Truck driver challenges during Coronavirus pandemic


COVID-19 and challenges for truckers

Truck drivers face concerns whether coming or going in this fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Personal and economic challenges face the 1.8 million CMV drivers in America, because unlike other businesses, a driver cannot simply choose to work from home.

Drivers face personal risk during this outbreak

At the forefront, the personal health and wellness of truck drivers is at stake. Drivers are literally in the front seat of this crisis as they travel the country delivering goods.

Several factors put truck drivers at greater risk of being exposed and/or contracting the coronavirus, including:

  • nationwide travel
  • handling of overseas goods
  • exposure at truck stops for meals and showers
  • multiple facility stops

On the flip side, driving is mostly an isolated activity. Still, it’s difficult for a driver to practice the social distancing recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Drivers face greater risk of illness

Besides the greater risk of contact with the coronavirus, according to a 2014 study by the CDC, drivers may also be at greater risk of falling ill from the virus .

The study showed more than half of truck drivers smoke and are two times as likely to have diabetes as the rest of the population. These health factors put them in a higher risk category should they contract the COVID-19 virus strain.

The issue grows greater with the realization that 38% of drivers do not have health insurance (same CDC study). Furthermore, paid sick leave in the trucking industry is uncommon.

Drivers face economic uncertainty

Additionally, financial stability for drivers is threatened by the secondary fallout of the virus, economic downturn. Since between 350,000 and 400,000 of America’s drivers are independent owner-operators, they work freelance, without the benefits of regulations that protect workers from sudden wage loss.

For fleet drivers, however, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) protects workers by requiring companies with more than one hundred employees to give at least 60-days of notice before layoffs or closings, if it would affect 50 or more employees.

Still, companies can increase down days or slow line rates as needed when addressing a market downturn.

Waiting out the viral impact

It seems likely the coronavirus outbreak will amplify pricing and capacity swings in the US trucking industry in 2020. Logistics experts warn of a coming price shock for shippers. Downshifts in the trucking market capacity and shipping rates are expected to remain longer than normal. However, when freight volume rises, as is expected when quarantines lift, so will rates. 

>>> How are trucking companies preparing for the Coronavirus? <<<

Factors that increase shipping rates include the following:

  • short supply of trucks
  • increase in freight demand
  • produce season
  • spring retail sales surge
  • manufacturing increases

Each of these factors could result in greater truckload capacity, which would ease the pinch of the coronavirus impact to the trucking industry and drivers, specifically.


Trucking Startups, Hiring Drivers and CDL Training

No matter what your current situation is in the trucking industry, we have a service that would be valuable to you, like CDL trainingstarting your own trucking business or hiring new, qualified drivers.

If you have been laid off, this might be a good time to start training to get your CDL. There will be a need for more drivers as businesses and events resume normal operation in the coming months.

If you are already a driver in the trucking industry, this may be the perfect time for you to start your own trucking company. Securing loads will not be an issue once the economy bounces back.

If you are a trucking company, you will most likely need to be hiring qualified drivers in the near future, and you will need to get good, qualified drivers very quickly, as well as manage all of the files for those drivers.

If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

2020 CVSA North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria


Starting today, April 1, 2020, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) 2020 North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria is now in effect. The 2020 out-of-service criteria replaces and supersedes all previous versions.

The North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria (OOSC) is the pass-fail criteria for roadside safety inspections. The purpose of the criteria is to identify critical safety violations. Those violations render the driver, vehicle and/or motor carrier out of service until the condition(s) or violation(s) are corrected or repaired.

In accordance with CVSA Bylaws, the proposed changes were communicated to the voting members of the Alliance on Oct. 15, 2019 and were ratified on Nov. 1, 2019. There was an additional ballot clarification regarding OOSC Ballot Item #2 which was communicated to the membership on Dec. 10, 2019 and ratified on Dec. 20, 2019. The following changes were made to the out-of-service criteria:

