How To Pass 2021 CVSA Brake Safety Week Set For August 22-28

DOT Audit | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

Last year’s CVSA Brake Safety Week found 12% of the 43,565 commercial motor vehicles inspected had brake-related violations and were placed out-of-service.

The annual CVSA Brake Safety Week enforcement blitz is scheduled for August 22-28, 2021.

Enforcement officials will inspect commercial motor vehicles during this time and place vehicles out-of-service (OOS) until any critical OOS brake or other violations are corrected. Vehicles that pass may receive a passed-inspection CVSA decal.

“Brakes are one of the most important systems in a vehicle,” said CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police. “Failure of any component of a brake system could be catastrophic. Routine brake system inspections and component replacement are vital to the safety of commercial motor vehicles.”

 

2020 CVSA International Roadcheck and Brake Safety Week Results

According to the US federal regulations and the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria, if your brake system efficiency falls below the minimum of 43.5%, your vehicle will be put out-of-service.

Brake system and brake adjustment violations during last year’s International Roadcheck inspection accounted for 38.6% of all OOS conditions. That was more than any other vehicle violation category.

“Brake system” was the third most cited vehicle-related factor in fatal commercial motor vehicle and passenger vehicle crashes, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) latest “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts” report.

Last year’s Brake Safety Week found that 12% of commercial motor vehicles inspected had brake-related violations and were placed out-of-service.

The dates for Brake Safety Week are shared in advance to remind motor carriers, drivers, and commercial motor vehicle mechanics/technicians to proactively check and service their vehicles.

 

What is covered in a roadside brake safety truck inspection?

Inspectors will be paying special attention to brake hoses and tubing, which must be properly attached, undamaged, without leaks, appropriately flexible, and free of leaks, corrosion, and any other type of damage.Top of Form

At roadside, brake inspections include visual checks as well as an air brake test using a performance-based brake tester (PBBT) in the 14 jurisdictions where it is available. The performance-based air brake test measures the slow speed brake force and weight at each wheel and uses those measurements to determine the efficiency of the braking system.

As long as the brake system efficiency stays above 43.5%, the vehicle will not be placed out-of-service, unless another critical OOS violation is found.

 

How can I prepare for a truck inspection of my air brakes?

If you know your brake system you are more likely to know if there is an issue. You should know what size and type of air brake chamber you have and learn how to properly identify it.

Check out our industry library resources of 15 videos, 2 ebooks, industry links, and CNS In The News content.

Most air brake chambers will have a marking on them, letting you know what type and size it is. If you know the type of chamber you have, you will also be able to determine the maximum allowable push rod travel for that brake chamber and whether it is in or out of adjustment.

You should inspect your air brake system and all brake components regularly during your pre and post-trip inspection to keep your vehicle in safe operating condition.

The list below covers some items you can visually check on a regular basis to ensure they are securely attached, leak-free, and free of damage, such as corrosion and holes.

  • Air brake chamber
  • Brake hoses and tubing
  • Cotter pins
  • Clevis pins
  • Slack adjuster
  • Air lines

The CVSA has answered some frequently asked questions about your air brake system and inspection and have also provided an air brake inspection checklist, which is a great way to be sure you are prepared for your roadside safety inspection.

In addition to being prepared for a brake inspection, it is even more important to be prepared for a complete truck inspection.


Vehicles Maintenance

Vehicle maintenance costs can be a huge line item for fleet companies and at times, hard to keep under control. Routine maintenance of your vehicles is a necessity to ensure that your biggest assets always stay on the road.

An experienced and knowledgeable vehicle maintenance partner can make all the difference.

CNS can effectively manage your vehicle maintenance to meet your specific driving demands. We effortlessly handle an unlimited number of preventive maintenance schedules for all the vehicles in your fleet.

Serving your customers is your business; maintaining your fleet should be ours. Depend on CNS to keep your vehicles on the road and benefit from our expertise and gain a partnership that is dedicated to your success.

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


Common DOT Compliance Issues For Waste Haulers

Common DOT Compliance Issues For Waste Haulers

Waste and recycling haulers mostly drive intrastate, or within a commercial zone, and many troopers do not pull them in for roadside inspections, but fleets still need to be prepared for formal DOT audits and events like Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) 2021 International Roadcheck coming May 4-6.

While on the road, inspectors look for physical defects and visible violations that warrant a truck to be pulled over for a full roadside inspection. We frequently assist fleets to comply with the complex DOT regulations and see cargo securement and vehicle maintenance violations for waste and recycling haulers.

