Health History Risk for the Dentist

Failing to properly consider patient’s medical history could cost a life—and millions of dollars. In 2009, a New Jersey court awarded the family of a 21-year-old man $11 million in a lawsuit against an oral surgeon. The man had a genetic disorder that caused his throat to swell during surgery, thereby suffocating him. The court found the surgeon, who knew about the condition, to be negligent.

Claims of malpractice may result from careless decisions made during or after a procedure. Yet many involve poor treatment planning and patient evaluation issues that occur before the patient ever touches the chair. While accidents during procedures can always happen, failure to understand your patient’s health risks do not. Here’s what you need to know to help keep your patients safe during procedures and keep your practice safe in court.

Elements of dental malpractice lawsuits

An injured patient makes a successful case for dental malpractice when they establish the dentist-patient relationship, the appropriate standard of care (determined by the witness of other dentists), a breach of that standard of care leading to injury, and the severity of the injury.

It’s important to understand that you are liable for harm to patients in even the worst or most complicated condition. This principle is called the “egg shell” plaintiff rule, and it makes getting informed consent and installing other preventative practices extremely important.

Best practices for dentists and oral surgeons

Here are the four ways to protect yourself from claims of malpractice due to overlooking a patient’s health history.

1. Look for red flags. While you need to do a thorough evaluation of every patient, there are certain indicators in a patient’s health record that suggest they require extra concern. Patients with a history of smoking or any systemic diseases that could affect healing or bone density should be given an intensive pre-operative evaluation. Don’t hesitate to consult other medical or dental professionals if you see something out of the norm in a patient’s medical history.

2. Communicate. This rule applies to patients and other professionals. It’s extremely important that you acquire written informed consent from patients before any procedure. In other words, tell your patients exactly what you’re going to do and what the risks are, and don’t do anything until they’ve signed a written document that states they’re willing to undergo the procedure anyway. States determine exactly how informed consent should be implemented.

Additionally, making sure you and your staff are simply attentive and courteous to your patients can also lower your risk of malpractice suits. Many injured patients filing malpractice claims feel cheated by their dentist and ignored by the staff.

Finally, if any patient is referred to you or will be referred to another professional, make sure a comprehensive report on their medical history gets transferred along with them. This includes any notes on potential changes to their condition and concerns the patient has verbally brought up.

3. Document everything. Written informed consent and any patient refusals of treatment are especially important documents to protect against claims of malpractice. A comprehensive dental record also includes a clear chronology of events, treatment plans, communication between patient and dentist, copies of written informed consent, the patient’s health history form and evidence that the dentist reviewed it with them, and notes about the patient’s treatment.

4. Carry insurance. Unfortunately, dentists are occasionally accused of malpractice without cause. Even in cases where proper documentation and communication proves that a dentist upheld the standard of care, these lawsuits can be expensive. Dental Malpractice insurance can cover the cost of malpractice lawsuits.

When evaluating a patient, don’t neglect their health history. Look for red flags, such as a history of smoking or genetic disease. Make sure to communicate and document constantly. Making these steps routine will reduce the risk of unintended injury to your patient and unmanageable cost to your practice.

As always, we are here to help you any way we can. Please don’t hesitate to call or email if you need us.

The Deerfield Team
800.233.6428
info@deerfieldadvisors.com


Sources:

“Why Dentists Can’t Afford to Overlook Patient Health History.” Allied Health. https://alliedhealth.insureon.com/news/why-dentists-cant-afford-to-overlook-patient-health-history

Bacter, Crystal. “A Review of Dental Negligence.” Dentristy IQ. http://www.dentistryiq.com/articles/wdj/print/volume-2/issue-8/you-and-your-practice/a-review-of-dental-negligence.html

Chowdri, Prathyusha. “Dental Malpractice Lawsuits.” NOLO. http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/dental-malpractice-lawsuits.html

 

DISCLAIMER

This article is intended only as a general discussion of these issues & we cannot guarantee the accuracy thereof. It does not purport to provide legal, accounting, or other professional advice. If such advice is needed, please consult with your attorney, accountant, or other qualified adviser. The Views expressed here do not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein is for general guidance of matter only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Accordingly, the information provided herein is provided with the understanding that Deerfield Advisors is not engaged in rendering legal advice. Deerfield Advisors strongly advises that clients and/or the reader of this publication contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem discussed here. Also, please know that discussions of insurance policy language is descriptive only. We strongly advise that one’s individual policy & one’s advisor be consulted regarding this subject matter before any action is taken in any way. Coverage afforded under any insurance policy issued is subject to individual policy terms and conditions. The Deerfield Advisor White Paper Series is a registered trademark of Deerfield Asset Management Inc. DBA, Deerfield Advisors and is produced by Deerfield Advisors for the benefit of its clients, and any other use is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2016

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Texas Supreme Court allows loss-of-use damages for total loss cases

Written by: The Deerfield Team

DF-transportation-square-web Clipd png

On January 8, 2016, the Texas Supreme Court released a decision that reversed a 60-year trend in Texas auto insurance litigation. In J&D Towing, LLC vs. American Alternative Insurance Corp. (AAIC), the Court reversed a confusing trend of prohibiting the recovery of loss-of-use damages in total loss cases.

Traditionally, claimants whose damaged property can be repaired are entitled to recover the cost of repairs as well as loss-of-use damages. Because claimants whose property is totally destroyed often replace the property immediately, and because courts have tried to limit the possibility of double recovery, claimants who have suffered a total loss have only been entitled to the fair market value of the lost property.

Though it has been the norm in Texas courts for decades, the Fort Worth Court of Appeals decided in Morrison v. Campbell in 2014 that “there is no compelling or logical reason to treat loss of use claims differently in destroyed property cases than we do in repairable property cases.” The Court was not trying to establish a new general rule, but ruled that a claimant should be able to recover loss-of-use damages on top of the fair market value of lost property when an insurer delays payment on a total loss.

