Near Record High 8% DOT Fines Increase To Reflect Inflation

Inflation Increases DOT Fines for FMCSA Violations

Do everything you can to reduce safety risk to prevent audits and recessionary pressures.

The FMCSA has increased its maximum fines by almost 8 percent for 2023 in their annual update. This is one of the largest increases ever and is on top of last year’s 6.2% fine increase.

The inflation metric calculate is based on Oct ’21 to Oct ’22 percent change in the Consumer Price Index, as required in a 2015 Act.

This rule does not change previously assessed or enforced penalties that DOT is actively collecting or has collected.

So, it will be even costlier to receive a violation and fine in 2023. But what does this look like?

[Related: Best Audit Guide In Trucking Industry]

Example fines in 2023

It’s pretty simple, to reflect inflation a safety violation could now result in a fine of over $18,000 compared to $16,800 last year.

The most common fines paid in 2022 were for: hours-of-service rules, such asviolating the 11-hour or 14-hour driving rules, drug testing, vehicle maintenance, and falsifying driving logs.

Below is a list of fines in 2023:

  • Knowing falsification of records maximum fine increased from $13,885 to $14,960
  • Recordkeeping–maximum penalty per day fine increased from $1,388 to $1,496
  • Employer violations pertaining to knowingly allowing, authorizing employee violations of out-of-service order (minimum penalty) fine increased from $6,269 to $6,755; (maximum penalty) from $34,712 to $37,400

The updated fines for FMCSA regulations violations can be seen here.

Consequences of Repeat Violations

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

In other words, a history of repeat violations can cause shippers to become concerned for the safety of their cargo. 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.

Culture is key to implement 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.

Proactive Safety Management

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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