THE UNEXPECTED and Following Too Close – A Video

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FMCSA Video Event Recording of Following Too Close

VIDEO DESCRIPTION: The CMV driver is traveling in the far right lane of a three-lane highway during the day. There is an exit-only lane on the right, adjacent to the driver’s lane. The driver is following a lead passenger vehicle closely. The passenger vehicle begins to slow in order to move to the left and into the middle lane. The CMV driver does not slow down appropriately and comes close to the rear of the passenger vehicle as it changes lanes.

TRAINING EXERCISE: After viewing the video, try to answer the following questions:

  • Does the driver appear to adjust his vehicle’s speed to maintain a safe following distance with the lead vehicle?
  • Why was the lead vehicle slowing down?
  • Why did the driver brake excessively?
  • What could the driver have done differently?

Here is an example of tailgating, being unable to safely respond to THE UNEXPECTED.

The tailgating vehicle  (following too close) had less than a second of space between them and the vehicle in front.  RESULT: UNABLE TO REACT TO THE UNEXPECTED SAFELY.

The camera vehicle maintained a 3 to 4 second cushion between them and the  vehicles in front.  RESULT:  A SAFE RESPONSE TO THE UNEXPECTED

Tailgating is another term for Following Too Close.  When you follow too close you do not have time to adjust your driving for the unexpected.  When driving at speeds greater than 49 mph in a CMV over 10,000 GVWR create the habit of keeping 3 to 4 seconds distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front.  The vehicle with the camera in this video maintained the correct distance. 


The vehicle in front pass a fix point, start counting the seconds . . .     Mississippi One     Mississippi  two     Mississippi three Missis  till you car crosses the same fixed point.  Some people use the white lines, some use bushes, some use sign posts. Whatever you use . . . MAKE IT YOUR HABIT to keep a safe cushion SO YOU CAN CONTROL THE UNEXPECTED..


DOT Drivers Medical Certificate

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This is an excellent program which help companies insure their drivers are fit to drive safely.

Do you have a DOT #?   Then read on.  If your answer is – no –  but  aren’t sure you need a DOT # or not.  Put — Do I need – in this site’s search box in the upper right.


Now, here is what I found from the FMCSA site.  Click on the image to go there.

All commercial drivers of vehicles in interstate commerce with a maximum gross vehicle weight rating of over 10,000 pounds (4,536 kilograms) are required to obtain and maintain a valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate

States Requiring Intrastate CMV DOT Registration

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Apart from federal regulations, some states require their intrastate commercial motor vehicle registrants to obtain a USDOT Number. As of Feb 2017 the 32 states which require DOT #’s are:

Alaska – DOT # required for CMV 10,001 GVW or more. Alaska DOT 907-365-1210

Alabama – DOT # required for CMV 26,001 GVW or more Alabama DOT 334-242-2999

Arizona – DOT # required for CMV

California – Carrier ID Motor Carrier of Property Permit 916-657-6803

Connecticut – DOT # required for CMV 10,001 GVW or more Connecticut DOT 800-842-8222

Colorado – DOT # required for CMV 26,001 GVW or more Colorado DOR 303-205-5607


Florida – DOT FL # required for CMV 10,001 GVW or more Florida DOT 850-488-7920

Georgia – DOT GA # required for CMV 10,001 GVW or more Georgia DOR 404-675-6135

Indiana – DOT # required for CMV 10,001 GVW or more Indiana DOR 317-615-7200

Kansas – DOT KS # required for CMV Kansas Corp Comm 800-832-5660

Kentucky – DOT KY # required for CMV 10,001 GVW or more KY Trans Cabinet 502-564-4127

Maine – DOT # required for CMV 26,001 GVW or more Maine State Police 207-624-8939

Maryland – DOT MD # required for CMV 10,001 GVW or more MD State Hwy Admin 410-582-5739

Michigan – DOT # required for CMV 10,001 GVW or more  State Police 888-464-8736

Minnesota – DOT # required for CMV 10,001 GVW or more MN State Patrol 651-405-6060

Missouri – DOT MO # required for CMV 10,001 GVW or more Missouri DOT 866-831-6277

Montana –DOT # required for CMV

New Jersey – DOT # required for CMV

New York – DOT NY # required for CMV 10,001 GVW or more New York DOT 866-881-2630

North Carolina -DOT NC # required

Ohio – DOT OH # required for CMV 10,001 GVW or more OH Bureau of MV 614-777-8400

Oklahoma – DOT OK # required for CMV 26,001 GVW or more OK Corp Comm 405-521-3246