This 2014 ruling helped support J&D Trucking’s successful appeal to the Texas Supreme Court concluded two years later.

Chronology of the case: How J&D Towing, LLC vs. American Alternative Insurance Corp. (AAIC) upended a 60-year tradition

  1. In December 2011, on its way to repossess a vehicle, J&D Towing’s only tow truck was struck in the passenger side by a car. All parties agreed that the accident was caused by the third-party driver.
  2. After two months of negotiation, J&D reached a settlement for the limit for property damage on the other driver’s policy, $25,000, which exceeded the assessed value of the truck by $5,500.
  3. J&D filed a claim with its own insurer, AAIC, under its underinsured-motorist policy, asking for compensation for loss of use of the truck for 9-10 weeks.
  4. AAIC denied the claim, canceling the policy.
  5. J&D sued AAIC for damages totaling either $27,866.25 or $29,416.25.
  6.  AAIC argued that J&D is not legally entitled to loss of use damages, because Texas law does not permit the recovery of these damages in cases of total destruction.
  7. The trial court ruled in favor of the towing company, awarding J&D $22,500 in damages for the loss of use of the truck (after subtracting the $5,500 already paid on top of the value of the truck).
  8. AAIC appealed. The state appeals court overruled the trial court. It ruled in favor of the insurer, agreeing that Texas law does not permit loss-of-use damages in total-destruction cases.
  9. J&D appealed to the Texas Supreme Court. The Court acknowledged that appeals courts in Texas have been inconsistent in allowing or prohibiting loss-of-use damages in total destruction cases. The Court decided in favor of J&D Towing, concluding that loss-of-use damages should be available in total loss cases.

The Texas Supreme Court was careful to encourage future total loss cases to be considered according to their own particular circumstances, and provided some guidelines. The ruling leaves many unanswered questions in its wake, such as how damages in total loss cases should be measured, whether the new ruling will be abused by claimants as previously feared, and whether insurers will be motivated to settle claims more efficiently. The full impact of this historical decision will be felt in the coming years.

As always, we are here to help you any way we can. Please don’t hesitate to call or email if you need us.

The Deerfield Team
800.233.6428
info@deerfieldadvisors.com


SOURCES:

Bean, Philip K. “Litigation Update: Loss-of-Use Damages in the Event of a Total Loss,” Kane Russell Coleman & Logan PC. Published in Lexology. Aug 31, 2015. http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=c8f15a4a-b006-42f8-a0c9-468169d2e630

Craven, William, and Gregory Hudson. “Texas Rule Change: Supreme Court Holds Loss of Use Damages Are Recoverable Where Property Total Loss,” Property Insurance Law Observer. Jan 15, 2016. http://propertyinsurancelawobserver.com/2016/01/15/texas-rule-change-supreme-%20court-holds-loss-of-use-damages-are-recoverable-where-property-total-loss/

Jones, Stephanie K. “Texas Supreme Court: Loss-of-Use Damages Allowed in Total Loss Cases,” Insurance Journal. Jan 21, 2016. http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southcentral/2016/01/21/396028.htm

“Loss of Use Law and Legal Definition,” US Legal. http://definitions.uslegal.com/l/loss-of-use/

McGrath, Richard A. “When Is A Loss A Total Loss?” McGrath Insurance Group, Inc. http://www.mcgrathinsurance.com/node/164

“What is Double Recovery?” Black’s Law Dictionary Free Online Legal Dictionary 2nd Ed. http://thelawdictionary.org/double-recovery/

 

DISCLAIMER

This article is intended only as a general discussion of these issues & we cannot guarantee the accuracy thereof. It does not purport to provide legal, accounting, or other professional advice. If such advice is needed, please consult with your attorney, accountant, or other qualified adviser. The Views expressed here do not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein is for general guidance of matter only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Accordingly, the information provided herein is provided with the understanding that Deerfield Advisors is not engaged in rendering legal advice. Deerfield Advisors strongly advises that clients and/or the reader of this publication contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem discussed here. Also, please know that discussions of insurance policy language is descriptive only. We strongly advise that one’s individual policy & one’s advisor be consulted regarding this subject matter before any action is taken in any way. Coverage afforded under any insurance policy issued is subject to individual policy terms and conditions. The Deerfield Advisor White Paper Series is a registered trademark of Deerfield Asset Management Inc. DBA, Deerfield Advisors and is produced by Deerfield Advisors for the benefit of its clients, and any other use is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2016

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FMCSA Basics: Driver Regulations

 Written by: The Deerfield Team

DF-transportation-square-web Clipd pngThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates interstate trucking and bus transportation. The agency’s regulations and methodologies are ever always in flux, with changes proposed as recently as January 15, 2016. The medical qualifications and regulations for drivers are no exception, though general requirements have remained relatively consistent.

Here’s what you need to know about general requirements and recent changes in the regulations.

Driver Requirements:

For the legal, in-depth version of driver requirements, view Rule 391 on the FMCSA website. In short, CMV drivers are required to:

• Be at least 21 years old
• Be able to read and speak the English language well enough to dothe job
• Be able to safely operate the motor vehicle he/she will be driving
• Be physically qualified to operate the vehicle
• Have a currently valid commercial motor vehicle operator’s license issued by his/her state of residence
• Not be disqualified to operate a motor vehicle
• Have successfully completed a road test or its equivalent
• Follow the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations
• Have a Driver Qualification File w/Medical Certification

A Driver Qualification (DQ) file consists of:

• An application for employment
• A motor vehicle record (MVR) from states
• Previous employer information
• Road test form and certificate or license or certificate accepted in lieu of road test
• Medical exam certificate, original or a copy, plus any letter granting a waiver of a physical disqualification
• Annual motor vehicle record
• Annual review of driving record
• Annual list of violations
• Entry-level driver training certificate (if applicable)
• Longer combination vehicle driver training certificate (if applicable)

