Interesting article regarding: FMCSA Will Expand Off-Site Audits in 2019

As we follow several other complementary vendors in our line of work, this article published recently by Foley was an interesting and quick read. Regardless of who you use for your compliance, training and HR solutions, the reality is this article has proven to be correct in the past and it will only begin to get worse as technology moves forward. Please read the article here:

 

News out of Washington suggests that motor carriers can expect higher fines and an increase in audits over the next year.

Earlier this month, the FMCSA announced that they’ll begin conducting off-site audits in every state. Although the process has been around for the past nine years, it has rolled out slowly (and quietly) across the nation while the FMCSA determined whether it would enable them to increase the efficiency of their compliance audits. Now that they’ve proven that true, this means that audits will happen faster – and with greater regularity – than ever before.

Piggybacking on this news is a final rule published in the Federal Register this week that outlines the new, higher FMCSA fines for the upcoming year. Fines will increase across the board for things such as incomplete or falsified paperwork, CDL violations and evading regulatory requirements.

The takeaway here? With more audits and higher fines coming soon, now’s the time to take a closer look at your business to ensure you’re ready for the off-site audits that are coming in 2019.

How Do Off-Site Audits Work?

Instead of an auditor coming to your place of business and personally walking you through the process, the entire audit process will now be handled remotely through phone and digital communications. For the FMCSA, the process makes sense: they can conduct more audits in less time. But for carriers, the disadvantage is clear: that personal visit gave them the opportunity to establish a rapport with the officer, who would often forgive small violations and provide advice on compliance gaps. Carriers will feel the loss of this “personal touch” where it hurts the most with more violations likely to be issued – including out-of-service orders.

How Can I Prepare for an Off-Site Audit?

There are two critical steps all motor carriers should take to make sure they’re prepared for an off-site audit:

  1. Perform a full compliance review to make sure you’re compliant. The best way to avoid handing your hard-earned money over to the government is to make sure there aren’t any gaps in your compliance programs. Unless you’re a regulatory expert, we recommend working with a compliance consultant who can review your business, identify gaps and help you get compliant.
  2. Go digital. If you’re still maintaining paper files, now’s the time to make the switch to an electronic filing system. This will ensure that all of your documentation is complete, available and legible when an auditor comes calling.

Please remember that TSS systems are specifically designed for the Motorcoach Industry and are a paperless system. With proven methods and processes, TSS has met the threshold for DOT auditor compliance requirements of the last six years. Check us out, perhaps we can help you become “Beyond Compliant” in the new year!