Pennsylvania passed a bill last month requiring stricter non-parking incident reporting requirements on holders of commercial driver licenses (CDL) driving a commercial motor vehicle.
There are 5 main incident reporting changes for Pennsylvania:
- A non-parking traffic violation conviction must be reported within 15 days instead of 30 days
- A driver must notify his or her employer within 30 days of being arrested, cited or charged with a non-parking traffic violation
- An employer that receives a timely notice regarding an employee being arrested, cited or charged with a non-parking traffic violation may not terminate the employee unless the employee is convicted of the violation
- Failure to provide employer notice is a summary offense and a $100 fine
- If the unreported violation is a serious traffic offense, felony or DUI, an additional $300 fine shall be imposed
According to Rep. Lori Mizgorski’s (R-Allegheny), “I was compelled to write this bill after learning about a tractor trailer driver who caused two fatal accidents within six months. By the time the driver was convicted in the first case here in Pennsylvania, he had already caused a second fatal accident in Ohio.”
She hopes that this bill will make sure the employers of CDL holders are promptly informed when one of their drivers is cited for breaking the law.
Learn more about the bill’s full details.
If you’ve got the vision and desire to start a trucking company, now is the time to make that vision reality. Starting any new business can be expensive and time-consuming. You don’t want to get overwhelmed by the paperwork and documentation before you even pick up a load.
That’s where CNS can help! As a leader in the trucking industry, we’ve helped many trucking startups and know what makes new companies successful. We’ve outlined the basic steps you’ll need to take to start a trucking company.
Our specialists can help you avoid getting bogged down in forms, because we take time to learn about your operation and help you become DOT compliant from the start. We won’t over-sell unneeded items or services that don’t ultimately help you get your business on the road.
Let us help you get started.
Step 1: Make a Detailed Financial Plan
A solid business plan will list expenses and revenue expected in your business. Be sure to include your own salary. Costs involved in a trucking startup include tractors, trailers, licensing, and registration costs. Also include the cost of insurance, and data tracking software and services.
The U.S. Small Business Administration website has downloadable templates to create your own business plan.
Step 2: Decide What Kind of Company You Want To Form
You may want a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a limited liability company. Each of these has pros and cons, which vary by state.
To own and run a private company in the United States, you’ll need to form a limited liability company (LLC). This is a business structure that combines pass-through taxation (like a partnership or sole proprietorship), with the limited liability of a corporation.
CNS can prepare and file your LLC application with your home state. Or if you want to start a partnership or sole proprietorship, click here.
Step 3: Obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)
This unique nine-digit number gets assigned to businesses in the United States by the Internal Revenue Service. Use this number to file your business tax returns.
CNS can obtain your EIN on your behalf. Click here to begin obtaining a Federal EIN.
Step 4: Become Compliant with Trucking Safety Regulations
- Obtain a USDOT Number
First be sure you even need a USDOT number. Obtaining a USDOT Number can be confusing and costly. Here’s where CNS can help by getting your number quickly and accurately. Click here to learn more.
- Obtain a Motor Carrier Operating Authority
Companies are required to have interstate operating authority (MC Number) in addition to the DOT Number if they do any of the following tasks:
- Operate as for-hire carriers (for fee or other compensation)
- Transport passengers in interstate commerce (or arrange for their transport)
- Transport federally regulated commodities in interstate commerce (or arrange for their transport)
CNS can file for your MC Number at the same time we apply for your DOT Number.
- File a BOC-3
A BOC-3 is a required United States filing that activates your Motor Carrier Authority. This filing assigns legal agents in the event court papers ever need to be served to your company by an outside state. It is required before federal operating authorities can be granted in the U.S.
CNS, unlike many of our competitors, does not charge an annual fee for a BOC-3 filing.
- Know the Heavy Use Tax (HUT) States
You may need to apply for further credentials if your company drives in the following states:
- New York
- New Mexico
- Plan to File Heavy Highway Use Tax (2290)
A trucking startup needs to be aware of special tax codes and procedures in accordance with State, District of Columbia, Canadian, and Mexican law. When a vehicle has a taxable gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more, the company has to electronically file a HVUT Form 2290.
Once this is filed, you will need to get a stamped copy of your Schedule 1. Companies are required to file all taxable highway motor vehicles registered in your name during the tax period when the truck first operated.
CNS can file your Schedule 1 with the IRS and provide you a stamped E-File copy. Click here to learn more.
- Secure a Unified Carrier Registration (UCR)
The Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) program requires ALL carriers (private, exempt, or for hire) to register their business with a participating state and pay an annual fee that is based on the size of their fleet.
