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.

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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

Related articles

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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Are You A Target For DOT Audit – Intervention?

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It depends on how you have responded to inspection citations like this.

Citation-C-Driver Violation-Example

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

HowToCheckYourDOTStatus

If your report looks like this . . . you’ve got some serious training and DOT safety system training to do.  (3 years of reports)

DOT#SearchResult

and your status report will probably look like this . . .image and expect intervention

YouAreA-DOT-AuditInterventionTarget

http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/SMS/

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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