How To Pass Roadside Inspections During CVSA Brake Safety Week

DOT Audit | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

Last year’s CVSA Brake Safety Week found 13.5% of commercial motor vehicles inspected had brake-related violations and were placed out-of-service.

The annual CVSA Brake Safety Week enforcement blitz is scheduled for August 23-29, 2020.

Enforcement officials will inspect commercial motor vehicles during this time and place vehicles out-of-service (OOS) until any critical OOS brake or other violations are corrected. Vehicles that pass may receive a passed-inspection CVSA decal.

“Brakes are one of the most important systems in a vehicle,” said CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police. “Failure of any component of a brake system could be catastrophic. Routine brake system inspections and component replacement are vital to the safety of commercial motor vehicles.”

2019 CVSA International Roadcheck and Brake Safety Week Results

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.

Brake system and brake adjustment violations during last year’s International Roadcheck inspection accounted for 45.1% of all OOS conditions. That was more than any other vehicle violation category.

Last year’s Brake Safety Week found that 13.5% of commercial motor vehicles inspected had brake-related violations and were placed out-of-service.

Review the Brake Safety Results in one of last year’s unannounced inspections

More recently, according to The Truckers Report, Nebraska had an unannounced truck inspection blitz in mid-July that found 43% of the vehicles inspected were placed out-of-service. During this surprise inspection, drivers face up a total of $7,315 in fines from the 384 violations documented.

What is covered in a roadside brake safety truck inspection?

Inspectors will be paying special attention to brake hoses and tubing, which must be properly attached, undamaged, without leaks, appropriately flexible, and free of leaks, corrosion, and any other type of damage.


Vehicle Maintenance: Free Estimate

Contact us with any questions. Our specialists are here to help you maximize your vehicle maintenance.

At roadside, brake inspections include visual checks 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.

As long as the brake system efficiency stays above 43.5%, the vehicle will not be placed out-of-service, unless another critical OOS violation is found.

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

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.

You should inspect your air brake system and all brake components regularly during your pre and post-trip inspection 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.

In addition to being prepared for a brake inspection, it is even more important to be prepared for a complete truck inspection.


Vehicles Maintenance

Vehicle maintenance costs can be a huge line item for fleet companies and at times, hard to keep under control. Routine maintenance of your vehicles is a necessity to ensure that your biggest assets always stay on the road.

An experienced and knowledgeable vehicle maintenance partner can make all the difference.

CNS can effectively manage your vehicle maintenance to meet your specific driving demands. We effortlessly handle an unlimited number of preventive maintenance schedules for all the vehicles in your fleet.

Serving your customers is your business; maintaining your fleet should be ours. Depend on CNS to keep your vehicles on the road and benefit from our expertise and gain a partnership that is dedicated to your success.

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


ELD Data Management Made Easy With Driver Scorecards

Telematics Data Management ELD Driver Scorecards

What can fleet managers do to encourage positive driver behavior?

Since most interstate trucking companies were required to add electronic logging devices (ELDs) to their trucks, back-office management has been given an opportunity to better manage their vehicles and drivers when it comes to violations, driving habits, audits, maintenance, and more.

ELD or telematic data management for trucking, construction, distribution industries, or corporate fleets should be formatted to highlight both efficiencies and deficiencies in simple customizable reports.

The best-practice telematics data management plan will measure the data over time to show trends and measure results. This is as simple as a Driver Scorecard for your fleet.

Create a Driver Scorecard from ELD data

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

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

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

  • # of HOS violations
  • Idling > 20min
  • Idling %
  • Hard Braking event
  • Speeding > 5mph
  • Fuel Efficiency
  • Heavy Acceleration event
Pedigree ELD Driver Scorecard
Pedigree Technologies Driver Scorecard Tool

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

For example, a driver can lose 15 points for every time a hard-braking event happens every 100 miles, or a driver can lose 5 points for any Hours of Service Util. % is under 75% per day.

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

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

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


Further ELD Questions? Get a Free Demo

Contact us with any questions. Our ELD specialists can perform a demo with our ELD devices.

Use telematics data for customized video training

Using the telematics reports or driver scorecards can highlight which drivers are struggling in a given area.

For example, the driver scorecard can highlight a habit of hard acceleration and hard braking for one driver, while another driver has a habit of various HOS violations.

