How HHS Hair Testing Proposal Falls Short and When To Expect DOT Hair Testing

dot pre-employment hair testing

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) just wrapped up their 60-day comment period on their long-anticipated proposed hair testing guidelines.

Since 2015, when Congress mandated HHS to release hair testing guidelines, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the trucking industry has increased random drug testing requirements due to the rise in rates of positive drug tests. The DOT also released a national drug testing results Clearinghouse Database to help reduce the number of safety-sensitive employees using controlled substances. Learn how to sign-up for the Clearinghouse

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.

Learn more about Current DOT Drug Testing

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.

Let’s break this down.

Why use hair testing as an alternative testing method?

The biggest problem with urine testing is how many options there are to try and cheat a drug test. These methods include:

  • synthetic “fake” urine
  • watering down the urine, or
  • slipping in clean urine from someone else

While there are processes in place to catch individuals cheating the system, many people claim to have cheated and never been caught. Hair testing on the other hand is virtually impossible to cheat when done properly. There is no scientific proof that results can be manipulated by:

  • dying your hair
  • applying hair products
  • detox kits, or
  • any other misconceptions  about manipulating test results.

Additionally, the hair testing can detect drugs and alcohol in the system from a week to 90+ days, unlike urine testing, which only detects drugs and alcohol up to 7 days. Employers have long been using hair testing for pre-employment testing so they can better understand a potential new hire’s drug testing history.

“The scary part is, while a driver can be disqualified from driving from Werner Enterprises, they’re able to go to another carrier [that may not use hair testing] because hair testing isn’t recognized under federal regulations,” said Jamie Maus, vice president of safety and compliance at Werner Enterprises.

“Of the 5,000 positive hair tests in the last couple of years, only a handful of those also tested positive in urine, so only a handful of those would have been reported to the current Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse or to other companies.”

“What was more surprising was the types of drugs we were picking up. The number one drug we see is cocaine, then amphetamines, and then opioids – marijuana is not even in the top tier.”

While critics of hair-testing claim it can result in false positives because certain drugs can be absorbed into the hair from secondhand smoke, or that it may offer racial bias in test results, hair-testing advocates say those concerns are unfounded and scientifically unproven.


Need more information?

Our DOT Compliance Specialists will give you a free estimate and can also answer any questions you have regarding DOT Compliance, Trucking Insurance or any other questions related to the Transportation Industry.

Why the HHS hair testing proposal falls short

The biggest problem with the proposed hair testing guidelines is that, if hair testing results come back positive, a second urine test is required to confirm the positive test result.

This means a urine specimen must be collected at the time of the hair test or an employee must give a urine specimen by an MRO when reviewing a positive hair test result.

Not only will this create scenarios where a driver could receive a positive hair test result and a negative urinalysis test result, it also creates other issues such as:

  • extra testing costs for confirmation testing
  • longer driver downtime while waiting for test results, and
  • complicated logistics of collectors or labs keeping an authorized second urine specimen for an undisclosed period of time while waiting for the MRO to determine if the specimen is needed for confirmation testing.

According to industry experts, hundreds of thousands of secondary urine specimens per day may need to be shipped to two completely different testing laboratories as some labs do not test both hair and urine and millions of these specimens will be collected, shipped, identified, and eventually discarded for no reason, significantly increasing testing costs to companies.

 

When can we expect DOT hair testing?

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.


Drug and Alcohol Services

At CNS, we offer a comprehensive Drug and Alcohol Consortium Service and are a certified consortium and third-party administrator (C/TPA).

Our experts ensure that all DOT rules and regulations are followed, including the implementation of random drug tests for you and your drivers, updating your company drug testing policies, record retention and document purge management.

We take all the necessary steps and precautions to keep you and your drivers compliant with the DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements.

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

Understand Three Important Trucking Tools For Hiring and Roadside Inspections

The DataQ System can help fight and remove incorrect records that could be keeping your scores or insurance rates high.

Every year the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) releases the top concerns affecting the trucking industry. As expected, the latest survey revealed that the shortage of qualified truck drivers and cost of trucking insurance remain top concerns.

These issues will continue  to be a problem for years to come. However, there are tools that fleet managers, owner-operators, and truck drivers should understand that could help simplify the hiring process and possibly reduce trucking insurance rates.

