Safe, Compliant Carriers Well-Positioned to Take Advantage of Current Market

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of June 20, 2011
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance

The freight market currently favors carriers. Will your CSA scores help or hurt you during carrier contract negotiations?

A quick glance at freight indices, such as the Market Demand Index (MDI) and the Shippers’ Condition Index (SCI), shows that motor carriers continue to have the upper hand when it comes to negotiating with shippers. That’s good news for safe, reliable carriers, who are well-positioned to take advantage of the favorable market conditions. For the most part, carriers with high scores in one of more of CSA’s BASICs will be out of luck.

The MDI Advantage

For most of 2011, the Market Demand Index (MDI) has strongly favored carriers over shippers. In recent weeks, MDI has climbed back up to 14.56. Earlier this year — at the height of produce season — MDI peaked at 15.62, and then fell to below 12 before beginning a second upward climb in late May.

To understand the leverage an MDI of over 14 provides trucking companies, consider that the market equilibrium resides at an MDI of 7.0. Shippers take control when MDI dips below 7.0, and carriers have the upper hand when MDI is above 7.0. All in all, 2011 has been a good year for reliable carriers with solid CSA scores.

SCI Shows Temporary Improvement for Shippers

The Shippers’ Condition Index (SCI), another indicator of the freight market, shows short-term improvements for shippers. According to report publisher FTR Associates, the June SCI was -5.4, up from -11.4 in May. With SCI, any reading above zero suggests a favorable shipping environment. The improved SCI is being tied to a general slowdown in freight demand growth as well as delays in new Federal regulations for carriers.

The break for shippers won’t last, according to FTR. An improving economy combined with a tighter regulatory environment will push the index further down the SCI’s negative scale. Shipping costs are expected to increase through the balance of the year and into 2012. Carriers who are able to withstand the current regulatory and economic challenges should be able to capitalize on the shippers’ challenges.

Position Your Company for Success

Unfortunately, not all carriers are in a position to benefit from shippers’ woes. In fact, the high MDI can be traced to a few factors that many trucking companies are struggling to overcome — rising diesel prices and FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability Measurement System. In particular, many carriers who had no problem landing jobs during the SafeStat era, have found themselves ineligible for work because one or more of their CSA rankings are above cut-off levels established by shippers and brokers.

Carriers should be aware that CSA cut-off levels established by shippers are often well below FMCSA’s published intervention thresholds (see below). To be eligible for work and the most competitive contracts, carriers should maintain CSA scores well below the following levels: 65% in the Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service) and Crash Indicator categories, and 80% in the Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Vehicle Maintenance, Cargo-Related categories.

Know Where Your Company Stands

So, how does your company rate in this carrier market? Will you be able to take advantage of the favorable MDI? To find out, start by reviewing your CSA rankings. You can access your current report by logging into the CSA Safety Measurement System at You’ll need your DOT number and current P.I.N. to access your full report. Check your scores in each BASIC to ensure that they are well below the thresholds established by your customers, and identify any areas needing improvement. Then take the necessary steps to better your poor scores and maintain and improve upon your good ones.

Improving Your CSA Scores

The Fast-Fax team has devoted quite a bit of ink and paper to helping carriers understand and improve their CSA scores. One of the most practically helpful issues was Fast-Fax #673, which discusses five FMCSA tips for improving CSA scores. Topics covered include:

  1. Understand Your Requirements
  2. Evaluate Your Safety Management
  3. Check and Update Your MCS-150
  4. Review Data, Request Corrections
  5. Educate At All Levels of Your Company

To request a copy of Fast-Fax #673, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For additional help improving your CSA scores, call a Foley Compliance Specialist at 1-800-253-5506, ext. 0869 for a free CSA consultation. More information about CSA is available at

Transportation Ticker

FMCSA Seeks Congressional Help. Last week FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro reached out to Congress for help in her agency’s ongoing battle against unsafe motor coach operators. During a June 13th House hearing on Improving Bus Safety on our Nation’s Highways, Ferro requested enhancements to her agency’s authority that would allow it to:

  • Conduct enroute bus inspections; not just at points of origin and destination;
  • Establish a “successor liability” standard to charge a new company when it reincarnates from an unsafe carrier;
  • Require full safety audits before a company can receive passenger carrier authority;
  • Raise the penalty to $25,000 per violation for bus companies that attempt to operate illegally; and
  • Regulate passenger ticket sellers, known as brokers, just like it does brokers of freight and household goods.

