Are audits conducted at random, or is there a rhyme and reason as to who is selected by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)?
There are quite a few triggers that can spark an audit from the FMCSA.
That being said, your drivers and your company are not just being pulled out of a hat when chosen to be audited by the FMCSA.
Being subject to an audit can be intimidating. But the important thing is to remember that safety is the top priority, and an audit double-checks that all safety measures are in place and being adhered to.
Here is a sampling of what you can expect from an FMCSA audit:
- The FMCSA will let you know which audit they are conducting beforehand via phone or mail
- An FMCSA-certified auditor will conduct it either at the carrier’s business premises or electronically
- You will likely need to submit documentation to verify effective safety management controls, drivers, vehicles, general operating procedures, or any relevant records.
FMCSA audits are not exactly chosen at random–there is typically something that triggers an audit, and it is usually related to safety. The following are the top four reasons why you may be audited by the FMCSA.
If you are a new carrier, you will likely undergo a new entrant audit at some point during your first year.
Everything you do will likely be more closely monitored to ensure you are complying with the highest safety standards.
Unlike other audits, new entrant audits are typically conducted off-site.
Safety compliance does not end after your first year of being a carrier.
It continues to be monitored through the Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) program, which tracks any negative safety occurrences that may happen during roadside inspections, accidents, or investigations.
This is recorded in various categories of the Behavioral Analysis Safety Improvement Categories (BASICS). The more negative safety events accrued, the more likely you will be audited by the FMCSA.
#3 Several Safety Complaints
As previously mentioned, safety is the overall goal of the FMCSA, which maintains a National Consumer Complaint Database.
This helps hold drivers accountable by their fellow drivers, consumers, and industry professionals by encouraging them to contact FMCSA with feedback on a carrier’s performance.
Accidents can happen at any given moment. And while the carrier may not have been at fault, they are typically investigated to ensure all safety protocols are followed.
However, the more high-profile or accrued accidents on file or investigated, the more likely you are to undergo an eventual FMCSA audit.
These audits are ultimately in place to help ensure that carriers are practicing and complying with safety protocols.
At NMS Management Services, we help you keep safety a priority through our various DOT compliance services, from background checks to drug and alcohol testing. Contact us today to learn how we can help your business keep safety a top priority.