Trucking is an ever-changing business with standards and regulations that seem to update faster than you can keep up with them. Whether you have just started your career as a long-haul driver or have been at it for a while, you can always learn something new. Sure, you have training sessions you must complete and materials you must read. However, we would like to suggest an additional resource for when you just have a single question or want to connect with others in the industry: Trucking MBA on YouTube.
The trucking business might be a highly competitive niche, but you can still meet all your operational goals if you are informed. Among some of the most critical operations would be in the marketing department. The challenge is that the options in this category are many, and some are not suitable for your business. Plus, these methods evolve every day, and you have to stay updated.
For any business that has a fleet to maintain, federal Department of Transportation (DOT) compliance is essential. When fleet vehicles fall out of compliance, that can lead to costly fixes, changes and penalties, and truck insurance cost increases, all of which bite into the bottom line and reduce the profitability of the company involved. While compliance is a form of government regulation, it also provides various benefits, road safety among them.
Having the Right Tools Matter
Like much in the federal government, DOT compliance has become a very complicated matter. Much of this is due to the fact that so many rules, regulations, guidelines and directives have now been issued and continued to be modified, it literally takes a library to keep up with everything. Worse, companies are still responsible to make sure their fleets are kept in compliance with all the new changes on top of everything they already have.
Using Technology to Even the Field
Technology is the fleet manager’s friend. With automation and fast-searching, fleet managers can easily pinpoint the various DOT regulations and rules that apply to them specifically. This produces the ability to stop wasting time and focus energy on just what really matters for staying in compliance. It also saves money that has to be spent on inspections as well as equipment changes or add-ons. And staying on top of the changes that apply also saves from legal risks down the road that otherwise occur without all the above attention being applied. No surprise, most fleet managers with experience rely heavily on technology library tools, both for tracking existing DOT rules as well as gaining the advantage of updates to track new changes as well.
With MVRCheck tools, fleet managers have both online and technology tools at their disposal. MVR has advanced the ability to stay on top of compliance by leveraging both powerful databases as well as the Internet. This makes DOT compliance information useful instead of being a challenge or frustration. First, MVR technology tools start with a centralized approach to saving fleet information and making it manageable for a fleet manager. Second, MVR tools then take that information and compare it automatically against all the applicable requirements that would be eligible. The results are powerful, accurate and immediate. MVR tools then allow the fleet manager to keep these results in accessible form that can be translated and applied real time to their fleet, updating what is needed when changes also apply as well. Because MVR takes a pay-as-you-go approach, fleet managers don’t have to face a big investment to get the benefits of automation. With a far lower cost, fleet managers can keep their fleets functional and regulated without breaking the bank.
Stop Guessing On Fleet Compliance
MVRCheck makes it so easy to manage fleet compliance, folks always wonder why they didn’t get started soon once they put MVR into action. Find out for yourself how easy DOT-mandated compliance can be with MVRCheck and similar tools.
If your company is subject to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), it’s likely that sooner or later you’ll deal with a DOT compliance audit. You don’t have to be a trucking company. Any outfit that operates vehicles over 10,000 pounds can be audited. This can include landscaping businesses, concrete companies and towing companies.
When you receive an audit notice, there’s reason to be concerned. In 2019 only six percent of firms escaped an inspection or audit without a violation. But if you follow a few best practices, you can get through a DOT audit with minimal hardship.
Why DOT Compliance Audits Take Place
Sometimes audits are random, and sometimes they’re triggered. Accidents attract the attention of auditors, especially accidents resulting in injury and death. Compliance, safety and accountability (CSA) points from accidents and roadside inspections can add up and lead to an audit.
Be Prepared with Good Record Keeping
The best way to survive an audit is to be prepared before the DOT calls on you. That means keeping your records up to date. Have your documentation secure, centralized and backed up.
A big source of audit violations is the driver qualification file. Common problems include missing inquiries into employment records, lack of medical certificates and not having a file on every driver.
