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October 7, 2013

DOT New Entrant Safety Audit: Top Eight Reasons Companies Fail

A blue semi truck.

Updated: August 31, 2020

The New Entrant Safety Audit is something every new trucking company owner will go through within the first 12 months of starting their business. It’s a requirement set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to make sure there are policies and procedures in place to follow all appropriate safety regulations.

While you aren’t expected to follow each policy perfectly, there are a few things that will make your trucking company automatically fail during your audit.

Here are the top eight reasons companies fail and how you can avoid them.

  1. Lack of Drug and Alcohol Program Policies, Procedures, and Educational Materials
  2. Lack of a Random Drug and Alcohol Testing Program
  3. Lack of or Incorrect Documentation of Record of Duty Status
  4. Missing Annual Inspections for All Trucks, Tractors, and Trailers
  5. No Proof of Required Minimum Levels of Financial Responsibility (Insurance)
  6. No Proof of CDL Driver Showing Driver’s Qualification to Operate a CMV
  7. Missing or Incomplete Driver’s Qualification Files
  8. No Maintenance Plan and/or Records Documenting Services Completed for Each Vehicle

Don’t let your trucking company fail. Use our audit assurance package to prepare for your audit and avoid the 8 common automatic failures below.

Trucking companies are required to have a drug and alcohol policy that’s been given to the drivers and expected to follow. Some of the things you have to have include:

  • A drug and alcohol policy for your trucking company
  • Documentation of what the driver requirements are and an explanation of that policy given to drivers
  • DOT-approved pre-employment drug tests with negative results for any driver you hire
  • Membership in a random drug and alcohol testing pool
  • Obtained or attempted to obtain three years of drug testing history from their previous employer

How To Avoid It

To get a better idea of what you need to provide your drivers to be compliant with the FMCSA, you can download our free DOT compliance checklist that covers everything you need to give your drivers, what you have to have in your truck, and more.

We can also take care of the drug and alcohol policy for you. As part of membership in our drug and alcohol consortium, we can provide a branded print copy of the policy you can give to each of your drivers.

Trucking company owners are responsible for having a random drug and alcohol testing program in place. For bigger fleets, it’s possible to run those random tests yourself periodically, but it’s not cost-effective nor convenient for your drivers when there are only one or two drivers in the pool.

How To Fix It

Set up a random drug and alcohol testing program for your company. Whether your fleet is large or small, you can easily join our consortium. From there, we’ll take care of both problem one and two. We’ll have a drug and alcohol policy book with your company’s name and take care of the pre-employment drug testing, too.

Unlike other consortiums, you’ll only have to pay the flat rate, and we don’t charge extra fees for the tests pulled from our pool.

Someone analyzing vials and drug tests.

Driver’s Hours of Service have to be documented with the appropriate Electronic Logging Device (ELD) and logbooks.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 91,000 crashes involved drowsy driving. By accurately tracking hours of service, you can show the FMCSA that your drivers are following the rules and avoiding driving drowsy.

Your trucks are one of the biggest assets in your company. If they aren’t properly maintained, that means you can’t haul loads, and you can’t make money. If a truck breaks down on the road, that’s a danger for both the driver and others on the road.

How To Fix It

The best way to take care of the annual inspections is to do them, and use our spreadsheet to keep everything in one place. The information you need to fill out to provide the FMCSA during an audit is:

  • What service was done
  • Date the service was provided
  • The mileage listed on the truck at the time of service

Someone inspecting the bottom of the truck.

If you’re planning on hauling other company’s goods, you need to have the appropriate levels of insurance. We’ve covered more thoroughly about what insurance you’re required to have and how to get it as part of our podcast Haulin Assets.

How To Fix It

Getting commercial truck insurance can be a confusing and daunting process. You are in charge of getting the right insurance, but once you get it, you’ll have to ask your insurance company for the appropriate forms, such as the MCS-90 or MCS-90B to make sure you don’t fail this portion.

Read More: How To Purchase Commercial Truck Insurance

When you get new drivers, you’ll have to make sure they not only meet the requirements to drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), but that you have the qualifications on hand. The FMCSA does not want any driver that isn’t qualified to operate a CMV on the road.

How To Fix It

When you hire a driver, make a copy of all the paperwork and keep an updated spreadsheet of every driver you hire. To make it easy, you can use our driver list spreadsheet to mark down the names and CDL number of each of your drivers to prove you did your due diligence.

Your drivers should have the proper qualifications and clean records. You wouldn’t want someone unqualified to operate construction equipment, and the same thing is true for commercial truck drivers.

How To Fix It

Use an application that requires you to collect everything to prove that your driver is qualified. Some of the information you should consider getting from your driver is:

  • Driver’s license information
  • Driving experience
  • Accident record
  • Conviction record

You can also request a driver’s records from the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, which is designed to replace the step of contacting a driver’s previous companies for any drug test results.

A truck driver wearing a hat.

If your vehicle gets pulled over for an inspection and is marked for out of service because something was wrong that needed to be fixed, you will automatically fail your audit if you don’t have proof you fixed the issue.

How To Fix It

Every time you take your truck to the shop, make sure you document everything. You should also have a truck maintenance plan. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Download our truck maintenance plan for free and follow it to pass this part of the audit.

Get the Support You Need

Getting everything you need to be ready for an audit can seem overwhelming. The key is to work on things a little at a time well in advance of your audit; don’t wait until the last minute.

If you want to start getting your paperwork together now, get our DIY Audit Assistance package that comes with a guide to walk you through everything you need to get ready for your audit.

Purchase Our Audit Assistance Package

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