Operations

How To Forge A Bond With Your Motor Carrier Inspector

Posted on September 6, 2013 by - Also by this author

No one likes an inspector. Whether it’s one from the federal Department of Transportation, the IRS, or one from your state regulatory agency, they are there to examine the way you do business. You can fear or embrace them. Choose the latter approach and you’ll benefit from some free knowledge and guidance.

Ignorance Not An Excuse

You’ve heard it many times. Simply because you don’t know a law exists doesn’t exempt you from following it. In this business, we are regulated by so many agencies and must adhere to so many laws and policies that it is indeed hard to keep up. Working with your inspector throughout the year by asking questions will help make annual inspections go much smoother. You’ll benefit if your inspector knows you care enough to pick up the phone and ask about compliance matters. Ask for your inspector’s cell phone number if you don’t have it.

Does Calling Raise Red Flags?

No! On the contrary, inspectors encourage two-way communication, says Jason Followill, a motor carrier safety specialist for the California Highway Patrol, who is tasked with visiting various fleet operators in Central California annually. Although certain conditions can warrant more frequent inspections, calling to ask questions is not one of them, he adds.  

In fact, open communications and dialogue enable him to learn more about an operation. It also helps him with the annual inspection and to share creative ideas with other carriers, resulting in a safety highway system for everyone.

Maintenance Records

Followill, a seven-year veteran, says having organized and well documented maintenance records is vital. If you are unsure what documents you need to have in a Driver’s Qualification File (DQF), a simple phone call can clear that up and get you an updated list of what you need. The same can be said for vehicle maintenance records, accident logs, drug testing results and the myriad of other documents Followill examines during a safety audit.

Not the Enemy Perceived

Contrary to what most operators believe, inspectors are not looking for ways to shut you down but ways to make you safer. They try to spot things that “aren’t quite right,” Followill says. If inspectors find violations, they may or may not issue a citation but will always tell you how to comply and give you an opportunity to correct the violation(s). This may require a repeat inspection in two weeks or six months depending upon the issue, he says. In his seven years of inspections, Followill has never shut anyone down.

Exceptions

Flagrant violations such as allowing a suspended driver to continue driving or not having a drug and alcohol program in place will result in a citation being issued by mail, but not necessarily one that ceases operations. Such violations can cause operators to be placed on a more frequent inspection plan until compliance is achieved, but again, guidance is provided.

Make That Call

In the event you don’t know the answer to a question about the operation of a vehicle on the road, call and ask. From something as simple as whether or not a car seat is needed in a limo bus to how long you need to keep drug testing results can be answered easily. It demonstrates that you care enough about adhering to the law that you took the time to ask.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Metro Cars Builds Strong Affiliate Relationships

The Michigan-based operation believes in the importance of forming bonds with other ground transportation businesses.

Uber Gets Silly, Creepy & Cheap

TNC Travesties Of The Week: Selfie check-ins and ghost drivers. . . and people still debate driver background checks?

Top Luxury Hotels Thrive Despite Global Travel Drop

Affluent consumers are cutting down on stays with a modest decrease in booked nights.

How Tech Platforms Are Changing Business Travel

A dizzying number of mobile icons now let executives manage their flights, hotels, rail tickets, security and expenses.

RedCoach Brings Affordable Luxury Travel To Florida

The company is the first express bus service to offer city center to city center travel, and provides travelers with first-class amenities.

See More News

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (0)

Post a Comment

Submit

Blogs

See More

See More

See More

See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - September 2016 $12.95 COVER STORY: * How Do We Max Our Markets? * *



Connect

Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close