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.

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.


Colorado is the earliest chain law state, starting September 1

Colorado winter tire chain law

An unusually early September snowstorm is hitting the Rockies and Front Range through Wednesday from Wyoming to northern New Mexico, including Denver, Colorado.

Unpredictable weather systems can happen anytime, however snow often begins sticking to high-elevation routes in Colorado as early as mid- to late September.

According to Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), from Sept. 1 through May 31, all commercial vehicles traveling on I-70 between the Dotsero exit (mile point (MP) 133) and the Morrison exit (MP 259) must carry sufficient chains to be in compliance with the Colorado chain law.

For drivers and the public’s safety, it is important to use chains in compliance with Colorado’s chain law for commercial vehicles fitting into one of the following categories:

  • Vehicles with a gross combination weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds, inclusive of a towed unit, which has a gross vehicle weight-rating of more than 10,000 pounds
  • Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds, or
  • Vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver

The fine for not carrying chains on I-70 between mileposts 133 and 259 from September 1 to May 31 is $50 plus a $17 surcharge. Statewide, the fine for not chaining up when the chain law is in effect is $500 plus a $79 surcharge. The fine for not chaining up and subsequently blocking the highway is $1,000 plus a $157 surcharge.

At a minimum, the CDOT will notify the public of the travel restriction with erected static and electronic variable message roadway signs. Additionally, CDOT may utilize radio channels, the official CDOT travel website (www.cotrip.org/), phone message system, email, text and other automated personal notification systems.


Driver Training: Free Estimate

Contact us with any questions. Our specialists are here to help you maximize your driver training.

Tire Chains Allowed in Colorado:

Metal chains must consist of two circular metal loops–one on each side of the tire–connected by not less than nine evenly spaced chain loops across the tread. Commercial vehicles that have four or more drive wheels must chain four wheels and dual tire chains are acceptable.

Alternate Traction Devices
Approved Alternate Traction Devices (ATDs) in Colorado are:

  • wheel sanders, which carry enough sand to get the vehicle through the restricted area
  • pneumatically driven chains, which spin under the drive wheels automatically as traction is lost, and
  • textile traction device (TTD), a fabric boot which encompasses the tire. Currently, the only TTD that has been approved for use on Colorado state highways is the AutoSock.

Tire Cables
With only two exceptions, Colorado chain law rules do not permit tire cables as alternate traction devices.

The exceptions are:

  1. tire cables with high strength steel cross member rollers 0.415″ or greater in diameter, which can be used on all commercial vehicles except single drive axle combinations; and
  2. on a tandem power drive axle commercial vehicle, where any type of cable can be used only if there are chains on the two outside tires of one of the power drive axles and cables on two or more tires of the other power drive axle.

 

Colorado Chain Law Levels

There are two levels for chain laws in Colorado—Level 1/Code 17 and Level 2/Code 18—and each level has specific conditions in which it can be implemented.

Chain Law Level 1/Code 17:
All single-drive axle combination commercial vehicles must chain all four drive wheels; cables are not permitted as ATDs. All other commercial vehicles must have snow tires or chains.

Level 1/Code 17 may be implemented any time there is snow covering any part of the traveled portion of pavement on an ascending grade.

Chain Law Level 2/Code 18:
All commercial vehicles must chain up. Single drive axle combination and tandem drive axle commercial vehicles must chain four drive wheels.

Auto-transports must comply to the extent possible without causing damage to hydraulic lines. Buses must chain two drive wheels to be DOT compliant.

Level 2/Code 18 may be implemented any time there is snow covering the entire traveled portion of pavement on an ascending grade, or when driving conditions dictate that this level is necessary to protect safety and to minimize road closures.

Be sure to review our complete guide on extreme weather and regulations affecting drivers this season.


DOT Training

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

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

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

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

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

PennDOT Extends CDL, Commercial Learner’s Permits and HME Expiration Dates

PennDOT Extends CDL expiration

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced Tuesday that, in response to statewide COVID-19 mitigation efforts, expiration dates for commercial driver licenses and commercial learner’s permits will be extended for Pennsylvania residents through September 30, 2020.

This PennDOT extension now lines up with the Federal extension announced in June.