Brokers, freight forwarders, and leasing companies also are required to register and pay a fee, unless they are also operating as a motor carrier.
CNS can complete your UCR filing after you obtain your DOT number. Click here to learn more.
- Get an International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) Sticker
This agreement is between the lower 48 states and Canadian provinces and it simplifies reporting of fuel use by motor carriers operating in multiple jurisdictions. Alaska, Hawaii, and Canadian territories do not participate.
An operating carrier with IFTA receives an IFTA license and two decals for each qualifying vehicle. The carrier files a quarterly fuel tax report. This report determines the net tax or refund due and redistributes taxes from collecting states to states where it is due.
- Obtain an International Registration Plan (IRP) Sticker
This registration gives reciprocity between the United States and Canada without the need for additional registrations. Under this Plan, only one license plate and one cab card is issued for each fleet vehicle.
Step 5: Become Compliant with the FMCSA
Great job! Taking these steps gives you DOT and Operating authority. Now you need to become compliant with the FMCSA. These items need to be maintained through the year.
CNS has reliable, cost-effective packages that keep you compliant and up-to-date.
Step 6: Obtain the Correct Insurance
Different types of insurance are available and often required to cover certain aspects of your trucking company.
- Primary Liability – After applying for an MC Number, you will need to post liability insurance with FMSCA. You must carry at least $750,00 in primary liability coverage to cover damages or injuries from at-fault accidents.
- Cargo Insurance – This insurance covers damage to the freight and/or theft.
- Physical Damage – Provides coverage for truck damage when you are not liable.
- Non-Trucking Use (Bobtail) – Covers liability in accidents that happen when you’re not hauling a load for someone else.
CNS partners with premiere truck/passenger insurance agencies to obtain the best coverage at affordable rates. Click here to learn more.
Step 7: Use a Driver Qualification File (DQF) Service
Trucking companies need to keep impeccable records in the event of an audit. Physical or electronic driver files allow you to pull an MVR report, look at previous employer inquiries, PSP reports and more.
CNS has solutions to keep your Driver Qualification Files up to date with regulations and ready to help you pass an audit. All of our driver files are monitored by actual DQF specialists to ensure documents don’t expire. We communicate personally about soon-to-expire materials to avoid computer overlooks. Click here to learn more.
Step 8: Join the Mandatory Drug and Alcohol Consortium
Anyone holding a Commercial Driver’s License needs to have a pre-employment drug test and be enrolled in a DOT drug and alcohol consortium.
CNS offers a low-cost, DOT-compliant service that covers DOT random testing through the year. Our service gives you a secure portal to track test results. We also have personal representatives to call when you have questions. Click here to learn more.
Step 9: Install a Compliant Electronic Logging Device
Per a 2017 Electronic Logging Device mandate, non-exempt carriers are required to install an FMCSA-registered and compliant electronic logging device.
Today’s ELDs can actually help you grow your business. ELDs offer many fleet management features like diagnostic tools and advanced reporting. With their reports, you can maximize your fleet efficiency and simplify your operations.
Step 10: Make Your Trucking Startup a Reality
We at CNS are excited for your new venture to become reality. We’re here to help you navigate the path towards starting a trucking company.
Our services and compliance specialists are on hand to get you up and running as quickly as possible.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) wants more time to collect and analyze comments on the FMCSA’s proposal for changes to the hours-of-service rules.
The CVSA sent a formal petition to the FMCSA requesting a 45-day extension to the comment period regarding a notice of proposed rulemaking aimed at providing commercial motor vehicle drivers more hours-of-service flexibility.
In early August the FMCSA proposed five changes to the hours-of-service regulations:
- 30-minute break requirement: Changes will allow drivers to satisfy the required break using on duty, not driving status, rather than off duty.
- Sleeper berth exception: Changes will allow drivers to split the required 10 hours off duty into two periods.
- One period must contain at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth.
- The other period cannot be less than 2 consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth.
- Note: Neither period would count against the driver’s 14‑hour driving window
- 30-minute to 3-hour off-duty break: Changes will allow drivers one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes and no more than 3 hours, that pauses the driver’s 14-hour driving window
- Note: Driver must take 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.
- Adverse driving conditions exception: Changes will extend the maximum window during which driving is permitted by two hours.
- Short-haul exception: Changes will lengthen the drivers’ maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extends the operating distance limit from 100 to 150 air miles.
CVSA fully supports FMCSA in their request for comments, however, Executive Director Collin Mooney said that 45 days is not enough time to prepare and approve comments on such a complicated and important issue. Mooney stated that it is imperative that stakeholders provide more time.
