DOT Compliance Audit Preparation & Representation
Front Range Compliance Services, LLC, brings you extensive knowledge that isn’t available through any other company. Our background in law enforcement, specifically the in the Motor Carrier Safety Unit (MCSAP) as a certified Safety Investigator, allows us to be the best in the industry with Compliance Audit preparation. We will assist you through every step of an audit, from the notification through the completion of the audit. It is our goal to make sure you and your drivers are as prepared as possible.
Click the options below for more information.
Receiving Notice of a DOT Compliance Intervention
There are two ways companies can be notified of Compliance Interventions. Notifications can come in the form of a letter from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration advising you of necessary corrective action or you could just be notified of a DOT Compliance Investigation. Regardless of the level of intervention, time is critical.
Maybe you’re getting ready for an insurance renewal and have a scheduled audit to review your program and overall compliance standing. Getting this wrong is sure to cost you the renewal or even excessive fees for the next year.
If you have an audit approaching, you must begin taking action immediately. What do I mean by action? Organization would be the first key to success. Never present your DOT program to an enforcement official or insurance representative as a disorganized file dump. A properly managed and organized DOT Program is key to any companies success.
If you chose to go it alone, my once bit of advice is never every back date a document. If you don’t have it, create it but us the current date to show the work you did to either improve your program or prepare internally. If you get caught backdating any documents the compliance investigation will fail and the penalties will be severe.
By bringing in Front Range Compliance Services, LLC to complete a thorough internal compliance audit to help identify what immediate corrective actions are necessary you will be guaranteeing your company success. We also recommend that you utilize our services to help get your program ready for the DOT or Insurance audit. As your DOT Compliance Manager we will help your company thrive and ensure that you are in accordance with all compliance regulations.
Receiving an FMCSA Intervention Letter
Your safety scores are tracked in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Compliance Safety and Accountability (CSA), Safety Measurement System (SMS). The score is categorized by the Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASIC) within the CSA website. An Intervention Letter is sent to any carrier who’s individual BASIC scores are over the “Intervention Threshold.”
Below is a list of the Seven BASICs and Threshold Percentile.
Seven BASICs and Threshold Percentile
- Unsafe Driving - 65%
Crash Indicator - 65%
Hours of Service - 65%
Vehicle Maintenance - 80%
Controlled Substances and Alcohol - 80%
Hazardous Material - 80%
Driver Fitness - 80%
Once you have received a letter you must immediately start a corrective action process. Identify what issues are causing the increasing scores and address each of the problems head on. Do not just keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. Now is the time to get creative, think outside the box for program improvements.
A good practice to implement when monitoring your BASICs is to keep track and identify any trend of violations. A trend is a violation of the same type or same category that has occurred more that three times in a two year period. If you see you have been written for brake violations two times already, you must implement a plan to prevent a third similar type of violation. Keeping track of these trends will better prevent you from FMCSA Intervention down the line. Monitoring your BASICs though the SMS is a must.
It is paramount that every program update is documented in writing. Failure to document means the program improvement never happened, showing that no action was taken after receiving the FMCSA intervention letter.
Remember, taking action is a must, if you ignore the problem it is just going to grow an open you and the company to greater liability and possible litigation in the event of an incident. Instead of dealing with it all on your own, hire FRCS to help you.
FRCS is here to help you through defining the problem, implementing a solution, documenting the changes and keeping you off the radar.
Types of Audits
Click each type of audit to learn more.
New Entrant Safety Audit
The New Entrant Safety Audit is an educational based audit developed to help ensure new carriers are aware of the DOT Rules and Regulations, while reviewing the programs in place have been properly implemented.
While a safety audit will not result in an enforcement action or penalty it is possible to fail. In the event of a failure, the carrier will be given 45 days (HM Carrier) or 60 days (General Carrier) to submit a Corrective Action Plan to the FMCSA. If the action plan is not submitted and not approved the carrier will be forced Out-of-Service (OOS).
Focused Offsite Investigation
The Focused Offsite Investigation audit will focus specifically on whichever of the seven BASICs you have been identified to be struggling in. The audit will take a brief snapshot of your other compliance programs but will primarily focus of the outlying problems and trends identified in your fleet.
A focused BASIC audit can result in a Conditional or Unsatisfactory safety rating if Acute or Critical Violations are found. However, if there are no Acute or Critical violations found the review will be rates as “Non-Ratable” which essentially means it was a pass.
A focused compliance investigation can result in an enforcement action or penalty. If a carrier is found Unsatisfactory they are in jeopardy of being placed Out-Of-Service. In order to prevent an OOS Order, that carrier must submit a Request for Upgrade and Safety Management Plan (SMP) with in the 45/60 days.
The Comprehensive Investigation is a full compliance investigation of the complete DOT Safety Management Program. This investigation is generally completed onsite but due to the COVID-19 restriction it is also now being completed as an offsite review.
A Comprehensive Investigation will result in a Safety Rating for the motor carrier which will be either Satisfactory, Conditional, or Unsatisfactory. As the motor carrier, the goal is to achieve the Satisfactory rating. Either of the other two ratings will prove to be problematic for the carrier. Additionally, a rating of either Conditional or Unsatisfactory will most generally result in an enforcement action or penalty.
If an Unsatisfactory rating is purposed the carrier must start the corrective actions immediately to correct any Acute or Critical violations. A request for upgrade and SMP must be submitted within the 45/60 days to avoid a carrier OOS order.
Enforcement Actions and Penalty
Most violations discovered in an audit, or if the carrier is deemed Conditional or Unsatisfactory, this will result in a fine. Simply put, this means the investigation will result in a fine if violations are found.
Enforcement fines can range between $1,000 - $16,000 per violation. In curtain circumstances the penalty could result in the fine multiplied by each day the violation occurred. For instance a company was in violation for failing to have Periodic Inspections, the fine for this single violation was $3,000 for a single event. However, the carrier had 5 trucks reviewed in the audit and each truck operated 20 times in a 30 day period, 5 Trucks x 20 days = 100 days of violation, 100 days x $3,000 = $300,000 fine.
These fines can add up quickly, as shown that was just for one common violation across five trucks. Being prepared for an audit and ensuring you are in compliance is key.
Getting help is most generally the right answer, but be aware that most safety representatives don’t know the first thing about how to navigate a compliance investigation and the auditors know it. Hiring the right team to get you prepared is key.
FRCS is backed with over 35 years of experience on both sides of audits and compliance investigations. We will ensure all of your DOT Regulated Compliance Programs are in accordance with the FMCSA and DOT rules and regulations.
Contact us immediately if you need help. Don’t wait for the intervention because at that time it might be too late. Picking up the pieces afterward is much harder and simply setting up a good program and following a plan. It is our job to help you Stay Off The Radar.