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  : FleetOwner.com 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 )

Vocabulary:

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.

Example:

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.

Who Is Exempt From FMCSA ELD Rule

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For many of the carriers I know, you will be exempt from the ELD ruling if your Drivers use paper DOT RODS for not more that 8 days during each 30 day period.  This exemption was made clear on August 31st 2016.

FMCSA ELD Compliance Timeline

FMCSA ELD Compliance Timeline

Here’s a video on the goals of ELD’s

 

 

VOCABULARY: More

Gaps Eat Ankles and Legs

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LetYummyYummyGapTruckEveryone is late and you are already late for the next thing you had to do 30 minutes ago.  You’ve backed up to the dock and danged if you have time to mess with the ramp.  So you maneuver  and have the forklift guy snatch the pallet as you’ve done a 1000 times before . . . UNTIL . . . you slip and step into the gap.  NOW YOUR ARE REALLY GOING TO BE LATE.

The fall protection standard, at 29 CFR §1926.500(b), defines a hole as “a gap or void 2 inches…or more in its least dimension, in a floor, roof, or other walking/working surface.” The standard has two requirements with respect to holes. §1926.501(b)(4)(ii) requires that employees be protected from tripping or stepping into holes by placing covers over them. This provision does not specify a minimum depth for the requirement to apply. [click here]

QUESTION

What would you do to prevent this?  Policy?  Training? Go fill out some forms?  Have a meeting?  Take care to the guy and keep the product moving, the rest will take care of itself?

Carrier Monitoring DOT Safety Measurements

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English: Antique New Hampshire speed limit sig...

English: Antique New Hampshire speed limit sign. On display at Clark’s Trading Post, Lincoln New Hampshire. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First:  Carriers need to set the standard and manage safety habits of ‘their drivers and the trucks they drive.  In an ideal world, the concern for others well-being can  inspire companies to create a safety culture for the drivers and their habits.

Note Well:   If your company is distracted from acting on your commitment to  public and employee safety, the DOT is determined to help remind you.  If you are really sloppy about your road safety, you could be looking for a new line of work.

Carrier management would be wise to go to http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms/ and enter their DOT# .

DOT Safety Measurement Site

Once your enter your DOT# you will see how the Department of Transportation sees you, the Carrier.   and you will understand how much of a regulatory burden may be on your horizon or patting on the back . . . is due.

You will also be able to see the kind of citations your company has received, whether or not your drivers have turned in citations received during road inspections.

If you DOT# has passed the 65th percentile, your company is subject to the possibility of a field audit at any time from the DOT.  The carrier below has passed the 65% percentile because of three (3 ) citations.

Interpreting DOT Safety Measurement Emphesis Hand Held

Two (2) citations:  Driver was caught using a hand-held cellular phone while driving.

One (1) citation:  Driver was speeding 11-14 miles over the posted speed limit.

Both are heavily weighted.

Your take-away for making it this far:

Monitoring your DOT# Safety Measurement at http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms/    you can take corrective action, even if the citation ( s ) were not reported by your drivers.

Recommendation:  By monitor your DOT# at    http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms/  quarterly or more frequently you company’s health is more assured.

Truck Battery Dead Drill Down

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Battery goes dead.

Repair discovers the box light was on.

Four (4) possible scenarios.

  1. The battery is expired, exhausted and needs to be replaced anyway.
  2. The alternator is not functioning
  3. The box light mechanism is not functioning properly, causing the lights to continue burning 1.
  4. The driver left the box light on, or the door to the box which activates turn off of the light was left open or ajar causing the light to be left on 2.
  • In the case of this battery dead event , we discovered the sensors controlling the on-off condition were malfunctioning  and therefore #3  3.   For an immediate fix, we removed the light bulbs to continue delivering with the truck until  it can be repaired 4.

If it were #4 the fleet administrator would need to identify the driver.  Here is how we used Fleetmatics/Reveal to identify the last driver before battery failure :

1. Going to the main page and clicking on the Admin from the user pull-down menu

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2. Pick the Vehicle List

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3. Choosing your Truck for the drill down and clicking on the edit icon

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4. In the [Edit Vehicle] click on the [Assignment History] tab

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5. On the Vehicle’s Assignment History page look on the bottom for driver’s assignments

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More Simply:

Admin-> Vehicle List -> on right side of list click on clip_image012 for desired vehicle -> Click on /Assignment History\ tab. . . .

Footnotes:

1 Assumes hands-on knowledge of the delivery vehicle specs

2 Assumes communication with drivers while loading truck notice the lights are not functioning properly and report to the administrator/supervisor

3 Assumes the administrator has gone to the truck to evaluate

4 Assumes company management/ fleet manager has ordered the driver fob option with Fleetmatics, distributed them to the drivers and programmed driver ID with the unique fobs

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How Do I Know If I Am An Interstate Carrier?

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Map of Florida highlighting Nassau County

Map of Florida highlighting Nassau County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

YOU ARE INTERSTATE:

I f you are a transporter (Motor Carrier) of product, which was manifested outside of the state, and your are shipping straight-through from Airport or Depot you are an interstate carrier and are required to comply with DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) . 

Therefore, you are advised to apply for Your DOT Motor Identification Number (MCS-150) and comply with  DOT  Interstate Hours On-Duty and Off-Duty and Maximum Hours Driving [click here](a downloadable pdf sheet)  apply to  any transporter of product that came from out of their state. 

 

YOU ARE INTRASTATE:

If your operation is solely within the State of Florida, and the commerce you engage in is solely within the State of Florida, e.g. no straight-through shipments, you are an intrastate carrier

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Road Rage and Personal Safety

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Roadrage 2003

Roadrage 2003 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Driver Safety is Paramount:

The driver should feel they are allowed to make the best decision in order to assure their personal safety due to road rage.

General advice:

Whether there is physical damage or not, it is best that you stay at the scene, if possible. Call 911. Explain you are ‘afraid for your safety because of another driver’s road rage’. Follow their instructions.

While waiting for the police to arrive:

DO NOT LOOK THE ENRAGED DRIVER IN THE EYE

DO NOT RELATE / INTERACT WITH THE ENRAGED DRIVER

DO NOT GET OUT OF THE VEHICLE

LOCK THE DOORS, KEEP THE WINDOWS ROLLED UP

START WRITING YOUR REPORT.

LICENSE PLATE # MAKE AND MODEL OF THE VEHICLE

LOCATION

WHEN: TIME OF THE INCIDENT

WHEN ENRAGED DRIVER IS UNAWARE, TAKE AS MANY PICTURES OF EVERYTHING 360º AROUND YOU WITH YOUR CELL PHONE

Again, if you, the driver, feel that your personal safety is jeopardized, take appropriate action.

Road Rage Incident (Live Link)

In heavy, slow traffic a driver in front of our vehicle stops and gets out, pounds on our driver’s window, and yelling curses. There is no physical damage to the other vehicle.  Our driver is startled, concerned and leaves the scene at the first opportunity because there was no accident, and he is concerned for his personal safety. Driver calls in a report to his supervisor. Later, the Road Rage driver called the company, talks to whoever picks up, cursing and threatening to sue and doesn’t leave any information.

There are many probable outcomes from how this driver decided to handle this ‘road rage’ situation. Bottom-line: He was not harmed.

Here are a few:

Scams (live link)

This is one of the possible scenarios which could have developed if the driver stayed put in the example above.  This could also be a staged event to help sell car cams.  However, it demonstrates how helpless a driver can be when there is an intentional effort to create an accident.

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