Physical Qualifications

To qualify physically, drivers must not have any the following conditions if it is likely to interfere with ability:

• A loss of foot, leg hand or arm
• An impairment of hand or finger which interferes with power grasping
• An impairment of arm, foot, leg
• A history or clinical diagnosis of diabetes that currently requires insulin for control
• A current diagnosis of myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, coronary insufficiency, or thrombosis
• A history or clinical diagnosis of respiratory dysfunction
• A current diagnosis of high blood pressure
• A history or clinical diagnosis of rheumatic, arthritic, orthopedic, muscular, neuromuscular, or vascular disease
• A history or clinical diagnosis of epilepsy or any other condition likely to cause loss of consciousness
• A mental, nervous, organic, or functional disease or psychiatric disorder
• Use of a Schedule I drug, amphetamine, narcotic, or any other habit-forming drug
• A current clinical diagnosis of alcoholism

Drivers must also:

• Have eyesight of at least 20/40 in each eye, or corrected to 20/40 or better
• Have a field of vision of at least 70 degrees horizontally
• Be able to perceive red, green and amber
• Be able to perceive a forced whisper in the better ear at no less than five feet (with or without the use of a hearing aid)

Recent Developments

Linking medical status to CDL status: By January 2014, drivers were required to have presented their medical certification status to their state’s DMV to bind their medical to CDL status.

Approved medical examiners: Starting May 21, 2014, drivers seeking new certification or certification renewal had to be medically certified by examiners approved by the agency.

Altered medical exams: In April, 2015, the FMCSA issued a final rule that changed driver medical exams from December on. The most significant change was an expansion of the medical history form truck drivers must fill out before the exam. In December 2015, the FMCSA granted a 120-day grace period on these medical examination rules.

Medical Exemptions:

In May 2015, the FMCSA proposed rules that would release truck drivers with controlled diabetes from having to seek and renew exemptions from the FMCSA.¹  The rule has not been passed yet. In January 2016, The FMCSA exempted 59 truck drivers (many blind in one eye) from the vision requirement and 36 drivers who have insulin-treated diabetes mellitus from the diabetes restriction. ² To apply for an exemption, visit the Driver Exemption Programs page of the FMCSA website or contact the Federal Diabetes and Vision Exemption Program at (703) 448-3094.

As always, we are here to help you any way we can. Please don’t hesitate to call or email if you need us.

The Deerfield Team
800.233.6428
info@deerfieldadvisors.com


References:

  1. http://www.ttnews.com/articles/basetemplate.aspx?storyid=38159
  2. http://thehill.com/regulation/265194-new-regs-for-monday-truck-drivers-beer-guns

SOURCES:

Chiro Stop. “FMCSA Rules and Regulations.” http://dotphysicalutah.com/faq/fmcsa-rules-and-regulations/

Devaney, Tim. “New regs for Monday: Truck drivers, beer, guns,” The Hill. Jan 8 2016. http://thehill.com/regulation/265194-new-regs-for-monday-truck-drivers-beer-guns

Dills, Todd. “Eric Toms’ cancelled CDL privileges,” Overdrive Online. Jan 1 2016
http://www.overdriveonline.com/another-medical-certification-cautionary-tale-eric-toms-cancelledcdl-privileges/ Another medical certification cautionary tale:

Driver Exemption Programs. FMCSA. September 22, 2015.
https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/medical/driver-medical-requirements/driver-exemption-programs

Fuetsch, Michele. “FMCSA Mulling Over Whether Exemption Process Is Necessary for Diabetic Drivers,” Transport Topics. May 5 2015.
http://www.ttnews.com/articles/basetemplate.aspx?storyid=38159

 

DISCLAIMER

This article is intended only as a general discussion of these issues & we cannot guarantee the accuracy thereof. It does not purport to provide legal, accounting, or other professional advice. If such advice is needed, please consult with your attorney, accountant, or other qualified adviser. The Views expressed here do not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein is for general guidance of matter only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Accordingly, the information provided herein is provided with the understanding that Deerfield Advisors is not engaged in rendering legal advice. Deerfield Advisors strongly advises that clients and/or the reader of this publication contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem discussed here. Also, please know that discussions of insurance policy language is descriptive only. We strongly advise that one’s individual policy & one’s advisor be consulted regarding this subject matter before any action is taken in any way. Coverage afforded under any insurance policy issued is subject to individual policy terms and conditions. The Deerfield Advisor White Paper Series is a registered trademark of Deerfield Asset Management Inc. DBA, Deerfield Advisors and is produced by Deerfield Advisors for the benefit of its clients, and any other use is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2016

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FMCSA Overview

Written by: The Deerfield Team

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the safety of Commercial Motor Vehicles, or CMVs. It is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Transportation whose primary mission is “to prevent crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses,” according to its Facebook page.

What is a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV)?

A CMV is a vehicle used on highways in interstate commerce that either:

  • Weighs more than 10,000 lbs. (26,000 lbs. in Texas)
  • Transports or is designed to transport 16 or more people (including the driver), or -more than 8 people for compensations
  • Transports hazardous materials in quantities requiring placarding

What does the FMCSA do?

The agency’s mission is to “reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving commercial motor vehicle (CMV) transportation through education, innovation, regulation, enforcement, financial assistance, partnerships, and full accountability.”¹ Its three core principles involve raising the bar to entry for the industry, hold carriers and drivers to high safety standards, and remove the highest risk drivers, vehicles, and carriers (truck and bus companies) from the roads.

The FMCSA enforces safety regulations, improves information systems and CMV technologies, keeps operating and equipment standards high, and generally promotes safety awareness. It works closely with Federal, State, and local enforcement agencies, as well as the motor carrier industry and organized labor groups. While the FMCSA’s work targets CMV drivers and carriers, the agency also promotes safety awareness to the public through various programs and resources, such as Look Before You Book and Protect Your Move.

