According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMSCA) data, approximately 20 percent of critical violations in 2020 were because of errors in the driver filing process.
The FMSCA’s regulations do not explicitly state fleets need to audit their driver’s logs, but fleets need to comply with safety management controls to reduce the risk of tired drivers. To follow these controls, you must audit your driver’s hours-of-service (HOS) logs.
Do You Need to Audit Your Driver’s Logs?
The first step to knowing if you need to comply is to define whether your fleet uses commercial motor vehicles (CMV). If your fleet meets the following criteria, then they are defined as a CMV:
- If the weight of a vehicle is more than 10,001 pounds
- If the vehicle transports hazardous material
- If the vehicle transports more than nine passengers for compensation, or more than 16 passengers regardless of compensation
If none of your CMVs meet the state or federal definitions, then you are exempt from HOS and DOT safety rules.
To be prepared for an auditor, you should retain five crucial supporting documents. These document types are:
- Expense receipts
- Dispatch records, trip records, or any equivalent documents
- Schedules, itineraries, or equivalent documents showing the origin and destination of trips
- Fleet management software records
- Payroll records, settlement sheets, or equivalents documents that show payments to drivers
These documents must match the driver’s logs, and all records must contain the driver’s name or identification number, date, time, and location.
Whether or not these supporting documents are needed, it is still worth incorporating them into your safety management control. Even though these documents are not required, they should still be collected to mitigate risk.
Many fleet organizations are transitioning to electronic systems to ensure they have the documents to remain compliant by automatically tracking HOS. The right solution will provide flexibility to provide more standard capabilities or even provide the option to turn on more features when the timing is right for your organization. Not only can an ELD help your fleet remain compliant, but it can also lower operational costs, reduce vehicle downtime, and keep drivers safe on the road.