These tools include:

  • Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) Reports
  • Inspection Selection System (ISS) Scores, and
  • the DataQ Process

 

PSP Reports Used In Trucker Hiring Decisions

The FMCSA created the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) to help carriers make more informed hiring decisions. This database includes a commercial driver’s five-year crash and three-year inspection history from the FMCSA Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) which is largely the same data used in the carriers CSA performance measurements.

PSP records are simply a history of violations without scoring like in the CSA score system and are available for companies hiring commercial truck drivers.

Fleets can use the three-year roadside violation history and 5-year crash history alongside a driver’s employment history to analyze a their potential driving habits.

These reports are also valuable for truck drivers looking for jobs, which keep them informed of their current record  and any potentially incorrect data that could be challenged and removed with the DataQ process. A driver likely looking for a new job should pull a report at least twice per year to verify their record is accurate.


Need more information?

Our DOT Compliance Specialists will give you a free estimate and can also answer any questions you have regarding DOT Compliance, Trucking Insurance or any other questions related to the Transportation Industry.

ISS Scores Helps Roadside Inspectors Pull Drivers For Inspection

Usually, inspectors look for physical defects and spot visible violations that warrant a truck to be pulled over for a full roadside inspection.

However, inspectors have additional tools to determine if a roadside inspection is recommended.

When rolling into weight scales, inspectors’ computer terminals quickly pull basic information on the truck, driver and company. One of the data points is the “Inspection Selection System” or “ISS” Score.

These scores combine CSA score percentage, out-of-service rates, crash data, and previous audit information. If the ISS Score is high, an inspection is warranted. If the score is not too high and considered “optional”, it still may be worth it to an inspector to look at the truck pulling through.

Fleets can find their ISS score through their FMCSA Portal or if logging into the SMS system.

 

DataQ is Used To Clear Incorrect Information Harming Your Fleet

If you notice incorrect information in your PSP report or the CSA Safety Measurement System (SMS), there is a tool—DataQ System—to help fight and remove these records that could be keeping your scores or insurance rates high.

When you want to challenge an incorrect violation, a crash that meets the challenge guidelines, or an inspection assigned to you by mistake, you can achieve this through the DataQ process.

DataQ is the online system for drivers, motor carriers, Federal and State agencies, and others to file concerns about Federal and State data maintained in MCMIS and released to the public by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The most important part of the DataQ Process is gathering the best supporting documents when making your case. This may include ELD data, video records, and more. There is a limit to how many times you can challenge that same violation, so being thorough the first time will help you win your case.

If you have an eligible crash that occurred on or after June 1, 2017, you may submit a challenge with compelling evidence to prove the crash was Not Preventable. During the Demonstration Program, eligible crashes are limited to the following:

  • Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) was struck by a motorist driving under the influence of illegal substance (or related offense)
  • CMV was struck by a motorist driving the wrong direction
  • CMV was struck in the rear
  • CMV was struck while it was legally stopped or parked, including when the vehicle is unattended
  • CMV struck an individual committing, or attempting to commit, suicide by stepping or driving in front of the CMV
  • CMV sustained disabling damage after striking an animal in the roadway
  • Crash as a result of an infrastructure failure, falling trees, rocks, or debris
  • CMV was struck by cargo or equipment from another vehicle

What can CNS do for me in the DataQ system?

We have built great rapport with the FMCSA challenging DataQ’s and have the experience and expertise to determine what can and cannot be challenged.

Our DOT Compliance Specialists are well-versed in the FMCSA rules and regulations, as well as what an officer is required to note on their report.

Whether you would like our DOT Specialists to challenge one DataQ or conduct a monthly analysis of all roadside violations to potentially challenge, we have a cost effective solution for your company.

We can:

  • Request copies of an Inspection Report
  • Contest incorrect, multiple-listed, or missing IEP/shipper information.
  • Citation with associated violation
  • Assigned to wrong motor carrier or driver
  • Challenging a DOT Audit/Investigation
  • Challenging a fine as a result of a Notice of Claim or Notice of Violation
  • Crash duplicates, record missing, crash report contains incorrect information, crash preventability program*

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

Spotted Lanternfly Permit Renewals and Fall Prevention For Fleets

Spotted Lanternfly Permits | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

Fall brings the insects life stage to adults and egg masses are present. After storing up the summer warmth and energy, they are beginning to swarm.

This invasive plant hopper species, the Spotted Lanternfly, has found its way to the US and rapidly spread throughout southeast Pennsylvania with the potential to infest agricultural crops and create a lot of issues for residents.

