Maintaining Protocols to Avoid Violations - News

Maintaining Protocols to Avoid Violations

Brandon Scott - Staff Writer
Apr 4th 2022 8:00AM

Recently, the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) released what were found to be the top four violations for fiscal year 2021. These violations are often mistakes that drivers seem to be unaware of, or are simply negligent to the fact that they can do harm to their companies as well as their own financial livelihood.

Take a look at the list provided by FMCSA. If you’re a driver, consider what your current standing is in relation to the violations listed. If you’re someone representing a company, maybe in a safety department or perhaps in qualifications, keep in mind that these violations can often be avoided by implementing proper onboarding and monitoring protocols.

#1: Driver Operating with a Suspended or Revoked CDL

This specific violation has remained the top legal infringement over the past five years, it accounts for over 30 percent of total acute violations.

Carriers are well aware that drivers cannot legally be placed behind the wheel of a commercial motor vehicle without a valid CDL, meaning the license is in good standing and not under suspension or revocation. However, with many carriers having to constantly monitor large fleet sizes it makes sense that drivers can sometimes fall through the cracks.

When the average amount for a fine in this instance comes to almost $9,000, carriers would be wise to implement a regular MVR monitoring protocol. Perhaps running an MVR on each driver every so often can help lessen the chances of a such a violation. Keep in mind, placing the onus on a driver to continuously monitor their own legal license status is probably difficult to count on. Drivers already have a lot to deal while they’re out on the road.

#’s 2 & 3: Failing to Implement an Alcohol and/or Drug Testing Program

The second and third most common violations are in regard to carriers developing and maintaining a DOT compliant drug and alcohol testing program.

A program such as this includes a protocol that follows pre-employment drug testing, random testing, and post-accident/reasonable suspicion tests. It would behoove carriers to have a stringent drug and alcohol testing program in place, otherwise the average fine for not enacting such a code can reach an average of around $8,300.

There are vendors out there that specialize in managing a drug and alcohol compliancy program, and it’s sure to be more cost effective than allowing drivers to traipse across the country without having met DOT (Department of Transportation) drug and alcohol testing requirements.

#4: Allowing a Driver to Possess Multiple CDLs While Driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle

Permitting a driver to operate a CMV while in possession of multiple commercial driver’s licenses is the fourth most common, and avoidable, violation.

States are supposed to routinely check that drivers do not have more than one license at a time, but the system can often allow for some instances to go unnoticed. This means that the onus can fall on the carrier to ensure this situation is either addressed at the forefront of employment, or else risk an average fine of about $8,300.

A DOT background check provider can help set the tone for making sure the nature of this violation rarely reaches fruition. Often, there are lists provided that show how many commercial licenses a driver has had, and which ones are current or expired.

Whether you’re a driver whose aim is to keep their record spotless and clean, or you’re a fleet owner or carrier wanting to make sure these simple steps are taken to help ensure violations and fines are curtailed, it would be wise to consider developing a process that works best in all cases.

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