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Archive for January, 2014


The 75K Broker Bond – Is it about preventing fraud or something else?

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The $75,000.00 Broker Bond (Trust) was inserted in the Highway Bill, Map21, in the 11th hour right before signing into law.  Who was responsible for this?  Was it to prevent Broker fraud or was there another motive?

James Lamb, President of the Association of Independent Property Brokers and Agents, filed with the FMCSA for an application for exemption for all property brokers from the broker bond or trust requirement.


FMCSAYou can read more, including comments, on the FMCSA website via:

Registration and Financial Security Requirements for Brokers of Property and Freight Forwarders; Association of Independent Property Brokers and Agents’ Exemption Application.

We are all aware of the fact that many have been burned in the trucking industry due to Broker fraud. Simply put, the broker arranges the load between the shipper and the driver/carrier and then does not pay the carrier. ( The shipper is not responsible for non payment).

There are many questions we need to ask ourselves about Freight Brokers, but most specifically, their purpose and the required 75K dollar bond stated by law.

What is the purpose of the Freight Broker Bond and who does it protect, if anyone?

The question to me is, as I’m sure it is to many, is was the 75K bond law in Map21 designed to prevent  broker fraud or  used to fight competition resulting in: a Mega Broker monopoly, reduction in the supply of small brokers, creating more middle men, lowering rates to truckers and possible predatory pricing?

If increasing the Bond is NOT the answer to preventing fraud, then what is?
Criminal charges and jail time? Something else?

What is the real purpose of a Broker? Many owner operators say they deal directly with the shipper and they do not need a broker. Do we?

Have all Freight Brokers been stereotyped as “bad apples” just as truckers have also been negatively stereotyped  in the eyes of the public?

Finally, would the application for exemption  have the effect of permitting all brokers to operate without a broker bond or trust of any amount, including the previous $10,000 bond or trust statute?

We invite all to join us in this discussion on Thursday 1/30/14 on Truth About Trucking “Live” at 7PM ET.

Mr James Lamb of the AIPBA and will be our guest and the phone lines will be open for all discussion and debate regarding the possible repercussions of the 75K Broker Bond .

The call in number to either listen or join in the discussion is 347-826-9170:

Listen to the show from here also:

The chat room will also be open for online discussion, Link posting is allowed in the chat  room.
We suggest that you open a Blog Talk Radio account to join in the discussion (matter of login and password), otherwise you will be in a guest mode of READ ONLY.

© 2014, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: AIPBA, Exemption Application, FMCSA, freight broker bond, James Lamb, truth about trucking blog talk radio show

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Category : Ask The Trucker | Blog

Trucking Industry- Know your driver

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Transport Design

“The trucking industry plays a key role in keeping our economy moving and our country safe”


I remember roll call one evening when I was a young police officer in 1980.  We were discussing truckers and the threat those big rigs posed, not only from a highway safety perspective, but how they can be deadly weapons in the hand of terrorists, for so many reasons and in so many ways.  That was long before 9/11 when terrorism was not the omnipresent threat that it is today.

Three years after becoming a police officer, I joined the FBI.  During my 24 year career, which took me several years past 9/11, I witnessed the changing face of national security and our awareness of the importance of our transportation infrastructure, as well as its vulnerabilities.  The trucking industry plays a key role in keeping our economy moving and our country safe.

There are many issues that can be addressed when discussing trucks and security.  From terrorism and cargo theft to hazardous materials and human trafficking, the trucking industry plays an integral role in our national security.  And, as someone who hires truckers to drive for you, you assume a tremendous amount of responsibility, morally and legally.

There are many legal theories under which an employer will be held liable for the actions of their employees.  Respondent Superior, Vicarious Liability, Strict Liability, and Imputed Negligence are some of those theories that may work against you if your employees are found negligent when acting as your agent.  Of course, you rely on insurance to mitigate financial risk.  But, shouldn’t an employer employ risk management from the very outset – beginning with the hiring process.

After retiring from the FBI, I founded SPIRIT Asset Protection, LLC as a security and risk management consulting firm.  One of the primary services offered is pre-employment background screening.  I have been amazed by the lack of concern employers have shown for properly screening potential employees.

Most screening involves checking criminal records.  Yet, that process is more complex than simply running a “check” on some internet website.  The existence of a criminal record should not automatically disqualify someone for employment.  In some states, that may be illegal.  An employer must make a fair and informed decision, not only for hiring, but for the nature of a work assignment.  Assure that your use of criminal records for employment purposes is legal within your state and compliant with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The trucking industry has an additional challenge to screening potential employees.  Before putting someone behind the wheel of a multi-ton weapon, you better know if that person can really handle it. Recently, I was discussing trucking security with a friend of mine who is a commander in a state police department.  He brought to my attention a recent and very troubling trend that affects almost every aspect of trucking — fraudulent Commercial Driver Licenses.

