If you plan on becoming a professional driver or are looking to start a trucking company, you’ll have to enter the New Entrant Safety Assurance Program. This government program guarantees that everyone in the industry maintains high safety standards. Hauling cargo can be a precarious job, so it’s important that everyone on the road is safety-oriented and well within legal regulations.
New Entrant Safety Assurance Programs affect U.S. and Canada-based motor carriers. New Entrant is a motor carrier not domiciled in Mexico that applies for a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) identification number, in order to initiate operations in interstate commerce.
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. Use the online Registration & Compliance Assistant to determine which forms to fill out.
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 the 18-month monitoring period.
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 a 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 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 cancelled 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 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.