Spotted Lanternflies can potentially hitch a ride on products and vehicles, thus moving into a new area and spreading the infestation.

Businesses who ship products in and out of quarantined zones in Pennsylvania are required to have a Spotted Lanternfly Permit.

These permits demonstrate that the business know of this invasive pest and best practices to prohibit its spread.

Spotted Lanternfly Permitting renewals and requirements

Since April 2019, the Spotted Lanternfly Permit style has changed. Currently, only one paper permit is issued to each company. Each company can now make as many copies as needed to issue to their drivers.

Permits are free, but online training is required to obtain them. Managers and/or supervisors who demonstrate working knowledge and understanding of this insect and the quarantine requirements may obtain a permit.

Check out our industry library resources of 15 videos, 2 ebooks, industry links, and CNS In The News content.

In July, a renewal notice and replacement paper permit (blue and white trifold) were sent to all permit holders as a replacement for the old orange tags.

  1. How do I renew?
    • If you have a blue and white paper permit, no further action is needed. If you have not received a paper permit, email slfpermit@pa.gov.
  2. When does my permit expire?
    • Permits do not have an expiration date.
  3. Do I have to retake the permit course and exam?
    • No additional training is required at this time.

If you have not received your permit or gone through the required training, CNS is trained on the Spotted Lanternfly Permit requirements from the PA Department of Agriculture.

We offer training for your drivers to identify and help contain and eventually stop the spread of this insect.

The CNS course is a 35-45 min training. Please note a supervisor from your company will still be required to take the permitting course from the Penn State Extension Website.


Spotted Lanternfly Permitting Course

If you have not received your permit or gone through the required training, CNS is trained on the Spotted Lanternfly Permit requirements.

Fall Prevention Steps to Prevent Spotted Lanternfly Spread

With Spring comes the return of the Spotted Lanternfly season. Fall brings the insects life stage to adults and egg masses are present. After storing up the summer warmth and energy, they are beginning to swarm. In areas of heavy populations, thousands of the invasive insect will gather in mass on trees, houses and other tall structures, to launch themselves into the wind and glide, looking for food and a safe place to lay their eggs.

If you observe SLF in Pennsylvania, report these swarms via the Public Reporting Tool.

Fleets should inspect vehicles, trailers and items stored outdoor before movement within or from the quarantine, as well as inspect goods prior to transport or sale.

Most importantly, make any efforts to destroy the Spotted Lanternflies to help reduce populations. Spotted Lanternflies can be controlled with a combination of physical removal of life stages and host trees, and pesticide applications. Use Penn State Extension’s management resources to safely manage the insects on your property or at your business.

More efforts to reduce the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly

This year, the PDA Compliance and Enforcement Team is offering compliance assistance to help companies become spotted lanternfly compliant and get permitted.

The PDA has partnered with the PA State Police as part of “Operation Spotted Lanternfly” to do roadside inspections. After the State Police do their DOT inspections, the PDA team will interview the driver, inspect their permits and related logs, and do a vehicle inspection.

Roadside inspections have proven to be effective, and the PDA Compliance and Enforcement Team expects to increase the number of inspections this coming Spotted Lanternfly season.

Know the quarantine zones

To stop the movement and spread of spotted lanternflies, quarantines are in effect. A quarantine means certain articles cannot be moved out of the area. Industries located or operating inside the quarantine zone will need a Spotted Lanternfly Permit.

Currently the following counties are under quarantine in Pennsylvania:

  • Allegheny
  • Beaver
  • Berks
  • Blair
  • Bucks
  • Carbon
  • Chester
  • Columbia
  • Cumberland
  • Dauphin
  • Delaware
  • Huntingdon
  • Juniata
  • Lancaster
  • Lebanon
  • Lehigh
  • Luzerne
  • Mifflin
  • Monroe
  • Montgomery
  • Northampton
  • Northumberland
  • Perry
  • Philadelphia
  • Schuylkill
  • York

There are also quarantine counties or zones in the states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia.

