Tips to Prepare for a Safety Audit of Your Trucking Company

Pandemic or no pandemic, safety audits are still being conducted by the FMCSA. Of course, you want your trucking company’s safety audit to proceed with no hiccups. In a September 14th, 2020 article in Heavy Duty Trucking, Mr. Dave Osiecki, former DOT safety investigator shared some guidance that can help prepare your trucking company for its next safety investigation.

What Topics Do FMCSA Safety Inspectors Focus On?

CDL, authority, insurance, and red flag violations are all at the top of the list of a safety investigator looking at the ELDs of a company. In addition, the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse also plays a part in the process. A trucking company should be registered with this clearinghouse and following their protocol with drivers.

Stages of the Investigation

The Pre-Investigation

During the pre-investigation stage an investigator checks to see if a company meets ELD standards and if these records can be obtained for examination. The investigator decides how many and which driver records to check.

An investigator chooses drivers with a history of accidents, substandard CDLIS driving records, newly hired drivers and other red flags that pop up.

The Investigation

During the main investigation, an auditor asks lots of questions and studies schedules, fuel receipts, bills of lading, etc. Also, auditors interview drivers about procedure and compare those answers with the company’s established operational procedures. They are looking for inconsistencies. They check reports for edits and follow up on why they were edited. Osiecki summed it up saying, “In the review for falsification, they (investigators) look deeper to see if there are ways the driver is fudging the electronic record.”

How Can You Be Prepared for an Investigation?

Make sure your driver records are clear, organized, and easy to interpret by investigators. Another way to prepare is to have an internal auditing system in place. Having your own auditing system means you’re closely aware of the details in your records.

Finally, you may consider hiring a consulting service to go over your ELD documentation. A consulting service can make you aware of issues so you can solve them before the actual audit happens.