The DOT Doctor’s Blog

October 22, 2014

Improving Your CSA Maintenance BASIC

Most maintenance violations are a direct result of poor PTI and/or lack of en-route checks.   I would caution the rewrite of a DVIR unless it is to add items.   Removal of certain items would actually invalidate the form as a “true” DVIR.  Remember, § 396.11: Driver vehicle inspection report(s) outlines what must be checked.   Adding items is fine but be sure to not remove any of the required items.

When I was GM for a Baltimore trucking company, we use to hide items on the truck and reward the drivers when these tokens were found in an appropriate time.   Drivers who failed to find their hidden tokens were reprimanded.  As usual, positive reinforcement worked better than negative.

The main issue I find as a Safety Consultant is that companies just do not take any of this seriously.   They are operational driven and safety takes a back seat.  Small companies are clueless as to the regulations and feel they do not pertain to them.  Still many companies that I visit have no idea that the CSA site exists or what the numbers mean.

There is much more education to be had in the industry as a whole.  Auto fail is not the answer but if we were move to a system where you had be certified to obtain your DOT number; I believe we would see change.   The “I didn’t know” would be gone.   You have to pass a test to be an electrician, plumber and so forth.  Why not do so to be the holder of a DOT number?  It is a privileged to have one and not a right.   It is about safety; then let’s make it so.

Read more: http://thedotdoctor.com/the_dot_doctor_speaks/view/1467

SOURCE:  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141016125544-1358303-how-to-reduce-csa-maintenance-violations-by-75-percent-with-better-inspections

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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 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

June 18, 2009

New GVW Proposed at 97k

Might the Obama administration be minded to look favourably on a mooted increase in US GVW?
This report suggests that upping maximum GVW to 97000 lbs (43998 kg) on six axles from the current 80,000 lbs (36287 kg) on five could reduce US diesel consumption by an annual three billion gallons, and take 32.6 million tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere at the same time.

The Safe and Efficient Transportation Act of 2009 or HR 1799 is legislation that supports the increase in GVW on heavy trucks. The trucks must have 6 axles with a triaxle group supporting 51,000 lbs. Axle weights would increase by 2,000 each for this GVW. Weights are only applicable on interstate roadways. This comes with a tax hike in highway usages taxes to $800.

In theory, the idea is a good one but let us examine this a bit closer. Our infrastructure is suffering collapses now under the 80k rule. In the present economy, there are no or limited funds for fixing and repairing what is in place yet alone replacing our bridges and overpasses to accomodate this extra weight. Longer trucks and extra axles may be the norm in MI but they do not work on the east coast in all that congestion. Not that I support Unions, but they opposed doubles and triples claiming it “stole a driver’s work” and their opinions are not very different on these new proposed monsters.

This new weight limit will not reduce congestion as some law makers lead you to believe. Trucks are not the only factor in congestion. Mainly the problem is all the 4-wheelers especially at rush hours. If states would make a left hand lane or two just for trucks that are looking to do nothing but pass through their city and restrict those 2 left lanes to just trucks; that would help solve congestion. It never made sense to me why trucks were restricted to right lanes where there is constant merging of 4-wheelers and motorcycles causing the trucker to constantly be on the brakes. Trucks generally want through a city unlike 4 wheelers who are looking to go or come from work, shopping and other errands. Many cities came up with HOV lanes to help the “long distance” commuter. Why not do the same for the trucker?

Trucks already pay too much in taxes. A rise in the Highway Usage Tax is not justified. It is just another excuse to tax the trucker for the benefit of all motorists.

If the weight is only raised for interstates; how will the load be delivered? Are we going to implement the NY Tollway rule? You can pull highway doubles but only to the exit then the units are broken apart or off loaded. Five axle units find it hard enough to maneuver on the coasts and in town delivery areas. Triaxles and 6 axle vehicles will find it even more difficult if not impossible to maneuver those small streets of Philly or Fairfax. NYC – forget it! Moreover, the state roads and city streets will not support the weight.

