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Tackle DOT Compliance Head-On

Whether you’re an independent owner-operator or you have a thousand vehicles to manage, you know what a pain staying compliant can be.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when it comes to handling DOT requirements, which is why we’ve put together a list of the 10 best things you can do to keep your fleet out of the Department of Transportation’s crosshairs. Check it out!

1: Get to Know Your Guidelines

Make sure you understand all the FMCSA and DOT guidelines that affect you and your business. While you don’t have to suffer through hundreds of pages of legislation every time a new rule is published, you do need to know what laws affect your operation.

2: Make Inspections a Priority

Commercial drivers must be sure they’re performing and recording all their necessary pre-trip and post-trip inspections. An incomplete inspection record can get you slapped with a DOT violation, so play it safe and pay attention to your inspections.

3: Keep Your Records Current

All your driver records must be kept up to date. This means you’ll need records of the latest driving hours logged, safety inspections passed, and all your current driver qualifications and certificates. You do not want to be caught off guard with a pile of outdated records.

4: Learn to Love the Logbook

ELD usage is about to become mandatory for just about every long-haul driver. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and start looking for an ELD solution now. You’ll want to give yourself as much time as possible to find the right system. Don’t wait until the week before the deadline to make the switch.

5: Keep Your Vehicles in the Clear

If you’re a fleet manager, it’s your responsibility to keep a record of every road incident (fender benders, collisions, etcetera) that involves a vehicle in your fleet. These records are a must for any fleet that wants to stay on the DOT’s “good side”.

6: Know Your Numbers

If your vehicles have DOT identification numbers, make sure these are clearly displayed on each vehicle! Sure, they might clash with the paint job, but the DOT doesn’t mess around when it comes to ID numbers.

7: Start Screening

You know what’s even worse than your typical, run-of-the-mill drunk driving? Paying someone to do it. Conduct employee drug and alcohol tests on a regular basis. This protects the public as much as it protects your business, so don’t slack on the screenings.

8: Keep Consistent

If most of your drivers pass your regular drug screenings, that’s great! But what if a few fail? If any driver fails a drug test, it’s time to remove them from active operation of your fleet vehicles. If a driver is found in violation of drug and alcohol policies, it’s time to take action.

9: Train to Win

If drivers don’t know what they’re doing, how can they possibly do a good job? Make employee training a priority by conducting regular DOT compliance trainings to keep everyone on your team on the same page.

10: Going Forward

To keep your fleet successful, you must know and follow both new and established DOT regulations. Staying one step ahead of a DOT violation means keeping an ear to the ground and doing your research to know what laws affect your operation.