  1. Modified the subtitle in Part I, Item 2. Operator’s/chauffeur’s license or permit (non-CDL), a. Vehicle 26,000 lbs. Or less GVWR not designed to transport 16 or more passengers or placarded loads of hazardous materials.
  2. Included information outlining a valid Canadian dangerous goods training certificate to Part I, Item 2. Operator’s/chauffeur’s license or permit (non-CDL), b. Endorsements and restrictions and Part I, item 3. Commercial driver’s license (CDL), c. Endorsements and restrictions.
  3. Amended Part I, Item 7. Drugs and other substances; as identified under section 392.4(a) by adding OOSC regarding the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse and removing “as identified under section 392.4(a)” from the title.
  4. Removed the reference to an AOBRD in Footnote 14 and added a note for Footnotes 11-14. Part I, Item 9. Driver’s record of duty status – US – footnotes for driver’s record of duty status – US
  5. Removed the out-of-service condition of 72 hours for no log from Part I, Item 10. Driver’s record of duty status – Canada, h. No daily log (See Footnote 2).
  6. Amended Part I, Item 10. Driver’s record of duty status – Canada – footnotes for driver’s record of duty status – Canada, Footnote 2, to reduce the amount of time a driver can be behind on his/her daily log and not be declared out of service.
  7. Updated Part I, Item 11. Driver’s record of duty status – Mexico by replacing the OOSC for Mexico to reflect the requirements in the NOM-087-SCT-2-2017 and adding footnotes.
  8. Added the new SAE J2899 markings found on brake chambers to Part II, Item 1. Brake systems, a. Defective brakes, Brake Adjustment Reference Charts (Clamp Type).
  9. Clarified in Part II, Item 1. Brake systems, e. Parking brake that a parking brake needs to be held by mechanical means.
  10. Amended Part II, Item 11. Suspensions, d. Suspension connecting rod, tracking component assembly or sway bar components by removing sway bars from the OOSC.
  11. Clarified in Part II, Item 12. Tires, a. Any tire on any steering axle(s) of a power unit, (9) and b. All tires other than those found on the front steering axle(s) of a powered unit that the condition refers to a wheel end of a vehicle.
  12. Amended Part II, Item 16. Buses, motorcoaches, passenger vans or other passenger-carrying vehicles – emergency exits/electrical cables and systems in engine and battery compartments/seating (temporary and aisle seats) by adding OOSC for emergency exits that are marked but not necessarily required.
  13. Amended Part III, Item 3. Bulk packages, c. Bulk package authorization by modifying the title and out-of-service condition to include Canadian terminology.
  14. Added a note regarding manhole covers to Part III, Item 3. Bulk packages, d. Venting devices, manhole covers, fill/inspection openings and discharge valves.
  15. Modified the title and condition in Part III, Item 6. Non-bulk packaging to include Canadian terminology.
  16. Added a condition to Part III, Item 10. Emergency response assistance plan (ERAP) (in Canada only) by outlining that ERAP information must be on the shipping document.

For more information, CVSA provides a document that outlines each of the above-mentioned amendments, along with a detailed description of the rationale behind each change.

FMCSA waives CDL, medical certification renewal regs


Waived through June 30

Due to the effects of COVID-19, the US Department of Transportation will not enforce certain licensing and medical certification renewal regulations for drivers whose credentials expired on or after March 1, 2020.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a waiver Tuesday extending commercial driver’s license and commercial learner’s permit validity until June 30 for those that expire on or after March 1. CLP holders will not be required to retake the general and endorsement knowledge tests if utilizing the waiver.

The notice also waives the requirement for drivers to have a medical exam or certification, as long as the drivers have proof of a valid medical certification that was issued for at least 90 days and expired on or after March 1.

The waiver follows President Trump’s national emergency declaration on March 13 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. FMCSA says a number of states have more employee absences than normal or closed offices, making it difficult for commercial drivers to renew their licenses. Additionally, FMCSA notes many medical service providers have canceled regularly scheduled appointments, not allowing drivers to get appointments for DOT physicals with medical examiners.

In addition to the above waivers, the notice also:

  • Waives the requirement that CLP holders wait 14 days to take the CDL skills test.
  • Waives the requirement that truckers provide states with a medical examiner’s certificate, as long as they have proof of a valid med cert that expired on or after March 1.
  • Waives the requirement that states change drivers’ med cert status to “not certified” upon the expiration of the certificate if it expires after March 1.
  • Allows FMCSA to continue to recognize the validity of Canadian and Mexican commercial licenses when those jurisdictions issue similar notices extending license validity

If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

Trucking companies brace for Coronavirus impact

Coronavirus

Trucking and the Coronavirus

With the world focused on the fear of illness and global spread of this year’s coronavirus (COVID-19), trucking companies brace for a secondary threat as well, as the freight market slows.

