More driver flexibility after hours of service changes


5 major DOT hours of service changes

In an effort to improve safety and provide more flexibility to commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that proposes changes to the hours of service (HOS) rules.

In 2018, the FMCSA release an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on Hours of Service of Drivers and requested public comment on portions of the HOS rules to alleviate unnecessary burdens placed on drivers.

The FMCSA proposed changes focus on the five areas below:

  1. 30-minute break requirement: Changes will allow drivers to satisfy the required break using on duty, not driving status, rather than off duty.
  2. 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
  3. 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
    1. Note: Driver must take 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.
  4. Adverse driving conditions exception: Changes will extend the maximum window during which driving is permitted by two hours.
  5. 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.

The proposed rules are open for public comment and the FMCSA Administrator, Raymond Martinez, is encouraging all drivers and CMV stakeholders to submit thoughts and opinions on the hours of service changes within the 45-day timeframe they have allotted. There is potential for the comment period to be extended.

Pausing the 14-hour clock has been discussed since last 2018 and may now become a reality.

Stay DOT compliant

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

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

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



CVSA international truck inspection results for 2019


On June 4-6, 2019—as part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Roadcheck—67,072 truck inspections were conducted, removing 12,019 vehicles and 2,784 drivers from roads across the US and Canada.

The International Roadcheck is conducted annually and is meant to remove unsafe commercial motor vehicles (CMV) and drivers from roads. During this 72-hour inspection, 17.9% of vehicles and 4.2% of drivers were placed out of service.

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

Inspection levels

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

  • NAS Level I Inspection –includes a 37-step procedure examining the driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness.
  • NAS Level II Inspection—includes anything that can be inspected without getting under the CMV.
  • NAS Level III Inspection—includes a review of driver requirements, such as the license, cargo and vehicle documentation, record of duty status, seat belt usage, etc.

There were 60,058 Level I, II, and III Inspections conducted in the US and 7,014 in Canada. Respectively, the vehicle and driver out-of-service rate for the US was 17.7% and 4.4% and 19.9% and 2% for Canada.

Inspection focus

Inspections focused on violations related to steering and suspension systems, which resulted in identifying:

  • 408 steering violations or 2.5% of all out-of-service violations
  • 703 suspension violations or 4.3% of all out-of-service violations

Truck inspection results

The results for inspections are summarized below and include out-of-service vehicle, CMV driver, seatbelt, hazardous materials/dangerous goods and motorcoach violations.

There were 16,347 vehicles placed out-of-service with the top violation being for braking systems. The list below summarizes the remainder of recorded vehicle violations.

Out-of-service vehicle violations:

Vehicle violation category Number of violationsPercent of out-of-service violations
Braking systems 4578 28%
Tires and wheels 3156 19.3%
Brake adjustment 2801 17.1%
Cargo securement 1991 12.2%
Lighting devices 1875 11.5%
Suspensions 703 4.3%
Steering mechanisms 408 2.5%
Other 401 2.5%
Frames 170 1%
Coupling devices 124 .8%
Driveline/driveshaft 61 .4%
Fuel systems 44 .3%
Exhaust systems 35 .2%

There were 3,173 drivers placed out-of-service with the top violation being for hours of service. The list below summarizes the remainder of recorded driver violations.

Driver out-of-service violations:

Driver violation categoryNumber of violationsPercent of out-of-service violations
Hours of Service 1,179 37.2%
Wrong Class License 714 22.5%
False Logs 467 14.7%
Other 351 11.1%
Suspended License 232 7.3%
Drugs/Alcohol 99 3.1%
Expired License 94 3%
Violating License Restriction37 1.2%

There were 748 seat belt violations and out of 3,851 CMVs inspected, 527 violations for commercial motor vehicles transporting hazardous materials/dangerous goods with the most common violation being for loading. The list below summarizes the remainder of recorded violations for hazardous materials/dangerous goods.

