When you drive your personal vehicle and get a warning – it’s just that, a true warning. The rules of the road change, though, when commercial trucking is involved. Because safety is such a significant issue for the industry and a warning could reflect problems in the overall way a brand is operating, a warning ticket is a far more severe thing for a commercial driver than it is for someone driving their own personal vehicle.
Follow-on actions are one of three possible responses to violations of FMCSA rules and regulations. Of the three responses, a Follow-On is considered to be the most severe and significant. All interventions by the FMCSA were designed to help educate, inform, and support businesses that have run afoul of regulations, but the Follow-On options are the most severe and most likely to trigger penalties.
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
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A targeted roadside inspection takes place when the Safety Management System (SMS) of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) triggers results that indicate a driver has recently received a violation. Targeted roadside inspections occur at temporary and permanent locations for these events. The purpose of a roadside inspection for a driver with recent SMS results is to ensure that he or she has taken corrective action on the first violation and has not committed violations that would result in a second citation from the FMCSA.
As part of its commitment to driver and public safety, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) administers safety ratings outlined in 49 CFR Part 385. The purpose of the ratings is to determine the fitness of every motor carrier based on its onsite investigation results. The FMCSA maintains these records as part of its SAFER program, which stands for Safety and Fitness Electronic Records.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) designed the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program for two primary reasons. The first is to improve driver safety and the second is to prevent wrecks, injuries, and deaths involving commercial motor vehicles. The CSA program further consists of three components. These include a Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rating system to help determine safety among commercial drivers, interventions, and the Safety Management System (SMS). It’s common for both drivers and employers to question whether a driver’s crash history and safety violations follow him or her in the SMS.