DOT Compliance Help, Inc. http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com DOT Training and Seminars Tue, 08 Aug 2017 17:11:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 Discussion of On-Site Training http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/discussion-dot-onsite-training/ http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/discussion-dot-onsite-training/#respond Wed, 15 Feb 2017 20:21:27 +0000 http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/?p=969 The post Discussion of On-Site Training appeared first on DOT Compliance Help, Inc..

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Author Mike England

If you are new in the business, I think a 4-day seminar is a great starting place.
But, there is some training that all members of management should have and you can get that with DOT Compliance Onsite Training.
BLUF: (bottom line up front) – The whole management team needs some DOT compliance training, because without it, you might make a bad mistake that gets you in trouble with the DOT, and also because the DOT requires training for every employee, including management and drivers. That’s where DOT Compliance Onsite Training is a good idea.
The biggest reason I say this is, I’ve seen so many situations where an organization runs like a well-oiled machine, but invariably someone makes a really bad decision that is a DOT violation they did not know about.
Example I: ‘Burns MFG’ runs like a giant Swiss watch, or like some big churches, with various management positions reporting to one another, creating a visual image of a wiring diagram you can see simply by whose office is biggest and who answers the phone when it rings etc.
But if there are, let’s say, 19 people working in the office and one person is designated Safety Manager, it’s a good bet the safety manager is the ONLY one who has a clue when to do a post-accident drug test and when not to do one. This may be one of the most common examples of that: when there is a wreck, the safety manager goes to the crash scene and whoever is in the office decides about what comes next.
Do we need to do a drug test? Yes, we will do a drug test, just to be on the safe side.
It seems like a safe bet, but it’s actually a critical violation if it shows up on a compliance review. This happened to one of my favorite long-time customers just a week or so ago.
Example II: Let’s just call them Echo Imports – they have several trucks and several good mechanics who fix things as quickly as the drivers break them. They had some good management practices that had been in place for years, but the original brains behind the operation has since moved on. Then, there’s a new CEO who is into cost cutting: Why are you putting those stickers on the outside of the truck? Is it required by the DOT? No? Well, let’s stop doing that – we’ll save $2.13 on each annual inspection.
Two years later, I’m doing a compliance assistance visit; I noticed the frequency of roadside inspections has increased and the frequency of violations as well. There are several things we can recommend to reverse the trend, but one of the recommendations I always make is to use those red stickers. They are not a DOT Requirement, but using them decreases the frequency of roadside inspections and violations. At Echo Imports, no one knew that, so they had stopped using them. So I would suggest DOT Compliance Onsite Training as one option.
Example III: Let’s call this Dixon Land & Cattle; they have a feedlot and 21 trucks are used to transport feeder calves, hay, grain, machinery and equipment, and whatever else needs to be done. At one point, all the employees were either friends and neighbors or relatives. Over the years, they’ve grown and in the last 5-10 years, most of the entry-level employees they have hired were not known to them prior to hiring, and several of these are driving CMVs; including CDL trucks.
One of these drivers was a little sketchy about his previous work history; said he worked for company XYZ for the last 4 years, but when we sent a letter to that previous employer and got one back, it said he had only worked there for 2 years. Not understanding how important this discrepancy was, whoever was doing the hiring overlooked it.
6 months ago, that driver was in a collision and when the DOT realized they had a DQ file with an egregious contradiction between the driver’s work history and what a previous employer said, the company came close to being shut down over this and 2 other critical or acute violations.
This one is an acute violation, for presenting a false document to the DOT, when you knew or should have known it was falsified. DOT Compliance Onsite Training would have helped here.
Example IV: Yelnushka is a small business engaged in importing rugs and fixtures from some country I cannot pronounce, but here in the US they accept deliveries at their distribution center, then make deliveries to home-décor stores and others, using their straight trucks and one F-450 with a trailer. All their employees are from the home country, but most have attended college in the US before becoming involved in the business, so they speak English well enough.
The business has been growing gradually for about 20 years, but in the past 5 years, it seems all their customers are becoming a little more demanding; they want to know with pinpoint accuracy when a delivery is going to arrive and they are asking to have some deliveries made directly to the end user. Along with the fact the business is growing at a healthy clip, this is beginning to present a more-challenging problem for the dispatcher each day.
So 2 years ago, they invested in a GPS system that tells them exactly where their trucks (and therefore the customer’s merchandise) are at all times. But the operations manager who made this decision doesn’t really talk to the person who keeps all the drivers logs and everything else the DOT might examine one day.
After being involved in a serious crash, involving 7 automobiles and their truck, the DOT comes in to look at their logs and supporting documents, among other things. There was no evidence of deliberate falsification on daily drivers logs, but the records the GPS system keeps is a discoverable supporting document and it never matches the paper logs exactly.
The DOT investigator found hundreds of examples of log falsification, AND the GPS system was set to preserve delivery records for 90 days, so there was a false-log violation AND another for not keeping supporting documents.
So there are four clear examples of companies that could benefit from some customized DOT Compliance Onsite Training for management:

