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For-Hire Carrier vs. Private Carrier

FMCSA Definition of For-Hire:
An authorized for-hire motor carrier transports passengers, regulated property or household goods owned by others for compensation. If you are a for-hire carrier, in addition to the USDOT number you will also need to obtain operating authority (MC number).

Simply said if a company is transporting passengers or hauling commodities for monetary gain, that company is considered “for-hire”. Any for-hire carrier MUST have operating authority, a DOT number, a BOC-3 filing and the required insurance filing(s) to operate legally.

A For-Hire carrier is a company that transports cargo or passengers for compensation. For-hire carriers must have a USDOT number as well as operating authority (MC number) to operate.

FMCSA Definition of Private Carrier:
A private motor carrier transports its own cargo, usually as a part of a business that produces, uses, sells and/or buys the cargo that is being hauled. A private motor carrier transports its own goods and is required to have a USDOT number but does not need operating authority (MC number).

Simply said if a company is transporting its own cargo (business or personal) in a not-for-hire operation, operating authority is not required. A DOT number will still be required.

The Importance of Vehicle Maintenance Files (VMF)

Anyone owning a vehicle should realize the importance of maintaining upkeep on it. It’s even more important when it’s your commercial vehicle as this is how you put food on the table for your families.

The FMCSA requires that any maintenance done to a commercial vehicle for use in a for hire or private fashion be maintained through record keeping at your place of business. There are specific documents required to be kept as well as maintenance to vehicles and the files retention period. These regulations apply to any owned or leased vehicles being operated for a minimum of (30) days that meets any of the following: Transporting (8) or more passengers including the driver, has a GVM or GCWR of more than 10,000 lbs. or carries hazardous materials. Each vehicle (including trailers) should have its own dedicated file for maintenance information. You want to clearly identify receipts of repair and regular maintenance and always, always document ANY roadside inspections. A good rule of thumb to use for vehicle maintenance is using a spreadsheet on the front. Write down any repairs and maintenance as they happen and place the documentation in the folder. On this spreadsheet, it’s also a good idea to notate the next annual inspection due. Retention periods for vehicle maintenance files is a minimum of (12) months UNLESS it contains annual DOT Inspection Reports. These reports must be retained for (14) months.Refer to FMCSA Regulation 396.3 for more information on vehicle maintenance.

See below for what should be in each vehicle maintenance file:

Each vehicle (including trailers) should be assigned a unit number (ex.: 001), include the year, make and model, VIN number, tire size, owner’s name (if not carrier), and the maintenance schedule.Always check with the FMCSA for updates to the VMF rules and regulations.

Recordkeeping and Retention Periods
Annual Vehicle Inspection Report (must be kept 14 months)
Pre-Trip Inspection
Inspection, Repair and Maintenance
Preventative Maintenance Report
Order to Move CMV
Truck Repair and Work Order
Trailer Repair and Work Order
Driver’s Time Record / Record of Duty Status (must be kept for 6 months from date)
Accident Register (must be kept for 3 years from date of accident)
Lease Agreement (if vehicle/trailer is leased)
Any Roadside Inspections (must be kept 12 months)
Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (must be kept 3 months)

Other files encouraged to keep are:
Inspector Certifications
Copies of any accessible documentation required in vehicles

FMCSA PIN Numbers – The Difference and The Importance

When applying for Operating Authority, motor carriers will receive two PIN numbers. Brokers and Freight Forwarders will receive one PIN number. Motor Carriers are issues two PIN numbers. They are the MC PIN number (also known as the Docket PIN number) and DOTPIN number.Brokers and Freight Forwarders will be issued MC PIN number only.

 

Each PIN number is unique and will be seven digits in length using a mixture of numbers and letters. The letter O versus the number 0 and the letter I versus a lower-case L can confuse many people. The sequence of PIN numbers is the same for both the MC # Pin number and the DOT Number Pin number. PIN number sequence is: number, letter, number, number, letter, letter, number, letter. This will help making heads and tails out of iffy numbers and letters.

 

The DOT Number PIN number is to update your DOT carrier information. The MC Number PIN number is for updating your motor carrier profile. DOT PIN numbers are obtained after completing the application for operating authority. It is emailed immediately. However, many people miss this email and still need their DOT PIN number. The MC PIN number is only sent via mail by the FMCSA. It can take 2-3 weeks for you to receive this PIN number if the FMCSA is running behind. Most people find they receive it around the (7) day mark though. If after (7) days you do not have your MC PIN number, it’s a good idea to order it.

