Ray Martinez leaving FMCSA at end of October


DOT recently announced that the current FMCSA Administrator, Ray Martinez, will be leaving his position; his last day will be October 28th.

Mr. Martinez has been heading up the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) since March 2018 and has been a very active and involved leader, with initial intentions of settling differences between the agency and the trucking industry. Martinez regularly attended trade shows and conferences to talk to industry leaders and discuss updates on FMCSA work.

How will current FMCSA projects be affected?

Since he started in March 2018, Martinez began work on two major projects, the overhaul of the hours of service regulations and the pilot program for younger interstate drivers.

With this change occurring in the middle of these programs, the major question most trucking professionals have is, will this effect or prolong these programs from being completed? The answer tot his question is unclear, however, there is a good chance that these programs will see a delay.

The move is a result of an ongoing desire to be closer to family in Massachusetts, where he will manage a DOT construction project at the Volpe Center. After switching positions with the current deputy administrator—Alan Hanson (new DOT chief counsel)—Jim Mullen will temporarily replace Ray Martinez until President Trump nominates a permanent replacement.

If you have any questions, call 888.260.9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

July Spotlight: Brownsberger Transport Company


This month’s CNS Spotlight is on Brownsberger Transport Company of Lititz, PA.

Andrew Brownsberger—owner and driver of Brownsberger Transport Co.—has been operating since 2010. As a car hauler for the thriving auto auction industry in central Pennsylvania, he has grown to a 4-truck operation with plans to grow further in the future. Andrew has watched the industry change in the last few years with a much higher focus on Hours of Service (HOS), especially after the ELD mandate took effect in 2018.

We sat down to ask him a few questions on how he manages his HOS scores, logs, and his drivers in an ever-changing trucking industry.

CNS: Andrew, what issues did you find regarding HOS rules prior to the ELD mandate last year?

Brownsberger Transport Company, ELD mandate, HOS

Andrew: I think the 30-minute break rule is unnecessary. I don’t feel like that creates safer roads or working conditions. I do agree with HOS; we don’t want people driving over 11 hours. I know from my experience that I would be tired after 11 hours of driving.

CNS: Do you find yourself having any issues after the HOS mandate?

Andrew: Yes, although I agree with HOS. Paper logs are easier to use for many reasons. But with the new technology it makes it harder to correct simple mistakes that happen.

CNS: What system do you have in place for checking logs for your drivers at your company?

Andrew: Pedigree for the ELD hardware and software and CNS for consulting.

CNS: How has the use of the Pedigree Technologies CabMate One helped you regarding staying compliant with the HOS regulations?

Andrew: It clearly lets you know if you are in or going to be in violation.

CNS: Do you have any suggestions for other carriers that may be struggling with HOS rules and regulations?

Andrew: Driver training and being able to manage your work time better is key. If you are having trouble with making changes within the culture, hire CNS.

Brownsberger Transport Company, ELD mandate, HOS


CNS Spotlight featuring Rohrer’s Quarry Inc.

Discussion on Vehicle Maintenance

Our CNS Spotlight for the month of June is on Rohrer’s Quarry Inc. and their vehicle maintenance practices. With the CVSA Roadcheck Blitz on June 4th – 6th focusing on steering and suspension, we decided to ask Ryan Zimmerman, VP of Rohrer’s Service Center, a division of Rohrer’s Quarry his thoughts on how he maintains his fleet.  Rohrer’s Quarry has a fleet of 51 power units and does a great job in maintaining their fleet. Below is the Q&A and some great insight from a company that does it the right way.

Rohrer’s Quarry Inc. has been a staple of Lancaster County, and the Lititz community for many generations now. Rohrer’s came from humble beginnings in the 1800’s to the thriving business it is today and has been family owned and operated since 1937. Ryan, who has been with Rohrer’s since 1997 handling their fleet maintenance, knows the importance of keeping his vehicles in great shape and in good working order.

Q1. With the upcoming Road check focused on steering and suspension systems what should a driver look for to make sure they are compliant?

A thorough pre-trip can catch most issues before the DOT inspector can. Pay close attention to the easy things an officer can pick out. Check for broken springs or loose hardware and U-bolts in the suspension, look for rust trails or shined-up components, an indication of shifting front and back. With the engine off, check the steering shaft from column to steering gear box; there should be no play in shaft or u-joints. Start the engine and rotate steering shaft back and forth and observe the drag link and tie rod ends you can see from the left side, looking for loose components. Look for power steering system leaks and rubbed or frayed hoses.

