When it comes to driver training, the conversation at many fleets goes like this:
“What if we train everybody and they leave?” – CFO
“What if we don’t train them and they stay?” – CEO
Outside of normal trucking expenses (fuel, truck, and insurance), the biggest unplanned costs that can hit your company are issues that a focused driver training program could reduce or help prevent.
These unplanned costs include accidents, speeding tickets, roadside violations, impacts of poor CSA scores, vehicle maintenance issues, driver turnover, and eventual increased insurance rates.
As a business owner or fleet manager, you try to prepare financially for many of these costs. The problem is we often do not consider ways to prevent the costs in the first place or we consider the preventive measures to be too expensive or undervalued.
The CFO worries about the short-term cost of training drivers in a high churn industry but misses the long-term impacts of not training the 80% of their drivers that will stay. A good CEO can understand the short-term and long-term impacts of the entire picture.
You are probably starting to think:
- What are the costs of a poor driver training program or not having one at all?
- How much would a driver training program cost?
In this article we will discuss:
- Financial impact of trucking accidents on your business
- Truck driver training, driver turnover and the impact on CSA scores
- How to implement a customized driver training program
Driver training and the impact of Accidents
Every owner-operator understands that the insurance rates for their first 3 years will be high because new drivers with little driving experience have the highest risk of getting into an accident.
When there is an accident, the costs can be extremely high.
FMCSA data show us that there are more than 5,000 fatalities due to truck accidents each year, and more than 100,000 truck accident injuries.
In 2019, 11% of all crash fatalities were due to large truck crashes. If this accident was a multiple-vehicle crash, 23% of passenger vehicle occupant deaths stemmed from a large truck collision.
The reality is that many of these accidents could have been prevented with adequate truck driver training or on-going training after they receive their first job.
According to the FMCSA, crashes are devastating in terms of fatalities and injuries, financial costs, damaged reputations, the inability to attract and retain good drivers, and general goodwill in the industry and community.
Specifically, let’s just look at the financial costs for large vehicle crashes:
- The cost of all large truck crashes is about $91,000 per accident
- A crash with injuries costs almost $200,000 per accident
- A crash with fatalities costs around $3.6 million per accident
Immediately following a potential driver-at-fault accident, an accident driver investigations must occur, looking into their training history and if the driver satisfied all their training requirements.
Unfortunately, records associated with driver training are often doctored following an accident with the hope to provide a more favorable picture of actual training that occurred.
After the investigations, pre-employment violations are often found around driver qualification files and lack of previous employment history on record.
The best way to avoid collisions is to drive safely. The best way to monitor driver safety habits is measuring the ELD telematic data over time to show trends in a simple Driver Scorecard.
With a customized driver training program, red flags on these driver scorecards can immediately give the driver courses on defensive driving, fuel efficiency, HOS regulations, or driver ELD training.
Then, if an accident does happen, the fleet can show proof of focused on-going training.
Driver training and the impacts of Driver Turnover and CSA Scores
In 2020, the driver turnover rate at large truckload carriers averaged 90% while smaller truckload fleets faced a 69% turnover on average.
In some circumstances, there are even fleets facing a 200% or 300% turnover rate, meaning a driver could be recruited, hired, and onboarded in January and replaced at least twice by December.
In these cases, it makes sense why fleets fear spending money on training new and current drivers. The operational budget for trucks and tires come first before investing in company culture, safety, and on-going training.
In other words, high driver turnover causes pressures to quickly train drivers and push them on the road to get money flowing after losing the previous driver.
However, Vigillo—a data analyzing firm—completed a recent study that found a group of fleets with high driver turnover had 1,177 total crashes where fleets with low driver turnover had just 303 total crashes.
“There is a pretty strong correlation between the safety culture that exists at a motor carrier, which can be measured in CSA, and turnover rates,” said Vigillo CEO, Steve Bryan.
Their data revealed that fleets with high driver turnover had:
- 189% more driver out-of-service rate
- 300% more vehicle out-of-service rate
- 181% more hours-of-service violations
- 224% more crash indicators
- 640% more hazmat violations, and
- 182% more controlled substance violations
According to FMCSA annual violation data, fleets regulated by the DOT have paid over $27 million annually in fines, which breaks down to an average of $5,074 per case for violations. With HAZMAT, this average nearly doubles.
