DOT Risk vs Reward.

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help. ”

-President Ronald Regan

Last week we talked about risk VS reward and how to make quick informed decisions that lead you to be GREAT.

Remember how we talked about how if you don’t know what the risk is there is no way to truly determine if the risk is worth the reward?

Today I want to go a little deeper into DOT and talk about some of the risks that you might be taking.  Some you 100% know about and others you might not have never known how big the risk is.

That’s why we are here to help you make GREAT informed decisions.

If you don’t know me you might not know that I am not pushy. I also HATE (with a capital HATE) those letters that other companies send out trying to “scare” you into using them. 

You know the letters, “you are OUT of compliance and in danger of facing fines up to $10,000 a day if you do not get this fixed.”

I’m sure you have seen those letters several times. 

My other favorite is the company that makes its name, “The DOT Compliance Group” or “Federal Motor Carrier Association” (FMCSA, but not the Federal Motor Carrier Administration).  Those types of snake oil sales companies drive me NUTS!!! 

So today is 100% about giving you information so that you can process it and weigh out the risk vs reward for you and your company.

Before we dive into these, here are a few acronyms that you need to know.

CMV- Commercial Motor Vehicle, Any vehicle used in interstate (crossing state lines) commerce that has a GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) over 10K (if you are staying in one state and NEVER crossing state lines then your state probably has different rules about CMV’s.  reach out to us so that we can help you with your exact location,

DQ Files – Driver Qualification Files, the file you MUST keep on a driver as required by federal and state regulations.

CDL – Commercial Driver License, the license you must obtain to operate any vehicle with a GVWR over 26K, if hauling a placardable amount of hazmat, to operate a vehicle that is equipped to carry 16 or more passengers including the driver or to operate a school bus.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the top 10 risks that we see daily, (later I’ll break these down into categories)

Today we will start with some risks.

Risk 1, Not Having A DOT Number

Risk 2, Not Having DQ Files Or DQ Files Are Not Up Completed Properly.

Risk 3, Driving A CDL Vehicle Without A CDL

Risk 4, Not Having A Drug Testing Program In Place

Risk 5, Operating A CDL Rig Without Having The Right Endorsements (Tanker, Hazmat, Etc…)

Risk 6, Asking Someone To Drive A CMV When They Don’t Have The Right Credentials (From The Manager’s  /Company Risk)

Risk 7, Driving A CMV After You Get Inspected And Did Not Fix What The Officers Found

Risk 8, Not Having An Initial Drug Test On File

Risk 9, Operating A CMV Without An Annual Inspection

Risk 10, Driving A CMV Without A DOT Medical Card

Now that we know the top 10 risks that we see everyday, let’s break them down so that you can see the real risk of each one.

Risk 1, Not Having A DOT Number

We get calls every day from companies that got pulled over for operating a Commercial vehicle without a DOT number, asking what the next steps are.

When you don’t have a DOT number and are operating a CMV the risk varies depending on a few factors. Is a CDL required? Are you hauling Hazmat? Are you hauling passengers? Are you crossing state lines? Is it your cargo or are you being paid to haul it for someone else?

Each of those carries its own amount of risk.

For now, let’s use a general risk assessment though.

IF your driver gets into an accident and you knew that you needed a DOT number but chose not to get one, then it is considered “Negligence”. In a courtroom, the majority of the time negligence usually means bigger fines and less of a chance to get out of them.

In turn what it means for the driver is a slap on the wrist, for the owner of the company it could mean possible jail time for operating a CMV without a DOT number.

Not usually on the first offense though.  But if you have been warned to get a DOT number and continue to operate without one, then they will throw the book at you.


If your driver gets into an accident and someone is hurt it means that the business owner should expect to open up your checkbook because you are going to be paying a hefty fine and lawsuit that your insurance is not going to cover because you were not playing by the rules.

Even on the first offense!

Financial Risk for an audit: Low to Moderate

Financial Risk in litigation: High to Extreme

Personal Risk: Moderate to High

How To Fix Risk 1, Not Having A DOT Number

This one is super simple to fix. Get a DOT number.  If you are not sure you need one, then reach out to one of our specialists here at Eclipse DOT. We are here to help.  When our team gets your DOT number we have a few tricks up our sleeves that save you a TON of time and $$$.

Did you know that if you don’t check this one small hidden box then your phone number goes public and so does your email address?

Don’t you just love our government?

Yeah, me too. NOT!

Our team knows the tricks and tips to get you a DOT number, Quick, Fast, and in a Hurry!

I would never lie to you, you can most definitely get your own DOT number. And save some $, but in the end, if you want to MAKE SURE IT’S DONE RIGHT, then just shoot us a message. And we will get it started right now!

If you’re not sure that you NEED a DOT number that’s an easy fix too. Simply reach out to our team and we can tell you in less than 5 minutes if you need one or not.

Then if you need one, we can help you.

I told you we are here to simplify DOT!

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