What U.S. based carriers need to haul freight into Canada

General freight liability coverage minimum must be $1,000,000 instead of FMCSA’s $750,000 minimum and the truck cargo coverage depends on Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW).

Many U.S. carriers look to increase their load opportunities by getting their Canadian trucking authority but are often confused about what is required to meet Canadian guidelines.

Below we break down what is required to obtain a Canadian trucking authority and what truck drivers need to know before crossing the Canadian border.

Obtain a CBSA Carrier Code

What is a CBSA Carrier Code?

CBSA stands for Canada Border Service Agency and is an organization managing the flow of travelers and trade into Canadian territory.

Before hauling freight into Canada, your company must be setup with the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) by applying for a CBSA-issued carrier code, a four-character unique identifier used to identify you as a carrier. The Carrier Code will be used in the PARS (Pre-arrival Review System) and carriers must have printed barcodes available to attach to all bill of ladings (BOLs).

To apply for a carrier code, the first step is to determine if you need a non-bonded or bonded code. Bonded highway carriers are permitted to transport in-bond goods beyond the first point of arrival in Canada and between points in Canada.

Enroll for the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program (not required)

Although not required, carriers can then apply for the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program, which is a commercial clearance program designed to ensure safety and security while expediting legitimate trade across the Canada-United States (U.S.) border.

This allows carriers to cross the border with accelerated customs and immigration processing.

Dedicated FAST lanes are located at:

  • Sarnia, ON / Port Huron, MI
  • Pacific Highway, BC / Blaine, WA
  • Fort Erie, ON
  • Emerson, MB
  • Windsor, ON / Detroit, MI

The FAST membership card for drivers is valid for five years and there is a non-refundable $50 FAST processing fee.

Registration and Insurance Requirements

As a carrier, you will then need to add the regions or states you are crossing to your IRP (CAB Card) with the DMV of your state, as well as adding the specific Canadian province/territory that you will be entering to your IFTA permits.

In most cases, a carrier’s liability, cargo, and reefer insurance should cover what you need to cross into Canada. However, the general freight liability coverage minimum must be $1,000,000 instead of FMCSA’s $750,000 minimum and the truck cargo coverage depends on Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW):

  • $15,000 minimum for GVW up to 27,998 lbs (12,700 kg)
  • $20,000 minimum for GVW up to 46,296 lbs (21,000 kg)
  • $27,000 minimum for GVW up to 81,570 lbs (37,000 kg)
  • $32,000 minimum for GVW over 81570 lbs (37,000 kg)

Fill out a complete quote or quick quote to get started and one of Commercial Trucking Insurance Specialists will guide you through the remainder of the process.

After you have Canadian Authority, carriers will need to apply to the eManifest portal to electronically transmit cargo and conveyance data to the CBSA a minimum of one hour before the shipment arrives at the border.

For drivers to cross into Canada, they will need:

  • A valid passport
  • Social Security Card
  • A clean commercial driver’s license (CDL)
  • If applicable, a FAST membership card

Generally, Canadian hours of service, equipment weight and length requirements match closely with the FMCSA. Any equipment/load that complies with FMCSA regulations in the United States will be legal in Canada. Some jurisdictions require permits for long wheelbase tractors pulling 53-ft trailers. Our partners at Compliance Navigation Specialists (CNS) can advise on any DOT compliance requirements you are unsure of.

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


The Saga of California’s AB5 Independent Contractor Law For The Trucking Industry

How AB5 affects the trucking industry in California and nearby states

On Sept. 18, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed bill AB5 into law that will make it more difficult for companies to classify people who work for them as independent contractors with the new ABC test.

Under the ABC Test, a worker is presumed to be an employee unless the employer can show that all three of the following “prongs” or conditions are satisfied:

  1. the worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work,
  2. the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business, and
  3. the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.

Hours before the law was to take effect Jan. 2020, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking the state from enforcing it upon truck drivers.

Days later, a hearing on the trucking group’s request for a preliminary injunction was set and the plaintiffs can argue that they have carried their burden for purposes of emergency relief to show:

  • that they are likely to succeed on the merits,
  • likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of relief,
  • that the balance of equities tips in their favor, and
  • that their requested relief is in the public interest.