Many of these violations will also place the truck out-of-service until the issues are fixed. Being placed out-of-service for 10 hours while a maintenance shop is fixing the truck can cost a fleet around $900 more.
You can already see the cost benefits of reducing high driver turnover through positive company culture and a successful driver training program.
How to implement near-term customized driver training
Today, new technology and equipment analyzes and optimizes nearly every facet of fleet efficiency. This includes electronic logging devices, dashcams, and fleet management software that driver must be trained to use.
Each driver comes with their own experiences, skills, and flaws and these technologies can be used to understand your driver better.
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.
Similarly, if there is a pattern of logbook errors, include logbook training and hours of service rules into their video training schedule.
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.
Nearly 4,000 commercial motor vehicles in the U.S. with critical brake violations removed from roadways during 2021 Brake Safety Week
During the annual CVSA Brake Safety Week enforcement blitz, from August 22-28, 2021, enforcement officials inspected 35,764 commercial motor vehicles across the U.S, Canada, and Mexico.
According to CVSA’s released data, 12% of the vehicles inspected were placed out of service (OOS) due to critical brake-related inspection item conditions until critical brake violations were corrected, much like the brake safety week results of 2020 and a slight decrease from the 2019 blitz.
The annual inspection blitz was conducted at fixed weigh stations, temporary pop-up inspection sites and during roving roadway patrols.
What was the inspection focus?
According to the US federal regulations and the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria, if your brake system efficiency falls below the minimum of 43.5%, your vehicle will be put out of service.
In Canada, 1,903 commercial motor vehicles were inspected. The brake-related out-of-service rate was 15.4%. The out-of-service rate related to brakes in the U.S. was 13.5% out of the 28,694 commercial motor vehicles inspected. And in Mexico, 5,167 inspections were conducted with a brake-specific out-of-service rate of 2.6%.
In addition, during Brake Safety Week, inspectors in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. recorded 5,667 brake hose chafing violations, which are a common brake-related violation, whether out-of-service or not.
Inspectors focused on violations involving brake hoses and brake tubing, which resulted in identifying:
- 1,970 violations – Wear extends into outer protective material, where applicable.
- 1,730 violations – Wear extends through outer protective material into outer rubber cover.
- 1,026 violations – Wear makes reinforcement ply visible, but ply is intact.
- 567 violations (OOS) – Reinforcement ply is visible, and ply is completely frayed, severed, or cut through.
- 374 violations (OOS) – Wear extends through reinforcement ply to inner rubber layer.
Why is CMV brake safety a big deal?
The CVSA brake safety enforcement and awareness campaigns are meant to remove unsafe drivers from roads and remind drivers that braking systems need to be checked regularly.
Brake-related violations accounted for more OOS vehicle conditions (26.5%) than any other vehicle violation during CVSA’s three-day International Roadcheck inspection in May.
According to the FMCSA latest “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts” report, “Brake system” was the third most cited vehicle-related factor in fatal commercial motor vehicle and passenger vehicle crashes.
Regular checks help to preserve the safety of both the drivers and others on the road. Although this campaign had a specific focus on brake violations, inspecting the brakes is a normal part of procedure during roadside inspections.
Stay DOT compliant
Knowing what your CSA score is and how it affects your company and all of the requirements to pass inspections, whether it be for brake safety or suspension and steering, will allow you to stay compliant and plan your operations more efficiently.
UCR officials look to collect unpaid fees as UCR Registration opens October 1 for the 2022 UCR registration year (2022 UCR fees are below).
The Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) plan was created in 2005 to collect fees from interstate motor carriers, private carriers of property, brokers, freight forwarders and leasing companies to offer more than $100 million in safety enforcement programs annually to the participating states.
The program requires ALL carriers (private, exempt, or for-hire) to register their business with a participating state and pay an annual fee that is based on the size of their fleet. Brokers, freight forwarders, and leasing companies also are required to register and pay a fee, unless they are also operating as a motor carrier.
Out of the 44,000 motor carriers who have not registered or paid fees with the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) plan, there are an estimated 35,000 unregistered carriers from the nine nonparticipating states, which include:
- New Jersey
These states that do not participate in the program must enforce UCR requirements for carriers domiciled in those states with DOT numbers.
The UCR board authorized three pilot projects that call for hiring a private contractor to contact, attempt to register and collect unpaid fees to raise funds for the plan.
