IFTA Fuel Tax Rate Changes Q3 2020

IFTA Fuel Tax Rates | IFTA | CNS

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


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

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


Download: Fuel Tax Quarterly Rate Spreadsheet

For the latest IFTA tax rates excel spreadsheet to be emailed to you, please fill out this quick form.

Which states had IFTA tax rate changes?

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

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

When are your IFTA taxes due?

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

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

CNS takes your fuel tax reporting worries away! 

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

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

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


Fuel Taxes: Free Estimate

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

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 Nurse Triage Phone Lines Keep Drivers Safe And Injury Claim Costs Down

nurse triage phone lines

Nurse triage phone lines are quickly becoming the best solution for fleets and drivers to be treated quickly and safely if feeling sick or after a workplace accident.

Each year, millions of truck drivers spend thousands of hours behind the wheel keeping the economy moving.

These drivers not only face the chance of being injured if involved in one of the 116,000 annual crashes, but also face the unrecorded number of workplace injuries that occur as they do their job. 

These fears are compounded with the prevalence of COVID-19 and the approaching flu season leading to increased concern about sending drivers to a hospital for an illness or workplace injury.

Too often, truck drivers are pushing on through illnesses concerning themselves with their work schedules and loads instead of their health.

How do drivers know if what they have is a seasonal allergy, a cold or COVID-19? How can they get treated or checked out?

Nurse triage phone lines are quickly becoming the best solution for fleets and drivers to be treated quickly and safely if feeling sick or after a workplace accident.

 

What is a nurse triage?

A triage nurse is the first point of clinical contact for patients visiting an ER and is a registered nurse positioned in an emergency room or other facility that is responsible for assessing patients calling in and determining their level of need for medical assistance.

The criteria used to evaluate a patient include:

  • the type of injury, illness or cause for concern
  • severity
  • symptoms
  • patient explanation of emergency, and
  • vital signs

Responsibilities of a triage nurse include:

  • performing patient assessment
  • reassessing patients who are waiting
  • initiating emergency treatment (if necessary)
  • sorting patients into priority groups according to guidelines
  • communicating status of patients to doctors and nurses

 

How Nurse Triage Can Lower Your Claim Cost

The cost of an injury claim directly impacts the cost of worker’s compensation insurance. The faster an injury claim can be completed, the lower the costs of the claim will be.

To reduce lost time of reporting the injury claim, encourage your drivers to get the injury claim process going immediately by utilizing a nurse triage.

When an injury occurs, your driver calls the nurse triage phone number to speak with a trained nurse. From there, the nurse can direct the driver to self-administer first aid or recommend a designated medical care facility. 

At the conclusion of the call, the claim is immediately reported to the motor carrier, insurance company, and treating medical facility. 

Additionally, we recommend creating a strict guideline where injuries are required to be reported immediately as this can keep claim costs low.

Additional benefits of a nurse triage, include:

  • cutting down on reporting time to the insurer 
  • organizing evidence and documentation to prevent fraud
  • providing employers with a simple and affordable way to report injuries that occur from or during work
  • putting employees in insured networks and helping them avoid expensive ER visits
  • helping the carrier gather information and data regarding injuries and accidents

 

Have an illness and want to avoid busy Doctor’s offices or medical facilities?

Start your customized health plan to meet your business needs and keep your employees healthy and safe.

You can call the CNS’ Occupational Medicine team with questions about nurse triage phone lines and telemedicine or to schedule a CNS Telemedicine appointment at 888.260.9448.

Our goal is to get you or your employees well quickly and safely so you or they can return to work fully recovered.


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/


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.

How Successful Driver Training Programs Reduce Driver Turnover

reduce driver turnover with driver training

Reducing driver turnover = Improved safety and reduced violation costs

Trucking has had a high driver turnover rate for decades and continues to climb above 90% for larger carriers and around 73% for smaller carriers.

Much of the driver turnover problem is caused by a large percentage of drivers leaving within the first 90 days of on-boarding with a new company.

While a complete hiring program includes a strong driver qualification process seeking stable drivers, meeting driver needs, healthy company culture, competitive driver pay, and more, carriers may solve a big part of the driver retention puzzle by focusing on a successful driver training program.

This includes covering important orientation and safety training quickly and, in many cases, across multiple locations to make sure all drivers are being adequately prepared.