Q2. What do you see as the most common defects in steering and suspension systems?

The most over looked component is the steering gear input shaft. Any play in this component is non-compliant with the DOT. Another common defect if you are operating a vocational truck in rough jobsites, the suspension springs will get weak and break over time.

Q3. How often do you recommend drivers check for defects in steering and suspension systems?

I feel it is a good practice to check steering and suspension systems at the start of every shift with your pre-trip. Not only will it give you peace of mind in the event of a DOT inspection, this check also allows you to get to your destination and back home safely and without a roadside service call.

Q4. How often should a truck come in for preventive maintenance?

How often your truck requires maintenance depends mostly on how it is being used. Is your truck in a vocational, city, or over-the-road application? All truck manufactures have specific service guidelines based on fuel consumption and idle/PTO time that will give a description of normal, heavy or severe duty. It can be calculated by engine hours or mileage; this is generally 500 – 1300 hours or 5,000 – 45,000 miles. If you are unsure of how often to seek preventative maintenance ask your local independent service provider or dealership, they will partner with you to fit your application and needs. Know your truck and take care of it, it will provide reliable service to you.

Q5. What are the key items that should be checked for during a preventive maintenance check in?

A lot of roadside/breakdown issues and DOT issues can be addressed during PMs. This is an area where it can be costly to cut corners. These are some of the key items you or your service provider should be checking:

  • Brakes; lining adjustment, automatic brake slack operation, wheel seals, cracks and hardware issues
  • Steering/Suspension; Springs/air bags, Kingpins, wheel bearings/seals, steering links
  • Oil level checks and lube necessary brake, steering and suspension components, and check for fluid leaks, filters and fluids that need replaced
  • Belts and hoses, tire condition, exhaust leaks, and general operation of truck.

We want to thank Ryan and Rohrer’s for their time and insight on this topic.  All in all, it pays to be Proactive and get ahead of any issues that are in question.  Any questions about your Vehicle Maintenance, feel free to reach out to CNS at info@cnsprotects.com

CNS and affiliates announce new headquarters to be completed in 2020

Lititz PA- Compliance Navigation Specialists (CNS), is the fastest growing full-service transportation compliance company locally, and across the contiguous United States.  Today, CNS is pleased to announce the new company headquarters is to be built and completed by late 2020. The new headquarters will be located at 151 Koser Rd in Lititz PA.

“We greatly look forward to our new headquarters for our family of companies. The space will allow us to serve our clients more collaboratively and add room for our proven and continued growth” says John Irwin, Founder and CEO. “Our new location will not only allow us to reach more clients throughout North America, but also be more effective within our local community. Over the past year we have added more relevant services for local transportation companies including HAZMAT training classes, CDL exam prep, among others that are completed at our current location. The added space will allow more driver training and safety classes. Another new service that has been added this month are DOT and PA School bus physicals, and the new location will give us options to expand occupational medicine services as well.”

CNS will build a two story 19,000-square foot building on 4.10 acres zoned I-1 in Manheim Township. The building will be called The HUB. “We named the new headquarters The HUB, due to the fact that it will be the center of activity when it comes to transportation licensing, compliance and risk management.” The property will house Compliance Navigation Specialists, Northern Insurance Specialists, Carolyn’s Notary Service (Carolyn’s Notary Service will enjoy two locations with the new build – the current Copperfield Circle location, and the new Koser Road location) and the newest affiliate CNS Driver Training Center.

The building will feature an indoor 65 foot bay for Pre-Trip inspection trainings, a large training center with monthly training classes to be held, physical examination rooms, a drug testing facility, vehicle licensing center as well as offices with a bull pen area for 40+ employees. The upstairs will be left vacant for future use or potential partners that would be a relevant fit for our clientele.

The completed build date is scheduled for September – October of 2020.

