When it comes to your DOT compliance safety audit, it is important to be prepared. The best way to pass a DOT audit is to be certain that you are in compliance in the first place.

dot compliance pass checklist criteria

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DOT Compliance Services

To assist you in this matter, below is a DOT safety audit guide detailing some of the main points to prepare for.

Drug and alcohol testing

You should have regular drug and alcohol testing as part of employment. To pass your DOT safety audit, you need a drug and alcohol testing program that meets the requirements, including having a set policy and a way to report testing results. Supervisors should also complete reasonable-suspicion training to teach them how to recognize the signs of drivers that are under the influence.

Driver qualifications

As part of your DOT compliance safety audit preparation, you will need to have certain files set up and maintained. A DOT audit will look at both your Driver Qualification File and your Safety Performance File. The Driver Qualification File should contain information such when a driver’s license will expire and driving records. The Safety Performance File includes forms that look a driver’s driving history.


Driver Qualification File Checklist

Driver Qualification File Checklist
Application: Includes previous ten(10)years of employment as a motor vehicle driver. Certified by applicant as being true and complete (15230 CVC, & 391.51 (b)(1) 49CFR) If employed as a USDOT qualified driver, retain in qualification file.
DMV Printout: Current within (30) days of hire date, reviewed, signed, and dated by employer. Retain record (1808.1(a) CVC & 391.21(b)(7&8) 49CFR)
Pre-Employment Controlled Substance Test: Negative/Clear results must be obtained from MRO prior to allowing driver to operate commercial vehicles. Retain record in confidentil file. (34520 CVC & 382.301 49CFR)
Clearinghouse Query: Immediately enroll new driver in the Clearinghouse. Conduct a “pre-Employment Query” Printout Query overview and place in your records. Conduct a “Limited Query” on all drivers every 12 months. If violations are noted, conduct a “Full Query” for violations.
Previous Employer Inquiries: Driver signs consent for previous employer to release confidential controlled substance and alcohol testing information. Employer must inquire of previous employers: Two(2) years for INTRASTATE dirvers (California only) Three(3) years for INTERSTATE drivers. Retain records in a confidential file. (34520 CVC & 382.413 49CFR)
Drug and Alcohol Policy/Educational Materials: Provide new driver with a copy of your policy and educational materials. Obtain a signed receipt for materials provided and retain on file. (34520 CVC &382.601 49CFR)
Enroll Driver’s in a Random Testing Program: Immediately enroll driver in a random testing program. (3452 CVC & 382.305 49CFR)
Record of Driver’s Proficiency Have driver demonstrate ability to safely operate vehicles, vehicle combinations, and accessories. Retain record on file. (1229 & 1234(b) 13CCR & 391.31 & 391.51(b)(3) 49CFR).

Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP)– allows commercial motor carrier companies to electronically access driver inspection and crash records as a part of the hiring process.

Commercial Carriers will have an essential tool for making informed hiring decisions that will lead to safer drivers on our roads. The Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) raises the safety bar for the motor carrier industry and helps to make our roads safer for everyone. Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) offers access to up to five years of driver crash data and three years of inspection data regardless of the state or jurisdiction. By using driver safety information during pre-employment screening, commercial carriers will be able to better assess the potential safety risks of prospective driver-employees. Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) also gives drivers additional opportunities to verify the data in their driving history and correct any discrepancies. A driver’s records will be protected in accordance with federal privacy laws.

Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) is populated monthly by FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS). The MCMIS is comprised of driver performance data including inspection and compliance review results, enforcement data, state-reported crashes, and motor carrier census data.


Hours of Service

Another thing that a DOT complaince safety audit will look at is whether or not your drivers are meeting the hours of service requirements and are keeping their log books complete and accurate. Before you have a DOT audit you will want to make sure that drivers are filling out their logs completely and not going over the maximum hours behind the wheel.

Vehicle maintenance

Part of your DOT compliance safety audit will be verifying that your vehicles are in good repair, and that they have regular inspection, repair, and maintenance rules. You will want to make sure that drivers are doing all inspections properly and maintaining records of these inspections. This includes inspections that drivers do themselves, as well as annual inspections, emergency equipment, vehicle maintenance logs, and the qualifications of inspectors.

Financial responsibility

Your DOT audit will also look to see that you have the minimum level of financial responsibility required. All drivers are required to carry insurance, and business owners will also need to verify that they are properly insured before having a DOT safety audit.

Are you compliant?

There are many ways to make sure that you are compliant with DOT safety regulations before you have a DOT compliance safety audit. There are several companies that offer DOT safety audit assistance and will go over your records to make sure that you are in compliance. In addition, you can order the FMCSA Safety Regulation Books to make sure that you are up to date on all of the current FMCSA requirements.

Keep in mind that every employee should be aware of his or her part in staying compliant with DOT compliance safety audit regulations. The best way to survive an audit is to make sure that you are staying compliant the first time, every time. Sky Transport Solutions provides DOT compliance services.


Automatic Failure Violations

Alcohol and Drug Violations

• No alcohol and/or controlled substances testing program.
• No random alcohol and/or controlled substances testing program.
• Using a driver who refused a required alcohol or controlled substances test.
• Using a driver known to have an alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or higher , also 0.01 (under 21 years old) or higher.
• Using a driver who tested positive or altered or substituted a test for controlled substances.

Driver Violations

• Using a driver without a valid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).
• Using a disqualified driver.
• Using a driver with a revoked, suspended, or canceled CDL.
• Using a medically unqualified driver.
Operator Violations

• Operating a motor vehicle without having in effect the required level of insurance.
• Failing to require drivers to make hours-of-service records (log books).
Repairs and Inspection Violations

• Operating a vehicle declared out-of-service (OOS) for safety deficiencies before repairs are made.
• Not performing OOS repairs reported in driver-vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs).
• Operating a motor vehicle not annually inspected.


Motor carriers must undergo a Safety Audit within the first 12 months of their operations to complete the New Entrant Program.

A Safety Audit is a review of a motor carrier’s records designed to verify that a carrier has basic safety management controls in place to ensure compliance with applicable Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs), and related record-keeping requirements.

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