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

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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!

April 13, 2010

DAC FOR DRIVERS

Trucking companies have USIS or DAC as most drivers have come to know the report.  Trucking companies can write ANYTHING they want about you and use this a poor retention tool.  Companies low on the ethics scale will purposely falsify a DAC report in a desperate attempt to make a driver unemployable so they are forced to return to that company.

Smarter companies see through this facade.  Many companies have chosen to avoid this untrustworthy service.  The information is not reliable due to the allowed collection methods.  If DAC would take the time to verify the data entered by the companies, notify the driver and ask for their side of the story as well as proof from both the company and the driver; then the information may be more reliable.  At least an attempt for honesty and good faith on the part of USIS/DAC would be recognized.  Even credit reports require proof.  Why then is DAC a one sided street?

Correcting incorrect DAC reports may be possible however it is a long and complex process.  Just obtaining a copy of one’s DAC is a foreboding process.  Company’s bent on protecting their interests further impede the process by often telling the driver they will clean up their post and then order their “DAC reporter” to not do so or to wait until a protest letter arrives.  If DAC is a report of truth, why make it so hard?

Recruiters are paid to fill seats.  They will promise the world to do so.  Some even do this in good faith not realizing the real story that occurs once a driver passes through the door.  How can they not know?  Because many recruiters have never even visited the terminal.  They work from a remote or home office and have no real contact with the “real world” of the driver.

So what can a driver or O/O or even a fleet owner do to protect themselves?  How can you avoid a potentially bad company?  Research!  Right now the only way to find out if that new job offer is all it appears to be is to take the plunge or do some recon.  Talk to drivers.  Use Facebook or other social networking sites, take time at a truck stop or shipping/receiving location to search out and find drivers from your prospective new company.  Ask the questions that matter to you.  Remember each driver has their own agenda.  What is important to me may be meaningless to you.  Get the facts on what you care about finding in a company.

I once found a company by seeking out potentials in a truck magazine then looking to see if I found them in the area I was stuck in.  When I finally did not find the a potential company, I knew it was right for me.  Why?  Because I was stuck running in a location that I wished to be far from.  At orientation the owner came in and did the Hi, Welcome speach that any good company owner would do.  He then went around the room and asked why we came here and how we learned of the company.  I told my story.  He found it strange but was intrigued.  It was what worked for me.

Other alternatives are internet searches.  Find their Hover report, check Rip Off Report and search for that company on blogs.  Read all you can find.  Check Safer Stats.  Now, take what a driver says with a grain of salt.  We all complain when we are upset at a company.  But when you find bad report after bad report, year in and year out…you can see the pattern.  If you find excellent reports and then sudden groupings of poor ones, find out what changed.  Was the company recently bought out?  Did the kids take over?  What happened?  Take time to investigate.  Interview the company.  Don’t just jump ship and hope you land well.  Do your homework because they are doing their homework on you.

Would it not be easier if there was on place to find this information?  Well here is my proposal.  I propose a DAC type system for companies.  If companies can report on drivers as will, then drivers should be allowed their say.  Drivers and O/Os need a place to gather info on companies and their practices.

What I would like from my readers –
(1) List the company name and address (city, state is fine)
(2) List driver type (O/O, co, regional, local, etc…)
(3) Time in service at said company
(4) Tell your story.  Good or bad.  Share the pros and cons of the company.  List names, facts and dates.
(5) Try to hold opinions and stick to facts but feel free to express yourself.  Do limit the cursing please.
(6) Tell what you tried to do to reverse the issue and with whom you addressed the situation.
(7) What are you doing now?  Are you suing?  Did you file a BBB report?  OOIDA contact?  What avenues are you taking to gain justice?
(8) If experience was good – what type of driver would you recommend to this company?  Who should they contact?  What qualifications are needed?
(9) Anything else you feel is relevant.
(10) If you feel comfortable; leave your name or handle, location and email.  It would be great if other drivers could contact you for more info.  If not comfortable with that, that is fine.  This is all optional.

Let’s get this going on here at one location for us all.  Just leave a comment to this post and you will be heard.
If there is enough response, I am willing to pull Safer Scores and add them to your posts.  I will also expand these postings into their area or web site so we all can benefit.

Now it is all up to you!  Take the bull by the horns and let your words be heard.  Drivers unite!  It is time we fight back to the unjust ways of DAC.

Enter your comments under the DAC FOR DRIVERS BLOG at: http://thedotdoctor.com/the_dot_doctor_speaks

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