These red flags can immediately give the driver a defensive driving, fuel efficiency, HOS regulations, or driver ELD training in their video training schedule.

Customized training should also be measurable using quiz assessments to track driver performance and the ELD driver scorecard can be monitored for improvement after the training was completed. If their training assessment score is low or the habit continues, then the training needs to be retaken or a driver performance review could be scheduled.

Using telematics for driver incentive programs

Implementing ELD data management offers a range of cost-savings to your fleet, including decreased HOS violations and fines, decreased time spent by management monitoring driver behavior, decreased driver turnover or improved driver retention, and decreased risk of crashes and possible lower insurance premiums.

These savings can be given back to drivers through a driver incentive program.

Creating an incentive program around positive behavior has been shown to work for many fleets. Have your team discuss the various behaviors you want to reward and be creative on different ways to reward the good behavior.

For example, if a driver consistently has a great driver scorecard, or has shown improvement over time, the driver can receive a $50 gift card or add an hour of vacation time. The ideas here are endless.

Even a small investment to the driver’s benefit can go a long way.

If your fleet has a disciplinary policy, you can use the driver scorecard to measure clear expectations while drivers are on the road and what steps will be taken should a driver diverge from the policy.


Need help managing your ELD data?

Managing ELD data yourself can be confusing and stressful, and requires a much different back-office skill set than managing paper processes.

However, it does not have to be.

Whatever ELD system you have, we can manage it for you so you can start taking advantage of your ELD data.

FDA Authorizes Three COVID-19 and Flu Combination Tests

COVID-19 and Flu Combination Tests

With just one swab or sample, combination flu and COVID-19 tests can be used to get answers to Americans faster.

These combination tests work by testing a single sample from a patient for multiple respiratory diseases, such as COVID-19 and the seasonal flu, which can show similar symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Qiagen, and BioFire Diagnostics have received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority for multiplex respiratory panels that include 20 total viral and bacterial pathogens known to cause serious respiratory disease.

This efficiency can go a long way to providing timely information for those sick with an unknown respiratory ailment.

Why combination testing is important

There are several important advantages to this combination testing.

Taking just one sample from a patient may help alleviate the need for multiple samplings, which means less discomfort for the patient with faster and more comprehensive results.

In addition, combination tests require fewer supplies, such as swabs and personal protective equipment, and reduce pressure on the supply chain for reagents.

The FDA hopes to authorize more combination tests as the fall flu season approaches.

Learn why getting you flu shot for the 2020-2021 flu season is so important.

In filing for the EUA, CDC presented data on the use of the test to analyze 115 samples, most of which were infected with either SARS-CoV-2, influenza A or influenza B. The test correctly identified all the samples, resulting in an overall percent agreement of 100%.

CDC’s original SARS-CoV-2 test also had a 100% agreement in the agency’s own evaluation.

With BioFire and Qiagen generating similar performance data on their tests, the U.S. could go into the flu season with three combination diagnostics. That arsenal may prove valuable in what some observers fear could be a perfect storm for the spread of multiple viruses in the country. 


Interested in a flu shot?

We are able to schedule individual or group flu shots with our Mobile Clinic for you or your company's employees.

Can the flu shot cause you to inadvertently test positive for COVID-19?

No, the CDC and FDA say that flu vaccines contain no type of coronavirus, like the one that causes COVID-19. 

The CDC notes that flu shots are made in two ways, which include using:

  1. flu viruses (not SARS-CoV) that have been “inactivated” or killed and aren’t infectious, or
  2. only one gene from a flu virus, as opposed to the full virus, to create an immune response without causing infection.

The CDC also said flu vaccines cannot cause flu illness. 

SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19, is a coronavirus, not an influenza virus, which means getting a flu vaccine will not cause you to test positive for coronavirus.

Who should get the flu vaccine and when?

The CDC recommends that anyone 6 months and older get a yearly flu vaccine and recommends getting the flu vaccine as early as September and October.

Staying ahead of the virus and getting your flu shot as soon as possible will help reduce the potential strain on hospital resources if people are getting sick. However, if flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue, even in January or later.

Where can you get the flu shot?

There are a lot of options out there to get your flu shot, but if you are local to Lititz, Pennsylvania area, CNS can assist with your 2020-2021 flu shot.