Avelino Gutierrez, executive director of the UCR Plan, “the plan is to have one contractor full-time equivalent contact the motor carriers — about 50 a day — starting with those with the highest number of power units and moving to those with lower numbers of power units, to be more efficient in our return.”
The three pilot programs to collect fees include:
- focusing on around 5,600 new carrier entrants in nonparticipating states who have failed to register, which could raise up to $383,000
- targeting motor carriers who have received a violation for not registering, which is around 3,500 motor carriers each year
- contacting motor carriers that report power units that contradicts the number of power units declared on their MCS-150
Currently, none of the new pilots would be focused on brokers or freight forwarders, officials said.
We are a trustworthy UCR Filing Service
2022 UCR Registration is open as of October 1, 2021. With UCR fees released, all interstate motor carriers will need to update registrations before the deadline.
Use a filing service that knows our industry. Compliance Navigation Specialists can help you.
Our UCR filing service processes your new UCR or your renewal, quickly and accurately. We will file the paperwork and determine the fees, so you can stay focused on your vision for your carrier business.
Register Now for UCR 2022
We will process the registration within 24 hrs in the next business day and follow-up with you when completed.
Motor carriers whose drivers transport hazardous materials/dangerous goods are specially trained in emergency safety and applicable HM/DG federal regulations.
During the surprise five-day CVSA 2021 HM/DG Road Blitz in June, inspectors spotlight safety-compliant drivers, shippers and motor carriers with vehicles containing hazardous materials/dangerous goods to ensure everything is appropriately marked, placarded, packaged, and secured while being transported on our roadways.
Any vehicles found to have HM/DG out-of-service (OOS) violations, or any other driver/vehicle OOS violations, were restricted from traveling until all OOS violations were addressed.
How many CMVs were stopped, inspected, and cited violations?
In the U.S. and Canada, 10,905 commercial motor vehicles and 8,363 HM/DG packages were inspected over that five-day period. Inspectors identified 2,714 violations, which included:
- 496 shipping papers violations
- 628 non-bulk/small means of containment packaging violations
- 390 bulk packaging/large means of containment placarding violations
- 277 non-bulk/small means of containment labeling violations
- 307 bulk/large means of containment placarding violations
- 167 other safety marks violations
- 288 loading and securement violations
- 50 HM/DG package integrity (leaking) violations
Below is a summary of the HM/DG class types inspected.
|Class 1||Explosives, such as ammunition, fireworks, flares, etc.||115||90||317||522|
|Class 2||Flammable, non-flammable/non-poisonous and poisonous.||286||367||1,564||2,217|
|Class 3||Flammable liquids, such as acetone, adhesives, paints, gasoline, ethanol, methanol, some pesticides, etc.||484||1, 526||3,140||5,150|
|Class 4||Flammable solids, substances liable to spontaneously combust and substances that, on contact with water, emit flammable gases, such as white phosphorus and sodium.||102||17||133||252|
|Class 5||Oxidizing agents and organic peroxides, such as hydrogen peroxide, potassium permanganate, sodium nitrite, ammonium nitrate fertilizers and oxygen generators.||110||26||203||339|
|Class 6||Toxic and infectious substances; any material, other than a gas, that is so toxic to humans that it presents a health hazard during transportation, such as cyanide, biological samples, clinical wastes and some pesticides.||113||39||120||272|
|Class 7||Radioactive materials, such as cobalt and cesium.||96||2||40||138|
|Class 8||Liquid or solid corrosive substances, such as sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide, that cause full thickness destruction of human skin at the site of contact within a specified time.||192||160||1,149||1,501|
|Class 9||Miscellaneous HM/DG, such as acetaldehyde ammonia, asbestos, elevated temperature materials and benzaldehyde.||114||146||430||690|
The CVSA HM/DG Road Blitz helps increase awareness of the hazardous materials/dangerous goods rules and regulations in place to keep the driver, the public and the environment safe.
Hazmat and DOT Training
There are many rules, regulations, and requirements in each state for authorities to keep track of when it comes to hauling hazardous material. If you are not DOT compliant, it could be detrimental to your company, as fines and penalties can be upwards of $180,000.
On Sept. 18, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed bill AB5 into law that will make it more difficult for companies to classify people who work for them as independent contractors with the new ABC test.
