DOT inspections, including roadside inspection can happen anywhere and anytime -- and DOT violations are expensive. That is why drivers of commercial motor vehicles and the owners of the these CMVs have to be prepared for DOT audits. Understanding driver violations and how to prevent them will help to minimize driver violations.
These regulations are in effect to ensure highway safety by providing that all commercial motor vehicle drivers are correctly licensed and have the requisite experience and skills for the job.
Let us dive into some common driver breaches and how the drivers and operators can prevent these.
Working past 14 hours on duty
Under FMCSA's guidelines on hours of operation, "A [property-carrying] driver may drive only during 14 consecutive hours on duty following ten consecutive hours off duty. The driver cannot drive after the end of the 14-consecutive-hour period without first taking ten consecutive hours off duty."
If a driver operates after 14 hours, it is deemed a severe breach of 395.3(a) (2). The estimated fine for this offense is $7322.
Commuting over 60/70 hours in 7/8 days
Under 395.3(b) of FMCSA rules, a driver cannot drive seven consecutive days after 60 hours on duty. This applies to vehicles that do not operate every day of the week, or 70 hours on duty in 8 consecutive days, for vehicles that work every day.
Violating 395.3(b) is considered a severe infringement with a severity weight of up to 7 points and an average fine of $4787.
If a driver takes 34 or more consecutive hours off, the 7/8 successive day cycle can be restarted. A thorough understanding of this rule will allow drivers of commercial motor vehicles to reset their cycle and get back on the road swiftly.
No record of duty status
Under the regulations of FMCSA (395.8a), every 24 hours, a motor carrier shall require each of its drivers to report the driver's duty status. A severity weight of 5 out of 10 will be considered if a carrier fails to do so.
Violations in record keeping are subject to a maximum penalty of $1270/day, up to $12695.
The time records must include the following information:
Falsification of logs is a common violation by drivers that appears regularly among the top violations during the annual International Roadcheck. Falsifying records is a serious breach that can bring drivers out of operation. The infringement bears a weight of 7 severity. The updated penalty schedule5 provides that knowingly falsifying records can result in a penalty of up to $12695.
14.7% of the drivers were out-of-service due to falsified logbooks during the International Roadcheck 2019.
Wrong class license
A wrong class license is another, more common infringement than many people believe.
There are several types of driver's licenses:
The second biggest driver infringement was the wrong class license during the International Roadcheck 2018. Due to this violation, 21.4% of the drivers were put out of work. The percentage rose in 2019, from 21.4 to 22.5.
Fines can be as high as $5732 for commercial driver license violations.
Allowing a driver to function suspended/revoked/etc. CDL
A driver must have a valid license to run a motor vehicle on public roadways. However, as the data indicates, this does not mean drivers, are always compliant with this legislation. This is one of the significant reasons for a violation, which has accounted for 34% of critical violations in 2019.
Operating with a suspended or withdrawn CDL not only results in an immediate out-of-service order, but it can also result in substantial penalties for the motor carrier. The total settled amount for litigation involving a breach of 383.37(a) was $8951, according to an overview of closed enforcement litigation for 2019.
Other most frequent DOT Violations
The following are the other common violations:
Companies use CERTRAX to streamline DOT Compliance
When customers use CERTRAX, most of these breaches can be avoided easily - or atleast risk mitigated. This will include prompt warnings to drivers of upcoming Hours of Service violations, Drivers License validity, Drug & Alcohol testing protocols and pre-and-post trip inspections amongst other things. The system is pretty easy to use and extremely flexible and scalable.
A 15 minute demo can help you save on a lot of time and effort to stay compliant. We also offer a 21 day FREE trial.