This year the International Roadcheck will focus on lights and hours-of-service (HOS) violations. Last year’s blitz showed that HOS was the top driver out-of-service violation, accounting for 34.7 percent of all driver out-of-service conditions.

While many fleets in the waste hauler industry meet the HOS short-haul exemption, carriers then often assume that HOS regulations do not affect their fleet. Below we highlight four areas where DOT inspectors find common waste hauler violations during inspections and audits: HOS, vehicle maintenance, cargo securement and driver qualification (DQ) files.

 

Hours-of-Service Issues

To keep fatigued drivers off the road, hour-of-service regulations limits how long and when a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver can drive. Most waste and recycling haulers only operate within the state (intrastate) and assume hours-of-service rules do not apply to them.

However, states adopt the federal regulations so that the regulations remain consistent between all types of operations. Hours-of-service rules will apply to intrastate operations; however, states may and often do amend certain parts of the rules.

For example, a state may extend driving time from 11 to 12 hours; however, this amendment would only apply to true intrastate operations in that state.

While most fleets in this industry are short-haul carriers and do not require the previous seven days of time logs, DOT inspectors at a roadside inspection frequently ask for them. Drivers just need to tell the inspector that “we are short-haul and our company retains time records at their business.”

If the officer does not believe the driver, they can follow up with the company to get verification. If a violation is given for not having the last seven days in the truck, it can be challenged and removed.

However, during a DOT audit and request by an authorized representative of the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) or State official, the records must be produced within a reasonable period of time, usually about two working days, at the location where the review takes place.

If occasionally a driver goes over the 14-hour on-duty window when operating within the short-haul exemption (not more than eight days in any 30-day period), the driver should, as soon as they realize they will be going over the 14 hours, create a paper record of duty status for that day, making sure to take their 30-minute break as it is now no longer exempt.

However, the driver does not need to go back and recreate the last seven days into the log format.

 

Vehicle Maintenance Issues

Maintaining equipment is one of the most important tasks a motor carrier must perform to ensure safety and reliability. The most common method roadside inspectors use to select a vehicle for inspection is whether there is a visual defect.

During the 2020 International Roadcheck, the top five vehicle violations were related to brake systems, tire, lights, brake adjustment, and cargo securement.

If there are ongoing vehicle maintenance issues, typically we see some mechanics that do not keep a good paper trail of parts they are using and repairs that are made. 

For example, one company we helped upgrade their Conditional rating bought bulk parts for inventory but were not keeping track of the inventory to show they when they replaced something.

Alongside the paperwork showing that a maintenance issue was fixed, we also need to see the corresponding driver vehicle inspection report (DVIR) noting the defect. Some of the easiest things to catch during a pre-trip inspection are also the most common violations written up on a roadside inspection.

For example, low tread depth and damaged sidewalls are easily visible and usually do not wear out on one trip. Drivers just need to be educated on what they are looking for and what the DOT is looking for when they are going to write up a violation.

Best practices for vehicle maintenance include:

  • performing an inventory of all fleet vehicles and maintenance to determine regularly required maintenance activities and parts,
  • creating a preventive maintenance schedule based on the manufacturer’s recommendations for frequency, and
  • establishing record-keeping report and storage methods

 

Cargo Securement and Weight Issues

Cargo being transported on the highway must remain secured on or within the transporting vehicle so that it does not leak, spill, blow off, fall from or otherwise become dislodged from the vehicle.

As we mentioned earlier, one of the top five vehicle violations during the 2020 International Roadcheck were related to cargo securement. For example, rollback tow trucks and trucks that pick-up dumpsters to take to dump often have a lot of debris flying off them.

It is important to not forget about cargo securement tarping around demolished vehicles that could lose debris or over dumpsters that a contractor may have filled up too high. Tiedowns attached to the cargo work by counteracting the forces acting on the cargo. The angle where the tiedown attaches to the vehicle should be shallow, not deep (ideally less than 45°). During a pre-trip inspection, make sure that cargo is properly distributed and adequately secured, make sure that all securement equipment and vehicle structures are in good working order, and ensure that nothing obscures front and side views or interferes with the ability to drive the vehicle or respond in an emergency.

Similarly, one of the largest problems during a roadside inspection was household garbage collectors being overweight on an axle. This is why it is imperative to know how much your cargo weighs and know where to put it on the trailer.

 

DQ Files Issues

The last area we see common violations for waste and recycling haulers are driver qualification files.  FMCSA considers the driver hiring process to be a critical element in building and maintaining a safe carrier operation and a driver’s personnel file is required to include information of past employment, drug testing history, motor vehicle records, credit history and more.

