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CSA: DRIVER FITNESS BASIC

Well, it seems like I woke everyone up with the log thing. Drivers who have known me for many years know that I’m not particularly politically correct…..I call ’em like I see ’em. It is the same for 3, 4, or 5 digit trucks. Law enforcement takes a pretty hard look at paper logs. Computerized logs keep everyone out of log trouble. Mercer has had trouble with that CSA BASIC threshold because we get too many “logs not current” write ups. Anything that eliminates those will help. I absolutely hate terminating good drivers for log problems.

One more thought before we go to driver fitness: Boys and girls, Big Brother is already here in the trucking business, and the bully for sure has already gotten your lunch money, and probably your gym shorts, too. Understand that this is the environment in which we compete. I don’t waste time analyzing it or crying about it. I spend time thinking about how to master it and how our Mercer family is going to do it better than anybody else. Log legal, no excuses.

Now, moving on…..Driver fitness means that the driver has the correct CDL for the equipment he or she is operating and the correct endorsements for the type of cargo being transported. It also means he or she has a current DOT physical and medical card. The CDL cannot be under suspension for any reason. If eye glasses or hearing aids are required, they must be worn by the driver. If the driver has a medical waiver from the FMCSA, it must be current and available at the time of inspection.

While most drivers have no problems in this area, violations due occur when drivers are not wearing required glasses or hearing aids at the time of a DOT inspection. Although Mercer verifies and monitors driver physicals and their expiration dates closely, problems occur when a driver has lost the medical card and cannot produce it at the time of inspection. Other problems include having a CDL suspended for back/late child support or unpaid tickets. It is vital that every driver has someone who monitors their home mail and advises them immediately if they receive correspondence from their state DMV. Not knowing that a CDL has been suspended is no excuse. If your medical card has expired or your CDL is suspended, you cannot drive. It is a 30 point CSA violation for driving while disqualified. You must keep your professional qualifications to drive in order at all times.

While we’re on this, I should mention the move by FMCSA to merge the medical card with the CDL. Many of you have received letters from your license state requesting a copy of your current medical card. The FMCSA is requiring all states to have a current copy of the driver’s medical card before issuing or renewing his or her CDL. Once the system is implemented nationwide it will mean that carrying a medical card will no longer be required, since having the CDL will also show medical qualification.

If you get a letter from your state requesting a copy of your medical card, respond to it immediately. Failure to do so could result in the suspension of your CDL. And remember, the system has not been fully implemented, so keep carrying your medical card anyway.

Driver fitness is not rocket science: Keep your physical current, stay within your restrictions and endorsements, monitor the DMV status of your CDL on a regular basis (which means pay tickets on time and keep child support current). Be safe.

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