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COVID-19 changes FMCSA’s auditing procedures

FMCSA to use technology to perform off-site compliance reviews

Posted May 22, 2020

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is performing off-site compliance reviews to limit exposure to the coronavirus (COVID-19) for the regulated community and safety investigators, the agency stated in a recent guidance document. During the public health emergency, the agency is leveraging all available technology to access information and records required during compliance reviews.

Available options for motor carriers to present documents include:

  • Accessing and transmitting information through a portal directly with FMCSA and uploading documents in a secure environment.
  • Maintaining records electronically to submit them directly, from the electronic application where they are stored.
  • Faxing or emailing documents to FMCSA if they so choose, or if they cannot access the portal. FMCSA may substitute in-person interaction with email and telephone and video calls during:
  • The compliance review, or
  • The close out when findings are provided to company officials.

Standards remain the same

FMCSA will use the same standards for the off-site audits that it applies during an on-site visit. The agency will use procedures in Part 385, including the Safety Fitness Rating Methodology in Appendix B, prior to assigning a safety rating.

FMCSA’s guidance document allowing for the off-site investigations does not apply to compliance reviews conducted under Part 385, Subpart B, Safety Monitoring System for Mexico-Domiciled Carriers.

The guidance document will remain in effect until the revocation of the Presidentially declared COVID-19 national emergency.

This article was written by Kathy Close of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.


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