History and success

Formerly a part of the Federal Highway Administration, the FMCSA was established in 2000 in accordance with the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 (49 U.S.C. 113). Its current chief counsel is T.F. Scott Darling III. The FMCSA is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and employs over 1,000 people in all 50 states. A Division Administrator, who works with a Federal Program Manager, Border Supervisor, Safety Investigators, Auditors, and Inspectors to carry out the agency’s programs and regulations, oversees each state Division office.

The FMCSA has been largely successful in its efforts. Between 2000-2011, the fatality rate of large truck and bus crashes dropped 33.7%. The FMCSA continues to push to lower that number. It publishes Motor Carrier Safety Progress Reports several times per year, a pocket guide to relevant statistics (March 2013), and an annual report about Large Truck and Bus Crash Statistics (2013).

Budget & programs

In 2015 the FMCSA requested an annual budget of approximately $668 million to support the FMCSA 2012-2016 Strategic Plan, which aligns with the United States Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Strategic Framework and Roadway Safety Plan (RSP). Of the $668 million requested, 94% was allocated to safety programs, with over 50% of those funds for grants to State organizations.

The FMCSA publishes develops programs and publishes legislation for CMV carriers and drivers. These fall under three basic categories: regulations, registration, and safety. Regulations are published in the Federal Register and compiled in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

The cornerstone of FMCSA’s compliance and enforcement program is Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA), which identifies noncompliance with safety regulations largely through its data analysis technology, the Safety Measurement System (SAS). The FMCSA is in the process of studying and updating its Hours of Service (HOS) regulation, which tries to minimize CMV driver fatigue on the job. The agency also implemented the National Registry rule in 2014, which raised the standards for all Medical Examiners (MEs) issuing medical certifications for interstate CMV drivers. A planned extension of this rule would make it even more difficult for drivers to falsify medical cards.

As always, we are here to help you any way we can. Please don’t hesitate to call or email if you need us.

The Deerfield Team
800.233.6428
info@deerfieldadvisors.com

 


FMCSA Contact Information:

You can contact the FMCSA directly or its State field office via phone or email.

FEDERAL HEADQUARTERS :

Phone: +1 800-832-5660 Email: fmcsasocialmedia@dot.gov  |   Website: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov

TEXAS DIVISION FIELD OFFICE: 903 San Jacinto Blvd, Suite 101 Austin, TX 78701   |   Phone: (512) 916-5440 Fax: (512) 916-5482

References:

  1. https://www.facebook.com/FMCSA/info/?tab=page_info

SOURCES:

DISCLAIMER

This article is intended only as a general discussion of these issues & we cannot guarantee the accuracy thereof. It does not purport to provide legal, accounting, or other professional advice. If such advice is needed, please consult with your attorney, accountant, or other qualified adviser. The Views expressed here do not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein is for general guidance of matter only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Accordingly, the information provided herein is provided with the understanding that Deerfield Advisors is not engaged in rendering legal advice. Deerfield Advisors strongly advises that clients and/or the reader of this publication contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem discussed here. Also, please know that discussions of insurance policy language is descriptive only. We strongly advise that one’s individual policy & one’s advisor be consulted regarding this subject matter before any action is taken in any way. Coverage afforded under any insurance policy issued is subject to individual policy terms and conditions. The Deerfield Advisor White Paper Series is a registered trademark of Deerfield Asset Management Inc. DBA, Deerfield Advisors and is produced by Deerfield Advisors for the benefit of its clients, and any other use is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2016

How Important Is Cargo Securement?

Written by: The Deerfield Team

How many times have you witnessed a truck/trailer (small or large), with loose or improperly secured cargo? A piece of loose cargo can easily bounce off the vehicle and present a hazard to other motorists or pedestrians. As truck operators, you are expected to safeguard the product transported.

The motoring public expects a company or organization to protect it against the risk of becoming involved in a crash caused by shifting or falling cargo. Safe cargo handling minimizes company liability exposure and helps project a safety-conscious corporate image.

Also, cargo securement expect fleet managers to protect the company from expensive claims whether those claims are cargo or tool/material losses or third-party liability claims.

In addition to strictly monetary costs, other potential costs may arise:

  • The impact of an injury or fatality.
  • The effect on customers if the cargo or service is not delivered.
  • The impact on a company’s third-party insurance rates.
  • The consequences of a vehicle loss on business operations.

To proactively deal with these cost and liability issues, a company must develop and implement a cargo securement process. Ensure all drivers are adequately trained for the specific class of vehicle they operate. As the old adage advises, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Cover the Basics of Cargo Securement

Good housekeeping practices for all fleet and non fleet vehicles are important. A clean, tidy vehicle is the first step in projecting a positive corporate image to customers and the motoring public.

  • Complete a thorough pre-trip vehicle inspection, including all components and accessories.
  • Remove all debris from the vehicle bed or trailer deck. These areas can sustain a certain amount of damage from normal use; make sure they are in good repair.
  • A critical precaution is securing a vehicle from movement while it is loaded. The parking brake may be adequate on smaller vehicles, while larger vehicles may require parking chalks.
  • Ensure the vehicle is correctly sized if it hauls large or bulky items.
  • Cargo Inspection, Securement Devices & Systems As transporters under FMCSR regulation 392.9, companies and drivers are required to: Properly distribute and secure cargo.
  • Secure all vehicle load securement devices (chains, straps, and tarps) and cargo.
  • Ensure drivers have clear visibility on all sides of the vehicle.
  • Ensure drivers have free movement of their arms and legs.
  • Provide driver access to emergency equipment and easy vehicle exit.
  • Inspect the load and devices to secure the load prior to beginning trip.
  • Inspect the load within the first 50 miles and adjust securement devices as needed.
  • Re-examine the load and securement devices during the trip, adjusting as needed.
  • Re-examination intervals must occur whenever a change-of-duty status occurs and when the vehicle has been in operation more than three hours or driven 150 miles (whichever occurs first).

