CDC Recommends Truckers For Phase 1C of COVID-19 Vaccinations

COVID-19

COVID-19 vaccines are currently being given to Phase 1A, frontline health care workers and residents and staff at long-term care facilities.

On December 20, 2020, the CDC recommended that people age 75 and older and “frontline essential workers,” such as emergency responders, teachers, manufacturing workers, and grocery store employees, be included in the next wave, Phase 1B.

Phase 1C will then include truck drivers, people 65-74 years old, those between 16 and 64 with high-risk medical conditions, and “other essential workers” such as transportation and logistics workers, food service workers, and more.

However, states have the final say on how vaccines are distributed.

For instance, Arkansas put truck drivers in Phase 1B ahead of adults 65 years and older and adults of any age with chronic health conditions while Alabama put long-distance truck drivers in the fourth phase, along with groups such as office workers who do not have frequent close contact with coworkers, customers, or the public.

 

When will truckers receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

As with any large scale manufacturing, distribution, and inoculation plans, this is a moving target and will depend on your state.

Currently, there is not enough vaccine available for people in Phase 1B and 1C.

According to U.S. projections, December should have had 20 million vaccines for people, 30 million in January, and 50 million in February.

It is estimated that Phases 1A and 1B will include around 73 million people and Phase 1C will add another 129 million people.

Additionally, even if there are vaccines available at clinics, the roll-out of actually getting people vaccinated has been much slower than predicted.

Health officials are emphasizing the need to continue to practice social distancing and mask wearing, including those who are receiving the vaccine, to reduce spread until enough people can receive the vaccine.

 

Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

Our CNS Occupational Medicine Team will be offering the COVID-19 Vaccine soon in Pennsylvania.

  • We will only be offering CDC recommended and approved vaccines.
  • COVID-19 Vaccine will be offered in phases, starting with healthcare workers, then the elderly and first responders and many other essential workers, and lastly the general population.
  • The CDC is offering an app called V-Safe for check-ins and to record and report any side effects.

Vaccine Administration length: 15 minutes.


Are you concerned for your staff and/or drivers and their COVID-19 exposure?

We offer on-site pre-shift screenings, screening questionnaires and temperature screenings for your distribution site, terminal, construction site or office.

We also offer more affordable options for frequent testing, including Rapid Antigen Testing and Antibody Testing.

Antigen tests are most effective when regular tests are administered, while Antibody Testing  provides insight into an employees’ COVID-19 exposure by determining whether they have developed COVID-19 antibodies.

If you think your business may be a candidate for prescreening temperature checks, antigen or antibody testing, you can contact us now or learn more about our COVID-19 services.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.


DOT Increases Fines and Includes Civil Penalties of CDL Clearinghouse Violations

DOT Increases Fines and Includes Civil Penalties of CDL Clearinghouse Violations

As of January 11, 2021, the DOT gives authority to issue fines for violating Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse requirements.

This new year brings the annual changes to the U.S. Department of Transportation adjusted fines and the second full year of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrations CDL Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse.

In accordance with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, the DOT published a final rule detailing the 2020 inflation adjustments to civil penalty amounts that may be imposed for violations of certain DOT regulations.

The DOT must publish any annual minimum and maximum penalty adjustments by January 15 of every year, and the new levels take effect immediately upon publication of the rule, which was January 11, 2021.

Fine amounts have been increased 1.01764 percent.

For example, Commercial driver’s license (CDL) violations [49 U.S.C. 521(b)(2)(C)] or employer violations pertaining to knowingly allowing, authorizing employee violations of out-of-service order [49 U.S.C. 521(b)(2)(C)] new minimum penalty will be $5,833.

This rule does not change previously assessed or enforced penalties that DOT is actively collecting or has collected.

FMCSA also revised appendix B to include civil penalties for an employer, employee, medical review officer, or service agent who violates the regulations implementing the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse at 49 CFR part 382, subpart G.

 

Upcoming FMCSA CDL Clearinghouse Violations

As of October 2020, more than 150,000 employers and owner-operators have registered with the Clearinghouse. According to the FMCSA, this number is well off the 525,000 estimated regulated motor carriers in the U.S.

With the FMCSA Clearinghouse now in effect for pre-employment, random testing and return-to-duty processes, employers of CDL drivers must follow a new pre-employment process when hiring a potential new driver.

