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It's Your Business
It’s time to test your knowledge

Donna Ryun
OOIDA Information Services

OK folks, pick up your No. 2 pencils and get ready for a pop quiz. I won’t be keeping score, but the DOT will, so sharpen that lead and get out that green FMCSR handbook – you get extra points for sharing your knowledge with a newbie.

Question 1: Can your lease company require you to provide them with your fuel receipts?
a. No way! They don’t need my receipts if they don’t do my fuel taxes.
b. Yes. They can require them to verify my logbook, so I am prepared to hand them over.
c. They can require them only if they do my fuel taxes.

The correct answer is b: According to Section 395.8 (k) (1) of the FMCSR, motor carriers are required to

“maintain records of duty status and all supporting documents for each driver it employs for a period of six months from the date of receipt.”

The interpretation in the “Regulatory Guidance” section of the FMCSR handbook includes fuel receipts in its definition of supporting documents. It also includes such items as credit card receipts, weight/scale tickets, toll receipts, cash advance receipts and much more. According to the guidance: “Supporting documents may include other documents which the motor carrier maintains and can be used to verify information on the driver’s records of duty status.”

Question 2: Could my CDL be at risk if I am convicted of a “serious” violation in my personal vehicle?
a. Yes. The feds expect CDL holders to drive professionally at all times.
b. No. My CDL is not affected by my behavior while driving my personal vehicle.
c. Only if I have an accident involving a loss of life.

The correct answer is a: In the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999, Congress issued instructions to the FMCSA to make regulations requiring the disqualification of CDL holders who are convicted of what the regs refer to as a serious offense while operating a non-commercial motor vehicle.

Documentation of these proceedings can be found in the July 31, 2002, entry in the Federal Register, where it specifies that Congress chose not to distinguish between “risk-taking behavior” in a passenger vehicle or a CMV, in “the interest of safety.”

Clearly, lawmakers agreed that truckers are professional drivers and should be expected to drive professionally, regardless if they are in a CMV or a personal vehicle.

Question 3: True or False – You will lose your CDL for life with a first conviction of using a motor vehicle in the commission of a felony involving manufacturing, distributing or dispensing a controlled substance. This applies if you are driving a CMV or non-CMV.
a. True
b. False

The correct answer is a: According to the FMCSR, §383.51, you will lose your CDL for life and are not eligible for the 10-year reinstatement offer to those who have completed a state-approved rehabilitation program.

Question 4: True or False – It is acceptable to omit a carrier from your employment history if that carrier is likely to give negative information to a prospective carrier with whom you would like to negotiate a lease.
a. True
b. False

The correct answer is b: The FMCSR handbook is clear in regard to this question.

§383.35 Notification of previous employment
(c) the following employment history information for the 10 years preceding the date the application is submitted shall be presented to the prospective employer by the applicant.
(c)(1) A list of the names and addresses of the applicant’s previous employers for which the applicant was an operator of a commercial motor vehicle.
(c)(2) The dates the applicant was employed by these employers; and
(c)(3) The reason for leaving such employment.
(d) The applicant shall certify that all information furnished is true and complete.

Question 5: I am an owner-operator who is leased to a motor carrier that has given me authorization to have my spouse and children ride with me, occasionally. If I have my spouse or children on the truck with me, do I have to have a copy of the written authorization in the truck?
a. No, I don’t need to obtain authorization for passengers if they are family members.
b. Yes, this documentation must be in the truck with me at all times.
c. None of the above.

The correct answer is c: Surprise, it’s a trick question. According to the FMCSR, §392.60, written authorization from the authorized motor carrier is required – see regulations for specified exceptions – however, the guidance that accompanies this regulation states the following as to whether you are required to have a copy with you in the truck:

“No, the authorization must be maintained at the carrier’s principal place of business. At the discretion of the motor carrier, a driver may also carry a copy of the authorization.”

Although the regulations do not require a copy of the written authorization in the truck, you must still obtain that authorization to be kept in the carrier’s files, even if your passengers are members of your family.

So, how’d you do? Kudos to you if you got all the answers correct.

Life on the road is always a test for professional drivers, so feel free to contact OOIDA if you have any questions about compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Our qualified staff will be happy to assist you.

If you have questions about doing business as an owner-operator and/or an independent trucker, please e-mail them or send them to PO Box 1000, Grain Valley, MO 64029. We can’t publish all of your questions in Land Line, but you will receive a response, even if your letter is not published.