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.

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.

2020 “Operation Spotted Lanternfly” Industry Issues and Changes


12 counties added to quarantine zone

Spring is around the corner and with it will come the return of Spotted Lanternfly season.

This invasive plant hopper species hails from China, India and Vietnam, but has since found its way to the US and has rapidly spread throughout southeast Pennsylvania with the potential to infest agricultural crops and create a lot of issues for residents.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and PA Department of Agriculture (PDA) are actively studying and treating locations where Spotted Lanternflies have been reported. One method of prevention is to minimize the ability for this pest to travel to new locations.

Spotted Lanternflies can potentially hitch a ride on products and vehicles, thus moving into a new area and spreading the infestation. So, businesses who ship products inside and out of quarantined zones are required to have a Spotted Lanternfly Permit. These permits demonstrate the businesses have working knowledge of this pest and the best practices to prohibit its spread.

“Look Before You Leave” Best Practices for Containing Spotted Lanternflies

When driving in and out of quarantined areas, drivers should inspect vehicles before moving. Other tips for avoiding unintentional spread of this insect include these strategies:

  • don’t park in or under tree lines
  • keep windows rolled up
  • know the life stages of the spotted lanternfly
  • know the spotted lanternfly season and when to look for these insects
  • report sightings of the spotted lanternfly

Know the quarantine zones

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

Currently the following counties are under quarantine in Pennsylvania:

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

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

Learn what counties are quarantined in New Jersey and Virginia

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

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

Spotted Lanternfly Permitting changes and requirements

A Spotted Lanternfly Permit is required for all businesses, agencies, and organizations located or working in the quarantine areas. Also, a Spotted Lanternfly Permit is needed for businesses moving vehicles, products, or other transports in or out of the quarantine zone.

Shane Phillips, Compliance and Enforcement Specialist with the PDA, spoke at the CNS 2020 2nd Annual Compliance Conference about this year’s changes in Spotted Lanternfly permitting.

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

Note: Previously issued hang tags and decals are still valid.

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

Find the course and exam for permitting at the Penn State Extension Website.

More efforts to reduce the spread of the Spotted Lanternfly

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

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

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


How Can CNS help?

CNS is trained on the Spotted Lanternfly Permit requirements from the PA Department of Agriculture. We offer training for your drivers to identify and help contain and eventually stop the spread of this insect.

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

If you have any questions, 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.

UCR Registration Fee Schedules announced – Avoid Pricing Scams


Ads for UCR Registration Fees and pricing scams

You may already be getting organized for 2020, and that is commendable, but one task you may want to put on hold is your 2020 UCR (Unified Carrier Registration).

Since the fee schedules have just been announced, they will be officially released in the next few days and any companies attempting to collect your registration fees now may be a scam.

The UCR Fee Schedules have just been announced

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced 2020 fees on February 4, 2020 and will be officially releasing the fee schedule sometime in the following days.

At that time, the 2020 UCR Registration fees will be officially established. Even so, the UCR Board will recommend delaying enforcement for three months from the start of the registration period.

UCR Renewals Currently Advertised Could be a Scam

Depending on when you are reading this article, you should be cautious of ads claiming to renew your UCR. It is possible they are a scam. This applies every year, whether it be 2020, 2021, and so on.

The start of the UCR registration period was delayed in 2020 and could be the case for 2021 and the following years. Many companies send out email advertisements claiming to offer UCR Registration or Renewal. This could be a scam, depending on when the fee schedules were released, if they have been released at all.

For 2020, the UCR Fee Schedule has just been announced and will be official once posted in the Federal Register. In the future, just be sure to confirm with Compliance Navigation Specialists to confirm whether the pricing has been released.

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

As we mentioned above, avoid providing information or funds to any person or company claiming they can renew your UCR at this point. Unfortunately, these attempts to collect money before the fee levels are officially released are scams. We would not want any carrier in our industry to be harmed or lose money on a scam attempt.

Fees may be lower than previous years

In many cases the FMCSA proposes reductions in the annual registration fees, so it is possible that prices will be lower than in previous years, should that proposal go through.

For 2020, our UCR filing fees will remain the same as 2019.


Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) filing

We are a trustworthy UCR Filing Service

After the UCR fees are released, all interstate motor carriers will need to update registrations before the deadline. So, while you should wait until the official fee levels are released, plan to use a filing service that knows our industry.

This is where Compliance Navigation Specialists can help you. Our UCR filing service processes your new UCR or your renewal, quickly and accurately. We will file the paperwork and determine the fees, so you can stay focused on your vision for your carrier business.

Visit our UCR filing page to find out more about which states will need a UCR and how we can help you file or renew your UCR accurately.

For help with your UCR filing, call or email CNS at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

FMCSA proposes fee reductions for Unified Carrier Registration


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently issued a proposed rule that would reduce Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) fees for 2020 and 2021.

