Compliance Reviews FAQ
1. What is a compliance review?
A compliance review is an on-site examination of motor carrier operations to determine whether a motor carrier is meeting the safety fitness standard. Compliance reviews cover the full spectrum of compliance areas, such as drivers’ hours of service, maintenance and inspection, driver qualification, commercial driver’s license requirements, financial responsibility, accidents, hazardous materials, and other safety and transportation records.
2. When and why are compliance reviews conducted?
A compliance review may be conducted in response to a request to change a safety rating, to investigate potential violations of safety regulations by motor carriers, or to investigate complaints, or other evidence of safety violations. The compliance review may result in the initiation of an enforcement action.
3. What is the difference between a Satisfactory, Conditional and Unsatisfactory rating?
Satisfactory safety rating means that a motor carrier has in place and functioning safety management controls that are appropriate for the size and type of operation of the particular motor carrier.
A Conditional safety rating means a motor carrier does not have adequate safety management controls in place, and this could result in violations.
An Unsatisfactory safety rating means a motor carrier does not have adequate safety management controls in place to ensure compliance, and this has resulted in violations.
4. Why is my company considered an unrated carrier?
A. This simply means that FMCSA has not assigned a safety rating to your company.
5. When is a motor carrier safety rating issued?
A. Under most circumstances, the safety rating will be issued to the motor carrier within 30 days following the completion of a compliance review.
6. How is a carrier notified of deficiencies following a compliance review?
A. As soon as practicable, but no less than 30 days after the review, the carrier will receive a written notice of the outcome. A letter will be issued from FMCSA’s headquarters office and will include a list of FMCSR and HMR compliance deficiencies which the motor carrier must correct.
7. How may a carrier improve upon on conditional or unsatisfactory rating?
A. A carrier that has taken action to correct deficiencies that resulted in a poor safety rating may request a rating change at any time. The request must be made in writing to the FMCSA Service Center for the geographic area where the carrier maintains its principal place of business.
8. I’m a New Entrant. I don’t have to worry about a Compliance Review until after my 18-month Safety Monitoring Period, right?
A. Wrong. Once you are on the road you may be subject to a full Compliance Review even before you receive your New Entrant Safety Audit. Compliance Reviews may be triggered by roadside inspection outcomes or by an accident involving one of your vehicles. There is no excuse for non-compliance and the consequences can be severe. FMCSA expects you to comply with all applicable safety regulations starting from your first day in business.
New Entrant Safety Audits FAQ
1. Who is subject to a DOT Safety Audit?
A. All New Entrant motor carriers are subject to DOT Safety Audits. Upon issuance of a Federal USDOT number, motor carriers are granted temporary operating authority and automatically enrolled in the DOT’s New Entrant Safety Program – which requires a Safety Audit.
2. What if I fail my Safety Audit?
A. New Entrants who fail a Safety Audit cannot obtain permanent operating authority without first correcting any areas of non-compliance found during the Safety Audit.
3. When will my Safety Audit occur?
A. Safety Audits usually occur within the first three to six months after a New Entrant begins operating under its USDOT number. Expect to be contacted around your third month of operation. As a best practice, you will want to ensure compliance with all applicable regulations from day one.
4. Where will my Safety Audit take place?
A. Your Safety Audit will either occur at your primary business location, or at a local facility, such as a hotel or conference center, along with other New Entrants from the area.
5. Who will conduct my Safety Audit?
A. To complete the volume of audits it must conduct each year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration deploys Federal and state investigators.
6. What key areas will my Safety Audit focus on?
A. While other areas may be examined, your Safety Audit will focus on six key areas:
• Driver Qualifications
• Driver Duty Status/Hours-of-Service
• Vehicle Maintenance
• Accident Registers and Documentation
• Controlled Substance and Alcohol Use Testing
• Hazardous Materials Requirements
7. How will FMCSA notify me of my upcoming Safety Audit?
A. You will be notified of an upcoming audit by mail. The letter will instruct you to call FMCSA and set up a day and time for your audit. Once you’ve been notified, you have 90 days to schedule your audit.
8. What if I don’t respond to the first Safety Audit Notice?
A. If you fail to schedule your Safety Audit within 90 days of notification, you will receive a second letter. You have 10 days from the date of this letter to schedule your audit. If you do not respond in time, your operating authority will be revoked.
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