Explains What Employers and Drivers Must Know About DOT Compliance Explains What Employers and Drivers Must Know About DOT Compliance

To keep roadways safe, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) sets forth and governs rules and regulations for commercial vehicles. If employers cannot act responsibly because of noncompliance, their commercial fleet can face suspension, and they could face fines or jail time. Read the information on this page to learn important information that employers and commercial drivers must know about staying compliant with the Department of Transportation rules and regulations.

Driver Compliance 

Commercial drivers must keep a signed copy of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules that signifies they are adhering to the regulations in the document. Employers must keep on hand qualification and safety records for every driver and hours of service (HOS) logs. Employers must regularly perform random drug and alcohol testing on all drivers. They must keep documentation of pre-employment drug testing along with any reports of drug or alcohol abuse at prior jobs. DOT regulations mandate that fleet supervisors must receive drug and alcohol training.

To obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), individuals must pass both written and hands-on examinations. Individuals may apply for additional CDL license types, which includes driving with passengers or carrying hazardous materials (HAZMAT). Drivers must have a background screening for certain violations or criminal convictions. Individuals must pass a physical exam and receive a document that certifies they don’t have any medical conditions that could interfere with safe driving.

Fleet Compliance

To remain compliant, employers must also keep records of documentation concerning their fleet vehicles. All vehicles must pass a pre- and post-trip inspection performed by the driver. After discovering a safety issue, the driver must fill out and submit a vehicle inspection form detailing the problem and the documentation of the repair. According to, any incidents involving fleet vehicles must have documentation.

Every vehicle must display a visible DOT registration number. Additional documentation required includes bills of lading, dispatch records, expense sheets, and payroll ledgers. Electronic logging devices, or ELDs, record the hours of service for the drivers and replace writing the hours in a logbook. Commercial fleet managers must keep informed of current information regarding the rules and regulations for DOT compliance. Companies, such as Lytx, offer automated tools for fleet management companies to ensure they stay DOT compliant.

Safety and Compliance 2020

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will perform its annual Roadcheck 2020 to Focus on Driver Inspections – Safety & Compliance for 72 hours starting on May 5th, 2020. The focus of this year’s roadside inspection category is driver requirements. During a road check, the inspector will examine driver documents including their license, record of duty status, and inspection papers. The inspection will also cover seat belt use and signs that indicate impairment because of fatigue, drugs, or alcohol. The vehicle inspection portion will include exhaust systems, tires, brakes, lighting, and cargo protection. If there are no violations, the inspector will place a CVSA decal on the vehicle. If the inspector finds violations, the vehicle may need repairs before it’s cleared for the roadway.

Fleet managers and drivers must work together to ensure they meet all DOT compliance requirements. Employers must keep records of all documents that pertain to their drivers and fleet. Drivers must take responsibility while driving and make safety a priority.

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