The August 22, 2019 proposal opened a 45-day comment period allowing comments on regulations.gov using docket number FMCSA-2018-0248 until Oct. 7, however the extension would leave the comment period open until November 21, 2019.
Stay DOT compliant
Knowing these Hours-of-Service rules and regulations will allow you to stay compliant and plan your operations more efficiently.
If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently asked questions about the safety rating upgrade process at CNS! Chris, our VP of Business Development, interviews Hoyt Craver, our Safety Rating Upgrade Project Coordinator. We achieve incredible success with the FMCSA, learn more in this short clip.
Greenbelt, Maryland (Nov. 6, 2018) – During Brake Safety Week, Sept. 16-22, 2018, enforcement personnel in 57 jurisdictions throughout Canada and the United States conducted 35,080 inspections on commercial motor vehicles and captured and reported data on brake violations. The majority of vehicles inspected did not have any brake-related out-of-service conditions; however, inspectors found critical vehicle inspection items in the brake systems of 4,955 (14.1 percent) of the vehicles inspected and placed those vehicles out of service until the condition(s) could be corrected.
Brake violations were the top vehicle out-of-service violation during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Roadcheck 72-hour enforcement initiative in June 2018. And according to the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) data (snapshot as of Sept. 28, 2018), out of 2.38 million inspections, there were 1,045,335 brake-related violations in federal fiscal 2018, with a portion of those accounting for seven of the top 20 vehicle violations. In an effort to address brake system violations, jurisdictions throughout North America participated in this year’s Brake Safety Week.
The goal of this week-long brake safety enforcement and outreach initiative is to reduce the number of crashes involving brake-related problems by raising awareness throughout the motor carrier community of the importance of properly functioning brake systems and by conducting roadside inspections to identify and remove vehicles with critical brake violations from our roadways.
Brake Safety Week data also captured antilock braking systems (ABS) violations, indicating how well ABS are maintained in accordance with federal regulations. ABS help the vehicle to stop in the shortest possible distance under many conditions and to maintain steering control in situations when tires may slip. Many participating jurisdictions surveyed ABS compliance. ABS violations were counted when the malfunction lamp did not illuminate or stayed on, indicating an issue of some kind. The findings are as follows:
- 26,143 air-braked power units required ABS; 8.3 percent (2,176) had ABS violations.
- 17,857 trailers required ABS; 12.5 percent (2,224) had ABS violations.
- 5,354 hydraulic-braked trucks required ABS; 4.4 percent (234) had ABS violations.
- 651 motorcoaches/buses required ABS; 2 percent (13) had ABS violations.
Brake Safety Week deployed several strategies to help make our roadways safer:
- Prevention – Since the dates of Brake Safety Week are announced well in advance, it gives motor carriers and drivers ample opportunity to ensure their vehicles are proactively checked and properly maintained and any issues found are corrected. Everyone wants the vehicles that are inspected to pass inspection. A vehicle that passes inspection increases overall safety.
- Education – Brake Safety Week is an opportunity for law enforcement personnel to educate drivers and motor carriers on the inspection procedure with a focus on the vehicle’s mechanical components, especially the brake systems. Education and awareness are key in prompting preventative action to ensure each commercial motor vehicle is safe and roadworthy.
- Action – Inspectors who identified commercial motor vehicles with critical brake issues during the inspection process were able to remove those dangerous vehicles from our roadways. If a vehicle has brake-related critical inspection items, it’s law enforcement’s duty and responsibility to place that vehicle out of service, safeguarding the public.
“Whether you’re driving a commercial motor vehicle or inspecting one, we all know the importance of properly functioning brakes,” said CVSA President Lt. Scott Carnegie with the Mississippi Highway Patrol. “It is essential that we – law enforcement, drivers and motor carriers – do all that we can through prevention, education, outreach and action to ensure only the safest commercial motor vehicles are being operated by professional drivers on our roadways.”
Brake Safety Week is part of CVSA’s Operation Airbrake Program in partnership with FMCSA and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators.
The Commonwealth of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has released a memo stating that Kentucky ad valorem fee conversion factor will change effective January 1, 2019.
Conversion Factor Table and Fee Calculation Example
Example Fee Calculation:
Ad Valorem Fee – Purchase Price ($100,000.00) X Year of Purchase Factor (.00608) = $608.00 X Kentucky Mileage Percentage (.50) = $304.00
Weight Fee – 80,000 Pound Weight Fee ($1,410.00) X Kentucky Mileage Percentage (.50) = $705.00
Total Fee – $304.00+ $705.00 = $1009.00
Note: The ad valorem fee is not applicable to any current year purchase and is not prorated.