Under the ABC Test, a worker is presumed to be an employee unless the employer can show that all three of the following “prongs” or conditions are satisfied:
- the worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work,
- the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business, and
- the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.
Hours before the law was to take effect Jan. 2020, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking the state from enforcing it upon truck drivers.
Days later, a hearing on the trucking group’s request for a preliminary injunction was set and the plaintiffs can argue that they have carried their burden for purposes of emergency relief to show:
- that they are likely to succeed on the merits,
- likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of relief,
- that the balance of equities tips in their favor, and
- that their requested relief is in the public interest.
Fast forward more than a year to May 2021 and a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down a lower court’s injunction against the application of the California’s AB5 contractor law and its ABC test to trucking.
The California Trucking Association has 14 days to seek rehearing, which should be expected on or before May 12. If this request is denied, or if the rehearing fails to change the view of the court, it will be just seven days before the injunction lifts.
More recently, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear the first AB5 case from carrier Cal Cartage on October 4, 2021, leaving in place a split in authority regarding whether states can change the rules regarding how truckers are treated.
The next step will be CTA’s case at the U.S. Supreme Court that relies on slightly different arguments and factual statements than Cal Cartage case.
How AB5 affects the trucking industry in California and nearby states
To describe the situation, let us look at port truckers in California. There are around 13,000 truckers regularly serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. However, only a few hundred are classified as employees.
The others are owner-operators who traditionally:
- lease their rigs from trucking companies,
- drive under those companies’ permits, and
- rely on them for work assignments.
These owner-operators are paid by the load and get a 1099 independent contractor tax form at the end of the year.
While this is a popular business model, there are some who abuse this relationship. For example, to meet the state’s strict clean-air regulations, trucking companies forced drivers to purchase new trucks beginning in 2008 rather than assume the expense. Many drivers, who also pay for diesel fuel, repairs, and insurance, fell into debt as they worked overtime to pay off huge loans for their trucks. If they missed payments, some companies reclaimed the trucks and fired the drivers, seizing their equity.
The new AB5 law would basically require carriers to hire the independent contractors and pay them health insurance and other employee benefits.
Interested In New Hire Services?
It is not just California carriers that must deal with the law’s ABC test B prong, which requires carriers and contractors to be in essentially separate areas of business. Carriers across the state’s border that deliver inside California will be required to meet this B prong as well.
Today, the carriers that have been taking the “wait and see” approach on the law and the court’s process are now facing a near-term reality that the independent contractor system might not be possible and will have to face an increase in costs to hire the drivers.
Other carriers have been cutting ties with California as the cost of doing business in the state are greater than the reward and pull out of any California operations to shield themselves from the impact of the AB5 law.
CNS can help fleets with our new driver hire program
If AB5 does not include a trucking exemption, then there will be a flood of independent carriers going through a new hire process. There are a lot of rules around the hiring process, not limited to drug testing, CDL Clearinghouse queries, compliant DQ file process, and more.
To get these drivers on the road fast, Compliance Navigation Specialists has developed a new hire program that will streamline your hiring process.
Our New Hire service includes the following:
- Tailor Drive Qualification file (paper) or Online Tailored Driver Qualification File (Paperless)
- Initial Audit
- Previous employer inquires completed on your behalf
- Initial Motor Vehicle Report (MVR)
- Pre-Screening program report (PSP)
- Online Record Retention
- Pre-employment drug screening verification
- Doctor on medical card verification
- FMCSA clearinghouse full query
- Driver Qualification
- New Hire phone support
- and more
Accuracy, organization and diligence are crucial to keeping your files in order and ready for an audit at a moment’s notice. Our DQF Management System is completely customizable to your individual needs. The consultants at CNS stay in communication with you regarding document updating, as well as offering comprehensive reports upon request, and reports of routine audits by our own DQF Auditors.
Our driver management and new hire management services will exceed your expectations. You focus on trucking, and let us focus on your driver file management. If you have a fleet of drivers, we assure you that you can’t do this cheaper in-house.
We will ensure that your information is collected, current, and complete. In addition, we will continue to update your files as required, and let you know when an updated piece of information is needed.
Driver File Management
Questions about Driver File Management? Fill out the form to get started
Is your Consortium/TPA (C/TPA) experts in DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations? You can find out by reading their drug testing blog articles, see if they offer drug testing management training, and look at their customer reviews.
