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4 Critical DOT Compliance Reminders for the 2024 Travel Season
Mariah Barr
7 mins read

Passenger vehicles may be subject to the same DOT compliance standards as commercial vehicles.

'Tis the season for casino tours to Atlantic City, buses ferrying wide-eyed kids to sleep-away camps, and hotels shuttling guests to and from the airport.

If you manage any of the above or other passenger carriers that ramp up during the summer months, this article is for you. Below, we cover four critical reminders about DOT compliance:

  • MVR checks — and why running an initial check isn't enough
  • Drug testing — and the importance of educating drivers about marijuana
  • Criminal background checks — including the "must have" screen if you transport kids and seniors
  • Driver qualification file maintenance — don't let summer schedules affect your DOT compliance

Keep in mind that running an annual MVR check is required, but it's not enough.

If your passenger carriers fall under the watchful gaze of the DOT, you already know you must run compliant MVR checks on your drivers. But in this case, the bare minimum isn't adequate.

The issue: An MVR check looks at a driver's history. But what if they get a speeding ticket tomorrow? Or they're involved in a fatal accident a month from now? Or they lose their license over the Fourth of July weekend because they drove while intoxicated?

In all three scenarios, you must rely on the driver to inform you of their infraction. Some will. Some won't. It's not worth the risk, especially when a budget-friendly solution exists: MVR monitoring.

With MVR monitoring, the initial MVR check sets the baseline. Going forward, you're only notified when something changes on the driver's record. You'll know what's up with a driver's record in real time so you can act if needed. Not all changes are negative, either. For example, you'd be alerted when the driver renews their medical card.

Bottom line: MVR monitoring helps keep roadways safer while reducing your liability.

Educate your drivers about marijuana. (Don't assume that they "get it.")

The decriminalization of marijuana has been celebrated by many, but it's caused big headaches in the trucking industry. Drivers might think they can use marijuana off-duty if it's legal in their state.

It's up to you to remind your drivers that anyone who holds a CDL can't use marijuana, full stop. They can't use it off-duty, even if it's legal in their state. Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, and federal law trumps state law.

You should also remind drivers that if they think they can get away with smoking pot on a weekend or over their summer break, they should think again. The most common drug test for pot can still produce positive results over a month after someone smokes or consumes it. So even if a driver used weed while on vacation in a state where it's legal, they could still test positive three weeks later—and lose their job as a result.

If that's not dizzying enough, consider this: The DOT recently expanded its drug-testing procedures to include oral fluid testing, which has a much smaller detection window. This means if someone smoked marijuana on vacation but took a drug test three weeks later, they wouldn't test positive.

But saliva testing isn't widely available yet. So again, the best counsel you can give your drivers is to avoid marijuana products altogether. Given some of the environments that drivers might find themselves in—music tour buses, party charters, and the like—temptations will abound. You must reiterate this message regularly.

Add this background check if you're shuttling around vulnerable populations.

DOT background checks include MVR checks, safety performance history, and drug tests — not to mention all the FMCSA Clearinghouse requirements.

You might think that's already a lot. But if your passenger carriers and buses are hauling around precious cargo like kids and seniors, consider going deeper with the background check process. We recommend running a criminal history search that includes the sex offender registry.

Don't let your driver file maintenance become a victim of an "island time" mindset.

Listen, we get it. Even if summer is your company's busy season, you and your staff still have vacations planned. It can be easy to lose track of things, especially all the components that go into a compliant driver qualification file.

You might even think, "I'll just organize everything when I return."

But you never know when the DOT will knock on your virtual door. When they tap you for a compliance audit, you must produce digital files quickly — or else face pricey consequences.

Luckily, there's a software solution that can manage your driver files AND recruit the best drivers for passenger carriers.

Check out our all-in-one solution, Dash. With Dash, you can recruit, screen, and manage compliance in one easy-to-use platform.

And when you need to get your driver qualification files, MVR checks, or other driver compliance requirements in order, our DOT compliance programs are here to help.

Get a demo of the Foley platform and see for yourself how easy it is to use. Fill out the form below and one of our compliance experts will reach out to help you get compliant before the summer rush begins.

Fill out this form and a member of our team will reach out shorty.

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A Foley expert is ready to help your company create a streamlined hiring, screening, and onboarding process that's easier for your candidate and team, while keeping you compliant with DOT and FMCSA requirements. Fill out this form, and we'll schedule a time for a personalized online demo of Dash.

Whether you’re looking for a quick background check, or a comprehensive DOT compliance solution, Foley can help.