Drug Testing: Supply Chain Issues Cause Extension To Use Old Chain of Custody Forms

chain of custody forms

On Nov 29, 2021, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has granted an extension for using the 2017 Federal Custody and Control Form (CCF) for urine specimens until August 31, 2023.

With this extension, either the 2020 Federal CCF or the recently expired 2017 Federal CCF may be used for urine specimens collected for federal workplace drug testing programs and those collected for testing under the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations.

With this change, the use of the 2017 Federal CCF is now permitted (as of November 23, 2021) without a memorandum for the record (MFR).

Why is there an extension for the old CCF forms?

Due to a shortage of raw materials needed for the 2020 Federal CCF, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) requested OMB approval for continued use of the 2017 Federal CCF.

Short supplies include the carbonless paper used for CCF and the resins and plastics used for the labels directly affixed to the form. Items used for specimen collection kits (e.g., cardboard, shipping materials) are also in short supply.

These shortages are attributed to the materials’ use for COVID-related activities. Additionally, it was noted there is only one supplier of the carbonless paper, and the supplier has indicated they will not be increasing its production.

Where do I get the new or old CCF forms? 

Whoever manages your drug testing account, Lab or TPA can assist you so that you receive the new or older DOT CCF forms. Most of our clients already have the new CCF form.

Another option is to work with a third-party administrator (TPA) that can provide you with electronic ordering (eCCF) with no paper drug testing forms.

How do I know if I have the old DOT CCF form or the new DOT CCF form?

The easiest way to know the difference is that Copy 1 Lab copy in Step 2 has information about ORAL FLUID testing. The old form does not mention Oral Fluid.

Is Oral Fluid testing now authorized?

No. DOT has not yet authorized Oral Fluid testing. Do not collect oral fluid using the new DOT CCF forms. 

How can I stay compliant with this change?

Our comprehensive Drug & Alcohol Consortium Administration Services (C/TPA) is available for companies that are regulated by Federal and State government.

When you select our Drug and Alcohol Consortium you receive professional guidance from one of our drug and alcohol experts who completely manage your consortium.

Our experts ensure that all DOT rules and regulations are followed, including the implementation of random drug tests for you and your drivers. We take all the necessary steps and precautions to keep you and your drivers compliant with the DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements.

We also offer an online results portal where our consortium clients can order their own chain of custody forms for a drug test, search collection sites near a driver location, see the status of a chain of custody order and the results of the test, and download chain of custody forms for audit or other purposes.

Our DOT Compliance Specialists can assist you with any questions you might have.

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

2022 DOT Trucking Regulation Changes: ELDT, Driver Hiring, Age, Clearinghouse, Safety

2022 DOT Trucking Regulation Changes: ELDT, Driver Hiring, Age, Clearinghouse, Safety

After another year of the COVID pandemic and lagging supply chain issues, there was not a big push for major regulatory changes in 2021.

However, a massive infrastructure bill was passed into law in November and other major regulatory changes will go into effect quickly in 2022.

In 2022, some changes that the trucking industry may see include:

  • CDL trainees – Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) rule
  • Driver age – Under 21 Interstate Truck Drivers
  • Drug and Alcohol Testing – changes to DOT Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse
  • Safety Regulations
  • Medical Examiner Final Rule
  • Speeding – Speed Limiting Rule
  • Hiring – California AB5 Independent Contractor Rule

Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) rule

As of February 7, 2022, entry-level CDL trainees will have much stricter requirements for obtaining their CDL.

The Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) rule establishes new minimum training requirements for individuals who want to:

  • obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL)
  • upgrade a CDL, or
  • obtain a passenger (P), school bus (S) or hazardous materials (H) endorsement

Under these new requirements, an entry-level driver must successfully complete a prescribed program of theory and behind-the-wheel instruction.

Prior to taking the knowledge test or the state administered CDL skills or hazmat endorsement tests, training must be provided by an entity listed on FMCSA’s Training Provider Registry (TPR).