Companies today, regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT), face strict drug testing regulations and complicated management processes that have been changing rapidly in the last few years.
- New hire driver file management and past employer drug testing history
- Registering and using the CDL Clearinghouse database annually and for newly hired drivers
- Loading new reasonable suspicion information to the CDL Clearinghouse database
- Managing random selection of drivers for drug testing and meeting quarterly or annual required random testing rates
- Fulfilling paperwork requirements and follow-up during the drug testing and lab testing processes
- Switching to updated chain of custody forms (CCF) or using electronic CCFs
- Storing drug testing results and other recordkeeping requirements
- Understanding changes to the required drug test panels on what drugs are being tested
- Staying up to date on local, state, and federal discussions around marijuana legalization
- Having all supervisors of DOT regulated drivers complete the required 120 minutes of Reasonable-Suspicion Training
These are a lot of requirements that smaller fleets and owner-operators often handle poorly, simply because they would never have enough time to manage everything properly. For this reason, most motor carriers choose to have a Consortium/Third-Party Administrator manage their drug testing program.
According to the FMCSA, “C/TPAs manage all, or part, of an employer’s DOT drug and alcohol testing program, sometimes including maintaining required testing records. They perform tasks as agreed to by the employer to assist in implementing the drug and alcohol testing program and to help keep the employer compliant with the DOT/FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Testing rules and regulations.”
While there are no DOT qualification requirements (though this may change in the future) for a consortium or third-party administrator, the expectation is that they know:
- all of the employer requirements and responsibilities under 49 CFR Part 40 and Part 382,
- requirements of Part 383 (CDL Licensing),
- requirements of Part 391 (Driver Qualifications), and
- requirements of Part 392 (Driving of Commercial Motor Vehicles)
If you currently have a consortium handling your drug testing program, do you trust that they are experts in the industry and can handle some or all these processes?
How do you find the right Consortium/TPA to help your company stay compliant?
The purpose of a DOT drug testing program is to mitigate road safety risk and limit carriers’ exposure to liability.
If you use a local doctors’ office for driver physicals or urine specimen collection, are they qualified to manage your entire DOT drug testing program?
Choosing the wrong partner will make companies face stress, inefficiencies, extra costs, and time-consuming tasks that could have been prevented in the first place.
REASON 1: They are not experts in DOT Regulations
The first place to start in finding the right consortium is making sure they are experts in DOT regulations.
You can analyze their expertise by reading their drug testing blog articles, see if they offer drug testing management training, and look at their customer reviews.
Our experts ensure that all DOT rules and regulations are followed, including the implementation of random drug tests for you and your drivers. We take all the necessary steps and precautions to keep you and your drivers compliant with the DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements.
In fact, CNS offers complete DOT compliance from licensing, driver file management, ELDs, audit services, and so much more.
It is our mission to make the roads a safer place for all to travel by improving the safety, protection, and compliance of the industries we serve. Our vision is to stay at the forefront of safety, compliance, and risk in an ever-changing industry.
REASON 2: They are not organized
The second critical consideration is organization and the simplicity to order, track, and access drug test results.
Carriers that manage their own drug testing programs quickly realize the complicated process of building a list of trustworthy drug testing sites across the nation, especially when a driver suddenly needs a drug test far away from home.
At CNS, our consortium offers an online results portal where our consortium clients can:
- order their own chain of custody forms for a drug test
- search collection sites near a driver location
- see the status of a chain of custody order and the results of the test, and
- download chain of custody forms for audit or other purposes.
We have over 15,000 collection sites we work with across the nation.
REASON 3: They are not customer friendly
Lastly, partner with a consortium that will go above and beyond in customer service.
While we vet our collection sites that we work with across the country, mistakes still happen that delay drug test results and slows the hiring process.
The best consortiums track down chain of custody forms, talk to labs about the status of the testing process and results, and work with collection sites and labs to address chain of custody form mistakes that need to be corrected before continuing.
All these things help speed up the testing process and help you get new drivers on the road faster.
Become a CNS Consortium member today
No matter if you are a single driver operation or have 15+ drivers in your fleet, we treat all our clients equally. Save time, money, and reduce stress by switch today.
DOT Consortium: 1-14 Drivers
This membership is a flat rate of $80/driver for enrollment and includes any in-network random drug tests for 1 year.
