Get the FAQs: One of Two Upcoming Can’t Miss (Free) Webinars . . .

In control


Here are two upcoming Webinars, that may be of interest if you are involved in transportation.

Top Driver Qualification FAQs

On Thursday, April 14, 2016, at 11 AM EDT Kathy Close & Daren Hansen of J.J. Keller will present a webinar about Top Driver Qualification FAQs.

J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. is a privately-held company that was founded in 1953 by John “Jack” Keller. Their mission is to be the first choice for customers looking for assistance in managing risk and regulatory compliance in our primary areas of expertise – Transportation, Industrial/Workplace Safety & Human Resources.

The days of tossing the keys to a new driver and sending them on their way are long gone. Any driver of a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) needs to be qualified and the qualification process documented. These records need to be in a driver qualification (DQ) file. The driver needs to be road tested and a proper background investigation done.

Next week Thursday, join Kathy Close & Daren Hansen as they delve into the some of the top problem areas in qualifying drivers in Top Driver Qualification FAQs.

What to Expect During an FMCSA Compliance Investigation

On Friday, April 15, 2016 at 1:00PM CST, Justin Smoot of Cottingham & Butler will present on What to Expect During an FMCSA Compliance Investigation.

Cottingham & Butler is headquartered in Dubuque, Iowa, employs nearly 700 employees nationwide and is the 35th largest insurance broker. Their mission is to PARTNER with their clients, to PROTECT their most valuable assets, and to BUILD an exceptional company of passionate insurance professionals.

Does the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) still do compliance audits and investigations? They sure do. A DOT audit may last from hours to even weeks. If you have a DOT number and operate in interstate commerce, under certain circumstances, your company could be subject to a DOT compliance audit or investigation. Some states have adopted these federal rules as well.

Next week Friday, join Justin Smoot for his talk about What to Expect During an FMCSA Compliance Investigation.

There should be a brief Q&A session near the end of these webinars to answer additional questions you might have.

Thank you for reading this.

“Can the DOT shut me down?” and other recent questions

Out of Service Order

Out of Service Order

“Can the DOT shut me down?”

There are various circumstances that lead to the issuance of an “Out of Service” (OOS) order by the DOT.

“New Applicants” must undergo a “DOT Safety Audit.” One client, a small contractor, missed his audit appointment because of an emergency. He was told by his auditor that he could reapply for a new number in 30 days. He was fortunate in that his truck was already parked on-site and he didn’t need to drive it for a month or so. In the first three months of 2010 over 44% of New Entrants failed their Safety Audit, said Anne Ferro, FMCSA Administrator, when she testified on April 28, 2010 to the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation.

Since the introduction of the new CSA enforcement program, the DOT now conducts a streamlined audit called a ‘focused review’ and this modified audit may reduce a satisfactory rating to a conditional or an unsatisfactory rating. A motor carrier rated “unsatisfactory” is prohibited from operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle. This applies to (interstate) passenger carriers (16 passengers+driver), carriers of hazardous materials (HM) in quantities requiring placarding that operate in interstate commerce, and all other motor carriers operating in interstate commerce.

Under § 385.13(d)(2)— If a motor carrier’s intrastate operations are declared out of service by a State, the FMCSA must issue an order placing out of service the carrier’s operations in interstate commerce. Likewise, some states apply a DOT’s interstate OOS order to intrastate operations.

To remedy the downgrade resulting in an OOS:

(1) take action to correct the deficiencies which led to the downgraded safety rating, then (2) make a request in writing (petition) for a review of rating to the FMCSA Service Center for the geographic area where the carrier maintains its principal place of business. Because there is a deadline, these actions need to be done immediately.

How do I display my US DOT Number on the Vehicle?

US DOT Number

49 CFR, § 390.21— Marking of self-propelled CMVs (the “Marking Rule“) says:

(b) Nature of marking. The marking must display the following information:
(1) The legal name or a single trade name of the motor carrier operating the self-propelled CMV, as listed on the motor carrier identification report (Form MCS-150 – [when you applied for the DOT number]).
(2) The identification number issued by FMCSA to the motor carrier or intermodal equipment provider, preceded by the letters “USDOT.”
(3) If the name of any person other than the operating carrier appears on the CMV, the name of the operating carrier must be followed by the information required by paragraphs (b)(1), and (2) of this section, and be preceded by the words “operated by.”
(c) Size, shape, location, and color of marking. The marking must—
(1) Appear on both sides of the self-propelled CMV;
(2) Be in letters that contrast sharply in color with the background on which the letters are placed;
(3) Be readily legible, during daylight hours, from a distance of 50 feet (15.24 meters) while the CMV is stationary.
The actual lettering may vary in size from 2 1/2 inch to 4 inches high, depending on the color of the lettering and the color of the vehicle. As long as you can read it from 50 feet, it will meet the standard. The U.S. DOT Number is generally placed near the bottom of the door and the company name in the middle. Check if your state has other ‘marking requirements.’

A set of magnetic signs may be used in lieu of permanent lettering.

Is Reasonable Suspicion Training for Supervisors required?

We received an “urgent compliance notice” from Supervisor  Compliance Training Department stating that it is mandatory to take a course in Drug & Alcohol Awareness Training … as a tiny little footnote at the bottom of the letter it states: If you are a single owner operator or you have had this training before, then  you are not required to take the training.

From what I have seen so far in your book I do not think we have to do this as we do not have drivers with commercial drivers licenses, we only have one vehicle, only transport our own equipment, etc.

Can you confirm for me if this is something we need to get certified in or not? Thanks,

Organizations having no Commercial Driver License (CDL) drivers are not required to have the Supervisor’s Reasonable Suspicion Training.

A single owner operator of a CDL type vehicle (not employing another driver), is not required to have this training as he or she would be aware of his/her own drug/alcohol use.

A person who has had this training previously in their career is not required to have this training.

A person may not actually have the “job title” of Supervisor to be required to have this training. Training is required for at least one person in the organization who has the role of a supervisor, manager, etc., of a CDL type driver or drivers.

If you are enrolled in a DOT drug/alcohol testing program, your program provider may offer this training. Some professional or trade associations also offer this training. To learn more, please visit:

Your questions are most welcome and help us create a Learning Culture that reinforces learning.