It’s a fact (especially these days) that you just can’t believe everything you read or hear, so it pays to investigate whenever you suspect something is not quite right. You never know when you might find inaccuracies that could create problems for you if they aren’t dealt with properly. The questions below help to illustrate this point. The first question deals with an inaccurate report that resulted in disappointment and hardship for the subject, while the second question is about a misunderstanding that is circulating among truckdrivers.
Question: Recently I made a deal on the purchase of a new truck and everything went smoothly until the bank ran a credit report on me. Apparently they discovered some slow payment entries based on information from the company that financed my old truck (now paid off). I have always been very careful about making my payments on time, so this was a surprise to me. Now the bank won’t loan me the money to buy a new truck and I’m stuck with a bad credit report. How can I get these slow pay violations off my report?
Answer: According to the 2001 Consumer Action Handbook published by the Federal Consumer Information Center, if inaccurate or incomplete information on your credit report caused your loan application to be rejected, you should contact both the credit-reporting agency and the company that provided the information to them.
Advise the credit-reporting agency in writing information you think is inaccurate. The information provider must then investigate and report the results to the credit-reporting agency. If the information is incorrect, it must notify all nationwide credit-reporting agencies to also correct your file. If the reinvestigation does not solve your dispute with the company, ask that your statement of the dispute be included in your file. A notice of your dispute must be included anytime the credit-reporting agency reports the item.
It is important to check your credit report periodically and especially prior to making a major credit purchase in order to ensure its accuracy. If credit is denied because of information contained in your report, you have the right to know the name, address and telephone number of the credit-reporting agency that provided the report. You also are entitled to a copy of the report free of charge if your loan application is rejected.
The three major national credit bureaus that have credit files on consumers are: Equifax, 1-800-685-1111; Experian, 1-800-682-7654; and TransUnion, 1-800-916-8800.
Question: If an officer checks my logbook and finds I have a violation, I’ve heard he has to give me 15 minutes to correct the problem before he issues a citation. Is there any truth to this?
Answer: This seems to be a misunderstanding that continues to make the rounds. I checked with several individuals who have considerable experience and expertise within the trucking industry to see if there is any basis for it. Here’s what I learned:
Section 395.8 part (f) (1) of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations states, “Drivers shall keep their record of duty status current to the time shown for the last change of duty status.”
There was no mention of a 15-minute extension time, so I must conclude it is not a requirement that an officer allow any time to correct a problem leading to a citation for a logbook violation.
However, I did find a possible link to the origin of this misunderstanding that refers to drivers declared out of service in Section 395.13 (b) (2) and (3), where the rules state, “No driver required to maintain a record of duty status under 395.8 or 395.15 of this part shall fail to have a record of duty status current on the day of examination and for the prior seven consecutive days.”
The rules go on to offer an exception that says, “A driver failing only to have possession of a record of duty status current on the day of examination and the prior day, but has completed records of duty status up to that time (previous six days), will be given the opportunity to make the duty status record current.”
This exception (which states no specific time allotment) could be what you are referencing; however, since it only applies to drivers declared out of service, it appears an officer can use his/her own discretion as to whether to allow an extension period when it comes to issuing citations for logbook violations. It could simply depend on the particular officer’s state of mind at the time of inspection.
To be more specific, the exception I’ve referenced deals only with whether or not you are placed out of service … not with whether or not you are given a citation. In fact, the regulations are silent regarding citations or fines … they only deal with the rules.
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