FMCSA extends and expands Emergency HOS Declaration to May 15


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended and expanded its emergency declaration providing regulatory relief to truck drivers who are transporting emergency supplies during the coronavirus outbreak.

The notice, which was issued yesterday, April 8, 2020, states that the emergency declaration for all 50 states and the District of Columbia will be effective through May 15.

The original declaration was put in place on March 13 and was to remain in effect until April 12.

The FMCSA’s declaration grants exemption from Parts 390-399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. This includes hours of service (HOS), parts and accessories needed for safe operation, and longer combination vehicles.

The FMCSA notice states that, “Because emergency conditions have not abated, FMCSA is extending [the] emergency declaration and associated regulatory relief.” “This extension of the emergency declaration addresses national emergency conditions that create a need for immediate transportation of essential supplies, equipment and persons, and provides necessary relief from the FMCSRs for motor carriers and drivers engaged in the transport of essential supplies, equipment and persons.”

In addition to extending the time frame for the declaration, the notice also expands on the already once expanded HOS exemption list, adding the transportation of liquefied gases used in refrigeration or cooling systems.

The first expansion to the HOS emergency declaration offering relief for drivers providing direct assistance in support of emergency efforts to meet immediate needs for:

  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
  • Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants.
  • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
  • Immediate precursor raw materials, such as paper, plastic or alcohol, that are required and to be used for the manufacture of essential items.
  • Fuel.
  • Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing or quarantine.
  • Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation or quarantine purposes.
  • Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services.

The FMCSA has made it very clear that the emergency declaration does not change any traffic or safety laws drivers are expected to abide by, such as speed limits. Drivers are also still required to continue following FMCSA rules and requirements related to commercial driver licenses, drugs and alcohol, hazardous materials, size, weight and registration requirements.

Motor carriers are not allowed to force or even authorize a fatigued driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle. In an instance where a driver makes it known to a carrier that he or she needs rest, the driver must be given at least 10 consecutive hours before returning to service.

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

Truck driver challenges during Coronavirus pandemic


COVID-19 and challenges for truckers

Truck drivers face concerns whether coming or going in this fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Personal and economic challenges face the 1.8 million CMV drivers in America, because unlike other businesses, a driver cannot simply choose to work from home.

Drivers face personal risk during this outbreak

At the forefront, the personal health and wellness of truck drivers is at stake. Drivers are literally in the front seat of this crisis as they travel the country delivering goods.

Several factors put truck drivers at greater risk of being exposed and/or contracting the coronavirus, including:

  • nationwide travel
  • handling of overseas goods
  • exposure at truck stops for meals and showers
  • multiple facility stops

On the flip side, driving is mostly an isolated activity. Still, it’s difficult for a driver to practice the social distancing recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Drivers face greater risk of illness

Besides the greater risk of contact with the coronavirus, according to a 2014 study by the CDC, drivers may also be at greater risk of falling ill from the virus .

The study showed more than half of truck drivers smoke and are two times as likely to have diabetes as the rest of the population. These health factors put them in a higher risk category should they contract the COVID-19 virus strain.

The issue grows greater with the realization that 38% of drivers do not have health insurance (same CDC study). Furthermore, paid sick leave in the trucking industry is uncommon.

Many companies are now conducting pre-shift screenings and temperature checks to further protect their employees.

Drivers face economic uncertainty

Additionally, financial stability for drivers is threatened by the secondary fallout of the virus, economic downturn. Since between 350,000 and 400,000 of America’s drivers are independent owner-operators, they work freelance, without the benefits of regulations that protect workers from sudden wage loss.

For fleet drivers, however, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) protects workers by requiring companies with more than one hundred employees to give at least 60-days of notice before layoffs or closings, if it would affect 50 or more employees.

Still, companies can increase down days or slow line rates as needed when addressing a market downturn.

Waiting out the viral impact

It seems likely the coronavirus outbreak will amplify pricing and capacity swings in the US trucking industry in 2020. Logistics experts warn of a coming price shock for shippers. Downshifts in the trucking market capacity and shipping rates are expected to remain longer than normal. However, when freight volume rises, as is expected when quarantines lift, so will rates. 

>>> How are trucking companies preparing for the Coronavirus? <<<

Factors that increase shipping rates include the following:

  • short supply of trucks
  • increase in freight demand
  • produce season
  • spring retail sales surge
  • manufacturing increases

Each of these factors could result in greater truckload capacity, which would ease the pinch of the coronavirus impact to the trucking industry and drivers, specifically.


Trucking Startups, Hiring Drivers and CDL Training

No matter what your current situation is in the trucking industry, we have a service that would be valuable to you, like CDL trainingstarting your own trucking business or hiring new, qualified drivers.

If you have been laid off, this might be a good time to start training to get your CDL. There will be a need for more drivers as businesses and events resume normal operation in the coming months.

If you are already a driver in the trucking industry, this may be the perfect time for you to start your own trucking company. Securing loads will not be an issue once the economy bounces back.

If you are a trucking company, you will most likely need to be hiring qualified drivers in the near future, and you will need to get good, qualified drivers very quickly, as well as manage all of the files for those drivers.

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

CVSA Postpones International Roadcheck


May Inspection Postponed

Every year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) sets inspection and enforcement initiatives, such as International Roadcheck, which is scheduled for May 5-7. However, with public health and safety as its top concern, CVSA has decided to postpone International Roadcheck to later in the year. The Alliance will monitor the status of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and appropriately select the new dates when it’s safe and reasonable to do so. Once the rescheduled dates have been selected, CVSA will notify the commercial motor vehicle enforcement community, the motor carrier industry, the press and the public.