Expiration extensions will apply to the following credentials:

  1. Commercial learner’s permits: if scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020  – September 30, 2020
  2. Commercial driver licenses: if scheduled to expire from March 16, 2020 – September 30, 2020
  3. Hazardous Materials Endorsements (HME): for individuals who are a Pennsylvania-licensed commercial driver’s license holder and held a valid, unexpired HME with a determination of no security threat on or after March 6, 2020

The extension for deadlines related to expiring non-commercial driver license, photo identification cards, learner’s permits and camera cards is on August 31, 2020. 

For a list of open driver license and photo license centers and the services provided, as well as their hours of operation, please visit www.dmv.pa.gov.  

The CNS 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.


DOT Compliance Services

Simplify the entire physical, drug consortium and DQF process

Our complete Proactive Safety Management (PSM) program has been organized to get you through an FMCSA audit by managing your driver qualification files, drug consortium, Electronic Logging Devices (ELD), vehicle maintenance and more.

Whether you are a large trucking company that is onboarding 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.

How to protect yourself from truck accident litigation with compliant driver files

compliant driver files

Every year, government auditors find hundreds of violations when reviewing DQ files for compliance.

A critical element in maintaining a safe carrier operation is monitoring driver qualifications files effectively and in compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules. 

When your driver files are not in compliance, the company faces risks of misplacing documents, filing inaccurately, incurring violations, or being hit with costly litigation.

Truck accidents are inevitable and more than 50% of these crashes are caused by driver fatigue and driver error, according to statements made by the Pennsylvania State Police motor carrier enforcement unit at the CNS and NIS Safety Conference earlier this year.

Litigators will look at the crash information and the driver files to find unsafe driver trends. If the company handles their hiring and driver qualification process well, there is a reduced chance of litigators finding unsafe driver trends that can harm the company with violations and heavy fines.  

So, what are driver qualification files?

Put simply, a driver qualification file is the driver’s personnel file and is required for anyone driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle as defined be the FMCSA in 49 CFR 390.5 or state authorities.

A DQ file is needed even if the driver is a mechanic quickly moving a vehicle, the company owner moving a vehicle, a part-time or temporary driver, or a driver who works for a private company.

After a job offer is extended to a driver, carriers need to build a driver file that includes:

  • driver’s licenses
  • employment application
  • previous employer inquires
  • motor vehicle records
  • credit history and background checks
  • drug test results
  • FMCSA Clearinghouse queries
  • medical certificates
  • and more

Driver File Management

Questions about Driver File Management? Fill out the form to get started


What information needs to be gathered in driver qualification files (DQF)?

The difficult part of the DQ File is that companies must know the driver qualifications file requirements to pass a safety audit. Every year, government auditors find hundreds of violations when reviewing DQ files for compliance.

Most of the time, violations occur for a few reasons, including:

  • companies taking shortcuts in the hiring process
  • staff managing the driver files not being trained in DOT regulations, or
  • companies not realizing they must meet these stringent driver qualification file requirements if their fleet is not focused on trucking.

 

Using driver files to protect yourself from truck accident liability

Sometimes companies may hire and retain employees who are not qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle.

Other times, the driver’s history and record might be okay, but the company did not build a complete driver file to reflect this.    

The consequences of can be steep as companies face litigation and blame.

In a litigator’s eyes, driver qualification files reflect any kind of negligent hiring and retention claims and provide punitive damages against the carrier for continuing to employ someone they knew was dangerous or could hurt someone.

For example, if the employer failed to do a thorough background check on the driver, that can support a strong negligent hiring claim.

Similarly, if the driver had any previous violations, this is very important in terms of proving notice against the carrier to support a claim for punitive damages.

At a minimum, an annual review of driving performance and insuring driving credentials are valid can reduce unsafe drivers or pinpoint areas where further training could correct bad driving habits.

Driver information litigators look for after an accident:

  • governmental agencies responses to inquiries regarding driver records
  • driver’s past employment records and employers showing they contacted them (or repeatedly tried to) at the time of the driver’s employment
  • driver’s workers’ compensation file
  • medical evaluations of the driver
  • drug test results, including negative results
  • driver training testing documents and company safety meetings attendance
  • driver’s DOT file
  • prior violations
  • driver’s annual reviews
  • disciplinary records

Beyond these records, companies need to avoid these common driver file violations:

  • not having a current DOT medical card on file
  • not having the initial driving record on file (MVR)
  • not having a DQ file for each driver that needs one 

Proactive Driver Qualification File Management

Accuracy, organization, and diligence are crucial to keeping your files in order and ready for an audit at a moment’s notice and ensuring new drivers are properly qualified before operating in a safety sensitive position.

