The DOT Doctor’s Blog

December 1, 2010

CSA 2010 Is Offical Today

Filed under: Uncategorized — dotdoctor @ 12:20 pm

REMINDER – CSA 2010 is official beginning today. Stay low key and off the radar. Each inspection, ticket or interaction is a measurement point. Drive safe. Drive wise. Do your pretrips, keep your log current, watch your speed and be prepared. It protects your company but more importantly, it protects your future as a professional driver.

November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Wishes

Filed under: Uncategorized — dotdoctor @ 9:52 pm

From the desk of THE DOT DOCTOR

May we all be thankful for our many blessings and good fortune. We are thankful for having wonderful readers like you subscribing to our newsletter and interested in the services of The DOT Doctor. May you be safe and have much continued success.

CSA 2010 and YOU

Don’t be gobbled up by the under taking of CSA 2010 on December 1. Thankfully, you have the support of trained experts ready to save your company from the ax. The DOT Doctor is here to be your shield. We can show you how to receive your “Thanksgiving pardon”. Our trained experts can tailor a CSA 2010 educational program for your company. You can download a FREE CSA 2010 whitepaper on the website. Inquire about our new CSA 2010 monitoring program to keep your company at the top of its game.

Did you see the article in CCJ Magazine about three trucking companies who are losing business to their competition due to low CSA 2010 scores? Yes, the data is already being collected on you and your drivers AND it is available to the public. Don’t lose contracts due to low scores. Let The DOT Doctor vaccinate your company against lose due to deficiencies.

Contact us today! info@thedotdoctor.com Visit our site: http://thedotdoctor.com/csa_2010

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!

September 16, 2010

Issues with EOBRs

Filed under: Uncategorized — dotdoctor @ 10:47 pm

EOBRs, still being in infancy, are posing many issues with roadside inspections. Sold as a product that aids in easing roadside inspections, we have found that it infuriates more officers than it soothes. Many compliance officers and policeman/woman are not trained in how to extract information via USB or wireless link from these devices. Companies are failing their drivers by not providing appropriate training in accessing this information to their drivers therefore chaos ensues when data is requested.
While Quallcomm is a well known and respected system, lesser systems come with many software glitches that do not recognize all the HOS statuses. The split sleeper berth is an excellent example of a software not recognizing the 8/2 split. Off duty well site is another very common issue when going electronic.
When choosing a system, please think satellite. You cannot even begin to image the issues companies experience when using cellular only e-log systems.
Drivers be sure to check your hours BEFORE signing back on duty. Some systems require you to wait as much as an extra 10 minutes just so it can sync else you risk having to sit another 10 hours.
E-logs and the coming e-virs are the wave of the future. They allow drivers to skip the “coloring book” at the end of the day but present other issues at present. Drivers often loose work hours due to system glitches. Once the bugs are worked out, enforcement personally properly trained and drivers/dispatchers trained correctly on the system their company uses; there maybe a bright future for these virtual systems.
On the flip side; the GPS capabilities are outstanding. They can be a driver’s and a dispatcher’s best friend when used correctly. The message capabilities save phone time and cost. It increases productivity of dispatch and driver. It is a smart move for the progression of any up and coming company.

~The DOT Doctor

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 21, 2010

RoadCheck 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — dotdoctor @ 10:29 am
Tags: , , , ,

It’s annual. It’s no surprise. But what week is it this year?

CVSA sets Roadcheck for June 8-10
By CCJ Staff
Published April, 21 2010

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has scheduled its annual Roadcheck event for June 8-10. CVSA scheduled the event to eliminate scheduling problems during the weekend following Memorial Day, May 24.

Roadcheck is a 72-hour event in which an estimated 10,000 inspectors set up more than 1,000 checkpoints on highways across North America to monitor truck safety compliance.

Last year, the vehicle compliance rate of 80.4 percent was the highest since 1996, CVSA said. The driver compliance rate of 95.7 percent was the highest ever.

Source: http://www.ccjdigital.com/cvsa-sets-roadcheck-for-june-8-10

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

April 8, 2010

A National Intermodal Shift

A National Intermodal Shift
William B. Cassidy and John D. Boyd | Apr 5, 2010 4:00AM GMT
The Journal of Commerce Magazine – News Story
http://www.joc.com/government-regulation/national-intermodal-shift (sign-in required)
This cover article speaks of the DOT’s plan to move truck traffic to ocean and rail methods. Deputy Secretary Porcari told Congress “We want to keep goods movement on water as long as possible, and then on rail as long as possible and truck it for the last miles.” That is, let’s transform the trucking industry into drayage carriers for the railroads – just what Norfolk Southern CEO Moorman called for a couple of years ago. Secretary LaHood spoke recently of how well he has been able to work with railroads, which have received a great deal of DOT funding.

