Showing posts from tagged with: trucking regulatory compliance

FMCSA Grants Exemption to 30-Minute Rule for Truckers Hauling Fuel

Posted December 27, 2018 by Administrator

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA’s) hours of service (HOS) regulations dictate that if drivers can’t complete their duty within twelve hours under the 100 air-mile radius exemption that they have to take a 30-minute rest break. However, this rest break poses problems for carriers transporting hazardous materials. They can’t leave the cargo unsupervised, and attending the CMV doesn’t qualify as resting. The parking shortage also prevents drivers from finding a safe and secure area to park trucks toting hazardous material.

To address these challenges, FMCSA offered exemptions to the rule for carriers transporting specified fuels. However, propane didn’t make the initial list. This put drivers transporting petroleum-based cargo in a difficult situation. While most of them load their vehicles in the morning with the intent to finish several deliveries by the end of the day, outside circumstances can prevent this from happening.

These drivers operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) on interstate highways so traffic and accidents can impede their deliveries. Since they can’t leave their hazardous cargo to rest but they also can’t push beyond the 12-hour regulation, the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) petitioned FMCSA for an amendment. The transportation agency granted the request, which will remain in effect through April 10, 2023.

Complying with FMCSA regulations is critical to remain in operation as a trucking company, but these rulings can create challenges for fleets. In this instance, the need to transport hazardous cargo safely took precedence and FMCSA issued an amendment. Cline Wood understands the risks involved with transporting hazardous materials. We can help your trucking company assess its risks and implement solutions to address them: get in touch at safetrucking@clinewood.com.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

Improving Driver HOS Compliance

Posted August 27, 2018 by Administrator

Proponents of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate champion the device as an enforcer of existing rules. While detractors balked at the technology, advocates argued the devices didn’t change the hours of service (HOS) regulations. They contended that so long as drivers were complying with the HOS rules, the device wouldn’t change their day-to-day driving. However, therein lies the problem.

The 14-hour rule says a driver’s clock starts when he or she gets behind the wheel. The clock is a measure of duty time, not driving time, which is where most of the problems begin for truck drivers. While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created the HOS regulations with the intent to improve safety, drivers are saying the rules are creating the opposite scenario. ELDs don’t allow for any wiggle room, and drivers are now feeling much more pressure to deliver in a certain time frame. While drivers may be complying with HOS regulations, many contend they are engaging in unsafe driving practices to do so.

For example, drivers who don’t make their destination one day may begin their next day at midnight after a few hours of sleep. Another issue is drivers can’t put a pause on the ELD if they are tired. Even if drivers begin to feel drowsy, they feel compelled to continue driving until their 14-hour allowable on-duty time expires for the day rather than stopping for a rest and picking back up again later that day. This can result in several hours of drivers operating a CMV while tired. Other serious safety concerns include:

  • Drivers rushing through work zones to beat the clock
  • Serious instances of road rage during traffic backups
  • Limited parking while the HOS clock ticks down on an ELD

Compounding this problem are unnecessary wait times. Drivers have long complained about loading and unloading times at shipping and receiving facilities. Now, that time spent sitting counts against their on-duty hours, and drivers are taking umbrage. Opponents argue drivers should charge retention rates for long shipping and receiving wait times, but it’s not always that simple. Many drivers encounter shippers and receivers that refuse to pay retention fees and then switch to a different driver or fleet.

To make matters clear, drivers do not have a problem with ELDs; they have a problem with the existing HOS regulations. Before ELDs, drivers could find a way to fudge their hours. Now, they have no such recourse since ELDs are tamper-proof. Drivers believe trucking associations and FMCSA can resolve most of their problems by addressing the following key areas:

  • Reducing wait times at shipping and receiving facilities
  • Improving parking so drivers aren’t rushing against the clock to find a safe place to rest
  • Amending the HOS regulations

The final point above will require more than proposed changes and rule-making. Truck drivers contend that FMCSA doesn’t understand their industry, and makes regulations about a job they don’t comprehend. Drivers urge lawmakers to get behind the wheel with them for a week to see how HOS regulations are having the opposite intended effect. Truck drivers believe that only by experiencing the job can regulators make smart and effective rulings. To learn more about trucking safety, contact the experts at Cline Wood.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

How the Denham Amendment Could Impact the Trucking Industry If Passed

Posted June 11, 2018 by Administrator

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill that passed in the House in late April 2018 could have serious implications for the trucking industry if it passes the Senate as well.