Rush Of CDL Trainees Expected Before 2022 ELDT Rule

Under 21 Interstate Truck Drivers

In hopes to increase the share of younger drivers in the industry, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed an under-21 commercial driver pilot program allowing young drivers aged 18, 19, and 20 to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce. Currently 18 to 20-year-olds are only allowed to operate intrastate commerce.

On Nov. 15, President Biden signed into law the $1 trillion infrastructure that requires the transportation secretary to establish an apprenticeship program for young drivers by Jan. 14, 2022. This program could certify up to 25,000 18- to 20-year-old drivers as long-haul truckers per year until it ends in 2024.

The apprentice truckers will be required to drive 240 hours under the supervision of an older driver in a truck equipped with safety features like automatic brake systems and a 65 mile per hour speed governor. After that, they’re free to drive any cross-state route in the country.

DOT Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

Most notable is a proposed rule that would revise the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. According to the abstract listed with the rule, the proposal would “streamline and improve error-correction procedures, queries and consent requirements.” As of right now, the notice of proposed rulemaking is expected in February 2022.

Other likely changes coming to the drug and alcohol Clearinghouse are exemption requests.

Last year, the Motion Picture Compliance Solutions (MPCS) exemption to the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Rule has been granted after stating that it did not fit their industry’s model.

Whether or not the exemptions are approved is yet to be seen and will depend highly on the situation of the particular carrier requesting the exemption.

Medical Examiner Final Rule

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.

A recent FMCSA 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.

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.

Safety Regulations

Serving as deputy administrator of FMCSA since January 2021, Meera Joshi is waiting to be confirmed as the next FMCSA administrator.

Joshi mentioned four important safety priorities that could be coming in the industry:

  1. Electronic transfer of license data between states: This rulemaking is in the final months of getting published for interstate cooperation as there needs to be swift and current data transfer between states around CDL licensure.
  2. Have state’s downgrade license if a positive drug test is submitted to FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse to keep risky drivers off the roads
  1. Strengthening FMCSA’s new entrant program
  2. Increase the scope of motor carrier investigations to encompass more at-risk behavior

As a new entrant, it is required to follow Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations and they will want to see some established records and processes during your New Entrant Safety Audit that will happen within the first 12 months of operation to complete the New Entrant Program.

Speed Limiting Rule

In June 2021, House lawmakers re-introduced another trucking speed limiter bill that would require the technology would be set to a maximum speed of 65 mph, or 70 mph with adaptive cruise control systems, as well as automatic emergency braking systems.

The proposal suggested maximum top speeds of 60, 65 or 68 mph, but backed away from anti-tampering requirements.

Nothing has happened with this bill since the summer.

California AB5 Independent Contractor Rule

The biggest issue affecting trucking is the California’s AB5 independent contractor bill that was signed into law in 2019. It has effectively outlawed the leased owner-operator market in California and is currently going through the court system.

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.

How AB5 affects the trucking industry in California and nearby states

The United States Supreme Court on November 15th invited the Solicitor General to file a brief expressing the federal government’s views on whether the Supreme Court should hear California Trucking Association’s suit claiming federal law preempts California’s AB 5 for the trucking industry.

The injunction should remain in place while SCOTUS awaits the Solicitor General’s brief.

More recently, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear the first AB5 case from carrier Cal Cartage on October 4, 2021, leaving in place a split in authority regarding whether states can change the rules regarding how truckers are treated.

The next step will be CTA’s case at the U.S. Supreme Court that relies on slightly different arguments and factual statements than Cal Cartage case.

Conclusion

To summarize, as a trucking professional or trucking company owner in 2022, there a few things that you should consider.

If you are getting your CDL or paying to have your drivers trained, it would benefit you to get a CDL permit before the ELDT Rule goes into effect on February 7, 2022.

If you operate interstate, you may be able to consider hiring younger drivers in the 18-20 age range. Although these drivers are young with no experience, the benefit is that you can mold them. Breaking bad habits of experienced drivers is more difficult than developing good habits right out of the gate.