About CNS and Affiliates
As the fastest growing, industry-leading, full-service compliance company, CNS delivers results for its clients. Proactive Safety Management services save companies time and money when it comes to safety, licensing and risk management. Powered by technology, a knowledgeable staff, industry leading partners and affiliates, CNS is the preferred partner for transportation companies around North America. CNS and affiliates serve more than 1,800 clients, overseeing half a million units and works with industry leading brands, visit (www.cnsprotects.com). CNS is affiliated with Carolyn’s Notary Service, a licensing and auto tag business serving Pennsylvania’s complete licensing and registration needs (www.carolynsnotary.com). CNS is also affiliated with Northern Insurance Specialists, an insurance agency specializing in transportation insurance for the trucking and motor coach industry serving 23 states (www.northernprotects.com).

#TrailerSafetyWeek

Making Roadways Safer One Trailer at a Time

We’re gearing up for the second annual national Trailer Safety Week to be held June 2-8, 2019! By participating in this safety campaign, we hope to improve the safety of the nation’s roadways by raising trailer safety awareness through education of end-users, dealers and manufacturers on safe trailering practices. The goal is to close the communication gap between trailer manufacturers and end-users to make towing safer.

Whether you’re a dealer or manufacturer, pointing end-users to the information on www.TrailerSafetyWeek.com is an easy way to help improve our nation’s roadways. End-users are vastly undereducated on the proper use of trailers. It’s crucial to utilize the connections that dealers and manufacturers have with consumers to increase safety and awareness.  From driving tips to trailer maintenance and components, the Trailer Safety Week website provides end-users with need-to-know information regarding trailer safety in an easy to understand format.

In addition to resources found on the Trailer Safety Week website, trailer dealers and manufacturers have the opportunity to attend various events held across the nation. During these events, dealers will learn about the National Association of Trailer Manufacturers’ Compliance Verification Program and the importance of trailers being built to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. In addition, attendees will learn about the resources available for dealers to offer end-users. Trailer safety publications will also be distributed at these events as well as Trailer Safety Week key-chains. Unable to attend an event? Order you Trailer Safety Publications here.

Amazon Cracks Down on Carriers with Bad Safety Records

While the economy is currently strong, the trucking industry is always an excellent barometer of the state of the economy as well as where it could be headed in the near future.  Companies that contract out loads to local shippers – for example companies like Amazon – are becoming more stringent with the local shippers procuring loads.  Regional dispatchers and brokers are usually hesitant to work with carriers that have poor SMS scores and conditional safety ratings.

The last few months more companies such as Amazon, are no longer working with carriers that have conditional or unsatisfactory ratings – period.  Carriers may have had a safety or compliance review from the 1990’s and since that time, run a very compliant and safe operation.   What we at Compliance Navigation Specialists are seeing is companies like Amazon no longer working with carriers with a conditional rating – no matter the company SMS scores or job performance.  What had been an issue that was left up to brokers to use a carrier at their discretion has now become company policy that only non-rated and satisfactory carriers can secure loads.

The conditional ratings that have been hiding on SAFER or where simply overlooked in the past, now must be dealt with and removed.  CNS can address these issues with a Corrective Action Plan and Safety Rating Upgrade request that will be submitted to the FMCSA.  CNS also helps explain the process to Brokers and Dispatchers demanding documentation from Carriers.  Carriers often lose time and money when trying to remedy these situations themselves, writing their own Corrective Action Plans which tend to be inadequate.  Once submitted to an FMCSA regional office and respective state for upgrade, months could pass before a review is processed.  If the review is denied, carriers have more work and time to spend on resubmitting.  This is where hiring a professional firm to handle the safety rating upgrade from the start will save you time and inevitably, money.

 

Learn more on how we can help with your safety rating upgrade. 

Don’t have a bad safety rating but are worried you may not pass an audit? Learn more how CNS can help you prepare for an audit.

Now Offering DOT CDL Physical Exams

CNS is now offering appointments for DOT medical card exams. The service will be provided at CNS headquarters, located at 38 Copperfield Circle, Lititz PA 17543 as well as onsite exams across PA for fleets. The service will also extend to PA School Bus medical exams.

Exam appointments can be scheduled Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each Month.

CNS has hired, John Reel, PA-C, MPAS, as our new Certified DOT Medical Examiner.     DOT CDL Physical Exams

John has 35 years of experience in emergency medicine, general surgery, family practice, pulmonary medicine, internal medicine, occupational medicine and urgent care. John was named one of 50 Physician Assistants Who Make A Difference Today by the National Commission of Certified Physician Assistants Health Foundation in 2017.

