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.

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.

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.

Utah also recently announced an increase in IRP fees.

Audit services

The long list of rules and regulations involved with the International Registration Plan (IRP) can be difficult to follow. Failure to stay up to date with your registration fee or changes to those rules and regulations can lead to the failure of an IRP audit.

All of our services are geared toward keeping your trucking company safe and DOT compliant, which is why we offer mock audits and management that help avoid these types of issues.

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

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.


July Spotlight: Brownsberger Transport Company


This month’s CNS Spotlight is on Brownsberger Transport Company of Lititz, PA.

Andrew Brownsberger—owner and driver of Brownsberger Transport Co.—has been operating since 2010. As a car hauler for the thriving auto auction industry in central Pennsylvania, he has grown to a 4-truck operation with plans to grow further in the future. Andrew has watched the industry change in the last few years with a much higher focus on Hours of Service (HOS), especially after the ELD mandate took effect in 2018.

We sat down to ask him a few questions on how he manages his HOS scores, logs, and his drivers in an ever-changing trucking industry.

CNS: Andrew, what issues did you find regarding HOS rules prior to the ELD mandate last year?

Brownsberger Transport Company, ELD mandate, HOS

Andrew: I think the 30-minute break rule is unnecessary. I don’t feel like that creates safer roads or working conditions. I do agree with HOS; we don’t want people driving over 11 hours. I know from my experience that I would be tired after 11 hours of driving.

CNS: Do you find yourself having any issues after the HOS mandate?

Andrew: Yes, although I agree with HOS. Paper logs are easier to use for many reasons. But with the new technology it makes it harder to correct simple mistakes that happen.

CNS: What system do you have in place for checking logs for your drivers at your company?

Andrew: Pedigree for the ELD hardware and software and CNS for consulting.

CNS: How has the use of the Pedigree Technologies CabMate One helped you regarding staying compliant with the HOS regulations?

Andrew: It clearly lets you know if you are in or going to be in violation.

CNS: Do you have any suggestions for other carriers that may be struggling with HOS rules and regulations?

Andrew: Driver training and being able to manage your work time better is key. If you are having trouble with making changes within the culture, hire CNS.

Brownsberger Transport Company, ELD mandate, HOS


CVSA Brake Safety Week truck inspections, September 15-21


The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has announced that their annual Brake Safety Week is scheduled for September 15-21, 2019. There was also an unannounced DOT inspection in May focusing on brake safety as well..

In that time enforcement officials will conduct roadside safety truck inspections on commercial motor vehicles and will focus on brake hoses and tubing.

During last year’s three-day International Roadcheck enforcement campaign, 45 percent of all out-of-service vehicle violations were related to out-of-adjustment brakes and brake-system violations. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA), brake violations accounted for 6 of the top 20 most frequently cited vehicle violations in 2017.

What is covered in a roadside brake safety truck inspection?

Roadside truck inspections cover all areas of the air brake system; however, the CVSA will focus on brake hoses and tubing, ensuring that all are attached and secure, flexible, and free of leaks, corrosion, and any other type of damage.

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

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 percent, your vehicle will be put out-of-service.

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

You should inspect your air brake system and all brake components regularly to keep your vehicle in safe operating condition. The list below covers some items you can visually check on a regular basis to ensure they are securely attached, leak-free, and free of damage, such as corrosion and holes.

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

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

What should I know about my air brake system?

If you know your brake system you are more likely to know if there is an issue. You should know what size and type of air brake chamber you have and learn how to properly identify it. Most air brake chambers will have a marking on them, letting you know what type and size it is. If you know the type of chamber you have, you will also be able to determine the maximum allowable push rod travel for that brake chamber and whether it is in or out of adjustment.

What are some types of air brake chambers?

Common air brake chambers for the front are clamp type 20 or clamp type 24 and clamp type 30 is the most common for the rest of the tractor trailer and can be a long or regular stroke.

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

Read about the 2018 Brake Safety Week results.

If you have any additional questions, call one of Compliance Navigation Specialist’s DOT Consultants .

Stay DOT compliant

Our Proactive Safety Management program will help you with vehicle maintenance, driver training, safety audits and the many other categories that can put you out of service.

Safety management and proper vehicle maintenance are very important for the truck drivers’ safety as well as others on the road. It will also allow you to stay compliant and plan your operations more efficiently.

All of our 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.