Fast forward more than a year to May 2021 and a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down a lower court’s injunction against the application of the California’s AB5 contractor law and its ABC test to trucking.

The California Trucking Association has 14 days to seek rehearing, which should be expected on or before May 12. If this request is denied or if the rehearing fails to change the view of the court it will be just seven days before the injunction lifts.  

 

How AB5 affects the trucking industry in California and nearby states

To describe the situation, let us look at port truckers in California. There are around 13,000 truckers regularly serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. However, only a few hundred are classified as employees.

The others are owner-operators who traditionally:

  • lease their rigs from trucking companies,
  • drive under those companies’ permits, and
  • rely on them for work assignments.

These owner-operators are paid by the load and get a 1099 independent contractor tax form at the end of the year.

While this is a popular business model, there are some who abuse this relationship. For example, to meet the state’s strict clean-air regulations, trucking companies forced drivers to purchase new trucks beginning in 2008 rather than assume the expense. Many drivers, who also pay for diesel fuel, repairs, and insurance, fell into debt as they worked overtime to pay off huge loans for their trucks. If they missed payments, some companies reclaimed the trucks and fired the drivers, seizing their equity.

The new AB5 law would basically require carriers to hire the independent contractors and pay them health insurance and other employee benefits.

It is not just California carriers that must deal with the law’s ABC test B prong, which requires carriers and contractors to be in essentially separate areas of business. Carriers across the state’s border that deliver inside California will be required to meet this B prong as well.

Today, the carriers that have been taking the “wait and see” approach on the law and the court’s process are now facing a near-term reality that the independent contractor system might not be possible and will have to face an increase in costs to hire the drivers.

Other carriers have been cutting ties with California as the cost of doing business in the state are greater than the reward and pull out of any California operations to shield themselves from the impact of the AB5 law.

 

CNS can help fleets with our new driver hire program

If AB5 does not include a trucking exemption, then there will be a flood of independent carriers going through a new hire process. There are a lot of rules around the hiring process, not limited to drug testing, CDL Clearinghouse queries, compliant DQ file process, and more.

To get these drivers on the road fast, Compliance Navigation Specialists has developed a new hire program that will streamline your hiring process.

Our New Hire service includes the following:

  • Tailor Drive Qualification file (paper) or Online Tailored Driver Qualification File (Paperless)
  • Initial Audit
  • Previous employer inquires completed on your behalf
  • Initial Motor Vehicle Report (MVR)
  • Pre-Screening program report (PSP)
  • Online Record Retention
  • Pre-employment drug screening verification
  • Doctor on medical card verification
  • FMCSA clearinghouse full query
  • Driver Qualification
  • New Hire phone support
  • and more

Accuracy, organization and diligence are crucial to keeping your files in order and ready for an audit at a moment’s notice. Our DQF Management System is completely customizable to your individual needs. The consultants at CNS stay in communication with you regarding document updating, as well as offering comprehensive reports upon request, and reports of routine audits by our own DQF Auditors.

Our driver management and new hire management services will exceed your expectations. You focus on trucking, and let us focus on your driver file management. If you have a fleet of drivers, we assure you that you can’t do this cheaper in-house.

Eliminate the administration cost and have Compliance Navigation Specialists manage your files.

We will ensure that your information is collected, current, and complete. In addition, we will continue to update your files as required, and let you know when an updated piece of information is needed.

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


FMCSA increases fines twice this year for trucking regulation violations

FMCSA increases fines for trucking regulation violations

As of May 3, 2021, the DOT has increased the fine amount for trucking violations to reflect inflation, but why twice in one year?

Due to the 2020 inflation fine increase that happened January 11, the May 3 announcement for 2021 annual changes means it is the second time this year the U.S. Department of Transportation adjusted fines.

The DOT must publish any annual minimum and maximum penalty adjustments by January 15 of every year, and the new levels take effect immediately upon publication of the rule. This means we will not see another fine increase until after January 16, 2022 or later.

This is in accordance with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015.

This latest change means the fine amounts have been increased 1.01182 percent.

For example, new minimum penalty for Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) violations [49 U.S.C. 521(b)(2)(C)] or employer violations pertaining to knowingly allowing, authorizing employee violations of out-of-service order [49 U.S.C. 521(b)(2)(C)] will be $5,902 instead of $5,833.