Learn what counties are quarantined in New Jersey and Virginia

Quarantine counties have restricted movement of certain articles. The PA Department of Agriculture lists these prohibited items:

  • any living stage of the Spotted Lanternfly—Lycorma delicatula—including egg masses, nymphs, and adults
  • brush, debris, bark, or yard waste
  • landscaping, remodeling or construction waste
  • logs, stumps, or any tree parts
  • firewood of any species
  • grapevines for decorative purposes or as nursery stock
  • nursery stock
  • crated materials
  • outdoor household articles such as: recreational vehicles, lawn tractors and mowers, mower decks, grills, grill and furniture covers, tarps, mobile homes, tile, stone, deck boards, mobile fire pits, any associated equipment and trucks or vehicles not stored indoors

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

Major CDL Clearinghouse Deadline Approaching or Face Fines

fmcsa cdl clearinghouse annual queries

Do you remember the beginning of 2020 when the crash of the FMCSA’s CDL Clearinghouse website caused registration confusion?

The launch was supposed to be a smooth process as companies had three months prior to register. But few did.

As a result of so many people attempting to register through the website at the last minute, the website was overloaded and crashed, causing registration errors and quick fixes just to get people in the system.

The FMCSA Clearinghouse is an online database where new drug and alcohol testing violations and return-to-duty information of CDL drivers is stored and searched.

This database has worked well in preventing drug users from job hopping, as well as open the book on what is happening real-time with the trucking industry drug testing statistics.

In the first 8 months the Clearinghouse was in effect, over 35,000 drivers were found with a positive drug test forcing them  to begin the return-to-duty and SAP process before getting back on the road.


DOT’s Clearinghouse faces a key test as fleets will likely flood the system in the coming weeks — CCJ Article

“We’ll see what happens with it,” said Lucas Kibby, marketing specialist at Compliance Navigation Specialists. “There’s going to be a large influx of people going to the site around the end of December and into the first few weeks of January, when people start realizing the rules.”

CCJ Article – Nov 4, 2020

According to the latest Clearinghouse report, marijuana accounted for nearly half of the positive drug test results, followed by cocaine, methamphetamine, and amphetamine.

However, we are now less than three months away from another major Clearinghouse deadline where companies could face fines, if in violation.

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.

After the detailed query is done, the pre-employment drug test can continue as part of the pre-employment new-hire process.

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.

Early Clearinghouse registration issues led officials to advise employers to wait to register until December 2020 or January 2021. Consequently, a large spike in DOT Clearinghouse web traffic is expected as companies rush to register and submit annual queries to the DOT Clearinghouse before the deadline.

What fleets need to do before 2021 deadline

Every employer with CDL drivers needs to verify that they are registered to the FMCSA Clearinghouse. After registering, employers will purchase query tokens that will be used to when they want to run limited or detailed queries on their drivers or potential new drivers.

Check out our industry library resources of 15 videos, 2 ebooks, industry links, and CNS In The News content.

Owner-operators should purchase around 5 query token to run their annual queries each year, lasting them five years before they need to purchase more tokens.

Larger fleets should purchase query plans around two-and-a-half times their driver size to last two years of annual queries and a handful of new hire drivers.

Finally, annual queries can be ran on all CDL drivers within the company.


Drug and Alcohol Services

Do you need help registering to the FMCSA Clearinghouse or looking to switch to a trusted drug testing consortium?

At CNS, we offer a comprehensive Drug and Alcohol Consortium Service and are a certified consortium and third-party administrator (C/TPA).

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

COVID-19 Pandemic Increases Positive Drug Tests and On-Site Testing


Since the emergence of COVID-19, the importance of drug and alcohol testing and driver physicals have not changed, especially considering positive drug testing rates have increased in April and May since 2019.

According to Clinical Reference Laboratories (CRL), positive drug test rates are up by more than 16% in April and 24.1% in May year-over-year. The culprit during the pandemic is marijuana, which increased 21% in April and 37.8% in May compared to the previous year. 

Similarly, DISA’s random positive drug testing rates have more than doubled, up from 0.18% in April 2019 to 0.37% in May 2020.

Employers, more now than ever, are taking employee health more seriously and attempting to make the required drug tests and driver physicals more convenient as they do not want to put workers at risk if health clinics are being used to test people who have COVID-19 symptoms.

With the hyper-focus of clean and safe facilities, minimizing hospital sites, and navigating collection sites or medical offices closing, many fleets are turning to on-site mobile drug testing.

This allows fleets to manage when drivers can be drug tested or receive required physical exams, trust their COVID health protocols, and not worry about busy testing and physical exam sites.