Prior factors affect the trucking industry

Businesses had already stuffed their warehouses with imported goods at the end of 2019, trying to get ahead of the tariffs placed against China. Then, as concerns over the virus itself grew, this slowed import shipping. Trucking companies with work in and around ports have felt the impact already.

Current factors add burden

Currently, several factors are impacting the trucking industry and putting the brakes on freight. First, the national shift for many businesses to encourage their employees to work from home. Secondly, consumers have drastically reduced their daily activities, without choice in most states.

Each state has implemented some sort of guideline to follow, each on a different level, but with the same end goal, to create social distancing. Most states are closing schools, preventing operation of non-essential businesses and even preventing gatherings of 50, 25 and even 10 people.

With a number of major events being cancelled, such as the Mid-America Trucking Show and sporting events (eg. NCAA tournament), the trucking industry has taken a big hit as well, since the need for truckers to carry the necessary supplies to these events has vanished.

Transportation market follows industry market

Garrett Bowers, President of Bowers Trucking in Oklahoma commented to Transport Topics news outlet: “If industry is stifled, transportation will follow.”

Trucking companies can expect to find themselves pinched tightly between all these factors. And, of course, layered on top of these concerns is the well-being of their drivers as they send them out across the nation, where they could be more susceptible to contracting the Coronavirus.

Some companies, mostly those immediately affected near the ports, have begun reducing capacity and laying off independent owner-operators in response to the downturn.

But across the country, companies feel the hit of this pandemic. Fleets have been absorbing a cost burden from being unable to return empty containers, as well as administrative costs.

Hoping for a rebound

There is definitely potential for a rebound in the trucking industry once shipping from China and other countries resumes normal pace. However, this potential rebound will have a delay that can impact many companies.

Companies should anticipate and plan not only for reduced rates and capacity, but also for difficulties at the loading docks. If shippers must reduce their own workforce due to coronavirus-related illnesses or quarantines, loads may not be ready when truckers arrive.

Companies should prepare for a double-headed approach to address both the current slow-down and the eventual recovery when shipments begin to surge to make up for delays.

>>> How are truck drivers affected by the Coronavirus? <<<


Trucking Startups, Hiring Drivers and CDL Training

No matter what your current situation is in the trucking industry, we have a service that would be valuable to you, like CDL training, starting your own trucking business or hiring new, qualified drivers.

If you have been laid off, this might be a good time to start training to get your CDL. There will be a need for more drivers as businesses and events resume normal operation in the coming months.

If you are already a driver in the trucking industry, this may be the perfect time for you to start your own trucking company. Securing loads will not be an issue once the economy bounces back.

If you are a trucking company, you will most likely need to be hiring qualified drivers in the near future, and you will need to get good, qualified drivers very quickly, as well as manage all of the files for those drivers.

If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR)—What is it and why it’s important

Gross Combination Weight Rating

GCWR vs. GVWR

“Know before you tow,” is an easy way to remind drivers and fleet managers to check their vehicles Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) before putting drivers and vehicles on the road.

At times it can be difficult to determine the GCWR and you may need to take into account the GVWR as well.

What is the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)?

The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is determined by the manufacturer and takes into account the base curb weight of the vehicle plus the weight of any optional accessories, cargo and passengers.

You should never load a vehicle beyond the listed gross vehicle weight rating.

What is the Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR)?

The Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) is the maximum safe weight of both:

  • the loaded tow vehicle, and
  • the loaded trailer

But what is so important about the GCWR? Here we answer your questions.

Where can I find the maximum GCWR for my vehicle?

Manufacturers determine the maximum weight rating for each vehicle, and it can be found on your vehicle placard. However, if this information is not available, it is possible to calculate your own.

How can I calculate my vehicle’s Gross Combination Weight?

