Running a fleet of any size can be a daunting task. While some Carriers have management behind the wheel performing all the driver’s tasks, other Carriers’ management teams are focused on the logistics of keeping their business afloat. What seems to be a common case with most Carriers, is focusing too much time on those logistics, and not enough time on the Safety Compliance aspect. Unfortunately, the Department of Transportation spends a great deal of time focusing on Safety & Compliance. If you or your team falters in this area, red flags are alerted to DOT officials and eventually they’ll be knocking on your door.
DOT Officers and Investigators work for the government and as such, they take their jobs very seriously. While they are human beings and may or may not want to help your business in its efforts to thrive, they still have to meet certain requirements as per FMCSA rules and regulations. This means that, depending on the criteria of the Compliance Review or the reason for investigation, they have a very specific set of details they must go through and record that you have them on file.
Some investigations can be focused to one or two aspects of your company, or it can very well be a full investigation. Regardless of the criteria needed, this is not something to take lightly. If a DOT officer or Investigator comes to your place of business to complete a Compliance Review, it’s best that you have all of your T’s crossed and I’s dotted.
If you’ve visited the FMCSA website, you know there are different classifications that can be denoted or red flagged within the Basic Status or Out of Service Rates; Unsafe Driving, Crash Indicator, Hours-of-Service, Vehicle Maintenance, Controlled Substances and Alcohol, Hazardous Materials Compliance, Driver Fitness, and Insurance/Other. While any one of these can be overlooked by a Carrier, each has a reason for complete documentation and the Department of Transportation can and will place fines or put a Carrier Out of Service if the documentation they want isn’t filed correctly or corrective action isn’t followed.
As a Safety/Compliance company built on DOT Investigations, we come across situations that we hope you never have to go through. Simply running your business isn’t always enough. You must keep a diligent eye on every aspect of your company, including all the monitoring, updates, and clerical paperwork if you are to stay in business with good standing.
More and more it’s become evident that sometimes DOT will visit you for something out of your control. Believe it or not, crash indicators will influence a DOT Officer/Investigator to visit, even if none of the crashes listed on your profile were at fault or low profile. Regardless of fault or how minor a crash may be, if enough accidents occur, red flags will be alerted to a DOT official. Remain diligent and DOT Officials should be out of your place of business within about a week if all goes well.