We offer flu shots to individuals or companies with a large set of employees interested on obtaining the flu vaccine.

Occupational Medicine Services

Our Occupation Medicine Team is knowledgeable and focused on best-in-class customer service when it comes to treating workers and employers, creating long-term health and wellness.

The goal of our medical staff is to keep workers safe and healthy on the job, allowing you to continue the production that keeps your business running.

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


What drivers should look for during thorough pre and post-trip inspections

thorough pre and post-trip inspections

The three areas that most violations come from are lights, tires, and brakes

Teaching a driver how to do a pre-trip and post-trip inspection is as important as teaching them how to drive the truck.

Some of the easiest things to catch during a driver inspection are also the most common violations written up on a roadside inspection.

Proper pre and post-trip inspections should take at least 30 minutes to perform thoroughly and will reduce vehicle maintenance and violation costs.

This guide was developed based on what DOT inspectors look for at roadside and what maintenance often look for before releasing a vehicle. We will focus on the major sections and important details a driver should inspect, including the:

  • Front of the vehicle
  • Wheels and axles
  • Lights, tires, leaks, and brakes
  • Side of the truck and trailer

Front of the vehicle

Drivers should look for any intersecting cracks or large rock chips on the windshield, especially in the driver’s line of sight.

Honking the horn, whether that is the air horn or steering wheel city-horn, and turning on the windshield wiper is a simple step to make sure they are working properly.

Then, turn on all lights, which include the three marker lights at the top of the cab, clearance lights, and headlights. Test your high-beams, turn signals, and four-way flashers.

Open the hood and look for any obvious defects.

An easy part for DOT inspectors to check is the pitman arm and steering linkage. If there is any amount of play or looseness where the two gears of the pitman arm meet, it is considered an out-of-service violation and drivers will have to park until it is fixed. Sometimes, if rust is appearing here, it is a good indication that it is not tight.

Finally, check the suspension components. If it looks like your vehicle is leaning to one side, it is a good indicator that there is something wrong with the suspension components.


Vehicle Maintenance: Free Estimate

Contact us with any questions. Our specialists are here to help you maximize your vehicle maintenance.

Wheels and axles

For wheels, check for cracks and loose or missing lug-nuts or wheel fasteners, and look for leaking hub grease.

It is an out-of-service violation for lug-nuts when:

  • 10-lug wheels: 3 are missing anywhere or 2 adjacent to each other, or
  • 8-lug wheels: 2 are missing anywhere

The steer axle is at the front of the power unit and has specific criteria that is different than other axles.

For example, to be in compliance, your required tire tread depth of a steer axle is higher compared to other axles, which are 4/32” depth and, 2/32” depth, respectively.

After the steer axle, we will move back to the drive axles. The first set of drive axles are either a single axle or group of axles that provide power to help move the truck down the road.

Trailer axles are at the back of the trailer. Some of these axles have sliding or tandem axles to help distribute the weight, to stay within regulations of maximum weight for a tandem axle.

If you are adjusting weight by sliding the tandem axles, you want to slide the axles toward the over-weight location. For example, if you are overweight at the rear of the trailer, then sliding the tandem axles further to the rear will help distribute the weight to the forward drive axles.

Tandem axles have notches on each axle. Each notch moves about 250 to 300 pounds to the other group of axles. Drivers may show up at a weigh station and find that they are more overweight then they were before, and that is because they are sliding the axles the wrong direction.

Lights, tires, leaks, and brakes

The three areas that most violations come from are lights, tires, and brakes. For example, low tread depth, damaged sidewalls, and inoperable light are easily visible and usually do not wear out on one trip.

It is important to check for flat or underinflated tires, fluids leaking, that all required lights are working properly, measure brake pushrod travel distance, brake pad thickness, and check brake can, hoses, and rotor surfaces.

It is an out-of-service violation for tires if:

  • Underinflated tires are 50% or less of the sidewall rating
  • There is a noticeable leak heard or felt in a tire
  • The sidewall is cut, worn, or damaged
  • There is a visual bump or bulge on any part of the tire, and
  • If there is exposed belt or cord material

Leaks can come from the fuel tank, so make sure that it is securely mounted, and the fuel cap is the proper cap and is tight. Sometimes the cap is missing after fueling the truck because the driver forgot to put it back on. Be sure to check reefer trailers and auxiliary power unit tanks as well.  

