Is it time to go through a DOT compliance checklist for your rig?  Today may be the day to do it.   Why?

Making sure that all the points in the DOT compliance checklist are covered is part of running a trucking company.  Also, if your business conducts state-to-state commerce, then it’s important to remember that the government requires you to comply with both the CDL and drug and alcohol checklists.  Here’s a look at the major portions of each. 

What Is a DOT Checklist?

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is responsible for the infrastructure of America’s highways.  The agency seeks to facilitate the ability to travel safely and encourages economic growth by ensuring that CMV carriers are compliant with all safety rules and regulations.  To keep everyone on the same page, the DOT provides a checklist of requirements that all CMV companies and drivers must follow.  

DOT audits can happen anytime.  For instance, the FMCSA operates a digital Safety Management System to monitor truckers’ over-the-road performance.  The data they collect from roadside inspections and weigh stations can prompt a DOT inspection.  This is why it is important to be familiar with the DOT checklist and have all documentation available at all times.  Other factors that can prompt a compliance review audit include:

  • Random selection:  Any fleet at any time is subject to an audit.
  • Crash rate:  DOT sets the crash rate at 1.5 crashes per million miles.  Anything over that limit can trigger a review.
  • Complaints:  High numbers of citizen complaints about a vehicle or driver can result in a review.
  • Fatal accidents:  A crash that results in a fatality will prompt a DOT audit.  

If you’re worried about DOT trucking regulations, review the checklists we’ve provided to ensure that you or your fleet is compliant at all times.

CDL List

  • You must have a copy of the current Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules in your office or place of business.  In addition, each of your drivers must receive a copy of the rules, and sign both a receipt and agreement to comply with the regulations.
  • You must make sure that all of your drivers familiarize themselves with parts 40, 380, 382, 383, 387, 390-397, and part 399, subchapter B, chapter three, title 49 of the federal regulations code.
  • You must complete both pre- and post-trip inspections of all your vehicles and document that you have done so in writing.
  • You must keep up-to-date qualification records and safety performance histories for each of your drivers.
  • You must document each driver’s hours of service.  CDL drivers may not need to complete a log grid if they never drive further than 100 miles from the terminal, but the company must keep records of their hours.
  • You must create a regular vehicle maintenance program and make sure that it’s followed.  TruckingOffice PRO has a maintenance program ready for you to use.
  • In case of an accident involving one of your company vehicles, you must keep thorough records of the incident in a register.
  • You must ensure that all of your vehicles are marked with their respective DOT numbers.
  • You must comply with commercial motor vehicle (CMV) entry-level driver training requirements.

DOT FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Compliance Checklist

It’s important to make sure you’re following this DOT compliance checklist, as the DOT has stepped up enforcement of its rules regarding drug and alcohol abuse, including roadside checks.  Serious civil and criminal penalties may be applied to you or to any of your drivers who violate these rules.  For this reason, make sure that you’ve covered all the following bases:

  • Ensuring that all your drivers have copies of the DOT policies.
  • Keeping the results of pre-employment drug tests for all your drivers on file.
  • Making sure that drivers are not allowed to perform safety-sensitive tasks, including delivering loads, until and unless their drug tests have been returned and are confirmed to be negative.
  • Checking with your driver’s former employers as to whether the driver had any drug or alcohol problems while employed, and keeping records of the findings on file in your office.
  • Putting all of your drivers in a random drug/alcohol testing pool.  Remember, this pool must be separate from any pool you maintain for non-driver employees.
  • Conducting random drug testing of at least 50% of your drivers each year.  If you’re the only employee – then you take it.  Owner-operators are not exempt.
  • Randomly checking at least 10% of your drivers for alcohol abuse each year.
  • Making sure that these checks occur immediately after the drivers are notified that the tests will take place.
  • Having all supervisors complete the training program required by the DOT.
  • Immediately removing any driver in violation of DOT regulations from safety-sensitive duties.
  • Referring those drivers to approved substance abuse programs.
  • Ensuring that all required records relating to drug and alcohol regulations are on file and can be retrieved at any time.

Sound Like a Lot to Remember?

That’s because it is.  These regulations are only a small part of what you must stay on top of when you run a trucking firm.  That’s why you need the best trucking software on the market: TruckingOffice trucking software and ELD together.  Take our trucking software for a free test drive and find out for yourself how great it is.  You don’t even need to give us a credit card or checking account number!

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