Moving truck traffic to the rail would slow the delivery time. Rails, while gaining in competition, are still not able to handle time sensitive freight. Today’s inventories are leaned and set to work on JIT delivery schedules. Rail and ocean cannot accommodate this type of system. In essence, the government is telling big business to change their method of operation. Companies are leaning inventory and stock to save money, space and general overhead charges. They have invested much in the last 10 years to achieve this new structure. I do not see them changing back to the old ways willingly.
JB and Schneider embraced the intermodal methods and changed their business methods accordingly. Driver miles were cut almost in half as long haul freight disappeared to the rails. This also meant a change in client base for these carriers. Swift, who happily grabbed up the Wal-Mart account, split their transport method between rail and ground freight (truck) for JIT customers. Automotive clients always required JIT service.
While a move to rail claims to be more environmentally friendly and can save up to 30% in transportation costs, time will always be the issue. Rail is limited in its area of service and ocean is even a slower option. Claims processing through these channels are a nightmare and one of the main reasons many companies avoid these options totally.
The government explains that this would help relieve the congestion on our highways, promote safety highways and reduce the cost of infrastructure. Highways that no longer have to support the weight of heavy truck traffic are cheaper to build. It is implied that in doing so, fuel cost can be lowered due to the reduced highway funds needed. I find this hard to believe since the government is already ear marking those funds for railway improvements.
If these were to happen, inventory costs would raise along with replenishment times. This would mean consumer costs would rise to compensate for the increase. Large cities may feel a slight relief in traffic but for Main Street America, I doubt much change on the highway will be noticed.

More info – http://www.logisticsmgmt.com/article/455871-Logistics_news_Maritime_DOT_unveils_effort_to_expand_America_s_marine_highways.php?nid=4283&source=title&rid=14370409

April 3, 2010

Big Brother is OnBoard

Filed under: 49 CFR,CDL,DOT,DOT Compliance,Haz-Mat,logistics,safety — dotdoctor @ 9:24 pm

April 2 was no April fool when it came to pass that EOBR will now be required on all trucks who’s company has a 10% or greater violation rate of HOS.  This is one time 10%, not the twice 10% as first spoke of by the FMCSA.  Compliance begins June 4 and in full force by 2012.  Adding insult to injury, even O/Os with their own authority leased to a company falling upon this non-compliance statue will be forced to install an EOBR.

Drivers, O/O and trucking company owners; we must unite in a common effort to maintain workable conditions for the industry.  Safety has to be priority but who knows better what makes a safe driver than those of us in this industry.  The government only knows what it reads.  We must stand up for our rights.  We must unite for adequate HOS and enforcement not encroachment and infringements.   Rouge drivers need to be removed from our highways.  Education is needed.  Many violations are due to pure misinterpertation of the regulations due to their complexities.  While blantant violators brought the wrath of the government upon the industry, not carriers should burden the weight.

There are many good carriers, drivers and O/Os in our industry.  There are many new rules coming at us quickly.  One that springs to mind is the new sleep apnea testing.  This added to the blood pressure standards and other issues that arise from the required lifestyle of a driver, will place any experienced driver out of work.  Driver “life expectancy” behind the wheel will be reduced to under 10 years unless we do something NOW to curb these attacks from the government agencies.  Get involved now before it is too late.   Write your Congressman, join driver groups and take action to save your profession.  Our voices do count and we, as a group, can be heard.  Do not let the government push us all out until all that are left are yellow and orange trucks on the highway overseen by Big Brother.  Let us learn from what is happening in the car and bank industry.

Read more at: http://www.landlinemag.com/Special_Reports/2010/Apr/040210-FMCSA-targets.htm

April 1, 2010

Financial Standard Changes Have More Implicaitons than Just Finance

Filed under: Uncategorized — dotdoctor @ 4:36 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Implementation of the International Financial Reporting Standards will have an impact on supply management

International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) are replacing the U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) as a global standard. Currently the US relies up GAAP for their accounting methods, however in 2012 a major change is coming. IT implementations must begin this year for publically traded companies to be on track.
While reporting standards are the bean counters’ problems, these changes affect all aspects of the business including Supply Chain Management. SCMs will be directly affected in four areas. Todd Neely explains the changes coming our way.
Supply Management Impacts
Four major changes IFRS has on supply chain management are LIFO, inventory valuation, long-term contracts and management responsibility.
Last in, first out (LIFO). The change to LIFO is easy to understand. IFRS does not permit inventory to be valued using the LIFO method. If you are valuing inventory using LIFO, implementing IFRS will require switching from LIFO to another method. The switch can have large tax consequences and should be thoroughly investigated to minimize taxes.
Inventory valuation. Under GAAP, inventory is valued once. As long as the inventory sits on the shelf, it reflects the historical prices paid. Under IFRS, inventory is valued at current market price. For many inventory items, the number of turns is high, resulting in current market price being equal to historical price paid. But for other items, significant changes between the price paid and current market price will require repeated revaluation to report the inventory’s true value.
Long-term contracts. Under GAAP, possession and ownership are not the same. Under lease or consignment agreements, you can have possession but do not own the inventory. The inventory would not have to be included in the reporting of your financial statements. Under IFRS, when you take possession, you take responsibility. When you are responsible for an item, it is to be reported on the financial statements.
Management responsibility. The responsibility of management in making decisions on how financial data is collected and reported is much greater under IFRS. GAAP has rules and guidelines for most situations. The trick is to determine which rule or guideline applies to the situation you are investigating. Once the rule is found, apply it. Under IFRS, there are fewer rules or guidelines. You are responsible to do what is best to report the true financial condition of the situation. Whatever your decision, you will be responsible to consistently perform the same action repeatedly. If you change — you have to report why.
If you would like to read more, the article may be found in the weekly publication, Inside Supply Management. E-version is available at: http://www.ism.ws/pubs/ISMMag/ismarticle.cfm?ItemNumber=20069

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