All DQ file rules affect carriers in the waste hauler industry and, during audits, we often see fleets with nearly non-existent driver files. Failure to maintain these driver qualification file basics lead to DOT fines, CSA violations, unsatisfactory safety rating and even out-of-service orders.

In 2019, there were more than 3,500 enforcement cases alone that averaged over $6,600 in fines per company, with the average cost of a Driver Qualification File violation fine over $600 per fine.

It is important to understand what the common DQ file violations are and how to prevent them from happening in your company’s driver qualification file management process. Common DQ file mistakes include:

  • not obtaining a driver motor vehicle record,
  • not keeping a driver qualification file long enough, and
  • not having important drug test history and medical card on file

Managing driver files becomes an ongoing burden as employers are required to keep files current for drug tests, physical exams, safety records, annual MVRs, commercial driver’s licenses, endorsements and even conducting annual driver reviews (a burdensome process). For fleets with high driver turnover, this problem becomes amplified.

 

Final Thoughts

Remember, while this year’s International Roadcheck is focused on lights and hours-of-service violations, drivers are still dealing with roadside inspections every day.

DOT regulations are complex and is important to keep your drivers trained and updated on the ever-changing rules and regulations. Be sure to have managers, or an outside third party, to organize a mock audit to look over DQ files and vehicle records in the eyes of a DOT inspector.

No matter what, if you are pulled in for a roadside inspection, keep calm and respectful and the inspection will go by more quickly.

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

CVSA INTERNATIONAL ROADSIDE DOT INSPECTION READINESS (2021)

DOT Audit | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

2021 DOT Inspection Readiness 

The annual International Roadcheck conducted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA)  is a high-visibility reminder of the importance of commercial motor vehicle safety. The 2021 International Roadcheck is scheduled for May 4-6, 2021.

Last year’s blitz showed that the top violations putting drivers out of service were Hours-of-Service (HOS) violations, accounting for 34.7% of all driver out-of-service conditions.

Review some of the CVSA Inspection Results from 2019

DOT inspection focus for 2021 International Roadcheck

Primarily, the International Roadcheck conducts the North American Standard (NAS) Level I Inspection, which includes 37 steps in two main inspection categories:

  • driver operating requirements
  • vehicle mechanical fitness
  • Note: hazardous materials/dangerous goods are sometimes part of a Level I inspection

Depending on other factors, an inspector could conduct a:

  • Level II inspection (walk-around driver/vehicle)
  • Level III inspection (driver/credential/administrative) and/or
  • Level IV inspection (vehicle-only)

Each year, there is also a special category focus. This year’s CVSA Roadcheck focus is on lights and hours-of-service (HOS) violations.

To keep fatigued drivers off the road, hour-of-service regulations limit how long and when a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver can drive and regulates the minimum amount of time drivers must rest between driving shifts.

>>> Download the 2021 International Roadcheck emphasis areas flyer <<<

Lighting devices include headlamps, tail lamps, clearance lamps, identification lamps, license plate and side marker lamps, stop lamps, turn signals and lamps on projecting loads.

All required lighting devices are inspected for proper color, operation, mounting and visibility. In addition, the condition and location of reflectors and retroreflective sheeting are also inspected.

The top vehicle violation in the U.S. in fiscal 2020 was an inoperable required lamp, accounting for 12.2% of all vehicle violations and 4.4% of all out-of-service vehicle violations. Moreover, taking into account all possible lighting-related violations issued in fiscal 2020, one in four vehicles chosen for inspection (25.3%) were issued a lighting-related violation.

Slightly more than one in seven out-of-service violations (16.4%) in the U.S. were lighting related. These violations can be largely avoided by checking the condition and location of reflectors and retroreflective sheeting, and by checking all required lamps/turn signals mentioned above and ensuring they are operative, properly mounted and not obscured in any way.

What to expect during the CVSA International Roadcheck

At a minimum, drivers should anticipate the following procedures during a roadside DOT inspection:

  • inspector greeting, interview, driver preparation
  • collection/verification of driver documents
  • motor carrier ID
  • license examination
  • records check (duty status and periodic inspection reports)
  • certification check (if needed)
    • Medical Examiner’s Certificate
    • Skill Performance Evaluation Certification, and
    • daily vehicle inspection report
  • other inspections such as driver seat belt usage, illness, fatigue, impairments due to substance use

A roadside DOT inspection would include critical components such as:

  • brake systems
  • cargo securement
  • coupling devices
  • driveline/driveshaft components
  • driver’s seat (missing)
  • exhaust systems
  • frames
  • fuel systems
  • lighting devices
  • steering mechanisms
  • suspension system
  • tires
  • van and open-top trailer bodies
  • wheels, rims, and hubs
  • windshield wipers
  • Buses, motor coaches, passenger vans or other passenger-carrying vehicles: emergency exits, electrical cables and systems in engine and battery compartments, and temporary and aisle seating

Although this 3-day event spanning from Canada to Mexico intensifies the frequency of inspections, it’s crucial to remember that DOT inspections happen every day of the year.

