How to Get and Stay Ready for a DOT Audit

How to Get and Stay Ready for a DOT Audit

No one likes audits. The word has such a negative connotation, thanks to the IRS. However, DOT audits aren’t about how much money or whether or not you filled out your tax forms correctly. It’s about people going home to their families at the end of the day rather than the morgue.

Regular DOT audits ensure compliance with the regulations and safety guidelines of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). The Federal Motor Carrier Association (FMCSA) is responsible for performing audits. While they can be triggered by a higher than normal incidence of problems, they are most often routine checks to ensure businesses are operating according to standards.

With that in mind, you’ll want to meet and exceed an auditor’s expectations to keep your business running smoothly.

Preparing for an Audit

The best way to prepare is to know what they’re looking for and ensure you’re always ready should the auditor drop by unexpectedly. Here are some suggestions to help you prepare.

Detailed Records

A certified medical examiner acts like a gatekeeper, allowing sober, responsible operators to continue to work and holding back anyone who irresponsibly endangers the people around them. Detailed records are a sign the medical examiners are doing their job.

  • Fill out the paperwork at the time of the appointment. The auditor will be happy if you complete all forms during the appointment rather than trying to recall details at some future date. Our memories are notoriously unreliable as time passes. We lose details as well as credibility. Schedule your appointments so you have time to complete everything before moving on to the next patient.
  • Complete every line on forms: Every line has a purpose. Fill in forms completely so the auditor knows you aren’t skipping steps. Suppose the commercial vehicle operator has an accident and kills someone. In that case, you want to ensure you weren’t partially responsible for the accident by passing the operator when there were obvious signs the operator was unfit to work. As far as the auditor is concerned, if it isn’t written down, it didn’t happen.
  • Prioritize paperwork: Uniformity and organization are essential when filling out exam forms. If the auditor (or worse, an investigator) needs to see a file, you want to be able to pull the file immediately and show them the form they want. It should be obvious you did your job correctly and completely. The best way to do this is to adopt a process for completing paperwork so your work shows consistent quality.

Best Practices

In your certified medical examiner training or DOT specimen collector training, you learn best practices or how to proceed and get the most accurate result possible. All DOT exam clinic employees should aim to exceed regulation requirements. Take pride in your work and acknowledge your employees who do the same.

Mock Audits

Employers should perform mock audits periodically to ensure all employees comply with DOT standards. Mock audits are a great way of finding holes in the training process or areas where employees may need to sharpen their skills. It’s best to find out before an official auditor arrives so you have time to get the office up to snuff.

Review Mock Audits

Review the results with your employees after your mock audit. Employees can ask clarifying questions should there be any discrepancies. Don’t forget to acknowledge the excellent work your team is doing. People tend to perform better when their hard work is recognized.

Course Correction

If an employee gets off track and regularly forgets a step, fills out paperwork incorrectly, or leaves samples unattended, correct the problem quickly with additional training as necessary. Check on their progress regularly until you are confident in their track record. By doing so, you will protect your business, commercial vehicle operators, and the people around them.

Random Drug/Alcohol Testing

An auditor will expect proof of regular random drug and alcohol testing for all employees. It also protects your business should an employee’s actions come into question. Keep records of all employee tests. Require additional testing should any employee give you cause to reasonably suspect drug or alcohol use. Document your reasons as well as the test results.

Ready to Roll

Department of Transportation regulations are a safeguard for the public. Your role in clearing operators before they can work is critical for the safety of your community and communities along the operator’s route.

A DOT audit doesn’t have to be nerve-wracking. With some prep work and cooperation from your employees, your office will be in tip-top shape all year round. You won’t have to worry about when they might pop in because you’re ready no matter when they come.