If you own a business that’s part of the commercial motor vehicle industry, you need to know what to expect from the Department of Transportation (DOT). When you’re a new entrant, you’ll need to undergo a safety audit so that the DOT can determine that you have an adequate safety plan in place. Safety audits are also important for providing ongoing educational and technical guidance to motor carriers.
Typically, these audits happen at the motor carrier’s principal place of business. They can be performed by a safety investigator from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) or your state’s enforcement officer. During the safety audit, the investigator will review the systems you have in place to protect your drivers, your passengers, and your vehicles. This includes:
- The qualifications and duty statuses for your drivers
- Your vehicle maintenance policy
- The motor carrier accident register you’ve established
- Whether or not you have a controlled substance and alcohol testing policy in place
Sometimes, new entrants don’t pass the safety audit. This happens when the FMCSA determines that the safety management system and controls that are in place are inadequate. If you fail the audit, the FMSCA will send you written notice of their decision. At that point you’ll either be placed out of service or your authority will be suspended unless you remedy the problem. That notice will be sent within 45 days of the audit, and you’ll have the next 60 days to submit a corrective action plan. If you fix the problem within the required time frame, you’ll be able to keep your authority active and not be placed out of service indefinitely.
Even once your company has permanent operating authority, you’re not entirely free of safety audit. There won’t be an annual audit, but you’ll continue to be under the FMCSA system. You can expect random inspections and roadside inspections, and if there’s an accident, there will be an investigation. If something is amiss, there may be interventions and penalties from the FMCSA. You might also undergo a compliance review at some point, either because you’ve requested a change to your safety score, or the FMCSA has found a violation during an inspection. After a compliance review, you may be subject to warning letters, roadside inspections, investigations, or new safety measures to avoid penalty.
Part of making sure your vehicles pass every inspection partnering with someone knowledgeable about the industry and able to properly maintain your vehicles. If you need help with maintenance and repair of your tour buses, trust Davey Coach Sales, Incorporated. Established in 1992, we’re one of the leading dealers of new and used mid-sized buses and shuttles in North America. In addition to new bus sales and used bus sales, we provide comprehensive bus service and repairs in our state of the art, 12,000 square foot service facility. In our inventory, we have a huge selection of makes and models of vehicles, and we specialize in bus conversions to help you make your vision into reality. For more information call 800-873-1856 or contact us through our website.