Taking a wait-and-see attitude about DOT Compliance?


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.

The Cost

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.”

Take Action

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.

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