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • • Vol. 111, No. 692 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011

Scammer Alert! 6/23/2011

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From Karen Crabb
@ Schneider National

I just was alerted by one of our field recruiters that there is a scam artist in the NE states right now representing himself as a Schneider associate. He is going to the Trucking Academies & asking for the director, introducing himself as “Greg” or “Gary Graham” from Schneider National. He is asking for a list of the students names & phone numbers, and saying we are offering a straight into orientation opportunity from truck training school for a fee of $500! Frank said that even after one school contacted him on “Greg” approaching the school; he received a call from another school saying that “Gary Graham“ was offering this school the same thing. He even left a contact phone of 205-381-3382. If you hear of anything from any of your applicants, please take seriously and get as much information as you can and let your leader know include Frank also

CVTA strongly suggest you to call Karen Crabb at 920-592-6009, if you've been contacted by this scammer.

FMCSA Punts on Medical Certificate Filing Rule

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of June 13, 2011
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a proposed rule effectively delaying an overhaul to the medical certificate filing regulations that has been on the books since 2008. Drivers and motor carriers will be required to keep paper copies of the medical certificate until at least 2014

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed delaying an important overhaul to the Medical Certificate system. The agnecy wants to continue to require that drivers and motor carriers keep a paper copy of the medical examiner’s certificate.

Before this ruling, FMCSA had been initiating a new system with each State Driver’s Licenseing Agency (SDLA) whereby the CDL and Medical Certificate are effectively merged into a single electronic document. The delay is being proposed as a way to give the SDLAs more time to implement the new system.

The requirement will be in effect until January 30, 2014.

The New Rule

We first wrote about this rule in Fast-Fax 565, back in December of 2008. Below is a reminder of the new rule:

The new rule will require your state’s licensing agencies to modify their CDL procedures to:

  • Require submission of the medical examiner’s certificates (or a copy) from those drivers operating in non-excepted, interstate commence who are required by part 391 to be medically certified;
  • Record a CDL driver’s self-certification regarding type of driving (e.g., interstate (non-excepted or excepted) and intrastate (non-excepted or excepted) on the CDLIS driver record);
  • Date stamp the medical examiner’s certificate (or a copy);
  • Provide the stamped medical examiner’s certificate or a copy as a receipt to the driver;
  • Retain the certificate or a copy for three years from the date of issuance;
  • Post the required information from the certificate or a copy onto the CDLIS driver record within 10 days; and
  • Update the medical certification status of the CDLIS driver record to show the driver as ``not-certified’’ if the certification expires; and then downgrade the CDL within 60 days of the expiration of the driver certification.

When Will This Go Into Effect?

As the new rule affects the SDLA in every state, FMCSA has given plenty of time for the rules to go into effect:

All CDL holders must comply with the requirement to submit to their SDLA their self-certification as to whether they are subject to the physical qualification rules by January 30, 2014.
As the implementation dates will vary from state to state, it is our understanding you will be notified of when you need to submit your information.

Who Will Be Required To Submit A Medical Certificate?