You can use the use the following formulas to calculate your vehicle’s GCWR:


GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT (GVW):

Vehicle Base Curb Weight
(vehicle + full fuel tank + standard equipment, but NOT passengers)
+
Cargo Weight
(cargo + extra equipment + trailer tongue)
+
Passenger Weight

= GVW

LOADED TRAILER WEIGHT (LTW):

Weight of empty trailer
+
Weight of anything on or inside trailer

= LTW

GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT (GCW)

GVW + LTW (above numbers) = GCW


How do I find the actual weights of these separate items?

A local public scale is needed to weigh either the separate items or weigh a fully loaded vehicle and trailer.

What are the problems with exceeding the GCWR?

  • You may damage your vehicle or your trailer by exceeding the weight limits.
  • You put your safety and the safety of others at risk.
  • You risk being unable to control your loaded vehicle. Slowing and stopping becomes difficult or impossible.

What kind of brakes do I need to manage my vehicle and trailer load?

It’s important to note that vehicle brakes are only rated for the Gross Vehicle Weight, NOT the combined weight.

If the Gross Combined Weight surpasses the Gross Vehicle Weight, you should use separate trailer brakes.

Determine what class of CDL you are required to have based on your GCW

Why is it important to know the GCW?

Single-unit vehicles, by themselves, may not qualify as a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV). However, the addition of a trailer—or any weight—may put the vehicle over the threshold, causing it to be considered a CMV.

With the additional weight, this vehicle combination may now require the driver to have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), therefore, it is important to know the Gross Combined Weight to ensure that the driver has the proper license.

Knowing your vehicle’s Gross Combined Weight Rating is more than just a policy, it’s also a way to ensure safety is upheld for all drivers on the road.

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

DOT Random Drug Testing Percentage Rate Increase (2020)

DOT Random Drug Testing

50% increase for DOT random drug testing

Each year, the FMCSA evaluates the rate of positive testing results for controlled substances. Depending on the reported figures, they modify their testing percentage rates.

For 2020, according to the FMCSA’s notice of program change, the testing percentage rate for controlled substances has increased to 50% of the average number of driver positions.

This new testing rate increase affects drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) requiring a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Final rule regarding DOT random drug testing rates

When the number of positive tests for controlled substances in a calendar year increase to equal or greater than 1%, the FMCSA must also increase the minimum annual random testing percentage rate.

The rates increase on January 1 of the following calendar year. This accounts for a delay in application of this final rule to a full year after results are reported.

The results of the 2018 FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Testing Survey showed a 1% increase in the rate of positive tests for controlled substances. As a result, the percentage rate for DOT random drug testing increased from 25% to 50 % of the average number of driver positions. This increase went into effect on January 1, 2020.

The testing rates for alcohol will remain the same, which is 10% of the average number of driver positions.

Increased testing rates equals increased industry cost

It is estimated that the cost of additional testing will add between $50 to $70 million more to industry costs.

With the new 2020 testing rate, approximately 2.1 million random controlled substances tests will be conducted, doubling from the previous years’ 1.05 million tests.


Drug and Alcohol Services

We offer a number of services related to drug and alcohol requirements

If you have questions or need help with your drug and alcohol program, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

New Study Attempts to Reduce Trucking Accidents

trucking accidents

Study to reduce trucking accidents

Motor vehicle accidents are an unfortunate by-product of driving and fatal crashes among large trucks have risen steadily in the past decade.

The FMCSA seeks to reverse this trend by conducting a study aimed at identifying and reducing factors that contribute to these fatal truck accidents.

Previous crash study findings

In a 2001-2003 Large Truck Crash Causal Factors Study (LTCCFS), the FMCSA gained vital information on crash factors. The study found that, when fault was assigned to the large truck, the cause of a vast majority of crashes were driver related. In these cases, it was determined that either driver action or inaction resulted in the crash.

Following this 2001-2003 study, fatal crashes decreased, hitting a low in 2009. However, since 2009, fatal crashes began to increase at a steady rate. By 2018, large truck crashes with at least one fatality or evident injury had increased by 52.6% compared to the 2009 figures.

This continued increase in fatal large truck crashes has the FMCSA seeking answers and calling for a new study to be conducted in an effort to reduce crash factors.