Hazardous Materials/Dangerous GoodsNumber of violations Percent of out-of-service violations
Loading 7329.9%
Shipping papers 6125%
Placarding 46 18.9%
Markings 31 12.7%
Bulk packaging 15 6.1%
Package integrity 12 4.9%
Other 62.5%

During the International Roadcheck, 823 motorcoaches were inspected with 47 vehicles and 21 drivers being placed out of service. Inspections included a review of emergency exits, electrical cable sand systems in engine and battery compartments and seating.

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.

Stay DOT compliant

Knowing what your CSA score is and how it affects your company and all of the requirements to pass inspections, whether it be for brake safety or suspension and steering, will allow you to stay compliant and plan your operations more efficiently.

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

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

DOT hours-of-service: Comment extension


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:

  1. 30-minute break requirement: Changes will allow drivers to satisfy the required break using on duty, not driving status, rather than off duty.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. Adverse driving conditions exception: Changes will extend the maximum window during which driving is permitted by two hours.
  5. 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.

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

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

Brake Safety: DOT inspection results


On May 15, 2019—in the unannounced brake safety DOT inspection—the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) law enforcement conducted commercial motor vehicle inspections focused on identifying brake safety violations.

The USDOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that in 2017 over half a million commercial motor vehicle violations were related to brakes.

During this one-day DOT inspection, 55 jurisdictions participated (45 US states and 10 Canadian provinces), totaling 10,358 inspections. There were 1,667 vehicles—or 16.1% of all inspections—with critical brake-related violations that were placed out of service until the violations could be corrected. The remaining 84% of commercial motor vehicles inspected did not have any critical brake-related violations.

What was the inspection focus?

Inspectors focused on violations involving brake hoses and brake tubing, which resulted in identifying:

  • 996 units – Chafed rubber hose violations
  • 185 units – Chafed thermoplastic hose violations
  • 1,125 violations – Chafed rubber hoses
  • 124 violations – Kinked thermoplastic hoses

What are the most common brake-related violations?

According to the FMCSA, as of June 28, 2019, out of 1.8 million DOT inspections, the top five brake-related violations were:

  1. Clamp or roto type brake out of adjustment—86,296
  2. Commercial Motor Vehicles manufactured after Oct. 19, 1994, have an automatic brake adjustment system that fails to compensate for wear—45,594
  3. Brake hose or tubing chafing and/or kinking—37,737
  4. No or defective ABS malfunction indicator lamp for trailer manufactured after March 1, 1998—37,343
  5. Inoperative/defective brakes—32,125

The CVSA brake safety enforcement and awareness campaigns are meant to remove unsafe drivers from roads and remind drivers that braking systems need to be checked regularly.

Regular checks help to preserve the safety of both the drivers and others on the road. Although this campaign had a specific focus on brake violations, inspecting the brakes is a normal part of procedure during roadside inspections.

Any issues with the brake hoses and/or tubing can affect the whole brake system. In order to pass, brake hoses and tubing must be properly attached, undamaged, without leaks and have an appropriate amount of flexibility.

The CVSA will be holding a scheduled brake safety enforcement event this year, Brake Safety Week, which is scheduled for Sept. 15-21, at participating jurisdictions throughout North America.

Review the results from the 2018 Brake Safety Week.

Brake Safety Week is part of CVSA’s Operation Airbrake Program in partnership with FMCSA and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators.

US DOT seeks comment on Agriculture HOS regulations


The US DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is seeking public comment to revise the hours-of-service (HOS) regulations for agricultural commodity or livestock definitions.

The FMCSA partnered with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide clarity for the nation’s farmers and commercial drivers, eliminate confusion and align the agencies’ agricultural commodity definitions.

With the American agriculture industry contributing more than $1 trillion annually to the US economy, the FMCSA recognizes the importance of the agricultural industry.

The FMCSA is determined to find a balance that provides more flexibility to those hauling agricultural commodities.

