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.

Drivers Take Note: Left Lane is for Passing: Now Florida Law

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Hat TIp: Wesley Chapel Community.Com

I got a call from a person driving behind one of our trucks today.  They told me our driver was driving along as he pleased in the ‘passing lane’  without consideration for those who wanted to pass behind him.  He called us as a courtesy to inform that this is now against the law to simply drive to your destination in the left most lane.  He was calling from the FL Turnpike.   I searched and this is what I found . . .  the caller was correct. Drivers who stay in the passing lane too long may be trolling for a traffic ticket.  

Driving below the speed of traffic in the left hand lane of any multi-lane road in Florida is not only annoying, it is now illegal thanks to 2014 revisions to Florida’s Laws.

According to the newly revised Florida State Statute 316.081, “a driver may not continue to operate a motor vehicle in the furthermost left-hand lane if the driver knows or reasonably should know that he or she is being overtaken in that lane from the rear by a motor vehicle traveling at a higher rate of speed.”

What is the cost for such a violation?  In Pasco County it will cost violators $164 and three points on their driver license if ticketed. To be reasonable the law has two common sense exemptions where one may continue to drive in the left lane for a short period of time.

  1. You are not required to move over to be passed if you are passing someone yourself.
  2. You are not required to move over to be passed if you are about to make a left hand turn at a nearby intersection.

Short of those exemptions, it is now illegal to continually drive in the left lane when others are behind you.  If approached from behind (regardless of speed) you must move over and allow other’s to pass you.

Experts in traffic and transportation say that if followed, this law will significantly reduce road rage issues, and allow for more efficient travel for all. Public awareness is the key to success

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?

No Cell for Truck Drivers on the Road

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Person using cell phone while driving.

Person using cell phone while driving. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) updated the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) severity tables for the Unsafe Driving and Vehicle Maintenance BASICs on February 8, 2012, to include 27 new entries, as listed below.

Unsafe Driving BASIC

The agency added the following texting and cell-phone-use violations to the Unsafe Driving BASIC:

  • §177.804(b): Failure to comply with 49 CFR 392.80 – Texting while Oper a CMV -Placardable HM, severity weight 10
  • §177.804(c): Fail to comply with 392.82 – Using Mobile Phone while Oper a CMV – HM, severity weight 10
  • §392.80(a): Driving a commercial motor vehicle while Texting, severity weight 10
  • §392.82(a)(1): Using a hand-held mobile telephone while operating a CMV, severity weight 10
  • §392.82(a)(2): Allowing or requiring driver to use a hand-held mobile tel while operating a CMV, severity weight 10

    No driver shall use a hand-held mobile telephone while driving a commercial motor vehicle. (49 CFR Part 392.82) A commercial motor vehicle is defined by the US DOT as a vehicle with a single or combined GVWR, or actual weight of over 10,000# utilized in interstate commerce. (Note: Most states have adopted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for intrastate commerce with vehicles at weights ranging from 10,001 to 26,001#)

    Use of a hand held mobile telephone means: (49 CFR Part 390.5)

    1. Using at least one hand to hold a mobile telephone to conduct a voice communication,
    2. Dialing or answering a mobile telephone by pressing more than a single button, or
    3. Reaching for a mobile telephone in a manner which requires a driver to maneuver so that he or she is no longer in a seated position.
    Three minutes of good information, well explained and demonstrated.
    • This rule does not prohibit a driver from using a mounted mobile phone which can be easily accessed from the driver’s seat and activated with a single button. 
    • Driving means operating a commercial vehicle while on a public road, and when stopped in traffic on such a road. Driving does not include instances when the driver is safely parked.  Emergency use is permitted.
    • Penalty: Driver is disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for 60 days with the second offense in 3 years. (120 days for each subsequent offense within 3 years)  Only applies if violation occurred while driving a CMV.

    Related articles

Wheel Claws Deter Truck Thieves

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English: A Pit Bull Tire Lock wheel clamp atta...

English: A Pit Bull Tire Lock wheel clamp attached to a Hummer illegally parked at Duke University East Campus in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our economy will be inspiring more theft. 

Thieves can hide out in an empty cargo body, wait till dark, get out, break into the cab, hot wire and drive through the fence.  Or any truck, unattended in a dark place can be a thieves‘  target.

Truck tire chock/claw locks can help.  The pictures below are used for Non-CDL Trucks. Be sure to push the button down all the way to lock the yellow tire claws.

WheelClawLocks

Costs can range from $40 to $120. Go to Amazon.com and enter ‘wheel boot clamp’ or click here. Insure that your divers are trained how and when to use.

9 sec. demo of how easy it is to use a ‘wheel boot’.

 

  • Over the week-end
  • Overnight on the road
  • Try taking apart after locking to insure you’ve done it right.

 

  • Easier to install on front wheel which is turned out 10º or more.
  • Lock cargo and Cab doors.
  • Park in well lighted area
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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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Get a Grip On Roadside Inspections

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Just because your company uses straight trucks spec’d under the 26,000 GVWR ( Non – CDL ) doesn’t mean your trucks are invisible to DOT inspectors and State Highway Patrol officers.  

Even without events like Roadcheck,  DOT roadside  inspections  of your vehicles are inevitable especially because of  CSA 2010.   If you want to pass these inspections and get back on the road quickly, you need to make sure that you are keeping your trucks properly maintained  That is the role of the pre and post trip inspection.

1 Inspect left rear lamps , wheels, rims, hubs and tires. (click for video)
2

DipStickIsuzuRange Throughout the inspection . . . look on ground & engine compartment for wet fluid leaks on chassis and ground

3

Inspect left rear lamps , wheels, rims, hubs and tires. (click for video) Tire at left showing the result of core wire exposed due to under inflation of tires. Replace!

7

Miami-20110907-00352

Inspect left wheels , rims, hubs and tires.  Full service fleets usually have the tire pressure needed posted near the tire on the truck body, near by.  Use that pressure.  10% more or less must be corrected before it is safe to drive   Example:  Tire is rated for 100 psi.  Your inspection reveals it is 85 psi.  This tire must be checked by the full service truck provider mechanic before it is safe to drive.

10

Damaged tire

Inspect right wheel, rim, hub and tire.
The tire at the right has a damged rim and a bubble in the tire.  Do not drive on a tire and rim like this.

11

TuboLeak Inspect brakes fluid levels & if operating properly (Not too much play in the foot pedal).

Find our how you are doing with your DOT inspections by going to this site.  http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/SMS/Default.aspx or click on pic belowHowToCheckYourDOTStatus

 

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