Inflation Increases DOT Fines 3.24% for 2024, Here’s How to Prevent Them


While things are not getting cheaper, the rate of increase is slowing after last year’s near record annual fine adjustment increased 8%, and this year only increasing 3.24%.

The FMCSA has increased its maximum fines by 3.24% for 2024 in their annual inflation update. While this still hurts the pocketbooks of carriers getting fined, it is at least a much slower increase than previous years where DOT fines increased 6.2% for 2022 and nearly 8% for 2023.

The inflation metric calculation is based on Oct ’22 to Oct ’23 percent change in the Consumer Price Index, as required in the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 and does not change previously assessed or enforced penalties that DOT is actively collecting or has collected.

Example maximum fines in 2024

The most common fines paid in 2023 were for: hours-of-service rules, such as violating the 11-hour or 14-hour driving rules, drug testing, vehicle maintenance, and falsifying driving logs.

Below is a list of the increased fines in 2024:

  • Knowing falsification of records maximum fine increased from $14,960 to $15,445
  • Recordkeeping–maximum penalty per day fine increased from $1,496 to $1,544
  • Employer violations pertaining to knowingly allowing, authorizing employee violations of out-of-service order (minimum penalty) fine increased from $6,755 to $6,974; (maximum penalty) from $37,400 to $38,612
FMCSA 2024 increased fines list

Consequences of Repeat Violations

While a single minor DOT violation is unlikely to lead to long-term damage for your company, repeat violations will.

Why? Because a history of repeated violations can cause shippers to become concerned for the safety of their cargo.

In addition, FMCSA assesses maximum fines for the third instance of critical or acute violations. In other words, the first fine may have cost you around $1,100, but a repeat of the same violation could cost you $11,000 next time.

But this is just one example.

Repeat violations can crush your fleet’s reputation by:

  • Preventing you from hiring drivers who are looking for a trusted company to work for
  • Increasing insurance premiums by 15% to 45%, less flexibility in writing those policies, or non-renewal of your policy
  • Freight brokers not wanting to book loads for you
  • Increasing the chance of future roadside inspections and additional fines
  • and more

Trucking companies that are considered “high risk” have bad SAFER scores, high losses, accidents, driver issues, and conditional ratings.

Related: Problems Reducing Fines For Repeat DOT Violations

Culture is key in implementing the changes necessary to pull yourself out of this category, but it can take time to see the changes reflect in your SAFER scores and over-the-road performance.

If you are worried about being considered “high risk”, reach out to CNS and CNS Insurance to shop for a high-risk policy and assistance with risk mitigation.

How do you fix or prevent repeated violations?  

The key here is to change your focus from reacting to a problem to proactively trying to prevent problems from happening.

Accuracy, organization, and diligence are crucial to keeping your files in order and ready for an audit at a moment’s notice and ensuring new drivers are properly qualified before operating in a safety sensitive position.

At CNS, our DQ file management system is completely customizable to your company’s needs. The consultants at CNS stay in communication with you regarding document updating, as well as offering comprehensive reports upon request, and reports of routine audits by our own DQ file auditors.

Our DOT Compliance Specialists will ensure all DQ files for your company will be ready to pass an FMCSA audit.

Beyond DQ files, our safety management programs are perfect for combining multiple services and focuses on Proactive Safety Management (PSM), a mindset that will ensure your fleet’s safety and compliance is always in order and ahead of the FMCSA.

Our PSM Motor Carrier Program includes:

  • ELD management
  • Driver Qualification File Management
  • New driver on-boarding
  • Driver safety meetings
  • CSA score management
  • Policies and handbooks
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • and more

Learn more about our DOT Compliance Programs

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

Our DOT Specialists are here to help!

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