Benefits of a Clean Driving Record in Owner Operator Trucking

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Status Transportation owner operator trucking companyYou probably read this kind of ads while getting an owner operator trucking job if you are an independent driver: “Company requires a Truck driver with a clean driving record, haven’t you? Well, this is because employers and their insurance companies want to make sure they hire the right people whom they can trust to have a responsible behavior.

If you are an owner operator, you may already know that a clean record is one of your biggest assets. In fact, I dare to say that a truck driver’s career depends upon it. Therefore, it is essential you make smart decisions every day to keep your CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) clean, this  means to prevent from showing on your MVR (Motor Vehicle Report) to avoid driver disqualification or the classic response –“Sorry, we can’t hire you at this moment” phrase that employers often use.

Commit to Owner Operator Trucking Safety

All owner operator companies like to remind you that safety is first in their company, and they hope you have a clean record and no Preventable Accidents for the last 3 years.  Not complying with the requirements could mean the difference between finding highest paying owner operator jobs and having to start looking for another career in owner operator trucking. That is why we emphasize so much to commit to being a safe trucker. If you are seriously interested in making commercial trucking a lifetime career and want to be a successful as an owner operator then you need to keep a clean driving record. That’ll get you access to the high paying jobs, loads, and all the benefits that quality truck drivers get when they join the best owner operator companies.

While this may seem to you like an impossible task in owner operator trucking, it really is not that hard to do. You have to consider that all these laws were created for you and other truckers around you to have a safe trip all the way. We understand that usually speeding may get you where you need to go more quickly, but it can also get your driving record blemished by being nailed with a ticket, or even worse an accident, and that is more than enough to ruin anyone’s day and any future hiring opportunities. That is why in the owner operator trucking business we recommend to take a deep breath and plan your trip, leave earlier and be patient. The longer you go without a traffic ticket the sooner you will get the steady income that you want with no hassle.

Building Your Reputation in Owner Operator Trucking Does Matter

By now, you know that owner operator companies’ biggest concern is complying with safety regulations on order to maintain a good company safety ranking. Is because of this reason that if your performance as an owner operator trucker is clean, meaning you have a clean driving record, you will be able to have more job opening and have the benefit of choosing between the companies that will offer more money.

The best owner operator trucking companies like Status Transportation are interested in protecting their reputation and so should you, because in owner operator trucking you are your own company. Owner operator trucking companies want to hire drivers that are willing to protect their loads and not just to transport it, but to comply with every safety regulation. In addition, one of the first question these kind of companies may ask immediately after your last name is – “Do you have a clean driving record? We hope that you will be the one that says –Yes, of course, I do.

Having a clean driving record in owner operator trucking gives you the peace of mind that you will have a steady job year around, and that your reputation will take care of you owner operator pay over time. Ask any experienced owner operator and they will say is a no-brainer, just keep it simple do not risk it, it is just not worth it to do otherwise. The consequences or penalties for not having a clean driving record could be more severe than you might think.

Remember that the best truck owner operators are aware that they must be careful. Then you just have to accept your responsibility of being a safe truck driver, to be held accountable for your record and to face the consequences of your actions behind the wheel. Don’t do it for your employer, do it for you and your loved ones, they depend on you. Always think that is better to spend the money with them than to use it to pay for a ticket.

What To Do If You Get Pulled Over?

Owner operator trucking clean driving recordAt some point in your owner operator trucking career, you will get a citation from a DOT officer or an officer that thinks you violated a traffic regulation. Not to worry, we will give you some recommendations on how to handle it from when the officer asks you for your CDL and registration to when the officer has finished writing the citation. Hopefully if following these recommendations the officer might even let you go with a verbal warning. This will determine how it affects your future owner operator trucking career, so put special attention on the following:

  1. Acknowledge the officer by turning on flashers. Let the officer know that you’ve seen his lights and that you plan on pulling over while you reduce your speed, especially when you think you’ll need to drive a distance before you can find a safe place to pull over.
  2. Stay in the truck and keep your seatbelt on. Do this until you are absolutely sure the officer has seen you with it. You do not want to make the officer nervous concerning his security. Traffic stops are one of the most dangerous and unpredictable aspects of law enforcement, that is why is better to put yourself in the officer’s shoes and be calm.
  3. Turn off the engine and start gathering your CDL, registration, and paperwork. Do not wait for the officer to ask for your paperwork and then go searching in the truck to find it; this could make the officer a bit nervous concerning his security unnecessarily. Have them on your lap ready for when the officer arrives at your window and only hand the documents the officer asks for. After doing so put your hands on the wheel, this will calm the officer and you’ll make he or she know that you are trying to make he or she feel safe and comfortable.
  4. Answer questions with the shortest and honest answer possible. Everything you say to an officer is admissible in court, so if you plan on fighting your ticket be respectful and polite, regardless of the officer’s attitude. When asked if you know why you were pulled over, never give an answer that can be used as an admission of guilt, officers will typically ask questions to get some sort of admission from you, simply say,I’m not sure, but I know for sure you’ve stopped me for a good reason officer”. However, if it was too obvious and not too severe just admitted and say, “I’m sorry officer, I’ll pay more attention next time”. Sometimes you can get off with a warning by showing the officer some courtesies.
      