At CNS, our DQ file management system is completely customizable to your company’s 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 DQ file auditors.

Our DOT Compliance Specialists will ensure all DQ files for your company will be ready to pass an FMCSA audit.

Start managing your DQ Files now


Combining multiple services?

Our safety management programs are perfect for combining multiple services and can be tailored to fit your needs, whether you are a new owner operator or a seasoned trucker or business owner.

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

Learn more about our DOT Compliance Programs

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


Start a Trucking Company: How to Get Rolling in 10 Steps

Start a Trucking Company in XX Steps

If you’ve got the vision and desire to start a trucking company, now is the time to make that vision reality. Starting any new business can be expensive and time-consuming. You don’t want to get overwhelmed by the paperwork and documentation before you even pick up a load.

That’s where CNS can help! As a leader in the trucking industry, we’ve helped many trucking startups and know what makes new companies successful. We’ve outlined the basic steps you’ll need to take to start a trucking company.

Our specialists can help you avoid getting bogged down in forms, because we take time to learn about your operation and help you become DOT compliant from the start. We won’t over-sell unneeded items or services that don’t ultimately help you get your business on the road.

Let us help you get started.

Step 1: Make a Detailed Financial Plan

A solid business plan will list expenses and revenue expected in your business. Be sure to include your own salary. Costs involved in a trucking startup include tractors, trailers, licensing, and registration costs. Also include the cost of insurance, and data tracking software and services.

The U.S. Small Business Administration website has downloadable templates to create your own business plan.

Step 2: Decide What Kind of Company You Want To Form

You may want a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a limited liability company. Each of these has pros and cons, which vary by state.

To own and run a private company in the United States, you’ll need to form a limited liability company (LLC). This is a business structure that combines pass-through taxation (like a partnership or sole proprietorship), with the limited liability of a corporation.

CNS can prepare and file your LLC application with your home state. Or if you want to start a partnership or sole proprietorship, click here.

Step 3: Obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)

This unique nine-digit number gets assigned to businesses in the United States by the Internal Revenue Service. Use this number to file your business tax returns.

CNS can obtain your EIN on your behalf. Click here to begin obtaining a Federal EIN. 

Step 4: Become Compliant with Trucking Safety Regulations

  1. Obtain a USDOT Number

First be sure you even need a USDOT number. Obtaining a USDOT Number can be confusing and costly. Here’s where CNS can help by getting your number quickly and accurately. Click here to learn more.

  1. Obtain a Motor Carrier Operating Authority

Companies are required to have interstate operating authority (MC Number) in addition to the DOT Number if they do any of the following tasks:

  • Operate as for-hire carriers (for fee or other compensation)
  • Transport passengers in interstate commerce (or arrange for their transport)
  • Transport federally regulated commodities in interstate commerce (or arrange for their transport)

CNS can file for your MC Number at the same time we apply for your DOT Number.

  1. File a BOC-3

A BOC-3 is a required United States filing that activates your Motor Carrier Authority. This filing assigns legal agents in the event court papers ever need to be served to your company by an outside state. It is required before federal operating authorities can be granted in the U.S.

CNS, unlike many of our competitors, does not charge an annual fee for a BOC-3 filing.

  1. Know the Heavy Use Tax (HUT) States

You may need to apply for further credentials if your company drives in the following states:

  • New York
  • Kentucky
  • New Mexico
  • Oregon
  1. Plan to File Heavy Highway Use Tax (2290)

A trucking startup needs to be aware of special tax codes and procedures in accordance with State, District of Columbia, Canadian, and Mexican law. When a vehicle has a taxable gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more, the company has to electronically file a HVUT Form 2290.

Once this is filed, you will need to get a stamped copy of your Schedule 1. Companies are required to file all taxable highway motor vehicles registered in your name during the tax period when the truck first operated.

CNS can file your Schedule 1 with the IRS and provide you a stamped E-File copy. Click here to learn more.

  1. Secure a Unified Carrier Registration (UCR)

The Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) 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.

