As we kick off this new year, it’s a great time to reacquaint ourselves the Department of Transportation’s laws regarding the operation of commercial fleet vehicles and their respective drivers. In the commercial vehicle fleet industry, compliance with DOT regulations isn’t just a good idea—it’s the law. To avoid time-consuming audits and expensive penalties, it’s important that you and your drivers follow all mandates and regulations issued by the DOT this year. Make an effort to make DOT compliance a goal that your whole fleet works towards. To help, we’ve created the following 2017 DOT compliance checklist for commercial vehicle fleets:
1. Get Familiar With FMCSA Guidelines
All businesses operating commercial fleet vehicles must keep an up-to-date copy of the latest Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration rules in their place of business. In addition to maintaining a physical copy in the central office, all drivers must sign documents stating they have both received the list of FMCSA rules and intend to follow all regulations outlined therein. All drivers should make an effort to familiarize themselves with the FMCSA rules that concern them.
2. Make Inspections a Priority
Before every trip made by commercial drivers, all necessary pre-trip inspections must be conducted and recorded for verification. The same regulation applies to all post-trip inspections as well.
3. Keep Track of HOS
As part of fleet maintenance, all driver records must be kept up to date. This includes records of the latest hours driving logged, safety inspections passed, and any current qualifications and certificates maintained by the driver. In addition, a program must be implemented to keep all vehicles up to operation standards with regular maintenance and inspections when necessary.
4. Stay Current on Vehicle Status and History
It is the responsibility of the fleet business owner to keep records of all road incidents involving a company vehicle and ensure all necessary DOT identification numbers are visible on each and every vehicle in operation.
5. Start Screenings
Any drivers who are found to be operating fleet vehicles while under the influence of either alcohol or drugs are subject to severe penalties. To protect your business, thoroughly screen every driver for substance abuse with a pre-employment drug screening and maintain records of the results within your place of business.
6. Maintain Expectations
After initial drug and alcohol screenings have been passed, it’s important that fleet managers conduct regular random drug and alcohol screenings for their drivers. Drivers found to be in violation must be removed from actively operating any fleet vehicles.
7. Make the Switch to ELD Logs
With the ELD compliance deadline looming at the end of 2017, it’s time for fleets across the United States to make the switch from paper to electronic logs. Save your fleet the hassle and expense of a hurried implementation by learning how to work with ELD devices and electronic driver logs as soon as possible.
Using the DOT Compliance Checklist
To keep your fleet successful in 2017, it’s important that both you and your drivers know and follow both new and established FMCSA regulations. Protect your business from the hassle of a DOT audit by making compliance a priority for your whole fleet.