Farmers need to be aware of companies calling and offering services to help them comply with transportation regulations, warned Rodney Knittel, Illinois Farm Bureau assistant director of transportation and infrastructure.

“If someone is calling you out of the blue, be suspicious,” Knittel told FarmWeek. “A company may send an email with U.S. or DOT in the name. If an email doesn’t end in ‘.gov,’ it’s not the government.”

He reminded farmers the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rarely emails or calls a notice unless the individual is a new applicant for a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) number. The FMCSA never requests credit card numbers by telephone.

Knittel described one of the sales pitches as service to help a farmer with Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) and drug and alcohol testing to keep him compliant with DOT and FMCSA rules.

Be leery of deals offering unneeded transportation compliance services

Within the past week, Knittel heard a report of a farmer charged $300 to become part of a drug and alcohol consortium, which is not necessary for farmers under the covered farm vehicle exemption. “Drivers of covered farm vehicles (Farm Plates) are exempt from Controlled Substances, Alcohol Use and Testing including the new clearinghouse requirement,” he noted.

IFB members who need or want to be part of a drug and alcohol consortium may work through the Midwest Truckers Association and should contact that organization, according to Knittel.

“Being compliant and safe is extremely important and if you need help with compliance do the research and choose a company, don’t let them choose you,” Knittel advised.