What is a DOT Compliance Review?


Let’s take a quick look at the DOT Compliance Review process, the factors that trigger it, and the associated penalties. If your trucking company is submitted toward a review, this information can assist you make a better educated choice. And besides, your company is far too valuable to be negatively impacted. On top of that, a DOT compliance review might result in your firm being shut down completely if you don’t comply.

DOT compliance review

The DOT compliance review is a process that is conducted by the DOT through their branch of the FMCSA. The process is in place to determine whether you meet certain safety standards for your company’s trucking operations. This review will stop your dispatching of trucks if you have any violations on file and will take anywhere from two to ten days to complete. It will also look at your safety practices and whether you are preventing or counteracting accidents.

During the review, you will be asked several questions about your company’s safety performance, including identifying any countermeasures for accidents or unsafe driving. You will also be asked to provide evidence that demonstrates that your company has taken steps to comply with regulations for vehicles.

If your company is designated for a DOT review, you should prepare adequately. It’s crucial to remember that the DOT seldom shows up unexpectedly, so be prepared. The DOT will usually send you an official letter requesting preliminary information, such as your contact details for the safety investigator. You may also be required to present the auditor with certain records. A DOT review process is a thorough examination of your company’s safety processes and how they are carried out.

While receiving a DOT compliance review may seem terrifying, many companies have passed through one simply by providing the FMCSA files needed to prove compliance. It is also important to remember that the company owner should only provide the DOT auditor with the information he or she is requesting. An audit is a serious matter, and you must be prepared. Always keep this in mind!

Regardless of how small your trucking business is, the DOT compliance review can put you under the microscope for years.

Conditions that trigger a DOT compliance review

Many trucking companies often wonder what triggers a DOT compliance review. Keep in mind, the overall basis for an audit or review is compliance with the law. Not complying with DOT regulations can result in an out-of-service order that effectively prohibits a truck from operating in interstate commerce. Regardless of the reason for a DOT review, addressing any violations will help your company stay out of trouble. But how do you know if you’ve met all of these conditions?

There are six different categories of inspections that may trigger a DOT compliance audit. These inspections typically follow a six-step process. You need to be ready for the inspection by gathering as much information as possible. Be prepared to provide all the information that the DOT auditors may ask for. They might ask for your safety investigation records and other records to determine whether you’re compliant.

Categories and factors for inspection

  • Driver
  • General
  • Vehicle
  • Operational
  • Accidents
  • Hazardous Materials

Review Ratings

dot-compliance-reportA DOT compliance report provides a public record of a trucking company’s safety. The FMCSA evaluates trucking companies and drivers and provides a satisfactory safety rating. The highest rating possible is Satisfactory. This rating shows that the company or driver is in good shape and has followed safe driving protocols. If the DOT rating is low, it may mean the business should make changes to improve safety. So, we’ll look at the factors that can cause a company or driver to be targeted for a compliance review.

As mentioned earlier, the bottom-line is compliance. The more compliance a company maintains, the less likely it will be reviewed by the agency. Moreover, an official review is triggered if the company neglects to follow and maintain any of the required safety standards. If a company is not in compliance, it may be subjected to out-of-service orders. However, if the company maintains its compliance rating through proactive measures, it will most likely pass the DOT compliance review.

A DOT compliance review involves a thorough evaluation of the trucking company’s safety records. During this audit, the FMCSA will review the company’s trucks and depot for any violations. Having a satisfactory rating means the company is complying with all safety regulations. For this, the FMCSA will request documents from the trucking company owner.

Depending on the severity of any violations, the rating can be satisfactory, conditional, or unsatisfactory. A satisfactory rating means that a motor carrier has a high degree of compliance with all required safety management controls. A conditional rating, however, indicates that the motor carrier may need to improve its compliance with safety management standards before it is released to the public. After improving its compliance, a follow-up review may be required. Getting an unsatisfactory rating will require some additional work on your part.

They will send you written documentation detailing the violations and requirements for preparing a Corrective Action Plan (CAP). The Corrective Action Plan must explain how the violation will be addressed and how you’ll comply with these rules. Failure to submit a CAP on time can lead to suspension of your registration with the FMCSA. The website of the FMCSA has additional details on the initial audit process, which is part of the New Entrant Safety Audit Program.

Financial costs

A DOT compliance review can shut down a business and lead to financial penalties, as well as interfere with insurance. The first thing to remember when dealing with a DOT audit is to provide all the files they require in a timely manner. The process of preparing documents for a DOT review will take place in six categories. To prepare for a DOT compliance review, make sure you understand the regulations that apply to your business.

The DOT compliance review process may require a business to submit driver logs, MVRs, and other safety records. You may also be required to submit CMV maintenance files. Make sure to set aside a room for the auditor to conduct the review so as not to disturb the employee. Keep all paperwork separate from other documents. The auditor may request certain files, and you should keep them separate as well.

In addition to fines, a DOT compliance review can also lead to a revocation of an operating authority. If a company is not compliant with DOT regulations, the fines can reach thousands of dollars. These fines will vary depending on your business’s size and industry. Those who operate regionally will be impacted by a DOT compliance review. Likewise, a company may have an inadvertent violation that does not result in financial penalties.