This rule does not change previously assessed or enforced penalties that DOT is actively collecting or has collected.

2021 FMCSA Fines List

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


Breaking Down Biden’s Second Half $1.8T Infrastructure Plan: American Families Plan

President Joe Biden revealed the second half of his $4 trillion infrastructure plan. The first infrastructure plan, called the American Jobs Plan, is estimated to cost $2.3 trillion. The second half of the infrastructure plan, called the American Families Plan, will cover “human infrastructure” and estimated to cost $1.8 trillion.

The second half of Biden’s infrastructure plan will go towards social/human infrastructure to include expanding the child tax credit, school infrastructure, free community college, universal pre-kindergarten, helping the underserved communities, and more. 

The American Families human infrastructure plan will use about $1 trillion in investments and $800 billion in tax credits over a decade, paid by the richest Americans who make over $400,000, aimed toward children and families. The Biden administration maintains that under the new plan, no one making $400,000 a year or less will see their taxes go up.

Biden delivered the new spending plan before a joint session of Congress just before his 100th day in office that focused on handling the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

 

“First, access to a good education.”

Free Universal Preschool = $200 billion

  • This will go towards free universal preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds, offered through a national partnership with states

Free Community College and Other College Incentives = $295 billion

  • $109 billion will go towards ensuring two years of free community college for all students
  • $85 billion will go towards Pell Grants, and increasing the maximum award by about $1,400 for low-income students
  • $62 billion will go towards a grant program to increase college retention and completion rates
  • $39 billion program will give two years of subsidized tuition for students from families earning less than $125,000 enrolled in a four-year historically Black college or university, tribal college or university, or minority-serving institution

 

“Second, provide access to quality, affordable child care.”

High-quality Child Care = $225 billion

  • This will go toward high-quality childcare and ensure families pay below 14% of their income toward child-care services

 

“Third, provide up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave.”

Paid Family and Medical Leave = $225 billion

  • This will go to create a national comprehensive paid family and medical leave program

 

“Fourth, put money directly into the pockets of millions of families.”

Child Nutritional Needs = $45 billion

  • This will go towards expanding access to the summer EBT program, which helps some low-income families with children buy food outside the school year

Lowering Health Insurance Premiums = $200 billion

  • This will make permanent the $1.9 trillion Covid stimulus plan’s provision lowering health insurance premiums for those who buy coverage on their own

Additionally, Biden wants to extend through 2025, and making permanently fully refundable, the child tax credit expansion that was included in the Covid relief bill; making permanent the recent expansion of the child and dependent care tax credit; and making permanent the earned income tax credit for childless workers.

For a few more details of the American Families Plan, you can check out the White House Fact Sheet on the proposed plan.


First Heavy-duty Electric Truck Charging Site Opens In Oregon

First Heavy-duty Electric Truck Charging Site Opens In Oregon
(Image Courtesy: DTNA – Daimler Trucks North America)

The charging station will allow both Portland General Electric and Daimler to study energy management, charger use and performance, and Daimler vehicles charging performance.

First announced in December 2020, “Electric Island” in Portland, Oregon represents the first location specifically designed for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and has eight vehicle charging stations for electric cars, buses, box vans and semi-trucks.

In collaboration with the West Coast Clean Transit Corridor Initiative (WCCTCI), with nine electric utilities and two government agencies, this is a part of the plan to electrify 1,300 miles of I-5 across the three West Coast states to provide publicly available charging for freight and delivery trucks.

Additional plans include on-site energy storage, solar power generation, and a product and technology showcase building.  Electric Island aims to address the intersection of vehicles and the grid, creating new opportunities for future EV drivers and utility customers.

“In Oregon, we are committed to taking action to address climate change, and we know that the future of transportation is electric. Today, the charging station at Electric Island, the first known freight charging station on the I-5 corridor, shows that Oregon is the ideal place to innovate and develop 21st-Century transportation infrastructure,” said Oregon Governor Kate Brown. “Thanks to the partnership of Portland General Electric and Daimler Trucks North America, we are working together towards our goal of creating a West Coast Electric Highway.”

Read more: Electric and autonomous semi-trucks beyond 2020

 

Charging site will eventually achieve five Megawatts of power

Currently the highest power unit installed at the Swan Island charging site is 150 Kilowatts, but it can go up to 350 kilowatts.