CNS can complete your UCR filing after you obtain your DOT number. Click here to learn more.

  1. Get an International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) Sticker

This agreement is between the lower 48 states and Canadian provinces and it simplifies reporting of fuel use by motor carriers operating in multiple jurisdictions. Alaska, Hawaii, and Canadian territories do not participate.

An operating carrier with IFTA receives an IFTA license and two decals for each qualifying vehicle. The carrier files a quarterly fuel tax report. This report determines the net tax or refund due and redistributes taxes from collecting states to states where it is due.

  1. Obtain an International Registration Plan (IRP) Sticker

This registration gives reciprocity between the United States and Canada without the need for additional registrations. Under this Plan, only one license plate and one cab card is issued for each fleet vehicle.

Step 5: Become Compliant with the FMCSA

Great job! Taking these steps gives you DOT and Operating authority. Now you need to become compliant with the FMCSA. These items need to be maintained through the year.

CNS has reliable, cost-effective packages that keep you compliant and up-to-date.

Step 6: Obtain the Correct Insurance

Different types of insurance are available and often required to cover certain aspects of your trucking company.

  • Primary Liability – After applying for an MC Number, you will need to post liability insurance with FMSCA. You must carry at least $750,00 in primary liability coverage to cover damages or injuries from at-fault accidents.
  • Cargo Insurance – This insurance covers damage to the freight and/or theft.
  • Physical Damage – Provides coverage for truck damage when you are not liable.
  • Non-Trucking Use (Bobtail) – Covers liability in accidents that happen when you’re not hauling a load for someone else.

CNS partners with premiere truck/passenger insurance agencies to obtain the best coverage at affordable rates. Click here to learn more.

Step 7: Use a Driver Qualification File (DQF) Service

Trucking companies need to keep impeccable records in the event of an audit. Physical or electronic driver files allow you to pull an MVR report, look at previous employer inquiries, PSP reports and more.

CNS has solutions to keep your Driver Qualification Files up to date with regulations and ready to help you pass an audit. All of our driver files are monitored by actual DQF specialists to ensure documents don’t expire. We communicate personally about soon-to-expire materials to avoid computer overlooks. Click here to learn more.

Step 8: Join the Mandatory Drug and Alcohol Consortium

Anyone holding a Commercial Driver’s License needs to have a pre-employment drug test and be enrolled in a DOT drug and alcohol consortium.

CNS offers a low-cost, DOT-compliant service that covers DOT random testing through the year. Our service gives you a secure portal to track test results. We also have personal representatives to call when you have questions. Click here to learn more.

Step 9: Install a Compliant Electronic Logging Device

Per a 2017 Electronic Logging Device mandate, non-exempt carriers are required to install an FMCSA-registered and compliant electronic logging device.

Today’s ELDs can actually help you grow your business. ELDs offer many fleet management features like diagnostic tools and advanced reporting. With their reports, you can maximize your fleet efficiency and simplify your operations.

Step 10: Make Your Trucking Startup a Reality

We at CNS are excited for your new venture to become reality. We’re here to help you navigate the path towards starting a trucking company.

Our services and compliance specialists are on hand to get you up and running as quickly as possible.


SOURCES:

http://www.getloaded.com/get-authority/how-to-start-a-trucking-business

https://keeptruckin.com/blog/cheat-sheet-starting-trucking-business/


Commercial Passenger Carriers to Stop Submitting No-Defect DVIRs

passenger carrier dvir

FMCSA announced in July that a final rule was published removing an information collection burden for commercial buses and other passenger-carrying motor coaches.

This rule will overturn the requirement that commercial bus drivers submit, as well as their motor carriers retain, driver-vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs) on no-defect DVIRs.

The rule is expected to go into effect in late August, 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. The official publication date has not yet been announced.

A no-defect DVIR is when the driver has neither found nor been made aware of any vehicle defects or deficiencies.

FMCSA says passenger vehicle carriers spend approximately 2.4 million hours each year completing no-defect DVIRs, and that this rule would result in a cost savings of $74 million per year to the industry.

Drivers will still be required to perform pre-trip and post-trip inspections and the rule change will not affect road safety.

 

Reduce Fleet Costs with Proper Pre and Post Trip Inspections

It is no secret that vehicle maintenance is near the top of any fleet expenses, with companies reporting average repair and maintenance costs of 16.7 cents per mile, according to the ATRI in 2019.

