Monday, December 28, 2020

A Look At USDOT Number


A motor carrier’s USDOT number is used by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to track safety performance. All legal entities involved in interstate commerce using commercial motor vehicles are required to have one. Nearly forty states mandate that their intrastate carriers have a USDOT number. Regardless of the state of operation, any intrastate carrier that’s required to have a Hazardous Material Safety Permit (HMSP) must also register with the FMCSA. With over 1.5 million registered carriers in the U.S., questions are bound to exist. The following covers the most commonly asked questions regarding the fundamentals – or ABCs – of FMCSA registration.

A = A Single Number. As a matter of policy, the FMCSA assigns a unique USDOT number to each person or entity that registers. A one-to-one relationship should exist between a legal entity and a USDOT number, but the FMCSA’s position is not hard and fast regarding this stance. Some companies do have multiple USDOT numbers, but it is the FMCSA’s preference that divisions and terminals report up through the corporate USDOT number. The agency does prohibit companies from obtaining or keeping multiple USDOT numbers to avoid compliance, mask or conceal non-compliance, or hide a history of non-compliance. The unique identifier policy is also the reason that USDOT numbers are not transferable. When, as a result of a sale or merger, a new entity is created (as identified by a new FEIN), the new entity will also need a new USDOT number to continue transportation operations.

B = BASICs Influencer. Five of the seven Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) BASICs rely solely on the number of relevant inspections within the BASIC to determine a carrier’s scoring and resulting peer group ranking. However, two of the BASICs, Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator, also take into consideration how many “at bats” the carrier has. These two BASICs have a utilization factor that incorporates the number of power units and the vehicle miles traveled into the methodology formulas. It stands to reason that if all things are equal, a carrier that has twice as many powered vehicles and travels twice as many miles in a year will have twice the number of accidents and unsafe driving violations. Because of this factor, carriers that are growing should/must update their MCS-150 more often than every other year so they can be properly compared with their peers.
When carriers are reducing their size, based on vehicle counts, it’s as important to provide updates more often than biennially. This is because the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) plan uses a carrier’s MCS-150 vehicle count as the starting point to determine the fee bracket. The more vehicles reported, the greater the likelihood of being in a higher fee bracket. Changing from one bracket to the next can mean the difference of hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars that the carrier pays.

C = Counting Vehicles and Drivers. As stated, getting the counts right can make a difference in a carrier’s CSA peer group and the fee bracket for UCR. But what vehicles and drivers should be counted? At first glance, the driver count seems the more difficult of the two to calculate. The FMCSA wants the drivers broken out by the number that operate strictly intrastate (within one state) and the number that operate interstate (in multiple states). The agency then wants those totals broken down into drivers that operate exclusively within a 100 air-mile radius and drivers that work outside of the 100 air-mile radius. Those four totals need to add up to the total number of drivers.
From the total number of drivers, a separate count is needed for the number of CDL drivers. At this point, it seems almost as bad as doing your own taxes on the long form, but it needn’t be. The driver counts are based on an average workday. The FMCSA is not expecting carriers to break out the spreadsheets and pivot tables. They are looking for an educated overview of the operation. The data is used more from a census point of view rather than from an enforcement stance. Your driver count does not enter into the calculation of any safety scores.

The exercise is completed more easily when you work it out backwards. Start with the number of drivers that operate CMVs on any given (average) day. Break that count into drivers that are likely to stay within 100 air-miles (not necessarily qualifying for the short-haul exception). The outside the air-mile number is then the difference from the total. Break those numbers out into the average that run intrastate versus interstate. The interstate versus intrastate breakdown is most important if taking advantage of the often more permissive intrastate rules.

Counting vehicles seems like it would be easier than drivers, and it might be if the count also used the “on an average workday” instructions. But, the MCS-150 instructions are a bit confusing regarding which vehicles to count. Thankfully, MCSA-1 will eventually replace the MCS-150. The MCSA-1 is much clearer and provides exactly what the FMCSA is looking for.

The vehicle count is based on the number of vehicles, on the day the form is submitted, that have a weight of 10,001 pounds or more (rated, actual or used in combination) and are operating under the carrier’s USDOT number. For the purpose of the operation, count vehicles that are registered to the carrier or have been leased for more than 30 days in the last year. On the MCS-150 there is no distinction between inter- and intrastate vehicles. If the vehicle meets the description above, it should be counted.