Violations can occur if required information is not loaded into the database, or if new-hired drivers start driving before a new hire gives consent for a detailed query.

The employer needs to make sure the driver is registered to the FMCSA Clearinghouse, then request electronic driver consent to run a detailed query, run a query on the driver (employer or C/TPA), and ensure no recent negative drug testing history is present.

The other major required process for employers, including owner-operators, is to annually query all current CDL drivers at least once a year to make sure no violations appeared in the database. If the limited query returns any results, a detailed query is required.

This means the majority of CDL drivers need to have had a limited query run on them by January 6, 2021 or they face potential audit violations and fines if a DOT Officer determines the queries were completed late or not at all.

Employers are also required to report any other drug or alcohol violations by their drivers to the database. This can include direct observation of an employee using alcohol or a controlled substance while on the job, information obtained from a previous employer, and traffic citations for driving a commercial vehicle under the influence.

Any fleet or O/O who does not comply with the Clearinghouse rules is subject to civil and criminal penalties, which could include fines up to $2,500 per offense. 

Note:  Clearinghouse violations can still be cited and fined even though they occurred prior to the effective date of this rulemaking.


The 2020 adjustments to these civil penalties are summarized in the chart below.

https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-01-11/pdf/2020-25236.pdf

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

Where Trucking Regulations Stand As We Enter 2021 With A New Administration


As we transition from a Republican agenda to a Democrat agenda with Biden coming into office, there is potential for substantial impact within the trucking industry in the coming years. 

Since Democrats have won a majority in the U.S. House in 2018, they have laid out a bolstered regulatory agenda regarding trucking, including previously proposed bills that call on a return to public view of CSA scores, speed limiter rules, and sleep apnea rules.

Overall, we expect a more active regulatory DOT, since Biden is looking to amend DOT order 2100.6 to eliminate Trump’s requirement that new rules require repeal of two existing rules.

Let’s take a look at what 2021 may bring.

2020 Hour of Service Rule Changes

Last year marked the first time the hours-of-service rules had a major update in years that were highlighted after the ELD rollout.

Drivers could begin operating under the new HOS regulations on September 29, 2020 after the rule was debuted on May 14, 2020.

The HOS rules changes will improve the workday for many truckers, including short-haul and team drivers, and will increase overall flexibility while the overall structure of HOS rules have not changed.

The 4 major changes in the 2020 hours of service reforms will affect the:

  • 30-minute rest break requirement
  • split-sleeper berth exception
  • short-haul exemption, and
  • adverse driving condition exemption

For more information, see the details of these rule changes.

The DOT may look at the other HOS rule changes that did not make a cut, and what effects the new changes are making, as to whether implement more HOS changes in the future.

DOT Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

Another major CDL Clearinghouse deadline approaches where companies could face fines, if in violation, and the Clearinghouse website may crash again as required annual query deadline approaches

With the FMCSA Clearinghouse now in effect for pre-employment, random testing and return-to-duty processes, employers of CDL drivers must follow a new drug testing process when hiring a potential new driver before a pre-employment drug test can be done at a collection site.

Violations can occur if required information is not loaded into the database, or if pre-employment drug tests are performed before a new hire gives consent for a detailed query.

Before the new hire driver can be tested, the employer needs to make sure the driver is registered to the FMCSA Clearinghouse, then request electronic driver consent to run a detailed query, run a query on the driver (employer or C/TPA), and ensure no recent negative drug testing history is present.

The other major required process for employers, including owner-operators, is to annually query all current CDL drivers at least once a year to make sure no violations appeared in the database. If the limited query returns any results, a detailed query is required.

This means the majority of CDL drivers need to have had a limited query run on them by January 6, 2021 or face potential violations and fines if found to be done late or not at all during an audit.

Greenhouse Gas Emission

Biden will likely restore strict fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards that were placed during the Obama administration, which Trump rolled back.

Biden is also expected to drop the effort to revoke California’s waiver, which would allow the state to set its own greenhouse gas emissions standards, while the EPA under a Democratic administration will develop a more collaborative relationship with California air quality regulators.

Speed Limiting Rule

In June 2019, Senators revived a plan that would “require all new commercial trucks with a gross weight of 26,001 pounds or more to be equipped with speed-limiting devices, which must be set to a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour and be used at all times while in operation.”

The maximum speed requirement would also be extended to existing trucks that already have the technology installed.

Trucks without speed limiters will not be forced to retroactively install the technology.

