We are making efforts to fine tune and change the way our Expiration Lists are run and sent out to dispatch, one of those ways is to start working on all drivers that have any necessary documents expiring within 45 days instead of the usual 15-30 that we have be using in the past. We have seen a major spike in the number of drivers who’s med-cards have not updated correctly and are being sent letters from their home states indicating a suspension or downgrade. The only way to get ahead of this is to start getting these med cards in sooner. It won’t always be convenient, but not getting it done early enough could cause the extreme inconvenience of having to shut a driver down while under a load, which can cause extreme frustration for the drivers and dispatch, a service failure, and loss of revenue for the driver and entire company. If we can get in to the habit of doing these a month to 45 days out, we can virtually eliminate these issues. With the extra time, even if there is an issue, we will have time to catch and correct it before it can negatively affect the driver, the company and our CSA scores.
The Dept. of Homeland Security is no longer giving any grace period for expired med-cards. On the day of expiration, the CDLs of drivers who’s medical cards have reached their expiration date, are automatically downgraded. It can take 7-10 days to fix a downgraded CDL. The entire time that we are working on reversing a downgrade, the driver is sitting. We absolutely must stop waiting until the week or two before their expiration dates to get them in for new med-cards. They only way to get ahead of the potential shut downs, suspensions and Driver Fitness violations is to get these handled a month in advance. This will leave plenty of time to correct any unforeseen issues that may come up. State DMVs will sometimes kick med-cards back simply because they can’t read a digit on it. We have no way of knowing if they will update or reject a med card when we submit them. When we wait until just a week or two before to start getting a driver in for a med-card, we run the risk of running in to any number of issues that will render our drivers unable to drive. Just because a driver turns in a new med card before their expiration date does not mean that state will process it before that original expiration date. - Molly Berch