To compare, Tesla Superchargers can deliver 72 kilowatts of power, even if another Tesla begins charging in an adjacent stall, with an average Supercharging session lasting around 45-50 minutes in city centers.

The station will eventually bring five megawatts of power from the grid with both 400-Volt and 800-Volt charging available, and some of the units will go to 1,000 volts.

Nate Hill, head of charging infrastructure for Daimler, said “this level of charging capability will be necessary to recharge the larger battery packs that are planned to power Daimler’s new line of Class 6/7 and Class 8 semi-trucks that will be produced here in Portland.”

Daimler plans to begin production of the eCascadia semi-truck in late 2022, and the eM2 box truck about six months later in 2023. With a range of 230-250 miles on a charge, both models are designed for urban and regional use, rather than cross-country applications.

Read More: Breaking Down Biden’s First Half $2.3T Infrastructure plan

 

Proactive DOT Compliance

At CNS, our DOT Compliance Programs focus on Proactive Safety Management (PSM),a mindset that will ensure your fleet’s safety and compliance is always in order and ahead of the FMCSA.

Our PSM Motor Carrier Program includes:

  • ELD management
  • Driver Qualification File Management
  • New driver on-boarding
  • Driver safety meetings
  • CSA score management
  • Policies and handbooks
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • and more

Learn more about our DOT Compliance Programs

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


FMCSA Proposes To Delay Four Medical Examiner Final Rule Provisions To 2025

DOT Physical Exams | DOT Compliance | CNS

In what looks to be a ten-year delay, part of which first took effect in January 2015, the rule will require FMCSA to electronically transmit exam results of drivers’ medical certifications to state licensing agencies.

The FMCSA’s latest supplemental notice proposes to extend the compliance date again for several provisions of its 2015 medical examiner’s certification integration final rule by another four years, until June 23, 2025, extending from the previous date of June 22, 2021.

In December 2017, the registry experienced an outage that lasted seven months. During that time, FMCSA suspended medical examiners’ uploading of driver examinations until that functionality was restored.

According to the new notice, “this action is being taken to provide FMCSA time to complete certain information technology system development tasks for its National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners and to provide the state driver’s licensing agencies sufficient time to make the necessary IT programming changes after the new national registry system is available.”

Since the hacking outage, the FMCSA says it has experienced additional setbacks in its efforts to launch the national registry replacement system that require an additional delay.

What Is Being Delayed

FMCSA looks to postpone four provisions having to do with the electronic transmission of certain records from the agency’s national registry website to state licensing agencies, and from state licensing agencies to the Commercial Driver’s License Information System.

These are:

  • FMCSA to electronically transmit, from the national registry to the state licensing agencies driver identification information, examination results and restriction information from examinations performed for holders of commercial learner’s permits or commercial driver’s licenses (interstate and intrastate).
  • FMCSA to electronically transmit to the state licensing agency medical variance information for all commercial motor vehicle drivers.
  • State licensing agencies to post on the Commercial Driver’s License Information System driver record the driver identification, examination results, and restriction information received electronically from FMCSA.
  • Motor carriers to no longer be required to verify that commercial learner’s permit/CDL drivers were certified by a certified medical examiner listed on the national registry.

Ultimately, once the rule is fully implemented, motor carriers will no longer be required to verify that CDL/CLP drivers were certified by a certified medical examiner listed on the National Registry.

A 30-day comment period is expected to follow.

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

How Truck Drivers Can Optimize Fuel Efficiency

How Truck Drivers Can Optimize Fuel Efficiency

According to the American Trucking Association, drivers who practice fuel-efficient driving techniques use about 35% less fuel than those who do not.

Typically, fuel is the largest operating costs in a trucking company and the average truck today can consume more than 20,000 gallons of fuel a year, costing more than $70,000.

Multiply this by the number of vehicles in a fleet and you can grasp the importance of fuel efficiency for your employer.

Beyond using aerodynamic kits, saving fuel is not that difficult and slight modifications can help you achieve greater efficiency.

The secret of good fuel economy requires overcoming:

  • Rolling resistance
  • Air drag
  • Gravitational pull, and
  • Unintentional wastefulness

Below are proven techniques that drivers have used to improve fuel efficiency. Whatever kinds of loads you haul and wherever you normally travel, these fuel saving techniques will help you reduce the amount of fuel you burn.