The FMCSA 2019 data reports 3.36 million inspections last year, with only 67,072 (or, about 2%) happening during the International Roadcheck. The annual data show 944,794 driver violations, with just over 20% (195,545) being for out-of-service conditions.

Obeying safety standards and being prepared for inspection at any time of the year is a vital aspect of any driver’s protocol.

What are CVSA Standards for critical violations?

The basis for violations comes from the CVSA North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria.

There are eight different levels of inspection the CVSA follows. However, truck inspections in the 2019 Roadcheck were only subjected to the North American Standard (NAS) Level I, II and III Inspections.

Out-of-service orders and the number, type and severity of safety violations affect a motor carrier’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) score and its Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rating.

 


DOT Audits

We can perform a mock audit for you

You can stay ahead of the FMCSA by ensuring your drivers are in compliance before sending them out on the road. We offer many services, but one specifically—DOT Mock Audits—help trucking companies operate with the confidence that they will pass any audits or inspections the FMCSA throws at them.

Basically, in a DOT Mock Audit, we send out a specialist that will conduct an audit in the exact same way a DOT officer would. This can help keep you prepared for any surprise roadside inspection or any future actual DOT audits, and you can be sure that they will happen.

All CNS services are geared toward keeping your trucking company safe and compliant so that you stay on the road and pass all DOT inspections.

For any assistance related to DOT Audits, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

 

Commercial Passenger Carriers to Stop Submitting No-Defect DVIRs

passenger carrier dvir

FMCSA announced in July that a final rule was published removing an information collection burden for commercial buses and other passenger-carrying motor coaches.

This rule will overturn the requirement that commercial bus drivers submit, as well as their motor carriers retain, driver-vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs) on no-defect DVIRs.

The rule is expected to go into effect in late August, 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. The official publication date has not yet been announced.

A no-defect DVIR is when the driver has neither found nor been made aware of any vehicle defects or deficiencies.

FMCSA says passenger vehicle carriers spend approximately 2.4 million hours each year completing no-defect DVIRs, and that this rule would result in a cost savings of $74 million per year to the industry.

Drivers will still be required to perform pre-trip and post-trip inspections and the rule change will not affect road safety.

 

Reduce Fleet Costs with Proper Pre and Post Trip Inspections

It is no secret that vehicle maintenance is near the top of any fleet expenses, with companies reporting average repair and maintenance costs of 16.7 cents per mile, according to the ATRI in 2019.

Check out our industry library resources of 15 videos, 2 ebooks, industry links, and CNS In The News content.

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

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

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

A minor problem caught during a pre-trip or post-trip inspection will likely cost less money to fix and should get you back on the road quicker instead of waiting around for a major issue to be fixed. 


DOT Training

All fleets need to conduct proper and thorough pre and post trip inspections, which consists of implementing quality:

  • driver training that is ongoing and consistent
  • driver education, and
  • driver awareness of current and changing traffic laws

All of this will help prevent being targeted by the DOT at roadside inspections and is a valuable resource to ensure a healthy fleet, and compliant safety practices.

Our DOT trainers offer a variety of in-person or online training courses tailored to the specific needs or weaknesses of your company.

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

How To Pass Roadside Inspections During CVSA Brake Safety Week

DOT Audit | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

Last year’s CVSA Brake Safety Week found 13.5% of commercial motor vehicles inspected had brake-related violations and were placed out-of-service.

The annual CVSA Brake Safety Week enforcement blitz is scheduled for August 23-29, 2020.

Read more information on 2021 CVSA Brake Safety Week.

Enforcement officials will inspect commercial motor vehicles during this time and place vehicles out-of-service (OOS) until any critical OOS brake or other violations are corrected. Vehicles that pass may receive a passed-inspection CVSA decal.

“Brakes are one of the most important systems in a vehicle,” said CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police. “Failure of any component of a brake system could be catastrophic. Routine brake system inspections and component replacement are vital to the safety of commercial motor vehicles.”

