The safety audit, conducted by ADOT, is an educational module designed to ensure new entrant carriers have the knowledge and tools they need to operate safely and comply with state and federal regulations. All NE motor carriers (private and for-hire) seeking to operate in interstate commerce must undergo the SA.
New carrier entrant audits are conducted at the principal place of business and takes two to four hours as auditors ask 82 safety-related questions, including 18 related to hazardous materials (if applicable).
While the safety audit will not result in a safety rating for the new entrant carrier, the audit does give ADOT and the carrier the opportunity to discuss any areas in which they may not be fully compliant. Civil penalties may not be levied against a motor carrier, but a motor carrier's registration may be revoked as a result of failing a SA.
New carriers are required to pass a safety audit within the 18-month safety-monitoring period. New Entrants carriers are required to have a Safety Audit conducted within 12 months for Property carriers, 4 months for Passenger Motor Coach carriers, and all other Passenger carriers within 9 months.
A carrier who fails an audit is notified within 45 days and given 60 days to correct the problem or lose its operating authority. Passenger carriers and HazMat haulers are given only 45 days to correct violations. Once the FMCSA revokes the authority and issues an out-of-service order, the new entrant must wait 30 days before again applying for authority and starting the process all over.
New Entrant Safety Audit Quick Reference Guide
ETA: A Motor Carrier's Guide to Improving Highway Safety is an informational guide to help with understanding the safety audit.
Passing the Safety Audit
During the safety audit, ADOT staff review areas of the motor carrier operation such as financial responsibility (Part 387), recordable accidents, FMCSR regulations and CMV markings (Part 390), driver qualification (Part 391), controlled-substance and alcohol testing (Part 382), hours of service (Part 395), inspection, repair and maintenance of vehicles (Part 396), and transportation of hazardous materials (Part 397). (See Laws and Rules for regulation details)
Failing the Safety Audit
Discovery of any one of the 16 specific federal regulatory violations would result in an automatic failure. The agency believes that these 16 regulatory requirements are essential to demonstrating that basic safety management controls are in place.
- Failing to implement an alcohol and/or controlled substances testing program
- Using a driver known to have an alcohol content of 0.04 or greater to perform a safety-sensitive function
- Using a driver who has refused to submit to an alcohol or controlled-substances test required under Part 382
- Using a driver known to have tested positive for a controlled substance
- Failing to implement a random controlled-substances and/or alcohol testing program
- Knowingly using a driver who does not possess a valid CDL
- Knowingly allowing, requiring, permitting or authorizing an employee with a commercial driver license that is suspended, revoked or cancelled by a state or who is disqualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle
- Knowingly allowing, requiring, permitting or authorizing a driver to drive who is disqualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle
- Operating a motor vehicle without having in effect the required minimum levels of financial responsibility coverage
- Operating a passenger-carrying vehicle without having in effect the required minimum levels of financial responsibility coverage
- Knowingly using a disqualified driver
- Knowingly using a physically unqualified driver
- Failing to require a driver to make a record of duty status
- Requiring or permitting the operation of a commercial motor vehicle declared "out-of-service" before repairs are made
- Failing to correct out-of-service defects listed by driver in a driver vehicle inspection report before the vehicle is operated again
- Using a commercial motor vehicle not periodically inspected
More information on the 16 regulatory violations for failure of the safety audit, visit the FMSCA website.