As a commercial vehicle driver or business owner, safety should always be a top priority. One of the ways to ensure safety is through FMCSA Safety Audits. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what FMCSA Safety Audits are, what the FMCSA is, what a New Entrant Safety Audit is, what is required for an FMCSA Safety Audit, and what a DOT Safety Audit entails.
What is the FMCSA?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was formed in 1999 as part of the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act. The FMCSA’s mission is to develop and enforce regulations that improve safety and reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving commercial vehicles and buses. They also focus on research, education, enforcement, and the use of technology to understand and address issues on the roads.
The FMCSA employs over 1,000 American workers across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. By using data and science to create regulations, the FMCSA aims to be transparent and accountable in all of their decisions, with facts to back up their reasoning.
What is the New Entrant Safety Audit?
The New Entrant Safety Audit is performed within the first 12 months of a new carrier activating their authority. This audit ensures that new carriers are aware of and following all necessary requirements. The FMCSA developed this audit to help new carriers understand how audits work and to ensure that they have all of their proper safety measures and documents in place. The audit can be completed either by the auditor visiting the place of business or by the carrier submitting all documents online.
The primary focus of the New Entrant Safety Audit is to ensure that carriers have all necessary safety measures and documents in place. Within 45 days of completing the audit, carriers will receive a notification of either pass or fail. If the carrier passes, they will be granted a permanent operating authority (subject to future random audits). If they fail, they will be sent a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) detailing what needs to be fixed or updated. They will have an allotted time to submit the corrections before being granted permanent operating authority. Failure to submit the corrected action plan documents can result in fines and incomplete operating authority.
What is a DOT Safety Audit?
A DOT Safety Audit is an audit that ensures carriers are meeting all requirements to keep their businesses running smoothly and safely. It involves presenting all necessary documentation to a certified auditor, either in-house or online. While audits can be frustrating or seem like a nuisance, they are designed to protect businesses and drivers on public roadways.
What is Required for an FMCSA Safety Audit?
To pass an FMCSA Safety Audit, carriers need to keep their paperwork or electronic data up-to-date. The following are the basic documents that carriers need to have current records of:
- Current Driver and Vehicle Lists
- Proof of Insurance verifying at least the FMCSA minimum requirements
- MCS-90 Form
- Current Medical Certificates for all Drivers
- Current Driver MVRs
- Hours of Service Records (can be paper logs or ELDs depending on the business)
- Annual Vehicle Inspections for all Commercial Vehicles in the fleet
- Drug and Alcohol Testing Records
- Pre-Employment Results
- Random Testing Results
- Plan and Procedures for the company related to drug and alcohol testing
- Current Copies of all Driver’s Licenses
- Proper documents relating to loads/insurance requirements if carrying hazardous materials
- Documentation reflecting accidents within the last 365 days