  • All drivers who have a CDL will be required to submit a medical examiner’s certificate providing they meet the provisions of 49 CFR 383.5. The four categories of CMVs for which an operator is required to have a CDL, as defined in 49 U.S.C. 31301(4) and specified in 49 CFR 383.5, are the following:
  • Those with a Gross Vehicular Weight Rating (GVWR) or Gross Combination Weight (GCW), of at least 26,001 pounds, including towed units with GVWR or GCW of more than 10,000 pounds;
  • Those with a GVWR or GCW of at least 26,001 pounds;
  • Those designed to transport at least 16 passengers, including the driver; or
  • Those of any size used to transport either hazardous materials that require a placard on the vehicle under 49 CFR part 172, subpart F, or any quantity of a material listed as a select agent or toxin under 42 CFR part 73.

Any Questions?

iIf you have any questions about this new rule email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Transportation Ticker

Two More Carriers Removed from the Road. Over the weekend, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) removed two more carriers from the road. North Carolina-based United Tours, Inc. and Michigan-based Haines Tours were declared “imminent hazard(s)” to public safety and ordered to cease operations immediately.

Haines Tours was shuttered for its practice of transporting passengers in the luggage compartment. During a May 27 inspection in Lake Township, Ohio, an officer discovered six passengers riding in the luggage compartment with unsecured luggage. According to FMCSA, United Tours was using drivers who did not have a proper CDL and/or who were not medically examined and qualified. Go to for more information.

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • • Vol. 111, No. 691 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011

Scammer Alert! 6/14/2011

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From Chuck Wirth, American Institute of Technology

An employee from AIT had a message from a Chris Johnson claiming to work for TransAm and needing drivers.  He was very rude on the phone. the employee googled his phone number and discovered that he was a scammer. The number he left was 205-381-3382. Please see the link below of others reporting this caller using a different name and carrier, but the same phone number.

From Dean Cochran
Director of Driver Recruiting
TransAm Trucking, Inc.

A school in TN just received a phone call claiming to be a TransAm Recruiter in need of students, he needed them to apply blind by calling him direct. He left a phone number of
205-381-3382 claims his name is Chris Johnson. Sounds like the scammers are at it again.  Please don't have your students call him and don't give his name and number to your students, I'm sure he will want them to wire money to him.

Beware the scammers are out there!!!!!

Thanks for the heads up!

Are Safety Rating Appeals Extensions History?

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of June 6, 2011
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance

After a deadly accident involving a carrier appealing an unsatisfactory safety rating, DOT head LaHood calls for an end to appeals extensions for unsafe bus companies. Recent calls to Foley’s audit support team indicate that FMCSA may also be ending extensions for other types of carriers.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have been aggressively targeting unsafe passenger carriers in recent months. Their tactics, which include roadside inspections and full-blown compliance reviews, have removed hundreds of unsafe drivers and vehicles from the road in a relatively short time. Just last week DOT Secretary Ray LaHood upped the ante by ordering FMCSA to end the practice of appeals extensions for passenger carriers.

A Deadly Crash

The order was handed down hours after a fatal Sky Express bus crash on Interstate 95 in Fredericksburg, Va. Four passengers were killed and dozens injured when the tour bus crashed and flipped over in the early morning hours of May 31. Shortly after the crash, FMCSA announced that Sky Express was being placed out-of-service for an unsatisfactory rating following a compliance review.

Subsequent news reports revealed that Sky Express would have been shut down the Saturday before the crash if FMCSA had not given the company extra time to appeal the unsatisfactory rating. The company was operating under a 10-day extension on its appeal at the time of the accident.

An End to Extensions

LaHood was quick to speak out against the practice of appeals extensions: “Following Tuesday’s horrific bus crash in Virginia, I have directed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to end its practice of extending the appeals period for unsafe motor coach companies. There is no excuse for delay when a bus operator should be put out of service for safety’s sake. On my watch, there will never be another extension granted to a carrier we believe is unsafe. I’m extremely disappointed that this carrier was allowed to continue operating unsafely when it should have been placed out of service for the benefit of its passengers and other motorists.”

Does the Ban Apply to Trucking Companies?