2019 CVSA International Roadcheck and Brake Safety Week Results

According to the US federal regulations and the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria, if your brake system efficiency falls below the minimum of 43.5%, your vehicle will be put out-of-service.

Brake system and brake adjustment violations during last year’s International Roadcheck inspection accounted for 45.1% of all OOS conditions. That was more than any other vehicle violation category.

Last year’s Brake Safety Week found that 13.5% of commercial motor vehicles inspected had brake-related violations and were placed out-of-service.

Review the Brake Safety Results in one of last year’s unannounced inspections

More recently, according to The Truckers Report, Nebraska had an unannounced truck inspection blitz in mid-July that found 43% of the vehicles inspected were placed out-of-service. During this surprise inspection, drivers face up a total of $7,315 in fines from the 384 violations documented.

What is covered in a roadside brake safety truck inspection?

Inspectors will be paying special attention to brake hoses and tubing, which must be properly attached, undamaged, without leaks, appropriately flexible, and free of leaks, corrosion, and any other type of damage.


Vehicle Maintenance: Free Estimate

Contact us with any questions. Our specialists are here to help you maximize your vehicle maintenance.

At roadside, brake inspections include visual checks as well as an air brake test using a performance-based brake tester (PBBT) in the 14 jurisdictions where it is available. The performance-based air brake test measures the slow speed brake force and weight at each wheel and uses those measurements to determine the efficiency of the braking system.

As long as the brake system efficiency stays above 43.5%, the vehicle will not be placed out-of-service, unless another critical OOS violation is found.

How can I prepare for a truck inspection of my air brakes?

If you know your brake system you are more likely to know if there is an issue. You should know what size and type of air brake chamber you have and learn how to properly identify it.

Check out our industry library resources of 15 videos, 2 ebooks, industry links, and CNS In The News content.

Most air brake chambers will have a marking on them, letting you know what type and size it is. If you know the type of chamber you have, you will also be able to determine the maximum allowable push rod travel for that brake chamber and whether it is in or out of adjustment.

You should inspect your air brake system and all brake components regularly during your pre and post-trip inspection to keep your vehicle in safe operating condition.

The list below covers some items you can visually check on a regular basis to ensure they are securely attached, leak-free, and free of damage, such as corrosion and holes.

  • Air brake chamber
  • Brake hoses and tubing
  • Cotter pins
  • Clevis pins
  • Slack adjuster
  • Air lines

The CVSA has answered some frequently asked questions about your air brake system and inspection and have also provided an air brake inspection checklist, which is a great way to be sure you are prepared for your roadside safety inspection.

In addition to being prepared for a brake inspection, it is even more important to be prepared for a complete truck inspection.


Vehicles Maintenance

Vehicle maintenance costs can be a huge line item for fleet companies and at times, hard to keep under control. Routine maintenance of your vehicles is a necessity to ensure that your biggest assets always stay on the road.

An experienced and knowledgeable vehicle maintenance partner can make all the difference.

CNS can effectively manage your vehicle maintenance to meet your specific driving demands. We effortlessly handle an unlimited number of preventive maintenance schedules for all the vehicles in your fleet.

Serving your customers is your business; maintaining your fleet should be ours. Depend on CNS to keep your vehicles on the road and benefit from our expertise and gain a partnership that is dedicated to your success.

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


What drivers should look for during thorough pre and post-trip inspections

thorough pre and post-trip inspections

The three areas that most violations come from are lights, tires, and brakes

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

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

Proper pre and post-trip inspections should take at least 30 minutes to perform thoroughly and will reduce vehicle maintenance and violation costs.

This guide was developed based on what DOT inspectors look for at roadside and what maintenance often look for before releasing a vehicle. We will focus on the major sections and important details a driver should inspect, including the:

  • Front of the vehicle
  • Wheels and axles
  • Lights, tires, leaks, and brakes
  • Side of the truck and trailer

Front of the vehicle

Drivers should look for any intersecting cracks or large rock chips on the windshield, especially in the driver’s line of sight.

Honking the horn, whether that is the air horn or steering wheel city-horn, and turning on the windshield wiper is a simple step to make sure they are working properly.

Then, turn on all lights, which include the three marker lights at the top of the cab, clearance lights, and headlights. Test your high-beams, turn signals, and four-way flashers.

Check out our industry library resources of 15 videos, 2 ebooks, industry links, and CNS In The News content.

Open the hood and look for any obvious defects.