Also, depending on where you are located and how the AB5 rule evolves, you may not be able to hire owner operators as independent contractors any longer. These contractors would have to be treated as full-time employees and offered benefits.

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

Do I have to be Employed for the SAP Return-To-Duty Process and Follow-up Testing?

Since the CDL Clearinghouse database went live in Jan. 2020, we can track that around 60,000 drivers each year have received some drug and alcohol violation.

If these drivers want to get back to work, they must complete the return-to-duty process and be a part of a SAP program for follow-up testing.

However, many of these drivers are terminated by their employer. But, if they continue to work through the return-to-duty process, they are eligible to seek employment elsewhere.

Since the CDL Clearinghouse database went live in Jan. 2020, we can track that around 60,000 drivers each year have received some drug and alcohol violation.

This brings up a frequently asked question: If a CDL holder is NOT employed and can’t get employed but wants to continue the follow-up process, can this CDL holder contract a consortium/third-party administrator (C/TPA) to act as a DER and send this CDL driver for the appropriate follow-up testing plan?

The short answer: No, unless they become an owner-operator. We will explain why after a quick review of the process.

What is the return-to-duty and follow-up DOT SAP process?

Find a DOT SAP:
SAPlist.com is the #1 source for finding a Substance Abuse Professional

After a driver receives a failed drug test result, they must begin the return-to-duty/SAP process which can be split into two major sections: the time to return-to-duty to drive again, and the time to finish the follow-up testing program for the next 12-60 months.

This process begins with an evaluation by a substance abuse professional (SAP), as required in the federal regulations in 49 CFR Part 40 Subpart O. This is often considered the SAP process.

A return-to-duty drug test is a single test required by the DOT after successful completing the SAP process.

Read more for additional details on the SAP process.

Return-to-duty testing can only be done when the driver is CURRENTLY EMPLOYED.

If the driver is not employed, they cannot start their SAP program until they are employed and will be performing a safety-sensitive function. Basically, their progress would be paused until they are employed again.

If the driver is an owner-operator and have a truck, they would use their Consortium/TPA to manage their SAP process and follow-up testing schedule.

But why?

Drug testing while employed in safety-sensitive work is an effective deterrent

Remember, after a driver finished the SAP process and can return to safety-sensitive work, they still must have unscheduled follow-up testing for at least one year.

The need to be employed to have follow-up testing has been a requirement of the regulations for more than 30 years.

There are three main reasons why this is important.

First, the federal agency does not have jurisdiction over the general public, or someone who is not operating under their jurisdiction. If the driver is no longer employed or is not an owner-operator, they are not required to follow federal regulations until they are back in a safety-sensitive function.

Second, a driver cannot know his or her follow-up testing schedule or how long it will be. If they did, this could allow the person in recovery to continuing substance abuse and time to stop so they are clean before the next follow-up test.

If a driver does not know how long the follow-up testing program could continue, that will help the driver remain free of substance abuse long-term.

For example, a SAP could recommend 6 follow-up tests in the first 12 months, and then follow-up tests in the third and fifth year. A driver would not know this, which makes the preventive nature of follow-up testing more effective.

Third, absent safety-sensitive work for an employer, the follow-up testing would not be effective.

While a C/TPA can handle this process for a self-employed owner-operator, the role of the employer and job function is very important to successful implementation and recovery.

The entire point of follow-up testing that produces negative results is to show that the driver can safely operate in DOT-regulated safety-sensitive work.

In other words, the stress of the job could be a reason why some drivers take drugs or drink heavily. If you are unemployed, this trigger is not be tested and might be easier for a driver to get through the follow-up program and later continue substance abuse while driving.

If you are currently unemployed and still must finish the return-to-duty or follow-up testing process, don’t be discouraged. There are many employers who will hire someone with a past refusal or positive test.

For help getting hired, it is often recommended to explain that you will pay for these directly observed tests instead of the potential employer.

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

Understanding the CSA Intervention Process and the Importance of Warning Letters

Understanding the CSA Intervention Process and the Importance of Warning Letters

FMCSA will monitor your safety performance and compliance through its SMS. If you do not improve, they may investigate your company further.

