The DOT Doctor’s Blog

December 17, 2010

Happy Holidays from The DOT Doctor

The DOT Doctor Newsletter is now in a new electronic format.  Please visit our newest page for electronic newsletters (http://thedotdoctor.com/newsletters).

 

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy holiday!   May your 2011 be full of prosperity and a blank OSHA 300.

 

The DOT Doctor Team

December 2, 2010

Protect Yourself During CSA 2010 Lawsuits

Since deregulation no longer controls the industry and the unions have lost control, we move into a new era.   For years, we have had the DOT punish the driver for the crimes of the company.  This was a ploy to “teach” drivers to choose their company wisely.  Did it work?  Yes, and no but I feel mostly no.  Drivers have greener grass syndrome and go with the flow.  Others are happy just to be employable.  Few know/knew how to grade/judge a carrier so most of these efforts were for not.  The criteria drivers used was based on work of mouth not stats, therefore, these punitive efforts were useless.

Now we move into an era where companies are made liable for their drivers.  Okay, that makes sense.  You are the employer and you are responsible for the actions of your employees.  With the change of HOS the other year, the idea was to raise awareness of regulations with shippers and carriers.  Companies who are still dispatching with the notion of “just get it there” and not looking into available hours need to change their business mode.  These are all attempts at doing so.  Recall when there was talk about having shippers check the logbook to be sure the driver could run the load?  Well this all of that the snowball coming together.

Real problem, the DOT/FMCSA does not have the power to enforce.  Due to this, the policing of regulations are being passed in an outward spiral from driver to company to shipper to who knows next, receiver?  When comes the day that if you sign for your package and don’t check the logbook to be sure it was delivered in a legal manner, then you are liable?  If this is allowed to continue then there is no real end in sight.

What we can do to protect our position – shippers take an active role.  Don’t say well I called my 3PL and now it’s their problem.  Set criteria that your 3PL must follow on your behalf and write it into the contract.  We, The DOT Doctor, have done this for a number of our customers.  Then, at the warehouse level, have someone to check that the carrier you contracted is the name on the side of the door.  If not, don’t load the truck.  Want to go one-step farther, look over the logs or if e-logs, have the company send you the last 8 days to review along with the driver’s information.

This ends sub-brokering and allows each company the right to bid on a job instead of taking a giant’s crumbs.  Who knows, this may in fact, lower the rates in the end.  Of course, you will need those savings to pay for the extra hand you hired to check all this info at the dock.

Bottom-line, each of us plays a role in regulatory compliance.  None of us is free and clear.  Think of the person of steals the TV and then sells it to the pawnshop broker.  They in turn sell it to a buyer who ships it to his kid for Christmas.  Now each party is liable for the movement/handling of stolen goods.  The pawnshop should have asked for a sales receipt or some proof of ownership.  The customer should have asked for proof of ownership before purchasing.  Substitute car for TV and now we are talking major felony.  The point is, everyone is responsible for their own actions in business as in life.  Accountability is what this is all about and always has been.

What score should I cut off the carrier at to protect my company, you ask.  The government says 75% requires intervention.  Well “A”s and “B”s kept mamma happy during school days.  Why not protect yourself with an 80% cutoff for FAK?   If you ship high value or hazmat, I would go for an “A”.  Look not only at the scores but also at the OOS status and why.  Perform a little analyzation on perspective carriers.  Build a database of “approved” carriers.  Re-check their standings at least every 3 months.  Monthly would be better.  Share this list with your 3PL as the only carriers who may haul your freight.  Allow other carriers to “audition” to be on your list.  Build personal relationships with your carriers and not just names on the side of a door.

I created a trucking matrix years ago that allowed my client to see the best rate vs. time of service on a designated lane.  Carrier grading is now being incorporated into this matrix.  The DOT Doctor customizes this list to your needs.  We update it and maintain the database.  This is a service we proudly offer but it is also one a good analyst who understands trucking and has a good working knowledge of Excel and database software (i.e. SQL, Access) could create in house.  Taking the time to do so, helps protect your company and yourself.  It is worth the cost and effort.

Even with this matrix in place, you still need a person to check the doors at time of loading.  This is a two-part ordeal.  Miss either piece and your protection factor is gone.

 

Want to learn more – http://thedotdoctor.com or info@thedotdoctor.com

November 18, 2010

FMCSA Posts Changes to CSA 2010 Calculations

Today the FMCSA released the following news brief.  CSA 2010 goes “live” in December.  The weighted calculation on cargo-related BASIC will be adjusted.  Severity of the violations are being reassessed and a new algorithm is being created.  Once done, the new algorithm will be run on that segment which will provided updated scorings.  Term changes in SMS Basic from “Deficient” to “Alert” will occur along with a color change of red to orange.

