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April 29, 2022

New Entrant Safety Audit – What All You Must Know Before It Begins

So it has begun. You have applied for your FMCSA authority. Do you know that you will be required to go through a new entrant safety audit as well? Things could get a little scary over there. But if you pay attention to the requirements and compliance rules laid down by the authorities, it might not be that intimidating after all. When you submit your application documents to Washington, the USDOT is going to send you a letter. They will ask you to call their number and provide them with your USDOT number or MC number which is associated with your FMCSA authority application. The department of transportation will then contact the state police and specifically their motor carrier division. They will let them in on the information conveyed to them by you. Your safety audit will begin after this. They are going to set up a date and time for your new entrant safety audit process to start.

  • All the new carriers that have applied for the FMCSA authority must understand that they are never supposed to violate any of the 16 requirements laid down by the FMCSA. 
  • The federal motor carrier safety administration makes it pretty clear that none of these rules and regulations is to be violated if you want your FMCSA authority operational and your business functional.
  • If you are a new interstate motor carrier, you will be considered a new entrant for at least 18 months. This will be after you have registered for your FMCSA authority. 
  • If you are a passenger carrier or a hazmat hauler, you will be given at least 45 days to correct any violations that you might have made. As a general carrier, you will be given 60 days to do that. 
  • Remember that your FMCSA authority is going to get revoked and you will be issued an “out of service” order if you are not able to meet these requirements head-on. 
  • You will then have to wait for at least 30 days to apply for a new FMCSA authority. This will start the process all over again and you do not want all that stress. 

In case you have made this mistake already, there is obviously no way to recover from it. Or is there? Yes, there is because you have several third-party DOT compliance facilitators with you. You can prevent this from happening in the first place if you hand over the responsibility of your FMCSA authority application along with the management of these 16 critical conditions to the experts. They will make sure that you are never in any violations throughout the year and year after year. Just focus on your core functions and let the professionals do their job.

Understanding The New Carrier Entrant Audit

These audits usually take place at the place of work of the carrier. There are group audits as well that can be arranged. It depends entirely upon you whether you want to go for an individual process or a group process. There are usually 72 safety-related questions that the auditor is going to ask you. Nineteen of them are related to hazardous materials and the rest of them are generally with regards to insurance, equipment, maintenance records, accident records, driver qualifications, records of duty status, hazmat, drug and alcohol testing, and similar topics. The entire process is going to take at least 2 to 4 hours to complete.

So make sure that you have this much time at hand when the auditor finally visits your workplace. If the auditor finds that there are any critical safety problems in your workplace, they have the right to put your business out of service. They have the power to revoke your FMCSA authority.

If you look at the audits conducted in the past, nearly half of them will be considered violations. This is because the earlier rules laid down by the FMCSA were quite lenient. But this is not the case right now. After the implementation of the new rule, there are 16 regulations that you must abide by at all costs to keep your business functional. They are listed below:

  1. If the driver has received any positive drug or alcohol use test result, it is never advised to let him drive any of the vehicles at your workplace. There must be proof that you have already implemented a random drug and alcohol testing program at your workplace and all your drivers operating commercial motor vehicles must have a negative test report on them.
  2. If you are using a driver or handing him over important responsibilities, knowing that their alcohol content was 0.04 or greater than this, this would be considered a serious safety violation.
  3. It is never advised to use a driver or professional who has refused to enroll for a random drug and alcohol or controlled substances test that is required under Part 382.
  4. If a driver has tested positive for any controlled substance use or abuse, it is never a good idea to use their services.
  5. If you fail to implement any random controlled substances or drug and alcohol testing program, this is a major violation.
  6. Using a driver who does not have a commercial driver’s license knowingly and putting everyone at risk could get your authority revoked.
  7. If you allow, permit, or authorize an employee or a commercial driver who has been suspended and whose authority has been revoked to operate any commercial motor vehicle, it is going to be considered a major violation.
  8. If you allow or permit or authorize any driver to drive a commercial motor vehicle if he has been disqualified already to do so or whose permission or license has been canceled by the state. It is going to constitute a violation.
  9. Do not let anyone operate a commercial motor vehicle without the minimum level of financial responsibility coverage such as cargo insurance or liability insurance.
  10. Allowing a driver to operate or operating a passenger-carrying vehicle with no minimum levels of financial responsibility coverage that is required under the law (such as liability insurance).
  11. Using a disqualified driver knowing that he has been disqualified is a strict no.
  12. Using a physically disqualified driver is also a violation
  13. Failing to make sure that your drivers make a record of duty status regularly is totally uncalled for too.
  14. Permitting, allowing, or authorizing the operation of a commercial motor vehicle that has been declared out of service due to lack of repairs or any technical problem is unacceptable.
  15. If you fail to correct the status of out of service commercial vehicles listed by the driver before operating them, it will be considered a major violation.
  16. If you use a commercial motor vehicle that has not been inspected regularly, it will not be good for your authority.

Conclusion

So there you have it. That was a lot to take, wasn’t it? How will you be able to make sure that all of this is taken care of? You can’t. Well, unless you have a reliable and highly reputable third-party DOT compliance enabler. Something to think about.

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