 

Overcoming Air Drag

Air drag is the result of forces pushing back against the vehicle as it passes through the air and depends on speed, frontal area exposure, and external vehicle shape.

Air resistance is the most significant contributor to vehicle power requirements, especially over the speed of 50 mph.

Minimizing the height of the load will save fuel by reducing the air drag on the vehicle. Most tractor trailers have roof mounts that deflect airflow over the highest point at the front of the trailer load.

For approximately every three feet of frontal exposure of the trailer exposed to airflow, the fuel consumption will decrease by 0.1 mpg.

In addition to overhead deflectors, we see devices that seal the gap between the tractor and trailer, sealing the trailer underbody, and trailers adding a boat tail. These aerodynamic devices can reduce the horsepower required to move the truck by as much as 35 horsepower.

Fleets looking to streamline their vehicles will need to go through some trial and error to find a good fit. Once the aerodynamic devices have been installed, follow recommended upkeep and inspections on these devices.

Overcoming rolling resistance

As the second most significant contributor to vehicle power and fuel consumption, rolling resistance is the energy required to maximize the movement of tires on a roadway.

The factors that influence rolling resistance include:

  • tire pressure,
  • tire tread wear,
  • vehicle speed, and
  • weight

It has been demonstrated that checking tire pressure regularly and keeping an eye on tread wear can achieve up to 0.5 mpg as losing 10 pounds of tire pressure can lead to a 1% decline in fuel economy.

Speeds above 50 mph lead to more friction on the roads, higher tire temperatures, and reduced fuel economy. This leads to a decrease of 0.1 mpg for every mile per hour over 55 mph.

 

Overcoming gravitation pull

Overcoming or utilizing gravity to your advantage is most important during steep grades. When moving a loaded vehicle up a grade, the only variable you can influence is speed.

To improve fuel efficiency–in rolling terrain–use a light throttle and allow momentum to carry the vehicle over short grades.

In hilly and mountainous terrain, use the engine’s entire operating range before gearing down, where possible.

When cresting steep grades, use gravity to bring the vehicle back to the desired cruising speed.

Also, the type of cargo you haul and how heavy it is significantly affects fuel consumption. If the cargo is distributed correctly, the engine works less. So, do not overload any axles because for every 1,000 pound increase in vehicle weight, your fuel economy decreases by 0.5%.

You can improve fuel economy when you balance the load between your drives and trailer tandems with slightly more on your drive axles.

 

Overcoming unnecessary wastefulness

No matter how many years you have been driving, it is easy for drivers to develop inefficient driving habits, which includes:

  • driving with excessive speeds
  • excessive idling
  • operating the vehicle in the wrong gear, and
  • harsh acceleration or braking

It is the driver’s goal to arrive on time while incurring the least expense. Below are five ways to decrease wasteful driving habits.

 

Number one: Warming up the engine

The most underutilized fuel savings device on the truck is the engine.  When your engine is not operating at peak efficiency, there will be fuel loss.

To optimize engine economy, you need to:

  • conduct routine engine performance checks
  • regularly check your engine’s fluid levels (motor oil, coolant, and lube oil levels)
  • check to see if there are any fluid or grease leaking
  • check for worn hoses, electrical lines, belts, and inspect the air compressor

Coolant and lube oil operating temperatures can contribute greatly to fuel efficiency. Low coolant temperatures indicate the engine is too cold for efficient combustion. Lube oil below ideal temperature is more viscous and harder to pump. Oil above ideal temperature is too thin to lubricate properly.

An engine that is starved for air or unable to expel exhaust will lack power and waste fuel. Excessive fuel line restrictions will also reduce your miles per gallon.

When it comes to idling, today’s engine oils do not need you to warm up and idle your engine. Idling does not maintain the correct engine temperature and will dump oil into the exhaust manifold and turbo charger where it gets wasted.

In fact, idling can be harder on the engine than shutting it off or starting it up and can cost $3,500 or more in fuel per year.

As soon as the engine is running smoothly, you can head out slowly at first as the higher RPMs, the more fuel you will use.