Side of the truck and trailer

Make sure that the air and electric lines are not lying on the deck area. The lines will rub while driving and eventually wear a hole in the lines, causing an air leak and the brake system to not work properly or even failing.

For 5th wheel assembly, make sure all components are secure, there are no cracks or damaged parts, and bolt tightness. Also, check for any rust driplines by the bolts. Rust will eventually cause bolts to be loose.

On the trailer, check for any damage on the trailer, trailer lights are working, any cargo securement devices are properly placed and tightened, and that there is a spare tire and tire chains secured properly.


Vehicles Maintenance

Vehicle maintenance costs can be a huge line item for fleet companies and at times, hard to keep under control. Routine maintenance of your vehicles is a necessity to ensure that your biggest assets always stay on the road.

An experienced and knowledgeable vehicle maintenance partner can make all the difference.

CNS can effectively manage your vehicle maintenance to meet your specific driving demands. We effortlessly handle an unlimited number of preventive maintenance schedules for all the vehicles in your fleet.

Serving your customers is your business; maintaining your fleet should be ours. Depend on CNS to keep your vehicles on the road and benefit from our expertise and gain a partnership that is dedicated to your success.

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

How Successful Driver Training Programs Reduce Driver Turnover

reduce driver turnover with driver training

Reducing driver turnover = Improved safety and reduced violation costs

Trucking has had a high driver turnover rate for decades and continues to climb above 90% for larger carriers and around 73% for smaller carriers.

Much of the driver turnover problem is caused by a large percentage of drivers leaving within the first 90 days of on-boarding with a new company.

While a complete hiring program includes a strong driver qualification process seeking stable drivers, meeting driver needs, healthy company culture, competitive driver pay, and more, carriers may solve a big part of the driver retention puzzle by focusing on a successful driver training program.

This includes covering important orientation and safety training quickly and, in many cases, across multiple locations to make sure all drivers are being adequately prepared.

Before we look at what a successful driver training program looks like…

Why is reducing driver turnover so important?

Reducing high driver turnover improves fleet safety and violation costs

A data firm, Vigillo, recently completed an analysis of driver turnover as they monitored FMCSA violations and crashes for nearly 2,000 trucking fleets in the United States.

Their analysis found that a group of fleets with high driver turnover had 1,177 total crashes. The low driver turnover group 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.

This is why it is so important for fleets to reduce high driver turnover.

But how? A successful driver training program is a critical starting point.


Driver Training: Free Estimate

Contact us with any questions. Our specialists are here to help you maximize your driver training.

What is included in a Successful Driving Training Program?

On-the-job training and orientation

On-the-job driver training

Some fleets, such as Crete Carriers and Shaffer Trucking, require several weeks on-the-job training with senior driver evaluators.

New drivers are evaluated carefully on their ability to maintain control of the tractor, shifting gears properly, backing the trailer correctly, paperwork preparation, and interaction with customers.

On-the-job training is intended to provide drivers with an accurate picture of the life that professional drivers lead.

Driver orientation

Orientation is standard across all companies, but fleets with lower driver turnover are using it to reveal their company culture and help drivers smoothly transition into the new company.

A company handbook should be issued and covered during orientation along with more information on basic paperwork preparation, company safety policies, rules for logbook preparation, and handling hazardous materials.

Orientation should have an emphasis on communication, company expectations and the role of a truck driver. Drivers need to know they have somewhere to turn for help, including Safety Managers, HR staff, or even co-workers..

This is also the opportunity to pass out company swag, such as hats, insulated coffee mugs, shirts, and more.

Near-term customized video training

Each driver comes with their own experiences, skills, and flaws. A strong driver qualification process, on-the-job training, and driver orientation can highlight areas where a new driver can improve.

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 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.

Focusing on new technology

The idea that trucking is as simple as, “get in a truck and drive,” is such an old idea. Trucking is a sophisticated job that drivers are doing, and technology has made it even more complex. 

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.

According to a recent KeepTruckin survey, only 21% of drivers are happy with the quality of their ELD solution, and 73% of drivers experience one or more ELD issue per week.

This is why driver training and new driver onboarding is so crucial. In the first few months of their employment, a driver may feel frustrated with your ELD solution and quit.

Fleets need to make sure that drivers thoroughly understand the ELD they are using and new drivers should have their first several logs audited to ensure they are following company policy and Federal guidelines.

