In the past several months I have taken part in 5 DOT compliance reviews for Passenger Motor carriers and to be more specific Entertainer coaches. However, the inconsistency in not only how the review have taken place but what they require. Let me give you a few examples and you be the judge.
1. Multiple employer – The definition is if a commercial driver drives fro multiple companies in a 7 day period. Now here is the example of what the company had and what was not accepted as being a multiple employer driver.
The driver drove on a tour for 9 total days, worked for a different company and went to work for the same company after this 9 day tour. There was a copy of DL, med card, negative results drug screen showing the consortium the driver was in and a copy of the road test and certificate of road test. The checklist was provided from the DOT website.
Was this driver a multiple employer driver?
2. MC authority every audit that I have been a part of in the entertainer coaches have been required to have an MC authority except one. Honestly I am not sure how this company does not need to have an operating authority when they do the exact same operation as the ones from TN, OK, WI, and NV but still this company operates as if nothing changed. It is unfortunate because its because of companies that continue to operate not complying to the DOT regulations whether you are private passenger or “for hire” that does not help the passenger industry when the DOT finally catches up.
3. The Compliance review itself – Some have been completely gone through and has taken weeks to complete, where others the review takes hours or a day. Knowing this short time that the auditor is there how can they be clear as to what the company really has in place. I am all for a short compliance review but should it not take a reasonable amount of time for everyone and have the same specifications for all companies no matter what state they are in. Regulations are regulations!
4. Passenger endorsements required for 16+ passenger vehicle – A driver that was currently on a coach the auditor had told the owner that the driver was not qualified to drive because they did not have a passenger endorsement. Unclear now because of what he was told, the driver was taken off the coach and after all was said and done the driver went elsewhere and the the auditor finally found the right information that the driver was not needed to have a passenger endorsement. So after the owner had lost a long term driver because of wrong information there was nothing more that he could do.
Now this is just a few examples, however in my opinion the entertainer coaches do not run like the seated coaches such as Greyhound. The operation is different and its not consistent runs and tours can change and the drivers are not hired but considered independent contractors. Such as the oilfield has been set in their own set of regulations, I firmly believe that Limos, Entertainer coaches should be set aside from 16+ passenger carriers based on their operation.
DOT reviews need to be consistent, all auditors should be educated properly in the passenger regulations and remove the mentality of the trucking regulations and provide the right information.