Motor Carrier Education Program
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The purpose of this manual is to provide the reader with general references and to familiarize drivers
and companies with the applicable federal and state laws and regulations pertaining to the motor carrier industry. The contents of this manual are NOT intended to serve as a precise statement of the Oregon Revised Statutes, Oregon Administrative Rules, or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The proper legal reference should be consulted for exact requirements of law.
This manual is for you, the motor carrier and professional truck driver. It is important for you to keep up to date on state and federal laws affecting your safety. In addition, you need to be familiar with the safety of commercial motor vehicles, the size and weight of loads that may be carried, and the permits required to operate on our state highways.
This Web page contains separate sections for the various subjects covered in the New Carrier Education manual.
View the complete Oregon New Carrier Education Manual
- Contacts - Phone Numbers
- Trucking Online
- Weight-Mile Tax
- International Fuel Tax Agreement
- Size & Weight
- Motor Carrier Safety
- Public Education / Awareness Brochures
- Green Light Weight Station Preclearance
Oregon Trucking Online
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is the smart way to conduct trucking-related business with ODOT´s Motor Carrier Transportation Division. It´s an Internet service that allows a trucking company to use a home or office computer to complete various transactions electronically. It´s a fast, convenient way for a company to obtain credentials, file reports, and look up information about its account. Companies can pay for credentials and other online services by using a Direct Payment service that’s simply the electronic way to write a check. Complete a transaction and authorize payment and the bank transfers the approved amount. Direct Payment is an Automated Clearing House (ACH) process ideal for making large payments. Companies can also pay with Visa or MasterCard and those authorized to charge to their account are able to do that, too.
Visit the Trucking Online
Web site and sign up for a Personal Identification Number (PIN)
to get started.
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What is a USDOT number?
It is an identification number issued to motor carriers by the United States Department of Transportation. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is authorized to issue this number on behalf of the U.S. DOT for Oregon-based carriers operating intrastate only.
Check the five questions below. If you answer YES to any of them, you need a U.S. DOT number:
- Is your vehicle over 10,000 pounds GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating)?
- Do you transport hazardous materials in amounts requiring placarding?
- Is your vehicle designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers including the driver for compensation?
- Is your vehicle designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, not for compensation?
- If your vehicle is a pickup, truck or tractor, pulling a trailer in combination, is it over 10,000 pounds GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating)?
If you answered YES to any of the questions,go online to https://portal.fmcsa.dot.gov/UrsRegistrationWizard/
and complete the application for a USDOT number.
When your operation requires a U.S. DOT number, your operation is also subject to federal motor carrier safety rules and regulations. Motor carriers who conduct either intrastate or interstate operations must obtain a U.S. DOT number and display it on the vehicle before operating. 49CFR, Part 390.21
EXEMPTION: Oregon-based private
carriers whose vehicles do not exceed 26,000 pounds GCWR and who operate exclusively intrastate
are exempt from display requirements only
. This exemption does not
apply to vehicles transporting hazardous materials of a type or quantity requiring placarding or operating passenger vehicles designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver.
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Motor Carrier Transportation Division (MCTD) auditors and safety investigators will tell you that one of the most frustrating parts of their job is working with motor carriers who have failed to keep good records.
Without an accounting of truck operations, auditors can't verify road use tax reports and payments. In that case, they know they'll have to make an assessment of the operations and it can lead to a finding of additional taxes or fees due, plus late payment, penalty, and interest charges.
Without proper safety records, investigators can't tell if a company is using mechanically safe trucks and qualified drivers and is following all the rules. In the interest of public safety, they have to take a stern position, insist that the company change its ways, and take any necessary enforcement actions.
Here's why a motor carrier should view good recordkeeping as a way to spare trouble and save money:
- Late payment charges amount to an additional 10% of any road use taxes or fees due.
- Penalty charges vary. If the additional assessment exceeds by at least 5% but not more than 15% of the taxes or fees due, a 5% penalty is added. If the additional assessment exceeds by more than 15% of the taxes or fees due, a 20% penalty is added. If a road use tax report is not filed, a penalty of 25% of the taxes or fees due is added.
- Interest charges can then add up. Every additional assessment bears interest at the rate of 1% per month, or fraction of a month, until paid.
