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Before a motor carrier of property or passengers begins interstate operations, it must register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and receive a USDOT number. To apply for a USDOT number, you must complete the on-line registration and application package (form MCSA-1) on the FMCSA web site at http://fmcsa.dot.gov. After a new entrant satisfies all applicable pre-operational requirements, it will be subject to the new entrant safety monitoring procedures for a period of 18 months. During this 18 month period the motor carrier’s roadside safety performance will be closely watched to ensure basic safety management controls are in place and effective. The motor carrier must: operate safely, maintain up-to-date records, conduct periodic maintenance and inspections and submit to a Safety Audit. The Safety Audit which will be conducted within 12 months of applying for registration for property carriers and 6 months for motor carriers of passengers. A new entrant motor carrier who has not yet participated in a Safety Audit and whose safety data indicates a problem or potential problem with their safety management controls may be subject to a Compliance Review / Investigation instead. It is extremely important to ensure the information provided to FMCSA (MCSA-1) is correct and current at all times and updated according to the schedule found in 49 CFR 390.19 (b). Failing to have the correct and current information on record may result in your carrier operations being placed Out of Service.
A Safety Audit is an examination of the new entrant motor carrier’s operation and to provide educational and technical assistance on safety, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and, if applicable, the Hazardous Materials Regulations. The purpose of the Safety Audit is to gather critical safety data in order to assess the motor carrier’s safety performance and ensure basic safety management controls are in place and effective. The Safety Audit is strictly pass or fail with no safety rating established or fines assessed. All interstate motor carriers in the New Entrant Safety Assurance Program, unless exempted under Map-21, must submit to either a Safety Audit or Compliance Review.
The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety receives an annual grant from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to conduct Safety Audits on interstate motor carriers whose principle place of business is located within Oklahoma. DPS utilizes State Troopers and civilian Safety Investigators who are certified by FMCSA to conduct the Safety Audit.
The Safety Audit is usually conducted at the motor carrier’s principle place of business, Monday through Friday during business hours. The Safety Audit is completed within the first 12 months of operation for motor carriers of property and within 6 months for passenger or hazardous material motor carriers. The Safety Investigator assigned to conduct the Safety Audit will attempt to contact motor carrier’s owner, President / CEO, managing member or authorized carrier representative to explain the Safety Audit requirement and procedure. The Safety Investigator will set an appointment date, time and location for the Safety Audit to occur during this initial contact. All attempts are made to accommodate the motor carrier and not place an undue hardship on the carrier. However, if a motor carrier does not make a reasonable effort to comply with the Safety Audit process, the carrier will be entered as refusing the Safety Audit.
The Safety Investigators contact the motor carrier based on the most current information provided to FMCSA. In most cases, the carrier is contacted by phone but other forms of contact could be made such as in person, email, cell phone or fax. The carrier is responsible for keeping the motor carrier’s record current, any physical address, phone number(s) or email address changes need to be updated as soon as possible.
Once the Safety Investigator has contacted the motor carrier, they will provide a letter / email confirming the date, time and location of the Safety Audit. They may request the motor carrier to submit documents or information to them prior to the start of the Safety Audit in order to help expedite the process. The Safety Investigator will provide the motor carrier with a checklist of documents they will need to have available and readily accessible for review on the date of the Safety Audit.
Motor carriers may want to download the educational and technical assistance package titled “A motor carrier’s guide to improving highway safety”. This document is available free of charge on the FMCSA website. This document serves as a guide to help assist the motor carrier in being compliant with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. There are blank forms and examples within the package that motor carriers may find useful.
If the Safety Investigator cannot make contact with the motor carrier within three attempts or the motor carrier refuses the Safety Audit the Federal Out-of-Service process will be initiated.
If a carrier cannot be contacted or they refuse the Safety Audit, the motor carrier will receive a warning letter from FMCSA. This letter advises the motor carrier to contact Troop S within 10 days from the date shown on the letter. Upon receiving the letter the motor carrier should immediately call Troop S at 405-521-6060 and speak with the Lieutenant over the New Entrant program. Once contacted the Lieutenant will ensure the carrier is within the 10 day window and, if so, stop the Out-of-Service process. The carrier will be required to agree in writing to submit to the Safety Audit. After 10 days from the date of the letter, if the motor carrier has not contacted Troop S the Out-of-Service order will go into effect. The 10 day warning letter is based on actual days, including holidays and not 10 business days. The Troop S office is closed on the weekends and on approved state holidays.
If you are under a Federal Out-of-Service order for no contact or for refusing the Safety Audit the carrier is prohibited from all interstate motor carrier operations. FMCSA will send a letter notifying the motor carrier they are under a Federal Out-of-Service letter and explain the process for reinstatement. The motor carrier’s intrastate operations may also be effected as well. Motor carriers who violate the Out-of-Service order will be subject to state and federal enforcement actions.
Federal Out-of-Service for no contact or refusal prohibits the motor carrier from conducting interstate operations for a period of 30 days. The 30 days is calculated from the date shown on the FMCSA Out-of-Service letter. Once the 30 days is up, the motor carrier will need to submit an updated MCSA-1 requesting reinstatement. Once FMCSA processes the MCSA-1 the motor carrier the Out-of-Service order will be rescinded. Once the order is rescinded the motor carrier can resume operations and will be required to submit to the Safety Audit.
If a motor carrier fails the Safety Audit they will still be able to operate for a period of 60 days for motor carriers of property and 45 days for motor carriers of passengers or hazardous materials. During this time period, the motor carrier will be required to complete and submit a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) to FMCSA. The CAP must be submitted and received within 15 days from the written notice that the new entrant failed the Safety Audit to ensure FMCSA has sufficient time to review the CAP. CAPs that are submitted after the deadline or not approved prior to the deadline will result in the motor carrier’s authority to be revoked.
If a motor carrier fails the Safety Audit, the Safety Investigator will provide instructions for the CAP during closeout. It is very important the motor carrier follow all of the instructions provided. Failing to follow the CAP instructions will result in the CAP being rejected and the motor carrier’s authority to operate being revoked.
CAPs can be submitted to FMCSA by fax or email. If submitting by fax:
1-877-547-0380 Attention: Joel Hiatt C/O Erica de La Torre.
If submitting by email:
>>DO NOT SEND CAPs to Troop S. CAPs are reviewed / approved by FMCSA only.<<
Please refer to 49 CFR 385.321
Motor carriers may not register for a new USDOT number to avoid adverse motor carrier safety history, avoid paying civil penalties, or avoid previous Out-of-Service orders. If a motor carrier provides false information or hides information when applying or reapplying for a USDOT number, the carrier may be issued an Out-of-Service order and / or fined. The person providing false information or hides information when applying or reapplying for a USDOT number could face civil and /or criminal actions.