Before we look at what a successful driver training program looks like…

Why is reducing driver turnover so important?

Reducing high driver turnover improves fleet safety and violation costs

A data firm, Vigillo, recently completed an analysis of driver turnover as they monitored FMCSA violations and crashes for nearly 2,000 trucking fleets in the United States.

Their analysis found that a group of fleets with high driver turnover had 1,177 total crashes. The low driver turnover group had just 303 total crashes.

“There is a pretty strong correlation between the safety culture that exists at a motor carrier, which can be measured in CSA, and turnover rates,” said Vigillo CEO Steve Bryan.

Their data revealed that fleets with high driver turnover had:

  • 189% more driver out-of-service rate
  • 300% more vehicle out-of-service rate
  • 181% more hours-of-service violations
  • 224% more crash indicators
  • 640% more hazmat violations, and
  • 182% more controlled substance violations

According to FMCSA annual violation data, fleets regulated by the DOT have paid over $27 million annually in fines, which breaks down to an average of $5,074 per case for violations. With HAZMAT, this average nearly doubles.

Many of these violations will also place the truck out-of-service until the issues are fixed. Being placed out-of-service for 10 hours while a maintenance shop is fixing the truck can cost a fleet around $900 more.

This is why it is so important for fleets to reduce high driver turnover.

But how? A successful driver training program is a critical starting point.


Driver Training: Free Estimate

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

What is included in a Successful Driving Training Program?

On-the-job training and orientation

On-the-job driver training

Some fleets, such as Crete Carriers and Shaffer Trucking, require several weeks on-the-job training with senior driver evaluators.

New drivers are evaluated carefully on their ability to maintain control of the tractor, shifting gears properly, backing the trailer correctly, paperwork preparation, and interaction with customers.

On-the-job training is intended to provide drivers with an accurate picture of the life that professional drivers lead.

Driver orientation

Orientation is standard across all companies, but fleets with lower driver turnover are using it to reveal their company culture and help drivers smoothly transition into the new company.

A company handbook should be issued and covered during orientation along with more information on basic paperwork preparation, company safety policies, rules for logbook preparation, and handling hazardous materials.

Orientation should have an emphasis on communication, company expectations and the role of a truck driver. Drivers need to know they have somewhere to turn for help, including Safety Managers, HR staff, or even co-workers..

This is also the opportunity to pass out company swag, such as hats, insulated coffee mugs, shirts, and more.

Near-term customized video training

Each driver comes with their own experiences, skills, and flaws. A strong driver qualification process, on-the-job training, and driver orientation can highlight areas where a new driver can improve.

For example, if driver trainers notice a habit of hard acceleration or hard braking, they should make sure a video training schedule includes driving fundamentals and defensive driving topics.

Similarly, if there is a pattern of logbook errors, include logbook training and hours of service rules into their video training schedule.

All custom schedules should be accompanied by common new driver training, such as reviewing common maintenance and pre-trip inspection training, what to expect during a roadside inspection and how to treat inspectors, highlight drug testing processes and marijuana regulations, seasonal safe driving tips, cargo securement training, etc.

Customized training should also be measurable using quiz assessments to track  driver performance. If their assessment score is low, then the training needs to be retaken.

Focusing on new technology

The idea that trucking is as simple as, “get in a truck and drive,” is such an old idea. Trucking is a sophisticated job that drivers are doing, and technology has made it even more complex. 

Today, new technology and equipment analyzes and optimizes nearly every facet of fleet efficiency. This includes electronic logging devices, dashcams, and fleet management software that driver must be trained to use.

According to a recent KeepTruckin survey, only 21% of drivers are happy with the quality of their ELD solution, and 73% of drivers experience one or more ELD issue per week.

This is why driver training and new driver onboarding is so crucial. In the first few months of their employment, a driver may feel frustrated with your ELD solution and quit.

Fleets need to make sure that drivers thoroughly understand the ELD they are using and new drivers should have their first several logs audited to ensure they are following company policy and Federal guidelines.

Company managers should be able to use their ELD reports to highlight negative driver habits and customize driver training programs to correct issues before they become an expensive problem.

What else can be done to reduce driver turnover?

Going beyond driver training to reduce high driver turnover

A successful driver training program is complicated.

