Chapter Seven Big Company Requirements For Truck Drivers
Federal and state laws and regulations are not the only rules that apply to truck drivers. Big trucking companies often have extensive requirements for their truck drivers related to operations and safety. This section will discuss some of the common requirements big companies expect their truck drivers to comply with. There are many good and responsible trucking companies out there. But the bad companies contribute to serious injury and death from road incidents. We have represented many good and responsible truck drivers in crashes and are proud to serve truck drivers as lawyers. But when a company or driver – auto or truck – breaks the rules of the road and needlessly injures or kills someone, they should be responsible for that harm and damages.
Big companies require their truck drivers to do pre-and post-trip inspections of each trailer the driver picks up and drops. This includes ensuring the trailer is clean and ready to load when brought to a customer’s facility. The interior of the trailer, including the floor, walls, and ceiling should be inspected for nails, holes, and other things that could potentially damage the customer’s product or packaging. Trailers should be swept out and free of trash. Trailer doors must be inspected to make sure they fit tightly and close snuggly. Additionally, a truck driver should inspect the roof of the trailer to ensure it is in good shape and free of leaks.
Truck Drivers should be familiar with the different dock rules particular to each shipper and consignee. More and more companies are insisting on safety, and therefore have rules that specify where drivers must wait, whether drivers can smoke or not, etc. Taking the time to learn the customers’ dock rules will go a long way in a truck driver maintaining a safe work environment and good relations with companies.
Truck drivers should ensure that their truck and cargo are safe when left unattended for any period of time. They should choose a safe and secure location to park their truck to prevent theft. Leaving units in an unsecured, unprotected area can get truck drivers fired. A truck driver should always make sure their cargo is secure in order to protect his or her job.
High Value Loads
When assigned to a high value load, truck drivers should take proper measures to ensure successful transportation. They should not discuss their load with others. Additionally, truckers should check they have enough hours and fuel to drive the required distance from the shipper before stopping. They should attempt to have at least one person remain with the truck at all times. Additionally, they should keep the truck and trailer hooked at all times and leave the seal intact and the trailer padlocked at all times. Lastly, truckers should complete a pre-trip inspection every time they stop under load to make sure the load is secure.
Big companies require their truck drivers to verify that their tractor and trailer permits are current. If a truck driver has an expired permit, they should contact the Licensing Department of their employer as soon as possible. This will allow the truck driver to avoid fines for expired or missing permits. Truck drivers should check that permits are current before every trip plan.
Truck drivers should make sure to use any safety equipment required by shippers and consignees. They should not use satellites while driving. Safety belts need to be worn at all times by truck drivers or passengers, and bunk restraints should be applied at the appropriate times. Movements between the sleeper and the cab of a truck while the vehicle is in motion put a truck driver at risk of injury and should be avoided if possible. Truckers should avoid making U-turns on public roadways, as this often violates company policy and can result in termination. Additionally, truck drivers should avoid parking on entrance and exit ramps and should reduce their speed to 10 miles below the posted speed limit when accessing exit ramps. They should not exceed 5 MPH while driving in parking lots, truck stops, terminal yards, and shipper and consignee locations. Lastly, truck drivers should never use cell phones or hands-free devices while operating trucks.
All big companies require their truck drivers to have a Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with HAZMAT endorsement. The CDL must be from the state in which the trucker resides. An individual’s state of residency is the state in which he or she filed W-4 tax documents. If a truck driver moves from one state to another, a new CDL must be obtained within 30 days per Federal Motor Carrier Regulations.
Logs should be kept in accordance with part 395 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. In addition, most big companies have more detailed log requirements. For example, many companies require truck drivers to prepare a log for each and every day of the month unless off duty, and logs must be kept current to the last change of duty status. Many big companies expect truck drivers to keep logs with them on the truck for 6 months. Most companies require truck drivers to conduct pre-trip and post-trip inspections every day, and each inspection must be properly documented. This includes reporting any defects or irregularities with their unit.
Defensive Driving Courses
Many big companies require truck drivers to attend Defensive Driving Courses for situations including being involved in accidents, being put out of service, receiving a citation, speeding, or having a poor cumulative safety record.