Chameleon Carriers

Yesterday, in response to an article about the FMCSA’s latest attempt to prevent, or at least discourage ‘chameleon carriers’, someone who is apparently the owner of a small trucking company posted a comment that went something like this:

“We [are] the lizard’s that are trying to make a living, trying to make our CSA score look good. . . . ”

I may have misunderstood him, but I believe he is trying to justify the act of getting an extra DOT number, which many small companies do.

This is kind of like training all your drivers to lie on their logs – we know it is illegal, we know some people do it, and if they are clever or lucky or some combination of the two, the FMCSA will never catch them.

But, we also know if they are involved in a serious crash, regardless who is at fault, it will probably be detected, if not by the FMCSA then by the plaintiff’s attorney or the media.

Here is my response to the person who is apparently looking for a sympathetic ear, as he complains about the DOT rolling out yet another technique to attempt to enforce the law:

I know you are trying to be sarcastic here, but I don’t think anyone is going to buy your underlying premise.
You seem to be equating hard-working, honest people who are just “trying to make our CSA score look good” with people who fraudulently obtain a new DOT number to masquerade as a new trucking company, without history with the FMCSA and a less-than-sterling record.
You say, “It is easy to say you should hit these scores,” but that you think it takes a trunkful of cash?
Sir, we are not talking about something that is hard to do here. We are just talking about obeying a few simple rules. All the FMCSA is asking of you is 5 things:
1 – Ensure your drivers are legally and physically qualified
2 – Have a system to prevent dispatching drivers who are ill or fatigued – this includes observation of limits on HOS but the real object is to prevent fatigued driving
3 – Ensure each driver us subject to random and reasonable suspicion drug testing each day he (or she) is dispatched
4 – Have a good system to ensure your commercial vehicles are properly maintained.
5 – And, finally, as a matter of practicality, you must have a meaningful accident countermeasures program.

If you do these five things, you will have lower SMS Scores, fewer fatalities and DOT recordable crashes, less-frequent run-ins with law enforcement and insurance companies, a better bottom line and fewer interventions from the FMCSA.
If you fraudulently obtain a new DOT number in order to pretend to be a new company, and complain about “CSA2010” and it’s supposed victimization of smaller carriers, don’t expect to find a sympathetic ear here.
Try the men’s room at some of your bigger truck stops.

About DOT Compliance Help Inc
Phone: 847-836-6063 web: e-mail DOT Compliance Help, Inc. is a full-service consulting firm specializing in the interpretation and execution of the regulations and guidelines set forth by the US Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. •Mission Statement• To assist our clients in establishing proper safety management controls in order to minimize accidents, injuries, and fatalities. The ultimate goals are safer roadways for the public and increased profits for our clients. Our core consulting competencies include FMCSA Assessments (mock audits), DOT compliance training (on-site and via webinar) and custom safety plans and policies. We also hold DOT compliance workshops and conferences all across the country. Utilizing a proprietary curriculum developed by our President, Mike England, our classes cover everything you need to know about the FMCSRs, how to survive your next DOT Compliance Review, and how Comprehensive safety Analysis (CSA 2010) will affect you.

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