There is a $75 pre-employment test for any drivers that have been deactivated from the random pool for over 30 days or have missed a random selection to get a new pre-employment drug test.
Store_Consortium 1-14 drivers1st Carriers between 1-14 drivers, This would be flat rate 80 per driver for enrollment. $75 pre employment test.
DOT Consortium: 15+ Drivers
This membership is for carriers with 15 drivers or more and can be in their own testing pool.
Enrollment is $10/driver, and $75 per any drug test issued.
If a driver has been deactivated from the random pool for over 30 days or have missed a random selection to get a new pre-employment drug test, a pre-employment drug test is required.
Store_Consortium 15+ driversCarriers with 15+ drivers, has enrollment fee of $10 per driver and $75 for any tests needed.
The goal of Operation Safe Driver Week is to discourage dangerous driving behaviors. This is accomplished through a heightened law enforcement presence on our roadways and increasing interactions between risky drivers and law enforcement officers.
This year’s Operation Safe Driver Week saw 17,910 passenger vehicle drivers (down 51% over last year’s program) and 28,148 commercial motor vehicle drivers (down 6% over last year’s program) from July 11-17.
During this week in 2021, law enforcement issued 27,349 warnings and citations where last year they issued over 70,000 warnings and citations (a 62% decline).
For speeding, passenger vehicle drivers received 9,349 citations (a 35% decline over 2020) and only 2,929 warnings (a 71% decline over 2020).
On the other hand, commercial motor vehicles received 1,690 speeding citations (down 28% over last year) and 2,549 speeding warnings (a 26% decline over last year).
The top citations and warnings for CMV drivers were:
|1.||Speeding/basic speed law/driving too fast for conditions||1,690||1.||Speeding/basic speed law/driving too fast for conditions||2,549|
|2.||Failure to use a seat belt||1,225||2.||Failure to use a seat belt||954|
|3.||Failure to obey traffic control device||522||3.||Failure to obey traffic control device||869|
|4.||Texting/using a handheld phone||344||4.||Texting/using a handheld phone||336|
|5.||Improper lane change||112||5.||Following too closely||310|
Failure to wear a seatbelt was the second highest violation for both types of drivers and buckling up is the single most effective thing vehicle drivers and passengers can do to protect themselves in the event of a crash. Officers issued 1,355 citations and 354 warnings to passenger vehicle drivers, and 1,225 citations and 954 warnings to commercial motor vehicle drivers.
In addition to traffic enforcement, 2,469 motorists were assisted during Operation Safe Driver Week, highlighting law enforcement’s commitment to public service and roadway safety. Motorist assistance may include help fixing a flat tire, providing gasoline for a stranded vehicle, checking on someone who may be pulled over, assisting individuals in distress or experiencing a medical emergency, jump-starting a vehicle, traffic control, etc.
Why is CVSA Operation Safe Driver Week important?
This CVSA Program focuses specifically on drivers because drivers’ actions—whether it be speeding or just the failure to pay attention to driving—are responsible for most crashes and contribute to a staggering 94% of all traffic crashes.
Data shows that traffic stops and interactions with law enforcement help reduce problematic driving behaviors.
By interacting with drivers during Operation Safe Driver Week, law enforcement personnel aim to make our roadways safer by targeting high-risk driving behaviors.
- Speeding has been a factor in more than a quarter of crash deaths since 2008. (Source)
- Speeding of any kind was the most frequent driver-related crash factor for drivers of commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles. (Source)
- Speeding was a factor in 26% of all traffic fatalities in 2018, killing 9,378 people or an average of more than 25 people per day. (Source)
- Distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2019. (Source)
- Of the 22,215 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2019, 47% were not wearing seat belts. Seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives and could have saved an additional 2,549 people if they had been wearing seat belts, in 2017 alone. (Source)
- Every day, about 28 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes — that’s one person every 52 minutes. In 2019, 10,142 people lost their lives due to drunk driving. (Source)
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
FMCSA Will Notify States of Recent Drug and Alcohol Violations and Require States 60 Days to Revoke CDLs
One of the biggest FMCSA drug testing loopholes is closing as state driver license agencies (SLDAs) will soon be required to initiate the downgrade process for licenses of drivers who have a drug or alcohol violation in the Clearinghouse.