An easy part for DOT inspectors to check is the pitman arm and steering linkage. If there is any amount of play or looseness where the two gears of the pitman arm meet, it is considered an out-of-service violation and drivers will have to park until it is fixed. Sometimes, if rust is appearing here, it is a good indication that it is not tight.

Finally, check the suspension components. If it looks like your vehicle is leaning to one side, it is a good indicator that there is something wrong with the suspension components.


Vehicle Maintenance: Free Estimate

Contact us with any questions. Our specialists are here to help you maximize your vehicle maintenance.

Wheels and axles

For wheels, check for cracks and loose or missing lug-nuts or wheel fasteners, and look for leaking hub grease.

It is an out-of-service violation for lug-nuts when:

  • 10-lug wheels: 3 are missing anywhere or 2 adjacent to each other, or
  • 8-lug wheels: 2 are missing anywhere

The steer axle is at the front of the power unit and has specific criteria that is different than other axles.

For example, to be in compliance, your required tire tread depth of a steer axle is higher compared to other axles, which are 4/32” depth and, 2/32” depth, respectively.

After the steer axle, we will move back to the drive axles. The first set of drive axles are either a single axle or group of axles that provide power to help move the truck down the road.

Trailer axles are at the back of the trailer. Some of these axles have sliding or tandem axles to help distribute the weight, to stay within regulations of maximum weight for a tandem axle.

If you are adjusting weight by sliding the tandem axles, you want to slide the axles toward the over-weight location. For example, if you are overweight at the rear of the trailer, then sliding the tandem axles further to the rear will help distribute the weight to the forward drive axles.

Tandem axles have notches on each axle. Each notch moves about 250 to 300 pounds to the other group of axles. Drivers may show up at a weigh station and find that they are more overweight then they were before, and that is because they are sliding the axles the wrong direction.

Lights, tires, leaks, and brakes

The three areas that most violations come from are lights, tires, and brakes. For example, low tread depth, damaged sidewalls, and inoperable light are easily visible and usually do not wear out on one trip.

It is important to check for flat or underinflated tires, fluids leaking, that all required lights are working properly, measure brake pushrod travel distance, brake pad thickness, and check brake can, hoses, and rotor surfaces.

It is an out-of-service violation for tires if:

  • Underinflated tires are 50% or less of the sidewall rating
  • There is a noticeable leak heard or felt in a tire
  • The sidewall is cut, worn, or damaged
  • There is a visual bump or bulge on any part of the tire, and
  • If there is exposed belt or cord material

Leaks can come from the fuel tank, so make sure that it is securely mounted, and the fuel cap is the proper cap and is tight. Sometimes the cap is missing after fueling the truck because the driver forgot to put it back on. Be sure to check reefer trailers and auxiliary power unit tanks as well.  

Side of the truck and trailer

Make sure that the air and electric lines are not lying on the deck area. The lines will rub while driving and eventually wear a hole in the lines, causing an air leak and the brake system to not work properly or even failing.

For 5th wheel assembly, make sure all components are secure, there are no cracks or damaged parts, and bolt tightness. Also, check for any rust driplines by the bolts. Rust will eventually cause bolts to be loose.

On the trailer, check for any damage on the trailer, trailer lights are working, any cargo securement devices are properly placed and tightened, and that there is a spare tire and tire chains secured properly.


Vehicles Maintenance

Vehicle maintenance costs can be a huge line item for fleet companies and at times, hard to keep under control. Routine maintenance of your vehicles is a necessity to ensure that your biggest assets always stay on the road.

An experienced and knowledgeable vehicle maintenance partner can make all the difference.

CNS can effectively manage your vehicle maintenance to meet your specific driving demands. We effortlessly handle an unlimited number of preventive maintenance schedules for all the vehicles in your fleet.

Serving your customers is your business; maintaining your fleet should be ours. Depend on CNS to keep your vehicles on the road and benefit from our expertise and gain a partnership that is dedicated to your success.

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

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

pre and post trip inspection

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

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

Why does this continue to happen?

The simple answer is:

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

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

The Importance of Pre and Post Trip Inspections

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Driver Training: Free Estimate

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

Preventing Vehicle Maintenance and Violation Costs

It is no secret that vehicle maintenance is near the top of any fleet expenses, with companies reporting average repair and maintenance costs of 16.7 cents per mile, according to the ATRI in 2019.

A minor problem caught during a pre-trip or post-trip inspection will likely cost less money to fix and should get you back on the road quicker instead of waiting around for a major issue to be fixed.

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

Check out our industry library resources of 15 videos, 2 ebooks, industry links, and CNS In The News content.