Example I – Burns – Critical D & A violation
Example II – Echo – Maintenance
Example III – Dixon – Driver files
Example IV – Yelnushka – HOS

In each of these cases, there are several people involved and just sending ONE PERSON to a seminar in Las Vegas, Chicago, Houston, or Dallas or one of the other cities we visit might not have prevented it.
But, if we have the chance to visit your company and present a one-day, two-day or even a half-day customized presentation on the rules that are most likely to impact your business, to a larger group, you might have the ability, as an organization, to avoid some of these really common pitfalls. Call and get a quote for DOT Compliance Onsite Training.
The D & A violation can come from only one person knowing when to do a post-accident drug and alcohol test or when to do a company-directed drug and alcohol test instead.
The Maintenance violation can come from an inexperienced management team shaving pennies here and there, and a failure to know about a common best-management practice that could have saved them a pickup truck full of pennies.
The Driver File problem can come from HR getting someone involved, with the safety manager thinking, “OK, I’ll just let them do this part, I’ve got too many things going on, anyway.”
The HOS violation can come about because a high-level decision-maker who decided how to do something operationally was unaware how it might impact the company’s DOT-mandated safety management processes.
In each of these cases, numerous members of a management team are involved in making important decisions every day. But none of them knew ANYTHING about how their decisions caused their business to be in jeopardy because of one or more Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
These rules apply to every business entity that dispatches commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce, and they are NOT written by pencil-necked bureaucrats sitting behind desks, arbitrarily making transportation rules.
These rules are arrived at, one at a time, after a lot of people have lost their lives due to what was originally an innocent mistake. But, since the DOT has to make a rule, they made one called “General Applicability” that goes something like this:
1) These rules apply to every employer, employee and CMV.
2) An employer is NOT prohibited from requiring more stringent requirements.
3) Every employer shall be knowledgeable of. . . Every driver and employee shall be instructed. . . and shall comply. . .
So the bottom line is, you should have some DOT training for ALL Decision-makers, not just that one person who is primarily responsible for making sure these things are done, AND you should have some DOT training for everyone BECAUSE the DOT DIRECTS IT.
It’s a good investment; a lot of people do it; and we specialize in it.
If you are interested, contact our office; they have a list of 1-and-two-hour presentations that make up 4 days or more; we will make suggestions, but you can select a customized slate of training topics for your management team and we can deliver at your location or, if necessary, we can arrange a venue.

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Why Should You Go To A DOT Seminar? http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/go-dot-seminar/ http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/go-dot-seminar/#respond Thu, 19 Jan 2017 21:28:15 +0000 http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/?p=739 Mike discusses the benefits of attending a DOT Compliance Seminar.

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[Mike England]
Our founder and president, Mike England has experienced ‘both sides of the coin’; not only does he have over 25 years of transportation safety management experience, but he is also a trained DOT Safety Investigator. During a training, webinar, or a DOT Mock Audit from DOT Compliance Help, Inc., you can find out what is wrong and get help fixing it before the DOT comes. DOT Compliance Help, Inc. skillfully creates and audits driver qualification files, hours of service paperwork, driver logs, insurance papers, your daily business practices, vehicle maintenance files, DOT drug and alcohol programs and more, as well as hosts DOT Training in-person, via webinars, and on-site. Our flexible staff encourages real-world solutions to big-picture problems. Every transportation business needs to know what the DOT expects you to know, what the industry standards are, and what the best practices are in DOT Compliance. Whether your transportation company is large or small, buses or trucks, grain, household goods, oil, you name it, we can help. We strive to help business owners develop a solid foundation and business strategy so they can be successful while being compliant. We work to improve compliance, business practices, safety management, and your understanding of the DOT regulations and how they affect you. Hard work, skill, expertise, and more – you get all that through DOT Compliance Help, Inc.
[/author] DOT Seminars: Why You Need To Go?

Because the FMCSRs are hard to understand you should attend a DOT Seminar!

And not just ANY DOT Seminar – most people just memorize a bunch of words, right out of the regulation, and they recite those words. I recommend attending DOT Compliance Help Inc. seminars for all newly-assigned members of management.

Let me answer the question this way:
A motor carrier must do a very small number of things:
#1 Buy or lease some trucks (or sign on some owner-operators)

#2 Hire some drivers (or sign on O/Os)

#3 Obtain and retain some customers, by meeting their expectations.