 

Schedule an exam today! Exams@cnsprotects.com or by calling 717.625.0280 Option 2

Spotted Lanternfly Permit

What is the Spotted Lanternfly?

The Spotted Lanternfly is an invasive planthopper native to China, India, Vietnam. It was first discovered in Pennsylvania in Berks County and has spread to other counties in the southeast portion of the Commonwealth. The insect has the potential to greatly impact agricultural crops such as grapes, hops and hardwoods. It is also reducing the quality of life for people living in heavily infested areas.

Counties are under quarantine:

Pennsylvania

Berks
Bucks
Carbon
Chester
Delaware
Dauphin
Lancaster
Lebanon
Lehigh
Monroe
Montgomery
Northampton
Philadelphia
Schuylkill

New Jersey

Mercer
Hunterdon
Warren

Virginia

Fredericks

Who needs a permit?

For businesses, agencies, and organizations, a Spotted Lanternfly permit is required for those located or working within the quarantine, who move vehicles, products or other conveyances within or out of the quarantine zone.

 

Permit Process:

  • No cost to business to obtain a permit
  • The permit process requires managers and/or supervisors to complete the online permit course to demonstrate a working knowledge and understanding of the pest and quarantine requirements.
  • The online course and exam are located on the Penn State Extension website: https://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly-permit-training

 

Enforcement Start Date May 1, 2019

How Can CNS help?

As required, all employees that drive company vehicles will need to be trained on identifying and stopping the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly.  CNS is trained on the trainer requirements from the PA Department of Ag. CNS can train your drivers. This is a 35- 45 min course. Please note that a supervisor from your company will still be required to take the course from the Penn State Extension.

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Pennsylvania Preparing Aggressive Statewide Response in Advance of Weekend Storm

Harrisburg, PA – With an intense winter storm expected to bring heavy snow, high winds, sleet and freezing rain across the state through this weekend, Governor Tom Wolf today signed a state of emergency declaration to allow for increased assistance with storm-related needs. The commonwealth also will impose speed restrictions and a ban on all commercial traffic, including buses on most interstates and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. State officials urge motorists to use caution during the storm, postpone travel if possible, reduce speeds and be aware of the potential for rapidly changing weather and roadway conditions.

The commercial vehicle ban will be in place between noon Saturday and noon Sunday on all interstates and the Turnpike, except for Interstate 95 in southeastern Pennsylvania. The ban will also be imposed on the U.S. 22 expressway in the Lehigh Valley and the Pennsylvania Route 33 expressway in Northampton and Monroe counties. See a map of restricted roadways.

“We want to be aggressive in managing this storm, during which snowfall rates could exceed one to two inches per hour,” Governor Wolf said. “Our top concern is the safety of residents. If you do not have to travel during the storm, please avoid it. Please heed warnings from emergency responders and personnel, and remember to check on your neighbors, especially the elderly.”

The declaration of an emergency allows for additional help from neighboring states and standing up the Pennsylvania National Guard to ensure a swift response to possible changing priorities, and the vehicle bans will allow our snow plow crews to have a clearer route to keeping these interstates open despite the expected severe weather.

The governor’s emergency declaration authorizes state agencies to use all available resources and personnel, as necessary, to cope with the magnitude and severity of the storm’s impacts. The time-consuming bid and contract procedures, as well as other formalities normally prescribed by law, are waived for the duration of the proclamation.

It is important to note that the declaration does not restrict citizens from travel on commonwealth roadways, but motorists should be aware of any restrictions that are in place and heed the guidance of local authorities.

Speed limits will be restricted to 45 mph on the interstates and expressways as the storm progresses. The Pennsylvania Department Transportation (PennDOT), the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) and the Pennsylvania State Police have been coordinating their planning in advance of the storm and will be staffing the Commonwealth Response Coordination Center (CRCC) throughout the duration of the storm. “Travel will be very challenging this weekend with the combination of heavy snow, high winds, sleet, freezing and plain rain and then a rapid drop in temperatures on Sunday,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “If you must travel, please check 511PA for the latest conditions and be prepared in case extreme conditions trigger long delays on your route.”