Trusted mobile collection sites are maintaining effective drug-testing procedures during the pandemic while increasing their on-site safety guidelines, which includes:

  • Stopping any testing if an illness is evident and advising the customer
  • Staff wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment during test sessions
  • Cleaning instruments and testing area after every test
  • Maintaining a minimum safe distance wherever practical, and
  • Treating the Donor with courtesy and respect at all times

On-site testing not only  employee safety during the pandemic, recent studies have shown that on-site and mobile collection testing has a higher rate of positives than clinic based testing.

This is most likely due to the element of surprise, where drivers may normally be able to purchase products in hopes of cheating their drug test or less opportunities for subversion of the testing process.

Check out our industry library resources of 15 videos, 2 ebooks, industry links, and CNS In The News content.

Can drivers refuse a drug test claiming COVID-19 pandemic concerns?

If your employees express concern about reporting for a drug test, on-site testing can assure them that employer guidelines are in place to protect them during drug testing and physical procedures.

It is important to note, if an employee refuses a drug test for any reason (including COVID-19 concerns), it is reported as a refusal to test.

This means collectors document the refusal and follow the company’s guidelines as outlined in its refusal to test policy.

If the company is regulated by the DOT, refusals are reported to the MRO (Medical Review Officer), reviewed, and a decision is made on whether or not it is a refusal to test based on the circumstances.

No matter the outcome, the driver will not be allowed to perform safety-sensitive functions, such as driving, during this process.


Mobile Drug and Alcohol Services

Want to save time and money?

If your company is committed to creating and maintaining a drug-free workplace with little to no interruptions in your operations, on-site collection may be the right option for you.

Our medical professionals are available to go on-site and perform drug and alcohol tests.

On-site drug and alcohol testing can be scheduled at your place of business or any other location of your choosing.

We are extremely flexible and can accommodate the busiest of schedules and various types of operations.

Our Certified DOT Examiners, Certified Collectors and Breath Alcohol Technicians (BAT) are readily available to serve you.

How does Mobile Drug Testing work?

  1. Schedule an on-site testing appointment for your company.
  2. We send appointment confirmation and a letter to all of your employees letting them know what to bring to the exam (upon request).
  3. Our professional staff will arrive 10 minutes early to set up.
  4. Our certified staff will provide collection services in an efficient manner.
  5. CNS will send samples to the certified lab. (24-48 turnaround time for DOT 5 Panel)
  6. Results upload by the Medical Review Officer (MRO) to your portal.

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

FMCSA Proposes Under-21 Interstate Pilot Program, Expanding Military Driver Program

teenage under 21 truck drivers

In the last few years, the number of younger truck drivers has been decreasing, according to a recent study by the American Transportation Research Institute.

This means the trucking industry is relying even more on drivers in the 45 to 54-year-old age group.

According to the American Trucking Associations, in 2019 the trucking industry was lacking about 60,800 drivers at the end of 2018 and the industry could be short more than 100,000 drivers in five years if conditions don’t change.

In hopes to increase the share of younger drivers in the industry, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed an under-21 commercial driver pilot program allowing young drivers aged 18, 19, and 20 to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce. Currently 18 to 20-year-olds are only allowed to operate intrastate commerce.

The FMCSA is requesting comments on the program that would allow:

  • 18 to 20-year-old commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders who operate CMVs in interstate commerce while taking part in a 120-hour probationary period and a subsequent 280-hour probationary period under an apprenticeship program established by an employer, or
  • 19 and 20-year-old commercial drivers who have operated CMVs in intrastate commerce for a minimum of one year and 25,000 miles.

The drivers in the pilot program would not be allowed to haul passengers or hazardous materials or special configuration vehicles.

This pilot program comes after a 2019 military recruitment program that is studying the details of allowing 18 to 20-year-olds with military CDL-equivalent training to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.

This military pilot program will be expanding the military positions allowed as an effort to provide additional younger service members with opportunities in trucking, according to a notice scheduled for publication in the Federal Register on Oct. 9.

Check out our industry library resources of 15 videos, 2 ebooks, industry links, and CNS In The News content.

The new roles include combat engineer, field artillery cannoneer and Patriot launching station operator from the originally approved roles as motor transport operator, fueler, and pavement and construction equipment operator.

The new roles were not included previously because FMCSA was not aware these classifications required heavy vehicle training.


DOT Compliance Services

Our compliance specialists can assist with a number of needs related to hiring and training new drivers including CDL training, new 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.

