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DOT Compliance Essentials for Trucking Companies

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The trucking industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the nation. When a truck gets in an accident, it often results in injury or death. It can also result in danger to the community and the environment where the accident happens. 

According to Simplex, The Department of Transportation is in charge of enforcing laws pertaining to the trucking industry. If your company violates those laws, you may find yourself facing fees and even a shutdown. 

If you are a new trucking company, you will have a new entrant audit within your first year of operations. Passing the exam is essential to your company's survival. 

When you start a trucking company, you must register it as a business with your state. You must obtain a DOT number and purchase liability insurance. You must also document operations every step of the way.

Vet Your Drivers Carefully

Any company is going to review a job applicant's resume and call their references.  A trucking company is legally required to follow certain steps when hiring drivers.

An interstate driver must be at least the age of 21 and have a commercial driver's license. You must check to make sure that they do not have a license suspension in any state call their job references, and verify their employment dates. 

A driver must pass a medical exam given to them by an FMCSA-approved doctor. Applicants must also pass a drug test before they can drive. 

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Records of Inspection

Your drivers are required to inspect their vehicles before and after every trip. They can record their inspections on their electronic logging devices. Records of inspection should be kept on file for at least three months. If a driver finds something wrong with their truck, it must be repaired before it goes on the road. You must also keep a record of the repair. 

Hours of Service

A driver may not operate their vehicle for more than 11 consecutive hours. They have a 14-hour daily window in which to drive and must take a 30-minute meal break during this time. They must record their breaks and non-driving time on their ELD. The device will be connected to their dashboard and it will record every hour that they drive. You must keep these records on file for six months.

Accidents

When you operate a trucking company, some accidents are inevitable. The FMCSA requires you to report accidents that result in injuries, death, or a vehicle to be towed. Your driver will need a drug test after an accident. You are expected to keep a record of the accident and the test results.

DOT compliance is one of the most important parts of running a trucking company. Fortunately, some companies focus entirely on helping small companies with compliance. They can ensure that you will pass your new entrant audit and any audits to come.

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