Line-haul trucks not equipped with auxiliary power units might idle about 20-40% of the time the engine is running. If your truck does not have idle-reduction equipment:

  • Keep the heater or A/C off when not in your truck, then turn on the truck and do a pre-trip inspection so the cab is comfortable again
  • Turn off the engine whenever possible as idling longer than 10 seconds uses more oil than turning the engine off and back on
  • Use auxiliary heaters or fans in milder weather

 

Speed & Following Distance

Traffic conditions have a significant effect on fuel use. Every time you drop down a gear, fuel consumption increases. The more you brake, speed, or accelerate, the more fuel will be used.

When possible, using cruise control will help you optimize the amount of fuel needed for any given situation, thus improving fuel efficiency.

Be sure to allow at least 6 seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you, when possible. This will help you reduce the amount of times you need to fluctuate your speed.

 

Topping off your fuel tank

Over filling your fuel tank can overwhelm the evaporative system and could cause leaks due to excessive pressure in the system.

Since fuel expands when it is hot, the only way for the fuel to escape is through the breaker vent.

So, prevent topping off your fuel to increase fuel efficiency.

 

Turning

As you might have seen from the Mythbusters television show or UPS delivery statistics, avoiding left-hand turns conserves fuel, saves time, and avoids collisions.

UPS showed they could save over three million gallons of fuel with this technique.

When mapping out your last-miles off the highway, looks for ways to reduce left-hand turns.

 

Create a Driver Scorecard from ELD data

ELDs gather millions of data points that include dates, time, longitude, latitude, engine power status, odometer, engine faults, critical events data, harsh braking, hard turning, hard acceleration, HOS violations, idling, speeding, and more.

Many ELD providers, including our partner Pedigree Technologies, have created driver and safety scorecards that are easy to set-up, manage, and pull reports.

For example, Pedigree driver and safety scorecards include stats, such as:

  • # of HOS violations
  • Idling > 20min
  • Idling %
  • Hard Braking event
  • Speeding > 5mph
  • Fuel Efficiency
  • Heavy Acceleration event

These scorecards are point-based starting at 100 points and any selected stat can remove a certain amount of points based on the severity of the stat you are including in the scorecard. They can be customized further by adding a timeframe duration of the stat or distance traveled.

For example, a driver can lose 15 points for every time a hard-braking event happens every 100 miles.

Scorecard reporting can be customized by timeframe (the previous 7 days or month), selected vehicle or vehicle types (semi/long-haul trucks, medium-sized trucks, construction vehicles, etc), and more.

The Pedigree ELD reporting tool also shows if the driver has performed better or worse over the previous week or month.

Does your ELD provider offer similar reporting tools? If not, learn more about Pedigree Technologies

 

DOT Compliance Programs (PSM)

At CNS, our DOT Compliance Programs focus on Proactive Safety Management (PSM),a mindset that will ensure your fleet’s safety and compliance is always in order and ahead of the FMCSA.

Our PSM Motor Carrier Program includes:

  • ELD management
  • Driver Qualification File Management
  • New driver on-boarding
  • Driver safety meetings
  • CSA score management
  • Policies and handbooks
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • and more

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


The Benefits To Fleets Being Proactive in DOT Safety Compliance

All fleets should be proactive, not reactive, when it comes to DOT compliance and safety management

Fleets that say they care about putting “safety first” but still struggle with safety issues often have passive safety strategies.

These strategies do not provide enough fleet safety data to know what is going or the data is collected after something happened.

As a carrier governed by FMCSA regulations, it is not good practice to wait until you get audited by the FMCSA, but rather to be ready at all times.

For this reason, passive safety programs are inadequate and can lead to increased fines and fleet risk, especially when it comes with DOT compliance and driver management.

According to FMCSA closed enforcement cases for the last five years, carriers’ average costs of non-compliance was settled for $7,000 per carrier! On top of this, it can cost a carrier an additional $870 of downtime when a driver was placed out-of-service for 10 hours.

Ensuring drivers are following FMCSA regulations and company policies can be overwhelming when trying to manage commercial driver licenses (CDLs), endorsements, physicals, daily vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs) and training certificates manually.

This is where being proactive is key.

Proactive safety management means you and your company are working hard to be safe, compliant and stay ahead of the FMCSA.

