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Navigating interstate deliveries and CDL compliance

By Connie Lannan

June 14, 2023

New York City traffic is intense for any driver of any size vehicle at any time of the day. Imagine navigating that intensity — as well as adhering to the different regulations for commercial vehicles in not only New York but also New Jersey and Connecticut — while driving a tractor trailer weighing up to 80,000 lbs. with heavy construction equipment on board. For the 18 CDL drivers at Durante Rentals, based in New Rochelle, N.Y., it is an everyday occurrence. 

That is why the company puts such a strong emphasis on training and safety, according to Stephanie Rajzbaum, vice president of operations at Durante Rentals, which has five locations that serve the tri-state area.  

“When we onboard a driver, we have them go through ARA’s Professional Driver Education Course. They are then trained in-house by our senior safety specialist, learning how to safely and correctly operate, and eventually be certified on, the equipment. After that they drive with one of our experienced drivers for one to three weeks, depending on the experience of the person. It is our responsibility to make sure they drive safely, know how to load and how to properly secure the equipment before they can drive on their own,” Rajzbaum says, adding that Hazmat training is also provided to drivers who haul fuel tanks and that all drivers are recertified every three years. 

Training doesn’t stop after a driver is successfully onboarded. It is a continuous endeavor with daily safety huddles, weekly toolbox safety meetings, branch and specific safety meetings and driver-specific meetings to keep the team up to date on all regulations and impacts to the delivery network.  

Before making a delivery, drivers must complete daily driver pre-trip vehicle inspection records using a third-party app. They complete a post-trip inspection at the end of their shift. Each vehicle is also equipped with four side and rearview cameras outside the truck and cameras inside the cab. The provider also can track driver safety behavior related to hard stops, speeding, etc.  

“These tools aren’t there to micromanage but more of a review in case of an incident. Technology has allowed us to be more efficient and helps us provide a better experience for our customer,” Rajzbaum says, adding that an incident or near-miss prompts an incident report, retraining and company-wide notifications to avoid potential accidents in the future.  

While safe driving is paramount, deliveries aren’t successful if the correct permits or plates aren’t issued for the numerous interstate deliveries drivers make.  

“We typically deliver within a 100-mile radius. Every state has different permitting regulations that we follow. And, specifically in the cities — of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — we have a lot of bridges to cross and a lot of regulations related to weight and curfews. If we are transporting via towing, we also need to have the proper transport plates to be able to go to the different states. Our seasoned dispatch team has the experience and know-how to pull the necessary permits for every job. The work of our dispatch team is directly correlated to our safety standards,” Rajzbaum says.  

It is a well-coordinated team effort driven by safety “that requires a specific skill set from our dispatch team and drivers to adhere to and promote our safety culture. We want to ensure the employee and the general public are safe when delivering the equipment safely and on time to the job site,” she says.  

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