IFTA Fuel Tax Rate Changes Q3 2020

IFTA Fuel Tax Rates | IFTA | CNS

With 11 states showing a tax rate change, the Q3 IFTA return due date is October 31st.


What are the 2020 IFTA tax rates for the 3rd quarter?

The International Fuel Tax Association (IFTA) has released the 3rd quarter 2020 fuel taxes. You can download the full list of 2020 Q3 tax rates below and can also find more information on the International Fuel Tax Association at their website.


Download: What To Bring For DOT Physical Ebook

To receive a copy of the ebook, please fill out this quick form.

Which states had IFTA tax rate changes?

There were eleven states that showed a tax rate change, which include California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, South Carolina, and Virginia. IFTA lists the 3rd Quarter 2020 Tax Rate Changes, which will go into effect on July 1, 2020.

Managing IFTA requirements can be challenging. Between tracking receipts, managing mileage logs, matching fuel to taxes, chasing drivers and filing with the jurisdictions, it is easy to see why many companies search out solutions for the complicated process.

When are your IFTA taxes due?

The IFTA return due date for the 3rd quarter is October 31st. Take a look below for a list of IFTA fuel tax reporting for the each quarter.

  • 1st quarter (January to March) — April 30
  • 2nd quarter (April to June) — July 31
  • 3rd quarter (July to September) — October 31
  • 4th quarter (October to December) — January 31

Check out our industry library resources of 15 videos, 2 ebooks, industry links, and CNS In The News content.

CNS takes your fuel tax reporting worries away! 

CNS is a full-service tax provider that can manage the entire process for you from start to finish and offers custom simple solutions for companies of all sizes. 

Our fuel tax specialists will work with you to collect your data, ensure your fuel and mileage match, prepare your filings, and even file the paperwork for you directly. 

What CNS fuel tax team will do and what is needed from you.


Fuel Taxes: Free Estimate

Our Fuel Tax Specialists will give you a free estimate. They can also answer any questions you have on fuel taxes or reporting.

2020 Hours of Service Rule Changes and their Effect on Trucker Workdays

2020 Hours of Service Rules | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

With new HOS rules on the horizon, it is time to start training company drivers so they understand how their workday will improve. 

This week will be the first time the hours of service rules will have 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 four 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.

Drivers must still abide by the:

  • maximum 11 hour driving limit within a 14-hour window/workday (except for adverse driving conditions)
  •  10 minimum hours off between workdays; and
  • continued weekly 7 or 8 day  driving time maximums

 

What is changing and how will this affect the trucker’s workday?

What are the 2020 HOS Rule Changes?

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.

Check out our industry library resources of 15 videos, 2 ebooks, industry links, and CNS In The News content.

30-minute rest break: The changes to the rest break requirement will affect most long-haul truckers on the road as it will allow drivers to take their required 30-minute break during an “on-duty, not driving” status, rather than “off-duty” status.

Previously, drivers had to be “off-duty” to take a rest break, meaning they could not perform any work functions during their break.

Now, drivers can be “on-duty, not driving”, which allows them to perform paperwork or fuel their truck while on break.

For many truck drivers, this change is exciting as it allows them to complete some of the busywork required of them.

Note: This change does not affect short-haul drivers as they do not need to take a 30-minute break.

Team driving split sleeper berth exception: Team drivers can now choose to spend only seven hours in the sleeper berth instead of eight as drivers can split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods: an 8/2 or a 7/3 split.

While this does not change the 14-hour driving window, the FMCSA hopes this will reduce driver temptations to speed or operate unsafely because their workday is ending.

Short-haul exemption: For short-haulers operating larger or heavier vehicles, drivers can now increase their maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extend the short-haul radius from 100 air-miles to 150 air-miles. Learn more about the original Short-Haul Exemption

This change is simply being consistent with short-haulers driving vehicles under 26,000 lbs.

While drive-time is not being extended, these short-haul drivers, such as local delivery, construction, or waste drivers, can increase their driving distance by 50 air-miles, and allow them to work at their job site or office for a couple more hours.

Drivers and fleet managers can now be more creative with a driver’s work schedule and should be trained on these hours of service rule changes to make sure they understand the boundaries of the FMCSA regulations.

Adverse driving conditions exemption: Truck drivers who experience unanticipated adverse road conditions, such as unexpected inclement weather, vehicle accidents, or road closures can extend their 11 hour drive time to 13 hours and allow the 14-hour driving window to be extended to 16 hours.