#4 Bring enough cash in to pay the fuel bill, the rent, drivers and mgt. payroll and salary, and the insurance premiums, and finally

#5 You have to comply, to some extent, with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. (FMCSRs).

What most new motor carriers do is to assign # 5 to the least-well-qualified person in the office. I’ve even seen a company with 22 trucks and 5 members of management, and the job of safety compliance was assigned to the receptionist as an extra duty. Of course, the receptionist had no training or experience in DOT compliance.

So what SHOULD you do? Well, you can hire an experienced person to take care of DOT Compliance. These people are temperamental, hard to find, harder to keep around, and they are just plain damn hard to get along with. Or, you can hire someone that can read and write, and send them to my seminar. We will teach them enough to get a good start, and if you cooperate with them, you have probably done enough to squeak by.

Professionals newly assigned to this important area of responsibility always come into the seminar with a deer-in-the-headlights look, thinking they have made a huge mistake, getting into this line of work. In most cases, their employer has told them they have one job, and it’s something like this: “Don’t let us mess up enough for the DOT to come in and put us out of business.” OK, how do I do that? “Read this big book and let’s talk about it – we’ll do whatever the DOT says we have to”. Fat chance.

Here is what happens next in the DOT seminar; I can see the newbies focus on each of the important concepts discussed in the overview, like when the regulations apply and who they apply to, the difference between commercial motor vehicles and CDL trucks, each visualizing what those things mean in your unique situation. Then, the best part of day #I: The introduction of the critical and acute violations and the importance of them.

The remainder of day #1, and days #2 and #3 of the DOT seminar are primarily separate solutions to each of the major areas of performance the DOT mandates. (ie Drug & alcohol testing; hours of service, maintenance, etc.) with one departure – how to succeed on road-side inspections.

The final day of the DOT seminar starts with a discussion of the compliance review process, then which policies you need to have and how to develop them, then which training topics should be addressed and how to do that. The most important part of day #4, though, is a point-by-point discussion of the list of critical and acute violations and how to avoid each of them.

Usually, out of 8 or 10 seminar attendees, there is an “Old-timer”. . . I always enjoy including them in discussions and they always bring a different perspective. When they leave, though, they always say (1) it was a good refresher, and (2) they also learned something new. Another of my favorite things is when recently-retired law enforcement officers join the group. Incidentally, retired police officers or highway patrolmen make great motor carrier safety managers. They have a different way of looking at things as well.

In order to be successful in this or ANYthing worth doing, I always say you have to have an internal quality control checklist. What does that mean and how can I do it? That’s something that is covered on day #1 of the DOT seminar training, and referred to throughout the DOT seminar. What is this SMS scoring all about? Ditto. Everyone starts out thinking they are completely unique and that everyone else in the seminar will have different specific concerns. But, within the first day and a half, I see people looking around in the realization that, no matter what type of commercial motor vehicles you use or what type of cargo you transport, you have a lot of things in common with the others who have been assigned this task. I particularly enjoy it when I see people exchanging cards. I’ve heard stores of these people staying in touch over the years, and it’s quite gratifying.

So, hire good drivers, manage them properly, and send your safety manager to a DOT seminar. And, when you can, send the entire management team to the DOT seminar. We look forward to seeing the whole staff. The seminar is a 4-day process, and you  will probably get the most out of it if you can do it all at once, but some people can’t get away for 4 days in a row. So, we have organized it in a way that you can take the first two days, then a few months later the other two days.

We look forward to seeing you in a DOT seminar soon.

Mike England, President, DOT Compliance Help, Inc.  847-836-6063

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Why You SHOULD Get a DOT Compliance Mock Audit http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/get-dot-compliance-assistance-visit/ http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/get-dot-compliance-assistance-visit/#respond Thu, 12 Jan 2017 20:22:55 +0000 http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/?p=666 Do you know what a DOT Compliance Assistance Visit is? We use the term compliance assistance visit; some people say DOT mock audit, either way, preventing future DOT violations during DOT compliance reviews or DOT interventions can start with getting someone who knows what to do (a DOT Consultant) on-site, at your location, looking at your DOT documents, and making recommendations and changes to your transportation business safety program.