The Sky Express incident and LaHood’s subsequent statement appear to be having a wide-sweeping effect on how FMCSA is handling appeals for all carriers. Just this week, the Foley audit support team received a call from a carrier facing an unexpectedly tight deadline. He had just received a call from FMCSA’s Eastern Service Center informing him that his appeals extension, which was originally approved through July 10, 2011, was no longer valid. He had until the end of the day to make any necessary adjustments to his compliance efforts or he would be placed out-of-service as a result of his unsatisfactory rating. It remains unclear whether the end of appeals extensions for carriers with an unsatisfactory rating is official, or if FMCSA’s Eastern Service Center is just being extremely cautious in the wake of the recent motor coach crashes.

Earlier this month FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro said that her agency is considering the appeals extension ban for all carriers, including trucking companies. Calls to FMCSA’s Midwestern and Western Service Centers failed to gather any information on whether or not there was a nationwide ban. At press time, Fast-Fax is waiting for a call back from a DOT spokesperson to confirm and clarify the extent of the extensions ban. We will provide an update in future issues of Fast-Fax as soon as new information becomes available.

What Does this Mean for Motor Carriers?

All carriers — but especially bus companies and other passenger carriers — should be extra vigilant about their DOT compliance efforts. The DOT and FMCSA have been very explicit about and methodical in executing their crackdown on passenger carriers. In recent months, there have been several high-profile enforcement events involving roadside inspection and compliance review blitzes. In early May, FMCSA unveiled its Action Plan to improve passenger carrier safety. The plan includes the development and implementation of zero tolerance policies for unsafe companies and drivers, the introduction of a pre-authority safety audit and more.

While it is gunning hard for motor coach companies, FMCSA has shown that it is not easing up on trucking companies and other types of carriers. If you have not done so recently, now is the time to review your company’s safety management practices to ensure you are in full compliance. Then make any necessary improvements before an inspector pulls you over or you are notified of an upcoming audit.

Call Foley for Help

Foley Carrier Services provides motor carriers with the tools they need to comply with the complex Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. If you need help with any of your requirements, please call a Compliance Specialist at 1-800-253-5506, ext. 0869.

Transportation Ticker

Passenger Carriers Behaving Badly. FMCSA proved that it is serious about going after carriers who attempt to “reincarnate” themselves to evade enforcement action. At the end of last week, the agency issued a cease-and-desist order against Sky Express, Inc. after learning that the bus company was attempting to operate despite an out-of-service order handed down on May 31.

According to FMCSA, Sky Express continued to sell tickets and was in the process of painting some of its vehicles in an attempt to circumvent the out-of-service order by operating under a different company name.

Also, this week FMCSA declared Georgia-based JCT Motor Coach, Inc. an imminent hazard to public safety and ordered the company to immediately cease all transportation services. The company had “reincarnated” itself as JT’s Travel & Charter to skirt a previous out-of-service order.

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • • Vol. 111, No. 690 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011

Roadcheck Returns During Time of Increased Attention to Compliance

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of May 30, 2011
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance

The annual 72-hour safety inspection blitz returns just as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration starts a media-driven purge of non-compliant carriers.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) — the not-for-profit organization behind the annual Roadcheck CMV safety blitz — recently announced that this year’s event will focus on two key areas of the DOT’s motor carrier safety agenda: hours-of-service compliance and distracted driving. During Roadcheck, which runs from June 7-9, inspectors will also be targeting household goods and passenger carriers.


Hours-of-service violations frequently top both FMCSA’s and Roadcheck’s annual roadside inspection driver violations list. To avoid trouble, drivers should comply with all applicable hours-of-service requirements and keep their log books updated to the time of their last change of duty status. To ensure hours-of-compliance, carriers should be providing warnings and feedback to drivers as part of their regular log book audits.

Household Goods

The emphasis on household goods carriers was added in response to a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hunch that a number of companies may be operating under the enforcement radar. The agency believes that some unscrupulous companies are moving household goods without the necessary or proper authority.

