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 Health 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 <<<


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.

2290 HVUT Due Date, August 31: No COVID-19 Delays

2290 HVUT filing begins July 1, due date August 31

2290 HVUT Filing Start July 1

Unlike many other tax deadlines, the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) deadline has not been delayed due to the COVID-19 health emergency.

The IRS will begin accepting 2020-2021 Form 2290 on July 1 and all truck drivers with a vehicle that has a taxable gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more in America will need to file new tax returns by August 31 to renew their proof of Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) payment.

In order to file heavy vehicle use tax 2290 online, you need the details of your business; including your business name, address (a sole proprietor can use their legal name and address), EIN (Employer Identification Number), and the details of an authorized signatory.

If you do not already have an EIN, CNS can help you obtain one.

You will also need your vehicle details, including the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and the gross taxable weight.

Compliance Navigation Specialists can E-File your 2290 HVUT on your behalf. We will make it easy and quick to get your Schedule 1 prepared and reported with the IRS. The stamped Schedule 1 proof will be sent to your inbox right away.

We can file for you today for a total cost of $80. Fill out your 2290 form and contact us below.

E-File Your 2290 HVUT

Contact us with any questions. Our specialists can e-file your 2290 HVUT form on your behalf.

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.

FMCSA Extends Waiver for Pre-Employment Testing

FMCSA extends waiver for pre-employment testing

COVID-19 Pre-Employment Testing

As more businesses are opening back up from the COVID-19 health emergency, the FMCSA earlier this month extended a waiver for pre-employment testing that would reduce drug-testing costs as they rehire drivers.

Current regulations require that new-hire drivers must pass a pre-employment drug and alcohol test for controlled substances before they can perform safety-sensitive functions. These pre-employment drug tests are waived if the new-hire driver was part of a drug testing program within the previous 30 days and was either tested for controlled substances within the past six months or participated in the random controlled substances testing program for the previous 12 months.

This waiver has been extended from 30 days to 90 days and only valid when hiring drivers on or before September 30, 2020. This is basically extending the length of time a driver can be out of a random testing pool from 30 days to 90 days and be exempt from pre-employment testing if all criteria are met as stated in 382.301(b).

This is in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency where many employers have laid off, furloughed, or temporarily removed employees from safety-sensitive functions and removed from the random pool for controlled substances and alcohol testing for a period greater than 30 days.

According to the FMCSA, “As employers begin to recall drivers who were furloughed, laid off, or otherwise not working for the company for more than 30 days, the cost and logistical barriers of testing a large influx of drivers in a short timeframe are significant, at a time when the commercial trucking and motor coach industry is facing unprecedented economic challenges. This problem is further compounded by the reduced availability of controlled substance testing resources due to continued facility closures or other testing impediments caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency.”

CNS Collection Sites And Network Are Open For Drug Testing, Call 888.260.9448 to Schedule A Test Today

Employers must verify that the driver participated in the controlled substances testing specified and had no recorded violations of another DOT agency’s controlled substances use regulations within the previous 6 months. This requires a CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse detailed query.

Also, each employer must notify FMCSA within 5 business days of an 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.


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.

DOT physical exams and DOT medical cards: Common questions and issues

DOT Physical Exams | DOT Compliance | CNS

DOT physicals explained

Before a driver can get on the road, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires all drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to pass a DOT physical exam.

A DOT physical, or CDL physical, is a test performed by a Certified Medical Examiner (CME) reviewing your general health, mental and emotional well-being and is a required by federal law for anyone driving a CMV.

DOT physicals are required to obtain a DOT medical card, which must be renewed at least every two years, showing that the driver has consistently been medically qualified to drive.

Passing a DOT physical exam ensures that CMV drivers are fully equipped to handle the physical demands of operating a commercial vehicle, such as the long driving hours, stress and exhausting schedules that go along with the job.

After passing you will receive a DOT medical card, which must be placed in the Driver Qualification File (DQF) and kept there for at least three years.

For CDL drivers, the federal medical card is temporary proof in the DQ file until a Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) is received, reflecting the newest exam. The MVR must be on file within 15 days of the exam, along with a note that you checked the NRCME database for the exam and both must be kept on file for three years.

For questions regarding driver files,
contact a DOT Compliance Specialist about Driver File Management.

What do examiners test during a DOT physical exam?