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DOT Compliance Help

DOT Compliance Help

Why should you have a DOT Compliance Assistance Visit? First, let me be clear about what a DOT Compliance Mock Audit is: We use the term compliance assistance visit; some people say DOT mock audit, but the idea is, if you are not sure what the DOT wants to see, or what they might see if they visited you, it’s a good idea to hire someone who once worked for the agency to come in and do a friendly visit and let you know where there are trouble areas.
Let’s talk about why you might want to consider having a CAV: Most people don’t really know what the FMCSRs say, and those who do know, usually don’t understand how the DOT works. During a CAV, I won’t be able to teach you everything you need to know (a seminar is a better setting for that), but I can look at what you are doing and point out those practices that will result in violations if they are not corrected before the FMCSA visits.
Here is how I want to answer the question about why you should have a DOT Compliance Mock Audit Visit: I am going to tell a tale of two motor carriers: I’m going to call them Black and White Trucking and Red and Green Trucking.
Black and White Trucking: Silent partner Dave and general partners Sid and Joe have several things in common; they are all from Willard County and they have all spent some part of the last 15 years driving a truck. Dave left the profession and has achieved some success in another area; but when he wanted to diversify some of his retirement assets and give something back to his community, he decided to get in the trucking business.
Dave found Sid and Joe who had started a small company and learned they were just about to throw their hands up and give in; they couldn’t pay the bills and didn’t have quite enough of a customer-base to keep their heads above water. So Dave came in with some money, which bought him a 50% stake and allowed Sid and Joe to hire a safety manager and a part-time sales guy.
A year and a half later, things are going a little better; the safety guy says they are doing things according to the FMCSRs, sales volume requires them to add a couple trucks each 2-3 months, and they are all more or less getting along, enjoying their work and making enough money to take their families out to eat occasionally.
Then Joe hears a rumor that another trucking company has had a visit from the DOT, and it didn’t go well. So he asks his safety guy, “Are you really confident we are doing things right?” and the safety guy says, “There is nothing to worry about.”
But, several months later the FMCSA calls to say, “We’ll stop by in a day or two.” And when they do, everyone is shocked to learn there are three things they misunderstood and consequently did not prioritize correctly. So the compliance review ends with Black and White Trucking receiving a Conditional safety rating. Two months later, the safety manager assures Dave, Sid and Joe that everything has been corrected and he is going to start calling and sending letters to the DOT to figure out how to get their safety fitness determination changed from conditional to satisfactory.
Before the staff of Black and White learns that it is more difficult to change a “Conditional” to a “Satisfactory” than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, the sales guy says one of their bigger customers is about to cut the number of loads they are getting, and some prospective new customers he has been working on are not returning phone calls. When he asked a couple people off the record what is the problem they refer to the motor carriers conditional safety rating.
When the insurance policy runs out, the insurance agent they have been working with cannot place them with the same underwriter, so the premium payments go up. Between a decrease in sales volume and the increase in the premium amount, they end up folding 5 months into the new policy year. Sid and Joe feel like they have lost 3 years of their lives, and Dave has lost every red cent he invested in the enterprise.
Red and Green Trucking: Bob was getting ready to retire from a major midwest manufacturing concern, where he had started on the loading dock 28 years ago, and his two sons John and Margaret (hey, we don’t judge. I’m not going to criticize someone if he wants to name his son Margaret) were both working for the company, one in the warehouse and the other driving a delivery vehicle.
Bob was still pretty young and his investment advisor had told him he should think about starting a business, or buying a franchise or something, and just as he was retiring the company decided to outsource their deliveries. So Bob and his two sons John and Margaret decided to take a chance, start a business and provide exclusive delivery service to their old employer.
The bid process went smoothly, Bob, John and Margaret had a leg up on two competitors because everyone knew and liked them, and a year later they were having a business meeting and the question of DOT Compliance came up.
At first, they had looked at filing logs, running a random pool for D & A testing, and the rest as an administrative function, but they were about to hire someone to keep track of these things.
After several months, they had been putting ads on Craigslist looking for an experienced safety manager and got no phone calls except people wanting to sell them things they didn’t want or need. At the same time, an old high school buddy of John’s, who had been working as a dispatcher for a small trucking company was out of work and they all decided they would work together. The new safety manager told them right away, he wanted to go to a seminar, and he came back from the seminar with some new ideas and they all worked together to implement some safety management practices intended to save lives and keep Red and Green out of trouble with the FMCSA.
At this point Bob was working part-time in sales, and when he was talking to a potential new customer he heard a comment that they were shopping around because their current company had received a conditional safety rating from the DOT. Bob didn’t really understand what this meant, so he tried to find some literature to read, and he spoke with his sons and the safety guy about how the DOT conducts these visits and how it could impact them, and no one could really assure him that what happened to the other company couldn’t happen to them.
One of the sons, and the safety manager, who had been to the seminar, suggested they contact DOT Compliance Help Inc to come in and go through everything “Just like the DOT would, only friendlier”, and a few months later they had a detailed, 24-page report listing the biggest things the agency goes after, and giving them some feedback on how they were doing these things. They also got a shorter document called “The Roadmap to Compliance” which summarized and prioritized the major things that needed to be done. Over the course of the next 8 months, they all worked together to implement most of the important suggestions from this event, and then the FMCSA called them up one day.
The DOT investigator spent 2 days at their office, and noticed that some things had been done incorrectly until recently but cut them some slack because he could see it was corrected several months before his arrival. He gave them a 4-page report, listing 9 minor violations and one critical violation, and the last word on page 6 was “Satisfactory”. The family members and the safety manager didn’t quite understand the meaning of it, but they had a Satisfactory safety rating.
A few months after they got the Satisfactory safety rating form the FMCSA, their insurance policy came up for renewal, and the rates stayed the same in a year when most carriers experienced steep increases. A month after that, two new customers joined them. Several months later, the family members and the safety manager realized they were really doing quite well for a small motor carrier that had only been in business a few years.
So, now, I leave it up to you. Would you rather be like Black and White trucking? Or would you rather be like Red and Green? I’ve had a little fun filling in the details, but the point is, if you have not had a DOT compliance assistance visit, you might not know what you don’t know. As a result, you could be making mistakes you don’t fully realize you are making. You can’t fix it until you understand it.
So give us a call, and schedule your DOT compliance assistance visit soon. When you know what you need to do, it isn’t hard to make it happen. If you don’t know, you may be sailing off in the wrong direction, getting worse and worse by the month when you could be riding high. – Mike England, President, DOT Compliance Help, Inc. 847-836-6063

