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.
It may not be a traditional job for women, but trucking offers plenty of opportunities for female drivers, provided companies reach out in the right way. Female truck drivers offer many benefits, from better safety records to enhanced loyalty.
If you’re due for your DOT physical and you have a medical condition that’s being treated by a doctor, you probably have some questions when it comes to getting a medical certificate. According to the DOT, the Medical Examiner makes the final decision whether you can drive with a medical condition that’s under treatment.
The DOT is the short version for the United States Department of Transportation. This large office of the Federal government is responsible for the infrastructure and roadways that cross the nation and are designated Federally owned.
What is the mission of the DOT?
The DOT has a few major goals that it states are part of its mission:
- To provide a safe and effective system for transportation
- To help quality of life for Americans
- To provide a transportation system that allows businesses and workers to be more productive and competitive
While the DOT is most commonly associated with highways, the agency has broad-reaching powers and incorporates a wide range of offices. The overall priority of the Department of Transportation is to facilitate the nation’s ability to travel safely, support economic growth through the strategic use of transportation, and keep the roadways and other routes secure.
The Department of Transportation opened in 1966; since then, it has expanded to include a number of initiatives, groups, and verticals.
Department of Transportation Offices and Authorities Include:
Office of the Secretary: The leadership branch of the DOT, the Secretary of Transportation is responsible for the big picture and in relating the needs and concerns of the department to other branches of government.
Federal Aviation Administration: The nation’s airways fall under the purview of the FAA; this includes both civilian aircraft, airports, and the transportation of goods by air.
Federal Highway Administration: The FHWA covers highways and transportation programs, including offering financial assistance to state governments. This department is designed to create improvements and maintain the safety of the nation’s infrastructure.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Familiar to all trucking businesses, this branch of the DOT was formed in January 2000. The FMCSA is charged with creating and maintaining safe roadways by enhancing provider and carrier safety. The primary mission of this department is to create and enforce safety requirements, ensure compliance, and maintain records for all carriers operating in the nation.
Federal Railroad Administration: The FRA provides oversight and safety regulations for the nation’s railways, trains, and tracks.
Federal Transit Administration: The FTA focuses on safe transportation for the public, with buses, trolleys, and other public transportation and commuter vehicles. Ferryboats, subways, and elevated systems are also monitored and overseen by the FTA.
Maritime Administration: The safety of our nation’s waterways, including the maintenance and safety of shipping routes and multimodal transportation.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: This agency performs a similar function to the FMCSA, but for consumer vehicles and other initiatives. Motor vehicles of all types, accident data, and other records are maintained by the NHTSA; this group is also responsible for safety training, child restraint laws, and vehicle safety laws across the nation.
The DOT is made up of a huge number of agencies and organizations that focus on keeping all modes and methods of transportation safe for individuals and businesses. Understanding just how far-reaching the agency is will help business owners remain in full compliance with all regulatory issues and laws.
Get truck insurance quotes.
If you need to get truck insurance, we can help you with some quotes. Our transportation insurance team can help you get the coverage you need to protect your business. Get started with insurance quotes by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.