The count does need to be broken down by the type of vehicle and whether the vehicle is owned by the carrier or leased. Leased vehicles are subdivided by whether the lease agreement is a term or a trip lease. The vehicle types are relatively straight forward. But one question that is often asked in this area is how to count pickup style trucks. Pickups are considered straight trucks.

The old adage goes, if all else fails, read the directions. That’s good advice when registering or updating your registration with the FMCSA. On paper, the MCS-150 is three pages, but the form comes with eight pages of instructions and examples. For the most part, the instructions are simple and written in plain English. As with taxes, filers have two additional options: filing electronically or hiring a professional. The electronic versions have some help available through the process, which makes it a little easier. Since professionals are familiar with the process, there should be no guessing or headaches for those who choose this option.

By Wayne Schooling
Posted in: Wayne's World

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About Wayne Schooling
Wayne Schooling has been in the transportation business since 1962. Starting out as a driver, Wayne later made the switch to management. Over the years, he has accumulated 22 various awards and honors, been involved with 6 professional affiliations, has spoken at several lectures, and earned 3 professional diplomas. Wayne, who has written for 10-4 Magazine since 1994, is currently President Emeritus of the NorthAmerican Transportation Association (NTA).

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Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas Truck Parade


Every year Victoria, BC The Island Equipment Owners Association (IEOA) has a lighted truck parade, quite something to see, enjoy the ride!

Monday, December 21, 2020

Towing Guide - Vehicles Towing RV's

Camping World Toyhauler

A key aspect of buying a towable RV is understanding the tow rating of your current (or future) vehicle. Pay attention to the automobile’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (normally found on a sticker inside the driver’s side door frame). This number is the maximum weight your vehicle should tow.

You don’t want to fall in love with an RV only to find out the RV is too heavy for your vehicle to safely tow. To help you find the right RV, please use our Vehicle Tow Rating Finder as well as our Glossary of Terms.

Learn about capacities here: https://rv.campingworld.com/towguide

Saturday, December 19, 2020

A&T Road Service - 7-Days a Week Roadside Mobile Truck Repair Service



At A&T "Mobile" Truck Road Service we like to think of ourselves as the "Ambulance Service for Trucks." If your truck is broken down, we will come to you and perform the necessary triage to get you back on the road. Now includes towing, load adjustments, and more.

A&T "Mobile" Heavy Duty Truck and Trailer Road Service is a 24-hour, 7-days a week roadside mobile truck repair service for light and medium-duty to heavy duty commercial trucks and trailers. A&T Road Service, a subsidiary of North Bay Truck Center.

Our fleet incudes a 2014 Kenworth (Shown in video) with a 500 hp Cummins and 18-speed gearbox is outfitted with an NRC Quickswap detachable tow unit with a tag axle for extra capacity. This allows the truck to be a wrecker and also a transfer vehicle, so with the unit disconnected, it will tow mobile home units, trailers of all kinds and with the wrecker unit attached is capable of lifting up to 20,000 lb steer axles for heavy duty truck towing. This unit can easily to HD trucks, buses, mobile homes.


Not only do we provide 24 Hour Emergency service, we could come out and do light mechanical work on site to our customer's fleet and avoid the truck having to come in the shop.We will go just about anywhere for anything, at anytime. We have a wide normal service area and have been known to go beyond those boundaries by request. See our Service Area.

Below is a bullet point list of services by A&T Road Service.


 New: In-House TOWING
            Fully Equipped Mobile Repair Units
            Tire Replacement
            Load Adjustments
            Welding
            Fuel Delivery
            Lock-Outs
            Vehicle Storage
            Hydraulics
            DOT & BIT Inspections
            Crane Inspections
            Glass Replacement
            Vehicle Rentals
            Liftgate Repairs and Service
            Tens of Thousands of Parts In Stock


North Bay Truck Center is centrally located in Fairfield CA to service all of Solano County along with much of the San Francisco/Oakland bay area and Sacramento. A&T Road Service is available by calling 800-434-1205,

You can also visit our website at http://www.NorthBayTruckCenter.com

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Drivetrains 101 | Consumer Reports


A car’s drivetrain is how you get power from the engine to the wheels. Consumer Reports’ expert explains the difference between front-wheel, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel, and four-wheel drive. Check out https://www.ConsumerReports.org for the latest reviews, tips, and recommendations and subscribe to our YouTube Channel: http://bit.ly/1Nlb1Ez

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Ford Auto Nights: SEMA Show Special - F-150 | Ford


The all-new 2021 F-150 is the most productive and most powerful ever – work and play has never been easier, and of course, it is Built Ford Tough. The BDS F-150 HEV build looks great and is a completely functional truck to take you from work to play. For more info – including free, downloadable digital illustrations of the latest and greatest vehicles from Ford – visit https://ford.to/FordAutoNights.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

NHTSA rejects GM petition, orders massive truck and SUV airbag recall


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration struck down a petition from General Motors this week requesting that the agency exclude roughly 7 million GM trucks and SUVs from a Takata Airbag-Inflator recall.