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Who is DOT Compliance Help, Inc.? http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/dot-compliance-help-inc/ http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/dot-compliance-help-inc/#respond Tue, 10 Jan 2017 20:44:57 +0000 http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/?p=653 The post Who is DOT Compliance Help, Inc.? appeared first on DOT Compliance Help, Inc..

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So, who is DOT Compliance Help, Inc.? Any time I am introduced to a new company, I want to know:

  • Where did they come from?
  • What do they do?
  • Who are the key people?
    • In the next few pages, I hope to answer most of these questions
    • I want to help you know who we are

As many business managers have learned, DOT regulations are not just for trucking companies. If you are in ANY type business, including, but not limited to: construction, manufacturing, importing, distribution, etc., and you need a 10,000-lb-plus truck for any business chores, chances are the DOT regulations apply to you.

The way the agency puts it this way: “The rules. . . are applicable to all employers, employees, and commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) that transport property or passengers in interstate commerce.”

To fully understand this we have to look at the definition of CMVs and the definition of interstate commerce.
Commercial Motor Vehicle: “self-propelled or towed vehicle used on public highways in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when:

1) The vehicle has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 or more pounds; or

2) The vehicle is designed to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver; or

3) The vehicle is used in the transportation of hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placarding. . .”

Interstate commerce: “trade, traffic, or transportation in the United States—

(1) Between a place in a State and a place outside of such State (including a place outside of the United States);

(2) Between two places in a State through another State or a place outside of the United States; or

(3) Between two places in a State as part of trade, traffic, or transportation originating or terminating outside the State or the United States.”

But if you are, let’s say, a company specializing in the manufacture of beer, cupcakes, dogfood, greeting cards, frozen pizzas, bicycles, ball bearings, sporting goods, toy tanks, toy trucks or toy airplanes, and you have one or two trucks that are used to bring raw materials or take finished goods to UPS for shipping, you are going to hire people that know how to make these things, and not people that have been educated in the FMCSA safety regulations that apply to the operations of CMVs.

Sooner or later, someone in top management says to some newly-hired member of the management team, “Here, read up on this DOT stuff and let’s make sure we do this right, so we don’t get in trouble with that agency” or some words to that effect.

Here is where DOT Compliance Help Inc. brings value to the transaction: If you just appointed someone, or if you are the unhappy patsy that just got appointed, in order to become the subject matter expert on what no one really wants to know about (DOT Compliance), you have several choices to get up to speed: One, You could try to read the regulation; (I’ll give you a shortcut, but I don’t recommend this technique: www.fmcsa.dot.gov).

Two, you could read a book; (I’ll give you a shortcut for that too, but I also don’t recommend this technique: www.labelmaster.com – FMCSR).

Or, third, and my recommendation, is: Go to a 4-day seminar and get some training from an expert. I’ve both run a business and I’ve worked for the agency, and I’ve been a consultant for 10 years now.

I’ll help you understand, first of all, how the FMCSA, DOT, federal and state motor carrier safety regulations can impact your business, and give you some pointers how to avoid the most-unpleasant interactions. (The FMCSA calls these “Interventions”), as well as those pesky roadside inspection violations.

