WASHINGTON, D.C. — Operators from across the U.S. are being audited by Dept. of Transportation (DOT) safety audits. The level of audit activity has picked up markedly since the first of the year. The operators who have reported their experiences to LCT Magazine have passed the audits, but the experiences have been highly stressful. Some audits have gone smoothly and some have been adversarial; much of this depends on the temperament of the inspector and the preparedness of the operator. DOT inspectors have told operators that the increased scrutiny is the result of a Texas bus fire immediately after Hurricane Katrina where several elderly passengers died. The bus was operated by a limousine company.
It’s critical that operators conducting interstate commerce be in compliance with DOT rules NOW, so that they will be ready to pass an inspection if contacted by the DOT. There are several actions that need to be completed, and practices that may need to be changed to remain in compliance. For example, did you know that having your employee records in an unlocked file cabinet could result in a fine by the DOT?
According the NLA, the DOT’s regulations mandate that all motor vehicles designed or used to transport for compensation in interstate commerce more than eight passengers (including the driver) be identified on both sides of the vehicle by (a) the legal name or a single trade name of the motor carrier operator and (b) the operator’s motor carrier identification number preceded by the letters “USDOT.”
Go to these websites for more information on DOT rules and compliance:
www.dot.gov — see “Motor Carrier Companies” for information on getting a DOT number online
www.fmcsa.dot.gov — see “Registration & Licensing”
www.jjkeller.com — several companies in the industry use this supplier for forms and other products that help them with DOT compliance.
Source: LCT Magazine