FMCSA To Increase Remote Electronic Motor Carrier Safety Audit Capabilities During Virus Emergency
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced plans to expand the agency’s use of remote motor carrier compliance safety reviews (audits) for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The guidance is important to petroleum marketers and heating fuel dealers because the frequency of safety compliance audits is likely to pick up. Audits have a direct impact on a carrier’s safety rating and ability to continue operations.
The FMCSA may conduct audits at any time for any reason. However, a compliance review is more likely to be triggered by a vehicle accident, roadside inspection out of service order for a driver or vehicle, a complaint, or some other safety related violation.
The FMCSA has been unable to conduct on-site safety reviews since the declaration of national emergency in March. Audits are conducted by federal, state or local enforcement officials.
During an audit, enforcement authorities review the following records electronically: Drivers’ hours of service; Maintenance and inspection; Driver qualification; Commercial drivers’ license requirements; Financial responsibility; Accidents; Hazardous materials; Drug and alcohol testing records; and Other safety and transportation records.
The audits are used to determine which of the three safety rating classifications a carrier falls within – satisfactory, conditional or unsatisfactory. Audits may also result in enforcement actions including out of service orders.
A FMCSA Q&A on electronic audits and safety rating fitness determinations can be found here. Click Here for a copy of the FMCSA guidance document on remote audits.