In 1988, I left a short career as a newspaper reporter, and took a job as a junior member of a company that dispatched CMVs, and when the topic of DOT Regulations came up, I was the one that drew the short straw, and had to get up to speed really quickly as we were already up and running, following some rules and unwittingly breaking others.

From 1988 through 2005, I held various management positions including safety manager, office manager, owner, and general manager of a motor carrier (Company operating a fleet of CMVs) and transportation manager for a distribution company. During this time I also was a commissioned officer in the Army reserves / National Guard (I actually changed from AR to ARNG and back to AR), being activated twice. I moved from Missouri to Ohio, then Colorado and finally to northern Illinois, where I live now with my wife and three misfit dogs.

As a military officer, I got some training and experience leading soldiers, organizing deployments, constructing roads, bridges and buildings, and had a lot of interesting experiences, most of which were enjoyable and all of which helped me become the person I am today. While my responsibilities ranged from operating a field hospital, a cavalry unit (think tanks that move back and forth in the area between US Forces, our allies and the enemy), and several types of military engineering, safety was always an important part of my job and on one occasion it  was my primary responsibility. I retired from the reserves in 2007, after a total of 28 years.

In 2005, I took a position with the FMCSA as a field auditor, leaving in January 2007 due to extensive travel and changing work conditions. While working with the FMCSA, I encountered a handful of “Safety consultants” and I was unimpressed with their knowledge or their helpfulness. I considered getting another job in fleet management, but thought I would try something different first: What if I could become a consultant and help several motor carriers with their fleet operations? This idea led to the creation of DOT Compliance Help, Inc. We were incorporated in August 2007, but I cashed the first check that was written to me as a consultant in March 2007.

Here is what I thought I was going to be doing: I thought I would be, more or less, the head of the safety department for 6 or 8 trucking companies, (hopefully close to home), with the administrative effort done by others. Instead, we learned that a lot of people just wanted me to come in and show them what is supposed to be done in a few days. The first 8 or 10 of these companies put people in the top safety management position that didn’t know anything about the DOT  regulations, and I told each of them they need to go to a seminar to learn about the DOT regs. All these people called and emailed me repeatedly for weeks, telling me they could not find a seminar to attend.

Soon, we put together a training event; initially there were 4 sessions: Two for management and two for drivers. Over the last 10 years, that has grown into the 4-day seminar we have. It’s not done; I’m never satisfied with it. When we first started, we (my wife and I) read a book called ‘consulting for dummies’ or something like that. We don’t do everything exactly the way the author suggested, but there is one thing: “Update your charts”. I do that constantly.

I enjoy speaking with small groups, because I like helping people. When they first file in I see fear in their eyes, as they are completely afraid the DOT will just walk in one day and find something they do not like about the business, and shut it down or levy huge fines or worse. After the first day, and increasingly as they come to understand the way to learn and apply the FMCSRs, I see the fear melt away, and when the seminar is completed, I see people walking away with some confidence they can develop and implement a world-class safety management system back at their company. Or, at least, keep their co-workers out of trouble with the DOT.

Sometimes attending a seminar is not enough; sometimes it is helpful to have us come in and help with the driver qualification process, the drug & alcohol testing process, or other aspects of managing a fleet. I try to avoid non-FMCSA questions, but ultimately, I get a few (like: how or whether to incorporate, or what computer systems to use, or how to communicate with drivers, or where to get good loads.)

So if you are the new guy and someone just “threw the book at you” (made you responsible for your company’s DOT Compliance efforts), take a look at our seminar schedule.

Chances are, we have a seminar soon that fits your schedule.

If you would like us to train more than 4 – 5 members of your management staff, it might be more economical for us to come to you with a customized presentation.

If you can’t get away for 4 days initially, maybe you want to attend a 2-day seminar, or day 1 and 2 of a 4-day event. But, after a couple months, we hope you find time for the last half, so you will understand the big picture.

If you have more than a few trucks and there is a big mess (Like no driver files, no records of duty status, that sort of thing) we can help you get a system up and running.

Thanks for taking a minute to read up on DOT Compliance Help Inc.

We look forward to helping you as you improve your knowledge of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and what they mean for you and your business.

DOT Compliance Help, Inc.