The so-called “Denham” bill, named after it’s sponsor Representative Jeff Denham, has had mixed reactions from the trucking industry. Some organizations, such as the American Trucking Association (ATA) believes the amendment will help streamline interstate commerce by providing a federal standard for hour-of-service (HOS) rules. But other industry groups believe the amendment will rob truck drivers of needed rest and rightful compensation.

The amendment was originally a part of the FAST ACT passed by congress in December, but this amendment didn’t make the cut, so that’s why it’s been tacked on to the FAA bill.

Here is a breakdown of how the amendment could impact the industry.

The amendment seeks to pre-empt state laws related to rest breaks. It would require all truck drivers to abide by the Department of Transportation (DOT) hours-of-service regulations first.

  • The amendment would allow drivers to follow the federal guidelines for taking breaks, which are not as stringent as some states, such as California. California requires a 10-minute rest break for every two-hours worked and a 30-minute meal break every five hours worked. The federal guidelines require drivers to take a 30-minute break every 8 hours, which is now enforced by electronic logging devices (ELDs).
  • The amendment also prevents drivers from being paid for the breaks they take (California pays drivers for their breaks).
  • Drivers can still take breaks, but they would lose money by doing so.

The ATA wants a unified system that is seamless in order to facilitate interstate commerce. However, drivers’ rights and general wellbeing may be impacted if the amendment passes.

  • The amendment would permit drivers to disregard state HOS regulations, which might speed up shipment times.
  • However, the amendment could deter drivers from taking needed breaks in the interest of a reduction in compensation, which could lead to an increase in accidents, injuries, property damage and even death due to driver-fatigue.
  • The amendment would impact drivers’ wages because trucking companies would no longer be required to meet state wage requirements; they would only have to meet the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

This amendment could have a serious impact on the trucking industry.

  • Drivers may struggle to get better pay, which is especially critical as the truck driver turnover rate is approaching 100 percent.
  • Interstate commerce would be streamlined, but drivers may experience ELD implementation issues or become dissatisfied and leave the industry.
  • Drivers may not get the rest they need, which could exacerbate the sleep apnea problem in the industry as well as contribute to the high rate of commercial truck crashes.

Shippers may also be impacted. On one hand, the amendment would allow a more streamlined system for interstate commerce, which could allow shippers to get shipments out faster. On the other hand, if the amendment creates more issues for drivers and further increases the turnover rate, it could cause rates to increase. The Denham amendment has yet to pass the Senate, so the impact of the potential bill remains to be seen.

To learn more transportation industry news, trucking coverage and risk management, contact us here.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

Frequently Reported Technical Issues with Electronic Logging Devices

Posted April 24, 2018 by Administrator

Recently the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a list of frequently encountered issues that have been reported by motor carriers and drivers. These concerns have been found to be related to devices not being set up properly. Any of these issues could result in a device being investigated and possibly removed from the list of registered devices.

In a nutshell, the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rules require commercial truck drivers to keep hours-of-service (HOS) and records-of-duty status (RODS) reports using an electronic device or an on-board recording device. The ELD mandate also lays out certification and registration as well as performance standards for the use of ELDs. It is illegal for carriers to harass drivers based on ELD data and gives drivers recourse if they believe they have been harassed.

Here are some of the most frequently reported ELD issues.

