Compliance checklist for owner-operators

Compliance checklist for owner-operators

If you’re an owner-operator, you know it’s critical to your business to stay in compliance with government regulations. Here is a checklist to help you stay on top of the most common compliance requirements.

✔ Hours of Service — Keep accurate documentation for every 24 hours

You’re no doubt familiar with the Hours-of-Service rules, which dictate how many hours you can drive without taking a break. It’s not enough to follow the rules, thoughyou have to be able to prove you’ve followed them.

To stay in compliance, for every 24-hour period you’re on duty, you should have documents that have the origin and destination of each trip (bills of lading, itineraries, schedules, trip records) and expense receipts related to any non-driving time. These Records of Duty Status (RODS) have to be retained for six months.

To make keeping track of all this information easier (and less prone to error), Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) have been created to help you keep up. These devices automatically record all driving time and location information for you. You have to get an ELD that meets the FMCSA requirements. The KeepTruckin fleet management platform was built from the ground up to meet these ELD mandate requirements.

Further Reading:- The Complete Guide to Canada Hours of Service Rules

✔ Complete a Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) daily

A DVIR is a pre-trip inspection of items such as brakes, lights, and tires to ensure a vehicle is fit for the road. Federal law requires a DVIR be completed daily by drivers of any commercial vehicle.

To stay in compliance, at the start of a shift, you must review the last DVIR on the vehicle, and note and sign off on any defects. Defects have to be corrected before the vehicle can be used. At the end of the shift, you have to complete a new DVIR. DVIRs need to be kept for a minimum of three months. The KeepTruckin App makes completing DVIRs fast and easy.

✔ International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) — Keep good records

Because fuel taxes go toward road maintenance, states want to make sure they get their fair share, according to the miles driven in each state or province. Licensing your vehicle with the IFTA allows you to submit one fuel tax return every quarter (instead of one for every jurisdiction you drive through).

Similar to Hours of Service, IFTA requires keeping good records. Having an ELD to help log your truck’s odometer and location eliminates the manual process. KeepTruckin automates IFTA fuel tax reporting for you.

✔ International Registration Plan (IRP) — Record where you drive

IRP is similar to IFTA, but it applies to license fees instead of fuel taxes. Whether or not this will save you money depends on how many different jurisdictions you drive through. If all or most of your trips are in one jurisdiction, it is most likely cheaper to apportion in that jurisdiction.

✔ Drug and Alcohol Testing — Register at a consortium

Owner-Operators are required to participate in a Department of Transportation (DOT) Drug and Alcohol testing program. A Consortium/Third-Party Administrator manages testing.

To be in compliance, you just have to register at a DOT Consortium. To learn more about drug and alcohol testing, see the DOT Employer Handbook.

✔ Driver Qualification File (DQF) — Keep one for the last three years

The FMCSA requires that trucking companies must keep a driver qualification file for every driver, so if you’re an owner-operator, this means you. It has to be maintained for the past three years, and has eight parts:

  1. Employee application (this must contain the mandatory information)
  2. Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) for every state you held a commercial license or permit
  3. MVR for the previous three years
  4. MVR Review Every year you have to review the MVRs and note who did the review and the date, and identify any violations of FMCSA regulations
  5. Record of Violations A list of any violations in the previous 12 months. You need this even if you have no violations (but parking tickets do not have to be included)
  6. A copy of your commercial driver’s license (CDL)
  7. Medical Examiners Certificate (or copy), which is valid for up to 24 months
  8. A note verifying that the Medical Examiner was on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners List

✔ CDL Endorsements — Update your DQF

If you have endorsements on your CDL, you may have to maintain additional information in your DQF, such as background history check, and extra insurance for things like hazardous cargo.

While every owner-operator has different needs, this list is a good place to start. Keeping compliant with regulations is just part of doing business, and KeepTruckin is here to make your compliance management easier.

If you have any questions about the KeepTruckin fleet management platform, call at (844) 257-6396. Our 24/7 customer support team is always available to help you.

Disclaimer: This information is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute, and should not be relied upon as, legal or other professional advice. You should not act or refrain from acting based on any materials presented or made available by KeepTruckin without first obtaining advice from a licensed attorney.


Sarah McConnell

Sarah McConnell likes to take complex technology and explain it to people so it actually makes sense.

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