It includes clear communication from:

  • driver orientation
  • driver qualification file management
  • ELD reports and management
  • on-the-job training
  • customized driver training, and
  • driver training that includes a video platform, in-person training, and regular safety meetings

Managing everything on your own is overwhelming and missing any little detail can lead to audits, fines, and high driver turnover and having someone handle your driver training can be helpful, but may not be enough.

What if there was a complete and affordable DOT Compliance Program to handle all the tedious and difficult office paperwork?


DOT Compliance Programs (PSM)

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

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

Reduce Vehicle Maintenance and Violation Costs with Proper Pre and Post Trip Inspections

pre and post trip inspection

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

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

Why does this continue to happen?

The simple answer is:

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

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

The Importance of Pre and Post Trip Inspections

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

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

For example, low tread depth and damaged sidewalls are easily visible and usually do not wear out on one trip.

According to the DOT, in 2015 63% of roadside inspections were triggered by a commercial motor vehicle being driven with an observable defect, including:

  • inoperable lights
  • deflated tires
  • cargo securement
  • missing placards, and
  • fluid leaks

All of the above can be caught without sliding under the truck.

In fact, the most common method roadside inspectors use to select a vehicle for inspection is whether or not there is a visual defect.

Drivers just need to be educated on what they are looking for and what the DOT is looking for when they are going to write up a violation.


Driver Training: Free Estimate

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

Preventing Vehicle Maintenance and Violation Costs

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.

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.

Also, it is better to catch an issue before hitting the road as roadside repairs generally cost three to five times more than repairs in the shop or the extra cost of towing the truck to a shop.

According to FMCSA annual violation data, fleets regulated by the DOT have paid over $27 million annually in fines, which breaks down to an average of $5,074 per case for violations. With HAZMAT, this average nearly doubles.

Many of these violations will also place the truck out-of-service until the issues are fixed. Being placed out-of-service for 10 hours while a maintenance shop is fixing the truck can cost a fleet around $900 more.

Accident costs take more time recover from

When it comes to accidents preventable by  pre or post-trip inspections, hidden costs of an accident can be 4 to 10 times greater than the visible costs.

Visible costs:

  • cargo damage
  • vehicle damage
  • personal injury costs
  • medical costs
  • loss of revenue
  • increased insurance premiums and deductibles
  • towing costs
  • storage of the damaged vehicle

Hidden costs:

  • lost customers
  • lost sales
  • lost productivity
  • cost to hire or train replacement workers
  • loss of, or damage to, third-party property
  • vehicle replacement
  • damaged equipment downtime
  • accelerated depreciation of equipment
  • tarnished public perception
  • charges from government agencies to replace or repair property
  • and more

The FMCSA found that the average cost of a truck crash involving a tractor-trailer pulling one trailer was  $172,000, and for two or three trailers, the costs amount to over $500,000.

To recover the cost of a single accident, a company would need to generate over $7,000,000 of additional revenue to pay the costs of the accident, assuming an average profit margin of 2%.


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 Physical Exam Waiver for Bus Drivers

school bus driver physical exam waiver

School bus drivers who need a new physical have until July 31, 2020 to complete one

In response to the request submitted by the Pennsylvania School Bus Association, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation granted the extension to waive the annual physical exam requirement for school bus drivers under 67 Pa. Code §71.3.

The waiver applies to any school bus driver with proof of a valid physical exam that expired on or after March 13, 2020.

School bus drivers who need a new physical exam have until July 31, 2020 to complete one.

According to PennDOT, this waiver does not apply to:

  • drivers who cannot provide proof of physical exam expiring after March 13, 2020;
  • new drivers who have never competed a physical exam;
  • drivers who have been diagnosed with a medical condition that would disqualify the driver from operating a school bus, since their last physical exam;
  • drivers who have developed a condition that requires a medical waiver, since their last physical exam; and
  • drivers required to undergo additional 3-month examinations under 67 Pa. Code §71.3(b)(4)(B)(I) unless the driver has completed the required 3-month exam.

A school bus driver should be able to satisfactorily perform the following activities demonstrating the school bus driver meets the intent of this section:

  • Walk around a school bus
    • Pennsylvania school buses have a maximum length of 45 feet and width of 102 inches. Drivers should be able to satisfactory walk at least 107 feet without problem.
  • Bend to check underneath the bus unassisted by any medical apparatus
    • The bottom of a school bus chassis is typically three (3) feet off the ground.
  • Climb and descend the school bus steps—normally 3 steps—which are each 12-16 inches high.
  • While using the right foot only, alternate between the service brake and accelerator
    • Necessary strength and flexibility to operate all controls with hands and feet.
  • Hold the service brake—the main brake on the bus—with the right foot with 40-60 lbs. of force for 60 seconds.
  • Move quickly and easily from the driver’s seat, through the aisle, and exit the rear emergency exit of the school bus.
    • School bus aisles have a minimum clearance of 11 and 3/4 inches wide, with a typical clearance of 15 inches.

