DOT Insights

DOT Audits 101

Date: 7/17/2021

FMCSA audits, sometimes called “DOT audits” or “investigations,” come in three main varieties:

 

• Offsite focused investigations target a specific area of compliance, such as hours of service. The motor carrier sends its compliance records to the FMCSA regional office for review. This type of investigation does not result in a safety rating.

 

• Onsite focused investigations also target a specific area of compliance, but enforcement personnel will perform the audit at the motor carrier’s principal place of business (as identified on the USDOT registration). This type of investigation also does not result in a safety rating.

 

• Onsite comprehensive investigations address all aspects of a motor carrier’s operation and take place at the motor carrier’s principal place of business. This type of investigation results in a safety rating

Contact us today for a no-obligation discussion about your compliance program — 844-803-0172.

Safety Ratings

The FMCSA will only assign a safety rating to a motor carrier after performing an onsite comprehensive investigation. The onsite comprehensive investigation contains the compliance review model.

Appendix B to Part 385 details the method used in the compliance review to arrive at one of the following three possible safety ratings:

 

• Satisfactory. The motor carrier’s safety management controls are considered functioning and adequate.

 

• Conditional. The motor carrier does not have adequate safety management controls in place to ensure compliance, and the motor carrier has to make some changes to show it is working on the problem areas.

 

• Unsatisfactory. The motor carrier does not have adequate safety management controls in place to ensure compliance, and its violations are to such a degree that the motor carrier is prohibited from operating commercial motor vehicles.

 

Note that the FMCSA has proposed to change the way it issues safety ratings. Rather than relying solely on comprehensive reviews, the agency would like to use roadside inspection data, data collected during investigations (of any type), or a combination of the two to arrive at a rating. Under this proposed system, carriers would be rated as either “fit” or “unfit” to continue operating.

HOW WE CAN HELP

The J. J. Keller® DOT Compliance & Safety Program Management Service is the industry's most comprehensive approach for improving regulatory compliance and fleet safety. You'll benefit from a monthly subscription plan to attain and sustain FMCSR compliance. 

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