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

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

Accident costs take more time recover from

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

Visible costs:

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

Hidden costs:

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

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

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


DOT Training

All fleets need to conduct proper and thorough pre and post trip inspections, which consists of implementing quality:

  • driver training that is ongoing and consistent
  • driver education, and
  • driver awareness of current and changing traffic laws

All of this will help prevent being targeted by the DOT at roadside inspections and is a valuable resource to ensure a healthy fleet, and compliant safety practices.

Our DOT trainers offer a variety of in-person or online training courses tailored to the specific needs or weaknesses of your company.

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

CVSA Postpones International Roadcheck


Now Scheduled for Sept. 9-11

Every year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) sets inspection and enforcement initiatives, such as International Roadcheck, which was scheduled for May 5-7.

However, with public health and safety as its top concern, CVSA has decided to postpone International Roadcheck to later in the year, now scheduled for Sept. 9-11.

The Alliance will monitor the status of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and appropriately select the new dates when it’s safe and reasonable to do so.

Roadside safety inspections and traffic enforcement will continue to be conducted every day, with enforcement personnel following their departmental health and safety policies and procedures, as appropriate.

>>> Stay prepared for roadside inspections <<<

“As we urgently respond to this time-sensitive crisis, we must remain diligent and committed to ensuring that the commercial motor vehicles and drivers providing essential goods and services to our communities are following motor carrier safety regulations,” said CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police. “Safety doesn’t take a break. It is always our top priority.”

Check out our industry library resources of 15 videos, 2 ebooks, industry links, and CNS In The News content.

“International Roadcheck has run on-schedule for the past 32 years so its postponement was thoroughly and thoughtfully discussed before we made this decision, but it wasn’t a difficult decision to make,” said Sgt. Samis. “This experience is unprecedented in our modern society and we need to do all that we can to help stop the spread of this global pandemic.”

At this time, International Roadcheck is the only public enforcement initiative that has been postponed. Operation Safe Driver Week is still scheduled for July 12-18 and Brake Safety Week is still set for Aug. 23-29.

CVSA will closely monitor the coronavirus outbreak, follow guidance from public health expert leadership, and promptly notify the membership and industry stakeholders of the rescheduled International Roadcheck dates and the status of future scheduled enforcement campaigns.

For up-to-date information on coronavirus and guidance on this rapidly evolving situation, visit the website for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For Canada, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website. In Mexico, visit the government of Mexico’s website. Visit the World Health Organization’s website for a worldwide update on the coronavirus pandemic.

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

CVSA International Roadside DOT Inspection Readiness (2020)

DOT Inspection

2021 DOT Inspection Readinessscheduled for May 4-6

The annual International Roadcheck—conducted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) in late this year—is a high-visibility reminder of the importance of commercial motor vehicle safety. The 2020 International Roadcheck is now scheduled for Sept. 9-11.

Let’s review a few important notes and changes for the 2020 International Roadcheck.

Date change for 2020 International Roadcheck

Historically, the International Roadcheck has happened the first week of June. In 2020, the DOT inspection dates planned to have been moved up a month to take advantage of potentially more favorable weather conditions.

This year, the CVSA’s International Roadcheck was supposed to happen May 5-7, 2020, but was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and is now re-scheduled for Sept. 9-11.

Law enforcement will also be paying closer attention to unsafe driving behaviors of both truck and car drivers July 12-18 as part of the CVSA Operation Safe Driver Week.

Check out our industry library resources of 15 videos, 2 ebooks, industry links, and CNS In The News content.

In July, more than 10,000 citations, warnings issued to truckers during Operation Safe Driver Week, mostly for speeding and seat belts.

Also, the annual Brake Safety Week enforcement blitz is scheduled for August 23-29, 2020 with no plans of being postponed this year.

“During last year’s International Roadcheck inspection and enforcement initiative, brake system and brake adjustment violations accounted for 45.1% of all out-of-service conditions. That’s more than any other vehicle violation category. And during last year’s Brake Safety Week, 13.5% of the commercial motor vehicles inspected had brake-related vehicle inspection item violations and were placed out of service,” the CVSA statement reported.

DOT inspection focus for 2020 International Roadcheck

Primarily, the International Roadcheck conducts the North American Standard (NAS) Level I Inspection, which includes 37 steps in two main inspection categories:

  • driver operating requirements
  • vehicle mechanical fitness
  • Note: hazardous materials/dangerous goods are sometimes part of a Level I inspection

Depending on other factors, an inspector could conduct a:

  • Level II inspection (walk-around driver/vehicle)
  • Level III inspection (driver/credential/administrative) and/or
  • Level IV inspection (vehicle-only)

Each year, there is also a special category focus. This year’s now-postponed Roadcheck focus is on the driver requirements category.