Mike England, President and Senior Safety Consultant

847-836-6063

www.dotcompliancehelp.com

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Amounts For Fines Changed By FMCSA http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/amounts-fines-changed-fmcsa/ http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/amounts-fines-changed-fmcsa/#respond Mon, 09 Jan 2017 06:08:30 +0000 http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/?p=586 FMCSA Changes Fine Amounts, No More Rounding The FMCSA amended the Federal Civil Penalties Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, by removing a rounded penalty clause and changing some fine amounts. The new fines will increase with inflation, starting August 1st. Some of the fines will initially increase, and some fines will start off lower […]

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http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/mock-audits/

DOT Fines updated by the FMCSA

FMCSA Changes Fine Amounts, No More Rounding

The FMCSA amended the Federal Civil Penalties Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, by removing a rounded penalty clause and changing some fine amounts. The new fines will increase with inflation, starting August 1st. Some of the fines will initially increase, and some fines will start off lower than they were last year. They can start lower due to a reset in the inflation calculator. Fines before this Act had been rounded to the nearest 1000. While the majority of fines have increased, they are just marginally. If you need help with DOT Compliance, contact us today.  Call us before the DOT calls you!  The list for the new penalty values, is found below.  Or visit https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/enforcement/uniform-fine-assessment

FMCSA fines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Private Motor Carrier as Sun Tzu (The Art of War) Part 2 http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/the-private-motor-carrier-as-sun-tzu-the-art-of-war-part-2/ http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/the-private-motor-carrier-as-sun-tzu-the-art-of-war-part-2/#respond Tue, 25 Oct 2016 06:52:04 +0000 http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/?p=474 In our continuing discussion of Sun Tzu The Private Motor Carrier, we think about what the Chinese mercenary general might do if he was hired to run a private fleet for an existing construction company.Last time we talked about the steps Sun Tzu might take in order to: “Know Yourself” – the first part of Sun […]

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In our continuing discussion of Sun Tzu The Private Motor Carrier, we think about what the Chinese mercenary general might do if he was hired to run a private fleet for an existing construction company.Last time we talked about the steps Sun Tzu might take in order to:

“Know Yourself” – the first part of Sun Tzu’s best-known quote: “Know yourself, Know your enemy, and prepare the battle-field”
To review, I suggested he might:
Make a list of his assets (CMVs)
Study the accident register and loss runs, as well as moving violations
Review all training records for the most-recent 24 months.
Conduct his own informal survey of the organizations safety posture

Now, we’ll discuss how Sun Tzu might tackle the 2nd part of his most-well-known truth: “Know yourself, know your enemy, prepare the battlefield.”

When you are focusing on safety management controls, who is the enemy?
Some people think the FMCSA is the enemy, but they really aren’t.

I can see how people feel this way; but the FMCSA is really all about saving lives. I could spend all afternoon speculating about how the agency’s inconsistent enforcement effort levels the playing field, giving an advantage to the small motor carriers who don’t have much to lose, while handicapping larger motor carriers who fear being shut down as a result of even one or two mistakes.

The enemy is Read more

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The Private Motor Carrier as Sun Tzu (The Art of War) Part 1 http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/the-private-motor-carrier-as-sun-tzu-the-art-of-war-part-1-dot-compliance-sun-tzu/ http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/the-private-motor-carrier-as-sun-tzu-the-art-of-war-part-1-dot-compliance-sun-tzu/#respond Sun, 23 Oct 2016 06:50:44 +0000 http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/?p=472 Sometimes I refer to Sun Tzu during seminars; and I always start by saying “Some of you have probably heard of Sun Tzu.” It’s not unusual for people to have read something about this Chinese mercenary general who lived 5 centuries before Christ. But most people have never thought about this: If Sun Tzu was here […]

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Sometimes I refer to Sun Tzu during seminars; and I always start by saying “Some of you have probably heard of Sun Tzu.” It’s not unusual for people to have read something about this Chinese mercenary general who lived 5 centuries before Christ.
But most people have never thought about this: If Sun Tzu was here today, and he was the traffic manager for, let’s say, a construction company, how would he approach the role?

Here’s what we know about Sun Tzu: One of the most-frequently-quoted truths found in Sun Tzu’s book, The Art of War, is this one:

“Know the enemy and know yourself”
As an engineering officer in the Army, I was told Sun Tzu said “Know yourself; Know your enemy, and Prepare the battlefield”.

While this might be an imaginative interpretation, stemming from some charismatic Army staff officer in the 1980’s, we don’t know that Sun Tzu didn’t say this. And, we can easily apply these 3 rules to every challenge, every decision, every challenge we will ever face. I will demonstrate:

Know yourself.

If Sun Tzu were assigned the responsibility of managing a fleet of construction vehicles today, I believe the first thing he might do is to make a list of his assets, or ask someone to do it for him. Depending on the size of the organization, you may be a one-man shop or you might be able to delegate some mundane tasks. Either way, you must have a list of CMVs, by year, make, model, and GVWR.