Utah State Tax Commission has announced Effective January 1, 2019 Utah DMV Motor Carrier Services will no longer issue month or year decals for apportioned license plates. Utah Code 41-1a-301 (6)(d)(iii)(B) reads,
“A registrant of an apportioned vehicle is not required to display month or year decals.” Owners are still required to maintain current registration for all apportioned vehicles, and present cab cards to law enforcement when requested.
For questions please contact Motor Carrier Services 801-297-6800.
Northern Insurance Specialists (NIS) is proud to offer Progressive Smart Haul® Program. The Smart Haul® program is a usage-based insurance program. The Smart Haul® program will save drivers a minimum of 3 percent on their initial Progressive 12-month policy that has primary liability coverage. Progressive will assess the data at each renewal to determine the savings.
‘At NIS we are always looking for ways to help our commercial truck and auto customers save money. Now NIS and Progressive Commercial have teamed up to bring truckers a powerful new way to save money on their commercial truck insurance. Whether you’re a new venture or seasoned owner operator, the Progressive Smart Haul Program is fast, easy and can save you substantial dollars on your commercial truck insurance’ says Ron Haws Agency Director of Northern Insurance Specialists.
If eligible, you can choose to participate in Smart Haul® when getting your quote. If you do you’ll get an instant 3% savings just for granting access to your driving data. Then Progressive will work with your ELD vendor to see if you’re eligible for additional savings up to a total of 18%. The amount is determined by reviewing your recent driving data, which can include information about your vehicle, driving behavior, location and other diagnostics. Your savings depends on how safe your driving is compared to truckers who do similar work. As long as you stay a Progressive customer and choose to participate in the program, Progressive will automatically adjust your premium at each renewal to reflect your most recent driving data.
Smart Haul is available in most states. To qualify you must have an ELD, a USDOT number and Primary Liability coverage on you Progressive for-hire truck policy.
Progressive is the #1 truck insurer and NIS is a top agency performer for Progressive Truck Insurance. Northern Insurance Specialists LLC currently writes commercial auto insurance in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas.
Talk to a Trucking Insurance Specialists
FMCSA states personal conveyance is the movement of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for personal use while off-duty. A driver may record time operating a CMV for personal conveyance as off-duty only when the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work by the motor carrier. The CMV may be used for personal conveyance even if it is laden, since the load is not being transported for the commercial benefit of the motor carrier at that time. Personal conveyance does not reduce a driver’s or motor carrier’s responsibility to operate a CMV safely. Motor carriers can establish personal conveyance limitations either within the scope of, or more restrictive than, the guidance provided here.
FMCSA updates the guidance for § 395.8 Driver’s Record of Duty Status to read as follows:
Question 26: Under what circumstances may a driver operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) as a personal conveyance?
Guidance: A driver may record time operating a CMV for personal conveyance (i.e., for personal use or reasons) as off-duty only when the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work by the motor carrier. The CMV may be used for personal conveyance even if it is laden, since the load is not being transported for the commercial benefit of the carrier at that time. Personal conveyance does not reduce a driver’s or motor carrier’s responsibility to operate a CMV safely. Motor carriers can establish personal conveyance limitations either within the scope of, or more restrictive than, this guidance, such as banning use of a CMV for personal conveyance purposes, imposing a distance limitation on personal conveyance, or prohibiting personal conveyance while the CMV is laden.
Examples of Appropriate Uses of a CMV While Off-duty for Personal Conveyance
The following are examples of appropriate uses of a CMV while off-duty for personal conveyance include, but are not limited to:
- Time spent traveling from a driver’s en route lodging (such as a motel or truck stop) to restaurants and entertainment facilities.
- Commuting between the driver’s terminal and his or her residence, between trailer-drop lots and the driver’s residence, and between work sites and his or her residence. In these scenarios, the commuting distance combined with the release from work and start to work times must allow the driver enough time to obtain the required restorative rest as to ensure the driver is not fatigued.
- Time spent traveling to a nearby, reasonable, safe location to obtain required rest after loading or unloading. The time driving under personal conveyance must allow the driver adequate time to obtain the required rest in accordance with minimum off-duty periods under 49 CFR 395.3(a)(1) (property-carrying vehicles) or 395.5(a) (passenger-carrying vehicles) before returning to on-duty driving, and the resting location must be the first such location reasonably available.
