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A Guide to New Entrant Safety Audits

Worried about your New Entrant Safety Audit? Here is everything you should know ahead of time!

What is the New Entrant Safety Audit?

Every new trucking company is subject to the New Entrant Safety Audit, a DOT Audit, which must occur within the first 12 months of operation. Per FMCSA guidelines, the new entrant safety audit is intended to ensure that the company meets safety standards and regulations set by Congress.

What criteria are New Entrant Safety Audits generally based on?

  • Alcohol and Drug Violations

  • Do you have an alcohol and drug test system in place? Are you part of a random drug and alcohol testing group? Do you have a driver who has tested positive on a drug test or has altered the results?

  • Whether it’s being a part of a drug and alcohol consortium or providing supervisor training, you should have a DOT-approved system in place.

  • Driver violations

  • Drivers must be medically qualified.

  • Drivers must have active and appropriate CDLs for equipment and freight.

  • Operations violations

  • Operations violations should be a concern of every trucking company and require companies to have active insurance and maintain accurate driving logs. The Electronic Logging Device mandate made it important to use an FMCSA-approved ELD.

  • Do you have the required insurance and are you accurately tracking HOS?

  • Repairs and inspections violations

  • Trucking companies must make sure that they have records of any previous equipment inspections, or any other problems drivers notice with the equipment.


How is a new entrant safety audit conducted?

Typically, a certified federal safety investigator or state enforcement officer will perform the new entrant safety audit at the carrier’s primary place of business. In some cases, the audit may be performed online, and records will be shared electronically, or it may be performed off-site. An off-site audit may require the carrier to go to a pre-determined location set by the auditor. Carriers must submit documentation requested by the auditor, such as documents related to drivers, vehicles, operating procedures, safety management, and record-keeping requirements within 20 days of request.

Here is a list of document examples:

  • A list of all drivers who have operated for the carrier within the past year

  • Proof of required insurance  (MCS-90)

  • A list of all tractors and trailers (VIN and Plate #’s)

  • Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) sample

  • Medical card sample

  • CDL sample

  • 30 days’ worth of driver logs

  • Accident register (if applicable)

  • Annual Vehicle Inspection Report sample

  • Pre-employment drug screening result sample

  • Proof of drug/alcohol random testing program

PROTIP - Carriers will NOT receive a Safety Rating (Satisfactory, Conditional, or Unsatisfactory) from the new entrant safety audit.

How do you fail a new entrant safety audit?

There are 4 primary categories of violations to consider during a new entrant safety audit. Here are each of the categories and common violations that lead to automatic audit failure directly from the FMCSA:

Alcohol and Drug Violations

  • No alcohol and/or drug testing program.

  • No RANDOM alcohol and/or drug testing program.

  • Using a driver who refused a required alcohol or drug test.

  • Using a driver the company knows had a blood alcohol content of 0.04 or greater.

  • Using a driver who failed to complete required follow-up procedures after testing positive for drugs.

Driver Violations

  • A New Entrant fails the Safety Audit for knowingly:

  • Using a driver without a valid CDL.

  • Using a disqualified driver.

  • Using a driver with a revoked, suspended, or cancelled CDL.

  • Using a medically unqualified driver.

Operations Violations

  • Operating a motor vehicle without having in effect the required level of insurance.

  • Failing to require drivers to make hours-of-service records.

Repairs and Inspections Violations

  • Operating a vehicle declared Out-of-Service for safety deficiencies before repairs are made.

  • Not performing OOS repairs reported in driver-vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs).

  • Operating a CMV not periodically inspected.

What do you do if you fail a new entrant safety audit?

Carriers will typically be notified of their audit results within 45 days of completion of the audit. If a carrier fails the new entrant safety audit, they must implement a corrective action plan. The audit failure notice will contain instructions on creating and submitting a corrective action plan. A plan must be submitted to the FMCSA within 60 days (45 days for passenger or hazmat carriers). If the carrier fails to take corrective action or the plan is not accepted, their DOT number and operating authority will be removed. A carrier with a revoked DOT number cannot apply again until 30 days after it was removed.

To learn more about the New Entrant Safety Assurance Program, read the specific code of federal regulation here.

Want to feel prepared for your next DOT Audit? Check out our DOT Audit Checklist!

See our Store for additional tools, resources, and checklists such as Daily Log & DVIR Templates, Trucking Business Spreadsheets, and more!




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Soshaul Logistics LLC and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. It is meant to serve as a guide and information only and Soshaul Logistics, LLC does not assume responsibility for any omissions, errors, or ambiguity contained herein. Contents may not be relied upon as a substitute for the FMCSA's published regulations. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction or operation.


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