Roadcheck Inspections

The majority of drivers stopped during Roadcheck events are subjected to a North American Standard Level I Inspection. The 37-step Level I inspection takes about an hour to complete and focuses on a variety of driver and vehicle factors, including alcohol and drug use, log books, brake systems, safe loading and lighting devices.

More information about Level I Inspections — including a step-by-step description of the process — is included in Foley’s 23-page What to Expect During a Roadside Inspection guide. For a limited time, the guide is available for just $9 when you use Coupon Code “Roadcheck11” at

FMCSA Under Pressure

As any veteran driver will tell you, every year Roadcheck is an intense flurry of enforcement activity. This year, however, drivers should be prepared for particularly stringent inspections. FMCSA has found itself under the media spotlight, thanks to a third fatal motor coach crash in as many months.

FMCSA has been criticized for not taking these carriers off the roads before they caused fatal accidents. In the most recent accident, which occurred in Fredricksburg, VA, on May 31, the company was “Alert” in all five of the public BASICs of the CSA compliance monitoring system.

This accident occurred despite FMCSA already performing additional inspections of carriers. During the first two weeks of May, FMCSA conducted more than 3,000 passenger carrier inspections and removed 442 unsafe buses and drivers from the road. Out-of-service citations were issued to 127 drivers and 315 vehicles during the unannounced crackdown. The agency also recently initiated 38 full-blown compliance reviews on passenger carriers.

In a May 5 media event, FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro announced the agency’s “Action Plan” to improve passenger carrier safety. The plan includes the development and implementation of zero tolerance policies for unsafe companies and drivers, the introduction of a pre-authority safety audit and more.

Surviving Roadcheck

Roadcheck comes at the same time every year and, by now, most drivers should be used to it. Before you head out on to the roads, be sure to perform an extra-detailed pre-trip vehicle inspection. Make sure that you have all the appropriate paperwork and be sure that your logbook is both neat and up-to-date. Budget for extra time, Level I inspections last up to an hour, sometimes even longer. Finally, even if you find the delay frustrating, keep your cool with the inspector; be polite and professional at all times.

Transportation Ticker

Trucking Community Rallies Around Joplin

Two weeks after the storm hit, Joplin residents are still sifting through the rubble that once was their town, hoping to find some sign of life buried in the destruction.

Current reports have the death-toll at 139 with 990 people injured. 29 more people remain unaccounted for. Damage to the city is estimated to be more than 3 billion.

The trucking community has rallied around Joplin, delivering time, supplies, rescue equipment and personnel to the city. If you would like to help, we have compiled a list of aid-agencies collecting monetary and material donations on the Transportation Ticker blog.

Go to for more information

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • • Vol. 111, No. 689 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011

Industry Groups Challenge Provision of New Licensing Rule

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A coalition of industry groups is challenging a provision of the recent federal rule that sets tough new testing standards for commercial licenses.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rule, posted last month, contains a provision that prohibits third parties from administering skills tests to the applicants they have trained. The agency put in the prohibition as protection against a possible conflict of interest arising from a trainer at a commercial training school also acting as a state-certified test examiner.

But the industry coalition, in a petition filed yesterday at the agency, said this will cause problems for the industry and the states. It will "greatly exacerbate" the driver shortage by limiting entry-level drivers and will impose burdens on states that allow third-party testing.

The coalition members are American Trucking Associations, the Commercial Vehicle Training Association, the National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools, the Truckload Carriers Association and the Professional Truck Driver Institute, an arm of TCA.

They complain in their petition that this provision was not included in earlier versions of the rule. "Had it been included, there would have been a great outcry from both trucking interests, and the entry-level commercial driver training industry," the coalition said.

The provision evidently got into the final rule after Oregon and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association suggested it in their comments on the proposed rule, the coalition said. It added that the suggestion should have been noticed for comment by other parties before it was adopted.

The coalition also said that the final rule already contains safeguards against fraud, such as background checks and training for third-party testers. And, the July 8 effective date of the rule means that training schools and motor carriers will have just a month to implement significant changes in their business practices, the coalition said.
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