March 16, 2015



If you’re new to truck driving, you may not fully understand the DOT New Entrant Safety Audit. The safety audit is a mandatory DOT program and anyone with a DOT number will receive a safety audit within one year of receiving their DOT number

What Does the Safety Audit Involve?

The safety audit consists of a review of the carrier’s safety management system. This includes:

  • Driver qualifications
  • Accident register
  • Driver record of duty status
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • Hazardous materials
  • Controlled substances and alcohol use and testing requirements

Not permitting to a safety audit will result in the FMCSA providing you with a written notice that your registration will be revoked. This will be your operations will be out of service unless you agree in writing, within 10 days from the notice date, to allow the safety audit to be performed.

What can cause expedited action?

There are certain things that can cause you to have an expedited safety audit, compliance review or a required written response demonstrating corrective action. The following are reasons that you may be expedited:

  1. Using a driver not possessing a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).  An invalid CDL includes on that is falsified, revoked, expired or missing a required endorsement.
  2. Operating a vehicle that is out of service for violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations or compatible state laws and regulations without taking corrective action.
  3. Being involved in a hazardous materials reportable incident. This includes a highway route controlled quantity of certain radioactive materials, any quantity of certain explosives or any quantity of certain poison inhalation hazard materials.
  4. Being involved in two or more hazardous materials reportable incidents as described under 49 CFR 171.16, which involves hazardous materials other than those listed above.
  5. Using a driver who tests positive for controlled substances or alcohol or who refuses to submit to required controlled substances or alcohol tests.
  6. Operating a CMV without the levels of financial responsibility required under part 387.
  7. Having a driver or vehicle out-of-service rate of 50% or more based on at least three inspections occurring within a consecutive 90-day period.

What happens after the audit?

Once you complete the safety audit, the auditor will review the findings with you.

  • Pass. If the FMCSA determines that your safety audit is adequate, the agency will provide you with a written notice as soon as they can, but not later than 45 days after completion. Your safety performance will continue to be closely monitored for the remainder of the 18-month period or new entrant registration.
  • Fail. If the FMCSA determines that the safety audit discloses that your basic safety management controls are inadequate, the agency will provide you written notice within 45 days after the completion of the safety audit. Your DOT new entrant registration will be revoked and your operations will be placed out of service unless you take the actions specified in the notice to remedy your safety management practices.

After the 18-month new entrant safety-monitoring period has passed, you will be notified in writing that the new entrant registration designation will be removed and registration has become permanent.

Failures that result in your new entrant registration being revoked

The lack of basic safety management controls or failure to comply with one or more of the regulations list below are failures of safety management practices that will result in a notice to you that your DOT new entrant registration will be revoked.

You will automatically fail a safety audit if found in violation of any of the regulations below.

  1. Using a CMV that is not periodically inspected
  2. Knowingly allowing, requiring, permitting or authorizing an employee with a CDL that is suspended, revoked or canceled by a state or who is disqualified to operate a CMV
  3. Knowingly using a driver who does not posses a valid CDL
  4. Knowingly allowing, requiring, permitting or authorizing a driver to drive who is disqualified to drive a CMV
  5. Failing to implement an alcohol and/or controlled substances testing program
  6. Using a driver known to have tested positive for a controlled substance
  7. Using a driver known to have an alcohol content of 0.04 or greater to perform a safety-sensitive function
  8. Using a driver who has refused to submit to an alcohol or controlled substances test required under part 382.
  9. Failing to require a driver to make a record of duty status
  10. Operating a motor vehicle without having in effect the required minimum levels of financial responsibility
  11. Knowingly using a disqualified driver
  12. Knowingly using a physically unqualified driver
  13. Requiring or permitting the operation of a CMV declared out of service before repairs are made

To learn more about DOT safety audits and how you can work with Progressive Reporting on completing the new entrant audit, call us 866-736-6507 or visit our DOT new entrant safety audit page.


  1. Bram says:

    Thanks for those tip about keeping up to date with your vehicle maintenance. I wasn’t aware that it was such a big part of being compliant with the standards! Do you have any more information about this, such as a video? I am new to this sort of thing and I really want to get a handle on the legal aspects of transportation.

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