DOT Compliance Errors in the First Half of 2014

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Some new major compliance mistakes in the first half of 2014 include:

(1.) Failure of interstate drivers to take a 30 minute break per Part 395.3.a.3.ii. The 30 minute break rule has been a requirement since July 1, 2013. A 30 minute break (logged on either: Line 1. Off-Duty, or Line 2. Sleeper Berth) is required for every 8 hours of duty.

(2.) Failure as of May 21, 2014 of interstate drivers to use an approved Certified Medical Examiner for a DOT Physical or Medical Exam.

(3.) Failure of interstate CDL drivers to self-certify their Medical Examination.

(4.) Failure by the carrier to verify and document in the driver’s qualification file that the driver’s medical examination was made by a Certified Medical Examiner per Parts 391.23(m) and 391.51(b)(9).

30 Minute Break Requirement

As of July 1, 2013, an interstate driver may drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since end of driver’s last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes. This rules does not apply to drivers using either of the short-haul exceptions in 395.1(e). Other errors with this rule include:

  • Splitting the 30 minutes into two separate 15 minute breaks;
  • Not taking enough 30 minutes breaks. If you take your break early in the trip, you may need another one before the end of the trip;
  • Taking the break while On-duty Not Driving (Line 4 of the log).

Using an approved Medical Examiner 

As of May 21, 2014, all DOT Medical Examiners are required to be listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME) in order for a proper Medical Examiner’s Certificate to be made.

All commercial drivers whose current medical certificate expires on or after May 21, 2014, at expiration of that certificate must be examined by a medical professional listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.


Interstate CDL holders must provide their State Drivers License Agency (SDLA) with a copy of their Medical Examiner’s Certificate. This change became effective on January 30, 2012, with full compliance due by January 30, 2014. Each state has its own guidelines on how to do this. Note: This process is not automatic. Failure to self-certify may result in suspension of CDL driving privileges, if the information on the driver’s Medical Examiner’s Certificate does not show up on the Commercial Driver’s License System (CDLIS) record when checked by law enforcement.

Verification and Documentation that the Medical Examiner is Listed

As of May 21, 2014, a carrier is required to verify and include a note to the driver’s Qualification File indicating the medical examiner is listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners or “National Registry,” for short. The note should include:

  • Driver’s Name and any ID#;
  • Name of the Medical Examiner and the examiner’s National Registry Number;
  • Name of the Motor Carrier and its location;
  • Signature and date of the Motor Carrier’s Representative who verified the information.

Go to the website of the National Registry and click on the “Advanced Search” link to verify the information.

Take Action Today . . .

Compliance does not happen by itself, but is a function of management, high standards and due diligence. Rule-based errors involve the failure to know the relevant rule or the misapplication of a good rule, or the application of a bad rule. If the copy of your Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations is over one year old, then it may already be obsolete and need to be replaced with a current copy. Please take the time to review your operations for these new violations and help your drivers to understand what they need to do to avoid possible future enforcement actions.