Don’t forget the bill of lading and trailer numbers before hitting the road

The qualities of a good driver go beyond driving skills and punctuality – paperwork is also important.

A driver is only as reliable as his logs are accurate.

Robert Kaferle, vice president of safety at Reliance Partners, reminds drivers to be stricter when it comes to form and conduct violations and to make sure they update their trailer numbers and bill of lading numbers before each haul.

Drivers often involved in drop and hook cargo swap trailers on a daily basis. Drivers are constantly changing hands and need to keep track of the trailers they are towing and their contents.

Each trailer has its own identification number; The same goes for its content, as each bill of lading also has a unique number. Together, these numbers must be regularly updated in the driver’s logbook.

49 CFR 395.8 requires commercial drivers to record their duty status for each 24-hour period. Information about the driver, kilometers driven, total hours, and carrier and shipment documents must also be up to date.

But Käferle observes that far too many drivers neglect to update their information. After delivering a load, some drivers rush to the next job and choose to save the paperwork for the end of their shift — if they even remember it, that is.

These violations, explained Käferle, are among the most common working time violations that he sees among drivers. While seemingly easy, a rider with too many form and behavior issues can compromise their ability to adjust. and for auto carriers, the presence of too many of these violations can affect their CSA ratings.

“If you don’t have a trailer number or a bill of lading number, it doesn’t seem to matter, but these small violations can have a big impact on your CSA score, especially if you get several,” Kaferle said. “The higher your score, the more insurance companies and officials look at your log.”

However, these violations can easily be avoided by simply updating the service status record before hitting the road. After all, a driver doesn’t have much to do at the loading dock, so use the time “on duty, not driving”.

“If a trucking company obtains a Pre-Employment Screening Program report and finds that a driver has a number of formal and behavioral infractions, it may indicate that the driver doesn’t understand the rules, needs training, or simply doesn’t care ‘ Kaferle said.

Fleets can correct this behavior by reiterating the importance of double checking logs before each assignment. Käferle said it could be as simple as jotting it down during the weekly safety meeting.

But ultimately, it is the driver’s responsibility to avoid such mistakes. And drivers should be concerned about that, because receiving form and manners or other violations of working hours reflect badly on themselves and are often undisputed.

“Violations of form and nature, they cannot be handled with DataQ, because what are you trying to dispute?” said Kaeferle. “You cannot contest missing information that is required; it is either there or not.”

For more FreightWaves content from Jack Glenn, click here.

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