This year leveraging new authority granted as part of the federal government’s COVID-19 emergency declaration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ramped up its offsite compliance reviews of motor carriers’ records and safety practices.

In May, the agency issued pandemic-related regulatory guidance that allows offsite audits to determine carriers’ safety ratings — Satisfactory, Conditional, or Unsatisfactory. Previously, regulations required FMCSA to conduct an onsite compliance review to issue an Unsatisfactory rating. That change has allowed the agency to conduct comprehensive safety reviews of fleets remotely instead of in-person, leading to the spike in offsite audits.

“It’s a new twist,” said Lesley Sachs, a partner at the national transportation-focused law firm Taylor & Associates, based in Winter Haven, Florida. “Carriers need to pay attention. It’s something to take seriously. The opportunity presented itself with COVID, and FMCSA seized it.”

According to data from its Motor Carrier Management Information System, the agency and its state enforcement partners conducted 3,582 offsite compliance reviews through the end of July — nearly three times the number of offsite safety audits conducted in the full 2019 calendar year, 1,374. In 2017, just 76 offsite compliance reviews were conducted, and 330 were completed in 2018, according to FMCSA data. That 3,582 is more than half of the 6,942 total reviews conducted this year through July 31.

If that trend holds this year, FMCSA and state enforcers will have conducted nearly 6,175 remote offsite inspections by year-end — more than five times as many as last year‚ and more than half of the on-pace-for 12,000 compliance reviews. Last year, just 10% of the total compliance reviews conducted by FMCSA and state partners were offsite.

Read the full Commerical Carrier Journal article to learn more.

Don’t hesitate to get a free quote for your commercial transportation insurance needs, or learn more at The DL Moore Agency.