Believe me, I mean to keep the website updated, but lately I have been just been crazy busy. Here are some things which have been bouncing around in my head for the past 2 months. Some of these items deserve their own 1,000 word posts, but I don’t have the time at the moment, so I am just going to throw these out there in no particular order.
DOT audits are becoming increasingly difficult to pass.
I have confirmed a few things in the past few months. DOT auditors are no longer under any sort of quota as far as how many audits they conduct. This is good, and this is bad. It is good, in that you now have less of a chance of being audited, as they are conducting less audits. It is bad, very bad, if they are auditing you. I have had at least 3 different reports of audits taking 3 weeks! In other words, if they are coming in to audit you, the inspectors’ bosses have told them to sit there until they find something. Essentially, this is a backdoor way to enforce their CSA scores. Oh, your CSA scores are high? Well, here comes an audit, and you’re not walking away from this one. They are going to strictly enforce that rulebook, with it’s thousands of requirements.
Truck drivers are killed at a higher rate than police officers
I dug around in some statistics over the holidays, during the Michael Brown, and Eric Garner cases. I was curious how fatality rates among truck drivers stacked up to police officers. I firmly believe truck drivers have a greater chance of being killed on the job than police officers. I think truck drivers are vastly underrated and disrespected as a profession. It’s a dangerous job. It is a relatively low paying job, compared to the number of hours worked. When a truck driver gets killed, nobody names a bridge or a highway after them. Maybe we should start appreciating drivers a little more.
Logbooks must be completed every, single, day, no exceptions, and must be turned in to the office every 13 days, if not sooner.
Lately, I have run across a few cases, where drivers were either not turning in logs, keeping them in the truck, or not completing them every single day. When DOT does an audit, they ask for a month’s worth of logs for a number of drivers, 5 or 7, for example. If you cannot produce those logs right then and there, they can write you up for failing to maintain the logs, or failing to forward them within 13 days. BOOM! That’s several thousands of dollars in fines, and you lose the precious Satisfactory rating! Just because a few logs are not exactly in files like they should be. Usually, it is not the drivers who are running the miles and the hours who are not filling out the logs. It’s the temporary, or occasional guys. Where’s Bill’s logs? Oh, he keeps them in the truck. You’re screwed.
Also, it’s guys who are not truck drivers, like construction guys, oil rig guys, or utility guys. Often these guys may not work or drive that many hours, so they don’t see why this is so important. Why is this so important? Because DOT says it is!!!! It doesn’t matter that your driver didn’t work that many hours. If you don’t have a time record or a log, you’re screwed. If you have guys driving trucks, you need a time record or log for every single day. Multiple off-duty days can be recorded on one log, but every day must be accounted for. The lack of a handful pieces of paper can have devastating consequences.
Most truck crashes are not caused by trucks
We all knew this, but perhaps the percentages surprised me. I have been playing around with the FARS data published by NHTSA. This is a database of all the fatal highway accidents. You can download it off the NHTSA website. Once you have the key on how to read it, you can review all the fatal crashes for almost any year up through 2013. It’s kind of cool. A little google searching, and you can usually find the news reports on a particular accident still lying around on the Internet. It seems like the vast majority of fatal truck accidents, I’d guess 70-80%, are not the truck driver’s fault. I suppose that’s not a revelation to most industry people.