DOT compliance refers to a set of regulations and rules implemented by the US Department of Transportation. These standards refer to safety operations for USDOT commercial motor vehicles. The DOT requires compliance from these companies by law to ensure that the general public is always safe. 

It is important to note that only vehicles that have the USDOT number will have to register with the Department of Transportation. These vehicles include buses, semi-trailer trucks, hazardous waste transporters and any large vehicle that travels between states.

Compliance Rules and Procedures

It is important that commercial drivers always stay in compliance with these standards. Companies are required to know all of the rules and regulations and they are extensive.

Companies can attain this compliance by staying up to date with regulations and maintaining them to avoid a lapse. There are 2 main compliance checklists to follow: fleet and driver compliance.

Fleet Compliance

These set of rules apply specifically to the USDOT registered vehicles. These requirements should be reviewed regularly to make sure they are always current.

  • Keep current FMCSA rules posted around the office
  • Perform mandatory inspections of all vehicles
  • Verify that every vehicle has the DOT registration sticker
  • Keep records of any incidents for every vehicle

Driver Compliance

These set of rules are applied to every driver of USDOT registered vehicles. It is no different than the fleet compliance checklist, so make sure to review it regularly and updated as needed.

  • Ensure that every driver has their own copy of FMCSA regulations
  • Keep records of hours of service (HOS) for all drivers
  • Verify qualification and safety history on every driver
  • Perform random drug tests on all drivers and supervisors regularly
  • Collect records of drug testing results and issues in previous employment

These are the basic DOT compliance checklists. Companies should keep a more extensive and detailed checklist that is applicable to their operation needs. 

Be Prepared for Audits

Many compare DOT compliance audits to actual, intense police searches because of their extensive nature. Your company’s management team must stay educated and up-to-date on all required DOT documents.

DOT typically splits their audits into four categories of factors. They include:

  • General factors
  • Driver factors
  • Operational factors
  • Vehicle factors

General factors usually refers to proper liability documentation for the vehicle and cargo. Even if a driver has never had an incident, the DOT requires for businesses to present a proper accident register. When an accident does occur, compliance requires that it remain on the register for three years.

Driver factors include commercial driver’s licenses, drug tests and driver qualifications. Dot experts will be looking for knowledge of the rules and procedures, along with drug and alcohol test records. It is also a way to track license expiration dates.

Operational factors include the proper documentation of hours of service (HOS). The experts are looking for at least six months of driver logs and any supporting documents. The company is expected to keep a file log for every regulated driver.

Vehicle factors include all logs and records of maintenance, repairs and inspections. The DOT requires a business keeps these logs on file for 12 months, along with proof of periodic inspections. Additionally, drivers and witnesses must sign and verify any inspections. 

To find out more about DOT compliance and if your drivers need DOT registration you can reach out to Soteria for help. 

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