Can’t Reach the DOT’s Toll-free Verification Number?

For the past week I have been attempting to reply to a letter stating that in order to complete my registration I needed to call 1-877-905-8016. I have not been able to get through at all. In fact, I am still on hold.

Recommendation:

Send a certified letter (with response card) to the address on the letter from the DOT documenting your last three attempts at calling the DOT’s verification number, noting the dates and times you tried calling.

Background

This verification issue (not being able to reach or contact the DOT after repeated attempts), keeps popping up from time to time, so it appears not to be any big deal to the DOT. It is a big deal, however, to the folks living in fear of the DOT bureaucrats. One farmer said he couldn’t get through the DOT number (as no one ever picked it up), was afraid of not being in compliance with the DOT and was spending over $2,000 a day by having contractors haul his feed while he parked his trucks.

There is no need to panic or be overly concerned, just document your reasonable attempts to comply with their instructions and inform the DOT of your attempts at compliance. Make reasonable attempts at compliance, but always document your actions for future reference.

Documentation Techniques

(1) Document Simple – Keep an “Open Issues” file for any DOT actions in need of a follow-up. Examples of issues and events that can be controlled by the Open Issues file could include responding to: tickets/warnings, roadside inspection citations and repairs, accident follow-up, or DATA-Qs challenges. Jot down a few notes to yourself regarding who, what, where, and why the event needs or may need future attention.

(2) Use the STAR Method

One simple but effective way to document open issues is called the STAR Method; document in the following order:

Situation: Note the specific event or situation;
Task: What needs to be done?
Action: What actions have you taken so far?
Result: What have been the outcomes? What tasks have been completed? What information was learned? What still needs to be done?

Once the “open issue” is resolved, file the documentation for future reference.

Due to the complexity of governmental bureaucracy today, every business needs to be highly organized, have a system of records and controls for all critical items, and needs to budget itself enough time to stay on top of the paperwork. A few minutes today may save a few hours tomorrow, next week or next month. Without a formal system of organization the result will be “putting out fires” all day long, not leaving enough time for the customers/clients or other critical or important business tasks.

As organization expert Ken Zeigler says, “You can’t tell your boss at review time, ‘This year I got the Smokey the Firefighter Award. People rarely get promoted for putting out fires.'”