Do you remember the first time you filled out a tax form? It was probably one page – the 1040 EZ form – and though there were only a few lines to fill in, you still had to pause and read every single word to make sure you were filling each line in properly.
Now think about the current tax code – so complex that most people opt for software to help them navigate through all the rules and regulations. In fact, since 1984, the number of pages in the U.S. federal tax code has nearly tripled to 75,000 pages. With that kind of complexity, you are doomed to days of preparation before you even touch your tax preparation software.
Here’s food for thought: Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations are from the same government that brought you the tax code. No wonder they keep you up at night, and never seem to settle down long enough for your organization to completely get their arms around them.
Lytx Director of Risk and Compliance Management Gary Johnson had some words of advice to safety managers who struggle with staying ahead of DOT compliance: Use your vendors.
According to a recent research report from the American Trucking Associations, the trucking industry invests $9.5 billion in safety programs, and that’s exclusive of maintenance. And while the cost of compliance can be high, the cost of non-compliance can cripple a business.
“There’s a dose-response relationship in dealing with DOT compliance – the more you invest as an organization, the better you’ll do,” said Johnson. “People can use their state associations or industry networking to keep a handle on regulations, but there are people like me at your vendors whose job is to be experts on these regulations and help your fleet stay on track.”
Johnson has worked in the trucking industry for 30 years, and since Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) scores were introduced in 2010, things have changed radically.
“Most of the CSA regulations started as a way to save lives, but how does meeting a DQ file save lives on the road?” he asked. The answer, he said, is the culture they inspire.
“It’s helpful to flip your perspective on DOT compliance, from a cost of doing business to an investment in your fleet’s safety and your company’s reputation,” he said. “Your fleet is your biggest asset.”
Investment is more than just money – it’s time, people, commitment, and ultimately, extracting the CSA-related knowledge to take action and improve your fleet. Your vendors can be that source of knowledge to give you actionable insights into how to stay ahead of compliance. #