The Most Frequent DOT Violations and How to Address Them

Semi truck cargo transport delivery in motion

To ensure the safety of drivers and other road users, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) both lay out regulations for fleet operations. Adhering to these regulations is essential for any transportation business.

Here, we’ll explore some of the most common DOT violations that affect fleet operators and how Fleetworthy Solutions™ can help your organization achieve higher safety and operational standards.

Understanding DOT Violations: The Common Pitfalls

Fleet owners must follow the regulation set out by the FMCSA, and a failure to do so may lead to a DOT audit. Some common violations include:

  • Poor driver conduct
  • Poor vehicle maintenance
  • Failure to comply with hours of service requirements
  • Erroneous logbook records
  • Mechanical failures
  • A high number of DOT-recordable crashes

Issues are recorded under a program known as Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA). CSA operates its Safety Measurement  System (SMS) that uses data from roadside inspections and crash reports to address issues with carriers it deems a risk to public safety.

A high number of regulation or compliance violations can result in a variety of consequences for carriers, ranging from warning letters (for minor violations) or an audit if the number of issues exceeds a set threshold.

Fleetworthy provides tools to help fleet owners stay on top of DOT maintenance requirements, follow best practices, and ensure compliance, maintaining a high level of safety for all.

Logbook Errors: More Than Just Paperwork Mistakes

Large fleets generate a lot of paperwork. A driver’s logbook should include information about their hours of service, distance, on- and off-duty times, dispatch records, and more.

Errors in a logbook could cause serious problems. If drivers aren’t tracking their duty hours accurately, they could go over their maximum hours, leading to fatigue, reduced alertness, and potential accidents. Even if drivers stay within their duty limits, inconsistent logging could raise alarm bells with the DOT and lead to a poor CSA score and a potential audit.

Fleetworthy offers logging tools to help fleet managers better oversee their drivers. Our systems don’t just support hours of service reporting; they also help monitor expenses, routes and other data, providing an all-in-one system for driver management and compliance.

Mechanical Failures: Preventing Breakdowns Before They Happen

Poor vehicle maintenance is another common cause of DOT violations. Common vehicle issues include:

  • Broken lamps or reflectors
  • Inoperative breaks
  • Improperly secured loads
  • Overloaded vehicles

Regular vehicle inspections and preventative maintenance can help prevent such issues. Drivers should be trained to perform a quick inspection of their vehicle before the start of each job, covering basics such as tires, lights, and brakes, as well as ensuring the vehicle is properly loaded.

All vehicles in the fleet should be properly inspected and serviced regularly. Fleetworthy’s fleet safety and compliance solutions can help organizations monitor the condition of their fleet, reducing the risk of mechanical failures.

Advanced Fleet Management Solutions: Your First Line of Defense

Proactive maintenance and regular driver training are the most effective options for avoiding DOT violations. It can be difficult to keep track of a large team of drivers and a fleet of vehicles. 

Fleetworthy’s driver safety and compliance software helps employers ensure compliance with regulations relating to hours of service, driver qualifications, and drug and alcohol testing.

Meanwhile, the extended fleet services solutions include intelligent compliance software and tools to track mileage, maintenance, tax, etc. Combined, these solutions give fleet managers visibility into every area of the fleet so they can ensure safety and compliance at all times.

Leveraging Technology for Compliance: A Closer Look at Fleetworthy’s Solutions

The FMCSA regulations are detailed and complex, and it’s not always easy for a fleet manager to keep track of every aspect of the fleet and what needs to be done. To ensure compliance, there is a need for reliable data accessible in an easy-to-use form and support from people who understand the complexities of FMCSA requirements.

Fleetworthy offers a suite of tools to help fleet managers avoid DOT regulations. The dashboard covers drivers and assets, offering an at-a-glance view of everything from background checks, hours and training to permits, taxes, and regulations. Fleet managers can configure notifications for when a vehicle needs to be serviced, a driver needs training, or some other actionable event occurs. Extraneous information can be easily filtered out, allowing managers to focus only on what needs their attention.

Cultivating a Culture of Safety Through Driver Training Programs

Dangerous driving is a major source of DOT violations, as is an excessively high accident rate. Safe, responsible drivers are far less likely to have accidents. 

Regular training is essential because it educates drivers on current best practices for road safety, reinforces good habits drivers already have, and helps maintain engagement. It’s all too easy for drivers who spend a lot of time on the road to become complacent or develop bad habits, and training helps mitigate that.

Our driver training program is delivered by a network of expert partners with knowledge in all areas of health and safety and is tailored to the needs of drivers. Having a provable, reliable program that teaches important skills may help protect fleet managers from litigation and assist with keeping drivers safe.

Steer Clear of DOT Violations with Fleetworthy Solutions

DOT violations can be difficult for any fleet manager to deal with, and the best solution is to avoid them. With proper fleet maintenance, accurate logging, and regular driver draining, you can ensure all aspects of your fleet’s compliance are covered. This lowers your risk of DOT violations, and your fleet and your drivers will be safer when on the road.

To learn more about our fleet management solutions and how they can help you achieve and maintain DOT compliance, contact us today to request a free demo.