Everything You Need to Know About Safety and Compliance in Trucking

Strong Tie Insurance January 4, 2021 Our Blog

The last thing you want as a trucking contractor or commercial trucking company owner is to be penalized for non-compliance with Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

However, with the amount of work already on your plate, it can be easy to let things such as general liability insurance for truckers fall between the cracks.

e, but with the right systems and procedures in place, compliance doesn’t have to be a constant source of stress. In fact, with all of the necessary information, your commercial trucking company will run like a well-oiled machine.

In this article, we will provide you with everything you need to know about safety and compliance in the trucking industry so that you are well-prepared for the future. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about DOT compliance and safety.

Why Trucking Safety and Compliance is Important

The DOT and the FMCSA are responsible for overseeing America’s highway system. To ensure that commercial trucking companies comply with all safety rules and regulations, the two agencies created a set of compliance and safety standards to ensure all drivers and carriers on the same page.

While it may seem like a hassle, DOT and FMCSA safety and compliance requirements were designed to help you run a safer commercial transporting company.

If your commercial trucking company is found to be in violation of any DOT compliance and safety standards, it may cost you more than just a hefty penalty or fine. In fact, failure to comply with these standards could potentially cost you drivers, clients, vehicles, or even your entire company.

10 Trucking Safety and Compliance Laws You Should Know

DOT compliance and safety standards are continually changing and may also vary by region, which is why it’s crucial to keep up-to-date with these laws and regulations’ requirements. This will help you understand what standards are applicable to your commercial transporting fleet.

To ensure your commercial transporting company is up to date with all of the latest commercial trucking DOT compliance and safety laws, continue reading below.

DOT Registration

For commercial transporting businesses that transport goods, DOT registration or motor carrier numbers are needed. In some instances, both might be required.

Failing to accurately represent your company on your DOT registration application form might result in the rejection of the application.

Motor Carrier Operating Authority

United States-based commercial motor carriers of international cargo and international household goods must be authorized for interstate travel, and it must be in effect before any of your drivers can legally travel across federal lines.

Additionally, this also defines the type of service your organization can operate, the type of freight you may carry, and the amount of insurance you are required to have.

Applications for Motor Carrier Operating Authority must be renewed every two years.

Unified Carrier Registration

Any motor carrier that has a DOT number is also needed to have a Unified Carrier Registration (UCR). When you operate commercial vehicles in interstate commerce, your organization is expected to register with a participating area, which is most likely the area you primarily live in.

Any business that sends drivers over federal lines for work-related purposes has to pay the annual tax law under UCR 49 USC 14505a. The tax amount is dependent on your fleet size, including for-hire, private, and excluded carriers. Non-compliance with UCR is subject to fines and penalties.

Driver Qualification

To ensure safe and effective business operations for a commercial trucking company, employees need to have sufficient driver credentials. According to federal law 49 CFR, Part 391 and Part 383 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), a driver engaging in interstate or intrastate traffic from designated states is required to maintain evidence of the legal and physical ability of their drivers to operate their class vehicles.

General credentials include:

  • At least 21 years old
  • Completed road test
  • The ability to meet physical job requirements
  • The ability to read and speak English
  • The ability to safely operate a motor vehicle
  • A Valid commercial motor vehicle license

Additional driver certification might also include:

  • Certificate of violations
  • Driving history
  • Previous employment history
  • Three-year inquiry to state agencies
  • Additional documents relating to the specific driver’s public record

Blanket of Coverage

Per federal law 49 CFR Part 368, a commercial transporting company that crosses state lines with for-hire vehicles requires an agent to process blanket coverage. All the states in which your commercial trucking business will operate must be included in the coverage.

Drug and Alcohol Consortium

Potential transporting recruits or applicants who have not engaged in random DOT testing within the last 30 days must complete pre-employment drug and alcohol testing. Employers might enter a program of the DOT Random Drug Testing Alliance to better coordinate the drug and alcohol testing of the organization.

Supervisor Training

Supervisor training doesn’t extend to self-employed owner-operators.

Supervisors who oversee commercial driver’s license or (CDL) drivers must attend a minimum of two hours of training under federal law 49CFR Part 382.603. This training includes physical, mental, verbal, and performance measures, as well as 60 minutes of training on alcohol abuse and 60 minutes on substance abuse.

DOT Physicals

According to federal law 49 CFR Part 391, before driving any vehicle, commercial drivers operating a specific class of vehicles are expected to undergo a DOT physical examination by a licensed medical professional. DOT physicals must be renewed every 24 months.

DOT Numbers

A DOT number is an identifier used during audits, accident investigations, DOT compliance reviews, and an inspection, where authorities observe the overall safety compliance of your commercial transporting business.

Biennial Updating

Every two years, commercial transporting businesses must update their company’s registration information so the FMCSA can assess your company’s safety compliance ranking.

If your information is not updated, your business runs the risk of receiving a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) deactivation number and additional fines and penalties.

How Strong Tie Insurance Can Help with DOT Safety and Compliance

We understand that DOT compliance and safety in the commercial trucking industry is a complicated matter. However, we hope this article helps you understand what is needed of your commercial trucking business to keep your business running year-round.

If you need help understanding DOT and FMCSA safety and compliance regulations, don’t hesitate to contact our team.

Strong Tie Insurance has been helping commercial transporting companies with their commercial insurance and truck insurance claims for 20 years. Our team of experts is here to make your job easier and less complicated, so you can concentrate on more critical aspects of your commercial trucking operation.

We specialize in offering affordable, personalized, and comprehensive commercial truck insurance coverage options, and we can help you navigate your insurance policies to make sure you select the coverage options that are the most suitable for your commercial trucking business.

To speak with a customer service representative and receive a free insurance quote, you may fill out a brief contact form on our website or contact us at Strong Tie Insurance today.