It’s also important to maintain vehicle files, accident reports and records of drug and alcohol testing.
When the Audit Notice Arrives
Surprise audits are unusual. Normally you will receive a notice in the form of a letter, which will direct you to provide information and/or call for next steps.
Respond promptly. If you suspect the audit might not be random, it’s fine to ask. Usually, they’ll tell you. Be thorough but don’t volunteer documentation. Give them what they ask for.
Requested files might include tax information, truck insurance documentation, fiscal information, employee lists, vehicle lists and alcohol and drug forms. If they request information beyond the scope of FMCSA, it may be in your best interest to provide it anyway.
If there’s documentation you think might be relevant but hasn’t been requested, gather it but don’t give it to them at this point.
If your documentation doesn’t look right, don’t change it or make anything up. If you’re caught at this the DOT will not only severely penalize you but will never stop auditing you.
During the Audit
Have a quiet, private space to meet with auditors. Don’t offer food; they’re not allowed to accept it. Arrange your schedule to avoid interruptions. Don’t volunteer information or provide more documentation than was requested.
If your files include irrelevant details, remove them. If you’ve gathered unrequested documents that could be relevant, keep them in a nearby room and retrieve them if necessary. You don’t want auditors fishing through files they haven’t asked to see.
DOT Compliance Audit Outcome
After the audit you’ll receive a rating of Satisfactory, Conditional or Unsatisfactory. If you’re rated Satisfactory, great! Keep it up with the safety practices and record-keeping that got you where you are.
A Conditional rating means there’s at least one item to be corrected. The good news is that you haven’t failed, and the DOT doesn’t see you as a safety risk. There are likely to be fines, and you’ll have to create and submit a Safety Management Plan to correct any infractions.
An Unsatisfactory Rating is what no one wants. You could be shut down. At the very least, you’ll have to devise and carry out a program to reverse that rating.
Trucking is complicated. There are a lot of regulations you have to follow, and there’s a lot of safety-related data about your business that you need to keep track of. The FMCSA takes safety very seriously, so as a trucking business you need to be sure you’re playing by the rules. One resource that can help is the CSA website (Compliance, Safety, Accountability). What exactly can you find on the CSA website? We’ll explain eight things the CSA website can help you with.
If you’re in the trucking world, there are a lot of terms and numbers used by the SMS (Safety Measurement System) when it comes to talking about a carrier. Especially when it comes to safety records. Interpreting these things can be a struggle. For example, one major component of these safety scores is the percentiles. What exactly is a percentile and what does it mean? Understanding the BASICs means being able to make sense of these numbers. We’ll go over what a “percentile” is and what it tells you.
If you are a commercial motor vehicle driver, you know all about the CDL. The licensing requirements are pretty strict. You know that you can get endorsements added to your CDL. But what about the opposite situation – what about the restrictions that can be placed on your license? Here are some of the restrictions that can be placed on a CDL.
Truck drivers are on the roads a lot, of course, and they use GPS (as we all do) to get around. There are also stories about trucks hitting bridges if they don’t have enough clearance. So, how are the two related? At first glance, they might not seem to be connected. However, there could be a connection. Here’s how that works and some tips for avoiding bridge strikes.
Trucking is a serious field, which is why a lot of training and a lot of practice is required. There is also a serious test that the prospective truck driver has to pass, and it consists of the knowledge test and the skills test. These are both very important. It’s best to be prepared before you go to take the tests. Here are five things you need to know about the CDL test.
In the trucking world, there are a lot of regulations you need to follow. The FMCSA is a big deal, and it’s important to know all about the regulations you need to follow. It’s definitely in your best interest to keep your business in compliance. But as we mentioned, there are a lot of regulations that need to be followed…as in a lot. So, how are you supposed to keep them all straight? The FMCSA has a tool called the Motor Carrier Safety Planner, which can help – we’ll go over four things you need to know about it.