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Keeping the Forward Facing Camera in Focus

Wednesday, February 03, 2016
Focus. Focus on the road. Focus on the conditions. Focus on the mini-van in the next lane. On your route. On your fuel. On your hours. Focus on the distracted drivers that surround you. The ability to focus for 11 hours is incredibly difficult. The average commercial driver makes 160 decisions per mile, and that adds up to over 28 million driving decisions annually.

Studies have shown that passenger vehicle drivers are at fault for 80.6% of crashes between a truck and a passenger vehicle [1]. In a court of law however, responsibility is assigned to the motor carrier in full or in part a majority of the time.

The biggest benefit of forward facing cameras (Dash Cams) is the guaranteed record of critical events. This helps protect the driver and the motor carrier from frivolous litigation because forward facing videos will help identify the truth in many accidents.

Recently a passenger vehicle slammed into the side of one of our insureds. The video shows our truck driving down the center of his lane and suddenly the camera shakes from the crash. The passenger vehicle claimed the trucker swerved into him. The video cleared the driver and the claimant’s insurance had to pay for the damages, NOT the motor carrier. If your driver didn’t do anything wrong, you will have proof.

However, if the video reveals the motor carrier to be at fault, then it’s a learning opportunity for the driver and the motor carrier. We at Dawson Transportation Services feel it’s better to know the truth than to rely on a “he said/ he said” argument.

Many owner operators have begun purchasing their own dash cams from truck stops to confirm their story. They realize the importance of having 10 seconds of video if something were to happen. The footage can be used to improve safety systems and driving practices.

Insurance companies are beginning to team up with fleet monitoring companies to offer discounts on services and equipment. With the new EDL rules coming out we expect more teaming up from motor carriers, EDL companies, and video recorders. Make sure to research the best system for your company.

[1] Blower, D. The Relative Contribution of Truck Drivers and Passenger Vehicle Drivers to Truck-Passenger Vehicle Traffic Crashes, Publication No. UMTRI-98-25, University of Michigan Transportation Research Instituted, Ann Arbor, MI June 1998

FMCSA – Safety Fitness Rule Proposal

Thursday, January 21, 2016
The FMCSA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register to establish new methods for determining a motor carrier’s fitness to operate in interstate and intrastate commerce.

The proposed rule will eliminate the existing three-category rating system of “satisfactory-conditional-unsatisfactory” in favor of a single determination of “unfit.”

Unlike the current system, which is based entirely on the FMCSA’s on-site investigation, the proposed safety fitness determinations will be based on roadside inspection, on-site investigations, or a combination of the two.

While the proposed rule does afford carriers that receive the “unfit” rating the opportunity to petition the FMCSA to upgrade the rating in limited circumstances, carriers whose proposed ratings become final will be prohibited from operating commercial motor vehicles in interstate or intrastate commerce.

According to the proposed rule, the FMCSA will assess carriers on a monthly basis using fixed failure metrics for each of the seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (“BASICs”). Carriers that fail two or more of the BASICs in a given month will receive a proposed “unfit” rating. BASIC failures can stem from:

1. On-road safety data exceeding the “absolute failure standards” of a given BASIC

2. A single acute or critical violation discovered by the FMCSA in a given BASIC during an investigation

3. Some combination of the two

The proposed “absolute failure standards” for each BASIC differ from the current intervention thresholds in that they would reflect the carriers’ own performance against the failure standard and would not be impacted by other carriers’ performance.

The NPRM, is available on the FMCSA’s website (click here). They are seeking comments on several components of the proposed rule. Initial comments are due by March 31, 2016. The FMCSA will be accepting response comments through the end of April.  

FMCSA Lowers the Drug Testing Rate

Tuesday, January 05, 2016
Starting January 1st, 2016, the FMCSA has lowered the annual minimum random drug-testing rate for CDL holders from 50% of the average number of CDL driver positions to 25%.

The decision was based on three consecutive years of federal surveys that found less than 1% of tests to be positive for controlled substances. This change will help reduce the testing burden faced by the industry, and has received support from the American Trucking Association.

If at any time the positive rate for controlled substances exceeds 1%, the testing rate will revert back to 50%. But for the calendar year of 2016, carriers should plan for 25%.
This change does not alter the minimum annual percentage rate for random alcohol testing. That will remain at 10% for 2016.

 If you have any questions, please contact us at any time.

Anti-Indemnification Language

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

We are proud to report that Ohio has become the 44th State to enact Anti-Indemnification Language for Motor Carrier Contracts.

Some shippers have been passing their liability onto the trucking industry and forcing the motor carriers to bear the weight of the shippers’ actions, as they have the power in the relationship. This Bill will help level the playing field for trucking companies when negotiating contracts.

Dawson Transportation Services’ President, John Burtch, provided testimony as part of the process and is pleased with the outcome. 

“We are very excited regarding the passage of this legislation and proud the Ohio Trucking Association, under the leadership of Tom Balzer, spearheaded the effort. Tom asked our office for some case support and for personal testimony, which we were happy to provide. This legislation is fair and brings Ohio into line with several other states that have passed similar laws. Kudos to Tom B and his staff at the OTA for a strong lobbying effort.”- John Burtch

The law will go into effect in March 2016.

If you have any questions regarding any of your contracts, please contact us at any time.

Dawson Transportation Services

Thanksgiving Wishes and Tips for Truckers

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

For all you do throughout the year delivering everything we need to the places we need them, and especially to those of you that will be on the road this holiday weekend, Dawson Transportation Services would like say THANK YOU to all the hard-working truck drivers out there.