Current regulations have certain restrictions lacking the flexibility that farmers and commercial drivers need due to the unique realities of hauling agriculture commodities.

Currently, during harvesting and planting seasons, drivers transporting agricultural commodities, including livestock, are exempt from the HOS requirements.

The HOS exemption is called a short haul exemption and applies when the destination of the commodity is within a 150-air-mile radius from the source.

Each individual state is currently determining HOS requirements for agricultural commodities.

The advanced rule (ANPRM) authored by FMCSA was prompted by indications that the current definition of these terms may not be understood or enforced consistently when determining whether the HOS exemption applies.

The FMCSA is encouraging all commercial motor vehicle stakeholders to provide feedback on how the current definitions impact safety, compliance, and enforcement. More specifically, the FMCSA wants to hear from those transporting agricultural commodities and livestock.

Canadian ELD mandate for commercial vehicles


Commercial driver fatigue is a long-standing road safety issue that the United States has addressed through the use of ELDs. Canada is following suit with the Canadian ELD mandate.

The Canadian government is committed to improving road safety for all Canadians and is falling in line with the US to address this issue through the implementation of the Canadian ELD mandate.

As a result of a longstanding collaboration among all levels of government and industry partners, this past June, the Honorable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, mandated the use of ELDs or electronic logging devices by federally regulated commercial truck and bus operators.

The Canadian ELD mandate requiring the use of ELDs will go into effect on June 12, 2021 and will replace paper-based daily logbooks.

What is an ELD or electronic logging device?

Electronic logging devices are tamper-resistant devices that are integrated into commercial vehicle engines. The devices track when and how long drivers have been at the wheel, and ensure they are complying with the Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations.

There are many advantages to using ELDs, but the main purpose is to ensure that commercial drivers remain within their daily driving limit and accurately log their working hours. If commercial drivers are not within the regulated limit, there may be fines associated with the violation.

The use of ELDs also reduces administrative burdens, such as eliminating the need for paper daily logs and reducing the time enforcement officers need to verify regulatory compliance.

These new electronic logs for truckers are aligned with the United States road safety regulations and will support economic growth, trade, and transportation on both sides of the border.

After extensive research and consultation, Transport Canada has implemented a third-party certification process will be put in place to ensure that the electronic logging devices will be accurate and reliable.

Other important facts about the Canadian ELD mandate:

  • Transport Canada is committed to aligning with vehicle regulations in the United States.
  • Aligning Canadian and US electronic logging device regulations will allow Canadian and US operators to use the same logging device in both countries.
  • Transport Canada estimates that requiring the use of electronic logs for truckers will reduce the risk of fatigue-related collisions by approximately 10 percent.

IRP registration fees increase for multiple states


Wisconsin, Nevada and North Dakota have updated their IRP registration fee schedules for the upcoming year. The changes for Nevada and North Dakota will go into effect January 1, 2020, however Wisconsin’s changes will take effect on October 1, 2019.


IRP registration fees

Wisconsin IRP fee changes

Wisconsin has increased its’ fees for trucks, buses, and road tractors at 4,500 pounds and 6,000 pounds from $75 and $84 respectively, to $100 for both weights. Fees have also increased for truck tractors at 4,500 and 6,000 pounds from $93 and $102 respectively, to $118 for both weights.

See the updated Wisconsin IRP registration fee schedule.

Nevada IRP fee changes

Nevada has released its’ IRP registration fees for all jurisdictions. The new fees will go into effect on January 1, 2020. Adjustments were made to account for depreciation factors and to add the Nevada suggested purchase cost (OPC) for 2020.

The update also increased the maximum weight for registration in Nevada from 80,000 lbs. to 129,000 lbs., therefore eliminating the need for an overweight permit for a reducible load.

See the updated Nevada IRP registration fee schedule.

North Dakota IRP fee changes

Effective January 1, 2020, North Dakota has updated fee schedules for trucks, truck-tractors, tractors and buses. Fees for some weight ranges over 22,000 lbs. decreased in some instances.