Every year it is reported that approximately 25-30% of the maintenance-related CSA violations are due to inoperative or defective lighting.

This is likely due to drivers not being given enough time to run a thorough pre-trip or post-trip inspection, or drivers are not being trained to understand the importance of the daily inspections.

A thorough pre-trip inspection should take between 30 and 45 minutes to perform.

A minor problem caught during a pre-trip or post-trip inspection will likely cost less money to fix and should get you back on the road quicker instead of waiting around for a major issue to be fixed. 


DOT Training

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

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

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

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

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

How To Pass Roadside Inspections During CVSA Brake Safety Week

DOT Audit | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

Last year’s CVSA Brake Safety Week found 13.5% of commercial motor vehicles inspected had brake-related violations and were placed out-of-service.

The annual CVSA Brake Safety Week enforcement blitz is scheduled for August 23-29, 2020.

Enforcement officials will inspect commercial motor vehicles during this time and place vehicles out-of-service (OOS) until any critical OOS brake or other violations are corrected. Vehicles that pass may receive a passed-inspection CVSA decal.

“Brakes are one of the most important systems in a vehicle,” said CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police. “Failure of any component of a brake system could be catastrophic. Routine brake system inspections and component replacement are vital to the safety of commercial motor vehicles.”

2019 CVSA International Roadcheck and Brake Safety Week Results

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.

Brake system and brake adjustment violations during last year’s International Roadcheck inspection accounted for 45.1% of all OOS conditions. That was more than any other vehicle violation category.

Last year’s Brake Safety Week found that 13.5% of commercial motor vehicles inspected had brake-related violations and were placed out-of-service.

Review the Brake Safety Results in one of last year’s unannounced inspections

More recently, according to The Truckers Report, Nebraska had an unannounced truck inspection blitz in mid-July that found 43% of the vehicles inspected were placed out-of-service. During this surprise inspection, drivers face up a total of $7,315 in fines from the 384 violations documented.

What is covered in a roadside brake safety truck inspection?

Inspectors will be paying special attention to brake hoses and tubing, which must be properly attached, undamaged, without leaks, appropriately flexible, and free of leaks, corrosion, and any other type of damage.


Vehicle Maintenance: Free Estimate

Contact us with any questions. Our specialists are here to help you maximize your vehicle maintenance.

At roadside, brake inspections include visual checks as well as an air brake test using a performance-based brake tester (PBBT) in the 14 jurisdictions where it is available. The performance-based air brake test measures the slow speed brake force and weight at each wheel and uses those measurements to determine the efficiency of the braking system.

As long as the brake system efficiency stays above 43.5%, the vehicle will not be placed out-of-service, unless another critical OOS violation is found.

How can I prepare for a truck inspection of my air brakes?

If you know your brake system you are more likely to know if there is an issue. You should know what size and type of air brake chamber you have and learn how to properly identify it.

Most air brake chambers will have a marking on them, letting you know what type and size it is. If you know the type of chamber you have, you will also be able to determine the maximum allowable push rod travel for that brake chamber and whether it is in or out of adjustment.

You should inspect your air brake system and all brake components regularly during your pre and post-trip inspection to keep your vehicle in safe operating condition.

The list below covers some items you can visually check on a regular basis to ensure they are securely attached, leak-free, and free of damage, such as corrosion and holes.

  • Air brake chamber
  • Brake hoses and tubing
  • Cotter pins
  • Clevis pins
  • Slack adjuster
  • Air lines

The CVSA has answered some frequently asked questions about your air brake system and inspection and have also provided an air brake inspection checklist, which is a great way to be sure you are prepared for your roadside safety inspection.

In addition to being prepared for a brake inspection, it is even more important to be prepared for a complete truck inspection.


Vehicles Maintenance

Vehicle maintenance costs can be a huge line item for fleet companies and at times, hard to keep under control. Routine maintenance of your vehicles is a necessity to ensure that your biggest assets always stay on the road.

An experienced and knowledgeable vehicle maintenance partner can make all the difference.

CNS can effectively manage your vehicle maintenance to meet your specific driving demands. We effortlessly handle an unlimited number of preventive maintenance schedules for all the vehicles in your fleet.

