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How to Prepare for an FMCSA Safety Audit

Would you be prepared for a compliance review if the FMCSA or State Patrol came into your facility today?  With the new auditing process, compliance reviews aren’t the same as they used to be.

For those who aren’t familiar, a compliance review or safety audit is an examination of a motor carrier’s operations by a safety investigator from the FMCSA.  This is used to determine a motor carrier’s safety fitness.

FMCSA safety audits can be on-site or off-site, which involves submitting copies of documentation for review. Inspectors will review things like drivers’ hours of service, vehicle maintenance, driver qualifications, compliance with hazardous material and commercial/economic regulations, and other operational areas.JA Ordered Out of Service by the FMCSA

The New FMCSA Safety Audit Procedure

In the past, when the FMCSA came out to do a safety audit, they would do a full review of compliance with these six areas: 1) accidents 2) financial responsibility 3) maintenance 4) driver (CDLs, FMCSAs, controlled substance testing, driver review) 5) hours of service 6) hazardous materials.

Now, when FMCSA comes out, they’ll be conducting a focused review to address only the problems they’ve been notified of through CSA or a compliant.  These focused inspections may be more detailed than they have been in the past, and the inspectors will be following different process and procedures.

The new safety audits are non-ratable, meaning that even if you pass with flying colors, they can’t issue a new safety rating or improve your CSA scores.  If the inspector does find a problem though, they can lower your safety rating.

Prepare for an FMCSA Safety Audit

Having the correct documentation in place and a good understanding of the process and procedures is essential.  When you get the notice of a review is not the time you want to be scrambling to understand these regulations!  You may not get very much notice – 48 hours in advance is all that is required for an on-site inspection.  Advance planning is key.

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Topics: Transportation