Additionally, North Dakota is adding fee schedules for trucks, truck-tractors, tractors, and buses registered at 20,000 lbs. and less.

See the updated North Dakota IRP registration fee schedule.

There are many rules and regulations involved with the International Registration Plan (IRP). Failure to stay up to date with your registration fee, changes to those or rules and regulations cause failure of an IRP audit. We offer mock audits and management that help avoid these types of issues.

IFTA fuel tax rate changes (2019)


In 2019 some states and provinces had changes in their IFTA fuel tax rates causing a split rate for the effected quarters. Two of those were Alberta—the Canadian province—and the state of Alabama.

The Alberta Treasury Board and Finance, Tax and Revenue Administration (TRA), had a tax rate change for the 2nd quarter of 2019, which went into effect on May 30, 2019. Since the change fell in the middle of the quarter, Alberta will have a split rate for this quarter.

The Alberta Tax and Revenue Administration has requested that all jurisdictions honor this rate correction for the 2nd quarter fuel taxes.

The State of Alabama will also have a split rate, but during the 3rd quarter of 2019. Legislation was recently passed incorporating the tax rate change, which will go into effect September 1, 2019.

Review a full list of the 2019 2nd Quarter Tax Rate Changes and 3rd Quarter Tax Rate Changes or review the fuel tax rates for each quarter below.

IFTA Tax Rates for 2019

FMCSA changes CDL requirements


On February 7, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will place new CDL requirements on entry-level driver training (ELDT).

Individuals wanting to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), upgrade their current license from a Class B to a Class A CDL or receive driver training for a passenger, school bus or hazmat endorsement. Requirements are also changing for instructors offering CDL training.

What class of CDL are you required to have?

Is it difficult to get a CDL license?

As of February 7, 2020, entry-level CDL trainees will have much stricter requirements for obtaining their CDL. For anyone planning to become a truck driver, you can attend a CDL school and get your CDL license before changes go into effect in 2020.

The new rules require an entry-level driver to complete a prescribed program of theory and behind-the-wheel instruction provided by a school or other entity listed on FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry (TPR) before taking the CDL test.

What are the new requirements to obtain a CDL license?

  • CDL school requirements: The minimum standards and requirements for CDL schools will be set at a federal level, as opposed to being set by each state.
  • Department of Transportation (DOT) management: CDL schools must record and report hours behind the wheel (no federal minimum) to DOT.
  • Schools must register and self-certify: Schools can self-certify instructors. Individual instructors may have to register with the DOT depending on the state.
  • CDL driving instructor requirements: Driving instructors are required to have a minimum of 2 years driving experience, a clean motor vehicle record and a medical certification for classroom, on the road and private range instruction
  • Increase in curriculum mandates:
    • DOT requires 31 theory course topics instead of the original four knowledge topics, which will be accompanied by 19 mandated behind-the-wheel (BTW) skills, that will be tested with vehicle inspection skills at the state department of motor vehicles.
    • The new Training Provider Registry (TPR) will require CDL schools to apply to join, starting February 7, 2022.

Learn more about all levels of truck driver training and CDL test preparation courses that we offer at our CNS Driver Training Center.


What are CSA scores?


What are CSA scores?

CSA stands for compliance, safety and accountability. CSA scores are a system used by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to identify high-risk motor carriers.

How are my CSA scores calculated?

Your CSA scores are based on multiple factors called Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories or “BASIC” categories. Roadside inspection violations, as well as investigation results, fall under 1 of 7 categories, including:

  1. Unsafe driving – moving and parking violations, such as speeding, improper lane changes, no seatbelt, cell phone/handheld device use, improper parking, etc.
  2. Crash indicator – DOT reportable crashes (injury, towaway or fatality)
  3. Hours of Service (HOS) compliance – falsifying your record-of-duty status, inadequate paperwork for ELD, driving, on-duty and rest break violations
  4. Vehicle maintenance – mechanical issues and not making required repairs
  5. Controlled substance/alcohol – driving under the influence
  6. Hazardous materials compliance – unsafe or incorrect handling and/or documentation of hazardous materials, including improper or inadequate placards
  7. Driver fitness – Unfit to drive due to physical health or lack of training (sickness, no medical card, driving a vehicle you are not qualified to drive (i.e.- tanker with no ‘N’ endorsement, etc.)

