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Safety Audits

Motor carriers must undergo a Safety Audit within the first 12 months of their operations to complete the New Entrant Program.

A Safety Audit is a review of a motor carrier’s records designed to verify that a carrier has basic safety management controls in place to ensure compliance with applicable Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs), and related record-keeping requirements.

How is a Safety Audit conducted?

The audit is conducted by an FMCSA-certified auditor at the carrier’s place of business, or electronically, by submitting relevant documents to FMCSA online or via mail or fax. FMCSA will tell carriers which type of audit they have been selected for by phone or mail.

During the Safety Audit, carriers will be asked to submit documentation which verifies that they have established effective safety management controls. Auditors may request documents related to drivers and vehicles, as well as general operating procedures and record-keeping requirements.

What violations would cause a carrier to automatically fail a Safety Audit?

Carriers will be notified of all violations found during a Safety Audit and provided an explanation of how to address their safety problems. Some violations are deemed egregious enough to cause the carrier to automatically fail the Safety Audit.

Automatic Failure Violations

Alcohol and Drug Violations

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Driver Violations

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Operator Violations

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Repairs and Inspection Violations

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Prepare for your Safety Audit

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Review the Safety Audit Resource Guide and organize documents that verify safety management controls are established and effective.

Understanding FMCSA’s New Entrant Safety Audit

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How to Submit a Corrective Action Plan (CAP)

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How to Reregister after Revocation

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What happens when a carrier passes or fails a Safety Audit?

Once the Safety Audit is complete, the auditor will review the findings with the carrier. Within 45 days, the carrier will receive written notification from FMCSA confirming that they have passed or failed.


The carrier’s safety performance will continue to be closely monitored for the remainder of the 18-month new entrant period. If no subsequent safety problems are found, the carrier will be granted permanent operating authority and continue to be monitored under CSA.


FMCSA will provide the carrier written documentation detailing the violations that caused the carrier to fail and the requirements for developing a corrective action plan (CAP). The CAP must explain the actions the carrier will take to address the violations identified. CAPs must be submitted to the FCMSA Service Center within the number of days specified on the failure notification. Failure to either submit a CAP, or implement the corrective actions, will result in loss of FMCSA registration. Learn how to submit a CAP.

Understanding FMCSA’s New Entrant Safety AuditClose Popup
How to Submit a Corrective Action Plan (CAP)Close Popup
How to Reregister after RevocationClose Popup