A motor carrier is considered high-risk based on many sources of information, and when they are, the FMCSA wants to understand why.

They seek this understanding through the intervention process.

The CSA intervention process evaluates why safety problems occur, recommends remedies, encourages corrective action, and when necessary, invokes strong penalties for carriers failing to comply.

Let’s dive into the entire process and learn how to be proactive when dealing with the FMCSA.

What is the CSA intervention process?

The FMCSA has three categories of intervention when dealing with a potentially high-risk carrier: Early Contact, Investigation, and Follow-On.

Early Contact

Early Contact usually happens in the form of warning letters or a targeted roadside inspection.

Warning letters alert safety performance and compliance problems to motor carriers early on. If they do not improve their safety metrics after this warning, they may face Offsite or Onsite Investigations.

Targeted Roadside Inspections are usually prompted based on poor safety data scores that are pulled as they approach the scales and can be conducted at a permanent or temporary roadside inspection location.

Investigation

Investigationis the hands-on analysis used to identify safety performance and compliance problems. There are three types of investigations:

  1. Offsite Investigation: A safety investigator requests copies of documents from a carrier and reviews the documents remotely, to identify specific safety performance and compliance problems.
  2. Onsite Focused Investigation: A safety investigator focuses on specific safety performance and compliance problems at the carrier’s place of business and may interview employees and perform vehicle inspections.
  3. Onsite Comprehensive Investigation: A safety investigator reviews the entire safety operation at a carrier’s place of business and may interview employees and perform vehicle inspections.

Follow-On

Lastly,the Follow-Oncategoryhas four consequences based on a motor carriers investigation result.

  1. Cooperative Safety Plan (CSP): A voluntary plan a carrier may implement with the help of SIs to address safety problems. This plan may be used alone or with a Notice of Violation (NOV), but it cannot replace a Notice of Claim (NOC).
  2. Notice of Violation (NOV): A formal notice that violations are severe enough to warrant formal action, but not civil penalties. To avoid further intervention from FMCSA, the carrier must take corrective action and provide evidence of it, or contest the violations.
  3. Notice of Claim (NOC): A formal notice that violations are severe enough to warrant assessment and civil penalties.
  4. Operation Out of Service Order (OOSO): An order requiring the carrier to immediately cease all motor vehicle operations.

Exceeding a BASICs Intervention Threshold will trigger a warning letter

Motor carriers must take warning letters seriously as they are the first step in the intervention process.

The FMCSA sends warning letters when safety performance data indicates they are not complying with safety regulations.

These letters identify which Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) have higher than average safety compliance problems and outlines possible consequences if these problems are not fixed.

The BASIC “intervention thresholds” were established because they are strong indicators of future crash risk and exceeding them can put you on FMCSA’s priority lists which can later result in fines and violations.

The seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories are:

  1. Unsafe Driving: Speeding, reckless driving, improper lane change, inattention, or failure to use seatbelts
  2. Hours of Service (HOS) Compliance
  3. Crash Indicator: History of crash involvement
  4. Driver fitness: Invalid license, medically unfit to operate a CMV
  5. Controlled substances/alcohol
  6. Vehicle maintenance: Failure to make required repairs
  7. Hazardous (HAZMAT) materials compliance: Leaking containers, improper packaging and/or placarding

In Aug 2021, Unsafe Driving intervention threshold was 65% for general carriers, 60% for hazmat, and 50% for passenger carriers.

If a carrier has one or more Acute and/or Critical Violations related to this BASIC, their percentile may increase at or above the intervention threshold.

In Aug 2021, Unsafe Driving intervention threshold was 65% for general carriers, 60% for hazmat, and 50% for passenger carriers.

What should you do if you receive a warning letter from the FMCSA?

If you do receive a warning letter, it is your chance to improve your safety performance and compliance without further intervention from the FMCSA.

Read the letter carefully as it:

  • Identifies your company’s specific safety performance and compliance problems
  • Explains how to access your safety record, and
  • Outlines the consequences if you do not improve

Motor carriers then need to develop and execute strategies that will make their operations compliant with the safety regulations outlined.

