If you have employees that operate Commercial Motor Vehicles* as defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation, you may be audited by the DOT. Significant violations can result in fines totaling tens of thousands of dollars.
What are they looking for?
Among other things, DOT auditors are looking to see whether you are in compliance with the federal regulations for DOT drug and alcohol testing. If your employees are regulated by FMCSA (generally truck or bus drivers), those regulations include 49CFR parts 40 and 382. These rules are intended to ensure that drivers and companies safely operate commercial motor vehicles on public roads and highways.
Some things DOT auditors look for:
- Do you have a DOT-compliant written substance abuse policy?
- Have Supervisors received DOT-compliant Reasonable Suspicion Training?
- Have employees received educational materials about substance abuse? And can you prove it?
- Are your covered employees enrolled in a random drug testing program?
- Do you have a negative pre-employment test result for each employee?
- Does each driver have a valid medical card?
- Did you request drug test records from employees’ previous employers?
These and many other questions will be asked. If you have everything in order, great.
But, it’s altogether a different story when you’re found out of compliance with the DOT rules and regulations.
Should you be worried?
If you’re prepared, no. If you’re not sure, you should certainly be concerned. Regardless of whether you’re ready, DOT audits take a lot of time, and if you’re out of compliance, can cost you a bundle.
Fines are assessed on a per-violation basis. That is, if the fine for a particular compliance issue is $3,000, and an employer has 10 drivers out of compliance, we’re talking $30,000.
In 2015, DOT regulated companies paid a total of $33,743,434 in fines, an average of $7812 per violation. Following are examples (not all from 2015):
- $6,664 for using a driver after the driver tested positive on a drug test
- $2,760 for using a driver before receiving the results of pre-employment drug test
- $1,580 for failing to implement a random drug & alcohol testing program
- $5,340 for failing to do random drug tests at the required annual rate
- $1,540.00 for allowing a driver to falsify records of duty status
- $1,780 for failing to conduct post accident drug and alcohol testing on driver
- $1,490 for using a driver who is not medically examined and certified
- $2,730 for failing to implement a drug and alcohol testing program
- $3,190 for using a physically unqualified driver
- $3,776 for failing to check driver’s employment background
For our clients who need to stay in compliance with DOT requirements, we have created a DOT Compliance Manual which includes a written policy and all the forms and documents you need to stay in compliance in the event of an unwelcome visit from a DOT Auditor.