A CDL can be fraudulent in two ways.  First, it can be a license that is not a valid state document; it was illegally manufactured.  Unfortunately, this not very difficult to do and I discussed this with a local news station: License to Hide.  While these fraudulent documents may be of high quality, they can be detected. First, assure that a driver license verification is a required step in your pre-employment screening.  Also, look carefully at the license; compare it to a known valid license from the same state.  Look for the holograms and similar security markings designed to detect fraud.  Sometimes, a close inspection can reveal flaws within the fraudulent license.  If you have doubts, call your local police.  If you are sure that the license is a fraud — that is another reason to notify police. A fraudulent license is dangerous and a crime.

The other type of fraudulent CDL is a legitimate state driver license in which the CDL endorsements have been added on by a corrupt Department of Motor Vehicle employee.  These are more difficult to detect.  This is why a thorough pre-employment screening is so vital.  Criminal record checks, prior employment verifications and driving records checks may raise some red warning flags.  And, before you send a driver on the road, assure that he/she can do what they say they can do.  Observe and verify.  Give them your own driving test.

After retiring from the FBI in 2007, I wrote my first book, Walking the Corporate Beat: Police School for Business People.  In this book, I relate true stories from my years as a police officer and FBI Agent to highlight risk management techniques every business person can use on a daily basis.  One chapter describes a hypothetical crisis experienced by a fictitious trucking company.  I do not know why I chose a trucking company.  But that proved fortuitous.

Recently, my company expanded into the transportation compliance services business: DOT Compliance Services. We help trucking companies remain compliant and manage risk.  I guess it was meant to be.

© 2014, Michael Tabman. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: hiring truck drivers, Michael Tabman. CDL License, Pre-employment screening. national security, truck drivers, Trucking, trucking industry

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Category : Ask The Trucker | Blog

Non-CDL Drivers’ admit to unsafe driving behavior

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Unsafe Driving

Unsafe Driving

A new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that general public drivers understand the risks of unsafe driving practices, yet are not changing their driving behavior.

Results from the 2013 Traffic Safety Culture Index, ongoing since 2008, consisted of an annual national survey of American drivers aged 16 and over which focused on their driving behaviors and attitudes.

The collected data showed that drivers know and fully understand the risks and dangers associated with unsafe driving practices but continued with the unsafe practice anyway:

  • Drowsy driving : 95% of drivers believe this to be unacceptable while 30% of drivers admitted to driving drowsy within the previous 30 days.
  • Distracted driving : 89% of drivers believe such practices as talking on the cell phone while driving is unacceptable while 70% admitted to doing so within the previous 30 days.
  • Running a red light : 70% say this is completely unacceptable but nearly 39% have done so within the previous 30 days.
  • Speeding : 63% of drivers surveyed agreed that driving more than 10 MPH over the speed limit on residential streets is unacceptable while nearly 50% admitted to doing so within the previous 30 days.
  • Texting / Emailing : 95% of drivers agreed that texting or emailing while driving is a serious safety threat but nearly 35% admitted to reading emails while driving within the previous 30 days.

The AAA Foundation concluded that, “It becomes clear when looking at these results that many drivers perform the same activities that they recognize as being dangerous.”

The FMCSA continues to increase regulations for professional CDL in order to ensure safer roads, however, the fact remains that unless the driving public corrects their admitted poor driving behavior, increased regulations for CMV drivers can only do so much.

Today, the truth is that commercial trucks are involved in 2.4% of all car accidents and more than 80% of those accidents are the fault of the non-commercial driver.  Furthermore, only 16% of all truck driving accidents are due to the truck driver’s fault and of those death related accidents, only 4% of trucks are fatigue related.  (Ref: Source 1).

FMCSA administrator Anne Ferro has stated that her goal is zero truck related fatalities. We believe that unless more assertive action is taken towards the non CDL driver, this goal is unrealistic.

According to a recent article in TheTrucker:
According to published reports, Ferro challenged the notion of Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., that the agency’s stated of zero-truck related fatalities is an ideology that leads to poor regulation.

Hanna has been quoted as saying accidents will happen and trying to driver the truck-related fatality rate to zero is senseless.

“[Zero deaths is] an unrealistic, impractical goal that burdens the industry and is philosophically based, not reality based,” he has said.

