DOT Creation of Policies and Procedures

Tell me about your training program. What are you doing to make sure your drivers are complying with the rules and regulations?" This is one of the first questions enforcements ask when conducting an audit or investigation at a motor carrier's facility.

The question posed by enforcement relates to a few simple sentences in the FMCSRs. Section 390.3(e) of the FMCSRs states that:

  • Every employer must be knowledgeable of and comply with all regulations in the FMCSRs that apply to that motor carrier's operations.

  • Every driver and employee must be instructed regarding, and must comply with, all applicable regulations contained in the FMCSRs; and

  • All motor vehicle equipment and accessories required by the FMCSRs must be maintained according to all relevant performance and design criteria outlined in the FMCSRs.

How does a motor carrier meet these requirements? The regulation goes no further than what is stated. A motor carrier can meet these requirements by having a comprehensive training program that includes the required training and training that meets the criteria of Section 390.3(e).

Regulations training is an essential aspect of your safety and training program. When an enforcement representative performs an investigation or audit, he/she is looking at a motor carrier's and driver's compliance with the regulations. If a driver does not understand the rules, how can he/she comply?

To fully manage your risk and ensure the compliance of your fleet across the board, you need a partner in establishing policies and procedures that are in line with government regulations and work toward the tremendous success of your business.

With DOT Policy Review and Policy Development from Carolina Blue Consulting, you can leverage our expertise to review, prepare, and implement compliant policies and procedures so that you can avoid liability and harmful exposure.

Our DOT Policy consultants will analyze your current policies and procedures to ensure your business is compliant with all Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR).

Required Driver Training

New Entry Level Training Policy

  • As required in Part 380, Subpart E., A driver who completes this training is issued a training certificate or diploma. A copy must be maintained in the driver's qualification file or personnel file, and it must be available for inspection when requested by enforcement.

  • Driver qualification requirements (Part 391). Instruction on this topic should address medical examination procedures and medical certification. It should also discuss general driver qualifications, responsibilities, and disqualifications.

  • Hours of service (Part 395). Instruction on this topic should address the fundamental limits (driving, on duty, and off duty), a record of duty status (log) preparation, exceptions to the requirements, and fatigue countermeasures to avoid crashes.

  • Driver wellness. Instruction on this topic should include information on essential health maintenance, including diet and exercise, alcohol and drug use and abuse, and stress management.

  • Whistleblower protection (29 CFR 1978). Instruction on this topic should include information on the right of an employee to question the safety practices of an employer without risk of losing his/her job or being subject to reprisals for stating a safety concern.

DOT Application & Required Background Checks Process

  • Driver application with all required information listed in Section 391.21.

  • Previous three years of employment verification and, if applicable, a safety performance history, and drug/alcohol test results (391.23).

  • Motor vehicle record (MVR) check for the previous three years (391.23)

  • Road test and certification (391.31)

  • Three years of DOT physical certifications (391.43)

  • Three years of annual MVRs from the state in three years' worth (391.25)

  • Annual written driver statement of violations, which the driver is licensed (391.25).

  • Three years of signed annual reviews from the motor carrier (391.25)

  • Any waivers granted (391.49).

Controlled Substance Policy – Corporate & Designated Employer Representative (DER)

  • Pre-Employment Drug Test (382.301)

  • Post-Accident Drug & Alcohol (382.303)

  • Random Drug & Alcohol (382.305)

  • Reasonable Suspicion (382.307)

Drug & Alcohol Reasonable Suspicion for Supervisors

  • The most valuable and practical testing, yet the least utilized by most companies. Implementing a drug-free workplace saves your company money and talent.

DOT Requirements for Post-Accident Drug Testing Chart (390.5)

  • A review of driving techniques, such as backing procedures and turning, and procedural issues, such as driving in adverse weather conditions and operating at night, are examples of topics that should be addressed regularly.

Driver Handbook

  • A motor carrier must provide its drivers with its policies and procedures that address meeting these requirements. This training/education of each driver must be completed before the driver's performance of any safety-sensitive functions (including driving).

  • Should company policy/procedure and/or regulation change, retraining would require all of a motor carrier's drivers.

  • Each driver must sign a statement certifying that he/she received a copy of the materials. The motor carrier should maintain the original of the certificate, and a copy should be provided to the driver.

Drug and alcohol (driver)

  • Section 382.601 of the FMCSRs requires that a motor carrier provide educational materials to its drivers that explain the Part 382 drug and alcohol testing requirements.

  • Eleven items must be included in these materials. These materials address many issues, including who is subject to the drug and alcohol regulations, specific information on driver conduct that is prohibited, the procedures used to test, and the consequences of a failed alcohol test, positive drug test, and refusal to test.

Pre-Trip/Post Trip Inspections

Cargo Handling

Driver and Cargo Security

Roadside Inspections

Accident Investigation Policy

Driver Orientation and Training

Defensive Driving Policy

Fleet Safety Policy

Vehicle Maintenance Policy

Hours of Service

  • Electronic Logging Devices (ELD)


  • Getting Started with Hazmat Shipping

  • Hazardous Materials Safety Data Sheets

  • Hazardous Materials Dangerous Goods Regulations

  • Emergency Response Guidebook

  • Communication Standards

  • Shipping Papers (49 CFR 172 Subpart C and 49 CFR 177.817)

  • Be sure to review the retention requirements

  • Marking (49 CFR 172 Subpart D)

  • Labeling (49 CFR 172 Subpart E)

  • Placarding (49 CFR 172 Subpart F)

  • Training All hazardous materials employees, not just drivers (49 CFR 177.816), must meet the training requirements of 49 CFR 172.704. Note that there are five categories. Each employee must be trained in each applicable category every three years. The documentation requirements are specified in 49 CFR 172.704.

'Non-Required' Training

  • How FMCSA Monitors Motor Carriers Safety

  • How to prepare for a US DOT FMCSA Request for Investigation

  • Introduction to DOT Compliance and Safety Guide

  • FWS How to Build a Safety Culture in Your Fleet

  • OSA & Fatigue Management

  • Trucking Cleaning & Safety Tips for Fleets Dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Commercial Motor Vehicle - Reducing Exposure to Coronavirus

As mention changing the safety culture starts with gaining control over the daily activities and work process of your commercial drivers. Written motor vehicle safety policies and procedures help facilitate this be, offering specific standards for all work activities.

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