Protect Against Shifting and Falling Cargo

Under Part FMCRS 393.100, the company and driver must ensure cargo transported on a public road is loaded in a manner that prevents the cargo from leaking, spilling, blowing, or falling from the vehicle. In addition, the load or vehicle contents must be secured to prevent shifting. Further, any load shifting may not negatively affect vehicle stability or maneuverability.

States Regulate Vehicle and Axle Weights

Individual states may have both gross vehicle and per-axle weight restrictions. Furthermore, some states may also have cargo covering requirements. Fleet managers and drivers must be knowledgeable about the regulations and restrictions in each state company vehicles travel.

In summary, a poorly or overloaded loaded vehicle is difficult to operate and can contribute to excessive wear and poor fuel economy. Everyone benefits from a sound cargo securement policy: companies, drivers, customers, and the motoring public.

As always, we are here to help you any way we can. Please don’t hesitate to call or email if you need us.

The Deerfield Team
800.233.6428
info@deerfieldadvisors.com


SOURCES:

Article found in Work Truck Magazine. About the Author – Mike Butsch is North America/fleet alliance manager for Joy Global, a worldwide machinery and services company.

 

DISCLAIMER

This article is intended only as a general discussion of these issues & we cannot guarantee the accuracy thereof. It does not purport to provide legal, accounting, or other professional advice. If such advice is needed, please consult with your attorney, accountant, or other qualified adviser. The Views expressed here do not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein is for general guidance of matter only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Accordingly, the information provided herein is provided with the understanding that Deerfield Advisors is not engaged in rendering legal advice. Deerfield Advisors strongly advises that clients and/or the reader of this publication contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem discussed here. Also, please know that discussions of insurance policy language is descriptive only. We strongly advise that one’s individual policy & one’s advisor be consulted regarding this subject matter before any action is taken in any way. Coverage afforded under any insurance policy issued is subject to individual policy terms and conditions. The Deerfield Advisor White Paper Series is a registered trademark of Deerfield Asset Management Inc. DBA, Deerfield Advisors and is produced by Deerfield Advisors for the benefit of its clients, and any other use is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2016

 

 

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“Lets Talk About Driving”

Written by: The Deerfield Team

Are you a good driver? Do you know that the Safety Measurement System Results from the FMCSA website could affect your insurance rating? The SMS is a recompilation of public information of your trucking business to evaluate your safety compliance with regulation. SMS_graphic3

This information includes driving violations, crash history, fatigue, driver fitness, drugs and alcohol Cargo and maintenance. You can also find your OOS ( out of service).  It is important to know that Insurance Company underwriters have the capability and duty to check these results to get to know their risks. They could base part of their insurance rating from the information obtained not only from the MVR (Motor Vehicle Record), but also from the SMS. 10steps

TIPS :

  • Deerfield Advisors advises you follow the “10 steps for good driving” featured, to get on the road in perfect alignment with regulation.
  • The FMCSA encourages you to check your SMS results periodically. You can also correct any erroneous data by request to the FMCSA.

Our commitment to you is to inform you of the benefits of having a good driving record and an excellent maintenance program for your trucks  to be able to get a great insurance coverage at as low a cost as possible.

As always, we are here to help you any way we can. Please don’t hesitate to call or email if you need us.

The Deerfield Team

800.233.6428

info@deerfieldadvisors.com

 

 


DISCLAIMER

This article is intended only as a general discussion of these issues & we cannot guarantee the accuracy thereof. It does not purport to provide legal, accounting, or other professional advice. If such advice is needed, please consult with your attorney, accountant, or other qualified adviser. The Views expressed here do not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein is for general guidance of matter only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Accordingly, the information provided herein is provided with the understanding that Deerfield Advisors is not engaged in rendering legal advice. Deerfield Advisors strongly advises that clients and/or the reader of this publication contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem discussed here. Also, please know that discussions of insurance policy language is descriptive only. We strongly advise that one’s individual policy & one’s advisor be consulted regarding this subject matter before any action is taken in any way. Coverage afforded under any insurance policy issued is subject to individual policy terms and conditions. The Deerfield Advisor White Paper Series is a registered trademark of Deerfield Asset Management Inc. DBA, Deerfield Advisors and is produced by Deerfield Advisors for the benefit of its clients, and any other use is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2016

 

 

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Cargo Theft — Security and Responsibility

Written by: The Deerfield Team

Cargo Theft is a common crime; a crime of opportunity. Cargo goods are easy to access and abundant across the country.  truckphoto_recolorStatistics estimate that cargo theft cost the shipping industry about $25 billion a year.

Cargo theft happens frequently in terminals, truck stops, warehouses, parking lots, and most commonly in trucks parked on the street. This is a problem that occurs all around the country.

 

To minimize Cargo theft we recommend these Prevention Procedures:

About Personnel:

Get to know your drivers before hiring by performing a pre-employment screening.

Unattended Trucks:

Make sure your units are equipped with an alarm system and locked completely.

About Routes:

Make sure your routes are done with a minimum of stops and don’t leave your vehicle unattended in an unsecured area at any time.

About Subcontractors:

If you use subcontractors you need to obtain as much information about the company and driver as possible.

About Equipment:

Secure all trailers or containers making sure they are seal/locked correctly and against a wall.

Yards or Parking Lots:

Ensure adequate lightning, fences and security cameras and guards are provided to prevent unauthorized vehicles from entering the location.

As always, we are here to help you any way we can. Please don’t hesitate to call or email if you need us.

