I decided to write this article to create awareness for people operating in the trucking industry. The transportation industry is a very lucrative one in the U.S if you know how to play your cards well. However, not doing the right thing can get you into trouble and in some cases might lead to the end of your business. If you are an employer or owner-operator in the trucking business, you will understand that there are rules and regulations you need to abide by. The USDOT and FMCSA are very strict with their policies because they have to do with death and life. Failing to comply with the laid down rules might take your vehicles off the road, and that could be the end of your business.
My name is Anthony Liam, a native of Jacksonville but resides in Houston, Texas. I am a married man living with my beautiful wife and two lovely daughters. I was introduced to the trucking business by my old friend about 7 years ago. While it looks so exciting now, it was tough for me at the beginning stage. The truth is, starting a business is not easy and it takes doggedness to keep going. I was told of the key things I needed to do to stay compliant with the rules and services. If you are planning of running a trucking business, below are some of the rules and regulations you need to follow.
Rule #1 – Drug And Alcohol Testing Consortium
This rule applies to Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers who operate under a CDL with a vehicle weight of over 26,000 lbs. You need to enroll in a third-party drug and alcohol testing consortium. Every year, drivers are randomly selected from the pool for drug and alcohol testing. 50% of drivers will undergo the drug test, while 10% will under the alcohol test. Since it is a random selection that is done monthly, it is possible that some of your drivers won’t be selected throughout the year, and it is also possible that all your drivers could be called upon for the tests.
Doing these tests is mainly for the safety of lives and property. If a driver tests positive for drugs or alcohol, he will be withdrawn from his safety sensitive-position for at least 24 hours. Thereafter, the driver needs to be referred to a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) to complete some activities. The driver needs to test negative before he can resume his duties in your company. It also depends on the policy of the company. While some companies may accept the driver back, others are very strict with drug and alcohol abuse.
Therefore, as an employer or owner-operator in the trucking industry, it is expedient that you enroll your drivers in the drug and alcohol testing program. Failure to do this could cost your business in form of fines and penalties.
Rule #2 – Biennial Update (MCS – 150)
This is another crucial filing that needs to be done by motor carriers. In 2013, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandated that motor carries needs to file the details of their company every other year. Whether you make any significant changes to your business or not, you need to file the biennial update so that they can keep track of your business. Although I have some of my colleagues that rarely take this filing seriously, it is a risky move to make by any business.
Failure to comply with this rule can lead to the deactivation of your USDOT number and civil penalties of up to $10,000. Since I cherish my trucking business a lot, I have always been compliant with my biennial update and it has saved me from spending unnecessary funds on penalties. I have a colleague who spent up to $10,000 paying for penalties that could have been avoided.
Rule #3 – Drug And Alcohol Supervisor’s Training
If you are a supervisor of a safety-sensitive position, you are required to undergo certificate training on how to identify employees under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The training entails 60 minutes of coaching on alcohol abuse and 60 minutes of coaching on controlled substance abuse. This is part of the rules set out by FMCSA to help reduce the risk of accidents on the road.
After taking the supervisor’s training, you need to use your acquired skills to identify any driver showing any sign of drug and/or alcohol abuse. If identified, the driver will need to go for the necessary test to ascertain if he is positive or negative.
Rule #4 – Unified Carrier Registration (UCR)
As an employer or owner-operator in the trucking industry, you need to do this registration every year. You need to register your business with your home state and make an annual payment that is dependent on the size of your fleet. Of course, the higher your fleet, the more you will pay for this annual registration. The revenue generated from this registration will be used to enforce motor carrier safety programs.
These are the major registration one needs to be conversant and compliant with to be able to operate in the trucking or transportation industry. Although these rules look easy to follow, they can be frustrating and time-consuming most of the time. Time is of the essence in virtually all businesses. Using your time will help to push your business forward.
Call DOT Compliance Group On (855) 585-5005 To Help You Stay Compliant
I have been using DOT Compliance Group for the past 5 years now to handle all my compliance issues. It used to be frustrating for me trying to stay compliant by doing it all by myself. It got to a point that I almost quitted because of the stress of staying compliant. Thankfully, my good old friend introduced me to DOT Compliance Group and it has been a smooth ride for me ever since.
If you want to stay compliant without needing to go through stressful and frustrating processes, call DOT Compliance Group on (855) 585-5005 today. They are specialized in helping trucking companies stay compliant 100%. DOT Compliance Group takes away the burden of staying compliant so that I can focus on my business squarely. Call (855) 585-5005 and you will enjoy their services.