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FMCSA Will Expand Off-Site Audits in 2019
4 mins read

NOVEMBER 29, 2018 – News out of Washington suggests that motor carriers can expect higher fines and an increase in audits over the next year.

Earlier this month, the FMCSA announced that they’ll begin conducting off-site audits in every state. Although the process has been around for the past nine years, it has rolled out slowly (and quietly) across the nation while the FMCSA determined whether it would enable them to increase the efficiency of their compliance audits. Now that they’ve proven that true, this means that audits will happen faster – and with greater regularity – than ever before.

Have Questions About Your Driver Files Passing the Digital Offsite Audits? We Can Help!

Piggybacking on this news is a final rule published in the Federal Register this week that outlines the new, higher FMCSA fines for the upcoming year. Fines will increase across the board for things such as incomplete or falsified paperwork, CDL violations and evading regulatory requirements.

The takeaway here? With more audits and higher fines coming soon, now’s the time to take a closer look at your business to ensure you’re ready for the off-site audits that are coming in 2019.

How Do Off-Site Audits Work?

Instead of an auditor coming to your place of business and personally walking you through the process, the entire audit process will now be handled remotely through phone and digital communications. For the FMCSA, the process makes sense: they can conduct more audits in less time. But for carriers, the disadvantage is clear: that personal visit gave them the opportunity to establish a rapport with the officer, who would often would forgive small violations and provide advice on compliance gaps. Carriers will feel the loss of this “personal touch” where it hurts the most with more violations likely to be issued – including out-of-service orders.

How Can I Prepare for an Off-Site Audit?

There’s two critical steps all motor carriers should take to make sure they’re prepared for an off-site audit:

  1. Perform a full compliance review to make sure you’re compliant. The best way to avoid handing your hard-earned money over to the government is to make sure there aren’t any gaps in your compliance programs. Unless you’re a regulatory expert, we recommend working with a compliance consultant who can review your business, identify gaps and help you get compliant.
  2. Go digital. If you’re still maintaining paper files, now’s the time to make the switch to an electronic filing system. This will ensure that all of your documentation is complete, available and legible when an auditor comes calling.

At Foley, our powerful compliance portal will help you prepare for these new off-site audits by allowing you to get compliant – and stay compliant. First, we’ll help you build an electronic compliance management system that houses all of your paperwork in one, secure location. Then, we’ll help you maintain that paperwork on an ongoing basis by monitoring document expiration dates and alerting you when DOT physicals, random drug tests and other compliance activities are due.

Ready to learn more? Click here or call (860) 815-0764 for a free compliance consultation.

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