This legislation is likely to be brought back in a Biden administration.

Sleep Apnea 

Sleep apnea is a breathing-related sleep disorder that causes brief interruptions of breathing during sleep. These pauses in breathing can last at least 10 seconds or more and can occur up to 400 times a night.

With 28% of commercial truck drivers likely suffering from mild to severe sleep apnea, these drivers are five times more likely to be involved in a crash, and the total cost of collisions related to apnea is estimated at $15.9 billion a year, according to research from the National Safety Council.

In order to diagnose sleep apnea, your doctor may send you to a sleep center for testing. You may be asked to spend a night at the center, where experts will monitor your sleep.

In August 2017, FMCSA and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) decided against moving forward on a possible regulation mandating the testing and treatment of sleep apnea for truck drivers and other transportation workers.

This is on the back-burner but not completely dead.

Hair Drug Testing

The industry is seeking additional drug testing methods, like hair and oral saliva testing, that can be used to prevent unsafe drivers on the roads as these methods are harder to cheat and provide a more complete drug testing history.

Large fleets have long used hair testing for pre-employment testing, catching 5 to 10 times more drug users than industry standard urine testing. However, currently these positive results cannot be released to the drivers record per DOT regulations.

Once completed, the DOT will adopt HHS hair testing guidelines and eventually prevent these drivers from seeking a job with another fleet.

As of right now, the proposed guidelines fall short of what the trucking industry has been hoping for.

The HHS proposed hair testing guidelines were published in the Federal Register on September 10, 2020. After the 60-day comment period, which ended November 10, 2020, HHS will review all comments and can make additional changes to their proposal. This process could take months.

When HHS releases their final proposed guidelines, the industry will need to wait for the Department of Transportation to go through its rulemaking process to allow the use of hair testing by motor carriers. While the DOT will likely adopt HHS guidelines, this process could take two years on its own.

However, Congress may try to push for immediate DOT adoption and the incoming Biden administration may apply pressure to speed up this process as well.

Autonomous/Electric Trucks

Electronic and autonomous trucking will be here quicker than you think.

Don’t worry, truckers will not be affected tomorrow, but it is definitely something to think about over the next decade or two.

There is much that still needs to be considered before mass adoption of electric fleet vehicles like the Tesla Semi. This includes dozens to hundreds of megacharging stations to be built at trucking terminals and over the road chargers meant for truckers, showing they can handle consistent next day maintenance repairs if the truck breaks down, etc.

However, the incoming Biden administration is expected to increase regulatory oversight of electric and self-driving cars and trucks and increase the availability of federal tax credits for EVs.

For fleets to realize economic gains from autonomy requires a new set of processes and systems designed to assure safety and provide a positive return on investment. Over time, fleets would expect to see more balanced routes and reduction in mixed traffic and commuter congestion.

If the technology is nailed, then peak hours of travel can be circumnavigated to provide greater assurance on cargo arrival times, partnered with improved safety of fellow road-users.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

Covid-19 Vaccine Should Protect Against New Variants As Vaccine Distribution Increases

Truckers and COVID-19 | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

As of Christmas Eve, over 9.5 million doses had been distributed and just over 1 million doses had been administered

According to Dr. Amesh Adalja, a fellow with the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Covid-19 vaccine will offer protection against new variants of the virus based on preliminary data.

“It’s important to remember that a vaccine doesn’t create one type of antibodies, it creates a whole host of antibodies and it’s very hard for a virus to escape all of those, especially when it’s happening so fast – meaning this mutation is rather new. It’s not something that’s been evolving for some time,” Adalja told CNN on Wednesday.

The new COVID-19 variant in the United Kingdom can likely spread faster than others and has been detected in Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia, according to the World Health Organization.

While virus mutation is not uncommon, the potential of this new strain to spread rapidly is cause for concern.

However, we can protect ourselves and others from any new strain through taking the same social distancing and masks methods we have all year.


Interested in COVID-19 Services?

We can provide an estimate or suggestions specific to your company depending on your type of business and employees.

Coronavirus vaccines will get GPS tracking and flight priority

As of Christmas Eve, over 9.5 million doses had been distributed and just over 1 million doses had been administered. This gives tribute to the amazing work the trucking industry has done so far in these efforts.

As more vaccines become FDA-approved, distribution will be more complex, and the industry is ready to handle it as vaccines get GPS tracking and flight priority.