FMCSA Announces CSA Safety Measurement System (SMS) Improvements

On August 16, 2010, FMCSA began providing carriers with information about where they stand in each of the new CSA SMS’s Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) based on roadside inspection data and investigation findings.  Based on feedback and analysis from the Data Preview period, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will roll out the new SMS to the nation in December with the following revisions:

1.     Modify the presentation of SMS BASIC results

    • Change the term “Deficient” to “Alert” when a motor carrier’s score in one or more BASICs is above the FMCSA threshold for intervention.
    • Change the highlight color from red to orange.
    • Improve the language to clarify that BASIC results signify the carrier is prioritized for an FMCSA intervention.

Explanation: Feedback during the Data Preview indicate that the display of SMS results needs to clarify that BASIC percentiles above the FMCSA threshold signify the carrier is prioritized for an FMCSA intervention and do not signify or otherwise imply a “safety rating” or safety fitness determination.

2.     Modify Cargo-Related BASIC

    • Recalibrate the Cargo-Related BASIC by adjusting the cargo securement violation severity weightings based on input from subject matter experts (SMEs).
    • Modify the public display to show the SMS Cargo-Related BASIC violations only.  The percentiles and intervention status will not be on public display.

Explanation: Feedback during the Data Preview period identified a concern that the BASIC was over-representing certain industry segments and potentially creating a misleading safety alert warning.  The Agency conducted additional analysis and concluded that the Cargo-Related BASIC be recalibrated with SMEs providing input on the cargo securement severity weights.  The agency received SME input and will now adjust the severity weights and run the algorithm accordingly.

Also, the agency is conducting additional analysis to further understand the impact on the different industry segments of a carrier’s exposure in this BASIC.  During this analysis period, the BASIC results will continue to be an effective intervention prioritization tool for enforcement personnel based on sound safety principles.  Accordingly, the percentiles and intervention status will be accessible to the FMCSA enforcement community and motor carriers only.

To learn more about CSA 2010 subscribe to the DOT Doctor’s monthly newsletter.  Visit http://thedotdoctor.com/csa_2010 to schedule a consultation today.  The DOT Doctor is here to help.  We cure compliance and CSA 2010 ills!

June 26, 2010

CSA 2010

CSA 2010 is here! Know how to protect yourself and your company.

CSA 2010 is a new minefield that the government has created for truckers and trucking companies to traverse. This one can stop you dead in your tracts. So be prepared!

O/Os remember you are the carrier, the fleet, the driver. Remember DOT does not care if you have 1 truck or 1,000,001 trucks. As long as you have a DOT number, you are bound by DOT regulations and therefore CSA 2010 standards.

CSA 2010 claims to not directly rate drivers as to put them out of work. This is true and false at the same time. It will provide enhanced tools for Safety Investigators (SIs) to identify drivers with safety performance problems during motor carrier investigations. As a result, motor carriers and drivers will have the opportunity to correct the specific safety performance problems. (This is not an “opportunity” but a requirement. Drivers are noted, by name, as to their infractions.) CSA 2010 is designed to meet one overriding objective: to increase safety on the Nation’s roads. (If this were totally true, it will target all vehicles not just commercial vehicles.) Therefore, it is, by design, a positive program for drivers and carriers with strong safety performance records. Also, it will send a strong message that drivers and carriers with poor safety performance histories need to improve. (CSA 2010) In short, low scorers will have black boxes (On-board recording devices) put in their trucks for full monitoring by Big Brother.

CSA 2010 is the answer for allowing the government to “invisibly” ride along side you in the cab of your truck and your only recourse is to outsmart the DOT at their own game.

If drivers are not “directly” rated then explain – driver interventions and notifications.

1. Driver Interventions – Any driver violations identified and addressed during carrier investigations that are not corrected may result in a driver Notice of Violation (NOV) or Notice of Claim (NOC). These are the only driver interventions at this time.

2. Driver Notifications – Drivers will be notified by mail and may be contacted by a FMCSA investigator. Let’s demystify the CSA 2010 initiative. Learn how this new data collection system directly affects you as a driver or carrier.

Download this new paper directed at driver protection by the DOT Doctor. Available at: http://thedotdoctor.com/i/u/10035243/i/Debunking_CSA_2010.pdf

As always, questions and comments welcomed!

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