Company managers should be able to use their ELD reports to highlight negative driver habits and customize driver training programs to correct issues before they become an expensive problem.

What else can be done to reduce driver turnover?

Going beyond driver training to reduce high driver turnover

A successful driver training program is complicated.

It includes clear communication from:

  • driver orientation
  • driver qualification file management
  • ELD reports and management
  • on-the-job training
  • customized driver training, and
  • driver training that includes a video platform, in-person training, and regular safety meetings

Managing everything on your own is overwhelming and missing any little detail can lead to audits, fines, and high driver turnover and having someone handle your driver training can be helpful, but may not be enough.

What if there was a complete and affordable DOT Compliance Program to handle all the tedious and difficult office paperwork?


DOT Compliance Programs (PSM)

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

Our PSM Motor Carrier Program includes:

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

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

Fleets Transporting In Virginia Face New Covid-19 Rules And Fines

infection disease preparedness and response plan

Companies with Virginia truck drivers will have to create infectious disease preparedness and response plans

Virginia is the first state to impose enforceable COVID-19 safety requirements in the workplace. Fleets based in or operating in the state are now figuring out what the effect of this new law will be for their drivers and operations.

The final Emergency Temporary Standard rule was first made public on July 17 by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry and anticipates publication during the week of July 27.

What is required once the rule is published?

According to the rule, all companies based in Virginia will be required to:

  • classify employees by risk level (very high, high, medium and lower) based on workplace hazards and job tasks
  • establish policies for employees to self-monitor for COVID-19 signs and to report symptoms
  • put in place procedures to prevent employees who are known to have or are suspected of having COVID-19 from infecting co-workers, and
  • develop and implement a written infectious disease preparedness and response plan for employers of people in “medium risk” jobs (including truck drivers) that require being closer than 6 feet to other employees or the general public

Employers have 60 days from the rule’s effective (publication) date to develop the plan.

What does the Virginia Trucking Association (VTA) say?

According to Freightwaves, Dale Bennett, president and CEO of the Virginia Trucking Association, is seeking more clarity from the state on what he says could be a major regulatory burden for his members as well as shippers and receivers.

“If you have motor carriers or trucking companies that either do business in Virginia or have facilities in Virginia and you haven’t paid attention to this, you need to wake up,” Bennett told FreightWaves. “Anytime you talk about a new regulation, there’s going to be some cost associated with that. There are now certain requirements and responsibilities on the employer to report when employees test positive. These aren’t just guidelines anymore.”

For carriers that do not have locations in Virginia, once a driver steps out of the cab inside Virginia, there may be parts of these regulations that affect them.

What are the penalties if you disregard the rules?

According to Virginia Department of Labor and Industry, they can enforce the rules with fines for noncompliance ranging from $13,000 to $130,000 for repeat offenders and the state may shutter an employer’s operations, if deemed necessary.

How long will this last and what about other states?

The rules are set to expire six months after becoming published but could be extended if the state decides to do so.

We will be watching if additional states adopt similar plans.


DOT Compliance Services

Our complete Proactive Safety Management (PSM) program has been organized to get you through an FMCSA audit by managing your driver qualification files, drug consortium, Electronic Logging Devices (ELD), vehicle maintenance and more.

Whether you are a large trucking company that is on-boarding drivers quickly or a construction outfit with multiple trucks in your fleet, you need to stay aware of FMCSA regulations.

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

Reduce Vehicle Maintenance and Violation Costs with Proper Pre and Post Trip Inspections

pre and post trip inspection

A thorough pre-trip inspection should take between 30 and 45 minutes to perform.

Every year it is reported that around 25 to 30% of the maintenance-related CSA violations are due to inoperative or defective lighting.

Why does this continue to happen?

The simple answer is:

  • drivers are not given enough time necessary to run a thorough pre-trip or post-trip inspection, or
  • drivers are not being trained to understand the importance of the daily inspections.

The reality is, teaching a driver how to do a pre-trip and post-trip inspection is as important as teaching them how to drive the truck.

The Importance of Pre and Post Trip Inspections

A thorough pre-trip inspection should take between 30 and 45 minutes to perform.

Some of the easiest things to catch during a pre-trip inspection are also the most common violations written up on a roadside inspection.