School bus drivers are responsible for the safe transportation of our most precious cargo, our children. It is imperative that every school bus driver is physically capable of not only safely operating the school bus, but also performing critical safety functions in the event of an emergency while operating that school bus.

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


OSHA Required Medical Tests: Audiometric and Respiratory

Audiometric and Respiratory Testing: OSHA Required Medical Tests

Audiometric and respiratory testing may be required for employment under OSHA 29 CFR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) require pre-employment and annual medical testing for workers in various industries, including oil and gas, trucking, manufacturing, and more to ensure safe and healthy working conditions.

When it comes to employment, there are many different types of exams and testing that may be required under OSHA rules. The most common physical exams include:

  • work fitness assessment
  • fitness-for-duty exam
  • pre-employment physicals

Beyond exams, there are important occupational health tests that may be required for employment under OSHA 29 CFR, which include:

  • audiometric testing and
  • pulmonary function testing or respiratory testing

What is Audiometric Testing?

Audiometric testing is a test of a person’s ability to hear sounds and assists in monitoring an employee’s hearing over time and is OSHA required if the employer meets certain.

An audiometric testing follow-up program should indicate whether the employer’s hearing conservation program is preventing hearing loss and needs to be managed by a licensed or certified audiologist, otolaryngologist, or other physician. Both professionals and trained technicians may conduct audiometric testing.

There are two types of audiograms required in the hearing conservation program, which include, baseline and annual audiograms.

Baseline audiograms

The employer must retain the original baseline audiogram for the length of the employee’s employment. The professional may decide to revise the baseline audiogram if the employee’s hearing improves. This will ensure that the baseline reflects actual hearing thresholds to the extent possible.

Annual audiograms

Annual audiograms must be provided within 1 year of the baseline. It is important to test workers’ hearing annually to identify deterioration in their hearing ability as early as possible. This enables employers to initiate protective follow-up measures before hearing loss progresses.

Employers must compare annual audiograms to baseline audiograms to determine whether the audiogram is valid and whether the employee has lost hearing ability or experienced a standard threshold shift (STS). An STS is an average shift in either ear of 10 dB or more at 2,000, 3,000, and 4,000 hertz.

What are employer OSHA requirements?

Under the OSH law, employers are required to maintain a safe workplace for all employees. Failure to do so can lead to serious fines and penalties.

Employers must:

  1. make audiometric testing available to all employees exposed to an action level of 85dB (decibels) or above, measured as an 8-hr time weighted average (TWA).
  2. maintain a Hearing Conservation Program to include monitoring, testing, follow-up, training and recordkeeping (regardless of the number of employees).document and keep noise exposure measurement records for 2 years and maintain records of audiometric test results for the duration of the affected employee’s employment.
    • Audiometric test records must include:
      • the employee’s name
      • job classification,
      • date
      • examiner’s name
      • date of the last acoustic or exhaustive calibration
      • measurements of the background sound pressure levels in audiometric test rooms, and
      • the employee’s most recent noise exposure measurement.

We provide baseline, periodic, and exit audiograms, as well as any follow-up testing and training at the employer’s request. Testing will be performed by trained technicians and the program will be overseen by an Audiologist or Physician.


Occupational Medicine: Free Company Analysis

Our Occupational Medicine Specialists can provide a free health analysis of your company. We will help determine what tests are necessary for your company.

What is Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT) or Respiratory Testing?

A pulmonary function test or respiratory test is OSHA-mandated to determine if an employee can safely and effectively wear a respirator to protect the health of the employee against breathing airborne contaminants.

Before your employees use a respirator or are fit-tested, they must be medically evaluated and cleared by a licensed healthcare professional using a “Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire.”

Employers must select a physician or other licensed healthcare professional (PLHCP), such as a registered nurse or physician’s assistant, to perform the medical evaluation and evaluate your health, specific job description, respirator type, and workplace conditions.