  1. Erroneous Fields

The ELD rule specifies that drivers submit an output file. The acceptable ranges for these field values are also specified. When there are missing fields, or the fields contain invalid values, safety officials will not accept the file. The types of issues that are commonly seen include:

  • Incorrect field size (i.e. Shipping Document Number, Trailer Number or CMV VIN)
  • Invalid field ranges (Elapsed Engine Hours, Accumulated Vehicle Miles)
  • Missing fields that are required (Event Sequence ID Number, CMV Order Number, Last Name, Carrier Name)
  • Incorrect file and line data check values
  • Invalid characters
  • Invalid dates, times or numbers

The above inputs are data-checked by the FMCSA File Validator system.

  1. Invalid Delimiters

The ELD rule requires that the formatting of the output file must include comma separators and lines must be separated with carriage returns (<CR>). If your ELD output file has a value that includes a comma or <CR> code in it, the rule requires that these be replaced with a semi-colon.

  1. Pre-Configuration

The ELD rule requires that the ELD be able to transfer output files using both a web service and FMCSA email address. These transfer methods must be pre-configured into the device based on ELD rule 4.2.3.4, 4.10.1.1(b)(1), and 4.10.1.2(c).

An ELD should never send an email or output file directly to a safety official, and a driver or motor carrier should never have to request the email address or end points from the FMCSA or a safety official.

  1. Event Times

The ELD output file must have time reports listed in the time zone in effect in the driver’s home terminal. While date and time are recorded in UTC, if times are reported in UTC in the output file, it will result in the incorrect time being viewed by the safety official. This can be tested by viewing the safety official view of your ELD output files that have been successfully run through the File Validator. Or, you can test files that have been successfully submitted to the web services test environment. This ELD rule can be viewed at 7.8 and 7.40.

  1. 30 or More Days of RODS

The ELD rule specifies that ELDs be able to send a report for the current 24 hour period as well as the previous consecutive 7 days for review during a roadside inspection. An ELD must also produce records for a subset of its drivers, vehicles and the 6 month record retention period, as specified by the safety official, including 30 days’ worth of RODS. For more information, see ELD Rule 4.9.2(b).

  1. Incomplete Set of the Data Transfer Option

Any system that motor carriers decide to use that offers support must provide support for data transfer through either telemetrics (web services and email) or local transfer (USB and Bluetooth) options. Local transfer must include both USB and Bluetooth. For more information, see ELD Rule 4.9.2.

While changing from a paper logging system to an electronic logging device has been frustrating for carriers and drivers alike, ensuring that your device is properly configured from the get-go will eliminate at least some of the initial headaches that have been reported.

Cline Wood offers specialized insurance expertise. We are able to help drivers and fleets identify areas of risk as well as implement solutions to mitigate risks specific to the transportation industry. For more information, contact us today.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

Do You Know All of the Hours of Service Rules?

Posted April 3, 2018 by Administrator

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces several rules regarding how many hours a commercial driver may operate his or her vehicle as well as how many hours he or she can be on duty before taking a break. FMCSA drafted these hours of service (HOS) regulations to reduce drowsy driving and the related accidents. Commercial drivers need to be aware of these rules to avoid fines and out-of-service orders.

Commercial Drivers Carrying Property

There are different rules depending on the type of cargo a driver is transporting. Drivers delivering property must adhere to the following:

  • 11-hour driving limit. Drivers can drive up to 11 hours provided they had 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time prior.
  • 14-hour limit. Drivers may not operate their vehicle after being on duty for 14 hours. The 14-hour rule only applies after the driver completes 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time.
  • Rest breaks. Drivers must allow up to eight hours after they came off duty or rested in a sleeper berth for a minimum of 30 minutes before driving again. Short haul exemptions and mandatory in attendance time exempt certain drivers from this rule.
  • 60/70-hour limit. After being on duty for 60/70 hours in 7/8 consecutive days, drivers must take 34 hours or more of consecutive time off duty. The 7/8 day period resets after the driver completes the 34-hour restart.
  • Sleeper berth provision. Drivers who opt to use the sleeper berth provision must take at minimum eight sequential hours in the sleeper berth as well as a separate two sequential hours in the sleeper berth, off duty, or some combination of the two.