  5. Sign the citation without arguing.  If the officer decides to issue a citation, he will ask you to sign it. Signing it. It’s not an admission of guilt, it’s just recognition that you’ve received the citation and that you promise to either pay the fine or show up to court on the designated date.
  6. Finally, thank the officer for doing his job. Even if he or she lets you go with a verbal warning, always thank him for doing his job and take your time to store your paperwork before you re-enter traffic. Even if you are upset, pull together before driving away. Your attitude is very important even at this point.When you are ready, turn on your signal and merge back into traffic with calm.

What To Do If You Have a Ticket And You Don’t Want It On Your Record?

For this part, we want to help you with a few suggestion for you to be ready to fight a ticket and disputing the charges in court to avoid having any citation or violation show up on your MVR (Motor Vehicle Report). Take note that states and counties across the US vary in the way they handle citations. For that reason, you will want to get the specifics for contesting a traffic ticket in the area you were cited.

Sometimes is better to hire a traffic attorney expert in traffic tickets or let your owner operator trucking company handle it, but that depends on your specific case. We recommend it if you think this violation you’re facing could get on your record. Sometimes it pays to get professional legal help from these lawyers that often devote their entire practice to traffic tickets. Some even offer a money-back guarantee if they fail to keep the ticket off your record. In addition, most of them usually have a free consultation, so you have nothing to lose.

If you want to contest a ticket, consider doing the following:

  1. Write down every detail.  As soon as the officer leaves, write down every detail, starting from before you were pulled over to when the officer drove off. The more detailed, the better: Address you were pulled at, mileage, hour, the name of the officer, what the officer said or asked, what you answered. Take photos if you can, all of this information will help you or your attorney to the established a good defense, the effort can really pay off if you plan to contest a traffic ticket.
  2. Always contest a traffic ticket.  Is a quick and easy way to pay a ticket without going to court and avoid dealing with the situation, it has some disadvantages for your career though: You will be admitting guilt for the violation and paying the maximum fine. On the other hand, if you go to court you have a chance of getting the judge to reduce your fine or even beating the ticket. We know the court option doesn’t appeal to many drivers because it means investing time and energy, and possibly missing work but It’s vital to protect that CDL at all costs in the owner operator trucking industry.
  3. Finally, check your citation instructions. If you decide to fight your ticket in court, make sure know and understand your citation instructions on where and when to go.

Become An Educated Owner Operator

We recommend that you continue your education and stay on top of all information regarding owner operator trucking. That does not necessarily mean that you have to go to a school, you can get a lot of information on the internet these days, you just have to invest some time on yourself and read a little from now and then. We recommend this few points from where you can start to do some research to improve your knowledge:

  • You can consult the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to learn from common questions from owner operators and their answers of how a trucker can be disqualified.
  • Visit the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations web page in section D- Driver Disqualification and Penalties, to learn the specifics of part 383 COMMERCIAL DRIVER’S LICENSE STANDARDS; REQUIREMENTS AND PENALTIES.
  • The safety department team at Status Transportation is always ready to answer any questions you may have as an owner operator.
  • Take a driving safety course, find one appropriate for you one that your state will accept, in few states, you can take one online. However, don’t assume an online class will be “easier.” You might find it harder to focus when taking a class online.
  • Learn about the CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability), is the safety compliance and enforcement program of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that holds owner operator trucking carriers and owner operators accountable for their role in safety.
  • Learn how to fight any thicket before they get on your record. Yes, you can fight them. This is particularly important if you’ve been charged with a DUI or other offense that will stay on your record for a long time.
  • Keep a traffic attorney close to you, you can find a traffic attorney by contacting your nearest bar association. You never know when you might need one if you work in the owner operator trucking industry, so at least have his number on your cell phone.

Fore more tips on how to thrive in the owner operator trucking business visit the Status Transportation website at www.statustransportation.com

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