© 2014, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: AAA Foundation, cell phones, drivers, driving, emailing, texting, unsafe, unsafe driving

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Category : Ask The Trucker | Blog

True Character and Image of Professional Truck Drivers

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Trucker display of compassion.  Photo courtesy of

Trucker display of compassion.
Photo courtesy of

There’s a trend going on within social media and trucking, specifically professional drivers, and it’s called assisting others in life.  The result is a vast improvement of the image for the professional truck driver.

It’s no secret that the image of professional drivers have been tarnished. Drivers complain about it all the time and vent their frustrations often on social media sites and forums. They are tired of hearing derogatory descriptions about themselves as they continue to supply the country with all the necessities and wants of life while enduring the sacrifices of Over the Road trucking.

The truth is though, that professional drivers are people, people who take on a lifestyle that is filled with sacrifice, including being separated from family, friends, and loved ones for weeks at a time.  Many drivers have tried to educate the general public about the reality of the true character of professional drivers, but often it falls on deaf ears.

But things have changed. The combination of positive character, compassion and social media is beginning to open the eyes and ears of many who were reluctant to see or hear previously.  Without actually trying to improve “driver image” it is beginning to happen anyway. Drivers are setting an example of compassion and empathy towards mankind by displaying their desire to help others on Social Media websites.  Ironically, improving driver image is now the result of a benevolent movement motivated by compassion and altruism.  In other words:  Actions Speak Louder than WORDS.

As we enter 2014 there are MANY pages on Social Media displaying the true character of the professional driver.  The members of these groups and fan pages spread far beyond the trucking community, sharing the common thread of humanity with diverse members within the groups.

Below are just a handful of the groups on FaceBook which have been either started by a driver or involves the overwhelming membership of drivers to ensure the success of the movement.  If you know of a group or organization which displays similar attributes, we invite you to share them in the comment section, including the link they can be reached at.

© 2014, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: social media, Truck Driver Image, truck drivers, truckers helping truckers, trucking faceBook groups, trucking social media, true character

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Category : Ask The Trucker | Blog

Telemedicine: Medical Help for Over the Road Truckers

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CADRPlus, an innovative new health care program that gives you unlimited, 24/7 access to doctors and other industry professionals from the comfort and convenience of your phone or computer

CADRPlus, an innovative new health care program that gives you unlimited, 24/7 access to doctors and other industry professionals from the comfort and convenience of your phone or computer

Becoming ill while driving, it’s happened to all of us who have driven any length of time over the road. What do you do?  Many drivers say they just “tough it out” and keep driving.  But there are many times that you can’t keep driving, especially when it becomes unsafe to drive. Some drivers say to pull over and rest, or even going to a motel.

Others have gone to the ER  or Clinic. One thing is for sure though, there comes a time when medical help is a must. There are many drivers who thought they could just park and sleep it off and found themselves at the edge of death.  You can read some of these stories on our FaceBook wall.

Then, there are the most unfortunate who have been found deceased after going missing for days.  Make no mistake, your health should ALWAYS be ahead of your job on the all important priority list. New technology has allowed for one more solution if one becomes  ill on the road. Unlimited, 24/7 access to the quality care you need, all from your phone or computer.

Tonight January 9th 7PM ET, we will discuss “Medical Help for Truckers While Out on the Road”   Diana Kerekes joins us as our special guest to discuss the many benefits of Call a Doc Anytime, a breakthrough service that brings the doctor to the trucker.

Diana Kerekes is a Master Life, Business and Success Coach and has been a Registered Nurse for 30 years. As a visiting nurse for many of those years, she understands the impact and the consequences of a patient not being able to reach a doctor when needed. As the daughter of a former 25 year trucker, she knew there had to be a better way for professional truckers to reach medical assistance while living life on the road.

While working to make people understand the importance of preventive medicine, her work also consists of helping truck drivers realize that they can receive medical help, 24/7, even when out on the road, all through the magic of technology: Call a doc anytime.

Through Call a Doc Anytime, truckers are able to “see” their doctors through several devices, including, web cam, phone, video or mobile application. Join us tonight as we share our experiences of becoming ill while driving OTR.  What’s your story?

Call us tonight on Blog Talk Radio and discover how “Call a Doc Anytime” can help you address illness while trucking OTR.  347-826-9170
Telemedicine: Medical Help for Over the Road Truckers

© 2014, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: call a doc anytime, diana kerekes, truck driver medical help, Trucking, trucking illnesses

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Category : Ask The Trucker | Blog