The Deerfield Team
800.233.6428
info@deerfieldadvisors.com

 


DISCLAIMER

This article is intended only as a general discussion of these issues & we cannot guarantee the accuracy thereof. It does not purport to provide legal, accounting, or other professional advice. If such advice is needed, please consult with your attorney, accountant, or other qualified adviser. The Views expressed here do not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein is for general guidance of matter only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Accordingly, the information provided herein is provided with the understanding that Deerfield Advisors is not engaged in rendering legal advice. Deerfield Advisors strongly advises that clients and/or the reader of this publication contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem discussed here. Also, please know that discussions of insurance policy language is descriptive only. We strongly advise that one’s individual policy & one’s advisor be consulted regarding this subject matter before any action is taken in any way. Coverage afforded under any insurance policy issued is subject to individual policy terms and conditions. The Deerfield Advisor White Paper Series is a registered trademark of Deerfield Asset Management Inc. DBA, Deerfield Advisors and is produced by Deerfield Advisors for the benefit of its clients, and any other use is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2016

 

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Key FMCSA Resources & Definitions for Carriers

Written by: The Deerfield Team

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Transportation whose primary mission is “to prevent crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses”.¹  This mission translates into a large range of programs and thousands of pages of regulations and resources for carriers, drivers, and consumers.

In this section of our FMCSA series, we’ll look at key resources and terms for truck and bus companies looking to comply with federal standards.

Key Resources

The FMCSA website contains a wealth of information. For example, Carriers can find their company profile and safety information on the Registration and Licensing page. Full updated regulations can be viewed and searched through the Regulations page of the FCMSA website. The website also features 94 FAQs specifically relevant to Carriers.

There are thousands of pages of very specific information on the FMCSA website. In 2009 the agency published an easy-to-read guide to the most relevant information: the 162-page A Motor Carrier’s Guide to Improving Highway Safety, a PDF accessible online.

~ Important Definitions ~

The following terms are essential to understand as a carrier.

  • Interstate vs. Intrastate Commerce

Interstate commerce describes a vehicle, passengers, or cargo that crosses a state boundary or intends to cross a state boundary. Intrastate commerce occurs within one state.

  • FMCSRs

FMCSR is an acronym for Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation. These are published in the Federal Register and compiled in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), parts 300-399. You can search regulations, rule making documents, and notices on the Regulations page of the FMCSA website.

  • HMRs

HMRs are Hazardous Materials Regulations. (HMs are hazardous materials.) Information about HRMs, including the top 20 cargo tank facility violations and minimum levels of financial responsibility, can be found on the Hazardous Materials/Dangerous Goods Regulations page of the FMCSA website.

  • Motor Carrier Identification Report

Also known as Form MCS- 150, this report is the application for a US DOT number. To apply, you need a PIN, a federal tax ID/EIN, and credit card.

  • U.S. DOT Number

A U.S. DOT Number is a unique identifier used for monitoring a company’s safety information gathered from audits, compliance reviews, crash investigations, and inspections.² It is required that companies operating CMVs in interstate commerce and companies transporting quantities of HMs requiring a safety permit within a state acquire a DOT Number. You can register online or request a PIN number for registration on the FMCSA website.

  • Safety Audit

A safety audit is an examination of a motor carrier’s operations to assess the carrier’s safety performance and provide help meeting the requirements of FMCSRs and applicable HMRs. They do not result in safety ratings.

  • Safety Management Controls

Safety management controls are all the ways in which a carrier ensures compliance with relevant safety regulations.

  • Compliance Review

A compliance review is an on-site examination of motor carrier operations to make sure a motor carrier meets the safety fitness standard.  A compliance review results in a safety rating.

  • Safety Ratings

FMCSA gives an evaluation to interstate commercial motor carriers after a compliance review. Safety ratings are either “satisfactory,” “conditional,” or “unsatisfactory”. Unrated carriers have not received a safety rating.

  • Interstate Operating Authority

Companies need different types of operating authority for different types of operations and cargo. It dictates the level of insurance and financial responsibilities the company must maintain.³ FMCSA operating authority is also called an “MC,” “FF,” or “MX” number, according to the type of authority registration granted. For-hire carriers, carriers transporting passengers in interstate commerce, and carriers transporting federal-regulated commodities in interstate commerce must have an MC number in addition to a DOT number.

As always, we are here to help you any way we can. Please don’t hesitate to call or email if you need us.

The Deerfield Team
800.233.6428
info@deerfieldadvisors.com


 

References:

  1. https://www.facebook.com/FMCSA/info/?tab=page_info
  2. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/do-i-need-usdot-number
  3. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/get-mc-number-authority-operate

SOURCES:

DISCLAIMER

This article is intended only as a general discussion of these issues & we cannot guarantee the accuracy thereof. It does not purport to provide legal, accounting, or other professional advice. If such advice is needed, please consult with your attorney, accountant, or other qualified adviser. The Views expressed here do not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein is for general guidance of matter only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Accordingly, the information provided herein is provided with the understanding that Deerfield Advisors is not engaged in rendering legal advice. Deerfield Advisors strongly advises that clients and/or the reader of this publication contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem discussed here. Also, please know that discussions of insurance policy language is descriptive only. We strongly advise that one’s individual policy & one’s advisor be consulted regarding this subject matter before any action is taken in any way. Coverage afforded under any insurance policy issued is subject to individual policy terms and conditions. The Deerfield Advisor White Paper Series is a registered trademark of Deerfield Asset Management Inc. DBA, Deerfield Advisors and is produced by Deerfield Advisors for the benefit of its clients, and any other use is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2016

 

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It’s Official: The FMCSA Has Published Its Final ELD Rule, to General Acclaim

Written by: The Deerfield Team

Adopting electronic logging devices is no longer an option for most interstate CMV operations. On December 16, 2015, the Federal Register published the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s final rule on Electronic Logging Devices and Hours of Service Supporting DocumentsProposed in early 2014 and revealed on December 10th by the FMCSA, the rule requires model year 2000 and newer trucks involved in interstate travel to start using ELDs by December 2017.