This flexibility gives drivers more time to slowly drive through poor road conditions or find a safe place to park and wait without rushing to finish their shift.

Drivers need to be trained on exactly what  situations are considered “adverse driving conditions,” what their options are regarding log books, and how to notate or document the exemption.


DOT and Driver Training

Truck drivers and fleet managers need continuous training on new FMCSA rules

These HOS rule changes provide an important opportunity for fleets to update their driver training.

CNS offers a variety of in-person and online training courses for the specific needs or weaknesses of your company or its’ drivers.

Fleets that incorporate training alongside driver qualification, drug testing and fuel tax management can create a complete picture of fleet safety.

Our complete DOT Compliance Programs promotes proactive safety and will complement or become your current safety department, without the cost of employing the many staff members it takes to run an effective safety program.

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


Fully Encompassing FMCSA Waiver Extending Renewals and More Until 2021

Truckers COVID-19 FMCSA Waiver | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

This waiver, effective October 1, 2020 and expires on December 31, 2020, will provide the same relief for CDL holders, CLP holders, and non-CDL drivers that was provided by the March 24 and June 15 waivers. 

After 6 months of the COVID-19 health emergency, most states that reopened their State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs) have only resumed limited operations.

As a result, many commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learners permit (CLP) holders may be unable to renew their CDLs and CLPs or provide medical certificates to their state driver licensing agencies.

Similarly, many physical exam sites are dealing with limited operations or backlogs, preventing drivers from scheduling appointments for their federally required medical card physicals.

For this reason, the FMCSA has announced a waiver effective until the end of the year, that includes previous waiver extensions, for CDL holders, CLP holders, and non-CDL drivers transporting essential supplies and equipment.


DataQ


What this fully encompassing waiver will do until 2021

  • Extends expiring Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) waiver until December 31, 2020 due for renewal on or after March 1, 2020
  • Extends expiring Commercial Learners Permit (CLP) waiver until December 31, 2020 due for renewal on or after March 1, 2020, without requiring the CLP holders to retake the general and endorsement knowledge tests
  • Waives the requirement that CLP holders wait 14 days to take the CDL skills test until December 31, 2020
  • Waives the requirement that CDL holders, CLP holders, and non- CDL drivers have a medical examination and certification, provided they have proof of a valid medical certification and any required medical variance that were issued for a period of 90 days or longer: 
    • If medical certification was valid on February 29, 2020 and expired on or after March 1, 2020 but before June 1, 2020, the requirement is waived until October 31, 2020
    • If medical certification expired on or after June 1, 2020, the requirement is waived until December 31, 2020
  • Waives the requirement that, in order to maintain themedical certification status of “certified,” CDL or CLP holders provide the State Driver Licensing Agency (SDLA) with an original or copy of a subsequently issued medical examiner’s certificate and any required medical variance:
    • Who have proof of a valid medical certification or medical variance that expired on or after March 1, 2020 but before June 1, 2020, the requirement is waived until October 31, 2020
    • Who have proof of a valid medical certification or medical variance that expired on or after June 1, 2020, the requirement is waived until December 31, 2020
  • Waives the requirement that the SDLA change the CDL or CLP holder’s medical certification status to “not certified” upon the expiration of the medical examiner’s certificate or medical variance: 
    • Who have proof of a valid medical certification or medical variance that expired on or after March 1, 2020 but before June 1, 2020, the requirement is waived until October 31, 2020
    • Who have proof of a valid medical certification or medical variance that expired on or after June 1, 2020, the requirement is waived until December 31, 2020
  • Waives the requirements that the SDLA initiate a CDL or CLP downgrade upon the expiration of the medical examiner’s certificate or medical variance:
    • Who have proof of a valid medical certification or medical variance that expired on or after March 1, 2020 but before June 1, 2020, the requirement is waived until October 31, 2020
    • Who have proof of a valid medical certification or medical variance that expired on or after June 1, 2020, the requirement is waived until December 31, 2020
  • Until December 31, 2020, FMCSA continues to recognize the validity of CDLs issued by Canadian Provinces and Territories and Licencias Federales de Conductor issued by the United Mexican States  when such jurisdictions issue a similar notice or declaration extending the validity date of the medical examination and certification and/or validity of the corresponding commercial driver’s license due to interruption to government service resulting from COVID-19

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.

