Effective yesterday, January 11, 2021, the civil fines for FMCSA violations have increased. The DOT final ruling announcing the increase was published in the Federal Register over the weekend.
Although it’s not unusual for fines to go up occasionally to account for inflation, perhaps most notable for FMCSA-regulated employers, is the inclusion of DOT Clearinghouse violations in this year’s adjustment.
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“FMCSA revises appendix B to include civil penalties for an employer, employee, medical review officer, or service agent who violates the regulations implementing the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse at 49 CFR part 382, subpart G,” the ruling stated.
Although the FMCSA has been enforcing carriers’ compliance with the DOT Clearinghouse for almost a year, the revision of Appendix B to include civil penalties for these violations speaks to the increased seriousness that the agency will be enforcing DOT Clearinghouse compliance in 2021.
The Cost of Noncompliance
As we discussed last week, only about seven percent of carriers who undergo an audit pass without a violation. The rest are hit with at least one civil penalty, which could lead to steep fines. According to data in this week’s final ruling, the cost of noncompliance is set at:
- Operating a CMV that was placed out of service: $19,277
- Recordkeeping errors: $12,919
- Knowingly falsifying records: $12,919
- CDL violations: $5,833
- Operating a CMV after being declared unfit: $27,813
If you aren’t sure whether you’re fully compliant with the DOT regulations your business must comply with, now is a good time to do a full audit of your business. You might even consider getting the outside perspective of a third-party compliance consultant who can help identify areas of concern and suggest programs that will help bring you into full compliance.
With offsite audits continuing to rise as we head into 2021, there’s no better time to make sure your business is as safe, compliant and audit ready.