 

Reasons to invest in a third-party proactive DOT compliance program

Regardless of what you haul or what industry your fleet is in, being proactive in safety management is crucial in keeping compliance fines and driver management costs low.

Your fleet should consider a third-party compliance partner if your company:

  • Is growing and you are trying to save money
  • Is trying to stay compliant with the FMCSA
  • Has grown and you need a Safety Director or a Safety Department, or
  • Wants to lower your CSA scores

Carriers being proactive will put them in a better position to mitigate risk, improve efficiencies, reduce costs, and spend more time with their drivers in an effort to manage a safe and compliant fleet. 

With proactive safety, carriers will be more organized and will have a measured plan to lower motor carrier Safety Measurement System (SMS) scores.

When partnering with a third-party program, your fleet has a team of experts that costs much less than hiring a safety director or team and can receive constant monitoring to keep your operation FMCSA compliant. Driver management will be simplified and the driver hiring process will shorten.

While data and paper management can be crucial, using a third-party partner will help you be prepared for audit representation, provide document storage, and offer up-to-date company policies and handbook of FMCSA rules and regulation changes.

Not only will proactive safety help your fleet with DOT compliance, but it is proven to lower insurance premiums as you will have documented ways to show a reduction in risk.

 

Are you ready to be proactive?

Our safety management programs are perfect for combining multiple services and can be tailored to fit your needs, whether you are a new owner operator or a seasoned trucker or business owner.

At CNS, our DOT Compliance Programs focus on Proactive Safety Management (PSM),a mindset that will ensure your fleet’s safety and compliance is always in order and ahead of the FMCSA.

Our PSM Motor Carrier Program includes:

  • ELD management
  • Driver Qualification File Management
  • New driver on-boarding
  • Driver safety meetings
  • CSA score management
  • Policies and handbooks
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • and more

Learn more about our DOT Compliance Programs

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


When to Use the Most Effective Methods of Drug Testing in Company Policies

DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

Of the three different types of drug testing – urine, oral saliva, and hair testing – which one is most effective to determine drug use?

Urine has been the “gold standard” as the most common method for drug testing across the industry, even as oral (saliva) and hair testing techniques have improved reliability over last few decades.

As we wait for Health and Human Services (HHS) to release hair testing guidelines and the Department of Transportation to adopt those guidelines for safety sensitive positions across Aviation, Commercial Motor Carriers (FMCSA), Maritime, Pipeline, Railroad, and Transit, the discussion of what type of drug testing methods are most effective is now heating up.

Unfortunately, there are many who are misguided on the strategy of when to use each drug testing method as there are pros and cons to each method and the reasons for testing.

So, let us break this down for you.

 

What is the most effective method for drug testing?

The problem with this question is companies are considering dropping urine for oral or hair testing for every type of reason an employee would be tested. This is misguided.

It is important to note that there are various restrictive state drug testing regulations that may prevent companies from drug testing, who they can or cannot drug test and why. 

Regardless, companies need to remember the various reasons they are testing employees. These are:

  • Pre-employment
  • Reasonable Suspicion
  • Post-accident
  • Random
  • Follow-Up or Return-to-Duty

Each reason for testing has their own goals for keeping employees and assets safe.

For example, the goal of pre-employment testing is making sure your staff, especially in safety-sensitive positions, do not have a history of drug abuse. In this situation, it would be ideal to use a drug testing method that provides a longer drug use history. Conversely, for reasonable suspicion testing, a shorter drug detection window would be more effective as it can accurately find recent drug use.

Understanding which method for testing has a shorter detection window would help companies decide if that method is best for this reason.

 

Breaking down collection testing methods

To help make choices on which method of testing is best for your company and reason for testing, we need to break down and compare urine, hair, and oral saliva testing into:

  • Detection Window
  • Collection Time
  • Turnaround Time
  • Ideal Reason for Testing

 

Urine TestingOral (Saliva) TestingHair Testing
RegulatedHHS + DOTPending HHS + DOTPending HHS + DOT
Detection Window2 – 7 days8 – 48 hours, short detection window7 – 90 days, long detection window
Collection Time10+ min depending on if donor did not provide enough sample15 minutes, non-invasive5 minutes, less invasive
Turnaround Time24-48 hours24-72 hours24-72 hours
Ideal Reason for TestingSuitable for all testing reasonsReasonable Suspicion & post-accident testing programPost-accident, reasonable suspicion, pre-employment, and random testing program

 

Now that we understand the pros and cons to each method of drug testing, let us dive into which method is most effective for the reasons a company would drug test.

