Straight Across the Board, Compliance review Inconsistency!

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.

Improve Your Vehicle Maintenance today….

February 28, 2013
Improve Your Vehicle Maintenance Today with the Safety Management Cycle!

Last month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a set of documents that detail the Agency’s signature investigative tool: the Safety Management Cycle (SMC). With an SMC tailored to each Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC), these resources provide carriers and drivers with a tool to help them evaluate their safety practices and identify and address safety and compliance issues.

There are two SMC resources dedicated to the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC: one that focuses on cargo securement and another focusing on inspection, repair, and maintenance. By examining the six Safety Management Processes that make up the SMC—from defining policies and procedures and clarifying roles and responsibilities to taking meaningful action—carriers and drivers can gain a better understanding of the potential gaps in current safety practices and identify ways to improve.

For example, who is responsible for informing a manager or mechanic if a safety-related problem is discovered or repairs are necessary before operating a vehicle? And, does the company have a system to ensure this communication happens and vehicles are repaired before being driven? Explore the Vehicle Maintenance SMC resources on the CSA Website’s SMC webpage to make sure you and your company have addressed these and many other important questions to ensure every vehicle is safe before it hits the road. Also make sure you review the safety regulations at



Driver Qualification and DOT

bus1_bw_jarno_vasamaa_01As I check my messages on a daily basis, I am getting a lot of passenger companies asking if they are required to have driver qualification files as well as drug and alcohol. As pressure is put more on the Passenger Motor carriers it is important to understand not only the federal regulation but state regulation based on your business and operating area. For example if you do not travel more than 100 miles and you have a vehicle less than 16 passengers your regulations may fall at a state level and no interstate operations  are applicable. However, if you operate across state lines as a passenger carrier you must have the correct operating authority to operate in interstate commerce.

Here are a few resource links that can help you understand a little bit more on operating authory.

Federal requirments 9-15 passenger vehicles

Federal Motor Carrier “What forms do I need?”

Frequently asked questions

If you have more questions, please feel free to contact us

Attention Commercial Motor Carriers: Update your VMT and PU data now!

Did You Know…As a motor carrier, recent Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT) and Power Unit (PU) data from your Motor Carrier Registration form, known as the MCS-150, are required and must be up to date to properly assess your level of exposure in the Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) in FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS).

If your VMT data in FMCSA’s database is from 2010 or older, it will not be used in your calculations when the January SMS snapshot is posted at the beginning of February. Instead, the level of exposure will default to average PUs over the previous 18 months which can impact your percentiles in the Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator BASICs. View the SMS Methodology for addition details on BASIC percentile calculations.

Update your MCS-150 now with 2011 VMT/PU information or shortly after January 1, 2013 with your 2012 data to ensure that FMCSA is using the most accurate data available to calculate your percentiles. Visit to update your MCS-150 information. Under the “Existing Registration Updates” section, choose the first option – “I need to update my USDOT number registration information or file my biennial update.”

PLEASE NOTE: The SMS website is updated monthly, so your MCS-150 changes will not be reflected on that site until the next monthly update. You can find the schedule of SMS updates at MCS-150 updates show up faster on SAFER and the FMCSA Portal websites.

Thank You,
CSA Web Team
U.S. DOT/Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

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CSA Changes December 2012

In case you are not aware, the CSA has made some very important changes to the SMS site. An effort in making some improvements. Here is one of the documents to help you Identify those changes and make sure you are keeping up with changing regulations.

The first part of the document includes this information to give you an understanding of why the changes were made and what the basis of those changes were.

Safety Measurement System Changes The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Safety Measurement System (SMS) quantifies the on-road safety performance and compliance history of motor carriers, to prioritize enforcement resources, determine the safety and compliance problems that a motor carrier may exhibit, and track each motor carrier’s safety. FMCSA designed the SMS expecting that changes would be made as new data, and additional analysis became available. This release is the first in a series of expected improvements to the SMS that will take place periodically. 

FMCSA provided a preview period and opportunity to comment for enforcement personnel and motor carriers prior to the implementation of these SMS changes. In March 2012, the Agency announced in the Federal Register a proposed set of SMS modifications. The Agency also developed and released an SMS Preview, allowing a motor carrier to see the impact of the proposed modifications on the carrier’s SMS results in advance of the changes. The Agency collected and analyzed feedback from stakeholders through

July 2012, and subsequently announced a package of SMS enhancements in December 2012.

