One of the easiest ways to make sure you are playing by the DOT’s rules in trucking is to develop your own DOT compliance checklist. DOT regulations supply plenty of requirements for you to choose from, but as we’ve discussed in this blog before, they tend to lean on legal jargon that makes you fall asleep.
So here are a few items that must be on any DOT compliance checklist, in simple terms.
- Up to date driver qualification files: We’ve talked about this topic time and time again on this blog and there’s a good reason for that. Safety demands that your business remains on top of your drivers’ required records. Everybody should have recent driving records, CDL with the proper endorsements, and an up to date medical examination. No driver should be on the road without those things
- Logs: If you're not on ELD's yet, what the heck are you waiting for? Drivers aren't going to quit. ELD's make this a non-issue and all but eliminate form and manner violations during a roadside inspection. Stop dragging your feet if you haven't done this yet! Shame on you for waiting till the mandate.
- Complete history of accidents and other incidents: If it happened on the road, you have a full report on it. Even if the said incident ended in no liability for your company (maybe some idiot on a cell phone smashed into one of your trucks) you want to save all of that paperwork forever to cover yourself. Go paperless. It will save you time when you get a call one year and ten months after the incident where back pain magically started presenting itself.
- Timely drug screen program: DOT regulations demand that you keep all pre-employment drug testing for all of your drivers and that you randomly test at least half of them every year. Follow the steps the DOT tells you to exactly: notify drivers that they will be tested, test them immediately afterward, and take appropriate measures to pull drivers off of the road immediately if necessary. The DOT loves to fine companies who seem to take a little too long to get all the paperwork together for a driver who failed a test and needs to go into a substance abuse program. Be sure your safety team knows the drill and takes care of those things right away.
- Document annual reviews – but make them less painful: We mentioned in our previous blog post that annual reviews are not always done correctly. Some companies are lazy about them, reducing the process to just two people signing a sheet of paper. It should never be that way. Make sure all is well with your drivers and actually talk to them about the job. You may discover problems you didn’t know of in this way. Create a simple one-page expectations contract that clearly defines your expectations for the driver and driver's expectations of you.
These are just five of many responsibilities you have in ensuring you’re DOT compliant. If your team needs a hand with these things, a compliance software system like A-Suite Compliance could be helpful in organizing these records for you or even auditing them for accuracy. Having a thorough DOT compliance checklist is essential in keeping your drivers safe and your money in your wallet.