“Just to point out how profound this is, you have two fierce rivals … in FedEx and UPS who are literally teaming up to get this delivered,” said FedEx Express Executive Vice President Richard Smith.

With tens of millions of vaccines being distributed and truckers looking at receiving the vaccine in Phase 3 of the nation’s plan, what can we do now?

As we stated during the Thanksgiving holiday update, the most important thing we can do is to help flatten the curve. We are in the worst period of the pandemic and many are facing “pandemic fatigue”.

But we must stay vigilant in wearing our masks, think about what your holiday plans will look like with masks and social distancing, and being kind to those who agree or disagree with each other.

Let us seek the joy the holiday season brings and share the love with those on the frontlines.


Are you concerned for your staff and/or drivers and their COVID-19 exposure?

We offer on-site pre-shift screenings, screening questionnaires and temperature screenings for your distribution site, terminal, construction site or office.

We also offer antibody testing, which provides insight into employee exposure by determining whether or not they have developed COVID-19 antibodies.

If you think your business may be a candidate for prescreening temperature checks or antibody testing, you can contact us now or learn more about our COVID-19 services.

Off-Duty Driving: FMCSA Denies Personal Conveyance Mileage Clarification

Off-Duty Driving: Personal Conveyance

In May 2020, following the announced proposed Hours of Service rule changes, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) petitioned to update the definition of personal conveyance and include a mileage limit.

CVSA feared the current rules could have a driver travel hundreds of miles over several hours designated as personal conveyance.

In Sept, FMCSA denied the petition, saying CVSA’s proposal did not provide a “sufficient safety basis” to initiate a rulemaking. Furthermore, it was unable to estimate the extent to which drivers may be circumventing the hours-of-service requirements by claiming personal conveyance status.

The FMCSA believes the 2018 regulatory guidance is appropriate, which allowed drivers to enter into personal conveyance status–whether the truck is loaded or not–to find the nearest safe parking or rest location after their hours of service are exhausted by a shipper/receiver or off-duty periods are interrupted by law enforcement.

“The movement from a shipper or receiver to the nearest safe resting area may be identified as personal conveyance,” according to a notice from FMCSA, “regardless of whether the driver exhausted his or her hours of service, as long as the CMV is being moved solely to enable the driver to obtain the required rest at a safe location.”

The FMCSA recognized that “the driver may not be aware of the direction of the next dispatch and that in some instances the nearest safe resting location may be in the direction of that dispatch. If the driver proceeds to the nearest ‘reasonable and safe location’ and takes the required rest, this would qualify as personal conveyance.”

It is important to note that it is up to the carrier whether they allow drivers to use personal conveyance in their company policy.

Some personal conveyance tips: 

  • Driver must be off duty for it to be personal conveyance
  • CMV can be loaded or empty during personal conveyance
  • Personal conveyance does not affect the driver’s on-duty time
  • A move when the driver is parked and off duty can be personal conveyance
  • The driver does not have to return to the last on-duty location after a personal conveyance
  • Drivers should annotate on the drivers log if they cannot park at the nearest location and must proceed to another location.

Keep up with current Hours-of-Services Rules and Regulations

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

DOT Virtual SAP Assessments and Delayed Collector Requalification through June 2021

DOT Virtual SAP Assessment

SAPs are allowed, if they voluntarily choose to do so, to conduct a remote “face-to-face” evaluation and assessment while this policy is in effect during the pandemic.

At the beginning of the COVID pandemic, the Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC) provided guidance about the impact of the COVID-19 public health emergency on DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements for employers, employees, and service agents (collectors, MROs, SAPs). 

On April 4, 2020, ODAPC provided supplemental information specific to performing remote evaluations by Substance Abuse Professionals (SAP) and the re-qualification timelines for collectors, Medical Review Officers (MRO), Screening Test Technicians (STT) and Breath Alcohol Technicians (BAT), and SAPs.  

As of December 09, 2020, this statement is now effective through June 30, 2021.

Virtual SAP Assessments and Evaluations Allowed During Pandemic

Under federal regulations, the SAP must conduct a face-to-face, or in-person, assessment and evaluation of an employee who has violated DOT drug and alcohol regulations. 

ODAPC recognizes that conducting face-to-face assessments and evaluations during the pandemic may not be possible for certain individuals.