For example, low tread depth and damaged sidewalls are easily visible and usually do not wear out on one trip.

According to the DOT, in 2015 63% of roadside inspections were triggered by a commercial motor vehicle being driven with an observable defect, including:

  • inoperable lights
  • deflated tires
  • cargo securement
  • missing placards, and
  • fluid leaks

All of the above can be caught without sliding under the truck.

In fact, the most common method roadside inspectors use to select a vehicle for inspection is whether or not there is a visual defect.

Drivers just need to be educated on what they are looking for and what the DOT is looking for when they are going to write up a violation.


Driver Training: Free Estimate

Contact us with any questions. Our specialists are here to help you maximize your driver training.

Preventing Vehicle Maintenance and Violation Costs

It is no secret that vehicle maintenance is near the top of any fleet expenses, with companies reporting average repair and maintenance costs of 16.7 cents per mile, according to the ATRI in 2019.

A minor problem caught during a pre-trip or post-trip inspection will likely cost less money to fix and should get you back on the road quicker instead of waiting around for a major issue to be fixed.

Also, it is better to catch an issue before hitting the road as roadside repairs generally cost three to five times more than repairs in the shop or the extra cost of towing the truck to a shop.

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.

Accident costs take more time recover from

When it comes to accidents preventable by  pre or post-trip inspections, hidden costs of an accident can be 4 to 10 times greater than the visible costs.

Visible costs:

  • cargo damage
  • vehicle damage
  • personal injury costs
  • medical costs
  • loss of revenue
  • increased insurance premiums and deductibles
  • towing costs
  • storage of the damaged vehicle

Hidden costs:

  • lost customers
  • lost sales
  • lost productivity
  • cost to hire or train replacement workers
  • loss of, or damage to, third-party property
  • vehicle replacement
  • damaged equipment downtime
  • accelerated depreciation of equipment
  • tarnished public perception
  • charges from government agencies to replace or repair property
  • and more

The FMCSA found that the average cost of a truck crash involving a tractor-trailer pulling one trailer was  $172,000, and for two or three trailers, the costs amount to over $500,000.

To recover the cost of a single accident, a company would need to generate over $7,000,000 of additional revenue to pay the costs of the accident, assuming an average profit margin of 2%.


DOT Training

All fleets need to conduct proper and thorough pre and post trip inspections, which consists of implementing quality:

  • driver training that is ongoing and consistent
  • driver education, and
  • driver awareness of current and changing traffic laws

All of this will help prevent being targeted by the DOT at roadside inspections and is a valuable resource to ensure a healthy fleet, and compliant safety practices.

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

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

Enforcement Discretion to November for Carriers Transporting Disinfectants

Carriers Transporting Disinfectants

PHMSA extends enforcement notice allowing fleets to provide employee protection and stay government compliant

Imagine your significant other asks you to go to the grocery store to pick up disinfecting spray. With your mask on, you walk down the cleaning aisle to choose one of the likely dozen options, but found the entire shelf empty. It is mid-July.

Now, imagine I was a fleet looking for these products to help keep my employees and clients safe during this pandemic.

Workplaces such as package sorting facilities, airport ramps, stations, and delivery vehicles often lack ready access to soap and water, resulting in an urgent need for sanitizing and disinfecting products.

How does this affect transportation companies?

Companies have been exploring alternate ways to transport materials to locations in their network so they can continue to provide this essential resource in a safe manner.

According to a recent announcement, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) “is aware of the challenges that transportation companies are facing in providing personnel with necessary materials, such as hand sanitizers, that provide for protection of their health and safety and comply with government guidelines.”

Given that these companies frequently have their own effective transportation distribution networks in place, focused relief from certain requirements of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) has supported the efficient and streamlined movement of needed materials in this time of emergency.

How is the PHMSA helping the shortage of disinfectants?

The PHMSA has given notice that it will continue to show discretion towards any carriers transporting sanitizing and disinfecting materials on a motor vehicle for the purposes of protecting the health and safety of employees of the carrier.

According to the announcement, transport of these products must also be in accordance with PHMSA’s April 20, 2020 Notice of Enforcement Discretion.

The extended enforcement discretion will continue through October 31, 2020.

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


Reduce COVID-19 Hospital Burdens, Get a 2020 Flu Shot

flu shots and flu vaccines

Why should you get a flu shot in 2020?

