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

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

    Hours of Service Logs and 11-14 rule

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    Fleet D.O.T. & Safety Compliance | Focused Information for the Property Carrying, NON-CDL  Straight Truck Carriers

    In general, a CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business and is involved in interstate commerce and fits any of these descriptions:

    • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
    • Crosses state boundaries
    • Your company transports out-of-state products picked up at the airport (yes, even if your trucks never leave the state.)


    Most drivers must follow these new  HOS Regulations, if they drive a commercial motor vehicle, or CMV.  However, Aug. 31st, 2016 FMSA made an exemption  for their Electronic Logging Device (ELD) ruling for a carrier whose drivers only need to complete 8 log sheets or less / month.

    11-Hour Driving Limit

    May drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.

    14-Hour Limit

    May not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.

    Rest Breaks

    Does not apply to drivers using either of the short-haul exceptions in 395.1(e). [49 CFR 397.5 mandatory “in attendance” time may be included in break if no other duties performed]

    DotFleets Note:

    To insure drivers will take preventive action when they find they cannot contine driving in a alert because of fatigue, always encourage your drivers to call their supervisor and work out a solution.  An extra night on the road is better than an accident on the road.

    Later you can investigate reasons for your driver’s fatigue, even if the driver is within the 11-14 rule.

    • Physical exhaustion: driver misused their off-time before delivery day
    • Physical impairment: driver is stuggling with diabetes and more prone to exhaustion and difficulty maintaining their attention as a consequence.
    • Physical impairments and mental acuity problems because the driver is
    • Physical impairments because the driver has diabetes or is taking medications for some ailment which affects their ability to stay alert and they are failing to comply with the medication advisements, medication schedule.
    • Failure to following diet restrictions.
    • others reasons you might know of, please put in the comments. Thanks

    Work with your team.  Make effort with your time to discover the cause(s).  Work through your management team to design a corrective action for the benefit of the company mission and those who keeping it alive and on course.


    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.

    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




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