If you do not create a plan now, a future audit investigation may require you to create a Safety Management Plan (SMP) to address corrective action in the key areas of violation.

How To Prepare For A Comprehensive FMCSA Safety Audit

FMCSA will continue to monitor your safety performance and compliance through its SMS. If you do not improve, they may investigate your company further.

There are 4 best practices every carrier should prioritize:

  1. Maintain good record-keeping procedures – keep all documentation current and accurate
  2. Good company policies – Focus on hiring, work, and discipline
  3. Proof of consistent Hours of Service – monitoring, auditing, and corrective actions for logbook violations
  4. Maintain good vehicle maintenance records  – DVIR, annual inspections, and preventative maintenance

If you feel overwhelmed or do not know where to start, you can always conduct a Mock DOT audit where third-party experts, like Compliance Navigation Specialists, can go through the audit process to identify issues that need correcting.

Are you being reactive or proactive?

The best tip we can provide carriers is to exceed, and not “just meet” the DOT regulations.

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 Requiring Rear Impact Guards to be Checked During Annual Inspections

FMCSA Requiring Rear Impact Guards to be Checked During Annual Inspections

Trucks that fail to pass will not be placed out of service (OOS) but each violation could result in a max fine of $15,876 for carriers and $3,969 for drivers.

In Aug. 2018, CVSA conducted a one-day enforcement check to take a closer look at the condition of rear impact underride guards, a requirement of both Level I and Level V inspections.

They concluded that inspectors were not properly inspecting rear guards and, when they put a focus on it, violations were substantially higher than what inspectors were documenting.

Currently, rear impact guards are not included on FMCSA’s list of items in Appendix G that must be examined during an annual inspection.

This means that a vehicle could pass the annual inspection with a missing or damaged rear impact guard.

Although a rear-guard violation does not put a truck out of service, it does prohibit the inspector from issuing a CVSA decal for a truck.

To remedy this, the FMCSA on Dec. 9 will require assessment of underride impact guards during motor carrier and roadside annual inspections.

Underride guards are intended to help prevent vehicles from sliding underneath a semi-trailer during a rear-end crash.

The rule also adds a definition of road construction controlled (RCC) horizontal discharge trailers and makes it clear that RCC trailers are not required to have a rear impact guard installed.

Industry trade groups support the new annual inspection requirement but worry this may lead to future side guard requirements, which NHTSA believes a federal mandate would be too costly.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill approved by Congress late Friday includes underride guard requirements and requires more research on the effectiveness of side underride guards.

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

Driver Training Prevents the Biggest Unplanned Costs Affecting Fleets

Driver Training Prevents the Biggest Unplanned Costs Affecting Fleets

When it comes to driver training, the conversation at many fleets goes like this:

“What if we train everybody and they leave?” – CFO

“What if we don’t train them and they stay?” – CEO

Outside of normal trucking expenses (fuel, truck, and insurance), the biggest unplanned costs that can hit your company are issues that a focused driver training program could reduce or help prevent.

These unplanned costs include accidents, speeding tickets, roadside violations, impacts of poor CSA scores, vehicle maintenance issues, driver turnover, and eventual increased insurance rates.

As a business owner or fleet manager, you try to prepare financially for many of these costs. The problem is we often do not consider ways to prevent the costs in the first place or we consider the preventive measures to be too expensive or undervalued.

The CFO worries about the short-term cost of training drivers in a high churn industry but misses the long-term impacts of not training the 80% of their drivers that will stay. A good CEO can understand the short-term and long-term impacts of the entire picture.

You are probably starting to think:

  • What are the costs of a poor driver training program or not having one at all?
  • How much would a driver training program cost?

In this article we will discuss:

  1. Financial impact of trucking accidents on your business
  2. Truck driver training, driver turnover and the impact on CSA scores
  3. How to implement a customized driver training program

Driver training and the impact of Accidents

Every owner-operator understands that the insurance rates for their first 3 years will be high because new drivers with little driving experience have the highest risk of getting into an accident.