Then, he would probably study the accident register and loss runs, as well as… read more

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“Don’t lose the lesson” – Root Cause Analysis http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/dont-lose-the-lesson-root-cause-analysis/ http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/dont-lose-the-lesson-root-cause-analysis/#respond Thu, 13 Oct 2016 06:53:10 +0000 http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/?p=476 During seminars, I always try to encourage people to devote a percentage of their time to case studies. “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson” I say. “Learn from your mistakes. But, don’t wait ‘til you have had a tragedy to find a way to improve your own safety management controls. Learn from other’s mistakes.” So […]

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During seminars, I always try to encourage people to devote a percentage of their time to case studies. “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson” I say. “Learn from your mistakes. But, don’t wait ‘til you have had a tragedy to find a way to improve your own safety management controls. Learn from other’s mistakes.”
So pick up a newspaper from time to time, particularly when there has been a truck crash near you or in your industry, and read the article with a critical mind; thinking about root cause.

A lady in a car T-bones a school bus while she is talking on her cell phone. No one is hurt, but maybe this is a reminder to do some training on the consequences of distracted driving; with particular emphasis on decreasing cell phone use while operating CMVs. Maybe you even want to review your company’s policy on the practice.

In May 2013, A 51-year old man driving a garbage truck, talking on a cell phone, ignores an unmarked rail grade crossing, crossing in front of an oncoming train. The resulting derailment was caused by a driver who was talking on a cell phone using a hands-free device. Now, even though the driver was held to be responsible, there were also some changes made to the immediate surroundings and there was some serious discussion of who is responsible for maintaining infrastructure immediately adjacent to a rail-grade crossing. But we can all think about that driver using a hands-free device; do you have drivers who do this a bit too much? read more

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Transportation Bill Thoughts http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/transportation-bill-thoughts/ http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/transportation-bill-thoughts/#respond Thu, 05 Nov 2015 06:48:43 +0000 http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/?p=470 The post Transportation Bill Thoughts appeared first on DOT Compliance Help, Inc..

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The US House of Representatives is apparently focused entirely on the transportation bill this week – there are some interesting articles coming out about it. The way they make laws in this country – it’s terrible and it’s ugly but it’s the best system ever devised.

Here’s this bill, all about transportation, and the country’s future and the (possible) solution to the crumbling infrastructure and everything, and the first step is, they have to vote up or down on a hundred amendments, many of which have nothing to do with transportation. But some do.
First, a Wisconsin Republican sponsored a bill, co-sponsored by 3 Democrats from OR, NC, and MN, to allow states to raise the weight limit on trucks from 80K to 91K., and it went down in flames yesterday.
This means the final vote will NOT include this provision.

Second, the way the bill is written today, the CSA scores will be secret until some mysterious review of the algorithms is completed. There is an amendment that would keep the scores public until the review is completed.

Third, there is an amendment that would allow states to raise fuel taxes but it would also make states responsible for maintenance of the interstate highways within their borders. I remember reading about this a year ago. First time I remember seeing the word “Devolve” in a federal law of any kind. (as in devolve authority and responsibility to a lower level – think limited government and leaving everything to the states that is not specifically done by the federal gov’t according to the constitution).

Apparently there are as many as 250 amendments, transportation-related and otherwise…. read more

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PSP Reports Stats showing benefits of use http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/psp-reports-stats-showing-benefits-of-use/ http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/psp-reports-stats-showing-benefits-of-use/#respond Wed, 04 Dec 2013 06:39:15 +0000 http://www.dotcompliancehelp.com/?p=465 Here at DOT Compliance Help, Inc., we recommend the use of the DOT’s PSP reporting system. It is not required, but we’ve found it incredibly useful with driver hiring. Now, they have some statistical results to back up our feelings (sent to us by the PSP Customer Service Team): As a PSP account holder, we […]

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Here at DOT Compliance Help, Inc., we recommend the use of the DOT’s PSP reporting system. It is not required, but we’ve found it incredibly useful with driver hiring. Now, they have some statistical results to back up our feelings (sent to us by the PSP Customer Service Team):

As a PSP account holder, we thought you might be interested in a recent Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) study that demonstrates the positive impact PSP is having on participating motor carriers’ operations.

Some highlights include:
• 8% decline in crash rates, on average, for participating motor carriers!
• On average, crash rates declined even more significantly for mid-size motor carriers – 20.6% for motor carriers with between 6 and 20 drivers, and 21.1% motor carriers with 21-100 drivers.
• Out of Service (OOS) rates dropped, on average, 17.2% for motor carriers participating in PSP.

The study examined data from 12 months prior to the PSP launch in May 2010, and the 12 months following the launch of the PSP.

Do any of you utilize PSP? Do these stats make you consider using it in the future? If you have any questions about using PSP, feel free to give us a call!

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