How to Comply with DOT Regulations

A Handy Checklist to Ensure DOT Regulation Compliance

Complying with DOT regulations is important to any trucking or carrier company. Particularly if your business conducts state-to-state commerce. In this case, you must comply with not only Commercial Drivers License (CDL) requirements, but also the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association’s (FMCSA) drug and alcohol regulations.

DOT CDL Compliance Checklist

Be sure to post a current copy of FMCSA rules at your office or place of business. Every driver must also receive their own copy of FMCSA rules. Two driver signatures will be needed. One signature confirming receipt of the rules and another where they agree to comply with FMCSA regulations.

Be sure all drivers familiarize themselves with Special Training Requirements (Part 380), Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use & Testing (Part 382), Commercial Driver’s License Standards, Requirements & Penalties (Part 383), Minimum Levels of Financial Responsibility for Motor Carriers (Part 387), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (Part 390), Qualifications of Drivers and Longer Combination Vehicle (LCV) Driver Instructors (Part 391), Driving of Commercial Motor Vehicles (Part 392), Parts & Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation (Part 393), Hours of Service of Drivers (Part 395), Inspection, Repair & Maintenance (Part 396), Transportation of Hazardous Materials; Driving and Parking Rules (Part 397), Employee Safety & Health Standards (Part 399)

  • Be sure to complete vehicle inspections both pre-and-post trip; documenting vehicle inspections in writing.
  • Be sure to prepare drivers for roadside inspections. An overview of the complete vehicle inspection process is recommended. They should clearly understand what documentation they must have, how to maintain their logbooks, and the basics of cargo securement.
  • Be sure to keep up-to-date driver qualification records and safety performance histories for ALL drivers.
  • Be sure to keep proper documentation of every driver’s hours of service. Hours of service violations are perhaps the most common of DOT regulation violations and a common precursor to a DOT Compliance Review (Audit). While a CDL driver traveling no more than 100 miles from the terminal isn’t required to complete a log grid, the company must still record his or her hours.
  • Be sure to create and follow a vehicle maintenance program. This applies whether your company has one vehicle or a fleet of hundreds or thousands. wrote an informative article about setting up a vehicle maintenance program to satisfy FMCSA requirements.
  • Be sure to maintain thorough Accident Registers. DOT reportable accidents are any commercial motor vehicle occurrence resulting in vehicle/property damage, bodily injury, or a fatality.
  • Be sure all vehicles are identified with their respective DOT numbers.
  • Be sure all Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) entry-level driver training requirements are adhered to.

DOT FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Compliance Checklist

In recent years, the DOT has stepped up its enforcement of substance abuse policies. The DOT has established that any safety-sensitive employee in the transportation industry is subject to drug and alcohol testing. CDL drivers/operators can expect to be tested at any time for any reason. Even roadside checks have increased. Serious civil and criminal penalties can be levied against you or any driver in violation of these rules. Here’s a checklist to ensure you’re covering all bases:

All drivers should have a copy of DOT policies.

Pre-employment drug test results, as well as the results of subsequent post-accident, random, reasonable suspicion, return-to-duty, or follow-up drug or alcohol testing, must be kept on file.

No driver is allowed to carry out safety-sensitive tasks – including loading or unloading cargo – until their testing has been returned and confirmed negative.

Questions about substance abuse must be part of a Previous Employer Inquiry prior to hire. A record of this inquiry must remain on file.

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