- Keeping inadequate safety records or failing to provide safety records can result in fines of varying amounts. Inadequate or missing records violations are subject to one count x $100 for each missing record. So, for example, a record required to be in a driver file that is missing is one count, whereas missing log book pages are subject to one count for each day a log book was required and not completed. Failing to provide records when a safety investigator requests them is subject to 10 days x $100 plus suspension of authority.
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Size and weight regs
Got over-dimension variance permits? Plan ahead.
Over-Dimension load entry and enforcement policy
Road Use Assessment Fees
View a slideshow about
Heavy Haul Weight and Axle Use in Oregon
Questions? The Motor Carrier Transportation Division currently has three experts available to provide free instruction and guidance on an individual or group basis. David Gaffney is based in Springfield, Roxanne Graves is based in La Grande, and Susan Westfeldt is in Ashland. These three District Training Coordinators work practically full time on outreach efforts to educate drivers and motor carriers.
MCTD District Training Coordinators
- 541-963-3170 - Eastern Region
MCTD has been providing the service since 1989. The Training Coordinators offer classes and presentations covering the gamut of motor carrier regulations, including weigh station scale crossing procedures, truck size and weight regulations, over-dimension permit requirements, federal motor carrier safety regulations and inspection procedures, and even Oregon weight-mile tax and truck registration requirements. The instructors’ involvement ranges from meeting in person with drivers and carriers to just answering questions by phone or e-mail or forwarding a PowerPoint presentation on a subject.
Call 503-378-6071 or find more information at the Web sites for Field Motor Carrier Services
and Over-Dimension Operations
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Oregon charges heavy trucks a weight-mile tax for road use, rather than a fuel tax. Motor carriers operating trucks with a combined weight over 26,000 pounds can buy fuel in Oregon at many commercial fueling stations without paying a fuel tax if they carry a credential that verifies they’re paying the weight-mile tax. They’ll need a valid temporary or permanent Oregon Weight Receipt and Tax Identifier, a valid Temporary Pass, or an Oregon Commercial or Oregon Apportioned license plate with a valid sticker.
Oregon miles not subject to weight-mile tax are subject to Oregon fuel tax.
Questions? Call ODOT Fuels Tax Group - 503-378-8150
About Requesting Fuel Tax Credit
Without proper weight-mile tax credentials, Oregon fuel providers must charge fuel taxes. (Some fueling stations charge the fuel tax anyway because they can’t back it out of the purchase.) When carriers who are paying weight-mile taxes also pay a fuel tax, they can request a refund of the fuel tax when they file their next weight-mile tax report with Oregon DOT Motor Carrier Transportation Division. But a claim for credit cannot be processed unless the claim is supported by proper documentation from the actual seller of the fuel. Claims cannot be based on receipts that don’t contain the required information, which is common with receipts from gas/grocery stores like Safeway and Costco. They also cannot be based on invoices from processing/billing companies like Voyager and SC Fuels when fuel is purchased at retail stations because they are not the actual seller of the fuel. The processing/billing company invoices will be accepted, however, when the billing relates to a “cardlock” station. In that case, the processing/billing company is considered the “seller.” Those receipts and invoices still must confirm that tax was paid for fuel purchased for a weight-mile tax-paying vehicle. Guide to Requesting Fuel Tax Credits More about documentation needed for ex-tax fuel purchases
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Safety-Related Public Service Announcements
Be ready, be buckled! (mp3)
Granny Trucker says, Chain Up! (mp3)
The Motor Carrier Transportation Division has produced three safety-related brochures to draw motorists' attention to blind spots around trucks and to draw truckers' attention to dangerous downgrades on Oregon's highways.
Truck Zone - Learn about safely sharing the road with trucks. There are four “No Zones” that every truck has and that every automobile driver should avoid:
• Left side just behind the cab
• Right side just behind the cab
• Too close in front
• Too close in back
Your car is invisible in the “No Zones.” That means trouble if the truck driver does not know you are there and tries to change lanes or has to stop suddenly. To stay out of these four “No Zones,” make your car visible -- either pull ahead or drop back so the truck driver can see you. Remember, if you cannot see the truck driver’s mirrors, he or she probably cannot see you.
Siskiyou Pass - The Siskiyou Pass, commonly called “The Siskiyous,” is a very hazardous part of Interstate 5 in Southern Oregon. The summit is at an elevation of 4,310 feet and going down involves losing about 2,300 feet of that in six miles at a 6% downgrade. There are sharp curves and this area is plagued by fog and chilly temperatures that make for some of the most hazardous visibility and road surface conditions in Oregon. More than 13,000 vehicles travel this stretch of highway daily and trucks are involved in about half of all accidents that occur here.
