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Preparing for FMCSA Audits: Tips for Staying Organized and Compliant

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

Preparing for an FMCSA audit is critical for any trucking company. These audits can occur at any time, and failing to be prepared can result in fines, penalties, and even the suspension of your operating authority. In this blog post, we'll explore what an FMCSA audit is, what triggers an audit, and the best ways to stay prepared.

What is an FMCSA Audit?

An FMCSA audit is a safety audit conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is a unit under the U.S. Department of Transportation. These audits involve a thorough review of a carrier's records regarding their fleet and drivers. The purpose of these audits is to ensure carrier compliance with the various laws and regulations governing the trucking industry.

During an FMCSA audit, you'll need to provide a wide range of documentation, including proof of insurance coverage, CDL licensing proof for drivers, drug test records, motor vehicle records on drivers, at least six months of driver logs, and at least 14 months of inspection records. The audit will also review your overall safety management controls, which include your driver hiring and retention policies, your drug and alcohol testing program, your vehicle maintenance program, and your hours-of-service compliance.

What Triggers an FMCSA Safety Audit?

There are several reasons why your trucking company may be subject to an FMCSA audit. One of the most common reasons is an accident involving one of your vehicles. High CSA scores, which are calculated based on your safety performance, can also trigger an audit. Failing a new entrant audit, roadside violations, and complaints can also bring an FMCSA audit to fruition. Other reasons that your trucking company may encounter an FMCSA audit include changes in your operating authority, changes in your fleet size, and changes in the commodities you're transporting.

How Do I Prepare for an FMCSA Audit?

One of the easiest ways to prepare for an FMCSA audit is to stay organized. Keeping detailed records on requirements to demonstrate compliance is critical. One of the best allies a trucking company has in their audit efforts can be a trucking management system. A trucking management system allows for efficient document recording and organization, making it easy to provide the necessary documentation during an audit. For example, ZTrucking provides state-of-the-art compliance reporting, and our document recording modules ensure that you have all of your documentation in one, easy-to-find place, stored safely on the cloud.

In addition to staying organized, it's also essential to stay up to date with the latest FMCSA regulations and requirements. The FMCSA regularly updates its regulations, so it's important to stay informed to avoid any surprises during an audit. Regular driver training can also help ensure compliance and improve safety performance, which can ultimately reduce the risk of an audit.

ZTrucking's trucking management system is also useful in helping to keep your safety score as low as possible. Since high CSA scores can trigger more frequent audits, an added benefit of ZTrucking is having to worry about audits less often. Our daily safety audit provides a thorough analysis of your operation's overall FMCSA compliance, informing you of any missing information, issues, or documents that will soon be out of date.

In conclusion, an FMCSA audit can be a stressful and time-consuming experience, but it doesn't have to be. By staying organized, staying up to date with regulations, and using a trucking management system like ZTrucking, you can be prepared for an audit at any time. Sign Up Today to Streamline Your FMCSA Compliance Efforts with ZTrucking's Automatic FMCSA Mock Audits.

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