The United States Department of Transport (USDOT or DOT) is responsible for regulating the entire transportation industry. The branch that’s responsible for the trucking industry is called The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

The FMCSA is responsible for enforcing DOT regulations on everything from vehicle maintenance to driver behavior. They use onsite audits, roadside inspections, and scoring to keep the trucking industry safe and efficient.

Every carrier knows that managing DOT violations is a top priority because the consequences aren’t good for business.

Continue reading below as we take an in-depth look at the business impacts of DOT violations.

What Types of DOT Violations Are There?

There are numerous DOT violations which range from small infractions to larger offenses. However, the most common are:

  • Vehicle not adequately maintained – typically brakes, lights, and tires.
  • Speeding, improper lane changes, following another vehicle too closely
  • Failure to test for drug and alcohol use
  • Exceeding the hours-of-service (HOS)
  • Incomplete driver qualification
  • Driver not having a valid medical certificate

There are many DOT violations, and your company will need to stay up-to-date on all of them.

Business Impacts of DOT Violations

Depending on the DOT violation, the repercussions can be insignificant or substantial. Your company may face a fine, a driver could be put out of service (OOS), or both.

These fines could run into the thousands of dollars, and a driver could be late to an appointment at the receiver. A late shipment may make a client reconsider your carrier in the future.

CSA Scores

More than fines and OOS drivers, the most significant impact to your business from DOT violations is points added to your CSA score. The CSA score is a program from the FMCSA that ranks a carrier based on traffic violations, incidents, HOS, vehicle maintenance, and more.

The score is a percentile from 0-100, and the higher it goes, the more attention you get from the FMCSA. As your score rises, it makes it more likely that the FMCSA will investigate you.

That includes going to your place of business to interview employees, and perform safety inspections. These investigations might result in hefty fines or could even place your entire business out of service.

On top of that, insurance companies also factor in your CSA score when formulating insurance premiums and deductibles. You probably already know how expensive insurance costs are, but a higher CSA score can lead to sky-high insurance rates or a denial of coverage.

Most importantly, the best shippers use CSA scores to choose carriers. That means having a low CSA score will cause a company to lose out on the most profitable loads.

Keep Your CSA Score Down

As we’ve just seen, the CSA score is crucial for your business’s success in the long term, and keeping it low is priority number one. Just remember that it’s impossible to control everything, and eventually, you will get a few DOT violations.

However, as long as you stay on top of vehicle maintenance and hire good drivers, your company will flourish.

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