SAPs are allowed, if they voluntarily choose to do so, to conduct a remote “face-to-face” evaluation and assessment while this policy is in effect during the pandemic.

ODAPC recommends that, when a SAP conducts assessments and evaluations remotely, the format of the assessment be documented in the final report for reference.

ODAPC realizes that performing evaluations remotely may not provide as much information to the SAP as a face-to-face evaluation would, but believes remote evaluations are preferable to not performing the evaluations at all. 

SAPs who choose to conduct initial assessments and evaluations and follow up evaluations remotely should consider the following parameters:

  • The technology used should permit a real-time two-way audio and visual communication and interaction between you and the employee.
  • You should determine if the quality of the technology (e.g., speed of the internet connection, clarity of the display, application being used, etc.) is sufficient for you to gather all the visual (e.g., non-verbal physical cues) and audible information you would normally observe in an in-person face-to-face interaction.
  • You may only utilize the technology if your State-issued license authorizes you to do so and within the parameters of that authority.

Delayed Collector and Other Service Agents Requalification Is Allowed

Under federal regulations, collectors, MROs, STT/BATs, and SAPs are required to maintain their DOT required qualifications by completing refresher training courses to continue acting as service agents in the DOT drug and alcohol testing program. 

  • Collectors and STT/BATs must complete refresher training every five years
  • MROs must complete requalification training every five years, and
  • SAPs must complete 12 professional development hours every three years

DOT realizes that during the pandemic, these service agents may find it difficult to find the necessary resources (e.g., exam location or personnel to conduct mock collections, etc.) to meet their re-qualification requirements.

If a service agent is unable to meet their re-qualification due date while this statement of enforcement discretion is in effect, DOT will not consider it a non-compliance for purposes of starting a public interest exclusion proceeding against the service agent. 

DOT will consider these service agents qualified per Part 40 to continue providing the Part 40 required services while this policy is in effect.


DOT Training

All fleets need to conduct proper and thorough pre and post trip inspections, which consists of implementing quality:

  • driver training that is ongoing and consistent
  • driver education, and
  • driver awareness of current and changing traffic laws

All of this will help prevent being targeted by the DOT at roadside inspections and is a valuable resource to ensure a healthy fleet, and compliant safety practices.

Our DOT trainers offer a variety of in-person or online training courses tailored to the specific needs or weaknesses of your company.


Interested in Training?

3 Ways Fuel Haulers Can Reduce Risk and Insurance Premiums

3 Ways Fuel Haulers Can Reduce Risk and Insurance Premiums

Roughly one-quarter of all freight hauled in the United States is transported in tanker trucks, and of that, nearly half is petroleum products like gasoline, diesel, and aviation fuel.

Hauling fuel and HAZMAT is a dangerous job.

In a 2016 FleetOwner article, Pinnacle Express vice president, Jim Fox, explains that any breakdowns are a big problem for aviation fuel haulers. If one of the fleet’s trucks has a problem and loses power, Pinnacle drivers are trained to get the truck out of the roadway if they can, even if it damages the vehicle.

“Everybody and their mother are driving down the road doing this now,” says Fox, gesturing with his thumb as if texting or using a smartphone. “I just can’t have my guys there on the side of the road. My drivers are actually trained to have them destroy a tire, a rim, a fender, fuel tank, fuel tank step than sit on the side of the road waiting for repair,” Fox explains. “With what we haul, when we get hit, we tend to leave a smoking crater in the middle of the intersection.”

To keep safety a priority, fuel and HAZMAT haulers can use new safety equipment and best practices that can lower risk and insurance premiums.

The Risk That Surrounds Fuel Haulers

Fleets transporting tanker trucks understand that there are anti-cargo theft and anti-terrorism concerns that drive these loads to be delivered as quickly as possible.

With around 10,000 gallons of fuel in two separate tankers, speed is also balanced with safety requirements. You must be aware of the dangers and constantly be vigilant.

There are a lot of security policies to prevent a terror attack, since it literally is a bomb on wheels. Some policies already in place, include:

  • Drivers cannot leave their trucks on lunch breaks
  • Drivers can only take lunch in certain areas, and
  • Drivers cannot tell anyone where we get the gas from or tell anyone what they are hauling

It is important that the truck is properly grounded to prevent sparks from igniting any vapor as static electricity can build up in the truck when liquid is transferred or simply from the movement of pipes and truck parts.