Before any testing is done, a CME must be chosen using the National Registry of CMEs online database. All examiners listed have been verified as fully qualified and having the required medical credentials  and complete knowledge of FMCSA regulations and the transportation industry.

Drivers must fill out a form—on-site or before-hand—detailing their current health, health history and a list of current medications.

Below are DOT physical exam requirements that are tested:

  1. Urinalysis
  2. Blood pressure/pulse rate
  3. Vision
  4. Hearing
  5. Physical exam (check body for abnormalities in over a dozen areas)

A DOT medical card is considered relevant and valid for up to 24 months, however, if the CME has concerns about the driver’s health, a medical card certificate could be issued for 3 months, 6 months, or however long they see fit to come back for their next required physical exam.

Automatic disqualifications if found during a DOT physical exam

According to federal regulation 49 CFR 391.41, there are specific medical disqualifications that will prevent the examiner from passing your DOT physical exam. These include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Vision loss (if not correctable 20/40 vision in both left or right eye)
  • Epilepsy
  • Insulin use to treat diabetes
  • If any habit-forming drugs are being taken, including narcotics and amphetamines

However, a driver can obtain an exemption for some of the automatic disqualifications.

For example, the FMCSA vision exemption program is for monocular vision and can be issued for a maximum of two years, to be renewed. To obtain this exemption, an ophthalmologist or optometrist must provide an annual medical and eye exam.

It is important to note that marijuana is still a schedule 1 drug federally. All safety-sensitive positions should not consume marijuana products or unregulated CBD oil products.

Non-CDL drivers of a CMV are not required to have a DOT drug test and many companies and drivers assume it is okay to consume marijuana in states where it is legal. However, the federal DOT health history form can cause an automatic disqualification when it comes to marijuana history.

There are two questions asking if the driver has used an illicit substance within that last two years, or if they have ever failed a drug test or been dependent on an illegal substance. Marking “yes” warrants either a federal drug test or an automatic disqualification. This can affect non-CDL drivers for construction, landscaping, local delivery, moving companies and more.

Some red flags leading to temporary disqualification include, but are not limited to:

  • Cardiovascular issues
    •  i.e. – Drivers having higher than acceptable likelihood of acute incapacitation from a cardiac event.
  • Psychological disorder
    •  i.e. – Drivers are experiencing a psychological or personality disorder (even in early stages) that can affect memory, reasoning, attention, or judgement.

What should I bring to my DOT physical exam?

In order for your DOT physical exam to go as smoothly as possible, arrive early and be prepared with any personal documents and information you might need, such as:

  • Medical Examination Report (also available on-site)
  • Driver’s license
  • DOT medical card (if applicable)
  • Medication list
  • Corrective lenses or hearing aids
  • Medical records, including recent lab results for Diabetes maintenance within the last year, cardiovascular testing results for heart conditions of any kind, and recent CPAP machine printout, if applicable

Where to get a DOT physical exam?

CNS offers DOT physical exams at our location in Lititz, PA with our Certified Medical Examiner (CME), and we also have mobile DOT physicals available in certain states.

Learn more about mobile DOT physicals
(Group volume discounts and mobile options available)

If you are a part of our Drug and Alcohol Consortium, we can assist in finding a location to obtain a DOT physical or drug test nationwide.

What to do after receiving a new DOT medical card

After receiving a DOT medical card—depending on state rules—the driver needs to take the certified document to the DMV within 15 to 30 days to update the medical expiration date or if the driver is applying for a CDL.

If we performed your DOT physical, our licensing team will attach the new medical card to your CDL license through PennDOT.

If any information on the medical card certificate in ineligible, inaccurate, or missing, the driver will receive a letter requiring the medical card to be corrected and faxed or emailed back to the DMV.

Employers must pull a Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) within 15 days of completing the certified driver physical exam. The DOT requires the medical card information at the DMV to be added to the MVR and is why an MVR must be pulled after each updated medical card.

The updated MVR is required to be placed in the driver qualification file and can be audited by the DOT. A non-CDL driver does not need an updated MVR after a new medical card is received. Instead, a copy of the medical card certificate needs to be on file for three years.

For questions about audits, contact a DOT Compliance Specialist about our DOT Audit services.


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.

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.

Many companies are now conducting pre-shift screenings and temperature checks to further protect their employees.

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.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or 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

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or 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.

Many companies are now conducting pre-shift screenings and temperature checks to further protect their employees.

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.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or 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.

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