Industry changes may impact crash statistics

It’s been fifteen years since the original crash study. Technology has changed. Driver behavior has shifted. Roadways have been redesigned. And vehicle safety guidelines have been revised. Any one or all these changes could affect driver performance.

Because there are so many potential factors, a new study is needed to determine which factors are indeed contributing to fatal and injurious crashes. The new in-depth study is intended to evaluate crash factors, identify trends and develop safety improvement policies.

Potential new crash factors that need to be assessed in this proposed study include:

  • cell phone and texting distractions
  • driver restraint use
  • in-cab navigation systems
  • fleet management systems
  • automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems

Data collection through driver assistance systems

The previous study was conducted via data collection by a two-person team through interviews and investigations of up to 1,000 elements of a crash. One goal of this new study is that the current driver assistance systems installed in many fleets will provide additional useful data.

FMCSA calls for proposals to conduct new study

The FMCSA seeks industry input in designing their new study and are currently accepting submission of comments and related materials so they can plan how to design and conduct this new large truck crash factor study.

Visit www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions to submit any suggestions.

Per the FMCSA request for information, submissions should answer these questions:

  1. Should FMCSA pursue a nationally representative sampling approach or can convenience sampling serve the needs?
  2. What type of study are you recommending (e.g., nationally representative vs. convenience sampling), and what are the pros and cons of this approach?
  3. How important is it for the new study results to be comparable with findings of the original LTCCS?
  4. What other sources of data can enrich the new study? How can they be identified and included?

Submissions are open until March 16, 2020.

Use Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA-2019-0277 when submitting proposals, comments, and materials.

Submit via the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking portal: Visit www.regulations.gov and follow the on-line instructions for submissions
  • Mail: Docket Management Facility; US Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001
  • Hand delivery or courier: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays
  • Fax: 1-202-493-2251

Hopefully, with enhanced data collection, and the support of submissions from the industry, the sobering upward trend of fatal large truck crashes can be reversed and reduced to create a safer roadway for everyone.


DOT Training

Safety is our priority

Safety is the most important thing when it comes to truck driving. We offer a long list of DOT related training for all levels of experience, including full new driver training, defensive driving, accident procedures, full CDL driver training and so much more.

In any of our DOT training programs, safety is our priority.

All CNS services are geared toward keeping your trucking company safe and compliant so that you stay on the road and pass all truck inspections.

If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

CVSA International Roadside DOT Inspection Readiness (2020)

DOT Inspection

2020 DOT Inspection Readiness

The annual International Roadcheck—conducted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) in the spring of each year—is a high-visibility reminder of the importance of commercial motor vehicle safety.

Let’s review a few important notes and changes for the 2020 International Roadcheck.

Date change for 2020 International Roadcheck

Historically, the International Roadcheck has happened the first week of June. In 2020, the DOT inspection dates have been moved up a month to take advantage of potentially more favorable weather conditions.

This year, the CVSA’s International Roadcheck will happen from May 5-7, 2020.

DOT inspection focus for 2020 International Roadcheck

Primarily, the International Roadcheck conducts the North American Standard (NAS) Level I Inspection, which includes 37 steps in two main inspection categories:

  • driver operating requirements
  • vehicle mechanical fitness
  • Note: hazardous materials/dangerous goods are sometimes part of a Level I inspection

Depending on other factors, an inspector could conduct a:

  • Level II inspection (walk-around driver/vehicle)
  • Level III inspection (driver/credential/administrative) and/or
  • Level IV inspection (vehicle-only)

Each year, there is also a special category focus. This year’s focus is on the driver requirements category.

>>> Download 2020 International Roadcheck Driver Requirements <<<

CVSA’s President, Sgt. John Samis of the Delaware State Police, commented that due to the US Federal mandate for electronic logging device compliance, “this year’s International Roadcheck would be the perfect opportunity to revisit all aspects of roadside DOT inspection driver requirements.”

