Truck drivers are real professionals, just the same as any with any other profession. You must attend training, acquire skills, get CDL licenses (with appropriate endorsements), and they are subjected to industry regulations.
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Just like any number of other professions, even like doctors, lawyers, and professional athletes, all have the similar pressures breathing down on them. But, what is the one difference you will ask? The trucking industry is what keeps all the others industries operating.
Think about it. How do they get their furnishings, equipment, and other supplies needed to set-up and to maintain operations? Sports teams need to have their equipment delivered. What about the stadiums?
How did the construction materials get there? Even the law office needed a commercial vehicle to get their office set-up. The simple reality is everyone, from the homemaker to the President’s office, relies on the smooth operations of the trucking industry, even if they don’t truly appreciate it.
Anyone in the industry will tell you it takes a lot of dedication and time to understand all the legalities and such associated with being a commercial driver. With all the pressure to maintain safe trucks and running the highways, while staying in compliance with the federal regulations, can be a lot to handle. Add the additional stress of federal, state, and local traffic laws that are in place, which apply directly to the trucking industry.
It can be a real struggle to maintain the proper balance between legal compliance, company rules, and keeping your customers happy. Even the most skilled driver, can find him/herself in trouble with the traffic authority. Law enforcement agencies have special units whose sole function is to oversee the trucking industry and the trucks travelling through their jurisdiction. It can be a real headache staying on top of all the constantly changing laws, especially since they are different from one state and/or community to the next.
But people often overlook the greater impact that a simple ticket can have.
Getting a ticket is a reality of driving on our American roads. It doesn’t matter at all what you’re driving, a sports car, a motorcycle, or a big rig, getting a ticket is possible. But what is the one thing the three vehicles types I mentioned have in common? They are targeted by police. No it isn’t about profiling, it is a simple fact that the likelihood of finding a violation is greater.
People do things for a number of reasons, and to be honest they do not usually intended to cause harm. I am sure your truck driver / or you as one, didn’t purposely close your eyes and fall asleep for few seconds while behind the steering-wheel. But the endless roads and the tiredness ketch up with you and you couldn’t stay awake. In one of my previous blogs I wrote about techniques that will help you stay awake while you are driving.
Sometimes a person is running a little behind schedule. Perhaps you’re travelling a state highway and didn’t notice the change in the speed limit as you entered a small town. Something else drivers sometimes do, is put things off. Maybe your log is a bit behind and you are planning to get it up to date at the next stop.
Whatever the reason might be, it happens. Usually it can be prevented. Taking the time to fill out your logs in a timely manner is better than playing catch-up. Observe the speed limits, if need be contact your dispatch and let them know if you’re a little behind.
Do whatever it takes, and try to follow the instructions, because, the cost of a ticket is far more than time.
The cost of a ticket is more than just the fine and the time spent dealing with the police or other enforcement agent. It can actually cost the driver his/her job. It can cost your company contracts/customers. We all know that a DUI will cost the driver his/her license and such.
But, what about the delay in getting the freight to its destination! Plus the added cost if the truck and trailer were impounded? That is the obvious example, of course. But even speeding tickets and citations and penalties for being overweight can cause huge hassles.
Something that perhaps many people don’t know is that, in many places, stricter legislation has been passed. If you are given a ticket, not only is it recorded but it is reported to the employer as well. Furthermore, in most places getting a ticket in your private vehicle is treated the same as getting one in your commercial vehicle! Truck drivers actually have the potential to lose their very livelihood.
As far as the actual cost of the fine, that really depends. Depends on what you ask? On the jurisdiction where the violation occurred and the circumstances surrounding the incident. But know that when you add the cost of the fine, court cost, and other related fees it can add up quickly!
As everyone who works in this industry knows, everything is regulated. Safety is a key aspect, and as such subject to some very strict guidelines. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) created the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) as their safety compliance and enforcement program. They rate each carrier based on their safety rating. This rating directly affects insurance premiums and brokers decision to use your company.
With this said, you have to figure out the way to improve and maintain your company’s safety rating, regardless if you are the owner, the driver or owner operator.
Something that many drivers and business owners might not know is that your CSA rating can be affected, if the tickets are written in conjunction with a legal roadside inspection. Basically, if you (or your driver) get pulled over for speeding and the officer then conducts an inspection, the ticket will be reported. Typically, if the police officer doesn’t inspect the vehicle, it won’t be reported on your CSA record.
Tickets not only affect the driver anymore. They are considered a direct reflection of the entire organization. Businesses have gone under due to the drop in their rating.
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