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America Outdoors Association

June 1, 2010

Evaluate the Effectiveness of Your Telephone Sales

AOA has partnered with Signature to help you evaluate and improve your incoming telephone sales with a mystery shopping service.  Signing up for this service is quick and easy and the calls will be tailored to your situation.  Each mystery shopping call will be recorded and scored so you can ascertain the effectiveness of your sales staff throughout the season.  You will be able to access the results through Signature Worldwide’s secure Web site.  Refer to the Members Area of the AOA Web site or call Barry Himmel at Signature to sign up for the service or discuss the discounts for AOA members and your training needs. (800) 398-0518.

America Outdoors Association Bulletin

Where to Find Customizable Employee Manual Templates Consistent with Your State Law

Review of Van Regulations Which Take Effect June 1, 2010 

Where to Find Customizable Employee Manual Templates Consistent with Your State Law

Several members have asked us where they can find model employee manuals.  An employee manual must be consistent with the laws in your state.  There are several sources on the web for employee manual templates.  But many do not appear to be customized to the laws in various states. 

Microsoft’s Office Marketplace and several other sites direct browsers to: http://www.fingertipmanuals.com/Employee_Handbooks.html  This site offers employee handbook templates consistent with the laws in each state in Economy, Deluxe, and Premium editions ranging in price from $99.95 to $199.95.  The higher level editions offer more than an employee manual template.  They also offer annual update services, HR forms, and hiring manuals.  You should, however, have an attorney review whatever you develop, especially if you make edits to the templates.  We are not endorsing this service but offering this information in response to a request from our members. 

Review of Van Regulations Which Take Effect June 1, 2010. 

Because some Department of Transportation inspectors/officials have told some outfitters' drivers of 9 to15 passenger vans that they needed CDL’s or medical certificates for intrastate transport, we are updating the notice about the new van regulations that are in effect as of June 1, 2010. Most outfitters are not subject to these new regulations, but may find increased enforcement of other regulations as noted below.

These new regulations primarily extend driver qualifications, medical certificate requirements, inspection and hour of services regulations to small commercial motor vehicles providing interstate transportation for direct compensation.  Most outfitter transportation is regarded as "indirect compensation" if the charges for shuttles or transport are packaged into the trip, therefore, the new regulations will not apply to those circumstances with a few notable exceptions.  A few states have implemented stricter regulations for 9 to 15 passenger vans for indirect compensation, so the regulations do vary by state.  Outfitters towing trailers with vans across state lines are likely to be deemed subject to the new regulations cited below.

This bulletin should not be construed as legal advice,but used for general information.  Consult with an appropriate attorney or official regarding your specific circumstances and requirements if you have questions about applicability of the regulations and qualifications in your area.  

Where some outfitters have problems.  If you are towing a trailer with a van and crossing state lines, even if it is for indirect compensation, then you probably have to comply with the Commercial Motor Vehicle regulations that are outlined below because you are likely to be judged to be over the 10,000 pound gross vehicle weight rating.  This regulation is not new although some states may have adopted it for intrastate transportation.  DOT officials appear to be aggressively enforcing these regulations where they apply.  A CDL is not required unless your state has adopted special regulations such as those in California.  Below this article is a more complete review of the new regulations with links to the specific requirements of each part of the regulations, which were published in February. A list from one of the DOT websites follows, identifying the common violations of the regulations applicable to commercial motor vehicles over 10,000 pounds GVWR crossing state lines.

Q:         What are the commonly violated regulations? 

A:         For vehicles and combinations with GVWR of 10,001 lbs. or more:

1. Vehicle identification (Name and US DOT Number)

2. No medical exam certificate

3. Using a radar detector (radar detectors are prohibited)

4. No fire extinguisher

5. No stopped vehicle warning devices (reflective triangles)

6. Driver did not do a pre-trip inspection (need not be written)

7. Driver exceeded hours-of-service limits

8. No time records kept on driver

9. No annual mechanical inspection of vehicle

10. No post-trip inspection (must be in writing and is not required to be carried on board the vehicle)

11. Trailers not equipped with required brakes, lights, and reflectors.

Updated Summary of the New FMCSA Regulations for 9 to 15 Passenger Vans and CMV’s Effective June 1st

Most outfitters, guest ranches and resorts providing interstate and intrastate transportation for recreation or related services will be exempt from new rules effective June 1st, governing 9 to 15 passenger vans, if their transportation is part of the package of services, ie, for "indirect compensation" or they are not towing trailers with a combined GVWR over 10,000 pounds across state lines.  However, some state's may have adopted stricter standards.  You should check with appropriate DOT officials regarding your circumstances.  If you are towing a trailer across state lines and are considered to be over the 10,000 pounds combined gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or if your state has adopted the federal standards, the regulations below will apply to that aspect of your transportation services.

