Fleet insiders might say that nothing is certain in life but death, taxes and a Department of Transportation (DOT) audit. Any fleet company that transports cargo more than 10,000 pounds across state lines is subject to the government knocking on their office door, regardless of their industry. An audit by the DOT is generally divided into six categories: general, driver, operational, vehicle, hazardous materials and accidents. Here are seven ways to pass these categories with flying colors.
1. Driver Qualifications: DOT standards help ensure that drivers employed by fleet companies are at least 21 years old and licensed, can understand traffic rules, are physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle and have completed a driver road test.
2. Vehicle Maintenance: Fleet managers must ensure that vehicle parts and accessories, such as wheels, steering systems, frame, must be in safe and working order. Vehicle maintenance software can provide managers with preventative alerts and reports that can save fleet companies a ton of money each year in maintenance and repairs.
3. Safety Ratings: DOT’s safety requirements may differ by state. Fleet managers should check their state’s DOT website for more information about local safety audit checklists. Safety analytics and reporting software are becoming an increasingly sought after resource as fleet managers are now capable of monitoring and evaluating their fleet based on the individual safety performance of their drivers.
4. Hours of Service:
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), fleets must adhere to rules for both passenger-carrying and property-carrying commercial motor vehicle drivers. Fleet Managers are now required to install automated electronic logbooks (e-Logs) in all vehicles
to more accurately track hours of service
as well as save Fleet companies from the countless hours it takes to calculate each driver’s operating time. In addition to driving time limitations, guidelines also outline sleeper berth previsions and total on-duty time.
5. Financial Responsibility: In order to minimize company risk and maximize safety and financial management, both business owners and drivers must be properly insured.
6. Drug Program and Requirements: Regular employee drug and alcohol testing is integral to passing a DOT audit. A routine drug program that includes standardized training and testing programs must be implemented into company policy.
7. Parts and Accessories Needed for Safe Operation: This recommendation goes hand-in-hand with vehicle maintenance and safety analytics. In addition, vehicle parts must have a detailed record of repair and an itemized list of inspection dates.