Your DOT Records Filing System: Is It Ready for a Surprise Audit?

By Michael Dodd

Are you ready for an audit visit from Department of Transportation (DOT) officials?

It’s my experience that many of our members are not. Still, I have heard the same “excuses” about preparation and readiness for such visits many times over. They include:

  • “I’ve never been bothered before.”
  • “I’m in the middle of nowhere, off the beaten path, they don’t come around here.”
  • “DOT doesn’t bother little guys like me.”

Just tell that to the three small GAWDA members who were visited by the DOT in just the past month. (Thankfully, they were ready.)

Members have asked me how they should keep their DOT files in order. DOT allows you to keep them in just about any fashion that you wish, provided the driver qualification and the drug and alcohol files are kept secure, with authorized access only.

I’ve developed a suggested method for organizing DOT files and records that GAWDA members say has worked well for them. This system does not cover every situation, but will help 99 percent of our members. This table can be kept handy for reference. It shows suggested tab titles, and recommended retention periods that you must keep them, along with specific necessary details.

Having these files set up and together in a filing system will really help you keep organized and will look very good during a DOT audit. I have two other checklists that are very helpful.

Just ask and I will be happy to send you any or all of them, and feel free to contact me on any of these items if you have questions.