By The Book: 8 Trucking Company Compliance Tips To Avoid Penalties

By The Book: 8 Trucking Company Compliance Tips To Avoid Penalties

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Almost 20,000 trucks cross the border between Canada and the United States on a daily basis and every single one of those vehicles has to comply with a complex set of rules and regulations if a heavy fine for non-compliance is to be avoided.


Here are some pointers and tips on how trucking companies can remain compliant, including a look at hours of service regulations, spotting drivers bad habits, upgrading to electronic records, and common areas of non-compliance when it comes to medical conditions.


Hours of service regulations


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for setting Hours of Service (HSO) regulations for the trucking industry and these apply to any truck that is classified as a commercial motor vehicle.


It is definitely worth familiarizing yourself with HSO regulations so that you know whether your truck or any other commercial vehicles in your fleet are subject to these rules. It can be all too easy to fall foul of these regulations if you are an occasional driver, or even a mechanic driving the vehicle as part of a repair and testing process.


A lot of the confusion can arise from driving regularly between states and not realizing that a different set of rules and regulations can apply when you cross a state border. Each state sets its own regulations relating to intrastate commerce so it pays to get up to speed with the state and federal requirements for your vehicle based on the route you have planned.


Look for signs of non-compliance


It is easy to fall into bad habits and a good tip is to frequently review compliance issues and see if any drivers or vehicles are trending non-compliance patterns.


The way to achieve this aim is often to ensure that all drivers are up to date with their compliance training and there is a clear understanding of HOS rules.


Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports and regular refresher courses are a good way of identifying signs of non-compliance by keeping everyone up to date.


Move on from a paper manifest


Maintaining excellent security measures for your cargo is a high priority and the U.S customs system used for creating a cargo manifest, Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), is used to deliver truck eManifest data to.


An export eManifest is not yet mandatory but that is expected to change in the near future. eManifest Requirements for Trucking Companies need to be understood clearly so that some steep non-compliance are avoided.


The aim should be to create an eManifest solution for your trucking business that streamlines your documentation requirements in the most efficient way possible and makes it as easy as possible to achieve ACE compliance.


Make the most of technology tools


If you are still using a label system on your vehicles there is always the risk that poor weather conditions and exposure to a harsh environment can quickly render that information unreadable.


A modern solution would be to use electronic logging devices and this is now the way to achieve compliance, so it is now considered imperative that you use ELD’s to streamline your data collection of mileage details and other relevant details.


Regularly review your BASIC status


The FMCSA operates a safety measurement system that produces a BASICs score (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories) that is based on roadside inspection results and includes any previous violations, known as the CSA score (Compliance, Safety, and Accountability).


Taking a close look at the CSA score at regular intervals and reviewing any compliance issues that are flagged will help to ensure that your business stays on the right side of the rules and regulations.


There are seven BASICs categories covering aspects such as vehicle maintenance and driver fitness. If you exercise due diligence and are proactive in reviewing these key areas, it will help your trucking to stay safe and compliant.


Vehicle markings


A common cause for a penalty notice being issued is when a truck has incorrect vehicle markings.


All interstate motor carriers are required to carry the appropriate USDOT number and it is always a good idea to check that your vehicle is fully compliant and markings are reflective of current regulations.


Medical requirements


There are numerous guidelines and policies in force that are all designed to help promote road safety and to ensure that every commercial interstate vehicle driver is physically qualified and able to take responsibility for themselves and their truck.


One medical condition that often needs to be addressed for compliance is diabetes.


There are various medical examination requirements and an insulin-treated diabetes mellitus assessment form that needs to be completed if you or any other truck driver has diabetes.


There is also an annual assessment that needs to take place and this is just one of several key medical requirements that every truck driver needs to be aware of and keep up to date with.


Need a safety permit?


Another common non-compliance issue relates to the transportation of hazardous materials.


HazMat rules can be a real challenge to stay onside with and you will need to know what operational requirements are applicable to the transportation of hazardous materials and what permit is required depending on what you are moving across state lines.


There are a number of sections on the FMCSA website that are designed to provide guidance on interpretations and help you decide whether a permit is required or not.


If you make the time to stay up to date with existing regulations and interpretations it should improve your chances of staying on the right side of the law and avoiding a penalty notice.


Compliance is always a key issue for truck companies and drivers and if you do what you can to play by the book you should be able to keep on trucking with a greater degree of confidence.


That confidence comes from being proactive rather than reactive when it comes ensuring that you are fully compliant at all times.

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