In an industry that is as regulated and safety-focused as ours is, it’s just a fact of life that every now and then you’re going to need CDL legal services. For over the road truck drivers we know that the patchwork of jurisdictions and rules across the country can mean that it’s extremely difficult and confusing to navigate the legal system in the event of receiving a moving violation. Having talked with as many carriers as I have, I know that carriers don’t have the time or interest in trying to deal individually with every ticket drivers get all around the country – you need a simple, one-stop shop to handle all of your CDL legal service needs. But if you’re shopping for a new CDL legal services plan for your company, what exactly are the types of legal services you need to be sure you have covered? In this article, I give an overview of the different categories of services you’ll want to consider covering for your company. ORDP is the industry leader in CDL legal services, and as such our team stands ready to support you and your drivers in all of your legal service needs.
CDL Legal Services for Moving Violations
The first and most obvious category of need for CDL legal services is moving violations. As I discussed in an earlier article, moving violations have the potential to negatively impact your driving record. If you’re a driver, this can make it more difficult or even impossible to find a new job. If you’re a carrier, it can have negative impacts on your company through higher insurance rates or loss of business from safety-conscious customers. If you’ve been cited for driving more than 15MPH over the posted speed limit, for reckless driving, for improper lane changes, or for other similar violations the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) rules state that if you have two such violations within a three-year period, your CDL can be suspended for 60 days. If you have a third of these violations in the same three-year period, your CDL can be suspended for 120 days. If you’re a driver, that’s a lot of lost income for you and your family. If you’re a carrier, trying to find a replacement for your suspended driver will be a headache, not to mention the potential for lost income from customers you’re unable to service. Most CDL legal service providers – including ORDP – offer help in addressing moving violations. In ORDP’s case, this works through leveraging a nationwide network of top attorneys who will fight for your drivers to have moving violations dismissed or reduced to non-moving violations.
CSA and MVR Monitoring
Another important category of CDL legal services relates to CSA tracking. In an earlier post I discussed CSA scores and what goes into calculating them. CSA (which stands for Compliance, Safety, Accountability) program is administered and tracked through the FMCSA to ensure high standards of safety are upheld throughout the industry. One of the key elements of the CSA program is the Safety Measurement System (SMS), which collects data on drivers and carriers to give a holistic view of their safety records. Several categories of information feed into the SMS, determining your drivers’ and your company’s overall score. Categories include unsafe driving (which includes moving violations), crashes, inspection records, driver fitness, vehicle maintenance, and controlled substances. Some of these categories could potentially involve a courtroom, like moving violations or controlled substances violations. But there are others, like driver fitness or vehicle maintenance, which won’t necessarily land your drivers in a courtroom but which are still critical to address in order to maintain your company’s safety record. Many CDL legal services companies will help support you in addressing violations or warnings in these categories too, to help maintain your high CSA score.
Another category of CDL legal services offered by many companies is motor vehicle record (MVR) monitoring. For some of the violations mentioned earlier, you’ll know about them right away if they happen. But there are other violations that you might not otherwise be automatically notified about, like when a driver has a violation in their personal vehicle. MVR monitoring helps carriers to address this issue. MVR monitoring systems automatically check the records of your drivers all across the country, and automatically notifies you of violations or suspensions. For many of the reasons mentioned before (such as insurance rates and CSA score impacts), it’s important for carriers to keep up to date on these types of events with their drivers, even if they don’t happen while they’re on the clock.
About Bryan Shannon
Bryan Shannon is Managing Director of ORDP. His strong track record of helping carriers manage their fleet operations, grow market shares, and increase revenue is backed by years of experience in the trucking industry.
ORDP’s CDL Driver Protection Legal service finds attorneys for CDL drivers nationwide to resolve traffic violations and DOT compliance-related issues impacting the bottom line of commercial fleets. ORDP’s CDL protection comes with built-in trucking benefits that help carriers attract and retain top talent and improve employee performance.