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9.1.3 Safety Audit

Each carrier issued a Provisional Certificate of Registration will remain in an enhanced safety monitoring period for a minimum of 18 months. During the monitoring period, FMCSA will review safety data and may identify deficiencies in the carrier’s compliance with applicable safety regulations and conduct of safe operations. Even absent deficiencies, the carrier must undergo and pass a Safety Audit within the monitoring period. A carrier refusing to undergo a Safety Audit, or failing to provide the necessary documents for a Safety Audit, will have its Provisional Certificate of Registration suspended.

A Safety Audit consists of a review of a carrier’s safety data, a review of motor carrier documents, and an interview with the motor carrier’s safety official. The following is a framework of regulatory and procedural requirements a carrier must meet to pass the Safety Audit.

Undergoing the Audit

The Safety Auditor reviews documents and assesses the carrier’s answers to questions to determine the motor carrier’s compliance with applicable regulations, and to confirm the carrier has basic safety management controls in place to ensure compliance. The audit will include the following aspects of the carrier’s operation:

Safety Audit Results

FMCSA notifies the carrier of results, either pass or fail, within 45 days of completing the Safety Audit. If the carrier fails the Safety Audit, FMCSA notifies the carrier that FMCSA will suspend its registration effective 15 days after the service date of the notice unless the carrier demonstrates—within 10 days of the service date of the notice—that the Safety Audit contained material error.

A material error refers to a substantive error on the part of a Safety Auditor that would have made a difference in the result of a Safety Audit. If the carrier cannot show material error, FMCSA issues an Order of Suspension of the carrier’s provisional Certificate of Registration. The carrier can have the Order of Suspension removed by presenting evidence of necessary corrective action within 30 days from the service date of the Order of Suspension. Otherwise, the carrier’s provisional Certificate of Registration will be revoked.

If the carrier passes the Safety Audit, the carrier will receive its permanent Certificate of Registration after the 18-month provisional period. Operating conditions still apply through the life of the permanent Certificate and the carrier’s operations in the U.S.

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