So you’re a Safety Manager.

Your driver finishes a run and turns in a copy of a DOT Driver/Vehicle Examination Report that he received. At the bottom, it looks something like this:


It’s hard to read, but the little section down there says that YOU have to sign this and send it back to the DOT within 15 days. The reason the DOT wants you to take this step is: now they know that you know what they found at the inspection stop.

Why is this necessary? Why does the DOT want to you take this extra step?

The DOT’s entire mission is to have fewer crashes and fatalities on the roads. They will take all kinds of overbearing actions to get drivers and carriers to follow the rules.

“If the rules are always followed,” they reason, “then nobody is in danger.”

So taking this extra step shows the DOT that you care about your drivers and trucks being safe as much as they do. It won’t have any direct impact on your safety record, but… Guess what happens when the DOT catches your driver or truck with the same violation they had already cited? 

“Failure to correct defects noted on previous inspection report” [396.9(d)(2)] is a 4-point violation.

That is price for ignoring what the DOT told you was wrong about your driver behavior or truck. A 4-point violation is 16 points when it hits your score. You can easily avoid this issue and save yourself the pain of those extra points. Practice the kind of intentional follow-up that this read-sign-mail task is trying to encourage in you.

Now, it’s not about a chore the DOT requires you to complete every time your driver gets an inspection. Now, it’s a good reminder to get your attention on something that could save your company critical SMS points and make the difference between floundering and thriving. 

One more thing: if your driver lost his copy of the inspection, you can make a request in the DataQ system to have the FMCSA send you a copy in the mail. Then you can view it, sign it, and send it back as required.

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