Are you ready for a compliance review?

Have you been selected for a compliance review?

Being selected for a Compliance Review (CR) as a motor carrier can bring a lot of stress and headaches. But much of this anxiety lies in being uninformed about the auditing process.

Let’s look at what a Compliance Review entails and how you and your company can prepare for one.

What is a Compliance Review?

A Compliance Review is basically a checkup to evaluate performance of the FMCSA regulations and record-keeping to determine if safety management controls are compliant.

It is important to “do your homework” in advance, in case you do get audited, which is very possible.

Two important things you should you know if you are being audited?

  1. Know the regulations you are subject to as a motor carrier
  2. Know which records an Auditor will expect to review

6 Inspection Categories of a Compliance Review

Each category is called a “factor,” and is rated as:

  • satisfactory
  • conditional
  • unsatisfactory

1. General requirements

  • Documentation of proper liability coverage for the type of carrier and cargo. Refer to Section 387.9 of the FMCSR for details.
  • Forms CS-90 or MCS-82, signed by an insurance provider representative.
  • Vehicle markings: CMVs marked on two sides with the name listed on the MCS-150 form, and the DOT number preceded by “USDOT.”
  • Training records: Keep detailed records of all transportation safety training. Be able to show training for any employee involved in compliance.

2. Driver qualifications

  • Driver licenses must equal the vehicle class being driven and have the correct endorsements.
    • be sure to track your employees license expiration dates.
    • have a CDL Driver drug and alcohol testing program in place.
    • written policy on your testing program is required. Distributed this policy to all CDL drivers and get a signed receipt from all drivers to keep in your files.
    • if safety function duties require PART 40 Drug and Alcohol testing, then verify past three years of employment. Required tests include:
      • Pre-employment drug test, Post-accident drug and alcohol, Random drug and alcohol, Reasonable suspicion
  • Documentation for employees retained after a positive drug test result.
  • Driver qualification file should be well-organized and include the following items:
    • application for employment
    • employment verification from previous three years with safety performance history and drug/alcohol test results, if applicable.
    • Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) from past three years
    • Road test and certification
    • DOT physical certification from past three years
    • entry-level driver training, if needed
    • state agencies 3-year driving record inquiry
    • annual written driver statement of violations
    • signed annual reviews from motor carrier from past three years
    • waivers (if any)

For a complete list of documents that should be included in the Driver Qualification File, print out this handy checklist. But the items above are ones required for an audit.

3. Operational

  • 6 months of driver logs and supporting documents.
  • motor carriers must comply with record-keeping requirements even when using a logging exception.

4. Vehicle requirements

  • 12 months of vehicle maintenance file for any CMV under motor carrier control for 30 consecutive days. Include the following information:
    • Motor carrier number (or license plate number)
    • Model and year
    • Vehicle identification number (VIN) or serial number
    • Tire size
    • Owner (if not the motor carrier)
  • proof of periodic inspection (or approved sticker).
  • certification of anyone performing CMV brake system work.
  • 90 days’ worth of post-trip inspection reports, with mechanic signature that defects were corrected, signature of the next driver’s pre-trip inspection, and name of individual who accepted vehicle back into service.

Review Part 396 of the FMCSA for full details

5. Hazardous Materials

  • Shipping papers and emergency response information (from shipper). Retain these for one year (three years for hazardous waste).
  • Refer to 49 CFR Section 172.203 for full details of what must be on shipping papers.

6. Accidents

  • Accident register listing all accidents as defined by Section 390.5 of the FMCSR (a.k.a. “DOT recordable accidents”)
  • Per Section 390.15, the register must include this information:
    • Accident date and hour
    • Location city, state, and address
    • Number of deaths
    • Number of non-fatal injuries
    • Hazardous materials (not including fuel spills)
    • Driver’s name
    • Copy of State or Insurance Report
  • Maintain records on the accident register for three years.
  • View a sample accident register

Be ready for a Compliance Review at all times

Maintaining proper record-keeping and organization is key to being ready for a Compliance Review at all times.

If you maintain accurate records, and keep your files up to date, then the next time you see “You’ve been selected,” all the required materials will be at hand. No doubt, this will relieve stress and help you pass a Compliance Review quickly and without issue.

DOT Audit Services

CNS offers several different types of audit services, including:

All CNS services are geared toward keeping your trucking company safe, compliant, and on the road.

If you have any questions, call 888.260.9448 or email at

Questions about DOT Compliance, Licensing, Audits, Programs, etc.?

Our DOT Specialists are here to help!

Related news

Monthly Newsletter

February 22, 2024

Watch the most recent episode for a Quick Trucking News Update

What are you searching for?

Related Services

Is DOT Compliance your Top Priority?

Our DOT Compliance Programs ensure it is your top priority and keeps your business running.

Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter

Receive the latest transportation and trucking industry information about FMCSA and DOT Audits, Regulations, etc.

Social Media

Related news

Monthly Newsletter

February 22, 2024

Watch the most recent episode for a Quick Trucking News Update