FMCSA suspends hours of service regulations for West Coast wildfire relief haulers

wildfire hours of service emergency

On Thursday, September 10, 2020 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an emergency declaration for Washington, Oregon, and California due to the current wildfires sweeping the West Coast, which will last the duration of the emergency or until October 19.

The Extension of the Emergency Declarations addresses ongoing emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of supplies, goods, equipment, fuel and persons that are providing necessary relief.

The emergency declaration grants relief from Parts 390 through 399, suspending hours of service regulations for carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the wildfire emergency region.

 

Low Air Quality Due To Wildfire Smoke

For the last 6 days, wildfire smoke stretches across most of the region and is expected to be hazardous or severe for the next few days.

The wildfire smoke is causing low visibility and poor air quality in the region, the worst in the world. It is important to wear masks if outside and to circulate air in the cab to prevent much of the smoke from entering the truck.

If ash is on the road, beware of harsh braking as it can be very slippery.

Emergency Declaration Restrictions & Limitations

Motor carriers and drivers must continue to comply with the following Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and conditions:

  • 49 CFR § 392.2 related to the operation of a commercial motor vehicle in accordance with State laws and regulations, including compliance with applicable speed limits and other traffic restrictions.
  • 49 CFR § 392.3 related to the operation of a commercial motor vehicle while a driver’s ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or any other cause, as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate the motor vehicle.
  • Motor carriers shall not require or allow fatigued drivers to operate a commercial motor vehicle. A driver who informs a carrier that he/she needs immediate rest shall be given at least ten consecutive hours before the driver is required to return to service.
  • 49 CFR §§ 392.80 and 392.82 related to the prohibitions on texting while driving and using a hand-held mobile telephone while driving.
  • A motor carrier whose driver is involved in a crash while operating under this Extension of the Emergency Declarations must report any recordable crash within 24 hours, by phone or in writing, to the FMCSA Division Office where the motor carrier is domiciled. The carrier must report the date, time, location, driver, vehicle identification, and brief description of the crash.
  • Drivers are required to comply with the portions of 49 CFR Part 395 related to the preparation, retention and accuracy of a driver’s record of duty status (RODS). Drivers are directed to note “Emergency Declaration” in the remarks section of the RODS to identify that their operation is in direct assistance to the emergency relief.
  • Nothing in the this Extension of the Emergency Declarations shall be construed as an exemption from the controlled substance and alcohol uses and testing requirements (49 CFR Part 382), the commercial driver’s license requirements (49 CFR Part 383), the financial responsibility (insurance) requirements (49 CFR Part 387), the hazardous material regulations (49 CFR Parts 100-180), applicable size and weight requirements, or any other portion of the regulations not specifically exempted under 49 CFR § 390.23.
  • Motor carriers or drivers currently subject to an out-of-service order are not eligible for the relief granted by this Extension of the Emergency Declarations until they have met the applicable conditions for its rescission and the order has been rescinded by FMCSA in writing.
  • Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services that are not in support of emergency relief efforts or when the motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce. (49 CFR § 390.23(b)). Upon termination of direct assistance to emergency relief efforts, the motor carrier and driver are subject to the requirements of 49 CFR Parts 390 through 399, except that a driver may return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal work reporting location without complying with Parts 390 through 399. When a driver is moving from emergency relief efforts to normal operations a 10-hour break is required when the total time a driver operates conducting emergency relief efforts, or a combination of emergency relief and normal operations, equals 14 hours.

Road Closures

Be sure to monitor traffic and road closures on your route that may increase your travel time.

There may be closures due to normal construction, as well as closures related to wildfires that may be meant to direct you away from high risk areas.

If driving through Portland, Oregon, a nine-day closure of the northbound span of the I-5 Interstate Bridge began Saturday, Sept. 12, with crews replacing mechanical parts that help lift and lower the I-5 bridge.


2020 FMCSA Hours of Service changes: Effective as early as September

2020 Hours of Service Rules | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

In response to the HOS issues highlighted during the ELD mandate rollout, and in an effort to improve safety and flexibility to CMV drivers, the new hours-of-service rule changes effective September 29th.

“Right now, there’s no effort to abate or hold off on Sept. 29,” said the agency’s Acting Administrator, Jim Mullen, in FMCSA’s online Truck Safety Summit held Aug. 5.

In August of 2019 the FMCSA released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) related to the hours of service rules and regulations and were also taking public comment on the DOT hours-of-service proposal.

On March 2, 2020, the FMCSA announced that they have filed the rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is one of the final steps before the rule is published in the Federal Register.