Commercial Drivers Carrying Passengers

Commercial drivers that transport living passengers have slightly different rules. While the 60/70 hour limit and sleeper berth provision are the same, there are notable differences such as there is no regulation for rest breaks. Other variances include:

  • 10-hour driving limit. Drivers can drive up to 10 hours provided they had eight consecutive hours of off-duty time prior.
  • 15-hour limit. Drivers may not operate their vehicle after being on duty for 15 hours. The 15-hour rule only applies after the driver completes eight consecutive hours of off-duty time.

Failing to comply with HOS rules can land drivers in hot water. FMCSA may subject them to fines or place them out of service entirely depending on the severity and frequency of the violation(s). These are just some of the numerous safety regulations commercial drivers need to know. As a transportation insurance expert, Cline Wood can help drivers and fleets identify areas of risk as well as implement solutions to mitigate them. To learn more, contact us today.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

What You Need to Know About the Livestock ELD Exemption

Posted March 27, 2018 by Administrator

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) electronic logging device (ELD) mandate went into effect in December of last year. However, the effective date was not without some exemptions.

  • The mandate grandfathered in individuals driving commercial vehicles with automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDs) through December 2019
  • Drivers operating vehicles manufactured prior to the year 2000 are exempt as well
  • Farmers and agricultural deliverers received waivers as well, exempting them so long as they were delivering agricultural commodities within a 150 air-mile radius

This final agricultural exemption, however, is set to expire on March 18. Farmers and agricultural haulers have submitted waiver extension requests, some as long as five years. The transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, however, has indicated a shorter waiver is more likely.

The issue with this looming expiration date is there is no indication when agricultural commodities transporters will receive this extension. While the answer remains murky, experts agree it is unlikely to come to fruition before the current exemption expires. This is a significant problem when considering the wellbeing of the livestock being transported.

HOS Regulations and Restrictions

Current hours of service (HOS) regulations limit drivers to 14 on-duty hours with no more than 11 hours of active driving in any given 24-hour period. Once a driver hits those numbers, he or she must stop and rest for 10 straight hours. This creates considerable difficulty for the animals and the driver relocating them.

Detractors point out that FMCSA set the HOS regulations for legitimate safety reasons. Allowing or forcing drivers to push beyond those limits can result in drowsy driving, accidents, and fatalities. The Department of Transportation (DOT) was not without sympathy for this conundrum, hence the original 90-day waiver. However, now that this waiver is about to expire, livestock transporters have little choice but to comply until the DOT agency releases the next waiver or enacts a long-term solution.

Solving the Livestock Problem

One proposed option is to plan routes with facilities that can handle livestock along the way. Even though this helps solve the problem of the animal’s wellbeing, it creates several other headaches. There are not enough of these types of facilities along common routes, meaning more would have to be built. This drives up costs for the livestock, which could be prohibitive. There are also other concerns such as security, the weather, and having the appropriate food and water on hand for the various animals.

While lawmakers continue to debate potential solutions, the agriculture industry needs to prepare for this shift. As a dedicated service provider to both the agribusiness and trucking industry, Cline Wood can help your business prepare for this change. To learn more about protecting your agribusiness, contact us today.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

3 Commonly Overlooked Issues That Cause Roadside Inspection Violations

Posted January 15, 2018 by Administrator

Now that the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate is in effect, commercial drivers can expect major changes to roadside inspections. However, many drivers are still unfamiliar with their ELD and do not understand how it affects the inspection process. To address this, DOT officers have shared valuable insight as to how drivers can use their ELD to reduce inspection frequency and duration as well as increase drive time.

Eliminating Form and Manner Violations

Prior to ELDs, form and manner violations were the most prevalent infractions. This is because drivers had to keep paper logs by hand. Sometime the driver would forget to put in the proper dates, locations, total miles, and so on. ELDs perform all of these functions automatically. Change of duty status violations disappear as well since the ELD will ask a driver if he or she is on duty or off duty when the driver stops the truck.

