James F. Mahoney, Attorney
DOT FMCSA Compliance Audit Attorney


Compliance audit changes that went into effect in November 2018 expose motor carriers to more frequent and less personal DOT audits, greater and more frequent fines, and greater threats to carriers’ safety ratings.

As of November 27, 2018, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has imposed increases for civil penalty amounts that may be assessed for violations of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, with the stated purpose “to improve the effectiveness of civil monetary penalties and to maintain their deterrent effect.”

Fines will increase across the board for many violations, including incomplete or falsified logs, commercial driver license (CDL) violations, and generally evading regulatory requirements.

Desk Audits. In addition, the FMCSA has announced that it will begin conducting off-site or “desk” audits in every state. Desk audits by DOT investigators have been in place for several years, but the agency has determined that expanding them will allow it to reach more motor carriers and increase auditor efficiency.

As a consequence, audits will occur more quickly and more frequently than motor carriers and their advocates have experienced to date.

The Downside of Desk Audits

In a desk audit, instead of an auditor coming to your place of business and personally walking you through the process, the entire audit process is handled remotely by phone and email.

For the FMCSA, the process makes sense, as it allows for conducting more audits in less time.

But for motor carriers and their representatives, the unwelcome shift toward desk audits will result in fewer on-site audits, depriving us of opportunities to establish a rapport with auditors, who in many cases would forgive small violations and provide advice on compliance gaps. Both the industry and the general public have benefitted from that direct communication.

Instead, motor carriers can now expect to feel the loss of on-site visits, in favor of the increased violations – and adverse effects on safety ratings – that will stem from the rise in desk audits.

Compliance Audit Defense: Call Now

If your company has experienced an FMCSA-DOT audit, whether at your place of business or through a desk audit, and your safety rating has or will be downgraded to “Conditional” or “Unsatisfactory,” you are invited to call Jim Mahoney immediately at 602-900-1800.

Jim can represent you with the FMCSA and work quickly to avoid a downgrade or, in severe cases, being put out of business.

The first call is free; we want to see if we can be of help to you. After seeing your Compliance Review, Jim can give you a reliable estimate of the time needed to avoid large penalties and preserve your good name among your customers.