States are already required to check FMCSA’s Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse database for violations before issuing new licenses or renewing the licenses and must not “issue, renew, upgrade or transfer a commercial driver’s license, or commercial learner’s permit when a driver has tested positive for drugs or alcohol.”
As of August, 87,438 drivers had at least one drug or alcohol violation, according to the Clearinghouse database.
However, most of these state agencies do not currently receive the CDL driver drug and alcohol violations when they first happen.
“Therefore, these SDLAs are unaware when a commercial motor vehicle operator is subject to the driving prohibition, and the CMV operator continues to hold a valid CDL or CLP, despite the driving prohibition,” said a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in their announcement.
Federal regulators are requiring SDLAs to remove the CDL holders driving privileges within 60 days after being notified of a test failure and prohibiting certain CDL transactions for drivers in the database.
There are two ways the FMCSA will notify state agencies:
- FMCSA will “push” the information to the SDLA whenever a drug or alcohol program violation is reported to the Clearinghouse for a CLP or CDL holder licensed in that State.
- FMCSA will also “push” a notification to the SDLA when the driver complies with return-to-duty requirements and is no longer prohibited from operating a CMV.
In addition, “if FMCSA determines that a driver was erroneously identified as prohibited, the Agency will notify the SDLA that the individual is not prohibited from operating a CMV; the SDLA must promptly reinstate the commercial driving privilege to the driver’s license, and expunge the driving record accordingly.”
The rule will help keep unsafe drivers off the road by increasing compliance “with the CMV driving prohibition”.
Most of the licensing agencies said that even if FMCSA notified the driver of an impending downgrade, they would still be required to notify the driver directly, as required by state law.
The rule is effective Nov. 8, 2021 and states must achieve “substantial compliance” with the applicable requirements of the final rule as soon as practicable, but not later than Nov. 18, 2024.
Need Clearinghouse and Compliance help?
It is important to note that effective January 6, 2023, the FMCSA clearinghouse will become the sole query source for employers to meet the requirement to identify prospective drivers with drug and alcohol violations.
Right now, carriers must request previous employment for drug testing history and query the Clearinghouse database.
Carriers must also perform a clearinghouse query on all drivers annually. If non-compliance surfaces in a compliance review or safety audit, a carrier faces a fine of up to $2,500 per offense.
CNS offers a comprehensive Drug and Alcohol Consortium Service and are a certified consortium and third-party administrator (C/TPA).
Serving as deputy administrator of FMCSA since January 2021, Meera Joshi is waiting to be confirmed as the next FMCSA administrator.
Prior to her nomination, Joshi served as chair and CEO of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, general manager of the New York Office of Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants and was a visiting scholar at the New York University Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management.
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation could vote on her nomination any day, which would go to the Senate floor for official confirmation.
As we wait for her confirmation, let us look at what the future could bring for the trucking and transportation industry under her leadership.
What is the FMCSA focused on in the next few years?
With more than 500,000 interstate carriers and 4.7 million commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders across the nation, the FMCSA and its 1,100 employees will oversee significant changes for drivers and carriers.
Joshi met with the senate committee on Sept. 22 where she shared her views on regulating the trucking industry, shortening detention times for drivers, roadway safety, and how technology will play a more significant role in the FMCSA approach to self-driving vehicles and increased artificial intelligence in trucks.
To begin, Joshi supports the bipartisan hard infrastructure bill that may be nearing approval. The bill will:
- increase funding for FMCSA state partners to hire additional personnel for roadside inspections and reach the true breadth of the vast commercial motor vehicle (CMV) industry
- provide FMCSA and states the opportunity to increase investigative and enforcement resources focused on high-risk motor carriers and in high crash zones
- support essential upgrades to states’ IT infrastructure to improve CMV driver data collection and transfer, as well as allow for the integration of safety technology into CMV fleets
FMCSA Safety Regulations
When it comes to safety regulations, Joshi mentions four important priorities:
- Electronic transfer of license data between states: This rulemaking is in the final months of getting published for interstate cooperation as there needs to be swift and current data transfer between states around CDL licensure.
- Have state’s downgrade license if a positive drug test is submitted to FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse to keep risky drivers off the roads
- Strengthening FMCSA’s new entrant program
- Increase the scope of motor carrier investigations to encompass more at-risk behavior
As a new entrant, it is required to follow Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations and they will want to see some established records and processes during your New Entrant Safety Audit that will happen within the first 12 months of operation to complete the New Entrant Program.