What to expect during the CVSA International Roadcheck

At a minimum, drivers should anticipate the following procedures during a roadside DOT inspection:

  • inspector greeting, interview, driver preparation
  • collection/verification of driver documents
  • motor carrier ID
  • license examination
  • records check (duty status and periodic inspection reports)
  • certification check (if needed)
    • Medical Examiner’s Certificate
    • Skill Performance Evaluation Certification, and
    • daily vehicle inspection report
  • other inspections such as driver seat belt usage, illness, fatigue, impairments due to substance use

A roadside DOT inspection would include critical components such as:

  • brake systems
  • cargo securement
  • coupling devices
  • driveline/driveshaft components
  • driver’s seat (missing)
  • exhaust systems
  • frames
  • fuel systems
  • lighting devices
  • steering mechanisms
  • suspension system
  • tires
  • van and open-top trailer bodies
  • wheels, rims, and hubs
  • windshield wipers
  • Buses, motor coaches, passenger vans or other passenger-carrying vehicles: emergency exits, electrical cables and systems in engine and battery compartments, and temporary and aisle seating

Although this 3-day event spanning from Canada to Mexico intensifies the frequency of inspections, it’s crucial to remember that DOT inspections happen every day of the year.

The FMCSA 2019 data reports 3.36 million inspections last year, with only 67,072 (or, about 2%) happening during the International Roadcheck. The annual data show 944,794 driver violations, with just over 20% (195,545) being for out-of-service conditions.

>>> Review the 2019 International Truck Inspection Results <<<

Obeying safety standards and being prepared for inspection at any time of the year is a vital aspect of any driver’s protocol.

What are CVSA Standards for critical violations?

The basis for violations comes from the CVSA North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria.

There are eight different levels of inspection the CVSA follows. However, truck inspections in the 2019 Roadcheck were only subjected to the North American Standard (NAS) Level I, II and III Inspections.

Out-of-service orders and the number, type and severity of safety violations affect a motor carrier’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) score and its Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rating.


DOT Audits

We can perform a mock audit for you

You can stay ahead of the FMCSA by ensuring your drivers are in compliance before sending them out on the road. We offer many services, but one specifically—DOT Mock Audits—help trucking companies operate with the confidence that they will pass any audits or inspections the FMCSA throws at them.

Basically, in a DOT Mock Audit, we send out a specialist that will conduct an audit in the exact same way a DOT officer would. This can help keep you prepared for any surprise roadside inspection or any future actual DOT audits, and you can be sure that they will happen.

All CNS services are geared toward keeping your trucking company safe and compliant so that you stay on the road and pass all DOT inspections.

For any assistance related to DOT Audits, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

2nd Annual Compliance Conference (Recap)


On January 31, 2020, Compliance Navigation Specialists hosted our 2nd Annual CNS Compliance Conference held at the Eden Resort in Lancaster, PA. Overall the event was a success and had an excellent turnout, bringing in over 215 attendees from across Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia.

John Irwin—CEO of Compliance Navigation Specialists—kicked off the event addressing the state of compliance for 2020 and also later discussed the tiered weather system to be implemented this year and also discussed CVSA road checks and the top violation among carriers across the country, which for 2019 was hiring unqualified drivers.

We also had Shane Phillips—Compliance and Enforcement Specialist with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture—who discussed 2020 Spotted Lanternfly Permitting, the Department of Agriculture’s Spotted Lanternfly program, updates and/or changes to that program and what counties are currently under quarantine for the Spotted Lanternfly.

Our keynote speaker for the conference was David Yessen—FMCSA’s Director of Compliance. Mr. Yessen primarily covered the FMCSA Clearinghouse, who needs to sign up, how and who it effects. The clearinghouse effects CDL drivers for carriers across North America. Mr. Yessen engaged many attendees at the conference regarding their experiences with getting registered in the clearinghouse.

Watch Mr. Yessen’s speech now (Speech starts at :52 minutes)

Following Mr. Yessen was Denny Beecher—Commercial Auto Underwriter at Interstate Insurance Management Inc.—covering the many factors that effect insurance premiums and underwriting in the commercial trucking industry. Mr. Beecher mentioned some of the most common triggers in various states for increasing your premiums, including driver history, experience level and crash rates.

Watch Mr. Beecher’s speech now (Speech starts: 1 hour and 52 minutes).

Next, we heard from several PA State Troopers and Motor Carrier Enforcement officers who spoke specifically about different approaches the state was taking to mitigate accidents, which is their top priority. They listed out the top counties that had the highest accident frequencies and roadside violations. They also discussed information regarding DataQ’s or challenging violations that appear on a carrier’s Safety Management System (SMS) and how to go about challenging those violations. Learn more about the DataQ process.