Do we have cross docking facilities created at interstate exits for local drivers to deliver the goods? Now that would be a reasonable idea IF, and this is a big IF, companies could “play” that well together. Let the big rig roll the highway while the straight trucks and local drivers load the city work and carry it to/from the cross docking facilities. It would be a new trucking horizon. The city drivers could do as NYC suggests and deliver in the off hours reducing congestion. Road drivers could stick to the highways. Everyone would have a job and get a piece of the pie. Road drivers no longer would have to contend with driving back streets trying to find their delivery or pick up location. Local drivers, familiar with the area, would handle those aspects. It would be safer and easier for all. IF companies would share the pie in this fashion.

Supporters such as the Univ. of MI Transportation Research Institute claims their research shows that these heavier and longer trucks “would yield significant improvement in fuel consumption, cost, congestion, distribution efficiency and driver availability”. I have to question this since my experience with 25 years in the industry showed me that the move to 53ft trucks yielded lighter loads filled with bulk goods like toilet paper. Occasionally you were able to add the 2 extra end pallets but then the driver generally had to be concerned for bridge and axle weights. Why not make the adjustments there instead of this large GVW increase? Maybe area increases like in MI where they haul products that are conducive to this increase and already have the multi-axle vehicle on the roadways. Even their state roads accomodate the 90K GVW allowed during the “season”.

Personally, I fell this increase should be handled on a state level where states can supplement their state highways to handle any GVW increase they allow. States that handle product transports, which are generally under a 500 mile radius, of a nature to require this need should handle this internally. Coal, rock and cement haulers could benefit from the increase as would the specialized/permitted hauler. These products are naturally heavy as well as localized. The general freight hauler would not.

Are manufactures going to build better brake systems to accomodate this additional load? To work properly, this would not be just a trailer issue but a full rig issue that is spec’d to pull these heavier and longer trailers. Trucks already take longer to stop than smaller vehicles. Stopping an additional 17k on a downgrade requires better mechanics and driver considerations. Think Eagle Pass, Eisenhower, Donner, Cabbage or Grapevine. The proposed governor to limit top speed at manufacturing is not the answer here. I do not think it is the answer to anything unless you are going to do the same to ALL vehicles else you are just creating another road hazard like Swift and Schneider trucks already do on the highways due to their inability to maintain highway speed.

Are bridge lengths and overall truck lengths going to be increased as well? It is already ridiculous to allow a 53 ft, 57 ft or 62 ft trailer and still require it to meet the bridge laws of a 48ft. Imposing those restraints is what defeats the purpose of the longer trailer. Yes, the roads cannot accomodate the longer pin to wheel which brings me back to point 1. Who will pay to change all the roads if this increase is passed? How long will it take? What will the trucks do in the mean time that will try to run under the new laws without an adequate infrastructure? Less us not even discuss vehicles that will be involved in border crossings?????

COMMENTS WELCOMED! Voice your opinion to your Congressman or local Motor Truck Association.

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March 11, 2009

Should I be a Trucker?

Filed under: Uncategorized — dotdoctor @ 4:45 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I have had many folks IM, email or phone me asking about a career in trucking. Is it a good time to become a driver? I was laid off and hear driving pays well. Should I do it? These and other similar questions often come my way.

Honestly, right now I would have to say no. First, the pay is generally no where as good as one thinks it is. Second, the hours are long. You are gone from your family and friends for weeks on end. This means missing the ballgame, birthdays, holidays and other events….as well as dinner with the family or tucking the little ones into bed. You “work” about 100 irregular hours a week and log about 60. Be real, anyone making out there knows you do. Work can range from driving, loading or waiting on dispatch for a load just to name a few. Third, the economy is just supporting the need for drivers at this time. Companies have hiring freezes on and go talk to a driver. Stop by a truck stop and have a chat. Buy him/her a cup of coffee and talk to them. Miles are down for most drivers. O/Os are hanging on by threads unless they are a rare, well established “lucky” one.

