Your Guide to DOT Compliance Management Software

January 22, 2021

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Key Takeaways

DOT compliance management software allows commercial fleets to streamline and simplify fleet management in order to remain compliant, efficient, and cost-effective. To see the greatest benefits, make sure your DOT compliance management software is a part of a broader fleet management system with real-time GPS tracking, asset tracking, dash cams, and vehicle maintenance features.

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What is DOT compliance? 

Every time a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operates, there are compliance regulations that must be met. These regulations are set forth by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)—so they are important for commercial fleet managers to understand. Failure to comply with DOT regulations can result in serious implications including penalties, fines, and vehicles being put out of service, all of which can cost your business valuable time and money. 

Looking to learn more about the specifics of DOT compliance? Read our DOT Compliance Overview for Fleet Managers

What is DOT compliance management software? 

In order to remain compliant with DOT regulations such as Hours of Service (HOS) requirements, fleet maintenance standards, and more, many fleets leverage DOT compliance management software. Sometimes referred to as ELD compliance software, this compliance system includes an electronic logging device (ELD), which transmits data on vehicle speed, location, and diagnostic information. This data is transmitted through the cloud to a central dashboard. 

Some compliance management systems also provide a mobile app for commercial drivers to record their hours on the go. For example, Samsara’s Driver App simplifies HOS compliance by allowing drivers to select whether they are on duty, off duty, or driving. 

Learn more: How an ELD Solution Can Help Your Fleet Stay Compliant 

5 key features to look for in a DOT compliance management system

Though DOT compliance management software can be helpful for staying compliant in the event of an audit, the first step in selecting a system is finding a complete fleet management software system that meets your business’ needs. 

Look for a telematics platform, such as Samsara, that's intuitive, easy to use, and can give you a more complete view of how your fleet is performing. Keep an eye out for the following functionalities: 

1. Electronic logging device (ELD) with built-in WiFi hotspots

Electronic logging devices (ELDs) with built-in WiFi hotspots allow your fleet to avoid costly cellular data bills. Plus, in areas without cell reception, built-in WiFi hotspots give you insurance that critical compliance data will be recorded.

Because Samsara's electronic logging devices come equipped with a WiFi hotspot, carriers do not need to purchase separate cellular data plans for their drivers. Drivers can use their own mobile devices and the provided WiFi to meet the requirements of the ELD mandate, saving your fleet money. 

Samsara customer, Cash-Wa Distributing saved $60,000 annually on their cellular data plan by leveraging Samsara’s WiFi hotspot. 

2. Simplified Hours of Service (HOS) monitoring 

From driving limits to sleeper berth rules and rest breaks, navigating the FMCSA’s rules for Hours of Service can be a challenge. With a DOT compliance management system that’s a part of a broader fleet management platform, your fleet can eliminate paper logs and digitize your recordkeeping. This can help you stay organized in the event of an audit. 

Samsara’s Compliance Dashboard gives fleet managers a comprehensive overview into key compliance metrics in order to easily monitor compliance performance across their entire fleet. With the dashboard, fleet managers can track trends in HOS violations and manage unassigned hours, improve reporting efficiency, and hold drivers accountable for maintaining compliance.  

By using the Samsara Compliance Dashboard, soda bottler and distributor Swire Coca-Cola was able to lower compliance violations by 70%. 

Learn more: Samsara’s Complete Guide to Hours of Service

3. Mobile app for drivers 

When evaluating a new DOT compliance management system, make sure you select a platform with a mobile-first approach. Mobile apps, such as Samsara’s Driver App, helps fleet managers simplify driver training, streamline log tracking and certification, and help drivers stay compliant. 

In addition, a mobile app with built-in log transfer workflows allows drivers to approach DOT roadside inspections with confidence. 

4. DVIRs with maintenance scheduling

The FMCSA requires that CDL drivers complete vehicle inspections every morning (before operating the vehicle) and at the end of the day. These driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs), also known as eDVIRs, are a critical aspect of fleet compliance. If a safety issue is documented during a DOT inspection, the issue must be repaired before the vehicle can return to the road.

To remain DOT compliant, be sure to select a compliance solution with features for maintenance management. Samsara DVIRs instantly appear in the dashboard and sit alongside preventive maintenance schedules, maintenance logs, and real-time vehicle statuses.

With Samsara’s fleet maintenance software, less-than-truckload carrier Dohrn Transfer has been able to achieve a 40% quicker response on maintenance issues, helping minimize vehicle downtime and ensuring that drivers aren’t taking unsafe vehicles out on the road.

5. AI Dash Cams to keep CSA scores low

The FMCSA uses their CSA program to identify high-risk carriers in order to keep roads safer. Through this program, the FMCSA has the ability to put carriers with high CSA scores out of service until they can improve their compliance and safety. If your fleet is looking to lower your CSA score, dash cams can be a helpful solution. 

Dash cams are an extremely effective safety tool for commercial fleets and trucking companies. With better visibility into risky driving behavior (like speeding, distracted driving, and tailgating), you can more effectively coach drivers and prevent accidents. Plus, Samsara AI Dash Cams can auto-upload incident footage to the cloud—which makes it easy to exonerate your drivers from not-at-fault accidents and avoid unnecessary marks to your CSA scores.

Get a free trial of Samsara’s fleet management platform for DOT compliance 

Looking to overhaul your fleet operations? To learn more about Samsara’s complete fleet management solution for compliance and driver safety, and to inquire about pricing, request a free trial today. 

No matter what DOT compliance management solution you choose, it’s important that you’re able to get support when you need it. That’s why Samsara offers frequent product training webinars and 24/7 customer support.

To keep your fleet compliant and avoid ELD violations, it's important to stay up to date on current ELD news and announcements. To help, we've compiled the latest news to keep you informed on the most recent ELD insights and ELD exemptions Congress has requested since the mandate launched. 

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