Oregon – DOT OR # required for CMV 10,001 GVW or more Oregon DOT 503-378-6699

Pennsylvania – DOT # required for CMV

South Carolina – DOT # required for CMV

Tennessee – DOT # required for CMV 10,001 GVW or more TN Dept of Safety 615-687-2260

Texas – DOT # required for CMV 10,001 GVW or more Texas DOT 800-299-1700

Utah – DOT UT # required for CMV UT State Tax Comm 810-297-7780


Washington – DOT # required for CMV 26,001 GVW or more WA Dept of Licensing 360-664-1858

West Virginia – DOT # required for CMV – WV Pub Svc Comm 304-340-0483

Wisconsin – DOT # required for CMV

Wyoming – DOT WY # required for CMV 26,001 GVW or more WY DOT 307-777-4772

The source for this information is from FMSCSA 2017. For example FMCSA notes the following states as requiring DOT RegistrationDoINeedaDOTNumberStep3.jpg

 States can change, or upgrade their requirements. Check with states that don’t require DOT registration as noted above: just to make sure there are no surprises.  To ASSUME makes an ASS of U and Me.  Drive safe, DOT  helps make it so.

Updating Your DOT Number is Mandatory.

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What to Update?

Routine USDOT Number Updates

To view a company’s current information, go to the SAFER System’s Company Snapshot[external link]. Updates can be done online via the FMCSA online registration system with your US DOT PIN, or by filing an MCS-150 form.  See below for more information on updating your US DOT number information.

Biennial Updates

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires all entities under its jurisdiction to update their information every two years. You are required to provide this update every two years even if your company has not changed its information, has ceased interstate operations since the last update, or is no longer in business and you did not notify FMCSA.

Failure to complete a Biennial Update will result in deactivation of your USDOT number and may result in civil penalties of up to $1,000 per day, not to exceed $10,000.

Updating your information is free. We have included instructions below to help you complete your biennial update.

What is the Deadline to Update?

Filing schedule: Each motor carrier or intermodal equipment provider must file the appropriate form at the following times:

  • Before it begins operations; and
  • Every 24 months according to the following schedule:



If the next-to-last digit of its USDOT Number is odd, the motor carrier or intermodal equipment provider shall file its update in every odd-numbered calendar year. If the next-to-last digit of the USDOT Number is even, the motor carrier or intermodal equipment provider shall file its update in every even-numbered calendar year.

Update Online
  • In order to complete the registration online, you’ll need your USDOT number, assigned PIN, EIN/SSN, and Company Official information. You can request a PIN mailed or e-mailed to you.
  • Carriers needing to complete the Motor Carrier Identification Report (MCS-150) OR the Combined Identification and Hazardous Materials Safety Permit Application (MCS-150B) may do so online through the FMCSA Registration Website.
  • Print an updated MCS-150 form for your records upon completion of the online registration if you prefer a hard copy.
Unable to Complete Online? No Problem.

If the carrier doesn’t have a USDOT PIN number, and their mailing address in MCMIS is outdated, they can’t submit a request for a PIN number to be mailed to them. They have 2 options:


    Send to:

    • 202-366-3477
    U.S. Mail

    Important note for hard copy registrations: Forms must be received by FMCSA on or before the date your Biennial Update is due to avoid deactivation of your USDOT number and the assessment of civil penalties. Please allow ample time for mailing.

    For Carriers

    Registration forms can also be downloaded here or you can request to have a pre-printed form mailed to you by calling FMCSA Support Services at 1-800-832-5660 (Select option 1 (US DOT number questions), then press zero to speak to an agent).

    For Hazardous Materials Safety Permit Carriers only:

    Complete, sign, and date the form, and mail it to the address below.

    U.S. Department of Transportation
    Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
    Attention: Office of Registration and Safety Information
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.

    Washington, DC 20590

    Intermodal Equipment Providers (IEPs)

    IEPs are unable to perform an online update at this time. Download the Intermodal Equipment Provider Identification Report form (MCS-150C) and complete, sign, and date the form, and mail it to the address above.