Urine testing: As the most common testing method, urine testing can detect recent use, between one to three days and is suitable for all testing reasons and types of drugs being tested.

Oral saliva testing: Mouth swab testing is the least invasive method of testing and can detect recent drug use within the first few hours to 48 hours. This makes oral testing the best testing method for both reasonable suspicion and post-accident testing.  

Hair testing: Using hair samples from the body is the only method of drug testing that can detect drugs and alcohol in the system from a week to 90+ days, unlike urine testing, which only detects drugs and alcohol up to 7 days. In recent statistics from Quest, hair testing provides nearly twice the number of positives drug tests than urine testing due to its longer detection time-frame and is the best option for a pre-employment or random testing program.

When looking at updating your company drug testing policies, we believe a mix in methods is the most beneficial in your drug testing programs. Again, it is important to note that there are various restrictive state drug testing regulations that may prevent companies from drug testing, who they can or cannot test and why. 

 

Drug and Alcohol Services

At CNS, we offer a comprehensive Drug and Alcohol Consortium Service and are a certified consortium and third-party administrator (C/TPA).

Our experts ensure that all DOT rules and regulations are followed, including the implementation of random drug tests for you and your drivers, updating your company drug testing policies, record retention and document purge management.

We take all the necessary steps and precautions to keep you and your drivers compliant with the DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements.

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


Speeding Towards CVSA Operation Safe Driver Week, July 11-17, 2021

CVSA OPERATION SAFE DRIVER WEEK, JULY 11-17, 2021

Data shows that even a 10 mph increase in speed ups the risk of a crash by 9.1%.

During Operation Safe Driver Week, law enforcement agencies across North America engage in heightened traffic safety enforcement and education aimed at combating unsafe driving behaviors by both commercial motor vehicle and passenger-vehicle drivers.

According to CVSA, activities are held across the United States, Canada and Mexico with the goal of increasing commercial vehicle and non-commercial vehicle traffic enforcement, safety belt enforcement, driver roadside inspections and driver regulatory compliance.

 

“Late won’t kill you, speeding will.”

The focus area for Operation Safe Driver Week is speeding.

Speeding continues to be the number one cited driver-related factor in highway fatal crashes and was a factor in 26% of all traffic fatalities in 2018, killing 9,378 people or an average of more than 25 people per day.

In 2018, NHTSA showed that speeding was a contributing factor in 26 percent of all traffic fatalities and just under 10,000 lives were lost due to speeding.

 

Past Operation Safe Driver Week Stats

Last year’s Operation Safe Driver Week saw 14,378 passenger vehicle drivers and 2,339 commercial motor vehicle drivers receive citations for speeding.

In 2019, 16,102 passenger vehicle drivers and 1,454 commercial motor vehicle drivers received citations for speeding.

During 2018’s Operation Safe Driver Week, 16,909 passenger vehicle drivers and 1,908 commercial motor vehicle drivers were issued citations for speeding.

The top citations that passenger and CMV drivers receive are for:

  1. Violating State/Local Laws
  2. Speeding
  3. Failing to use a seat belt
  4. Failure to obey a traffic control device
  5. Using a handheld phone
  6. Inattentive and/or careless driving

 

What will law enforcement look for?

Law enforcement will be on the lookout for drivers engaging in speeding and unsafe driving behaviors and will be pulling over drivers to issue a warning and/or citation.

This includes:

  • speeding
  • failure to use a seat belt
  • reckless or aggressive driving
  • distracted driving
  • following too closely
  • improper lane change
  • failure to obey traffic control devices, and
  • evidence of drunk or drugged driving

Failure to wear a seatbelt was the second highest violation for both types of drivers and buckling up is the single most effective thing vehicle drivers and passengers can do to protect themselves in the event of a crash.

A study in 2014 shows that issuing citations does influence driver behavior, with just a 1 percent increase in citations leading to a 28 percent reduction in motor vehicle crashes.

This reduction in crashes is a major reason law enforcement has backed and promoted CVSA’s focus on speeding and the message, “Late won’t kill you, speeding will.”