In response, GM issued the following statement: The safety and trust of those who drive our vehicles is at the forefront of everything we do at General Motors. Although we believe a recall of these vehicles is not warranted based on the factual and scientific record, NHTSA has directed that we replace the airbag inflators in the vehicles in question. Based on data generated through independent scientific evaluation conducted over several years, we disagree with NHTSA’s position. However, we will abide by NHTSA’s decision and begin taking the necessary steps.

The recall will affect 6 million GM pickups and SUVs in the U.S. and other 1 million outside the U.S. from model years 2007 to 2014 and will cost the company roughly $1.2 billion according to the Associated Press.

Source: https://www.hardworkingtrucks.com/nhtsa-rejects-gm-petition-orders-massive-truck-and-suv-airbag-recall/

Monday, December 7, 2020

Winter Maintenance and Towing Tips for Fleets

Preparing for winter: is your fleet ready?

truck driving in winter weather
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, more than 70 percent of roads in the U.S. are located in regions that typically receive more than five inches of annual snowfall. With many commercial fleets using these snow-prone routes on a regular basis, preparing vehicles and drivers for winter conditions is a task most companies need to address.
Read More >

Friday, December 4, 2020

Who You Gonna Call? A&T Road Service - We'll Get You Back on the Road!



At A&T "Mobile" Truck Road Service we like to think of ourselves as the "Ambulance Service for Trucks." If your truck is broken down, we will come to you and perform the necessary triage to get you back on the road. Now includes towing, load adjustments, and more.

A&T "Mobile" Heavy Duty Truck and Trailer Road Service is a 24-hour, 7-days a week roadside mobile truck repair service for light and medium-duty to heavy duty commercial trucks and trailers. A&T Road Service, a subsidiary of North Bay Truck Center.

Our fleet incudes a 2014 Kenworth (Shown in video) with a 500 hp Cummins and 18-speed gearbox is outfitted with an NRC Quickswap detachable tow unit with a tag axle for extra capacity. This allows the truck to be a wrecker and also a transfer vehicle, so with the unit disconnected, it will tow mobile home units, trailers of all kinds and with the wrecker unit attached is capable of lifting up to 20,000 lb steer axles for heavy duty truck towing. This unit can easily to HD trucks, buses, mobile homes.


Not only do we provide 24 Hour Emergency service, we could come out and do light mechanical work on site to our customer's fleet and avoid the truck having to come in the shop.We will go just about anywhere for anything, at anytime. We have a wide normal service area and have been known to go beyond those boundaries by request. See our Service Area.

Below is a bullet point list of services by A&T Road Service.

 New: In-House TOWING
            Fully Equipped Mobile Repair Units
            Tire Replacement
            Load Adjustments
            Welding
            Fuel Delivery
            Lock-Outs
            Vehicle Storage
            Hydraulics
            DOT & BIT Inspections
            Crane Inspections
            Glass Replacement
            Vehicle Rentals
            Liftgate Repairs and Service
            Tens of Thousands of Parts In Stock


North Bay Truck Center is centrally located in Fairfield CA to service all of Solano County along with much of the San Francisco/Oakland bay area and Sacramento. A&T Road Service is available by calling 800-434-1205,

You can also visit our website at http://www.NorthBayTruckCenter.com

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The Making of an American Truck | Exceptional Engineering


Exceptional Engineering: The Making of an American Truck
The Swedish automotive group Volvo has been producing trucks for the North American market since the late 1970s. Every ten minutes, a new truck rolls off the assembly line, with a tailor-made production line equipped to cater to individual customer requirements. More than 500 color tones are available for the cab paint job alone. After just one day in assembly, the new trucks are ready to roll on public highways throughout the United States provided they have successfully completed a test drive on the factory track.