As a business owner or employee of a business, you likely have to send out items or even transport people. You want to ensure your shipment gets to its destination safely. There are many rules and regulations for the trucking and shipping industry, but as long as you follow them, your business should continue operating smoothly.
Compliance with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is key to operating your business. It’s best practice for any business to stay up-to-date with new laws and regulations. However, some things within trucking compliance stay the same.
What should business owners know about trucking compliance for a smooth operation? Here are some tips for your business.
What Is Trucking Compliance?
First, you need to understand the basics of trucking compliance. Trucking compliance refers to drivers and businesses meeting standard safety rules when operating vehicles. When someone from your business is traveling and hauling a shipment, they must follow all state road rules.
Anyone in your company involved in vehicle operation, from a lead driver to human resource managers, should know the basics of trucking compliance. When you bring your product to a trucking company, someone will take it to a destination, which could be in your state or out-of-state. The person carrying the product must maintain compliance with the Department of Transportation.
Therefore, before sending a product, you must review your driver’s compliance records to ensure your product travels safely and holds to the rules and regulations of the roads. Here are some things to keep in mind when shipping a company product or sending an employee to another state.
Completing a Registration Form
If you’re new to shipping out your business’s products, you’ll need to complete a compliance registration form. Since the DOT oversees the regulations for your business when you transport goods and services, DOT registration requires that you correctly fill out these applications.
Company owners sometimes fail to fully complete the applications, resulting in an extended waiting period to get your application back. It might also be rejected. Additionally, you may have to register as a motor carrier with the FMCSA, but know that not all transportation companies require this.
Applications and forms depend on the types of vehicles you use and what kinds of products you need to send. Once your application is accepted, you’ll get a new entrant registration and a DOT number.
Participating in Compliance and Safety Audits
Within your new entrant period, which is 18 months long, the new entrant has to maintain compliance by safely operating the vehicle and going through inspections. There are also compliance audits within this time. If passed, your driver can be granted permanent authority to haul your products.
Safety audits usually occur within the first 12 months of getting your trucking compliance. Ensure your driver prepares for this by ensuring they’re not involved in alcohol or drugs, have been using a valid driver’s license, have insurance on the vehicle, getting necessary maintenance and repairs, and regularly inspecting the vehicle. The new entrant will pass, and the FMCSA will continue to monitor the driver’s performance and compliance.
Monitoring BASICs Status
The FMCSA uses Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) to outline safety measures for motor vehicle carriers. Within these categories, the FMCSA can determine a Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) score for your drivers.
Throughout the initial entry period and even beyond, you as a business owner or employee can monitor the status of your driver using the BASICs categories. This will give you insight into how safe your carrier of products compares to other companies.
These improvement categories include:
- Maintenance of the vehicle: This consists of any repairs the driver fails to perform, like lights that go out, brakes, or other defects.
- Unsafe driving: Your driver can improve upon bad driving habits, like reckless driving, speeding, not wearing seat belts, and improper driving rules.
- Hours of service: The driver should be logging correct hours into logbooks and could get in trouble if they’re incomplete or inaccurate.
- Driver fitness: Drivers should be physically fit when transporting products.
- Controlled substances or alcohol usage: If a driver has been using or has possession of either of these, there are serious consequences.
- Crash indicator: As a business owner, you’ll get to see a history of crashes your driver has been in.
- Hazardous materials: Leaking containers or packaging that doesn’t indicate hazardous materials calls for a reevaluation of the driver.
The driver hauling your products must comply with each of these categories for safe traveling and shipment. Failing to comply results in a failure of safety audits, which means the driver’s registration will be revoked.
Compliance Ensures Your Company’s Products Arrive at Their Destination Safely and Securely
If you’re going to ship products throughout the country, you need to have trucker’s compliance for your driver. No matter what you’re sending, having trucking compliance ensures your product arrives safely and your reputation remains intact.