This includes driver CDLs, medical cards, seat belts, records of duty status, ELD compliance and more – during the 72-hour ramp-up in enforcement.

>>> Download 2020 International Roadcheck Driver Requirements <<<

CVSA’s President, Sgt. John Samis of the Delaware State Police, commented that due to the US Federal mandate for electronic logging device compliance, “this year’s International Roadcheck would be the perfect opportunity to revisit all aspects of roadside DOT inspection driver requirements.”

What to expect during the CVSA International Roadcheck

At a minimum, drivers should anticipate the following procedures during a roadside DOT inspection:

  • inspector greeting, interview, driver preparation
  • collection/verification of driver documents
  • motor carrier ID
  • license examination
  • records check (duty status and periodic inspection reports)
  • certification check (if needed)
    • Medical Examiner’s Certificate
    • Skill Performance Evaluation Certification, and
    • daily vehicle inspection report
  • other inspections such as driver seat belt usage, illness, fatigue, impairments due to substance use

A roadside DOT inspection would include critical components such as:

  • brake systems
  • cargo securement
  • coupling devices
  • driveline/driveshaft components
  • driver’s seat (missing)
  • exhaust systems
  • frames
  • fuel systems
  • lighting devices
  • steering mechanisms
  • suspension system
  • tires
  • van and open-top trailer bodies
  • wheels, rims, and hubs
  • windshield wipers
  • Buses, motor coaches, passenger vans or other passenger-carrying vehicles: emergency exits, electrical cables and systems in engine and battery compartments, and temporary and aisle seating

Although this 3-day event spanning from Canada to Mexico intensifies the frequency of inspections, it’s crucial to remember that DOT inspections happen every day of the year.

The FMCSA 2019 data reports 3.36 million inspections last year, with only 67,072 (or, about 2%) happening during the International Roadcheck. The annual data show 944,794 driver violations, with just over 20% (195,545) being for out-of-service conditions.

>>> Review the 2019 International Truck Inspection Results <<<

Obeying safety standards and being prepared for inspection at any time of the year is a vital aspect of any driver’s protocol.

What are CVSA Standards for critical violations?

The basis for violations comes from the CVSA North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria.

There are eight different levels of inspection the CVSA follows. However, truck inspections in the 2019 Roadcheck were only subjected to the North American Standard (NAS) Level I, II and III Inspections.

Out-of-service orders and the number, type and severity of safety violations affect a motor carrier’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) score and its Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rating.


DOT Audits

We can perform a mock audit for you

You can stay ahead of the FMCSA by ensuring your drivers are in compliance before sending them out on the road. We offer many services, but one specifically—DOT Mock Audits—help trucking companies operate with the confidence that they will pass any audits or inspections the FMCSA throws at them.

Basically, in a DOT Mock Audit, we send out a specialist that will conduct an audit in the exact same way a DOT officer would. This can help keep you prepared for any surprise roadside inspection or any future actual DOT audits, and you can be sure that they will happen.

All CNS services are geared toward keeping your trucking company safe and compliant so that you stay on the road and pass all DOT inspections.

For any assistance related to DOT Audits, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

CVSA approves drag link welds on Dodge Ram recall


The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) recently approved a new inspection bulletin in relation to a recall on the drag link assembly for 2013-2018 Dodge Ram 2500s and Dodge Ram 3500s.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a safety recall report regarding the drag link assembly on 2013-2018 Dodge Ram 2500/3500s.

The CVSA has put the 2019-02 Inspection Bulletin in place to guide the inspection of the drag link assembly on those particular Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks that are subject to roadside inspections.

In accordance with the manufacturer’s approved recall remedy, these vehicles may have the outboard steering linkage jam nuts welded to the adjuster sleeve, which should not be cited as an out-of-service condition.

Drag link assembly
Drag link assembly weld locations for Dodge Ram recall

For the latest Inspection Bulletins, certified roadside inspectors should visit the CVSA’s Inspection Bulletins section to ensure inspections are conducted accurately and using the most up-to-date information.

Stay DOT compliant

It is important to stay up to date on vehicle maintenance, what is checked during an inspection and what can cause you to pass or fail an inspection.

We offer audit services and safety management programs that will ensure you stay in compliance at all times. All of our services are focused on keeping your trucking company safe and compliant so that you stay on the road.

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