The Department of Transportation (DOT) establishes processes, protocols, and requirements that ensure everyone’s safety on the road. It is crucial that fleet companies comply with such measures, especially with their official checklist. Your fleet can be inspected at any time, so it’s a good idea to be as prepared as possible.

What’s DOT compliance? The DOT has a list of requirements that all drivers and fleet companies must follow. This is also referred to as a DOT checklist used as a basis for the organization’s audits. In this blog, we’ve provided what a DOT compliance checklist would include as a reliable reference.  

The DOT Compliance Checklist

1. Hours of Service rule – CFR49 Part 395

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s or the FMCSA compliance checklist refers to the hours of service regulations. These set a limit to how long drivers can be on consecutive duty. For example, property-carrying drivers have an 11-hour driving limit after 10 hours spent off-duty.

They also cannot drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after duty, and their off-duty time will not extend this period. Drivers will have to clock in their work and off-duty hours for DOT logbook retention. Make sure there are documents indicating each trip’s origin and destination. It also helps to have receipts that show expenses incurred to prove the drivers took the break. Give your drivers a digital means to upload and save their hour logs. FMSCA record-keeping requirements are at retention for at least 6 months.

2. DVIR – CFR49 Part 396.11

The Driver Vehicle Inspection (DVIR) is your driver’s pre-trip inspection. This step ensures that the vehicle is fit for long-distance travel. Drivers need to do this daily, while fleet managers must review the last DVIR and sign off on the listed problems. All issues should be resolved before the commercial vehicle is used again. Your truck driver should also be record-keeping these inspections and your approval.

3. IFTA or the International Fuel Tax Agreement

Consistent records of your fuel taxes based on the IFTA are another integral part of the DOT checklist. The IFTA applies to U.S. states and Canadian provinces and is designed to simplify how carriers pay fuel taxes. Fleets obtain one IFTA license in the state in which their vehicles are registered or in which they have a significant operation. They then submit fuel tax reports each quarter which detail the fleet’s fuel consumption and miles driven across other states and provinces. The taxes you pay are proportional to the miles you drive within those states and provinces are distributed among them respectively.

Staying compliant with the IFTA requires accurate record-keeping of distances traveled and fuel purchased and consumed — a task made easy using fleet management software.

4. IRP or the International Registration Plan

The IRP is an interstate and interjurisdictional agreement that applies to 48 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and 10 Canadian provinces. It allows “payment of license fees based on fleet miles operated in various member jurisdictions” according to the Washington State Department of Licensing. Similarly to the IFTA, the fees you pay to operate through other jurisdictions are paid from your base jurisdiction.

To be a member of the IRP, your “power unit” as described by the agreement must be “used or intended for use in two or more jurisdictions” and it must be used for the “transportation of persons for hire or designed, used, or maintained primarily for the transportation of property.” Trucks must operate over 12,001 pounds and have three or more axles regardless of weight.

5. Drug and Alcohol testing – CFR 49, Chapter III, Part 382

All fleet owners and operators need to participate in the DOT’s Drug and Alcohol testing program. The rule applies to interstate and intrastate CMV drivers. The program also covers dispatchers, mechanics, warehouse workers, and other replacement drivers. Register at a DOT consortium and check out the DOT employer handbook for more information.

6. DQF or the Driver qualification file – CFR 49, Chapter III, Part 392.51

How long do you have to keep driver qualification files? Keep DQFs in your records for at least three years. A DQF is required for each driver employed in your fleet company. It’s especially crucial as a checklist for the qualification of new drivers.

The DQF is composed of eight parts, which include their employee application and a significant portion of their MVR compliance check. What does MVR mean in trucking? MVR or their Motor Vehicle Record indicates which states they have a commercial license or permit for. The DQF will include their MVR for the last three years, an MVR review, and a list of the driver’s violations in the last 12 months.

The last three components of a DQF are a copy of the commercial driver’s license, a copy or original Medical Examiner’s Certificate valid for 24 months, and a note from the Medical Examiner indicating they are on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners List.

7. CDL Endorsements – CFR 49, Chapter III, Part 383.93

Your commercial driver’s license (CDL) endorsements give you the authority to operate different commercial vehicle types. It also allows one to transport special goods. Some examples that CDL endorsements may also require other information in your DQF, such as insurance for hazardous cargo or a background history check on the driver. These endorsements vary per state, so make sure these are updated.

Final Thoughts

Maintaining consistent DOT requirements helps fleet managers conduct their own owner-operator Limited Liability Company (LLC) checklist. The owner-operator report establishes compliance with all the safety rules and regulations of the DOT. Both drivers and other vehicle owners are protected. Have questions about compliance? Netradyne is here to help you keep up with compliance and ensure your drivers’ complete safety on the road. 

Live Webinar on June 6th

What if we told you that you could predict accident reduction over the next 12 months? Netradyne has built a groundbreaking mathematical model that accurately shows the direct correlation between improving GreenZone® scores and accident reduction. Attend the webinar to learn more.
Register Now