When will the HOS rule take effect?

Drivers could begin operating under the new HOS regulations on September 29, 2020 after the rule was debuted on May 14, 2020.

During this time, ELD providers will have to implement software changes to reflect the new hours of service rules.

The only thing that could delay the HOS rules is a $1.5 trillion transportation and infrastructure bill passed by the House in July.

According to the bill, it would require that the FMCSA perform a comprehensive review of the regulations to determine their safety impact and give an additional public comment period, delaying HOS rule changes for months.

What are the new hours of service rules?

There are 4 major changes to be included in the hours of service reforms.

Download FMCSA HOS Updates Guide that provides detailed examples of what would qualify for a violation, and what will not qualify.

Short-haul exception: 

Changes will lengthen the current 100 air-mile exemption of the drivers’ maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours, and extending the short-haul radius from 100 air-miles to 150 air-miles, to be consistent with the 150 air-mile exemption of trucks with a GVWR of 26,000 lbs. or less.

Drivers under the short-haul exemption are not required to keep records of duty status.

HOS 2020 short haul changes

Adverse driving conditions exception: 

Changes will extend both their drive-time limit and their on-duty window by 2 hours if they encounter adverse conditions such as weather or traffic congestion.

According to the FMCSA, the provision will allow drivers to either sit and wait out the conditions or to slowly drive through them with caution.

HOS 2020 adverse driving changes

30-minute break requirement:

Changes will allow drivers to satisfy the required break using on-duty (not driving status) rather than off-duty, and requiring it within their first 8 hours of drive time, rather than their first 8 hours on-duty.

For example, if you are on-duty refueling your truck and it takes 30 minutes, this could qualify as your 30-minute rest break.

HOS 2020 30 min rest break changes

Sleeper berth exception: 

Changes will allow more flexibility for drivers to split the required 10 hours off-duty into two periods.

7 and 3 split: Must contain at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and 3 hours off duty. The shorter period will pause the rolling on-duty clock.

8 and 2 split: Must contain at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and no less than 2 consecutive hours off duty. The shorter period will pause the rolling on-duty clock.

Unlike the proposal issued last August, the hours of service changes do not include the option for drivers to pause their 14-hour clock for up to three hours while off-duty to extend the 14-hour clock.

Mullen said the agency deemed the seven-hour, three-hour split “sufficiently flexible” to that end, given with the new change the shorter period in any sleeper split will in fact stop the rolling duty clock, unlike the current split-sleeper rules.

HOS 2020 split sleeper berth changes

What does this mean for fleets and truck drivers?

These changes provide an important time for fleets to update their driver training. CNS offers a variety of in-person and online training courses for the specific needs or weaknesses of your company or its’ drivers.

Fleets that incorporate training alongside driver qualification, drug testing and fuel tax management can create a complete picture of fleet safety.

Our complete safety program—Proactive Safety Management (PSM) Program—will complement or become your current safety department, without the cost of employing the many staff members it takes to run an effective safety program.

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

FMCSA extends and expands Emergency HOS Declaration to Dec 31


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended and expanded its emergency declaration providing regulatory relief to truck drivers who are transporting emergency supplies during the coronavirus outbreak.

This is the sixth extension, which will now last through Dec. 31.

The original declaration was put in place on March 13 and was most previously set to expire Sept. 14.

The FMCSA’s declaration grants exemption from Parts 390-399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. This includes hours of service (HOS), parts and accessories needed for safe operation, and longer combination vehicles.

The FMCSA notice states that, “Because emergency conditions have not abated, FMCSA is extending [the] emergency declaration and associated regulatory relief.” “This extension of the emergency declaration addresses national emergency conditions that create a need for immediate transportation of essential supplies, equipment and persons, and provides necessary relief from the FMCSRs for motor carriers and drivers engaged in the transport of essential supplies, equipment and persons.”

In addition to extending the time frame for the declaration, the notice also expands on the already once expanded HOS exemption list, adding the transportation of liquefied gases used in refrigeration or cooling systems.

The first expansion to the HOS emergency declaration offering relief for drivers providing direct assistance in support of emergency efforts to meet immediate needs for:

  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
  • Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants.
  • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
  • Immediate precursor raw materials, such as paper, plastic or alcohol, that are required and to be used for the manufacture of essential items.
  • Fuel.
  • Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing or quarantine.
  • Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation or quarantine purposes.
  • Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services.