Reduced Hours of Service (HOS) Violations

ELDs did not change HOS regulations—only how drivers record and track them. Even so, ELDs are helping to reduce HOS violations. Before ELDs, some drivers felt pressured to fudge their HOS to stay on the road for longer to finish a delivery. This creates an environment for fatigued and drowsy driving, putting all individuals on the road at risk. Because drivers cannot alter ELD logs, the compulsion to stretch driving hours beyond HOS regulations vanishes.

Training and Organization

ELDs can reduce the frequency of inspections and certain violations; they can also expedite the inspection process under certain circumstances. Drivers who are familiar with their ELD and know how to use it during an inspection are much more likely to have a speedy inspection than a driver who is fumbling with his device. ELDs come with documentation to assist drivers, but if they shove their paperwork haphazardly into their glove box, they will have a difficult time locating the information they need. Drivers who keep all important documents secured in a 3-ring binder and understand the intricacies of their ELD can spend less time being inspected and more time on the road.

Cline Wood understands the stress fleets and drivers feel trying to comply with safety regulations while learning a new technology. However, ELD devices are vital to improving safety and keeping drivers on the road. Failure to abide by HOS regulations can result in out of service orders, fines, and increases to insurance rates. To learn more about improving transportation safety and reducing costs, contact us today.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

Webinar: Legal Implications of Electronic Logging Device Implementation and Compliance

Posted July 5, 2017 by Administrator

Join Cline Wood University and Roberts Perryman as we discuss the specifications and legal implications of electronic logging device (ELD) implementation and compliance. Subject matter expert Jason Guerra will address the impact on your trucking business. Topics include:

* The Law, Rules & Deadlines
* Compliance: Supporting Documentation and Technical Specs
* Implementation Issues & Considerations
* Exemptions Regarding Short Haul, Towing, Older Models
* Extension for Use of AOBRDs
* Avoiding Pitfalls

Date & Time: Wed, Jul 12, 2017 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM CDT

To Join: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3771330763710693123

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

How to Prepare Your Drivers for a DOT Motor Vehicle Audit

Posted June 27, 2017 by Administrator

The Department of Transportation (DOT) regularly conducts motor vehicle audits to ensure that carriers are in compliance with applicable regulations. Audits are conducted without prior notice. The types of audits that are conducted include the following:

  • Compliance Review

Checks the vehicle to determine if the equipment meets safety standards. All areas of compliance are covered.

  • Security Review

Reviews the safety plan, training of the driver and other security-related measures.

  • Hazardous Materials Reviews

Comprehensive review that covers all aspects of transporting hazardous materials, such as policies, training, shipping documentation and labeling of containers.

  • New Driver Entrants

Within 3-6 months of the issuance of a USDOT number, a new driver safety audit will be conducted.

Paying attention to details and maintaining thorough records are important keys to passing the audit. It is imperative that you keep a copy of the DOT Compliance Checklist, Level 1 DOT Commercial Vehicle Inspection as well as a current North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria publication issued by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance on board your rigs so that drivers can refer to them as needed.

Here are 4 tips to help your company fleet stay in compliance and be prepared for a DOT audit.

  1. Talk with your drivers

As a fleet owner, it is vitally important for you to build rapport with your drivers so that there is a trust relationship. If you perceive the driver is making mistakes, you need to understand why the mistakes are happening and have enough of a relationship for there to be honest dialog with the goal of resolving the issues. Your drivers are the life of your business; they are the people that move your loads. They will be the ones that either make or break your business.

The inspection officer will begin the audit by interviewing the driver. During the interview, the officer will be inspecting the interior of the cab to ensure the cab and dash instruments are in good repair. The officer will also be looking for evidence of drug and/or alcohol usage during the cab inspection.

