The transportation industry can be rewarding for all those involved, but that does not mean things will always run smoothly. One of the experiences that many transportation companies have an issue with is dealing with DOT regulatory compliance. Sure, a transportation company understands the importance of compliance audits, but they may not have much experience dealing with them. You can increase your chances of a positive experience by preparing. The following tips will help you do just that.
Tips To Prepare for a Compliance Audit
The first thing you should understand is you do not necessarily have to be in the transportation industry to be audited. Construction companies, for example, can also be audited. The simple fact is if your gross vehicle weight rating or combination weight rating is more than 10,000 lbs, then you are going to be regulated by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR).
You should understand the process of the audit, which is usually broken up into different categories of inspection, like the general inspection or the driver inspection.
The General Audit
The first thing you should remember is that documentation regarding liability coverage–specific to the cargo and type of vehicle used–must be shown. You can find an official schedule of limitations on Section 387.9 of the FMCSR.
You will also need to produce the MCS-90 or MCS-82 form, which is usually provided by your insurance provider or representative. The auditor will also ask for the DOT recordable accidents or your company’s accident register. The auditor is looking to make sure that accidents are being recorded. You must have this form, even if the company has not suffered an accident.
The Driver Audit
The driver will also be a point of interest for the DOT regulatory compliance audit. You will be expected to produce commercial driver licenses, driver qualification, and drug and alcohol testing. It will also be important to show any training that drivers are given to upkeep their qualification as a driver.
The auditor will ask to see documentation showing that you are keeping track of the expiration dates on licenses.
Another area that your auditor will be going over is if you and your drivers have been compliant in things like a pre-employment drug test as specified by 382.301 section of FMCSR. Documentation on post-accident drug and alcohol testing is also required. Section 382.305 states that random drug and alcohol testing is necessary. And section 382.307 asks that you act on reasonable suspicion.
It is your responsibility to produce safety performance history, as well as drug or alcohol results. You will also need to show certifications, the results from road tests, and show proof of any entry-level training that your drivers have received.
You can read the DOT regulatory compliance audit procedure at FMCSR for more specific information. Keep in mind that the inspection will also include an audit on operational, vehicle, hazard materials, and accident inspections–in addition to the inspections mentioned. The key is to be prepared and informed to make the DOT compliance audit go as smoothly as possible.