New entrants looking to conduct interstate operations within the United States need to pass a safety audit before being legally registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
What does the audit consist of?
The safety audit will consist of a review of the carrier’s safety management system. The areas of review include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Driver qualifications
- Accident register
- Driver record of duty status
- Controlled substances and alcohol use and testing requirements
- Vehicle maintenance
- Hazardous materials
If you refuse to permit a safety audit, the FMCSA will provide you with written notice that your registration will be revoked and your operations placed out of service unless you agree in writing, within 10 days from the service date of the notice, to permit the safety audit to be performed.
What may cause an expedited action?
If you commit any of the following actions, identified through roadside inspections or by any other means, you may be subjected to an expedited safety audit, a compliance review or may be required to submit a written response demonstrating corrective action:
- Using a driver not possessing a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) as defined under § 383.5. An invalid CDL includes one that is falsified, revoked, expired or missing a required endorsement.
- Operating a vehicle placed out of service for violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations or compatible state laws and regulations without taking necessary corrective action
- Being involved in, through action or omission, a hazardous materials reportable incident, as described under 49 CFR 171.15 or 171.16, involving any of the following:
- A highway route controlled quantity of certain radioactive materials (Class 7)
- Any quantity of certain explosives (Class 1, Division 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3)
- Any quantity of certain poison inhalation hazard materials (Zone A or B)
- Being involved in, through action or omission, two or more hazardous materials reportable incidents as described under 49 CFR 171.15 or 171.16, involving hazardous materials other than those listed above
- Using a driver who tests positive for controlled substances or alcohol or who refuses to submit to required controlled substances or alcohol tests
- Operating a CMV without the levels of financial responsibility required under part 387
- Having a driver or vehicle out-of-service rate of 50 percent or more based upon at least three inspections occurring within a consecutive 90-day period
What happens after the audit?
Upon completion of the safety audit, the auditor will review the findings with you:
- Pass: If the FMCSA determines that the safety audit discloses that you have adequate basic safety management controls, the agency will provide you written notice as soon as practicable—but not later than 45 days after completion of the safety audit—that you have adequate basic safety management controls. Your safety performance will continue to be closely monitored for the remainder of the 18-month period of new entrant registration.
- Fail: If the FMCSA determines that the safety audit discloses that your basic safety management controls are inadequate, the agency will provide you written notice as soon as practicable—but not later than 45 days after the completion of the safety audit—that your DOT new entrant registration will be revoked and your operations placed out of service unless you take the actions specified in the notice to remedy your safety management practices.
After the 18-month new entrant safety-monitoring period has passed, you will be notified in writing that the new entrant registration designation will be removed and your registration has become permanent.
What failures will result in your new entrant registration being revoked?
A lack of basic safety management controls or failure to comply with one or more of the regulations listed below are failures of safety management practices that will result in a notice to you that your DOT new entrant registration will be revoked.
You will automatically fail a safety audit if found in violation of any one of the following 16 regulations (Violation, Guidelines for Determining Automatic Failure of the Safety Audit):
- § 382.115(a)/§ 382.115(b)—Failing to implement an alcohol and/or controlled substances testing program (domestic and foreign motor carriers, respectively). Single occurrence.
- § 382.201—Using a driver known to have an alcohol content of 0.04 or greater to perform a safety-sensitive function. Single occurrence.
- § 382.211—Using a driver who has refused to submit to an alcohol or controlled substances test required under part 382. Single occurrence.
- § 382.215—Using a driver known to have tested positive for a controlled substance. Single occurrence.
- §382.305—Failing to implement a random controlled substances and/or alcohol testing program. Single occurrence.
- § 383.3(a)/§ 383.23(a)—Knowingly using a driver who does not possess a valid CDL. Single occurrence.
- § 383.37(a)—Knowingly allowing, requiring, permitting or authorizing an employee with a CDL which is suspended, revoked or canceled by a state or who is disqualified to operate a CMV. Single occurrence.
- § 383.51(a)—Knowingly allowing, requiring, permitting or authorizing a driver to drive who is disqualified to drive a CMV. Single occurrence. This violation refers to a driver operating a CMV as defined under § 383.5.
- § 387.7(a)—Operating a motor vehicle without having in effect the required minimum levels of financial responsibility coverage. Single occurrence.
- §387.31(a)—Operating a passenger-carrying vehicle without having in effect the required minimum levels of financial responsibility. Single occurrence.
- § 391.15(a)—Knowingly using a disqualified driver. Single occurrence.
- § 391.11(b)(4)—Knowingly using a physically unqualified driver. Single occurrence. This violation refers to a driver operating a CMV as defined under § 390.5.
- § 395.8(a)—Failing to require a driver to make a record of duty status. Requires a violation threshold (51 percent or more of examined records) to trigger automatic failure.
- § 396.9(c)(2)—Requiring or permitting the operation of a CMV declared out of service before repairs are made. Single occurrence.
§396.11(c)—Failing to correct out-of-service defects listed by driver in a driver vehicle inspection report