DOT Compliance and Risk Management
If you are in trucking in any capacity then you need to have at least a fundamental understanding of both DOT regulations and overall Risk management Principles.
My experience over many years has repeatedly taught me that ALMOST ALL CARRIERS do not know nearly as much as they think they do – or nearly as much as they should about either.
Mistakes can cost you dearly, and there is no quarter given based on good intent. You either are in compliance or you are not, and if not you will be fined and may be shut down. Even worse – in some cases depending upon the specifics you could even be civilly sued and/or criminally prosecuted on top of any other actions that may be taken.
It really is that serious – so take it seriously and take the time to learn what you need to know and then do what you need to do to minimize your risks.
After an event or after they show up at your door, it’s too late.
Where to Get Your Information
Start at the source. Visit the FMCSA site at www.fmcsa.dot.gov and become familiar with the site. It may appear overwhelming and even confusing at first but really it isn’t hard to navigate or understand once you become familiar with it. Once you know your way around it is just repetition and the more you visit the site the faster and easier it will become for you to find the specific information you need.
I suggest you make a habit of going on the site every day to begin with for at least 30 to 90 days until it is ingrained as a habit and you have a better understanding of it and the regulations it contains there. You don’t have to stay on the site long, just get on it and look up at least ONE regulation every day for 30 to 90 days.
Over time as you gather more information from other sources and as you take classes and read manuals and talk to other people – always remember the source and always remember that YOU are responsible for yourself, your company and the actions you take or fail to take.
So never blindly just accept any guidance from anyone at all without going back to the site and verifying it to your own satisfaction. Then you decide what to do or not do based on that.
Never just follow a book, manual, article, course or any person’s information or guidance without verifying that is is true, accurate and current.
When I first began to learn about regulatory issues and risk management I received all kinds of erroneous, incomplete and in many cases – completely wrong information. Often it was provided by “experts” who had years of experience – and some were even former law enforcement people!
Others were current safety directors, company owners, consultants, and executives – all with years of experience.
Guess what – they had it WRONG too, and if I had blindly followed them it would have turned out very badly. I learned very early on what I am teaching you here now – verify all regulatory matters at the CURRENT source.
I say current because some of those people I mentioned were using old physical copies of regulations and old information that had changed! The regulations DO change and some changes are major, others minor – but there are changes often. If you want to use a paper copy get a new updated version at least every quarter – and even then remember to check the site more often than that.
Transport Resource Solutions Training
Currently, I have many basic introductory courses available online – most can be found at Udemy. I also operate our own Trucking Business Success Facebook group and another affiliated site called Trucking Business Success along with its own YouTube channel. Soon We will have our own Tucking Business Success Academy which will accessible via links from all of our primary sites and platforms.
My intention is to build a series of courses and other training resources (including manuals) that are progressive covering the entire trucking business progression from beginning truck driver all the way up through fleet owner and multiterminal operations. Of course, I will be covering DOT Compliance, Risk Management, and Training in-depth.
If you are interested in getting access to some of the best training on trucking-related topics anywhere – then check back here often and sign up for our email list as soon as it is available here. In the meantime, you might want to go ahead and join our Trucking Business Success Facebook group now.
Group members will always be notified of upcoming training, courses, events and products and in many cases will get free trials, discounts, and special offers not available anywhere else.
Drug and Alcohol Testing and Financial Responsibility
What you should be aware of right now is that D&A testing issues are a major area of fines and regulatory actions and are an area of great confusion for a lot of motor carriers both large and small. Do not screw this part up or it will cost you thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars and may get you shut down!
Read the sections on the FMCSA site covering this and then reread them again. If you do not clearly understand it hire a drug testing consortium that specializes in handling trucking companies to set up and run your program for you. Have them explain it all and point you to the specific sections of the regulations on the FMCSA site – and always remember that you are ultimately responsible for your own compliance.
If you are a solo one truck owner operator then you can not be in a pool of one – therefore you MUST join a consortium program. Do not fail to do so, and make sure if you are selected for testing that you follow all procedures to the letter and that you keep your paperwork in order at all times.
In our training courses, I will cover all this in great detail and I will give you specific recommendations on which companies to use and what your options are even then. But for now – be very careful about drug and alcohol issues.
Also – when awaiting Pre-Employment test results – DO NOT dispatch any driver on a load or allow any driver to perform any safety-sensitive function until you have a confirmed NEGATIVE test result! This mistake alone costs a lot of motor carriers a lot of money and headaches!
Another major problem is failing to have the correct insurance and the proof of it in place and current before beginning operations – and at all times – during operations.
Not all insurance companies are created equally either.
Some have no clue what they are doing and I have even encountered some independent agents who were attempting to provide policies that would NOT have been in compliance! Remember – the responsibility falls on YOU. So if you foolishly accept a policy and coverage that does not meet the regulatory requirements then in the eyes of DOT/FMCSA they will likely deem you essentially the same as not having any coverage at all from a regulatory standpoint – and that means you can not legally operate on public roadways and if any operations were completed – every single load – it was a violation.
How devastating would that be to you financially?
Trucking Business Success Group
As I mentioned earlier, we already have a group you can join for FREE and it is a place for you to get and share information with other highly motivated people interested in trucking career and trucking business-related information. Come join us today if you like – and you can do that by clicking HERE.