Will I get notified when my biennial update is due and how do I complete it?

Truck biennial update

If you have a USDOT number, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires an update of your information at least once every two years, regardless of whether any information about your company has changed. Below is some information to help you understand when your truck biennial update is required and how you can complete it most easily.

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5 tips for choosing a truck driving school

Choosing a truck driving school

If you have decided to become a truck driver, you can’t begin your new career until you get the proper training. However, with so many truck driving schools operating all around the country, it can be difficult to choose the institution that is best for you. Below are some tips to help you choose the right truck driving school so you can be sure you have all the knowledge and skills you need to succeed on the open road.

Tips for choosing a truck driving school.

1. Know the different types of driving schools.

Two primary types of truck driving schools exist: private schools and paid training programs. Paid training programs are usually operated by employers looking to hire graduates of the program. These programs pay you during your training and then hire you as an employee after the training program is complete. Private schools, on the other hand, usually require you to pay tuition and do not hire you after the program is complete. Instead, you will need to find your own job.

2. Do your research.

One of the most important steps you can take to ensure you are enrolled in the right program is to do adequate research before making a selection. As you research different truck driving schools, be sure to compare them on the basis of:

  • Reputation among past students
  • Tuition costs
  • Length of training
  • Reviews

3. Don’t forget about job placement.

After you finish your training program and you are ready to begin working as a truck driver, you will need to find a job. If you are opting for a private training program that doesn’t hire program graduates, job placement services are an important consideration. Be sure to inquire about the job placement services each prospective truck driving program offers, as well as the most recent job placement records. If possible, choose a truck driving school that has a history of helping the majority of program graduates to find appropriate positions quickly after graduation.

4. Ask about instructor experience.

Attending truck driving school isn’t just a formality for prospective truck drivers. During this time, you need to be learning important skills in a way that will translate easily to the real world. In order to get the best learning experience possible, you need to be under the instruction of trained, experienced professionals. Before choosing a truck driving school, ask about the background of the instructors that run the program.

5. Consider CDL requirements.

In order to qualify for your CDL, you will need to complete classroom hours, as well as over-the-road driving experience. If possible, choose a school that operates a comprehensive program designed to prepare you to meet all the requirements for your CDL.

Choosing the right truck driving school can be a challenge, but the tips above will help to simplify the process. Before you begin working as a truck driver, remember to consider your insurance requirements and needs so you can protect yourself as a professional – and don’t forget the importance of safety.

truck insurance quotes

Get started with truck insurance quotes.

It’s also important to have the right insurance to protect yourself as a trucker. Get started with big rig insurance quotes by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat.

What is the FMCSA Portal?

What is the FMCSA Portal?

The FMCSA portal is maintained by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and offers motor carriers and other involved parties access to a variety of forms of information. If you are a carrier, ship freight, carry passengers, or do other commerce on the roadways, then you can use the FMCSA Portal to check your official safety records and other details the agency maintains.

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How is the severity weight of a violation determined?

Violation severity weight

The Compliance, Safety & Accountability (CSA) program uses data that it obtains from crash data and roadside inspection reports to identify drivers with unsafe driving behaviors. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) may intervene with these drivers at a later time. Violations are assigned a severity weight that depends on many different factors. We’ll give a brief explanation of how a violation’s severity weight is determined.

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If I’ve applied for my operating authority, can I operate outside my base state?

Operating out of base state

Your operating authority will eventually allow you to operate as a small business. If you’ve been an owner-operator in the past, then applying for your own operating authority will expand your options and ensure you can legally serve customers and clients in a variety of locations. Your operating authority will allow you to serve more clients, perform more types of work, and ensure you are running your business in full compliance with the law. One frequently asked question is whether you can operate outside your base state if you’ve applied for operating authority. We’ll address this question.

Read moreIf I’ve applied for my operating authority, can I operate outside my base state?

Why would a motor carrier get an unsatisfactory rating?

Unsatisfactory rating

An unsatisfactory rating can harm your ability to run your business and serve your customers. Understanding how and why unsatisfactory ratings are determined can help you avoid this situation and ensure your business is not interrupted. Poor ratings and repeated low ratings can even lead to a loss of your operating authority and potential compliance and sanction issues. Because of this, refreshing your knowledge ensures your business is able to operate effectively and you don’t risk losing customers because you are unable to meet their needs.

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What is a power unit and how does it work in the SMS?

Power Unit

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) uses the MSC-150 to help them identify motor carriers in their system. The registration for each motor carrier includes a snapshot of information, such as the type of cargo transported, operation classification, and contact information. Motor carriers must update this information and keep it current. The FMCSA requires carriers to update their MSC-150 immediately if they do have changes. If they fail to do so, the FMCSA will deactivate the carrier’s Department of Transportation (DOT) number. One of the things that the FMCSA considers is the number of power units. We’ll explain what “power unit” means and why it’s important.

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What is the Driver Safety Measurement System and how does it work?

Driver Safety Measurement System

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) operates several programs and divisions, including the Safety Measurement System (SMS). The SMS also has a sub-program known as the Driver Safety Measurement System (DSMS) that you may have questions about as a commercial driver. The most important thing to remember about DSMS is that it doesn’t issue or generate scores that evaluate driver safety. It also has no bearing on your commercial driver’s license (CDL) or safety rating.

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How time-weighting for trucking violations works

How does time-weighting work for violations?

The Safety Measurement System (SMS) is a program operated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to help identify unsafe drivers and prioritize them for intervention. Drivers receive a percentile rank based on how well they perform against other drivers with a similar number of violations as well as the severity of the violations. It uses several factors when determining this percentage, including out of service orders, the results of roadside inspections, crashes reported at the state level, and the past 24 months of data for every driver. We’ll focus on how time-weighting works within the SMS.

Read moreHow time-weighting for trucking violations works