 

PIN numbers are vital to update your company’s information. The FMCSA requires motor carrier profiles be updated annually while DOT requires your DOT company information be updated biennially. Upon completing the DOT update, an MCS-150 Report is generated. It’s important you print this out (and sign if necessary) for your company records.

 

If you cannot locate one your PIN numbers, give us a call and we can assist you at no charge!

 

 

The Importance of Driver Qualification Files

I cannot stress enough the importance of Driver Qualification Files. It doesn’t matter if you have a fleet of 500 vehicles or are an Owner Operator. Driver Qualification Files are required regardless.

Who must have Driver Qualification Files:
• An Owner Operator who employs him/herself as a driver.
• Anyone with operating authority.
• Commercial motor vehicles as specified in 49 CFR Part 391.

Driver Qualification Files includes:
• Recordkeeping and Retention Periods
• FMCSR Pocketbook Driver’s Receipt
• Employment Application and prior history (for driver)
• Medical Examiner’s Certificate
• CDL Self Certification
• Record of Road Test
• Road Test and Certificate
• Certification of Violations
• Notification of Traffic Violations
• Annual Review of Violations
• Motor Vehicle Record (Also known as MVR. Most states report driving records for the past three years, although some states may report five or more years of history. Most insurance companies consider the information in MVR reports, along with other factors, when determining insurance eligibility and insurance premiums. Each year you must keep a current copy of each driver’s MVR in the DQ file. This is an annual requirement.)
• Carrier Statement of On Duty Hours
• Refusal of Medical Treatment
• Driver’s Rights to Release of Driver Information
• Certificate of Compliance
• Fair Credit Reporting Act
• Driver Rebuttal Form
• Driver Data Sheet (prior log form for 7 days minimum)
• Entry level Driver Training Requirements
• Alcohol and Controlled Substance Test Information Release
• Alcohol and Drug Employee’s Certified Receipt
• Form I-9
• Copy of Driver’s driver license (front and back)
• Copy of Driver’s social security card
• PSP Report (Pre-Employment Screening Program. This is a program to help carriers make more informed hiring decisions by providing secure, electronic access to a commercial driver’s five-year crash and three-year inspection history from the FMCSA Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS).)
• Authorization Release Form
• Hours of Service Rules

It’s also handy to have the Driver Qualification Checklist and File Setup page to make putting this file together and in order much easier.

It is the law that an employer keeps a driver’s Driver Qualification File for a duration of employment and (3) years thereafter.
As the owner of a company, do your due diligence when hiring drivers or you are setting yourself up for a potential financial disaster.

Call us today at 888.850.3837 (toll free) or 843.992.8869 (direct) for a Driver’s Qualification File at NO cost.

Ways a Freight Broker can Generate Leads

1. Start with who you know. Find out where your family and friends work. Eight out of ten companies require shipping. Finding out where your family and friends work can be a great source for leads. Find out who you can speak with inside the organization to assist with their shipping needs. Prospect other companies this way too. After building a relationship with the Shipping Manager, ask for references for companies he buys from and sells to so that you may expand your network even more.
2. Always have a pen and paper handy. As a freight broker, you can write down names of companies you see while driving. Use all your resources (including social media) to find a source inside the business to get you in the door.
3. Offer Incentives. If someone refers a company to you and that company books a load through your brokerage, give the referring company an incentive. They will definitely keep referring you if for nothing else, their “reward”.
4. Pass out business cards. Business cards are becoming obsolete, but they still work. A person may not remember your name, but a trigger word can remind him/her of meeting someone in this field. A business card is always a good source for others to go back to when they can’t remember anything else about you!
5. Be careful with Social Media. Social Media can make or break a company. It only takes one viral post for a company to land a target audience or scare them away. Stay away from politics and posting inappropriate memes and pictures.
6. Referrals. Most small businesses see more growth through referrals than any other source. Build your reputation on treating your customers with the utmost integrity and they will refer you. Once the referrals start going out, sales will come in.
7. Be persistent. Trying to figure out where Company A’s shipping from and to points are. Call and ask them and be persistent. Do not take a NO as never. It only means you need to call back at a later time and try again.
8. Leverage your Expertise. When you speak with a potential customer, explain what commodities you specialize in. Anytime you see a shipping label, read it. You will learn how this merchandise was shipped giving you more expertise to discuss with more potential customers.
9. Observe. Observe the brands around you. These companies are shipping this commodity to your area and other areas. Research and find a connection inside to get you in the door.
10. Use all the Search Engines you can. Search for company competitors. See who they use for shippers. Ask if you can be put on the list.