Below are links to some articles that you may find interesting. We wish you a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving for Truckers

Trucking, Turkeys, and Thanksgiving

FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA): The Series Part 2

Monday, November 09, 2015

Last month we hosted a webinar to explore the current status of the FSMA. Jonathan Stringer, Sr. Corporate Cargo Claims Attorney for Great West Casualty Insurance, did a great job breaking down the proposed rules and answering some of the participants’ most pressing questions. We wanted to share the highlights of the presentation with you. Click the link below to learn more.

FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA): The Series Part 1

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

On March 31st 2016, the FDA will submit the finalized rules for the FSMA to the Federal Register.   The proposed rules will address the sanitary transportation of both human and animal food traveling via motor or rail vehicle, by specifically defining requirements for: 

  • Vehicles and transportation equipment
  • Transportation operations
  • Information exchange
  • Training
  • Records
  • and Waivers

We, here at Dawson Transportation Services, will spend the next few weeks breaking down the new rules and showing what it means for modern trucking operations.

The History

  • January 4th, 2011, President Obama signed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, into Law. 
  • This is the first food safety law in over 70 years
  • The Purpose: To better protect human and animal health by helping to ensure the safety and security of the food and feed supply.

The focus of the FSMA, is to prevent food safety problems before they occur. The FSMA is to establish criteria and definitions that would apply in determining whether food is adulterated as a result of it being transported or offered for transport under conditions that are not in compliance with the sanitary food transport regulations.

The 6 Focuses of the Food Safety Modernization Act

  1. Preventive controls requirements for human food
  2. Preventive controls requirements for animal food
  3. Standards for produce safety
  4. A foreign supplier verification Program for importers
  5. A program for accreditation of third-party auditors to conduct food safety audits
  6. To Focus mitigation strategies to prevent intentional tampering to cause large-scale public harm

What to Expect

The Food Safety Modernization Act will affect all aspects of the current transportation landscape.  The rules on the horizon will address:

  • Vehicles and Transportation Equipment – requirements for the design and maintenance to ensure that it does not cause food that it transports to become contaminated
  • Transportation Operations – defining steps to ensure food is not contaminated during transportation (i.e. adequate temperature controls)
  • Information Exchange – Standardized procedures to share information between shippers, carriers and receivers, regarding prior cargos, cleaning of equipment and temperature controls
  • Training – Carrier personnel sanitary transportation practices and documentation of the training
  • Records – Requirements for maintaining written procedures and records related to equipment cleaning, cargo history, and temperature control
  • Waivers – Procedures by which the FDA will waive any of the above requirements

Over the next few months we will breakdown the definitions, requirements, and procedures as they are released.   Additionally, Dawson Transportation Service will be offering a 1-Hour Webinar on October 21, 2015 to discuss the FSMA and its implications for the modern trucking company.  Please sign up here: Webinar Registration Site

For more information, please contact

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week: a TL of Thanks

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

To The Drivers:  Thank You.

Thank you for the long and the short hauls.  Thank you for tankers, the dumps, the flatbeds, the vans,  the reefers, the wide loads, and the bobtails.  Thank you for keeping our manufacturing plants stocked, and for getting their products into stores.  Thank you for the food on our tables. Thank you for the clothes on our backs. Thank you for our economy. 

Thank you for your professionalism.  For keeping shipments cold. For keeping loads secure. For following the DOT rules and regulations.  For the medical check-ups, the filings, the licenses, the authorities, and the detailed logs.  Thank you for all the thankless jobs that go unnoticed.

Thank you for being guardians of the highway. For helping civilians change tires, check their engines, and for giving directions.  For honking at the kids in the back seats.  For making sure the other drivers are safe and get where they’re going.

Thank you for the hours you spend in the cab, and in Truck Stops, and away from home.  Thank you, to your families, who’s make plenty of sacrifices, that allows you to keep America moving.  Thank you for always looking down the road.  

We, at Dawson Transportation Services, appreciate you and want to wish you a happy and safe National Truck Driver Appreciation Week.

Certified Driver Trainer (CDT) Designation Course Coming to Dayton

Wednesday, June 17, 2015
We just wanted to let everyone know that there is a Certified Driver Trainer (CDT) designation course coming to Dayton, Ohio at the end of this month. Here are the details:

June 30 and July 1, 2015

Drury Inn & Suites North
6616 Miller Lane Dayton, Ohio 45414

$900 Course Tuition
Participants will be responsible for their own travel, room costs and meals.

For additional details please contact:

Or visit:

TMAF at Mid-America Trucking Show 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015
TMAF (Trucking Moves America Forward) is participating in the MAT (Mid America Trucking Show) in Louisville, KY March 26-28, 2015.

On Friday, March 27 at 1:00 p.m TMAF will be at MAT, in B-104 in the South Wing Lobby. There will be an interactive educational session to learn more about TMAF and the importance of getting involved. Leaders from the executive committee and professional truck drivers will demonstrate in detail about the need for the movement and explain why sharing your personal story is critical to strengthening the industry and to improving its image. TMAF will also be on display at the ATA booth during the conference.

Learn more about the industry-wide movement, Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF), created to improve the image of trucking; its achievements in one year and what is ahead for 2015 by visiting their website at

To find out more, click the links below.

Mid America Trucking Show

Trucking Moves America Forward

 For questions, please contact us at Dawson Transportation Services

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