Serving your customers is your business; maintaining your fleet should be ours. Depend on CNS to keep your vehicles on the road and benefit from our expertise and gain a partnership that is dedicated to your success.

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


ELD Data Management Made Easy With Driver Scorecards

Telematics Data Management ELD Driver Scorecards

What can fleet managers do to encourage positive driver behavior?

Since most interstate trucking companies were required to add electronic logging devices (ELDs) to their trucks, back-office management has been given an opportunity to better manage their vehicles and drivers when it comes to violations, driving habits, audits, maintenance, and more.

ELD or telematic data management for trucking, construction, distribution industries, or corporate fleets should be formatted to highlight both efficiencies and deficiencies in simple customizable reports.

The best-practice telematics data management plan will measure the data over time to show trends and measure results. This is as simple as a Driver Scorecard for your fleet.

Create a Driver Scorecard from ELD data

ELDs gather millions of data points that include dates, time, longitude, latitude, engine power status, odometer, engine faults, critical events data, harsh braking, hard turning, hard acceleration, HOS violations, idling, speeding, and more.

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:

  • # of HOS violations
  • Idling > 20min
  • Idling %
  • Hard Braking event
  • Speeding > 5mph
  • Fuel Efficiency
  • Heavy Acceleration event
Pedigree ELD Driver Scorecard
Pedigree Technologies Driver Scorecard Tool

These scorecards are point-based starting at 100 points and any selected stat can remove a certain amount of points based on the severity of the stat you are including in the scorecard. They can be customized further by adding a timeframe duration of the stat or distance traveled.

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.

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


Further ELD Questions? Get a Free Demo

Contact us with any questions. Our ELD specialists can perform a demo with our ELD devices.

Use telematics data for customized video training

Using the telematics reports or driver scorecards can highlight which drivers are struggling in a given area.

For example, the driver scorecard can highlight a habit of hard acceleration and hard braking for one driver, while another driver has a habit of various HOS violations.

These red flags can immediately give the driver a defensive driving, fuel efficiency, HOS regulations, or driver ELD training in their video training schedule.

Customized training should also be measurable using quiz assessments to track driver performance and the ELD driver scorecard can be monitored for improvement after the training was completed. If their training assessment score is low or the habit continues, then the training needs to be retaken or a driver performance review could be scheduled.

Using telematics for driver incentive programs

Implementing ELD data management offers a range of cost-savings to your fleet, including decreased HOS violations and fines, decreased time spent by management monitoring driver behavior, decreased driver turnover or improved driver retention, and decreased risk of crashes and possible lower insurance premiums.

These savings can be given back to drivers through a driver incentive program.

Creating an incentive program around positive behavior has been shown to work for many fleets. Have your team discuss the various behaviors you want to reward and be creative on different ways to reward the good behavior.

For example, if a driver consistently has a great driver scorecard, or has shown improvement over time, the driver can receive a $50 gift card or add an hour of vacation time. The ideas here are endless.

Even a small investment to the driver’s benefit can go a long way.

If your fleet has a disciplinary policy, you can use the driver scorecard to measure clear expectations while drivers are on the road and what steps will be taken should a driver diverge from the policy.


Need help managing your ELD data?

Managing ELD data yourself can be confusing and stressful, and requires a much different back-office skill set than managing paper processes.

However, it does not have to be.

Whatever ELD system you have, we can manage it for you so you can start taking advantage of your ELD data.

What drivers should look for during thorough pre and post-trip inspections

thorough pre and post-trip inspections

The three areas that most violations come from are lights, tires, and brakes

Teaching a driver how to do a pre-trip and post-trip inspection is as important as teaching them how to drive the truck.

Some of the easiest things to catch during a driver inspection are also the most common violations written up on a roadside inspection.

Proper pre and post-trip inspections should take at least 30 minutes to perform thoroughly and will reduce vehicle maintenance and violation costs.

This guide was developed based on what DOT inspectors look for at roadside and what maintenance often look for before releasing a vehicle. We will focus on the major sections and important details a driver should inspect, including the:

  • Front of the vehicle
  • Wheels and axles
  • Lights, tires, leaks, and brakes
  • Side of the truck and trailer

Front of the vehicle

Drivers should look for any intersecting cracks or large rock chips on the windshield, especially in the driver’s line of sight.

