New-Entrant Motor Carriers: Understanding the Requirements and Clearing the Hurdles

What is it?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has special requirements for “new-entrant” motor carriers. A new-entrant motor carrier is subject to special roadside inspection monitoring and a “new-entrant safety audit, normally within the first 18 months of operation. The special monitoring continues until the carrier undergoes the safety audit or the 18 months have passed, whichever is later.

Who does this apply to?
A new-entrant motor carrier is a carrier that has been granted a new US DOT number or a carrier that has reapplied for a DOT number after being placed out of service by FMCSA. The carrier will be considered a new-entrant carrier until the special monitoring ends and the safety audit is passed.

What are the basic requirements?
New-entrant motor carriers are expected to know the safety regulations and fully comply with them, and must prove — through roadside inspection performance and an audit — that they actually are complying with them.

The new entrant safety audit involves an investigator auditing the carrier’s records to verify compliance with the FMCSA safety regulations. The audit will focus on six core compliance and safety areas, including:

• General regulations (record-keeping, insurance, vehicle marking, etc.)
• Driver regulations (driver licensing, driver qualification, and drug and alcohol testing)
• Operational regulations (driving, scheduling, and hours-of-service)
• Vehicle regulations (equipment, and inspection and maintenance)
• Hazardous materials regulations
• Carrier’s accident rate

What difference does it make?
If a new-entrant carrier has a driver or vehicle out-of-service rate of 50 percent or more (based on at least three inspections over a 90-day period), certain roadside inspection violations, or certain types of on-road incidents, the carrier will be subject to expedited action.

The expedited action can include:

• Scheduling the carrier’s new-entrant safety audit as soon as possible, if the carrier has not had one yet.
• Requiring the carrier to submit evidence of corrective action within 30 days.
• Scheduling a full “compliance review” with the carrier.

During the new-entrant safety audit, if the carrier has too many violations or certain specific violations, the carrier will fail the audit leading to an out-of-service order. Some violations are considered so serious that a single violation of it will result in the new-entrant failing the audit and being issued an out-of-service order.

How can J. J. Keller help?
J. J. Keller has all of the forms, tools, and services that a new-entrant motor carrier needs to be able to survive the special monitoring period and the new-entrant safety audit.

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Ryder Fleet Products also recommends the manual, “Start Your Engines: A Roadmap for New Entrants.” Essential for new entrants on their road to permanent registration, the manual sets out what to expect during the first 18 months of operation and provides guidance on avoiding common pitfalls. Includes a physical manual & online access for 1-year. The online access provides enhanced search capabilities, and anywhere, anytime access via web browser and mobile device.


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