The reduction in annual UCR fees applies to motor carriers, private motor carriers of property, brokers, freight forwarders and leasing companies that are paying fees to their respective state.

What is the Unified Carrier Registration fee reduction?

The UCR fee reduction would be for 12.82% in 2020 and 4.19% in 2021, based on the rates paid in 2018, however the Unified Carrier Registration vice chairman of the board of directors stated that the rates are expected to decrease by another 1-2%.

As an example, a carrier with a fleet of two or more trucks paid $69 in 2018 and $62 in 2019, but after the fee reduction, they would only pay $60 in 2020 and $66 in 2021.

How are the UCR fees calculated?

Fees are calculated based on collections of the second year prior, which would be 2018 right now. Based on federal law, requests for fee adjustment are required when the annual revenue exceeds the maximum allowed and the board estimates that by the end of 2019 the total revenue will exceed the maximum by $3.08 million.

If there are excess funds after other costs are covered, such as payments to the states and administrative costs, they are retained and fees for the following year are reduced.

Based on the board’s research, the fee reduction includes a reduction in the amount of the administrative cost allowance from $3.5 million to $3.2 million for the 2020 and 2021 UCR Agreement registration years. They have also determined that the administrative cost allowance needed for the 2020 and 2021 registration period should be $3.2 million for each registration year.

The agency reviewed the board’s formal recommendation and concluded that its projection of the total revenue received for registration year 2018 is acceptable.

Licensing services

We offer many different services related to licensing, including assisting with your Unified Carrier Registration (UCR).

All of our services are geared toward keeping your trucking company safe and DOT compliant.

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

IFTA Fuel Tax Rates (2019 Q3)


What are the 2019 IFTA tax rates for the 3rd quarter?

The International Fuel Tax Association (IFTA) has released the 3rd quarter 2019 fuel taxes. You can download the full list of 2019 Q3 tax rates below.

You can also find more information on the International Fuel Tax Association website.

Which states had IFTA tax rate changes?

There were seven states that showed a tax rate change, including Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia. IFTA lists the 3rd Quarter 2019 Tax Rate Changes, which will go into effect on July 1, 2019.

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

Review the 2019 1st quarter IFTA tax rates
Review the 2019 2nd quarter IFTA tax rates

IFTA fuel tax rate changes (2019)


In 2019 some states and provinces had changes in their IFTA fuel tax rates causing a split rate for the effected quarters. Two of those were Alberta—the Canadian province—and the state of Alabama.

The Alberta Treasury Board and Finance, Tax and Revenue Administration (TRA), had a tax rate change for the 2nd quarter of 2019, which went into effect on May 30, 2019. Since the change fell in the middle of the quarter, Alberta will have a split rate for this quarter.

The Alberta Tax and Revenue Administration has requested that all jurisdictions honor this rate correction for the 2nd quarter fuel taxes.

The State of Alabama will also have a split rate, but during the 3rd quarter of 2019. Legislation was recently passed incorporating the tax rate change, which will go into effect September 1, 2019.

Review a full list of the 2019 2nd Quarter Tax Rate Changes and 3rd Quarter Tax Rate Changes or review the fuel tax rates for each quarter below.

IFTA Tax Rates for 2019

FMCSA changes CDL requirements


On February 7, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will place new CDL requirements on entry-level driver training (ELDT).

Individuals wanting to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), upgrade their current license from a Class B to a Class A CDL or receive driver training for a passenger, school bus or hazmat endorsement. Requirements are also changing for instructors offering CDL training.

What class of CDL are you required to have?

Is it difficult to get a CDL license?

As of February 7, 2020, entry-level CDL trainees will have much stricter requirements for obtaining their CDL. For anyone planning to become a truck driver, you can attend a CDL school and get your CDL license before changes go into effect in 2020.

The new rules require an entry-level driver to complete a prescribed program of theory and behind-the-wheel instruction provided by a school or other entity listed on FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry (TPR) before taking the CDL test.

What are the new requirements to obtain a CDL license?

  • CDL school requirements: The minimum standards and requirements for CDL schools will be set at a federal level, as opposed to being set by each state.
  • Department of Transportation (DOT) management: CDL schools must record and report hours behind the wheel (no federal minimum) to DOT.
  • Schools must register and self-certify: Schools can self-certify instructors. Individual instructors may have to register with the DOT depending on the state.
  • CDL driving instructor requirements: Driving instructors are required to have a minimum of 2 years driving experience, a clean motor vehicle record and a medical certification for classroom, on the road and private range instruction
  • Increase in curriculum mandates:
    • DOT requires 31 theory course topics instead of the original four knowledge topics, which will be accompanied by 19 mandated behind-the-wheel (BTW) skills, that will be tested with vehicle inspection skills at the state department of motor vehicles.
    • The new Training Provider Registry (TPR) will require CDL schools to apply to join, starting February 7, 2022.

Learn more about all levels of truck driver training and CDL test preparation courses that we offer at our CNS Driver Training Center.


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