After a similar 2010 ELD rule failed due to litigation concerning harassment and supporting documents, the FMCSA learned its lesson. It has taken steps to explicitly prohibit the coercion of drivers and even took on authority to enforce the rule against shippers, receivers, and transportation intermediaries—not just motor carriers. While the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and Truck Renting and Leasing Association have raised concerns, responses to the 2015 Final Rule have largely been positive.

ELD Final Rule: Key Points

  • Approximately three million commercial vehicle drivers will be impacted by the ELD mandate.
  • There is a two-year compliance window for commercial truck and bus drivers to adopt ELDs.
  • The ELD rule makes procedural and technical provisions to prevent harassment related to ELD data.
  • The rule establishes technology specifications for manufacturers to create compliant devices and allows the use of certified smart phones and other wireless devices as ELDs.
  • Carriers that have already installed compliant automatic onboard recording devices are allowed to keep using them for two years after the compliance date.
  • The FMCSA anticipates that the rule will result in an annual net benefit of more than $1 billion (mostly in processing paperwork time and cost) and the prevention of 26 death and 1,844 crashes involving CMVs annually.¹

Responses to the ELD Rule

Most trucking organizations, lawmakers, and technology companies responded to the Final ELD Rule with praise and approval. Two family-owned trucking companies urge carriers to maximize the use of ELDs to minimize inefficiency and maximize profit.² On the other end of the spectrum, truck rental businesses expressed some concerns, while the OOIDA issued a full-on legal attack.³

  • “A truly historic day for trucking.” The president of the American Trucking Association and the president of the Arkansas Trucking Association, which have supported ELDs since 2010 and 1999, respectively, agree that the mandate will change the industry for the better.
  • “Clearly, the rule will relieve carriers and drivers” of burdens related to supporting documents and chances of harassment and coercion, stated the Truckload Carriers Association.
  • “Paper logs have proven to be less accurate and easy to manipulate,” argued Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), a long-time advocate of electronic driver logs.
  • The new rule “removes any remaining argument for the Canadian governments not to move forward with a similar mandate,” stated the Canadian Trucking Alliance after the rule was revealed.
  • “Recent improvements “have made ELDs less expensive, easier to install, and more intuitive to operate,” according to Ravi Kodavarti, director of product management for mobile communications at Rand McNally. Technology companies contend that ELD data can help any trucking operation save on costs and gain valuable business insights.
  • “There are still “concerns given the unique nature of renting,” according to the Truck Renting and Leasing Association, which failed to convince the FMCSA to include a rental vehicle exception in the final rule.
  •  “Absolutely the most outrageous intrusion into the rights of professional truckers imaginable” is what Jim Johnston, OOIDA’s president and CEO, called the Final ELD Rule.⁴  OOIDA argued in 2011 that a proposed electronic logbook rule did not address the harassment of drivers, convincing the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit to vacate the rule. The association issued litigation against the 2015 rule, but its “Petition for Review” did not include specific arguments, which OOIDA says it will present in court.

Moving Forward: Where to Get Training

Technology firm Omnitracs offers a webinar to help fleets understand ELDs. Zonar offers a path to ELD compliance, which includes knowledge and implementation strategies for your specific fleet. Two years is a generous amount of time to adopt ELD technology, but it’s never too early to understand and begin complying with the new final rule.

As always, we are here to help you any way we can. Please don’t hesitate to call or email if you need us.

The Deerfield Team  

800.233.6428

info@deerfieldadvisors.com


 

References:

  1. Brian Straight, FleetOwner.com: “FMCSA Unveils Final ELD Rule”
  2. Aaron Marsh, FleetOwner.com: “Two fleets’ experience: ELDs and extras cut costs, boosted image”
  3. Matt Cole, CCJ: Trucking groups weigh in on ELD mandate, major groups split on rule’s efficacy”
  4. FleetOwner.com: “OOIDA sues over ELD final rule

SOURCES:                                                                                                                  

“CTA: No Reason For Further Delay on Canadian ELD Rule.” Canadian Trucking Alliance, December 10, 2015. http://cantruck.ca/cta-no-reason-forfurther-delay-on-canadian-eld-rule/

“Electronic Logging Devices and Hours of Service Supporting Documents.” FMCSA. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/electronic-logging-devicesand-hours-service-supporting-documents

“Electronic Logging Devices and Hours of Service Supporting Documents.”Federal Register, March 28, 2014.https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/03/28/2014-05827 electronic-logging-devices-and-hours-of-service-supporting-documents

“OOIDA sues over ELD final rule.” FleetOwner.com, Dec 16, 2015. http://fleetowner.com/regulations/ooida-sues-over-eld-final-rule

Aaron Marsh, “Two fleets’ experience: ELDs and extras cut costs, boosted image.” FleetOwner.com, Oct 5, 2015. http://fleetowner.com/regulations/two-fleets-experience-elds-and-extras-cut-costs-boosted-image

Brian Straight, “FMCSA Unveils Final ELD Rule.” FleetOwner.com, Dec 10, 2015. http://fleetowner.com/regulations/fmcsa-unveils-final-eld-rule

Matt Cole, “Trucking groups weigh in on ELD mandate, major groups split on rule’s efficacy.” CCJ, Dec 14, 2015. http://www.ccjdigital.com/trucking-groups-weigh-in-on-eld-mandate-major-groups-split-on-efficacy/