Health officials are wary of a second wave of COVID-19 hitting during the 2020-2021 flu season.

If this is true, there is a strong possibility that hospitals and their resources will be placed under tremendous strain.

How can we help reduce hospital burden?

If more Americans choose to receive a flu shot, this could ease the strain on hospitals across the country.

The COVID-19 stay-at-home orders have led to decreased use of routine preventive medical services, including vaccinations.

Last year’s flu season brought in an estimated 740,000 hospitalizations and up to 62,000 deaths. With the added medical attention necessary from COVID-19 cases, you can see how this will hinder the normal operation of your local hospitals.

What does the CDC say?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that less than half of Americans, approximately 45%, get the flu vaccine each year.

This may be different in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic will most likely drive more people to getting a flu shot.

According to the CDC Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases Jay Butler, “Getting a flu vaccine will be more important than ever as flu and COVID-19 could be circulating together as we move into the fall and winter months.”


Interested in a flu shot?

We are able to schedule individual or group flu shots with our Mobile Clinic for you or your company's employees.

Who should get the flu vaccine and when?

The CDC recommends that anyone 6 months and older get a yearly flu vaccine and recommends getting the flu vaccine as early as September and October.

Staying ahead of the virus and getting your flu shot as soon as possible will help reduce the potential strain on hospital resources if people are getting sick. However, if flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue, even in January or later.

Where can you get the flu shot?

There are a lot of options out there to get your flu shot, but if you are local to Lititz, Pennsylvania area, CNS can assist with your 2020-2021 flu shot.

We offer flu shots to individuals or companies with a large set of employees interested on obtaining the flu vaccine.


Occupational Medicine Services

Our Occupation Medicine Team is knowledgeable and focused on best-in-class customer service when it comes to treating workers and employers, creating long-term health and wellness.

The goal of our medical staff is to keep workers safe and healthy on the job, allowing you to continue the production that keeps your business running.

In addition to flu shots ,we offer a number of other health related services, including COVID-19 related services, such as pre-shift screenings, pre-employment screenings and antibody testing.

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

PennDOT Extends Physical Exam Waiver for Bus Drivers

school bus driver physical exam waiver

School bus drivers who need a new physical have until July 31, 2020 to complete one

In response to the request submitted by the Pennsylvania School Bus Association, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation granted the extension to waive the annual physical exam requirement for school bus drivers under 67 Pa. Code §71.3.

The waiver applies to any school bus driver with proof of a valid physical exam that expired on or after March 13, 2020.

School bus drivers who need a new physical exam have until July 31, 2020 to complete one.

According to PennDOT, this waiver does not apply to:

  • drivers who cannot provide proof of physical exam expiring after March 13, 2020;
  • new drivers who have never competed a physical exam;
  • drivers who have been diagnosed with a medical condition that would disqualify the driver from operating a school bus, since their last physical exam;
  • drivers who have developed a condition that requires a medical waiver, since their last physical exam; and
  • drivers required to undergo additional 3-month examinations under 67 Pa. Code §71.3(b)(4)(B)(I) unless the driver has completed the required 3-month exam.

A school bus driver should be able to satisfactorily perform the following activities demonstrating the school bus driver meets the intent of this section:

  • Walk around a school bus
    • Pennsylvania school buses have a maximum length of 45 feet and width of 102 inches. Drivers should be able to satisfactory walk at least 107 feet without problem.
  • Bend to check underneath the bus unassisted by any medical apparatus
    • The bottom of a school bus chassis is typically three (3) feet off the ground.
  • Climb and descend the school bus steps—normally 3 steps—which are each 12-16 inches high.
  • While using the right foot only, alternate between the service brake and accelerator
    • Necessary strength and flexibility to operate all controls with hands and feet.
  • Hold the service brake—the main brake on the bus—with the right foot with 40-60 lbs. of force for 60 seconds.
  • Move quickly and easily from the driver’s seat, through the aisle, and exit the rear emergency exit of the school bus.
    • School bus aisles have a minimum clearance of 11 and 3/4 inches wide, with a typical clearance of 15 inches.

School bus drivers are responsible for the safe transportation of our most precious cargo, our children. It is imperative that every school bus driver is physically capable of not only safely operating the school bus, but also performing critical safety functions in the event of an emergency while operating that school bus.

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