Any company fears inspections, but with new fines and safety measures, an FMCSA Compliance Review can especially terrify a trucking outfit. Governmental regulations and standards are in place to protect employees and companies, but even the most dutiful businesses will falter at some point of implementing rules. They just have to hope those moments don’t coincide with a review. Since excessive fines are the primary method of enforcing standards, the companies who want to keep their money should know a bit of what to expect.

Companies who should fear compliance reviews the most are usually the ones who need them. Most FMCSA compliance reviews are only imposed on companies that already report dangerous histories and excessive crashes. The carriers that exhibit clean records and passing inspections usually have nothing to worry about—but random reviews still take place. In all instances, during inspections carriers are best served by showing clear concern for the safety of their employees and other drivers on the road.

It’s important to know that FMCSA compliance investigators are not FBI investigators: they don’t have authority to rummage through all company documents or to force a trucking carrier to admit guilt about some violation. That said, during a compliance review, a rebellious attitude never goes well. If a carrier refuses to show documentation, the investigator will probably assume the company is hiding something—and is guilty. If he finds a violation, he’ll then be much more likely to impose the harshest fines possible. Maintaining a compliant, peaceful attitude, on the other hand, will make inspectors much more forgiving. They know every company will inevitably make mistakes, and as long as a carrier shows that he’s committed to fixing problems and keeping his company in compliance with safety measures, a lot of fines can be avoided.