Wheels of Justice
Hard times ahead, or are they behind you?
Times are hard right now, if you let them be. Blame the president, congress, the economy or even bad luck, if you want to. I believe, however, that times are as hard as you let them become, and you make your own luck.
If you want to get ahead in this world you should start with your credit. Get a credit report and make sure you understand it. Clean up any errors you find. Talk with your banker about how you can improve your credit score. The banker will usually tell you to: 1) pay every bill on time, 2) don’t open a bunch of new accounts you won’t use, 3) keep your balance low in relation to your available credit, 4) don’t move credit from one card to another unless there is a significant difference in the interest rate and, most importantly, 5) pay those credit cards off, beginning with the one that charges the most interest.
Next, you need to keep your CDL clean. How? First of all, obey all the traffic laws, if you can. Every driver knows someone who has gone over a bridge or down a road that was not properly marked, only to meet the local law enforcement waiting for them on the other side of the bridge or around the corner of a road they were not allowed to be on. Or how about the driver who receives a citation for an accident they did not know they were involved in, but a four-wheeler tells the cops they were hit or run off the road without evidence of any contact on your truck or trailer.
If you receive a traffic citation, you must determine how it will affect your MVR. Call a lawyer who does CDL defense work and knows how to protect your MVR and your income. The lawyer may be able to defend you without you having to take time off work and go to court. The lawyer may be able to have the citation reduced to something that would harm your MVR less or even get it dismissed. Either way, make sure that the lawyer understands CDL laws and what will be best for you.
CSA 2010, which was put into effect late last year, will monitor every citation, warning and inspection (yes, just about everything you do as a professional driver). That makes it important for every driver to either obey the law or avoid getting caught, because over a period of time, the government might just determine that you are unfit to drive and prohibit a trucking company from hiring you.
A lawyer to protect your MVR, an accountant for good credit and banker who will loan you money to start your business will help you make your business profitable. Anyone who has started their own business knows it takes long hours, hard work and midnight oil to make the business profitable. Do you want to be your own boss and do you want to make money? You can do it all–with a little help.
Jim C. Klepper is president of Interstate Trucker Ltd., an organization that provides legal defense protection to commercial drivers. Jim is a lawyer who focuses on transportation law and the trucking industry in particular. He works to answer your legal questions about trucking, and he holds his Commercial Drivers License.