materials

– People who work in an airport or aircraft operation, including baggage handlers

– People who work in certain security-sensitive positions

What is a compliance review?

When the DOT performs safety compliance review of your trucking operations, they want to make sure that you are taking safety seriously and following mandated regulations. A state or federal investigator will come to your operations center and perform an audit.

You may be reviewed if you have had a major accident or if your safety rating has recently changed. Also, if someone has complained about you regarding a violation of safety regulations or if a truck in your fleet has failed a roadside safety inspection, then your company may be subject to review.

You may face several fines due to a negative outcome of a DOT Compliance Review Audit.  If your carrier is found non-compliant, your company could receive monetary fines, and/or suspension of operations.

We Can Help You with All Your Compliance Needs!

By taking advantage of our DOT safety compliance services, here at Simplex Group, we will make sure that the qualifications of your commercial transportation drivers are in order and all of your paperwork is filed and maintain correctly. We want to make sure there are no bumps on the road ahead of you! 

Feel free to contact our team of experts for more information about our DOT Compliance services.