When there is an accident, the costs can be extremely high.

FMCSA data show us that there are more than 5,000 fatalities due to truck accidents each year, and more than 100,000 truck accident injuries.

In 2019, 11% of all crash fatalities were due to large truck crashes. If this accident was a multiple-vehicle crash, 23% of passenger vehicle occupant deaths stemmed from a large truck collision.

The reality is that many of these accidents could have been prevented with adequate truck driver training or on-going training after they receive their first job.  

According to the FMCSA, crashes are devastating in terms of fatalities and injuries, financial costs, damaged reputations, the inability to attract and retain good drivers, and general goodwill in the industry and community.

Specifically, let’s just look at the financial costs for large vehicle crashes:

  • The cost of all large truck crashes is about $91,000 per accident
  • A crash with injuries costs almost $200,000 per accident
  • A crash with fatalities costs around $3.6 million per accident

Immediately following a potential driver-at-fault accident, an accident driver investigations must occur, looking into their training history and if the driver satisfied all their training requirements.

Unfortunately, records associated with driver training are often doctored following an accident with the hope to provide a more favorable picture of actual training that occurred.

After the investigations, pre-employment violations are often found around driver qualification files and lack of previous employment history on record.

The best way to avoid collisions is to drive safely. The best way to monitor driver safety habits is measuring the ELD telematic data over time to show trends in a simple Driver Scorecard.

With a customized driver training program, red flags on these driver scorecards can immediately give the driver courses on defensive driving, fuel efficiency, HOS regulations, or driver ELD training.

Then, if an accident does happen, the fleet can show proof of focused on-going training.

Driver training and the impacts of Driver Turnover and CSA Scores

In 2020, the driver turnover rate at large truckload carriers averaged 90% while smaller truckload fleets faced a 69% turnover on average.

In some circumstances, there are even fleets facing a 200% or 300% turnover rate, meaning a driver could be recruited, hired, and onboarded in January and replaced at least twice by December.

In these cases, it makes sense why fleets fear spending money on training new and current drivers. The operational budget for trucks and tires come first before investing in company culture, safety, and on-going training.

In other words, high driver turnover causes pressures to quickly train drivers and push them on the road to get money flowing after losing the previous driver.

However, Vigillo—a data analyzing firm—completed a recent study that found a group of fleets with high driver turnover had 1,177 total crashes where fleets with low driver turnover had just 303 total crashes.

“There is a pretty strong correlation between the safety culture that exists at a motor carrier, which can be measured in CSA, and turnover rates,” said Vigillo CEO, Steve Bryan.

Their data revealed that fleets with high driver turnover had:

  • 189% more driver out-of-service rate
  • 300% more vehicle out-of-service rate
  • 181% more hours-of-service violations
  • 224% more crash indicators
  • 640% more hazmat violations, and
  • 182% more controlled substance violations

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

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

You can already see the cost benefits of reducing high driver turnover through positive company culture and a successful driver training program.

How to implement near-term customized driver training

Today, new technology and equipment analyzes and optimizes nearly every facet of fleet efficiency. This includes electronic logging devices, dashcams, and fleet management software that driver must be trained to use.

Each driver comes with their own experiences, skills, and flaws and these technologies can be used to understand your driver better.

For example, if driver trainers notice a habit of hard acceleration or hard braking, they should make sure a video training schedule includes driving fundamentals and defensive driving topics.

Similarly, if there is a pattern of logbook errors, include logbook training and hours of service rules into their video training schedule.

All custom training schedules should be accompanied by common new driver training, such as reviewing common maintenance and pre-trip inspection training, what to expect during a roadside inspection and how to treat inspectors, highlight drug testing processes and marijuana regulations, seasonal safe driving tips, cargo securement training, etc.

Customized training should also be measurable using quiz assessments to track driver performance. If their assessment score is low, then the training needs to be retaken.

