DOT Compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), found in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations(49 CFR), is not rocket science. It’s actually much harder because:
– compliance initiatives are competing with all the other things going on in the organization: customer demands, emergencies, weather changes, supplier failures and many more daily business challenges;
– the general complexity of the DOT laws, rules and regulations that seem overwhelming at first start;
– some businesses simply will not comply until compliance enforcement actions are taken, according to several studies;
– time is lacking and resources are scarce or misappropriated for non-critical areas at the expense of critical areas.
In the long-run taking the wait-and-see approach can be costly:
– Roadside fines can range from $100 to several thousand dollars, up to and including towing of the vehicle. In some instances the vehicle could remain impounded for a period of time;
– The driver may be personally ticketed, or even arrested;
– The DOT or State’s Motor Carrier Enforcement Division may conduct a what is called an “intervention” ranging from a phone call to a full-blown audit.
– Violations found during an audit may result in fines ranging from $1,000 for paperwork and documentation errors up to $11,000 or more for “egregious” (major) violations;
– Violations found lead to more inspections and inspections lead to audits;
– Your organization may be given a negative “CSA Score.”
There’s an old saying, if you are not going anywhere, then any path will take you there. But that is not a very good business-like approach.
The DOT always checks critical areas in both roadside inspections and audits. Some areas are so critical to the DOT that they will result in an automatic Out-of-Service Order (OOS) or audit failure. I prefer to call these the Critical Success Factors (CSFs) and helping you succeed is what we are all about.
Don’t put the DOT off. Delay is a decision – for the wrong way. Avoid common mistakes and errors and the risk of citations and/or fines. Best of all, by taking action, by being proactive, you can avoid that feeling of panic and can remain in control and in change of the situation.