Need more proof – read on……….

Trucking Jobs Fell 2.5% In Feb.
Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:51 pm (PDT)
Trucking jobs fell 2.5% in February

By Avery Vise

Continuing a string of unprecedented percentage decreases, the trucking
industry lost 33,400 employees on a seasonal basis in February — a 2.5 percent
drop from January, according to preliminary figures released March 6 by the
Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The 33,400 trucking jobs lost in February represent 5.1 percent of the net
651,000 nonfarm payroll jobs lost. And the rate of decline in trucking
employment in February far exceeds that of the 0.5 percent employment decline in the
overall economy.

Trucking employment was down 1.8 percent in January, 1.3 percent in December
and just less than 1 percent in November. Each decline was the highest
recorded monthly percentage drop at the time except for April 1994 during a
Teamsters strike. Since October, trucking employment is down 6.4 percent.

Trucking employment is down 11.8 percent from its peak of 1.45 million in
January 2007, according to BLS figures.

**************Need a job? Find employment help in your area.
(http://yellowpages.aol.com/search?query=employment_agencies&ncid=emlcntusyelp00000005)

March 6, 2009

USDOT issues warning about another round of fraudulent letters

Filed under: Uncategorized — dotdoctor @ 12:09 am
Tags: , , , ,

USDOT issues warning about another round of fraudulent letters

Thu Mar 5, 2009 10:59 am (PST)

There has been another round of fraudulent letters issued to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) contractors and potential contractors purporting to be issued by DOT. These fraudulent letters request that current or potential contractors register by submitting their company’s financial information on a release form entitled, “Authorization to release financial information”. They are dated January 27, 2009, and signed by “John Steinberg.”

Please be aware that DOT does not require any financial information to be submitted in order to be eligible for procurement.

In addition to this most recent example, the following is a list of fraudulent letters to date which have been faxed out to current or potential contractors:

December 29, 2005, signed by “Frank M. Orell”
February 8, 2006, signed by “Randy Cohen”
April 27, 2006, signed by “Dan Jacobs”
July 28, 2006, signed by “Dan Jacobs”
November 8, 2006, signed by “Lisa Johnson”
February 26, 2007, signed by “Lisa Johnson”
March 26, 2007, signed by “Jason Scarlett”
May 10, 2007, signed by “Jason Scarlett”
July 11, 12, and 20, 2007, signed by “George Mason”
August 27 and 28, 2007, signed by “Julie P. Wenzel”
September 10, 2007, signed by “Julie P. Wenzel”
October 12, 2007, signed by “Julie P. Wenzel”
October 21, 2007, signed by “Julie P. Wenzel”
January 28, 2008, signed by “Julie P. Weynel”
February 7, March 3, March 31, 2008, signed by “Bradley K. Wash”
April 1, 2008, signed by “Bradley K. Wash”
April 28, 2008, signed by “Bradley K. Wash”
June 3, 2008, signed by “Robert Dal”
June 4, 2008, signed by “James Buchanan”
September 5, 2008, signed by “David Jacobson”
October 20, 2008, signed by “Jennifer Donaldson”
December 8, 2008, signed by “Jennifer Stewart”
December 19, 2008, signed by “Jeffrey Steinberg”
All letters were signed as the Senior Procurement Officer.

The USDOT has issued the following warning: “Please DO NOT complete the release form which is attached to the letter and DO NOT release any information to the facsimile number cited in the letter.”

To view an example of the latest letters being sent out to contracting personnel, visit: www.dot.gov/ost/m60/jsteinberg_012709.pdf. The point of contact concerning these fraudulent letters is the Department of Transportation Office of the Inspector General Hotline at
(800) 424-9071.

 

The DOT Doctor

The DOT Doctor

If you receive a letter, validate it valiadity.  Then contact the DOT Doctor for preparation for your audit.  (http://thedotdoctor.com/auditing___preparing_for_the_dot)

December 17, 2008

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