    Source: FMCSA Site

    Florida Department of Transportation FDOT Contact Sheet

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    Useful DOT contact information for carriers, drivers and citizen of Florida


    Business and Government Resources

    Claims Website

    Drivers Licenses
    Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Website
    850-617-2000 | Office Locations

    Equal Opportunity Website

    ADA/Accessibility Website

    General Issues
    Contact a local District Office
    District Offices

    Human Resources
    People First Website (Job Vacancies)
    Human Resource Office

    One Stop Permitting Website

    Property Listings Website

    Fraud Reporting Website

    Rest Area Information
    Maintenance Offices

    Road Debris
    Contact a local Maintenance Office
    Maintenance Offices

    Road Ranger Service Patrol
    Road Ranger Website
    * FHP (* 347)

    Toll Program (SunPass)

    Toll Violations (SunPass)
    SunPass Toll Violations Website

    Real-Time Traffic and Roadway Information

    Traveler and Commuter Resources

    Trucking – CDL License
    HSMV Commercial Vehicles Website
    850-617-2606 | Field Offices

    Trucking – Vehicle Operations
    Florida Trucking Information Website

    US DOT Number-Intrastate (Florida)
    HSMV Commercial Vehicles Website
    850-617-2280 | Field Offices

    US DOT Number-Interstate
    Federal Motor Carrier Safety Admin Website

    Vehicle Registration, Tag, Titles
    Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Website
    850-617-2000 | Office Locations

    Website/Application Issues

    Motor Carrier Size and Weight Website

    Central Office

    Jim Boxold
    Telephone: 850-414-4100

    Toll-Free: 866-374-FDOT (3368)

    605 Suwannee Street
    Directions to the Central Office

    Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0450
    Hotels Near Central Office

    District Offices

    District 1 (Main)
    Southwest Florida (Bartow)
    About District 1

    District 1 (SWIFT)
    Southwest Florida (Fort Myers)
    About District 1

    District 2 (Main)
    Northeast Florida (Lake City)
    About District 2

    District 2 (Urban Office)
    Northeast Florida (Jacksonville)
    About District 2

    District 3
    Northwest Florida (Chipley)
    About District 3

    District 4
    Southeast Florida (Ft. Lauderdale)
    About District 4

    District 5
    Central Florida (Deland)
    About District 5

    District 6
    South Florida (Miami)
    About District 6

    District 7
    West Central Florida (Tampa)
    About District 7

    Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise

    Turnpike Enterprise
    Public Information
    About the Turnpike

    Turnpike Enterprise
    Toll Program (SunPass) Call Center
    About SunPass

    Turnpike Enterprise
    Toll-By-Plate Program
    About Toll-By-Plate

    Some States Require Intrastate Carriers Register DOT

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    Some States require a USDOT number for all registrants of commercial motor vehicles, even intrastate operations. Non-Motor Carrier registrants are required to obtain a USDOT number as a necessary condition for commercial vehicle registration operation in these states. Take these three (3) steps to see if your states requires you to register for a DOT number:


    Step 1 :  You click on the line for Intrastate ‘B’


    Step 2: Your trucks stay within the state so click ‘View the list of states’



    Step 3:  If your state is on this list you need to register for DOT and Click here to get started.

    For carriers needing to complete the Motor Carrier Identification Report (MCS-150)  Application (MCS-150B) Click Here for an  on-line through the FMCSA Registration Website.

    Carriers 101 on Coercion

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    When a D.O.T. auditor shows up to investigate about a driver you had or currently employee, and they discover you scheduling requires him to break FMCSA regulations . . . the driver may not be the one on the hot seat.  When the auditor asks for your explanation . . .
    • I thought it was ok . . .
    • We’ve always done it this way. . .
    • No one ever told me . . .
    • I fired him because he wouldn’t do his scheduled route in time . . .

    and other variations on a carrier’s  “its-not-my-fault” explanations will not fly now that  ‘driver coercion” was added by the D.O.T. in its effort to go beyond roadside inspections and gain more FMCSA compliance from Carriers. (Read More:   DOT roadside Inspections enforcement status  and 10 Hours of Duty Rule)

    FMCSA backs drivers with coercion rule  : Kevin Jones

    A new rule to protect drivers from being compelled to violate federal safety regulations is set to publish today in the Federal Register. Known as the “driver coercion” rule, it provides FMCSA with the authority to go after not only carriers, but also shippers, receivers, and transportation intermediaries. ( read more )


    What is Coercion?

    Such actions are used as leverage, to force or leverage the victim to act in a way contrary to their own interests.


    A driver is given a route  which he points out  is impossible to complete without going over the 11 hrs driving and or 14 hrs on-duty DOT rule.  If the driver reluctantly accepts the task because they fear the loss of their position or their job it could be considered coercion.  Accidents and road side inspections with a citation will go hard on the carrier, especially if the driver challenges their citation because of coercion.

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