If you are thinking of starting a trucking company, you have probably heard compliance is very important in the trucking industry. You may wonder what rules you are required to comply with and what agencies will regulate your company.
The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration is an agency within the Department of Transportation that regulates the trucking industry. They have certain rules a trucking company must comply with. The FMCSA has rules for every aspect of the trucking industry. Documentation is key to being compliant with the rules. You are required to document everything from hiring drivers, the amount of money you spend on fuel and where you bought fuel.
According to the website, simplexgroup.net/dot-safety-compliance/ some companies are devoted entirely to helping new trucking companies become compliant with the FMCSA rules. Hiring one of these companies to assist you when you are first getting started is imperative to success.
What kind of rules will I have to comply with?
Whenever a new trucking company opens its doors, it will have a new entrant audit within the first year of its operations. The auditor ensures you are documenting everything correctly and your operations are safe. If they are not you could be fined and shut down temporarily or permanently. They will examine several areas of operation.
When you hire a new driver, you are required to check their driving record for the last three years and be sure they have not had a suspended driver’s license in any state in which they have lived. You must verify their past employment for the last 3 years. New drivers must have a commercial driver’s license, and must be over 21 years of age if they are going to cross state lines during the course of their work.
You must keep electronic records on every driver you employ for at least 3 years. Their file should also include any disciplinary actions against them and any drug test results you have.
Every driver must inspect their truck before and after every shift. They can record their inspections on the same electronic recording device they use to enter their working hours. If a vehicle needs repairs, those repairs will have to be recorded by your mechanic.
You need to keep an electronic file of these inspections as well. The FMCSA takes safety very seriously and will fine you if any records are missing.
Hours of Service
There are strict regulations about how many hours a driver can be on the road. A trucker cannot drive over 11 hours in a 21-hour period. They must record all meal breaks and they must have at least 10 hours of rest between shifts. You will have to keep electronic records of this for 3 years.
An FMCSA auditor will also want to examine records of insurance and tax payments. They will ensure your facility is safe and your drivers are well trained.
The trucking business is strictly regulated, but profitable. Compliance is the first step to success in this thriving and exciting industry.