While most companies have SEC, FCPA, and FTC compliance covered, too many forget that they may also need to comply with Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations, as well. If transportation of freight or passengers isn’t the general purpose or prevailing activity of your company, you may still be subject to DOT compliance and transportation law if any single employee engages in transportation-related activities on a regular basis. Whether transportation is incidental or primary to your business, you can connect with a top transportation attorney suited to your needs through Priori's vetted, on-demand marketplace.
What Is DOT Compliance?
The DOT regulates all transportation laws within the United States. Most people associate the DOT with public transportation, but the DOT also enforces transportation laws that apply to professional drivers and transportation-oriented workers at private companies. Their purview includes everything from private chauffeurs to pilots to truck drivers and every transportation professional in between. If your company employs any workers within the DOT's jurisdiction, you may be subject to DOT regulations—and DOT enforcement. DOT compliance is key to avoiding enforcement actions, but also to keeping your transportation workers safe and liability-free. A Priori transportation attorney will help you ascertain whether you are subject to DOT regulations or other transportation laws and advise you on how to comply.
Key DOT Compliance Issues
The following are some of the key DOT compliance issues that many companies face.
- Drug Testing. All transportation workers must be regularly drug tested to ensure that they are able to complete their duties safely. This includes pre-employment drug testing for all new hires, post-accident drug testing if the driver is cited for a moving violation, if an injury or death occurs, or if a tow for a vehicle is necessary, tests before a return to duty, and annual random tests.
- Proper Load Securement. Any time an employee is hauling a load, proper safety procedures must be followed to ensure that the load is properly secured and not a danger to the driver, other employees, or third parties. All cargo must be secured using appropriate equipment for its weight.
- Driver Breaks. Drivers are generally not permitted to drive for more than 70 hours a week or eight hours in a single day. They also must take sufficient breaks when on duty.
- Valid Medical Certification. All transportation workers must have the proper medical certification to ensure that they will be able to handle the stresses of the position and will not endanger themselves or others while on duty.
- Licensing and Permitting. All transportation employees must have the licenses and permits required for any given position.
- Reporting. All companies employing workers in positions subject to DOT regulations must submit regular reports to the DOT to demonstrate that they are in proper compliance. The exact nature of the reports depend on the nature of the transportation work carried out by your workers.
- HAZMAT, Dangerous, and Unstable Materials. If your transportation worker deals with HAZMAT, dangerous, or unstable materials in any capacity, they must be strictly monitored and must follow additional regulations. Your company should take extra precautions to determine what materials fall in this category.
The cost of hiring a transportation attorney varies depending on your needs. Hourly rates for transportation attorneys in the Priori network start around $225 per hour. In order to get a better sense of cost for your particular situation, put in a request to schedule a complimentary consultation and to receive a free price quote from one of our lawyers.
If my main operations aren’t focused on transportation services, do I need to worry about DOT compliance?
If you employ drivers or other transportation-oriented workers within your company, then the answer is yes. It does not matter what the main activity of the company is, but rather the relevant job responsibilities of the employees.
Are these the only important DOT compliance issues?
No. There are many others that may apply to specific modes of transportation or to certain companies. If your employees transport people, products, or materials as a part of their regular duties, you should consult with a transportation attorney to discuss what DOT compliance and transportation law issues your company may face.