5 Tips to Keep Your Trucking Company DOT Compliant

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(Newswire.net — July 31, 2020) — The Department of Transportation (DOT) has numerous laws and regulations, which govern truck drivers. DOT dictates if one is eligible to drive a truck, when, and where to keep the drivers professional and safe. Although federal regulations and rules on the trucking business are complex, implementing the right methods and systems in place will prevent non-compliance. The majority of the transportation industry regulations are established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCA).

As an owner of a trucking company, you must understand how crucial it is to adhere to the federal regulation for your business’s success. Here is a quick overview of operator-owners’ essential tips to stay DOT compliant, and maintain and monitor their regulatory compliance and avoid unnecessary penalties.

Know the Hours of Service Rules.

The FMCSA prescribes Hours of Service (HOS) guidelines for the trucking business that applies to commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) involved in interstate travel. It would be best to understand the criteria that recognize which vehicles under your company fit as CMVs. Moreover, you should know the certification qualifications for your employees that include drives and mechanics. However, occasional drivers and mechanics might not need to fill a Record of Duty Status record if they declare the 100-mile exception.

Since states set the transportation regulations that dictate intrastate commerce, they might vary between individual states. Therefore, it is critical that you understand federal and states regulations to comprehend what requirements your vehicle needs to meet at any requirements.

BASIC Status.

The Safety Measurement System (SMS) under the FMCSA determines a Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) status for vehicles. Moreover, BASICs work based on inspection outcomes and prior violations that form the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) score. You gain insight into your business performance compared to competitors in the market by monitoring your BASICs status.

BASICs are made of seven key sections assessed, for instance, unsafe driving, crash driving, vehicle maintenance, controlled substances, driver fitness, hazardous materials, and HOS compliance. Logging into the SMS platform will alert companies that have safety compliance issues. Analyzing the records relating to crashes can aid you in identifying and requesting the review of inaccurate data. You should be vigilant of internal processes that manage the BASICs, ensure compliance of regulations, and prevent safety hazards to maintain efficient and safe trucking operations.

Monitor non-compliance trends.

The use of SMS can aid monitor compliance problems and record non-compliance trends among drivers. The information collected from such a program will guide the ongoing safety and compliance training of your staff. Ensure that your drivers comprehend HOS rules and the process of completing daily logs accurately. Additionally, the drivers must understand all aspects of Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs) and the daily responsibility that matches their work requirements they have to uphold.

Since regulations are flexible and often change, experienced drivers must stay updated to new job specifications and latest regulations. You can promote a proactive internal strategy to ensure that your business remains compliant after revising regulations while ensuring a productive and safe environment for your drivers and personnel.

Streamline documentation.

Drivers typically find documentation requirements that often increase over time, with new government regulations cumbersome and time-consuming. Additionally, most professional drivers note the essence of keeping accurate and clean compliance documentation. Thus, the introduction of software and technology that makes these processes less tiring such as Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), is convenient and resourceful. ELDs was introduced in 2017 and converted the logging system from paper to electronic-based, thereby making mileage logging and related documentation an easy process.

Due to harsh weather and driving conditions, companies have resorted to using durable equipment tags and data plates that are unaffected and operate optimally throughout the vehicle’s lifespan. These durable tag aids prevent mistakes that might be costly from missed examination points. New technology will help you gain visibility to your firm’s performance and inform the optimization of operations accordingly.

Keep Transportation Records.

Two of the trucking business’s essential records are the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) and the International Registration Plan (IRP). You should ensure vehicles in your fleet are IFTA licensed that allows one to avoid submitting fuel tax returns for every jurisdiction they drive through. An ELD will help you eliminate the manual documentation process since it records the truck’s location and odometer. The IRP covers these license fees over jurisdiction that one drives through instead of fuel taxes in IFTA.

You should ensure your drivers are qualified and undergo routine Drug and Alcohol testing under the Employer Handbook. Additionally, you should keep a documentation file for the driver’s qualification, covering employee application, Motor Vehicle Record, violations, medical examiner certificate, and drivers’ license.