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

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

2021 CVSA Brake Safety Week: DOT Inspection Results

2021 CVSA Brake Safety Week: DOT Inspection Results

Nearly 4,000 commercial motor vehicles in the U.S. with critical brake violations removed from roadways during 2021 Brake Safety Week

During the annual CVSA Brake Safety Week enforcement blitz, from August 22-28, 2021, enforcement officials inspected 35,764 commercial motor vehicles across the U.S, Canada, and Mexico.

According to CVSA’s released data, 12% of the vehicles inspected were placed out of service (OOS) due to critical brake-related inspection item conditions until critical brake violations were corrected, much like the brake safety week results of 2020 and a slight decrease from the 2019 blitz.

The annual inspection blitz was conducted at fixed weigh stations, temporary pop-up inspection sites and during roving roadway patrols.

HOW TO PASS CVSA BRAKE SAFETY WEEK INSPECTIONS

What was the inspection focus?

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

In Canada, 1,903 commercial motor vehicles were inspected. The brake-related out-of-service rate was 15.4%. The out-of-service rate related to brakes in the U.S. was 13.5% out of the 28,694 commercial motor vehicles inspected. And in Mexico, 5,167 inspections were conducted with a brake-specific out-of-service rate of 2.6%.

In addition, during Brake Safety Week, inspectors in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. recorded 5,667 brake hose chafing violations, which are a common brake-related violation, whether out-of-service or not. 

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

  • 1,970 violations – Wear extends into outer protective material, where applicable.
  • 1,730 violations – Wear extends through outer protective material into outer rubber cover.
  • 1,026 violations – Wear makes reinforcement ply visible, but ply is intact.
  • 567 violations (OOS) – Reinforcement ply is visible, and ply is completely frayed, severed, or cut through.
  • 374 violations (OOS) – Wear extends through reinforcement ply to inner rubber layer.

Why is CMV brake safety a big deal?

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.

Brake-related violations accounted for more OOS vehicle conditions (26.5%) than any other vehicle violation during CVSA’s three-day International Roadcheck inspection in May.

According to the FMCSA latest “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts” report, “Brake system” was the third most cited vehicle-related factor in fatal commercial motor vehicle and passenger vehicle crashes.

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.

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.

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

2022 UCR Registration Opens as Officials Target Unpaid Fees for 35,000 Carriers

UCR Fees | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

UCR officials look to collect unpaid fees as UCR Registration opens October 1 for the 2022 UCR registration year (2022 UCR fees are below).

The Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) plan was created in 2005 to collect fees from interstate motor carriers, private carriers of property, brokers, freight forwarders and leasing companies to offer more than $100 million in safety enforcement programs annually to the participating states.

The 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.

Out of the 44,000 motor carriers who have not registered or paid fees with the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) plan, there are an estimated 35,000 unregistered carriers from the nine nonparticipating states, which include:

  • Oregon
  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • Vermont
  • Nevada
  • Wyoming

These states that do not participate in the program must enforce UCR requirements for carriers domiciled in those states with DOT numbers.

The UCR board authorized three pilot projects that call for hiring a private contractor to contact, attempt to register and collect unpaid fees to raise funds for the plan.

Avelino Gutierrez, executive director of the UCR Plan, “the plan is to have one contractor full-time equivalent contact the motor carriers — about 50 a day — starting with those with the highest number of power units and moving to those with lower numbers of power units, to be more efficient in our return.”

The three pilot programs to collect fees include:

  • focusing on around 5,600 new carrier entrants in nonparticipating states who have failed to register, which could raise up to $383,000
  • targeting motor carriers who have received a violation for not registering, which is around 3,500 motor carriers each year
  • contacting motor carriers that report power units that contradicts the number of power units declared on their MCS-150

Currently, none of the new pilots would be focused on brokers or freight forwarders, officials said.

We are a trustworthy UCR Filing Service

2022 UCR Registration is open as of October 1, 2021. With UCR fees released, all interstate motor carriers will need to update registrations before the deadline.

Use a filing service that knows our industry. Compliance Navigation Specialists can help you.