Anticipating the storm’s severity, Amtrak has already cancelled the cross-state Pennsylvanian passenger train for Sunday and has cancelled six trains Sunday on the Keystone Line between Philadelphia and Harrisburg.

To help make decisions regarding winter travel, motorists are encouraged to “Know Before You Go” by checking conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 860 traffic cameras. Users can also see plow truck statuses and travel alerts along a specific route using the “Check My Route” tool. 511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

A vehicle emergency kit should be prepared or restocked with items such as non-perishable food, water, first-aid supplies, warm clothes, a blanket, cell phone charger and a small snow shovel. Motorists should tailor their kits to any specific needs that they or their families have such as baby supplies, extra medication and pet supplies.

The CRCC at PEMA headquarters outside Harrisburg will be activated at 8 a.m. on Saturday and staffed with personnel from multiple state agencies, including the departments of Transportation, Conservation and Natural Resources, Environmental Protection, Fish and Boat Commission, Game Commission, General Services, Health, Public Utility Commission, Military and Veterans Affairs, Health, PA State Police, Human Services, Revenue, and PA Turnpike, as well as the American Red Cross and Civil Air Patrol. Other state agencies are on notice to report if needed.

PEMA works with county emergency management personnel to monitor unmet local needs during inclement weather affecting travel, utilities, and shelter. You are encouraged to monitor state agency social media accounts for the most up-to-date information on any emergency or weather-related situation affecting the state, in addition to any social media accounts for your local emergency management offices.

Motorists should be aware that all vehicles should be fully clear of ice and snow before winter travel. If snow or ice is dislodged or falls from a moving vehicle and strikes another vehicle or pedestrian causing death or serious bodily injury, the operator of that vehicle could receive a $200 to $1,000 fine.

When winter weather occurs, PennDOT urges drivers to be extra cautious around operating snow-removal equipment. When encountering a plow truck, drivers should:

  • Stay at least six car lengths behind an operating plow truck and remember that the main plow is wider than the truck.
  • Be alert since plow trucks generally travel much more slowly than other traffic.
  • When a plow truck is traveling toward you, move as far away from the center of the road as is safely possible, and remember that snow can obscure the actual snow plow width.
  • Never try to pass or get between several trucks plowing side by side in a “plow train.” The weight of the snow thrown from the plow can quickly cause smaller vehicles to lose control, creating a hazard for nearby vehicles.
  • Never travel next to a plow truck since there are blind spots where the operator can’t see, and they can occasionally be moved sideways when hitting drifts or heavy snowpack.
  • Keep your lights on to help the operator better see your vehicle. Also remember that under Pennsylvania state law, vehicle lights must be on every time a vehicle’s wipers are on due to inclement weather.

In addition to driving safely around plows, motorists are urged to drive according to conditions. If motorists encounter snow or ice-covered roads, they should slow down, increase their following distance and avoid distractions. Last winter in Pennsylvania, preliminary data shows that there were 440 crashes resulting in 221 injuries on snowy, slushy or ice-covered roadways where aggressive-driving behaviors such as speeding or making careless lane changes were factors.

To report an accident or other emergencies on the PA Turnpike, dial *11 on your mobile phone. If there is an accident, move the car out of travel lane and onto shoulder, if possible, and stay in the vehicle. For more information about PA Turnpike conditions, follow the conversation by using www.paturnpike.com/travel/twitter. You may also see advisories by clicking on the travel ticker on www.PATurnpike.com.

PennDOT has created a Winter Safety media center, including social-media-sized graphics highlighting winter driving preparations and operations at www.penndot.gov in the “Media Center” under the “About Us” footer.

For more information on safe winter travel, an emergency kit checklist and information on PennDOT’s winter operations including a video, visit PennDOT.gov/winter. Additional winter driving and other highway safety information is available at PennDOT.gov/safety Follow the conversation by using #PAWinter on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PennDOTNews and visit the department on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaDepartmentofTransportation to view a winter emergency kit video.

Video Blog: New Venture Part 1

New Venture Part 1. If you are interested in obtaining your own authority, watch this clip outlining what you need to get started. Rob, an account manager for CNS, will give some pointers on what needs to be completed and in what order.

Part 2 will be with Ron Haws Northern Insurance Specialists agency director talking insurance for new ventures.