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Why would a motor carrier fail a new entrant safety audit?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) operates a New Entrant Registration program to ensure that new commercial drivers understand and abide by federal regulations and safety standards. The organization considers all drivers who applied for and received a unique identification number from the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) a new entrant. The program mandates close monitoring of drivers during their first 18 months on the job. This includes a higher number of safety audits than usual.

Driver actions resulting in immediate failure and revocation of USDOT registration

As a new entrant, you must pass all safety audits to retain your registration. According to Section 385.321 of FMCSA regulations, the actions below will result in automatic failure of a safety inspection. The FMCSA records a failed safety audit after one occurrence in these situations except where noted.

  • The motor carrier fails to implement a drug and alcohol testing program for commercial drivers. This refers to both foreign and domestic carriers as well as random and scheduled drug and alcohol screenings.
  • Allowing a driver to operate a commercial vehicle when he or she has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .04 or greater.
  • Allowing a driver who has recently tested positive for use of a controlled substance to operate a commercial vehicle.
  • Allowing a driver who refused to submit to random or scheduled testing for drug or alcohol use.
  • Hiring a driver who does not currently possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

  • Providing authorization to a driver to operate a commercial vehicle when he or she does not possess the proper qualifications.
  • Permitting a driver to operate a commercial vehicle who only has a learner’s permit, holds a disqualified CDL, or who does not have official authority to operate a commercial vehicle in any state due to past violations.
  • Transporting passengers for financial compensation without having adequate insurance protection in place.
  • Operating any commercial motor vehicle when insurance coverage has lapsed.
  • Allowing a person to drive who has physical limitations that compromise public safety.
  • Permitting the use of a commercial vehicle placed out of service by the FMCSA before completing the required repairs.
  • Operating a commercial motor vehicle that has never received a safety inspection. This requires a violation threshold of 51 percent or greater to generate an automatic failure.
  • Not requiring drivers to record their hours of service. This also requires a violation threshold of 51 percent or greater to generate an automatic failure.

If the FMCSA revokes your USDOT number due to a failed safety audit during your first 18 months of employment, you will have the opportunity to apply for reinstatement once 30 days have passed. However, you will need to provide documented proof that you abided by the organization’s requirements to be eligible for reconsideration.

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