Some conditions that could prevent you from using a respirator include:

  • heart conditions
  • lung disease, and
  • psychological conditions, such as claustrophobia

An employees responses to the medical questionnaire are confidential and may not be shared with your employer.

When required by the PLHCP, additional follow-up testing may include a medical exam, additional questionnaire, PFT, EKG, chest x-ray, blood draw and urine sample.

What is Spirometry Testing?

Some occupational and personal exposures can accelerate this loss of function over time. Beyond the respirator medical evaluation, a spirometry breathing test shows how well you can move air in and out of your lungs. Periodic spirometry testing can be used to detect such accelerated losses.

Under OSHA 29 CFR PFT, spirometry testing is required in conjunction with the respirator fit test under certain circumstances to measure respiratory function.

Spirometry testing may be performed on workers who perform jobs that may cause exposure to possible lung hazards, are physically demanding, or require wearing a respirator. Spirometry is used to diagnose asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other conditions that affect breathing and is required for some workers by OSHA standards.

Before conducting spirometry testing, technician should interview the worker, review medical records, and possibly consult with the PLHCP to identify health conditions that may prevent the worker from safely performing maximal efforts in a spirometry test.

All respiratory testing will be performed by a PLHCP and/or trained technician and will provide you and your employer with a written recommendation (with no confidential information) that includes:

  • If you are medically able to wear the respirator and any medical limitations for using one;
  • If any follow-up medical evaluations are needed; and
  • A statement that the doctor or licensed healthcare professional has provided you with a copy of their written recommendation.

You must be re-evaluated when:

  • Reported medical signs or symptoms, such as a heart condition, lung disease, or claustrophobia;
  • A physician or licensed healthcare professional, supervisor, or the respirator program administrator informs your employer that you need to be re-evaluated;
  • The respiratory protection program indicates a need for you to be re-evaluated; or
  • A change occurs in workplace conditions that increases the burden on you while using the respirator.

>>> Learn more about Occupational Medicine <<<


Occupational Medicine Services

Employer OSHA and Occupational Medicine testing

We are able to assist with your OSHA and Occupational Medicine needs, no matter your company size.

Individual and combined services are available:

  • Audiograms, respiratory and hazwoper physicals
  • DOT and non-DOT drug and alcohol consortiums
  • Drug and alcohol testing programs
  • Exposure testing and medical surveillance
  • Mobile Health Clinic available for on-site services
  • OSHA compliant physicals and exams
  • Pre-hire screenings
  • Pre-employment and DOT physicals
  • School bus driver physical exams
  • Vaccinations and flu shots
  • Workplace injury treatment and management

The goal of our best-in-class medical examiners is to keep workers safe and healthy on the job, creating long term health and wellness, allowing you to continue the production that keeps your business running.

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


Related News


FMCSA Extends Expiring CDL and Medical Card Waiver

FMCSA has extended a temporary CDL and medical card waiver if expiring after March 1, 2020

CDL and Medical Card Waiver Extended Until Sept 30, Due To COVID-19

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended a temporary waiver that deals with expired commercial drivers licenses (CDLs) and medical cards after March 1st, 2020, due to the COVID-19 health emergency.

The extended waiver now gives drivers until September 30, 2020 to renew their commercial driver’s licenses, commercial learner’s permits and medical cards. This extension only applies to drivers whose CDL, CLP or medical card expired on or after March 1.

Additionally, drivers with an expired medical card are required to carry a paper copy of the expired medical card until it is renewed and drivers with DOT medical cards, issued for at least 90 days, that expire after March 1, 2020 may continue to operate without a new DOT physical exam.

The original temporary FMCSA waiver was set to expire June 30. However, the government recognized that state licensing facilities and medical offices performing DOT physicals may be closed or have restricted hours or staffing.

The FMCSA also issued an Enforcement Notice, explaining that it will “exercise its enforcement discretion to 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.

Compliance Navigation Specialists can help with DataQ’s, Call 888.260.9448 to talk to a specialist.

These incorrect violations can be challenged with the DataQ process and CNS can help. Our consultants are well-versed in the FMCSA rules and regulations, as well as what an officer is required to note on their report. Whether you would like our consultants to challenge one Data-Q, or review all roadside inspections monthly to report which violations are able to be challenged – we have a cost effect solution for your company.

Regarding accident reporting, each employer must notify 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.


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.