Each time you get a violation, depending on the category and severity of the violation, points are added to your CSA scores, and range from 1 to 10 (less to more severe).

The “safety scale percentages” (CSA scores) in each category are compared to other motor carriers with similar registration information and range from 0 to 100 percent. You want your percentage or CSA score to be as low as possible. For example, a 5% score in “vehicle maintenance” means that your company is safer than 95% of motor carriers on the road.

The chart below lists some of the top unsafe driving violations that will affect your CSA scores.

ViolationSeverity/Points
Driving a CMV while texting10
Reckless driving10
Speeding: 15+ mph over limit or in construction zone10
Speeding: 11-14 mph over limit7
Driving a CMV without a wearing a seatbelt7
Failing to obey a traffic control device5
Following too close5
Improper lane changes, turns, or passing5
Failing to yield right of way5
Having or using a radar detector5
Speeding: 6-10 mph over limit4
Having unauthorized passengers1

Insurance premiums are a major contributor to trucking companies having to close their doors. As premiums increase, they will eventually get to the point of being unaffordable, causing many trucking companies to go out of business.

For this reason, it is important to note that receiving a warning for one of the above violations can still affect your insurance premiums. Just because you did not receive a ticket does not necessarily mean you are in the clear. In other words, a driver vehicle examination report, which is what an officer uses to report CSA violations, can be issued without a citation.

What do my CSA scores mean?

Your CSA scores are used to identify you as a safe driver or a high-risk driver, which can help or hurt you and your carrier in several ways.

  1. Insurance rates – The higher your CSA scores, the higher your insurance premiums, and the lower your CSA scores, the lower your insurance premiums.
  2. DOT audits and roadside inspections – The lower your CSA scores, the fewer compliance checks you will have, including DOT audits and roadside inspections.
  3. Clients – CSA scores are public and can be seen by current or potential clients. If you want to maintain or grow your client base, keep low CSA scores.
  4. Drivers – Having good CSA scores can help you retain current drivers and recruit new drivers. Good drivers want to work for a company that is safe.

How to check my CSA scores?

The FMCSA’s Safety Management System (SMS) website makes all data available and is updated on a monthly basis. To check the full details of your CSA scores, you will need your DOT number and your DOT pin number. This allows you to see “ALERTS,” which are a determining factor of FMCSA audit selections and are issued when a percentage score is over the limit for what the FMCSA considers safe.

Without your DOT PIN number, you cannot see percentage scores or ALERTS, as this information is not public, only the “raw data” is public. Your PIN is on the top left of your “New Entrant Audit” letter from the FMCSA. If you have this letter, it is important that you write down the DOT PIN.

If you do not know your DOT PIN number, contact us and we can retrieve it for you from the FMCSA for a very small fee.

If you drive under your carrier’s DOT number, your CSA score and any violations would be under their DOT.

How can I lower my CSA scores?

You can improve on your CSA scores by putting a system in place to check the BASICs regularly. Determine what categories you need improvement in and put training in place to improve in those particular areas.

Roadside inspections with no violations also cause your scores to lower faster. Violations will reduce in “severity” after 6 months, 13 months, and then are removed from your CSA record completely after 2 years.

If your CSA score is low, you can maintain it by hiring drivers with good PSP scores (the FMCSA pre-employment screening program, includes MVR information and all CSA violations a driver has had for 3 years), providing adequate on-board and recurring training, internal inspections, regular preventative vehicle maintenance, using an ELD solution to avoid maintenance violation, and consequences to drivers who receive violations.