The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration is the agency within the Department of Transportation responsible for regulating the trucking industry. When a trucking company is new, the FMCSA will visit its headquarters and do an audit within the first 12 months of operations. They do this audit to ensure that a trucking company is keeping proper records, is safe, and taking the proper measures when transporting hazardous materials.
If you have just opened a trucking company, you may be nervous about this audit. It’s helpful to know what to expect when the auditor comes to visit.
What the Day Will Look Like
According to Simplex Group services, the auditor will likely be a federal-certified safety investigator. Sometimes, they may be a state or provincial regulation enforcement officer. The owner of your company or a manager may accompany the auditor during their visit to your office.
Once they have had a look around your office to make sure that you have all the appropriate safety posters in place, they will begin looking at your records. They will look at the records of a few areas of your operations.
One of the first things an auditor will look at is your driver’s records. You must have an electronic record of the driver’s commercial driver’s license and driving history for the last 10 years. You must have a record of employment verification. A record of their latest FMCSA physical exam is required to be on file.
If you’re missing a driver’s license, a driver has a revoked license, or they did not pass their physical, you may fail your audit.
The auditor will then want to look at each truck you own. They will want to make sure that your trucks are fully insured and that your drivers are performing inspections before and after driving those vehicles. A record of any repairs must also be kept on file.
If any of your drivers have operated a vehicle that did not get the necessary repairs, they’re likely to shut you down.
Hours Of Service
You will be expected to keep strict records of every hour each driver is on duty. You must also account for how they spent their time on duty. A driver must use an electronic logging device to record every one of their work activities. If they drive for 8 hours, they must take a 30-minute meal break. They may not drive for over 11 hours and must be off for at least 10 hours. If you have not accounted for every single hour, you may lose your authorization and face major fines.
How To Fail Your Audit Instantly
One of the first things an auditor will ask you about is your drug testing program. You must have a system of testing new drivers and drivers who have had alcohol suspensions. Your program must include a system of random testing. You will be shut down immediately if you don’t have a testing program.
The FMCSA has no tolerance for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You may not employ a driver unwilling to take a drug or alcohol test. If you have knowingly let a driver operate a vehicle when their blood alcohol level is 0.4 or above, they will shut you down as well.
How Much Are The Fines?
If you fail your audit, the fines imposed can be quite high. If you falsify records about hazardous materials, you can be fined as much as $79,976.
45 days after your audit, you will get a letter stating whether you pass or fail. If you fail, you must make a corrective action plan with the FMCSA. You will have a set time period to get this plan into the FMCSA. If you don’t, they may take away your authorization.
Audits are done to protect the public and your driver. A compliance company can help you prepare for your audit. Passing your new entrant audit is the first step to owning a successful trucking company.