Watch PA State Trooper’s speech now (Speech starts at beginning of video 2).

The conference concluded with a Q&A session incorporating all speakers, giving attendees the opportunity to ask any specific questions that were gathered throughout the conference.

Anyone interested in watching the conference can like our CNS Facebook page to watch all or portions of the conference.

Photos
Enjoy some photos from the 2nd Annual Compliance Conference

Video
2nd Annual Compliance Conference – Part 1
2nd Annual Compliance Conference – Part 2

IFTA Audits – What to expect and how to prepare


Are you prepared for an IFTA Audit?

When it comes an audit, the best defense is a great offense. And the best offense is knowledge.

Knowing what will happen in an audit and being prepared with sufficient record-keeping will keep you ready for an audit at any time.

We have interviewed Adam Galante, our Vice President of Operations, to talk about electronic record-keeping requirements for an IFTA audit.

Tracking system requirements for an IFTA Audit

What are the requirements for the different tracking systems available to carriers?

When using a GPS tracking system, there are several data points you want to be sure are recording accurately.

The required data sets for an IFTA audit are:

  • date and times
  • the odometer or the ECM reading or hubometer reading
  • longitude and latitude readings for each ping

In addition, carriers need to ensure the readings are made in a sufficient manner, at correct intervals, and readings must be recorded to the fourth decimal point.

What is a sufficient interval for recording GPS data?

The GPS needs to ping at intervals of less than five minutes. Be sure the tracking system you are using is set to this interval.

Also, consider various factors about the routes drivers take, by asking questions like:

  • what is the distance the driver will be traveling?
  • is it a short or long route? Are there a lot of hills or is it mostly flat?
  • how often are drivers crossing state lines?
  • is the GPS tracking system proper geofencing around the different states?

Note: Geofencing needs to map the entire state all the way around.

What would be considered inadequate or insufficient data recording?

An IFTA auditor will look for several factors when evaluating electronic record-keeping from the GPS tracking system.

IFTA auditors will check:

  • if the GPS is meeting the interval of less than 5 minutes for every ping
  • if the GPS tracking system is using proper state geofencing
    • For example, if the geofencing isn’t mapping the entire state all the way around, your data will be inadequate.
  • if the odometer readings put into the GPS match the odometer on the vehicle
  • if longitude and latitude lines aren’t recorded to the fourth decimal point

If you want CNS to perform a mock IFTA audit, we can tell you if you are in compliance.

To talk with an IFTA specialist, call or email CNS at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

What should carriers look for when purchasing a compliant tracking system?

Make sure the tracking systems can record the sufficient data points, as mentioned above.

In addition, GPS tracking systems should be able to:

  • set recording intervals to under 5 minutes – this is very important!
  • record time stamps for each state crossing
  • record longitude and latitude for every ping to the fourth decimal point
  • know how the provider is accumulating their unknown miles and providing that information to you.

What are the most common reoccurring problems in processing fuel taxes?

When auditors process fuel taxes, they often come across these five error points:

  1. bad GPS data
  2. insufficient GPS information coming through
  3. GPS pings are not set to the correct intervals of less than five minutes
  4. broken GPS hardware
    1. once it’s broken the data normally can’t be retrieved
  5. poor fuel tax reporting
    1. faded, unorganized fuel receipts or fuel purchase pre-authorization slips that cannot be read.

If you can resolve these fives common fuel tax issues, you will be well-prepared for an IFTA audit!

Read our previous blog post for more tips on Surviving an IFTA Audit.



IFTA Fuel Tax Service

Keep your electronic record-keeping accurate with CNS Fuel Tax Service

The fuel tax service at CNS stands out because it offers carriers these benefits:

  • secure data storage with a portal login
  • experts familiar with IFTA audits and GPS tracking systems
  • affordable pricing that will work for any business

The thought of an audit should not scare you if you are prepared. Use your electronic record-keeping as a resource to keep you prepared for any inspection or audit situation. When your records are accurate and secure, your business will be too!

To talk with an IFTA specialist, call or email CNS at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.