For-Hire Carrier vs. Private Carrier

FMCSA Definition of For-Hire:
An authorized for-hire motor carrier transports passengers, regulated property or household goods owned by others for compensation. If you are a for-hire carrier, in addition to the USDOT number you will also need to obtain operating authority (MC number).

Simply said if a company is transporting passengers or hauling commodities for monetary gain, that company is considered “for-hire”. Any for-hire carrier MUST have operating authority, a DOT number, a BOC-3 filing and the required insurance filing(s) to operate legally.

A For-Hire carrier is a company that transports cargo or passengers for compensation. For-hire carriers must have a USDOT number as well as operating authority (MC number) to operate.

FMCSA Definition of Private Carrier:
A private motor carrier transports its own cargo, usually as a part of a business that produces, uses, sells and/or buys the cargo that is being hauled. A private motor carrier transports its own goods and is required to have a USDOT number but does not need operating authority (MC number).

Simply said if a company is transporting its own cargo (business or personal) in a not-for-hire operation, operating authority is not required. A DOT number will still be required.

FMCSA Terminology

If you’ve opened a new company that requires knowledge in Transportation and Logistics, then it is no secret you’re learning new terminology. See below for acronyms and what they stand for:

• 49CFR – 49th section of the Code of Federal Regulations
These are the laws that are written. These parts are specific to the trucking industry. Parts 40 and 300-399.
• FMCSA – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
• BOC-3 – Blanket of Coverage, Form #3
• DOT – Department of Transportation, also known as USDOT
• MC Number – Motor Carrier number (number is unique)
• DOT Number – Department of Transportation Number (number is unique)
• MC – Motor Carrier
• FF – Freight Forwarder
• MX – Mexican Carrier
• OP-1 – Operations Form #1
• MCS-150 – Motor Carrier Safety Report #150
• IRP – International Registration Plan
• IFTA – International Fuel Tax Agreement
• NY HUT – New York Highway Use Tax
• KYU – If you figure it out, tell me!
• NMWDT – New Mexico Weight Distance Tax permit
• Oregon PUC – Oregon Public Utility Commission permit
• UCR – Unified Carrier Registration
• ELD – Electronic Logging Device
• EIN – Employer Identification Number. Sometimes people also refer to this as their taxpayer ID number. Employer Identification Number is the correct term.
• CMV – Commercial Motor Vehicle
• GVW – Gross Vehicle Weight
• GCW –Gross Vehicle Combination Weight = Tractor + Trailer + Load
• GVWR – Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
• HAZMAT – Hazardous Materials
• IVMR – Individual Vehicle Mileage Record (aka Trip Sheet)
• SCAC – Standard Carrier Alpha Code
• TX DMV Number – Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Number (unique number for Texas Intrastate Authority)
• TX DOT Number – Texas Department of Transportation (which is now the TX DMV for Intrastate Authority)
• CA Number – California Intrastate Number (unique number to California Intrastate Authority)
• URS – Unified Registration System
• VIN – Vehicle Identification Number
• O/O – Owner Operator
• CSA – Compliance, Safety, Accountability

There are so many more acronyms in the Transportation world, but this list will give you a good start to understanding others in this industry.

International Roadcheck June 5-7, 2018

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Roadcheck will take place June 5-7, 2018. Over this (72) hour period, commercial motor vehicle inspections across North America will conduct inspections of commercial motor vehicles and drivers. The focus this year is on the hours of service compliance.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Roadcheck will take place June 5-7, 2018. Over that 72-hour period, commercial motor vehicle inspectors in jurisdictions throughout North America will conduct inspections of commercial motor vehicles and drivers. This year’s focus is on hours-of-service compliance.

“The top reason drivers were placed out of service during 2017 International Roadcheck was for hours-of-service violations,” said CVSA President Capt. Christopher Turner of the Kansas Highway Patrol. “Thirty-two percent of drivers who were placed out of service during last year’s three-day International Roadcheck were removed from our roadways due to violations related to hours-of-service regulations. It’s definitely an area we need to call attention to this year.”