Emigrant Hill - Emigrant Hill, commonly called “Cabbage Hill,” is a very hazardous part of Interstate 84, west of La Grande in Eastern Oregon. This hill experiences some of the most changeable and severe weather conditions in the Northwest. Visibility is often limited and road surfaces are often icy. To get down Cabbage Hill, truckers lose about 2,000 feet of elevation in six miles and twist through a double hair pin turn at a 6% downgrade. More than 90% of the Cabbage Hill crashes involve out-of-state motor carriers!
Operation Safe Driver -In October 2007, safety officials across the country marked the first Operation Safe Driver week and joined together for various activities to shine a spotlight on commercial driver safety. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), sponsored the event and set “Increasing Driver Performance through Enforcement and Education” as the theme. It's all part of ongoing efforts to improve commercial and non-commercial driver behavior and performance through enforcement, education, and awareness strategies. CVSA notes that in the 141,000 truck crashes examined in FMCSA’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study, commercial vehicle performance, recognition, and decision factors accounted for 88% of the critical reasons for the crashes.
Here are some safe driving tips from an Operation Safe Driver brochure:
What car drivers need to know about trucks and buses
Truck and bus drivers will tell you many stories about being cut-off or passed by a car and the car driver proceeds to put on their brakes or dash to the next exit. You never hear of the near misses, accidents that ALMOST happened, on the local or national news – yet EVERYONE has their own story about this. And it’s not what you drive around big trucks and buses that matters, it’s HOW you drive.
If we could put every member of the public in a truck or bus for a day, there would be a lot more awareness and a lot less crashes. But since we can’t do that, get familiar with the following eight keys to keeping safe around big rigs. One or all of these could save your life.
What truck drivers need to know about car drivers
- Never cut in front of a truck. A fully loaded truck can take 400 feet (more than the length
of a football field) to stop and the odds are that you or someone driving next to you
could be killed as a result of your driving.
- Keep a safety cushion around trucks. Try to leave a 10-car length gap when in front of a truck and 20-25 car lengths when behind a truck. An average passenger car traveling at 55 miles per hour takes about 130 to 140 feet to stop.
- Never linger alongside a truck. Cars can momentarily “disappear” from view due to blind spots.
- Pass trucks quickly to increase visibility and reduce dangers associated with lingering beside a truck.
- Only change lanes when you can see both of the truck’s headlights in your rearview mirror.
- If possible, pass a truck on the left, not on the right, because the truck’s blind spot on the right runs the length of the trailer and extends out three lanes.
- Check a truck’s mirrors. If you are following a truck and you cannot see the driver’s face
in the truck’s side mirrors, the truck driver cannot see you.
- Allow trucks adequate space to maneuver. Trucks make wide turns at intersections and
require additional lanes to turn.
As a professional driver you face a lot of stress and pressure each day just trying to do your job, maneuvering through congested highways with aggressive car drivers darting around you and everyone in a rush to get where they're going because time is money.
It may make you want to gamble a bit by taking unnecessary risks. But your risk goes up exponentially for each violation you receive. The seriousness of violations is more than monetary, unless you’re willing to pay with your life. And we’re not just talking about your life. When you gamble, you're also gambling your family’s future and the future of many innocent others. Don’t take that gamble; it’s just not worth the risk.
- Pre-inspect the condition of your vehicle before and check for load securement. Maximize the vision around your truck with properly adjusted mirrors. Be sure your mirrors are properly set and clean.
- Get in a safe mindset!
- Buckle up! It is your last line of defense!
- Obey speed limits and traffic signs. Excessive speed reduces your ability to avoid a crash, extends your vehicle’s stopping distance, and increases the severity of a crash when it occurs. Slow down in bad weather and at construction zones.
- Maintain a safe following distance. Follow other vehicles at a safe distance (3-5 second rule).
- Make only safe and necessary lane changes. Pick a lane and stay in it for as long as possible. Lane changes increase one’s risk of an accident.
- Focus on your driving, not the distractions! Avoid or minimize in-truck distractions such as cell phone use, changing CDs, eating, or other activities that can remove your attention from the road.
- Never drive under the influence! Watch out for other motorists whose driving behavior suggests they may have been drinking.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation and fatigue can cause lapses in attention, slowed awareness, and impaired judgment.