DISCLAIMER

This article is intended only as a general discussion of these issues & we cannot guarantee the accuracy thereof. It does not purport to provide legal, accounting, or other professional advice. If such advice is needed, please consult with your attorney, accountant, or other qualified adviser. The Views expressed here do not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein is for general guidance of matter only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Accordingly, the information provided herein is provided with the understanding that Deerfield Advisors is not engaged in rendering legal advice. Deerfield Advisors strongly advises that clients and/or the reader of this publication contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem discussed here. Also, please know that discussions of insurance policy language is descriptive only. We strongly advise that one’s individual policy & one’s advisor be consulted regarding this subject matter before any action is taken in any way. Coverage afforded under any insurance policy issued is subject to individual policy terms and conditions. The Deerfield Advisor White Paper Series is a registered trademark of Deerfield Asset Management Inc. DBA, Deerfield Advisors and is produced by Deerfield Advisors for the benefit of its clients, and any other use is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2016

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FMCSA Essentials: Compliance, Safety, Accountability

Written by: The Deerfield Team

The Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program is the cornerstone of the compliance and enforcement efforts of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). CSA collects data on carriers’ safety performance nationwide and targets the FMCSA’s enforcement intervention resources at the most noncompliant and unsafe companies.

Rather than rely on FMCSA’s team or law enforcement partners to track millions of CMV companies and commercial driver license holders, the scientific CSA model allows the FMCSA to use data from state partners across the country and correct issues before they cause crashes and cost lives.

What are the components of CSA?

CSA is made up of three parts:

  1. Measurement. CSA uses inspection and crash data to identify high-risk carriers.
  2. Evaluation. CSA contacts a large number of high-risk carriers and drivers with customized information and an updated Safety Fitness Determination methodology.
  3. Intervention. CSA aims to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of enforcement officers’ interventions, including warning letters, roadside inspections, and investigations.

How does the CSA measure safety?

Until 2010, FMCSA relied on a data-driven analysis system called SafeStat. While SafeStat successfully identified carriers at risk for crashes, it proved to be too simplistic. Additionally, it did not focus on behaviors of CMV drivers, which the FMCSA Large Truck Crash Causation Study  showed needed serious attention. Today the FMCSA uses the Safety Measurement System (SMS), its new “workload prioritization tool.” ¹

The tool continues to undergo improvements. In September 2015, the Safety Measurement System (SMS) Methodology was updated to reflect stakeholders’ suggestions.

How does the SMS work?

The SMS incorporates motor carrier data from safety-based violations, State-reported crashes, and the Federal motor carrier census to evaluate motor carrier performance in safety metrics. It turns this data into quantifiable performance ratings that can helps identify which carriers should be prioritized for interventions, specify the exact issues of a carrier or driver, and track the improvement or decline of safety issues. The SMS makes motor carriers’ CSA safety and performance data available online, so that the carrier and other interested parties can look up the information themselves.

The SMS categorizes data into seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs), whose usefulness has been demonstrated by multiple studies: ²

  1. Unsafe Driving (Factsheet). Examples include speeding, reckless driving, improper lane change, and inattention.
  2. Crash Indicator (Factsheet).
  3. Hours-of-Service Compliance (Factsheet). Examples include operating a CMV while ill or fatigued.
  4. Vehicle Maintenance (Factsheet). Examples include mechanical defects, failure to make required repairs, and improper load securement.
  5. Controlled Substances/Alcohol (Factsheet). Examples include possession or consumption of alcohol.
  6. Hazardous Materials Compliance (Factsheet). Examples include release of hazardous materials from package and lacking placards/markings when required.
  7. Driver Fitness (Factsheet). Examples include lacking a valid and appropriate commercial driver’s license (CDL) and being medically unqualified to operate a CMV.

In a 100-page appendix to the Safety Measurement System (SMS) Methodology document, you can find all the violations used in the SMS, along with the corresponding Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) or Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs) section. The appendix also includes a numerical violation severity weight. Texting, calling, reckless driving, and operating a CMV while fatigued earn the maximum violation severity weight (10), while infractions like unlawful parking or leaving a parked truck unlocked have the lowest violation severity weight (1).

A second appendix outlines all the changes made to the SMS over time, including two violations added to the Dangerous Driving category of the SMS with a severity weight of 5: inattentive driving and failure to maintain lane.

Where can I get more information?

The FMCSA hosts a dedicated webpage just for CSA. Here you can find FAQs, news, motor carrier safety and performance data, and resources like toolkits  specifically for motor carriers, drivers, state partners, and other stakeholders.

As always, we are here to help you any way we can. Please don’t hesitate to call or email if you need us.

The Deerfield Team
800.233.6428
info@deerfieldadvisors.com


 

References:

1 https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/SMSMethodology.pdf

2 https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/about/basics.aspx

SOURCES:

Aquila, Brett. “CSA – Compliance, Safety, and Accountability Program.” Nov 11 2015. http://www.truckingtruth.com/wiki/topic-16/csa

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. “CSA. https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration & CSA. “Safety Measurement System (SMS) Methodology.” September 2015. https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/SMSMethodology.pdf

Wikipedia. “Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.” June 9 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Motor_Carrier_Safety_Administration

DISCLAIMER

This article is intended only as a general discussion of these issues & we cannot guarantee the accuracy thereof. It does not purport to provide legal, accounting, or other professional advice. If such advice is needed, please consult with your attorney, accountant, or other qualified adviser. The Views expressed here do not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein is for general guidance of matter only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Accordingly, the information provided herein is provided with the understanding that Deerfield Advisors is not engaged in rendering legal advice. Deerfield Advisors strongly advises that clients and/or the reader of this publication contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem discussed here. Also, please know that discussions of insurance policy language is descriptive only. We strongly advise that one’s individual policy & one’s advisor be consulted regarding this subject matter before any action is taken in any way. Coverage afforded under any insurance policy issued is subject to individual policy terms and conditions. The Deerfield Advisor White Paper Series is a registered trademark of Deerfield Asset Management Inc. DBA, Deerfield Advisors and is produced by Deerfield Advisors for the benefit of its clients, and any other use is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2016

 

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