- Moving a CMV at the request of a safety official during the driver’s off-duty time
- Time spent traveling in a motorcoach without passengers to en route lodging (such as motel or truck stop), or to restaurants and entertainment facilities and back to the lodging. In this scenario, the driver of the motorcoach can claim personal conveyance provided the driver is off-duty. Other off-duty drivers may be on board the vehicle, and are not considered passengers.
- Time spent transporting personal property while off-duty.
- Authorized use of a CMV to travel home after working at an offsite location.
Examples of Uses of a CMV that Would Not Qualify as Personal Conveyance
The following are examples of uses of a CMV that would not qualify as personal conveyance include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The movement of a CMV in order to enhance the operational readiness of a motor carrier. For example, bypassing available resting locations in order to get closer to the next loading or unloading point or other scheduled motor carrier destination.
- After delivering a towed unit, and the towing unit no longer meets the definition of a CMV, the driver returns to the point of origin under the direction of the motor carrier to pick up another towed unit.
- Continuation of a CMV trip in interstate commerce in order to fulfill a business purpose, including bobtailing or operating with an empty trailer in order to retrieve another load or repositioning a CMV (tractor or trailer) at the direction of the motor carrier.
- Time spent driving a passenger-carrying CMV while passenger(s) are on board. Off-duty drivers are not considered passengers when traveling to a common destination of their own choice within the scope of this guidance.
- Time spent transporting a CMV to a facility to have vehicle maintenance performed.
- After being placed out of service for exceeding the maximum periods permitted under part 395, time spent driving to a location to obtain required rest, unless so directed by an enforcement officer at the scene.
- Time spent traveling to a motor carrier’s terminal after loading or unloading from a shipper or a receiver.
- Time spent operating a motorcoach when luggage is stowed, the passengers have disembarked and the driver has been directed to deliver the luggage.
For questions regarding personal conveyance email: email@example.com
On September 19th the CVSA released 2018 Safe Driver Week results. Operation Safe Driver week happen July 15-21,2018, to identify CMV drivers and passenger vehicle drivers engaged in unsafe driving behaviors. Officers issued 57,405 citations and 87,907 warnings to drivers throughout the week. This safe driving enforcement and awareness campaign aims to call attention to driver behaviors, the main cause of crashes, and combat those behaviors through heightened traffic safety enforcement and educational outreach.
CVSA said during Operation Safe Driver Week, a safety initiative of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), 51,000 law enforcement officers made contact with 113,331 CMV drivers and passenger vehicle drivers and issued 57,405 citations. A total of 42,144 CMV contacts were made with 10,709 citations issued and 71,187 passenger vehicle contacts were made with 46,696 citations issued.
In addition to the citations that were issued to drivers throughout Operation Safe Driver Week, officers also issued a total of 87,907 warnings. CMV drivers were given 29,908 warnings; 57,999 warnings were given to passenger vehicle drivers.
The top five citations issued to CMV drivers were:
- State/Local Laws – 6,008 citations
- Speeding – 1,908 citations
- Failing to use a seat belt while operating a CMV – 1,169 citations
- Failure to obey a traffic control device – 754 citations
- Using a handheld phone – 262 citations
The top five citations issued to passenger vehicle drivers were:
- State/Local Laws – 21,511 citations
- Speeding – 16,909 citations
- Failing to use a seat belt – 3,103 citations
- Inattentive and/or careless driving – 1,655 citations
- Failure to obey a traffic control device – 739 citations
Operation Safe Driver Week results also of note:
- A total of 1,822 drivers (1,699 passenger vehicle drivers and 123 CMV drivers) were cited for reckless, inattentive and/or careless driving.
- 366 drivers were cited for possession/use/under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both. 42 of the citations were issued to CMV drivers; 324 were issued to passenger vehicle drivers.
- Specific to CMV drivers, 17 were cited for operating their vehicle while ill or fatigued, and 14 received citations for using/equipping their CMV with a radar detector.
CVSA also said public awareness and educational campaigns are also a major aspect of this initiative. CVSA offers resources on its website for CMV drivers, teen and novice drivers, driver’s education instructors and driver trainers. During Operation Safe Driver Week, 177 safety programs were downloaded and delivered to teens and CMV drivers. The safety programs target unsafe driving behaviors and aim to prevent crashes through effective education.
- The Teens and Trucks youth safe-driving campaign had 27 downloads.
- Defeat Distracted Driving, a commercial driver safety campaign, had 78 downloads.
- Improving Driver Behaviors resources for driver trainers had 72 downloads.
In addition to enforcement and education, 8,533 motorists were assisted during Operation Safe Driver Week, highlighting the dedication to service and safety by law enforcement.