DOT Compliance: Understanding the Many Facets of the Government's Requirements for Trucking Companies
The Department of Transportation (DOT), has many rules of the road for all kinds of drivers. Some of those rules are meant only for the trucking industry. A lot of trucking companies get started without realizing that they have to meet certain criteria for the DOT in order to operate their businesses. That is a problem, because the DOT can actually issue thousands of dollars in fines for non-compliance. It gets even worse if a driver gets into an accident and the trucking company was not in compliance with some of the major requirements for operation. Before you get started on opening up a trucking business, take a look at some of the following DOT requirements, and why DOT compliance is so important.
No Drunk Drivers
The DOT requires that all semitruck drivers be tested for alcohol and drug use prior to being hired. Even after you have hired someone that has passed the drug screening, you still have to provide the documentation for the tests to the DOT. This eliminates the possibility of being sued and/or fined for non-compliance (on top of being sued for hiring someone who is often too drunk or under the influence to be handling heavy machinery).
Only Licensed Qualified Drivers
You would assume that only fully licensed and capable drivers would apply for a commercial driving job. However, you would be surprised that many people who cannot drive a semitruck apply for a job. Some people just think that you will train them or pay to train them, not knowing that it takes one to two years to become fully educated and accredited to drive a semitruck.
The DOT manages licensing, which is why you are supposed to check with them prior to hiring anyone who says he/she has a commercial driver's license (CDL) for heavy freight trucks. No license, training, or education should all be big, fat "no's" when applicants come to you looking for a job. The DOT will check your files to make sure everyone for you that is driving a truck is licensed and accredited.
The Weight of Your Trucks
Another factor is the weight of your trucks. Trucks should be constantly weighed at weigh stations, or if possible, at a scale on your trucking company's property. The weight restrictions exist to prevent break failure and fatal crashes. Failure to have properly weighted trucks becomes a very expensive lesson in the trucking business.