The biggest risk comes at deliveries because exhaust from other people driving nearby can ignite gas, and people could be walking around smoking. Similarly, no cell phones or other electronics can be near the gasoline either because cell phones can easily ignite gas.

When it comes to obstacles in the road or accidents, drivers have two possibilities: (1) stand on those brakes and stop the truck or (2) hit whatever it is if they cannot stop. Drivers cannot turn the wheel to avoid obstacles because they will roll over, leading to a much bigger problem.

There are 3 main areas of focus for fleets when it comes to safety.

  • driver skills
  • equipment
  • in-cab technology

Driver Training Reduces Risk

Your road safety approach should focus on driver skills and behavior. Mandatory defensive driving training courses and online training videos teaches safe driving techniques and behavior, with an overall aim of reducing risks.

For example, if driver trainers notice a habit of hard acceleration or hard braking, they should make sure a video training schedule includes driving fundamentals and defensive driving topics.

>>> Learn more about HAZMAT Training and the Insurance Benefits <<<

All custom training schedules should be accompanied by common new driver training, such as reviewing common maintenance and pre-trip inspection training, what to expect during a roadside inspection and how to treat inspectors, highlight drug testing processes and marijuana regulations, seasonal safe driving tips, cargo securement training, etc.

Customized training should also be measurable using quiz assessments to track driver performance. If their assessment score is low, then the training needs to be retaken.

The Right Equipment Reduces Risk

To reduce maintenance costs and roadside breakdowns, many fuel haulers purchase new trucks. These tractors can be on a replacement cycle of 5-7 years and 450,000-500,000 mi.

Trucks can also be fitted with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) systems. ESC anticipates rollovers and loss of directional control, so it can apply brakes on the vehicle in a way that will improve its control. 

For example, if a truck is going too fast around a corner and the system perceives that the truck is likely to roll over, ESC can intervene to brake the truck and slow it down.

For trailers, it is recommended that fleets get trailers with disc brakes. Thesetrailers are almost maintenance-free as disc brakes and last three times longer than drum brakes.

The reduced maintenance leads to better Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores on maintenance/ shop time.

Learn more about What CSA Scores are

In-cab Technology Reduces Risk

If your fleet is not using Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), then using in-vehicle monitoring systems (IVMS) will provide information on driver behavior across a range of areas such as speeding, harsh braking and seat belt compliance and are used to support drivers to drive safely.

Otherwise, most ELDs utilize engine data telematics that can gather and track similar data.

In-cab cameras can also be used with IVMS to coach drivers. Waccamaw Transport, a regional fuel hauler based in Selma NC, deployed a video-based safety program that reduced insurance premiums by 10 percent.


DOT Compliance Programs (PSM)

At CNS, our DOT Compliance Programs focus on Proactive Safety Management (PSM),a mindset that will ensure your fleet’s safety and compliance is always in order and ahead of the FMCSA.

Our PSM Motor Carrier Program includes:

  • ELD management
  • Driver Qualification File Management
  • New driver on-boarding
  • Driver safety meetings
  • CSA score management
  • Policies and handbooks
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • and more

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

Ag hauler HOS Exemption Clarification Goes into Effect

HOS Exemption | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

FMCSA’s rule went into effect on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, clarifying ag hauler definitions in the hours-of-service regulations.

Drivers transporting agricultural commodities within 150 air miles of the source–during harvest and planting seasons–are exempt from the hours-of-service requirements, which in-turn exempts them from ELD requirements.

In addition, drivers transporting livestock in interstate commerce while the livestock are on the commercial motor vehicle are not required to have a 30-minute rest break.

The updated rule clarifies three definitions:

  • “any agricultural commodity”
  • “livestock”, and
  • “non-processed food”

For more details, please see the latest Exempt Commodities List.

Any Agricultural Commodity

The “any agricultural commodity” definition includes horticultural products at risk of perishing or degrading in quality during transport. This would include plants, sod, flowers, shrubs, ornamentals, seedlings, live trees, and Christmas trees.

Livestock

The “livestock” definition includes insects and all other living animals cultivated, grown, or raised for commercial purposes, including aquatic animals.

Non-Processed Foods

The “non-processed foods” definition includes fresh fruits, vegetables, cereal and oilseed crops that have been minimally processed by cleaning, cooling, trimming, cutting, chopping, shucking, bagging, or packaging to facilitate transport by commercial motor vehicle.

