The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires all new carriers to participate in the New Entrant program during their first 18 months of employment. A new entrant does not have a domicile in Mexico and holds an identification number with the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT). New entrants are also involved with interstate commerce. Before motor carriers can become new entrants, they must complete Form MCS-150 Combined Motor Carrier Identification Report.
Expectations of new entrants.
First, a new entrant must satisfy all pre-operational requirements. Once the FMCSA is satisfied that has taken place, it will begin an 18-month monitoring process. The agency specifically monitors the following:
- The roadside safety performance to ensure that the new entrant has effective safety management controls.
- An initial safety audit after the new motor carrier has had sufficient time to acclimate to operations. This gives the FMCSA time to evaluate whether its safety management controls are effective.
If the FMCSA feels that the new entrant does not demonstrate basic safety controls, it may revoke the motor carrier’s new entrant status.
Understanding the safety audit and compliance review process.
The FMCSA assigns a United States federal safety investigator, provincial enforcement officer, or state enforcement officer to conduct the initial audits. In addition to the motor carrier, the safety auditor may ask to speak with drivers, managers, mechanics, or other members of the motor carrier’s staff. This will occur within the first 12 months after starting the new entrant program. Some are random while others occur only after the FMCSA receives safety data that indicates problems. These audits typically take place at the principal place of business of the motor carrier.
Motor carrier actions resulting in automatic failure of the safety audit.
The FMCSA has established the following standards regarding automatic failure for drug and alcohol violations:
- Not having a drug and alcohol screening program in place, including random testing
- Allowing a driver to work who didn’t complete mandatory follow-up after a positive drug test
- Allowing a driver to work with a known blood alcohol concentration (BAC) greater than .04 percent
- Allowing a driver to work who has refused to take a drug or alcohol test
Other situations that will cause the motor carrier to fail the safety audit include:
- Using a driver who doesn’t hold a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL)
- Allowing a driver who doesn’t meet medical qualifications to drive
- Using a disqualified driver regardless of the reason
- Allowing a driver to work with a canceled, revoked, or suspended commercial driver’s license (CDL)
- Not requiring drivers to record their service hours
- Allowing the operation of any vehicle without proper insurance
- Operating a commercial motor vehicle that hasn’t undergone regular inspections
- Operating a vehicle subject to an out of service notice
- Not performing the required repairs of an out of service order
Any new entrant who fails a safety exam must complete a corrective action process to avoid having the FMCSA suspend its registration.
Make sure you’re in compliance with insurance requirements.
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