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TX-Based Carriers Shut Down, Face Massive DOT Fines and Penalties
Mariah Barr
6 mins read

Foley's ARM Program Can Help You Stay Ahead of DOT Violations

Two motor carriers based in Houston, TX, Texas Interstate Express and PAC Express, have been shut down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

According to the agency, Texas Interstate Express had over double the national average vehicle out-of-service rate and nearly 10 times the national average driver out-of-service rate. The company was selected for a compliance intervention after it had violations documented during roadside inspections.

During those inspections, the company was cited for using drivers who were in prohibited status in the DOT Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, and without commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) or records of duty status. It also allowed drivers to ignore and violate roadside out-of-service conditions.

Texas Interstate Express also began operating as PAC Express, despite the fact that it had been issued an out-of-service order for failing to provide the records requested for its compliance review.

At a later time, PAC Express faced its own compliance review, in which it was found to be “egregiously noncompliant” with several federal safety regulations, committing DOT violations related to:

  • Drug and alcohol testing and use
  • CDL standards
  • Driver qualifications
  • Hours-of-service compliance
  • Vehicle-related regulations

The company did not have programs in place to manage drug and alcohol testing, check the qualification of drivers, nor control its drivers’ hours of service.

In addition to criminal penalties, the carriers may face civil penalties of up to $29,893 for each violation, $11,956 for providing transportation in interstate commerce without an operating authority, and up to $16,864 for operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in interstate commerce without a USDOT number.

A Lesson in DOT Violations & Compliance

Aside from how you should not operate your federally regulated business, this story tells us you can’t outrun the FMCSA once you’re on their radar. If you’ve been cited for a serious violation once, they’re likely to audit you again in the near future.

The key to avoiding the same unfortunate fate of these carriers is to take your compliance efforts seriously and stay ahead of any DOT interventions.

Even if you think you have all your ducks in a row with your compliance programs, how do you know your business is safe from audits and any DOT violations, fines, and out-of-service orders that may result from them?

You need to regularly monitor your audit risk.

ARM Your Business From DOT Fines and Penalties

In early 2023, Foley’s new Audit Risk Monitoring (ARM) program will help you stay on top of your current FMCSA compliance status and see the potential likelihood of your business being audited.

Here’s how it works: once per month, Foley will send a custom safety score report that details your compliance performance to your inbox. The report will offer the following:

  • Your FMCSA CSA Measurement – the lower your CSA Measurement, the lower your potential risk of an FMCSA intervention, such as an audit
  • Your Foley Compliance Score – a review of your drivers’ compliance rankings within the Foley Platform
  • Your score changes over time due to Foley alerts, roadside inspection DOT violations, or crash data

Your performance is based on data associated with your specific DOT number, including five BASIC scores:

  1. Unsafe Driving
  2. Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance
  3. Vehicle Maintenance
  4. Driver Fitness
  5. Controlled Substances & Alcohol

Your company’s ranking in each of these BASICs contributes to your CSA measurement. Staying on top of your CSA measurement is one of the best ways to help reduce your chances of a compliance review. The higher your CSA measurement, the more likely your business is to be selected for an FMCSA audit. It’s best to keep your score near 50 or below.

Need a refresher on CSA measurements? Check out this informative Foley article, CSA Scores: What They Are & Why They Matter.

Get Ready for ARM in Early 2023

Stay tuned for more ARM updates as our official release date gets closer!

In the meantime, if you think your business is at risk of being audited, or you’re facing any of the same compliance troubles as the Houston-based carriers above, talk to one of our experts.

From DOT driver qualification files to Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse compliance, Foley offers the programs you need to prepare for a compliance review.

A FREE demo of our DOT compliance software will show you how easy it is to get on track – and help keep your business free of DOT violations. Start automating your compliance now!

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