Link to this document

Drivers and Hours-of-Service Changes

logbookRecently the HOS regulations changed for over-the-road household carriers, but how much information is truly understood by those drivers who are a passenger carrier? I have not seen most roadside inspectors have not yet baulked at the way the passenger carrier drivers keep their HOS in regards to the 34 restart. But with the pressure on passenger carriers who knows just when that will change.

One of my clients is a passenger carrier in the entertainment coach business and after speaking to their drivers concerning their log audits, it was brought to my attention that they did not realize that passenger carrier drivers do not have the restart and log under the old HOS.

When you look at information concerning the HOS it is hard to understand for the typical layman just how these HOS rules affect each driver depending on the work they do and the operation of their company..

Remember, a passenger carrier driver needs a full 8 days off to recoup the full hours-of-service. Keep track of what your drivers or yourself does in an 8 day period.

Did you realize that depending on what you operation is, determines the HOS rules you fall under. Keep certain criteria in mind as a driver and don’t short yourself in an audit when it comes to the hours-of-service section.

  • Do you run interstate or intrastate?
  • Do you run within a 150 mile radius?
  • Are you a household carrier?
  • Do you haul passengers?
  • Do you know the current hours-of-service regulations based on your operation?

If you need assistance or information concerning your HOS visit today!

Notice to Bus and Motorcoach Passenger Carriers

Notice to Bus and Motorcoach Traveling Public and Passenger Motor Carriers: Third-Party Compliance Reviews and Vehicle Inspections


Recently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has received numerous inquiries regarding third-party inspectors offering “safety certifications.”

Please note the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an agency of the United States Department of Transportation, is the only agency authorized by the United States Congress to issue Federal interstate operating authority registration, to regulate interstate passenger motor carriers, and to determine their eligibility for continued operations.

Passenger motor carriers are subject to a wide range of interventions including compliance reviews, safety audits, and vehicle and driver inspections. Only the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration may terminate a passenger motor carrier’s interstate operating authority.

Companies using aggressive marketing tactics to sell “inspections” and “authorized lists” are not sanctioned by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration nor do they have access to the wide range of resources routinely implemented by trained and authorized inspectors to determine a passenger motor carrier’s safety fitness.

Persons or groups considering bus and motor coach transportation are encouraged to visit the Web site below for assistance in selecting a passenger motor carrier:

For specific information regarding a passenger motor carrier please visit

The Improved CSA Website

July 22, 2011


You Talked, We Listened … Visit the Improved CSA Website and See What’s Changed!

Since the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Website launched in August of 2008, we have directly responded to more than 6,500 questions from motor carriers, drivers, and others in the commercial vehicle safety industry.  In response to our visitors’ feedback, we improved several areas on the CSA Website in order to support stakeholders’ efforts to increase safety on the nation’s roads .


Inspections Emphasize Importance of Vehicle, Driver Compliance to Drive Down Highway Deaths

WASHINGTON, DC (July 7, 2011)  – Results from Roadcheck 2011, the three-day, commercial vehicle safety enforcement and education campaign organized annually by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), reveal that the commercial motor carrier and motor coach industries continue to improve the maintenance and safety of their operations, with overall out-of-service (OOS) rates being the lowest since Roadcheck began in 1988.

“Although overall out-of-service rates are at record lows, there is room for improvement until the roads are free from vehicle and driver violations,” said CVSA’s Executive Director Stephen A. Keppler. “Events that focus on ensuring vehicles and drivers are complying with the law, like Roadcheck and all roadside inspections, draw critical attention to out-of-service rates and are shown to also impact crash reductions.” Read more……..

Have you Noticed Your SMS Score Changing?

Have you noticed your safety score changing since the implementation of CSA? The way that the 7 Basics of CSA are measured from that of the old safety rating system.

I have had several clients ask me why their score was higher or lower since we have changed to the new CSA system. It is important to understand how the basics are scored compared to the old system.

The SMS will initially focus on the two types of entities most likely to impact the
BASICs and Crash Indicator: motor carriers and CMV drivers.  Therefore, two
measurement systems were designed for CSA:
Carrier Safety Measurement System (CSMS)
Driver Safety Measurement Systems (DSMS)

Both CSMS and DSMS assess an individual entity‘s performance by BASIC and Crash Indicators calculated from information collected during on-road safety inspections and state-reported CMV crash records.  These data are recorded in the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS).  In addition, motor carrier Census data, also recorded in MCMIS, are used for the identification and normalization of safety event data.

To further understand why your score is changing visit:

Additional Resources:

Get virtual trucking assistance

Educate your drivers in CSA