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.

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.

Are you ready for a compliance review?


Have you been selected for a compliance review?

Being selected for a Compliance Review (CR) as a motor carrier can bring a lot of stress and headaches. But much of this anxiety lies in being uninformed about the auditing process.

Let’s look at what a Compliance Review entails and how you and your company can prepare for one.

What is a Compliance Review?

A Compliance Review is basically a checkup to evaluate performance of the FMCSA regulations and record-keeping to determine if safety management controls are compliant.

It is important to “do your homework” in advance, in case you do get audited, which is very possible.

Two important things you should you know if you are being audited?

  1. Know the regulations you are subject to as a motor carrier
  2. Know which records an Auditor will expect to review

6 Inspection Categories of a Compliance Review

Each category is called a “factor,” and is rated as:

  • satisfactory
  • conditional
  • unsatisfactory

1. General requirements

  • Documentation of proper liability coverage for the type of carrier and cargo. Refer to Section 387.9 of the FMCSR for details.
  • Forms CS-90 or MCS-82, signed by an insurance provider representative.
  • Vehicle markings: CMVs marked on two sides with the name listed on the MCS-150 form, and the DOT number preceded by “USDOT.”
  • Training records: Keep detailed records of all transportation safety training. Be able to show training for any employee involved in compliance.

2. Driver qualifications

  • Driver licenses must equal the vehicle class being driven and have the correct endorsements.
    • be sure to track your employees license expiration dates.
    • have a CDL Driver drug and alcohol testing program in place.
    • written policy on your testing program is required. Distributed this policy to all CDL drivers and get a signed receipt from all drivers to keep in your files.
    • if safety function duties require PART 40 Drug and Alcohol testing, then verify past three years of employment. Required tests include:
      • Pre-employment drug test, Post-accident drug and alcohol, Random drug and alcohol, Reasonable suspicion
  • Documentation for employees retained after a positive drug test result.
  • Driver qualification file should be well-organized and include the following items:
    • application for employment
    • employment verification from previous three years with safety performance history and drug/alcohol test results, if applicable.
    • Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) from past three years
    • Road test and certification
    • DOT physical certification from past three years
    • entry-level driver training, if needed
    • state agencies 3-year driving record inquiry
    • annual written driver statement of violations
    • signed annual reviews from motor carrier from past three years
    • waivers (if any)

For a complete list of documents that should be included in the Driver Qualification File, print out this handy checklist. But the items above are ones required for an audit.

3. Operational

  • 6 months of driver logs and supporting documents.
  • motor carriers must comply with record-keeping requirements even when using a logging exception.

4. Vehicle requirements

  • 12 months of vehicle maintenance file for any CMV under motor carrier control for 30 consecutive days. Include the following information:
    • Motor carrier number (or license plate number)
    • Model and year
    • Vehicle identification number (VIN) or serial number
    • Tire size
    • Owner (if not the motor carrier)
  • proof of periodic inspection (or approved sticker).
  • certification of anyone performing CMV brake system work.
  • 90 days’ worth of post-trip inspection reports, with mechanic signature that defects were corrected, signature of the next driver’s pre-trip inspection, and name of individual who accepted vehicle back into service.

Review Part 396 of the FMCSA for full details

5. Hazardous Materials

  • Shipping papers and emergency response information (from shipper). Retain these for one year (three years for hazardous waste).
  • Refer to 49 CFR Section 172.203 for full details of what must be on shipping papers.

6. Accidents

  • Accident register listing all accidents as defined by Section 390.5 of the FMCSR (a.k.a. “DOT recordable accidents”)
  • Per Section 390.15, the register must include this information:
    • Accident date and hour
    • Location city, state, and address
    • Number of deaths
    • Number of non-fatal injuries
    • Hazardous materials (not including fuel spills)
    • Driver’s name
    • Copy of State or Insurance Report
  • Maintain records on the accident register for three years.
  • View a sample accident register

Be ready for a Compliance Review at all times

Maintaining proper record-keeping and organization is key to being ready for a Compliance Review at all times.

If you maintain accurate records, and keep your files up to date, then the next time you see “You’ve been selected,” all the required materials will be at hand. No doubt, this will relieve stress and help you pass a Compliance Review quickly and without issue.


DOT Audit Services

CNS offers several different types of audit services, including:

All CNS services are geared toward keeping your trucking company safe, compliant, and on the road.

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

Utah increases International Registration Plan fees


As of January 1, 2020, Utah’s International Registration Plan (IRP) fees will increase for vehicles with a registered weight ranging from 0 to 80,000 pounds.

The registration fee for vehicles with a registered weight of 0 to 12,000 pounds will increase from $45 to $46. Vehicles with a registered weight of 12,001 to 80,000 pounds will have an increase of $1.50.

The fee change goes into effect at the beginning of 2020 and will apply to all supplements, renewals, new accounts or any account activity after the effective date of January 1, 2020.

International registration plan fee increases were also announced for Wisconsin, Nevada and North Dakota in August 2019.