Honking the horn, whether that is the air horn or steering wheel city-horn, and turning on the windshield wiper is a simple step to make sure they are working properly.

Then, turn on all lights, which include the three marker lights at the top of the cab, clearance lights, and headlights. Test your high-beams, turn signals, and four-way flashers.

Open the hood and look for any obvious defects.

An easy part for DOT inspectors to check is the pitman arm and steering linkage. If there is any amount of play or looseness where the two gears of the pitman arm meet, it is considered an out-of-service violation and drivers will have to park until it is fixed. Sometimes, if rust is appearing here, it is a good indication that it is not tight.

Finally, check the suspension components. If it looks like your vehicle is leaning to one side, it is a good indicator that there is something wrong with the suspension components.


Vehicle Maintenance: Free Estimate

Contact us with any questions. Our specialists are here to help you maximize your vehicle maintenance.

Wheels and axles

For wheels, check for cracks and loose or missing lug-nuts or wheel fasteners, and look for leaking hub grease.

It is an out-of-service violation for lug-nuts when:

  • 10-lug wheels: 3 are missing anywhere or 2 adjacent to each other, or
  • 8-lug wheels: 2 are missing anywhere

The steer axle is at the front of the power unit and has specific criteria that is different than other axles.

For example, to be in compliance, your required tire tread depth of a steer axle is higher compared to other axles, which are 4/32” depth and, 2/32” depth, respectively.

After the steer axle, we will move back to the drive axles. The first set of drive axles are either a single axle or group of axles that provide power to help move the truck down the road.

Trailer axles are at the back of the trailer. Some of these axles have sliding or tandem axles to help distribute the weight, to stay within regulations of maximum weight for a tandem axle.

If you are adjusting weight by sliding the tandem axles, you want to slide the axles toward the over-weight location. For example, if you are overweight at the rear of the trailer, then sliding the tandem axles further to the rear will help distribute the weight to the forward drive axles.

Tandem axles have notches on each axle. Each notch moves about 250 to 300 pounds to the other group of axles. Drivers may show up at a weigh station and find that they are more overweight then they were before, and that is because they are sliding the axles the wrong direction.

Lights, tires, leaks, and brakes

The three areas that most violations come from are lights, tires, and brakes. For example, low tread depth, damaged sidewalls, and inoperable light are easily visible and usually do not wear out on one trip.

It is important to check for flat or underinflated tires, fluids leaking, that all required lights are working properly, measure brake pushrod travel distance, brake pad thickness, and check brake can, hoses, and rotor surfaces.

It is an out-of-service violation for tires if:

  • Underinflated tires are 50% or less of the sidewall rating
  • There is a noticeable leak heard or felt in a tire
  • The sidewall is cut, worn, or damaged
  • There is a visual bump or bulge on any part of the tire, and
  • If there is exposed belt or cord material

Leaks can come from the fuel tank, so make sure that it is securely mounted, and the fuel cap is the proper cap and is tight. Sometimes the cap is missing after fueling the truck because the driver forgot to put it back on. Be sure to check reefer trailers and auxiliary power unit tanks as well.  

Side of the truck and trailer

Make sure that the air and electric lines are not lying on the deck area. The lines will rub while driving and eventually wear a hole in the lines, causing an air leak and the brake system to not work properly or even failing.

For 5th wheel assembly, make sure all components are secure, there are no cracks or damaged parts, and bolt tightness. Also, check for any rust driplines by the bolts. Rust will eventually cause bolts to be loose.

On the trailer, check for any damage on the trailer, trailer lights are working, any cargo securement devices are properly placed and tightened, and that there is a spare tire and tire chains secured properly.


Vehicles Maintenance

Vehicle maintenance costs can be a huge line item for fleet companies and at times, hard to keep under control. Routine maintenance of your vehicles is a necessity to ensure that your biggest assets always stay on the road.

An experienced and knowledgeable vehicle maintenance partner can make all the difference.

CNS can effectively manage your vehicle maintenance to meet your specific driving demands. We effortlessly handle an unlimited number of preventive maintenance schedules for all the vehicles in your fleet.

Serving your customers is your business; maintaining your fleet should be ours. Depend on CNS to keep your vehicles on the road and benefit from our expertise and gain a partnership that is dedicated to your success.

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