If you have questions on short-haul exemptions beyond ag hauler exemptions, please contact us or review some previous posts related to HOS Short-Haul Exemptions and the 100 air-mile Radius Short-Haul Exemption.


DOT Compliance Services

Our compliance specialists can assist with a number of needs related to hiring and training new drivers including CDL trainingnew and ongoing driver training and even managing your driver qualification files.

Whether you are a large trucking company that is on-boarding drivers quickly or a construction outfit with multiple trucks in your fleet, you need to stay aware of FMCSA regulations.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

Medical Card and CDL Extension Pushed To Feb 28

CDL and Medical Card Waiver | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Dec. 15, extended a waiver through Feb. 28, giving drivers more time to renew expired CDLs, CLPs and med certs because of difficulty scheduling DOT physicals and driver’s license renewals due staffing shortages and other issues.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the FMCSA feared drivers would have trouble renewing commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learners permit (CLP) or getting DOT physicals for their medical cards.

So, earlier this year the FMCSA announced a waiver for CDL holders, CLP holders, and non-CDL drivers transporting essential supplies and equipment during the pandemic that would allow them to delay renewing medical cards and CDLs until December 31st, 2020.

This deadline has been pushed to February 28th.

If you have been driving essential supplies and equipment during the pandemic and referring to the waiver to delay renewing licenses or medical cards, renewals could be delayed.

What CDL holders need to do before Feb 28, 2020

  • If your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) was up for renewal on or after March 1, 2020, you need to renew it by February 28.
  • If your medical examination and certification (or med card) expired on or after June 1, 2020, you have until February 28, to schedule a DOT physical and have it renewed.

What CLP holders need to do before Dec 31, 2020

  • If your Commercial Learners Permit (CLP) was up for renewal on or after March 1, 2020, you need to renew it by February 28, which requires the CLP holders to retake the general and endorsement knowledge tests.
  • If your medical examination and certification (or med card) expired on or after June 1, 2020, you have until February 28, to schedule a DOT physical and have it renewed.

What non-CDL holders need to do before Dec 31, 2020

  • If your medical examination and certification (or med card) expired on or after June 1, 2020, you have until February 28, to schedule a DOT physical and have it renewed.

The HOS portion of the waiver has been extended to Feb 28, 2021 and expanded to include vaccine distribution. Read the latest here

The FMCSA also issued an Enforcement Notice, explaining that it will not take enforcement action against drivers and motor carriers that fall under the terms of the waiver. However, we have seen some roadside enforcement still give violations out when drivers are meeting the waiver guidelines.


CNS Can Help With DOT Physicals, DataQs, and More

Incorrect violations can be challenged and our DataQ process and our DOT consultants are well-versed in the FMCSA rules and regulations, with specific knowledge on what officers are required to note in their report. We are able to challenge one DataQ or schedule a monthly review of all roadside inspections and report on which violations can be challenged.

Our DOT Compliance Specialists can help with DataQ’s. You can call 888.260.9448 to talk to a specialist or request more information in the form above.

CNS collection sites and network of collection sites are open for DOT physicals and required drug and alcohol testing.

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PA Transportation Bill Requires Stricter Incident Reporting for CDL Holders

PA Transportation Bill Requires Stricter Incident Reporting

Pennsylvania passed a bill last month requiring stricter non-parking incident reporting requirements on holders of commercial driver licenses (CDL) driving a commercial motor vehicle.

There are 5 main incident reporting changes for Pennsylvania:

  • A non-parking traffic violation conviction must be reported within 15 days instead of 30 days
  • A driver must notify his or her employer within 30 days of being arrested, cited or charged with a non-parking traffic violation
  • An employer that receives a timely notice regarding an employee being arrested, cited or charged with a non-parking traffic violation may not terminate the employee unless the employee is convicted of the violation
  • Failure to provide employer notice is a summary offense and a $100 fine
  • If the unreported violation is a serious traffic offense, felony or DUI, an additional $300 fine shall be imposed

According to Rep. Lori Mizgorski’s (R-Allegheny), “I was compelled to write this bill after learning about a tractor trailer driver who caused two fatal accidents within six months. By the time the driver was convicted in the first case here in Pennsylvania, he had already caused a second fatal accident in Ohio.”

She hopes that this bill will make sure the employers of CDL holders are promptly informed when one of their drivers is cited for breaking the law.

Learn more about the bill’s full details.