The FMCSA has made it very clear that the emergency declaration does not change any traffic or safety laws drivers are expected to abide by, such as speed limits. Drivers are also still required to continue following FMCSA rules and requirements related to commercial driver licenses, drugs and alcohol, hazardous materials, size, weight and registration requirements.

Motor carriers are not allowed to force or even authorize a fatigued driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle. In an instance where a driver makes it known to a carrier that he or she needs rest, the driver must be given at least 10 consecutive hours before returning to service.

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

2020 CVSA North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria


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

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

HOW TO PASS ROADSIDE INSPECTIONS DURING CVSA BRAKE SAFETY WEEK

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

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

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

FMCSA expands HOS exemption list

COVID-19 expands HOS exemption to Dec 31

We are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 (coronavirus) and we will work to update you with any important updates that we belive are necessary for you, our clients, to know. 

The FMCSA’s expanded declaration, which now lasts until Dec 21, 2020, provides for regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts intended to meet immediate needs for: 

  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
  • Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants.
  • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
  • Immediate precursor raw materials—such as paper, plastic or alcohol—that are required and to be used for the manufacture of essential items.
  • Fuel.
  • Liquefied gases to be used in refrigeration or cooling systems.
  • Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine, and isolation facilities related to COVID-19.
  • Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes.
  • Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services, , the supply of which may be affected by the COVID-19 response.

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

Final rule for hours of service goes to White House

HOS Final Rule to White House

HOS proposal goes to White House

In August of 2019 the FMCSA released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) related to the hours of service rules and regulations and were also taking public comment on the DOT hours-of-service proposal.

As of Monday, March 2, 2020, the FMCSA has announced that they have filed the rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is one of the final steps before the rule is published in the Federal Register.

The rulemaking to reform the hours of service has maintained momentum, even with resignation of Ray Martinez in October of 2019. Martinez started the hours of service reform in the beginning of his term in 2018 and Jim Mullen said the FMCSA was still focused on seeing the rulemaking through.

The content of the final rule is not clear, as the text has not been made public, however it will still address the key issues that were covered in August 2019. You can review those proposed changes in our previous post.

>>> More driver flexibility after hours of service changes <<<

According to the Federal law, the rule must be approved or denied by the OMB within 90 days of its submission, however that deadline can be extended to 120 days.

When the OMB clears the rule, the FMCSA can publish the rule in the Federal Register. What does that mean? It means that the final rule could be filed in the coming months and once filed there will likely be an implementation period of months or years allowing the industry to prepare for the changes.


Stay DOT compliant

Knowing these Hours-of-Service rules and regulations will allow you to stay compliant and plan your operations more efficiently.

All CNS services are geared toward keeping your trucking company safe and compliant.

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

Advantages of having ELDs for Drivers

ELD Data Management Driver Scorecards

ELDs are the new technologically advanced system for tracking driver safety and hours on the road. While they may take some time to get used to, it can be done.

As a new federally mandated law in the US—and maybe soon to be mandated in Canada—there are many advantages of the new federally mandated law and learn why you should see it as an advantage instead of an annoyance.

Systems like the Pedigree ELD system can track your driving habits to help you stay safe and compliant with the new laws.

  1. An ELD can lead to more money for you!
    It has been estimated that drivers spend over 20 hours per year filling out paper logs of their driving. With an ELD system the driver no longer needs to fill these out, eliminating approximately 15 minutes each day just for paperwork while still staying compliant. You can also round your driving to the nearest minute instead of 15 minutes. While these amounts of time may seem small they definitely do add up.
  2. ELDs eliminate the lengthy inspection process.
    The results are clear cut for the officer. There are no questions because everything is in one place and tracked digitally.
  3. No more pesky paperwork for the truck driver
    Most truck drivers hate filling out all the paperwork after each drive. With the addition of an ELD system, drivers no longer have to fill it out because they just need to quickly login to the system and then they are done!
  4. Get a warning when you are getting close to your maximum time
    ELDs will tell you when you are getting too close to breaking a rule whether it be missing your 30 minute break or driving too long in one day. The system is designed to help you stay safe and compliant and avoid fines that could cost you.
  5. Build a resume for yourself!
    ELD systems allow a driver to have documented proof of their safety record. When they are applying for new jobs they can show the new potential employer how safe they are.

There are so many advantages of the new ELD system. Between making extra money and building a resume for yourself, the new system is helping more drivers to stay safer than ever and be able to prove that they are.

Does all this sound complicated?  Having a company that will consult with your ELD management system will help save you time and hassle.

Further ELD Questions? Get a Free Demo

Contact us with any questions. Our ELD specialists can perform a demo with our ELD devices.

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