The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) operates a New Entrant Program for all new motor carriers during their first 18 months on the job. The purpose of the program is to introduce drivers to safety standards and regulations at the federal level. The FMCSA automatically enrolls new motor carriers in the program when they register to receive an identification number from the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT). It will also arrange a safety audit during the new carrier’s first 12 months on the job. But what happens if the new entrant gets a failed safety audit? We’ll take a look at this situation.
Options for New Entrants who have a failed safety audit.
If a entrant fails the first or subsequent safety audits, the FMCSA will send a notice under the guidelines of §385.319(c). The notice gives the FMCSA the authority to revoke the registration of the new entrant. Upon receiving this notice, the new entrant should review it for accuracy and notify the FMCSA if it appears the agency made an error. Motor carriers must follow each of these guidelines when doing so:
- Locate the nearest FMCSA Service Center and request a review of the failed audit by a Field Administrator.
- Explain the error, including what the motor carrier feels the FMCSA did wrong when determining basis safety controls.
- Include any supporting documentation that proves the findings of the new entrant.
The new entrant should then wait to receive notification about the safety audit from the FMCSA.
Possible actions by the FMCSA.
The FMCSA may request more information from the new entrant if it doesn’t feel that it has enough to decide on the appeal. Additionally, the new entrant may need to attend a conference to discuss the disputed items in more detail. It’s important to respond to an information request and/or attend the conference since the FMCSA can close the case if the new entrant doesn’t cooperate.
After receiving all requested information, the FMCSA will notify the new entrant of the status of the administrative challenge in writing within 45 days. This applies to new entrants subject to the rules of §385.319(c)(1). Those subject to §385.319(c)(2) will receive notification within 30 days.
When can a New Entrant request a safety audit review?
All new entrants must submit a request for an administrative review within one of these timeframes:
- If the new entrant doesn’t submit corrective action evidence within 90 days after receiving notice of inadequate safety standards under the guidelines of § 385.319(c).
- If the new entrant does submit this evidence within 90 days under §385.319(c) guidelines and receives notification that the safety standards are still insufficient.
New entrants should plan to submit their request and evidence within 15 days from the date of the original notice. This prevents the FMCSA from issuing an out of service order and revoking the new entrant registration status.
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