Taken directly from the FMCSA, we think they answer some of their own questions best below:
Becoming a New Entrant
Carriers seeking to operate in interstate commerce must complete form MCS-150 “Combined Motor Carrier Identification Report.” To apply for Interstate Operating Authority, a carrier must complete the appropriate form in the OP-1 series. Assistance is available at the “Get Authority to Operate” web page.
The New Entrant Period
The New Entrant will be monitored during the initial 18-month period.
The New Entrant must:
- Operate Safely
- Maintain up-to-date records
- Conduct periodic inspections and perform maintenance on CMVs.
- Pass the Safety Audit
- Conduct a Safety Audit on the New Entrant
- Monitor safety performance through roadside inspections
- Grant permanent authority, if safe
The Safety Audits and Compliance Reviews
Who is involved?
- A certified U.S. federal safety investigator, state or provincial enforcement officer.
- The motor carrier (possibly including managers, drivers, mechanics, and other staff).
When will a Safety Audit or review occur?
- Within 12 months after beginning operations.
When will Compliance Reviews/Intervention occur?
At any time FMCSA safety data indicates problems.
Where will these take place?
- Generally audits, compliance reviews/interventions take place at the principal place of business.
Automatic Failure of the Safety Audit
A New Entrant will AUTOMATICALLY FAIL the Safety Audit for violations related to:
Alcohol and Drug Violations
- No alcohol and/or drug testing program.
- No RANDOM alcohol and/or drug testing program.
- Using a driver who refused required alcohol or drug test.
- Using a driver the company knows had a blood alcohol content of 0.04 or greater.
- Using a driver who failed to complete the required follow-up procedures after testing positive for drugs.
A New Entrant fails the Safety Audit for knowingly:
- Using a driver without a valid CDL.
- Using a disqualified driver.
- Using a driver with a revoked, suspended, or canceled CDL.
- Using a medically unqualified driver.
- Operating a motor vehicle without having in effect the required level of insurance.
- Failing to require drivers to make hours-of-service records.
Repairs and Inspections Violations
- Operating a vehicle declared Out-of-Service for safety deficiencies before repairs are made.
- Not performing OOS repairs reported in driver-vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs).
- Operating a CMV not periodically inspected.
Results of the Safety Audit
- If passed, FMCSA will continue to monitor the New Entrant’s safety compliance and performance.
- If failed, New Entrants must satisfactorily implement a corrective action to correct safety management practices. Failure to do so will result in the immediate revocation of U.S. DOT registration.
HHG and ADA Compliance
Some New Entrant carriers are also required to be in compliance with:
- Household Goods (HHG) Regulations
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Compliance with HHG and ADA requirements will not be a factor in determining the outcome of a Safety Audit, but may result in further investigation by other federal and state agencies.
Carriers may not register for a new U.S. DOT number to avoid paying civil penalties or avoid previous OOS Orders. If a carrier provides false information or hides information when it applies or reapplies for a U.S. DOT number, the carrier may be issued an OOS Order, and/or be fined.