If you run or work for a trucking company, you’re probably familiar with the fact that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) establishes regulatory mandates to keep drivers safe on the road.
Civil penalties paid by truck, bus, and motorcoach companies who fail to meet DOT compliance equal more than $33 million annually.
The DOT issues these requirements through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Adhering to them can help your teams avoid the negative — and expensive — consequences of non-compliance.
There are many standards encompassing the entire trucking industry. Today, we’re focusing on five major ones to discuss in greater depth.
Ready to learn more? Let’s go!
1. Do Your Drivers Speak English?
The FMCSA maintains that all drivers should be able to speak and read the English language sufficiently to communicate with other drivers as well as the general public.
In the trucking industry, communication and cooperation are key. They’re how your teams maintain progress, ensure successful deliveries, and keep everyone on the same page.
Taking the time to ensure all your drivers have the required language skills is a great first step when assessing your level of DOT compliance.
2. Are Your Drug Testing Procedures in Place?
You might be aware that the FMCSA requires drug testing. Yet, DOT compliance takes more than administering a single test to all employees.
Rather, there are specific drug tests you’ll be required to issue depending on the circumstance. These include:
- When you first hire a driver
- After an accident involving a death
- After an accident that results in someone needing medical attention or vehicles requiring towing, when the driver receives a moving violation
- You have reasonable suspicion to believe a driver is using drugs or alcohol
- When a driver returns to work after testing positive for drugs or alcohol
In addition, you’re also required to perform random drug testing on a sample of employees. These tests are essential to ensuring each driver is performing at top capacity.
3. Are Your Loads Securely Fastened?
Over a four-year study period, AAA found that road debris caused more than 200,000 crashes, accounting for 500 deaths and 29,000 injuries in all.
To avoid contributing to these statistics, trucking companies should ensure strict adherence to all cargo securement regulations set forth by the DOT and FMCSA.
There are standards around the proper use of tiedowns, anchor point marking, cargo placement and restraint, working load limits for securement systems, and more.
Familiarize yourself with these requirements. Doing so helps keep your drivers, and everyone around them, secure as they travel.
4. Are Your Records Complete and in Order?
To meet DOT compliance, you must maintain up-to-date records on all employees. These include salary histories, drug test results, hours of service, and more.
Your CDL drivers will also have to keep certain documents on them at all times, specifically their Medical Examiner’s certificate.
Keeping all documentation current and organized can help your company keep up with worker performance. You’ll also avoid non-compliance fees and access important records quicker.
5. Are Your Drivers Well-Rested?
The FMCSA requires truck drivers to work no more than 70 hours per week. This is down from the former standard of 82 hours.
The new guidelines, established in 2013, were designed to make sure that all drivers receive the rest they need to stay safe and alert on the road.
If a driver reaches the 70-hour limit, he or she is required to rest for 34 consecutive hours before resuming work. In addition, all drivers must receive a 30-minute break within the first eight hours of starting a shift.
If you’re overworking your drivers, you could be in non-compliance with these mandates. Keeping a realistic schedule that sticks to these guidelines is critical to keeping your most important assets comfortable and aware.
DOT Compliance: Tools to Help You Succeed
A major part of staying compliant with all DOT guidelines is staying in close and constant communication with your fleet.
That’s where we come in.
From GPS fleet tracking software to electronic logbooks, we make it easier than ever to receive real-time updates on where your drivers are and where they’re going next.
Feel free to contact us for more information. We’ll help your teams set forth with confidence!
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