Survey: 1 in 4 Carriers Audited Last Year

Lindsey Bergeron

In fact, according to FMCSA violation data from 2020 so far, only 6.7 percent of carriers have passed their audit without a violation.

Is your business audit ready?

A recent Foley survey found that more than 25 percent of carriers had an audit in the past year – and a growing number of these audits are being conducted offsite. “Although there has been a belief in the industry that audits are going down, the data that we’re seeing doesn’t support that, Foley compliance expert Greg Pakiela said. “What we’re seeing instead, is a change in the way audits are being conducted – with a big shift from onsite to remote audits.”

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This shift began almost two years ago when offsite audits were rolled out nationwide, and it’s growing considerably with social distancing requirements. But while the way these audits are being conducted is changing, the expectations of auditors has not.  In fact, according to FMCSA violation data from 2020 so far, only 6.7 percent of carriers have passed their audit this year without a violation. Over 40 percent of these violations represented a more serious acute or critical violation.

The Biggest Audit Traps of 2020 (So Far)

#1: Operating With a Suspended/Revoked/Etc CDL

Although this violation is easy to catch with an MVR Monitoring program, it has been the top acute violation since 2017 – accounting for 33 percent of acute violations so far this year. In almost all cases, it leads to both fines and out-of-service orders.

#2: Failing to Implement an Alcohol And/Or Drug Testing Program

There are a lot of facets that go into running a DOT-compliant drug and alcohol testing program – so unless a company has the support of a reputable third-party administrator, mistakes are easy to make. This is now compounded by the new Clearinghouse regulation, which adds even more drug and alcohol testing requirements for DOT-regulated carriers and their drivers.

Between not implementing a compliant drug and alcohol testing program, and not randomly testing drivers at the required rate, these violations account for 35 percent of all acute violations.

#3: Inquires Into Employment Record Not Kept in Driver Qualification File

Each driver qualification file must include proof of the DOT background checks that must be conducted for each new hire. This documentation must be kept for the entirety of each driver’s employment – plus three years thereafter. This violation has accounted for 10 percent of all critical violations so far this year.

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With the volume of paperwork contained in each file, as well as the documents that must be updated periodically, missing or outdated paperwork is common – especially if it’s maintained in file folders. A safer, more compliant solution is to make the switch to a digital recordkeeping system that ensures documents can’t go missing. If it’s part of a more comprehensive compliance solution, it will also alert you when files are missing or require updating.

An additional benefit of switching to a digital recordkeeping system is that files are ready should an offsite audit occur. Carriers who are still using paper will need to scan all requested files and upload them to the auditor within 48  hours.

Whether or not you’re a current Foley customer, we can help verify that your business is audit ready by identifying any compliance gaps and recommending solutions that will help ensure a successful onsite or offsite audit. To learn more, give us a call at (860) 815-0764.

About the Author

Lindsey Bergeron is Editor of the Foley blog. Serving as transportation guru, she keeps an eye on the industry and its day-to-day evolution and developments, specifically writing about the various lifestyle, business and regulatory topics that are most relevant to motor carriers. Holding a degree in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Connecticut, she ran a successful content marketing firm before joining Foley at its Hartford hub. Her current expertise in transportation writing is built upon an extensive background in editing, feature writing and content development.

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