The Department of Transportation (DOT) oversees the regulation of trucking companies. They set rules that motor carriers must follow and failing to stay compliant can have serious consequences. Some of these situations affect individual drivers or vehicles and others affect the company as a whole. Depending on the DOT violation that occurred, your team will need to take swift action to address the issue.
Some possible DOT violations include:
Driver: Failed Drug Test
If a commercial driver refuses to take a drug test or the presence of a controlled substance is detected, they will need to cease safety-sensitive duties immediately. The violation must be reported to the Clearinghouse and the carrier will need to give the driver a list of substance abuse professionals (SAPs). In order to drive again, the driver will need to complete treatment and undergo return-to-duty testing. Follow-up testing is also required, and the frequency of this will depend on the SAP’s recommendations.
Driver: Exceeding Hours of Service
Law enforcement may issue a citation for any commercial driver exceeding hours of service (HOS) limits. After this type of violation, the driver will be required to stop driving until they are back in compliance. There is usually a fine for the citation depending on local laws and DOT fines for the driver and/or carrier may also be assessed. A pattern of HOS violations will impact a carrier’s compliance, safety, and accountability (CSA) score.
Vehicle: DOT Inspection Violations
During a roadside truck inspection, a DOT official may find a variety of different issues with a semi-truck. What happens after a violation is discovered depends on the nature of the problem. Some issues are recorded and must be repaired, but the truck can continue to be operated. However, other violations are considered more serious and the vehicle will be placed out of service.
Carrier: Conditional or Unsatisfactory DOT Audit
DOT audits check for a variety of different violations at a company-wide level. If any are found, your carrier could receive a conditional or unsatisfactory rating. For both of these, you will need to pay fines for any violations the inspector discovered and will need to submit a plan for how you will correct these.
Addressing DOT Violations
Preventing DOT violations in the first place is by far the most effective option. However, if you have received a violation, it’s important to address it quickly to avoid interruptions to your operation. The DOT will usually outline what steps you need to take from this point.
Stay Compliant with HDS Safety Services
We can help your trucking company avoid violations with training, drug and alcohol testing services, and more.