Audit services

The long list of rules and regulations involved with the International Registration Plan (IRP) can be difficult to follow. Failure to stay up to date with your registration fee or changes to those rules and regulations can lead to the failure of an IRP audit.

All of our services are geared toward keeping your trucking company safe and DOT compliant, which is why we offer mock audits and management that help avoid these types of issues.

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

IRP registration fees increase for multiple states


Wisconsin, Nevada and North Dakota have updated their IRP registration fee schedules for the upcoming year. The changes for Nevada and North Dakota will go into effect January 1, 2020, however Wisconsin’s changes will take effect on October 1, 2019.


IRP registration fees

Wisconsin IRP fee changes

Wisconsin has increased its’ fees for trucks, buses, and road tractors at 4,500 pounds and 6,000 pounds from $75 and $84 respectively, to $100 for both weights. Fees have also increased for truck tractors at 4,500 and 6,000 pounds from $93 and $102 respectively, to $118 for both weights.

See the updated Wisconsin IRP registration fee schedule.

Nevada IRP fee changes

Nevada has released its’ IRP registration fees for all jurisdictions. The new fees will go into effect on January 1, 2020. Adjustments were made to account for depreciation factors and to add the Nevada suggested purchase cost (OPC) for 2020.

The update also increased the maximum weight for registration in Nevada from 80,000 lbs. to 129,000 lbs., therefore eliminating the need for an overweight permit for a reducible load.

See the updated Nevada IRP registration fee schedule.

North Dakota IRP fee changes

Effective January 1, 2020, North Dakota has updated fee schedules for trucks, truck-tractors, tractors and buses. Fees for some weight ranges over 22,000 lbs. decreased in some instances.

Additionally, North Dakota is adding fee schedules for trucks, truck-tractors, tractors, and buses registered at 20,000 lbs. and less.

See the updated North Dakota IRP registration fee schedule.

Utah also recently announced an increase in IRP fees.

Audit services

The long list of rules and regulations involved with the International Registration Plan (IRP) can be difficult to follow. Failure to stay up to date with your registration fee or changes to those rules and regulations can lead to the failure of an IRP audit.

All of our services are geared toward keeping your trucking company safe and DOT compliant, which is why we offer mock audits and management that help avoid these types of issues.

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

Surviving an IFTA Audit


Have you ever been through an IFTA audit?

If you haven’t been through one, would you be stressed if you received a call or a letter stating you are due for one?

We have helped many clients through IFTA audits. If you are keeping accurate mileage and fuel receipts, you have nothing to worry about. But sometimes that is easier said than done.

Clients have contracted with Compliance Navigation Specialists (CNS) to complete a mock audit or represent them in an actual audit and have come across some common problems.

Read our blog post on What to expect and how to prepare for an IFTA Audit

Some of the more frequent challenges and how to avoid them, include:

  1. The first common problem we come across has to do with fuel receipts.
    • It is important to know that drivers must provide documentation proving the miles they ran, as well as the fuel purchased. Often times drivers are either missing fuel receipts or using a credit card that doesn’t show gallons purchased.
    • We have even witnessed a client bringing their fuel receipts down from their attic and open up the box to find that the heat erased the ink on the thermal receipts. All of these issues cause challenges in an IFTA audit and can be prevented.

Our recommendation: Obtain a fuel card to keep accurate records of fuel purchased per gallon per truck.

  1. When it comes to miles, the main problems we see are missing trip sheets, inaccurate mileage recorded by the driver, or inaccurate mileage for a GPS system.
    • Drivers are responsible for ensuring their GPS is reading the odometer mileage and working consistently.

Our recommendation: Make it a habit of testing the GPS system periodically to ensure it is working properly. If the GPS system fails for any reason, the driver must recreate their trips to complete their taxes.

  1. Drivers are required to keep supporting records and documents for four years from the tax return due date or filing date (whichever is later) plus any time period included as a result of waivers or jeopardy assessments. If a driver is reporting their IFTA taxes wrong or is just bad at record keeping, they could get hit with back taxes and interest.

For example, if a driver is bad at record keeping and can’t prove their mileage, the state has the right to calculate their miles per gallon by 4.0 mpg. This can cause serious back taxes, plus interest. In Pennsylvania, a trucker challenged the 4.0 mpg factor in Nedeljko Gunjak, Inc. v. Commonwealth, docket no. 455 F.R. 2013. The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has denied the appeal of a motor carrier’s assessment for additional fuel use tax that was more than $300,000 under the International Fuel Tax Agreement. Due to the carrier’s absence of records that IFTA requires a motor carrier to keep, the state, following an audit, had imposed a 4.0 miles-per-gallon factor on all the carrier’s operations, and made such other audit adjustments as were warranted by the best information available. The taxpayer’s argument was that they presented the required records. PA court said that the records the carrier had shared were so obviously inaccurate as to preclude any reliance. While this finding is by no means novel, it is a good time emphasize how important it will be when a carrier faces an IFTA audit that its records be reasonably complete and accurate.

Our recommendation: Contact one of our IFTA Specialists to discuss the tools and management processes to keep you in compliance with IFTA. So, if you do get notified of an IFTA audit you will not have to worry.

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


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