FMCSA SAFETY AUDITS – THE REMOTE OPTION

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It is November and the transportation industry as well as the rest of the world is still being impacted by
COVID. Many individuals and companies are still working remotely. Returning to some of our offices
has occurred; however, the on-site work force has been limited to 75% or less capacity.
Some companies or entities are using this time to rethink how their operations will work moving
forward and how to make the most of its staff working remotely. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration (FMCSA) is no different. On May 20, the FMCSA said that they will, “leverage all
available technology to access information and records and thus limit exposure risk for the regulated
community and safety investigators.” The FMCSA also announced plans to immediately expand the use
of remote motor carrier safety compliance reviews during the COVID-19 pandemic. 1
Since the start of the pandemic the FMCSA has been changing the scope of the off-site reviews
historically reserved for the new entrant audit, focused audit, and interventions to now include
compliance reviews typically held at motor carrier’s facilities. One Critical aspect of which everyone
needs to be aware is that these compliance reviews are just as serious as the onsite reviews and they
will be assigned safety ratings without, in some cases, the on-site review ever taking place.
Also, because the safety investigators are working remotely, the total number of compliance reviews
they conduct even in this year of closed offices will be at or near the same level as 2019. The biggest
difference is the number of off-site reviews the FMCSA and its state enforcement partners have already
conducted this year-nearly three times the number of remote audits conducted in 2019 — 3,582
through the end of July of this year compared to 1,374 for all of 2019. 2

Overdrive photo
This change means that more companies, especially those with alerts on their CSA profile, can expect to
hear from the FMCSA. Also, new companies entering the industry can also expect to have their entrant
Transportation Compliance Consultants, L.L.C. News –
Driving Effective and Resourceful Safety and Compliance
Solutions for the Transportation Industry
November 16, 2020

  1. Miller, E. (2020). FMCSA to Immediately Expand Remote Carrier Compliance Reviews
    During Pandemic. https://www.ttnews.com/articles/fmcsa-immediately-expand-remotecarrier-compliance-reviews-during-pandemic
  2. Jaillet, J. (2020). Smallest carriers, the largest share of DOT audits, now face increased
    offsite scrutiny. https://www.overdriveonline.com/smallest-carriers-dot-audits-increasedoffsite-scrutiny/
    audit sooner rather than later. So, companies need to be diligent in monitoring their CSA scores and
    adherence to the safety and compliance regulations. Extra attention to your safety and compliance
    department and efforts will be paramount.
    If you have any questions regarding how to prepare or determine if you will be on the audit list, please
    contact TCC. We will help you determine if you are at risk of being audited and how to prepare. We can
    be reach at 281-453-2180 or at info@tccdot.com.
    Below are several links to articles that address this audit process change.
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