Our UCR filing service processes your new UCR or your renewal, quickly and accurately. We will file the paperwork and determine the fees, so you can stay focused on your vision for your carrier business.

If you have any questions, call or email CNS at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.


Register Now for UCR 2022

We will process the registration within 24 hrs in the next business day and follow-up with you when completed.


Surprise CVSA HAZMAT Road Blitz Found 14% Violations in June 2021

Motor carriers whose drivers transport hazardous materials/dangerous goods are specially trained in emergency safety and applicable HM/DG federal regulations.

During the surprise five-day CVSA 2021 HM/DG Road Blitz in June, inspectors spotlight safety-compliant drivers, shippers and motor carriers with vehicles containing hazardous materials/dangerous goods to ensure everything is appropriately marked, placarded, packaged, and secured while being transported on our roadways.

Any vehicles found to have HM/DG out-of-service (OOS) violations, or any other driver/vehicle OOS violations, were restricted from traveling until all OOS violations were addressed.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OTHER CVSA INSPECTIONS

How many CMVs were stopped, inspected, and cited violations?

In the U.S. and Canada, 10,905 commercial motor vehicles and 8,363 HM/DG packages were inspected over that five-day period. Inspectors identified 2,714 violations, which included:

  • 496 shipping papers violations
  • 628 non-bulk/small means of containment packaging violations
  • 390 bulk packaging/large means of containment placarding violations
  • 277 non-bulk/small means of containment labeling violations
  • 307 bulk/large means of containment placarding violations
  • 167 other safety marks violations
  • 288 loading and securement violations
  • 50 HM/DG package integrity (leaking) violations

Below is a summary of the HM/DG class types inspected.

Class DescriptionCanadaMexicoU.S.Total
Class 1Explosives, such as ammunition, fireworks, flares, etc.11590317522
Class 2Flammable, non-flammable/non-poisonous and poisonous.2863671,5642,217
Class 3Flammable liquids, such as acetone, adhesives, paints, gasoline, ethanol, methanol, some pesticides, etc.4841, 5263,1405,150
Class 4Flammable solids, substances liable to spontaneously combust and substances that, on contact with water, emit flammable gases, such as white phosphorus and sodium.10217133252
Class 5Oxidizing agents and organic peroxides, such as hydrogen peroxide, potassium permanganate, sodium nitrite, ammonium nitrate fertilizers and oxygen generators.11026203339
Class 6Toxic and infectious substances; any material, other than a gas, that is so toxic to humans that it presents a health hazard during transportation, such as cyanide, biological samples, clinical wastes and some pesticides.11339120272
Class 7Radioactive materials, such as cobalt and cesium.96240138
Class 8Liquid or solid corrosive substances, such as sulfuric acid and sodium hydroxide, that cause full thickness destruction of human skin at the site of contact within a specified time.1921601,1491,501
Class 9Miscellaneous HM/DG, such as acetaldehyde ammonia, asbestos, elevated temperature materials and benzaldehyde.114146430690

The CVSA HM/DG Road Blitz helps increase awareness of the hazardous materials/dangerous goods rules and regulations in place to keep the driver, the public and the environment safe.

Hazmat and DOT Training

At CNS, we are fully capable to handle your HAZMAT compliance training or other DOT training.

There are many rules, regulations, and requirements in each state for authorities to keep track of when it comes to hauling hazardous material. If you are not DOT compliant, it could be detrimental to your company, as fines and penalties can be upwards of $180,000.

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.  

The United States Supreme Court on November 15th invited the Solicitor General to file a brief expressing the federal government’s views on whether the Supreme Court should hear California Trucking Association’s suit claiming federal law preempts California’s AB 5 for the trucking industry.

The injunction should remain in place while SCOTUS awaits the Solicitor General’s brief.

More recently, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear the first AB5 case from carrier Cal Cartage on October 4, 2021, leaving in place a split in authority regarding whether states can change the rules regarding how truckers are treated.

The next step will be CTA’s case at the U.S. Supreme Court that relies on slightly different arguments and factual statements than Cal Cartage case.

 

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.


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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.

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