Can any complaints made by anyone trigger your DOT compliance audit? It can happen. It is a possibility. You need to be aware of all the requirements and must make sure that you fulfill all of them on time if you want to remain DOT compliant and operational in the industry. Any complaint or even a bit of negative feedback submitted by any of your customers or disgruntled employees can trigger a DOT compliance review or audit for your company. If your company or any of your employees are found in violation of these requirements, it could result in heavy fines and penalties for your enterprise. It can also lead to the cancellation of your license and work permit for an indefinite period of time. So yes, it is good to be a little more alert than usual these days.
What Is Exactly A DOT Safety Audit?
A DOT safety audit or a DOT audit is just a review done by a designated officer from the federal motor carrier safety administration. It is carried out to determine whether your company is in compliance with the regulations laid down by the FMCSA or not. A typical safety audit evaluates how your safety performance is and whether your drivers, employees, and safety-sensitive position holders are maintaining proper records and following the rules and regulations laid down by the governing body or not. These audits are done at your place of business. Several of them are handled through a telephone call or online meeting or even by fax communication.
What All Does The DOT Audit Cover?
There are primarily 6 categories that the USDOT audit covers. It is to ensure that the company is doing exactly what is expected from it according to the FMCSA and its various requirements. The categories of DOT audits are as follows:
- General audit
- Driver audit
- Operational audit
- Vehicle audit
- Hazardous materials audit
- Accidents audit
Complaints Can Trigger A DOT Compliance Audit For Your Company
According to a recent study, DOT audits have increased in number over the past 10 years. Compliance reviews are unexpected and they can happen at any time. They are regulated by the FMCSA but absolutely anything can trigger these audits if you are not careful. A major factor that constitutes a DOT review is complaints. These DOT compliance complaints can be regarding anything including the following:
Accidents automatically result in a DOT audit for your company. Regardless of the situation or the severity of the accident, you may have to go through a DOT audit if you are not careful. In addition to this, you will also have to tend to your injuries, deal with insurance, manage police reports, and a lot more. If your driver is involved in a truck accident, a DOT audit is in tow and you should remember that. If the accident results in a major injury or a fatality, you should prepare yourself for an audit without any warning at all. Similarly, a complaint made by anyone to the FMCSA regarding even a minor mishap involving your driver can lead to a DOT audit.
Roadside inspection routines can be a result of random inspection exercises or even a citizen complaint. If your driver is going through a roadside inspection and happens to receive a violation, you are highly likely to be chosen for a compliance audit review right away. Remember, the more violations your drivers receive the higher your chances will be of getting a compliance audit from the FMCSA office. This is a very strong reason why you should ensure that your drivers are always prepared for random inspections anyway.
Failure To Perform A New Entrant Safety Audit
In case you fail to perform a new entrant safety audit, it is going to invite a compliance audit review. Do you know that the FMCSA monitors companies regularly for this violation? If your company does not pass the NESA, you will invite a DOT compliance audit pretty soon.
Other Complaints Made By Citizens
According to data collected over the years, a lot of these complaints are made by unsatisfied employees and irritated customers as well. In case you have terminated an employee on unfair grounds or for an unjust reason, you might want to prepare yourself for an unexpected DOT review or audit. These complaints can be highly damaging to the reputation of your company. If any of your drivers have behaved erratically whether intentionally or unintentionally on the road, somebody noticing is going to lodge a complaint. Moreover, there are complaints made by citizens as well if they happen to find any of your drivers behaving badly on the road or performing or involved in any kind of misconduct whatsoever.
Checklist For Your DOT Audit
Now let’s go through a few requirements for your DOT audit that you will have to take care of before the compliance review officer steps into your office
- Keep the current copy of the federal motor carrier safety regulations with you
- You should also have a written program or policy for your drug and alcohol use and testing in your workplace
- Motor vehicle records on all your new and old drivers
- Completed driver logs for at least the past six months on all your drivers
- An overview of your current DOT security plan in writing
- A summary of all your random drug and alcohol tests conducted in the past calendar year
- Proof of all your drivers in possession of commercial driver’s licenses
- Complete maintenance records for all your vehicles
- Up-to-date MCS 90 form that shows your liability insurance coverage
- A complete record of all the valid road tests
- Adequate training material on drug and alcohol programs
- Current accident register
- A complete process to make sure that your driver logs are accurate
- Process for documenting the medical certificates of your drivers
- Disciplinary action system for drivers
- Your hiring policies in writing that you follow when hiring your commercial drivers
- Instructions to your drivers regarding convictions for moving violations
- 14 months of valid annual inspections for your commercial motor vehicle equipment
It is never a good idea to let any complaints or in fact any trigger invite or DOT compliance audit for your company. Even if something of that sort happens, you should be well prepared for it. At DOT Compliance Group they make sure that you are ready for your safety audit 24/7. Whether it is a random inspection or an unexpected audit being conducted by the FMCSA or any complaint that might have triggered this audit, we will make sure that you are always compliant and remain operational year after year.