CSA Violations: Are You Prepared for a DOT Complaince Audit?

DOT Compliance Audit Prepartion

Imagine the Department of Transportation (DOT) has informed you that you will have a DOT Compliance Audit. Are you ready? If not, bad audits can warrant fines for your company and drivers, and in a worst-case scenario lead to the closure of your business. But proper preparation and attention to detail can help keep you avoid such harsh penalties.

This post will review the basics of Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) Violations and how to prepare for an audit. Often the basics are overlooked but making an effort to keep them top of mind will keep your fleets rolling in safety and compliance.

What is a DOT Compliance Audit?

A DOT Compliance Audit is an on-site examination of a motor carrier’s operations used to determine if the fleet’s safety fitness standard is being maintained. The DOT Audit evaluates a company’s safety performance, recordkeeping, and management controls.

Who can be audited?

Audits can be performed on any carrier transporting at least 10,000 pounds of cargo across state lines. Audits occur to ensure motor carriers are compliant with DOT and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. These audits are designed to keep everyone on the road safe. This includes your drivers and your cargo, meaning your business continues to run safely, efficiently and profitably.

What are the DOT Audit Inspection Factors?

  • General
  • Driver
  • Operational
  • Vehicle
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Accidents


A fleet must provide documentation of proper liability insurance for their carrier and the type of cargo being transported.


A carrier should be able to provide documentation proving the correct licensing for all drivers operating a commercial motor vehicle. The carrier must also maintain records of drug and alcohol testing for all company drivers. The DOT requires a motor carrier to make a good-faith effort to get three years’ worth of testing results from previous employers.


The DOT requires six months of logs and supporting documents for all drivers employed during the six-month period under evaluation. The DOT examines these logs for hours of service violations, form and manner errors, and/or falsification of logs.


A commercial motor vehicle (CMV) registered with a carrier for 30 consecutive days or more must be regularly inspected, repaired and maintained. The DOT requires records of these reports, which should also include basic information about the vehicle, including model, year, identification number, and tire size. A carrier is expected to keep these records on file for at least 12 months.

Hazardous Materials

A carrier must keep a record of any hazmat-related documentation, including licenses, storage information, labels, and placards. The carrier must also submit proof of required training for transport of hazardous materials.


Carriers must maintain a record of all driver accidents and injuries for review by the DOT. This ensures the accuracy of company records and confirms that FMCSA regulations are met.

What are Safety Ratings?

After the DOT audit is concluded, one of three safety ratings—Satisfactory, Conditional, or Unsatisfactory—is issued.

Satisfactory Rating

A Satisfactory rating means you have the proper safety management controls in place to meet the safety fitness standard. Safety management controls are adequate if they are appropriate for the size and type of operation of the carrier.

Conditional Rating

A Conditional rating means you do not have adequate safety management controls in place to ensure compliance with the safety fitness standard. This type of rating can lead to fines and increased roadside inspections.

Unsatisfactory Rating

An Unsatisfactory rating means safety violations have occurred due to a lack of adequate safety controls. When carriers are given this rating, they will have their operating authority suspended effective 15 days after the service date of the order. Also, an Operation Out of Service Order, which keeps the carrier from operating any motor vehicle in the US, will be enforced.

We hope this brief overview of basic CSA information reminds you of the importance of maintaining a compliant fleet. An informed safety team at the hub and well-trained drivers on the road serve your business well and keep you going and growing. The Infinit-I Workforce System for Trucking was developed with safe fleets in mind. The online training helps your drivers understand DOT and FMCSA regulations, so they can remain compliant. Schedule a demo today by filling out a form here or by calling us at 866-904-5087.

Infinit-I Workforce Solutions

Training Center:
400 E. Royal Lane, Building 3,
Suite 201, Irving, TX 75039

Texarkana Office:
8055 US-67
Texarkana, AR 71854

Corporate Address:
P.O. Box 780
Texarkana, TX 75504

Client Support:
877-792-3866 ext. 300


Sign up for email updates

©2021 Vertical Alliance Group Inc. | All Rights Reserved