The new rules published February 1, 2010 are primarily written to apply to operators of small passenger vehicles used in transportation services for “direct compensation”.  The FMSCA definition of “direct compensation means payment made to the motor carrier by the passengers or a person acting on behalf of the passengers for the transportation services provided, and not included in a total package charge or other assessment for highway transportation services.”  The new rule can be found at  http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/rulemakings/final/Safety-Requirements-Small%20Passenger-Carrying-CMVs-in-Interstate.pdf  You may want to keep a copy of this regulation in your vans.

On June 1, 2010 motor carriers using small commercial motor vehicles with a capacity of 9 to 15 passengers providing interstate transportation for direct compensation will be subject to new rules including:

  • Driver qualifications contained in 49 CFR part 391 (21 years or older, speak English, etc);
  • Medical qualifications contained in 49 CFR Part 391, subpart E (medical and physical qualifications);
  • Driving Motor Vehicles, Part 392 (prohibits driving under the influence, when sick or fatigued); Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation, Part 393;
  • Hours of Service 49 CFR Part 395;
  • Inspection Repair and Maintenance Part 396.

If you are using a van or truck to tow a trailer across state lines, these regs above likely apply to you (unless you can prove your combined vehicle and trailer weight are under 10,001 pounds).  Some states, such as Georgia, have adopted these interstate regulations for vans towing trailers during intrastate travel. The FMCSA FAQ site states: 

“Question 11: A company has a truck with a GVWR under 10,001 pounds towing a trailer with a GVWR under 10,001 pounds. However, the GVWR of the truck added to the GVWR of the trailer is greater than 10,001 pounds. Would the company operating this vehicle in interstate commerce have to comply with the FMCSRs?

Guidance: §390.5 of the FMCSRs includes in the definition of CMV a vehicle with a GVWR or GCWR of 10,001 or more pounds. The section further defines GCWR as the value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a combination (articulated) vehicle. Therefore, if the GVWR of the truck added to the GVWR of the trailer exceeds 10,001 pounds, the driver and vehicle are subject to the FMCSRs.”

Another exception should be noted.  “The FMCSA is not making the commercial driver’s license and controlled substances and alcohol testing requirements applicable to operators of small passenger-carrying CMVs, because section 4136 does not change the existing non-application of those requirements that result from the statutory definition of CMV in 49 U.S.C. 31301(4) used for those programs. Consequently, the passenger-carrying threshold for CDL and controlled substances and alcohol testing requirements remains at 16 passengers (including the driver).” 

Regulations that Apply to 9 to 15 Passenger Vans Used for Services in Which the Compensation Is Indirect

Outfitters driving 9 to 15 passenger vans in interstate commerce, including those transporting passengers for indirect compensation, are still required to have DOT numbers, maintain accident logs and meet the other requirements contained in http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/bus/company/smallvanbackinfo.htm

The rule effective June 1st should not be confused with the legislation before Congress contained in S. 554 and H.R. 1396.  This new regulation is a separate initiative but it is part of a long term effort to fill a gap in the regulations of commercial motor vehicles.  Some highway safety advocates have lobbied for CDL's for drivers of 9 to 15 passenger vans.  The bills in Congress would require CDL’s, inspections, and other training requirements for drivers of commercial motor vehicles carrying 9 to 15 passengers across state lines, including drivers for outfitters when the transportation is incidental to the outfitting service.  AOA opposes the provisions in these bills requiring CDL’s for outfitters' van drivers.  The bills are not expected to pass in this session of Congress, but we are monitoring their status.  Congressional staff familiar with the legislation expect these bills to be attached to the next Highway Bill, which will arise in a future session of Congress.

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