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What is the FMCSA New Entrant Program?

The New Entrant Safety Assurance Program covers both Canadian and United States-based trucking and carrier brands. This program outlines a path for the new entrants and organizations to be able to drive legally in the United States. Learning more about the New Entrant Safety Assurance Program can help you determine if your organization should be participating and what steps you should be taking.

Who is a New Entrant and what is the New Entrant Program?

A new entrant is defined as an organization or entity that is seeking an identification number from the Department of Transportation. Businesses that want to engage in interstate commerce or that require Interstate Operating Authority for the first time are considered new entrants. You are considered a new entrant for a set period of time and there are specific safety requirements and regulations you must comply with.

How long does the New Entrant period last?

New entrants are tracked for the first 18 months to ensure that they are compliant with all FMCSA regulations. A new entrant is required to have safe operations, to fully comply with all regulations, maintain accurate and up-to-date records, and pass a safety audit. The new entrant is also required to conduct regular inspections and maintenance to ensure the best possible safety record.

During this initial period, the FMCSA will perform a safety audit and will regularly monitor the performance of the new entrant. Roadside inspections and other methods will be used to ensure the newly registered authority is following all guidelines and maintaining a high level of safety. After the new entrant period ends, the organization will be rewarded with full operating authority, provided they successfully completed all requirements and maintained a record of safe operation.

New Entrants and safety inspections

According to the FMCSA, new entrants will be closely monitored to ensure that they fully understand all safety obligations and that all requirements have been met. Within a year of beginning operations, a review or safety audit will be conducted. This must be performed by a certified investigator; the investigator could be state, Federal, or Province-based (for Canada-based operations). Internal safety audits are also an ideal way for new entrants to uncover where they stand and to get an idea of the factors that need attention before an official audit.

While safety audits measure many factors for new entrants, some issues will result in an immediate fail. From failing to test drivers for drugs and alcohol to employing drivers without a valid CDL, a single area of non-compliance could impact your ability to conduct business. Because of this, businesses considered new entrants should be well versed in FMCSA regulations and be prepared to share their records and results.

Learning more about the New Entrant Program can help you navigate the earliest, most intensely supervised days of your operations and ensure that you fully understand and comply with all regulations. Ideally, once the new entrant period is complete, you will be fully versed in all that is expected of a motor carrier and ready to operate with less intensive scrutiny.

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