Commercial Truck Driver Retention
When it comes to decreasing unpaid driver detention time, Joshi mentioned creating the financial incentives for shippers and port operators to decrease that time so that that financial burden doesn’t fall on truckers.
Lastly, about driver retention and capacity, Joshi mentioned the pilot program for the FMCSA to allow 18 to 21-year-old drivers to participate in interstate commerce apprenticeship programs. There are several provisions she mentioned with this program:
- They must have a CDL license to begin with
- There is an hours-of-service requirement
- There is a safeguard within the legislation for termination, if there are any safety concerns, and
- The program requires the FMCSA to do a very important study on driver compensation, including paid and unpaid detention time
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.
Motor carriers can create their own driving studies to improve fleet safety.
Utilizing trucking telematics data from ELD provider Geotab, TuSimple analyzed autonomous miles driven with their technology and directly compared the data to miles driven by humans. Human operated vehicles used a benchmark rate of critical driving events per 100 miles in the same vehicle types and vocation as other motor carrier fleets.
ELD telematic devices gather millions of data points including:
| – dates|
– longitude and latitude
– engine power status
– odometer readings
– engine faults
– critical events data
|– harsh braking|
– hard turning
– hard acceleration
– HOS violations
– and more
In this study, the telematics data measured critical driving events, such as harsh acceleration, braking and cornering that can increase the risk and frequency of accidents.
Who is TuSimple?
TuSimple is a global autonomous driving technology company, headquartered in San Diego, California, with operations in Arizona, Texas, Europe, and China with hopes to transform the $4 trillion global truck freight industry.
Their AI technology makes it possible for trucks to see over .6 miles away, operate nearly continuously, and consume 10% less fuel than manually driven trucks.
TuSimple’s Telematic Autonomous Study Highlights
According to TuSimple’s report, the initial results from a 10-week sample analyzing 80,000 miles demonstrate a significant reduction in industry standard harsh driving events by TuSimple’s autonomous driving technology relative to benchmark rates and human-operated driving.
The data was collected in a variety of conditions, including day, night, rain, and extreme heat as well as on highways and surface streets.
“We’re incredibly excited about the initial study results and the potential for TuSimple’s technology to provide a new standard for safety for the trucking industry,” said Jim Mullen, Chief Administrative Officer for TuSimple. “We believe building and validating the safest and most efficient driver will save lives and truly transform our industry. Carriers rightfully cherish their multimillion-mile drivers, and TuSimple’s technology is designed to provide an even higher level of safety across our fleet partners.”
By gathering real-time insights, the data suggests that TuSimple’s autonomous technology has lower harsh event rates when contrasted with benchmark rates and human-operated driving (see chart below).
|Event Type||Number of events per 100 miles|
|Number of events per 100 miles|
|Harsh Braking||0 – 0.02||0.08 – 0.10|
|Harsh Acceleration||0.11 – 0.16||0.99 – 1.06|
|Harsh Cornering||0.04 – 0.10||1.18 – 1.89|
Motor carriers can create their own driving studies to improve fleet safety
Many ELD providers, including our partner Pedigree Technologies, have created driver and safety scorecards that are easy to set-up, manage, and pull reports.
For example, Pedigree driver and safety scorecards include stats, such as:
- Number of HOS violations
- Idling greater than 20 minutes
- Idling percentage
- Hard braking event
- Speeding greater than 5mph
- Fuel efficiency
- Heavy acceleration event
These scorecards are point-based starting at 100 points and any selected stat can remove a certain amount of points based on the severity. They can be customized further by adding a timeframe duration of the stat or distance traveled.
Review the video below to gain an understanding of how Pedigree structures their scorecards.
For example, a driver can lose 15 points for every time a hard-braking event happens every 100 miles, or a driver can lose 5 points for any Hours-of-Service Util. % is under 75% per day.
Scorecard reporting can be customized by timeframe (the previous 7 days or month), selected vehicle or vehicle types (semi/long-haul trucks, medium-sized trucks, construction vehicles, etc.), and more.
Further ELD Questions? Get a Free DemoContact us with any questions. Our ELD specialists can perform a demo with our ELD devices.
The Pedigree ELD reporting tool also shows if the driver has performed better or worse over the previous week or month.
Does your ELD provider offer similar reporting tools? If not, learn more about Pedigree Technologies.
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