“Although the electronic logging device (ELD) rule that went into effect on Dec. 18, 2017, does not change any of the underlying hours-of-service rules or exceptions, the ELD mandate placed a spotlight on hours-of-service compliance,” said Capt. Turner. “We thought this year would be a perfect opportunity to focus on the importance of the hours-of-service regulations.”

During International Roadcheck, inspectors will primarily conduct the North American Standard Level I Inspection, a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of both driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness.

The vehicle inspection includes checking brake systems, cargo securement, coupling devices, driveline/driveshaft components, exhaust systems, frames, fuel systems, lighting devices, steering mechanisms, suspensions, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels, rims and hubs, and windshield wipers. Additional items for buses include emergency exits, electrical cables and systems in the engine and battery compartments, and seating.

Drivers are asked to provide their operating credentials and hours-of-service documentation, and will be checked for seat belt usage. Inspectors will also be attentive to apparent alcohol and/or drug impairment.

If no critical inspection item violations are found during a Level I Inspection, a CVSA decal will be applied to the vehicle, indicating that the vehicle successfully passed a decal-eligible inspection conducted by a CVSA-certified inspector.

If an inspector does identify critical inspection item violations, he or she may render the driver or vehicle out of service if the condition meets the North American Out-of-Service Criteria. This means the driver cannot operate the vehicle until the vehicle and/or driver qualification violation(s) are corrected.

International Roadcheck is the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial motor vehicles in the world, with around 17 trucks and buses inspected, on average, every minute in Canada, the United States and Mexico during a 72-hour period. Since its inception in 1988, more than 1.5 million roadside inspections have been conducted during International Roadcheck campaigns.

International Roadcheck is a CVSA program with participation by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Transport Canada, and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (Mexico).

New ELD waiver effective 3/18/2018!

FMCSA Announces New ELD Waiver for Transporters of Agricultural Commodities and Additional Transition Guidance

March 13, 2018

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced additional steps to address the unique needs of the country’s agriculture industries and provided further guidance to assist in the effective implementation of the Congressionally-mandated electronic logging device (ELD) rule without impeding commerce or safety.

The Agency is announcing an additional 90-day temporary waiver from the ELD rule for agriculture related transportation. Additionally, during this time period, FMCSA will publish final guidance on both the agricultural 150 air-mile hours-of-service exemption and personal conveyance. FMCSA will continue its outreach to provide assistance to the agricultural industry and community regarding the ELD rule.

“We continue to see strong compliance rates across the country that improve weekly, but we are mindful of the unique work our agriculture community does and will use the following 90 days to ensure we publish more helpful guidance that all operators will benefit from,” said FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez.

Since December 2017, roadside compliance with the hours-of-service record-keeping requirements, including the ELD rule, has been steadily increasing, with roadside compliance reaching a high of 96% in the most recent available data. There are over 330 separate self-certified devices listed on the registration list.

Beginning April 1, 2018 full enforcement of the ELD rule begins. Carriers subject to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) that do not have an ELD when required will be placed out-of-service. The driver will remain out-of-service for 10 hours in accordance with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) criteria.  At that point, to facilitate compliance, the driver will be allowed to travel to the next scheduled stop and should not be dispatched again without an ELD.  If the driver is dispatched again without an ELD, the motor carrier will be subject to further enforcement action.

The Agency is committed to continuing the ongoing dialogue on these issues.

The waiver and guidance will be published in the Federal Register.

For more information on ELDs please visit: www.fmcsa.dot.gov/eld

New FMCSA Administrator

raymond-martinez-240x300Ray Martinez was approved by the U.S. Senate on February 13, 2018, to lead the federal agency responsible for creating regulations and motor carrier safety. Previously, he ran the motor vehicle departments for New York and New Jersey at different times, aided in the New York State Senate, served in the Reagan administration and worked as an attorney.

Martinez has stated he intends to uphold the agency’s electronic logging device mandate and institute data-driven reforms to the agency’s regulatory process and, specifically, the oft-criticized Compliance, Safety, Accountability program. “We need to be using sound science,” he said then. “The key thing is whether the data we use to compile these assessments are accurate, reliable and fair. If the data is unreliable, we lose credibility with stakeholders and the entities we regulate. And we do a disservice to the public.”

Hopefully Mr. Martinez will bring new ideas to the table and help trucks for hire, private carriers, brokers, freight forwarders, etc exceed business goals!