  1. Make Sure Your Equipment is in Good Repair

Use the Level 1 DOT Commercial Vehicle Inspection Checklist to determine if your vehicle is in compliance. Pay careful attention to the seat belts, windshield wipers, emergency lights, brake lights, lighting devices of all types, emergency exits, electrical cables, braking systems, fuel systems, exhaust systems, electrical cables, etc.

  1. Keep Your Paperwork and Logs Organized and Up-to-Date

It’s vitally important that your driver’s record keeping is organized and current so that he or she can easily demonstrate to an inspector that everything is in order. Make sure they know where their fire extinguisher and triangles are, and their documents are in order. Make sure they keep their information in a place that is easy to access and that everything is complete.

  1. The Attitude of the Driver is Important

Help your drivers understand how to maintain a respectful, cooperative attitude. If a driver is argumentative, sullen or uncooperative, the inspector is likely to demand a Level 1 Inspection. A driver with a cooperative, positive attitude will have a smoother experience and the inspection will go much quicker.

Your drivers should expect an inspection at any time. Work with them to help them understand the importance of passing their inspections, and support them in developing the systems they need to keep things organized and up-to-date. Maintain a positive relationship with them and model courtesy, respect and a professional attitude at all times.

Following these general guidelines will help your drivers pass their DOT inspections in a timely, efficient manner, helping them get back on the job working for your company.

Cline Wood represents top trucking insurance carriers across the country. To learn more about the issues that concern commercial truck companies today, trucking coverage and risk management, contact us.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

Are Your Drivers Employees or Independent Contractors?

Posted June 13, 2017 by Administrator

In recent years, federal and state entities have engaged in an effort to reclassify independent contractors for motor carriers as employees. Sometimes authorities will conduct preemptive audits on the Department of Labor (DOL) compliance status to determine if companies are in compliance with federal and state labor laws as they apply to worker classification.

In order to ensure your company is in compliance, there are important tests that need to be adhered to when it comes to independent contractors versus employee status. Important tests to know are:

  1. The right to control

The overarching test of the right to control is whether or not the owner-operator controls the manner and means of completing the work. The one caveat to this test is when the control is originating from rules or regulations imposed by the Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) or other entity that governs the trucking industry. External regulatory controls are seen as mutual between the company and the owner-operator and therefore are not a determining factor in whether an individual is an employee or independent contractor.

  1. ABC

The ABC test refers to three parts, listed as “A”, “B”, and “C.” In this test, the DOL has taken the position that most workers in the U.S. are employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA.) The one primary exception to this is if the owner-operator operates under the authority of multiple carriers.

  1. 3. Relative nature of the work

The nature of the work helps to define the relationship. If the work is considered integral to the business, it is more likely that the worker is an employee. Work that is temporary or non-integral may imply independent contractor status.

  1. Economic realities

The economic realities test is something that has been devised by some courts and federal agencies to help businesses determine the differences between an employee and independent contractors. Basically, the economic realities test considers how dependent or independent the worker is on the business. If a person gains a large part of their income from one business then they are likely an employee. Other factors to consider are level of skill, nature of the work, intent of the parties and social security taxes and benefits.

  1. IRS “20 Factor”

Tax liability is determined by the workers’ employment status. In order to help businesses determine whether a worker should be classified as an employee or independent contractor the IRS has devised twenty questions or factors called the “IRS 20 Factor Test on Employment Status.”

It’s critical that motor carriers and owner-operators understand the differences and legal implications of operating as an employee versus an independent contractor. While it may seem attractive to call your drivers owner-operators or independent contractors, it is vitally important that the tests for independent contractors are met if the driver is considered an owner-operator.

An important factor to consider is the right for an individual to sue the company should the driver be involved in an accident. If the driver meets the employee test, damages can be collected from the trucking company. If the driver can be classified as an independent contractor, then the other party in an accident is limited to the amount of damages they can recover from the contractor. The law does not accept the word of an employer in such a matter; the aforementioned tests will be taken into consideration in determining who is liable in the event of an accident.

To learn more about the issues that concern truck drivers today, trucking coverage and risk management, contact the experts at Cline Wood.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

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