Check out our industry library resources of 15 videos, 2 ebooks, industry links, and CNS In The News content.

DataQ Challenging

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

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.

Regarding accident reporting, each employer must notify the FMCSA within 5 business days of an accident involving any driver operating under the terms of this waiver. For more information on accident reporting during the waiver, go to the FMCSA press release.

CNS collection sites and network of collection sites are open for DOT physicals and required drug and alcohol testing. Schedule a DOT physical or drug test by calling CNS today at 888.260.9448.


FMCSA suspends hours of service regulations for West Coast wildfire relief haulers

wildfire hours of service emergency

On Thursday, September 10, 2020 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an emergency declaration for Washington, Oregon, and California due to the current wildfires sweeping the West Coast, which will last the duration of the emergency or until October 19.

The Extension of the Emergency Declarations addresses ongoing emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of supplies, goods, equipment, fuel and persons that are providing necessary relief.

The emergency declaration grants relief from Parts 390 through 399, suspending hours of service regulations for carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the wildfire emergency region.

 

Low Air Quality Due To Wildfire Smoke

For the last 6 days, wildfire smoke stretches across most of the region and is expected to be hazardous or severe for the next few days.

The wildfire smoke is causing low visibility and poor air quality in the region, the worst in the world. It is important to wear masks if outside and to circulate air in the cab to prevent much of the smoke from entering the truck.

If ash is on the road, beware of harsh braking as it can be very slippery.

Emergency Declaration Restrictions & Limitations

Motor carriers and drivers must continue to comply with the following Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and conditions:

  • 49 CFR § 392.2 related to the operation of a commercial motor vehicle in accordance with State laws and regulations, including compliance with applicable speed limits and other traffic restrictions.
  • 49 CFR § 392.3 related to the operation of a commercial motor vehicle while a driver’s ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or any other cause, as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate the motor vehicle.
  • Motor carriers shall not require or allow fatigued drivers to operate a commercial motor vehicle. A driver who informs a carrier that he/she needs immediate rest shall be given at least ten consecutive hours before the driver is required to return to service.
  • 49 CFR §§ 392.80 and 392.82 related to the prohibitions on texting while driving and using a hand-held mobile telephone while driving.
  • A motor carrier whose driver is involved in a crash while operating under this Extension of the Emergency Declarations must report any recordable crash within 24 hours, by phone or in writing, to the FMCSA Division Office where the motor carrier is domiciled. The carrier must report the date, time, location, driver, vehicle identification, and brief description of the crash.
  • Drivers are required to comply with the portions of 49 CFR Part 395 related to the preparation, retention and accuracy of a driver’s record of duty status (RODS). Drivers are directed to note “Emergency Declaration” in the remarks section of the RODS to identify that their operation is in direct assistance to the emergency relief.
  • Nothing in the this Extension of the Emergency Declarations shall be construed as an exemption from the controlled substance and alcohol uses and testing requirements (49 CFR Part 382), the commercial driver’s license requirements (49 CFR Part 383), the financial responsibility (insurance) requirements (49 CFR Part 387), the hazardous material regulations (49 CFR Parts 100-180), applicable size and weight requirements, or any other portion of the regulations not specifically exempted under 49 CFR § 390.23.
  • Motor carriers or drivers currently subject to an out-of-service order are not eligible for the relief granted by this Extension of the Emergency Declarations until they have met the applicable conditions for its rescission and the order has been rescinded by FMCSA in writing.
  • Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services that are not in support of emergency relief efforts or when the motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce. (49 CFR § 390.23(b)). Upon termination of direct assistance to emergency relief efforts, the motor carrier and driver are subject to the requirements of 49 CFR Parts 390 through 399, except that a driver may return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal work reporting location without complying with Parts 390 through 399. When a driver is moving from emergency relief efforts to normal operations a 10-hour break is required when the total time a driver operates conducting emergency relief efforts, or a combination of emergency relief and normal operations, equals 14 hours.

Road Closures

Be sure to monitor traffic and road closures on your route that may increase your travel time.

There may be closures due to normal construction, as well as closures related to wildfires that may be meant to direct you away from high risk areas.

If driving through Portland, Oregon, a nine-day closure of the northbound span of the I-5 Interstate Bridge began Saturday, Sept. 12, with crews replacing mechanical parts that help lift and lower the I-5 bridge.