It is important to note that International Roadcheck, as a high-visibility, high-volume inspection and regulatory enforcement event, will no longer take place on May 5-7; however, roadside safety inspections and traffic enforcement will continue to be conducted every day, with enforcement personnel following their departmental health and safety policies and procedures, as appropriate.

>>> Stay prepared for roadside inspections <<<

“As we urgently respond to this time-sensitive crisis, we must remain diligent and committed to ensuring that the commercial motor vehicles and drivers providing essential goods and services to our communities are following motor carrier safety regulations,” said CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police. “Safety doesn’t take a break. It is always our top priority.”

“International Roadcheck has run on-schedule for the past 32 years so its postponement was thoroughly and thoughtfully discussed before we made this decision, but it wasn’t a difficult decision to make,” said Sgt. Samis. “This experience is unprecedented in our modern society and we need to do all that we can to help stop the spread of this global pandemic.”

At this time, International Roadcheck is the only public enforcement initiative that has been postponed. Operation Safe Driver Week is still scheduled for July 12-18 and Brake Safety Week is still set for Aug. 23-29.

CVSA will closely monitor the coronavirus outbreak, follow guidance from public health expert leadership, and promptly notify the membership and industry stakeholders of the rescheduled International Roadcheck dates and the status of future scheduled enforcement campaigns.

For up-to-date information on coronavirus and guidance on this rapidly evolving situation, visit the website for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For Canada, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website. In Mexico, visit the government of Mexico’s website. Visit the World Health Organization’s website for a worldwide update on the coronavirus pandemic.

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

FMCSA waives CDL, medical certification renewal regs


Waived through June 30

Due to the effects of COVID-19, the US Department of Transportation will not enforce certain licensing and medical certification renewal regulations for drivers whose credentials expired on or after March 1, 2020.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a waiver Tuesday extending commercial driver’s license and commercial learner’s permit validity until June 30 for those that expire on or after March 1. CLP holders will not be required to retake the general and endorsement knowledge tests if utilizing the waiver.

The notice also waives the requirement for drivers to have a medical exam or certification, as long as the drivers have proof of a valid medical certification that was issued for at least 90 days and expired on or after March 1.

The waiver follows President Trump’s national emergency declaration on March 13 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. FMCSA says a number of states have more employee absences than normal or closed offices, making it difficult for commercial drivers to renew their licenses. Additionally, FMCSA notes many medical service providers have canceled regularly scheduled appointments, not allowing drivers to get appointments for DOT physicals with medical examiners.

In addition to the above waivers, the notice also:

  • Waives the requirement that CLP holders wait 14 days to take the CDL skills test.
  • Waives the requirement that truckers provide states with a medical examiner’s certificate, as long as they have proof of a valid med cert that expired on or after March 1.
  • Waives the requirement that states change drivers’ med cert status to “not certified” upon the expiration of the certificate if it expires after March 1.
  • Allows FMCSA to continue to recognize the validity of Canadian and Mexican commercial licenses when those jurisdictions issue similar notices extending license validity

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

Trucking companies brace for Coronavirus impact

Coronavirus

Trucking and the Coronavirus

With the world focused on the fear of illness and global spread of this year’s coronavirus (COVID-19), trucking companies brace for a secondary threat as well, as the freight market slows.

Prior factors affect the trucking industry

Businesses had already stuffed their warehouses with imported goods at the end of 2019, trying to get ahead of the tariffs placed against China. Then, as concerns over the virus itself grew, this slowed import shipping. Trucking companies with work in and around ports have felt the impact already.

Current factors add burden

Currently, several factors are impacting the trucking industry and putting the brakes on freight. First, the national shift for many businesses to encourage their employees to work from home. Secondly, consumers have drastically reduced their daily activities, without choice in most states.

Each state has implemented some sort of guideline to follow, each on a different level, but with the same end goal, to create social distancing. Most states are closing schools, preventing operation of non-essential businesses and even preventing gatherings of 50, 25 and even 10 people.

With a number of major events being cancelled, such as the Mid-America Trucking Show and sporting events (eg. NCAA tournament), the trucking industry has taken a big hit as well, since the need for truckers to carry the necessary supplies to these events has vanished.

Transportation market follows industry market

Garrett Bowers, President of Bowers Trucking in Oklahoma commented to Transport Topics news outlet: “If industry is stifled, transportation will follow.”

Trucking companies can expect to find themselves pinched tightly between all these factors. And, of course, layered on top of these concerns is the well-being of their drivers as they send them out across the nation, where they could be more susceptible to contracting the Coronavirus.

Many companies are now conducting pre-shift screenings and temperature checks to further protect their employees.

Some companies, mostly those immediately affected near the ports, have begun reducing capacity and laying off independent owner-operators in response to the downturn.

But across the country, companies feel the hit of this pandemic. Fleets have been absorbing a cost burden from being unable to return empty containers, as well as administrative costs.

Hoping for a rebound

There is definitely potential for a rebound in the trucking industry once shipping from China and other countries resumes normal pace. However, this potential rebound will have a delay that can impact many companies.

Companies should anticipate and plan not only for reduced rates and capacity, but also for difficulties at the loading docks. If shippers must reduce their own workforce due to coronavirus-related illnesses or quarantines, loads may not be ready when truckers arrive.

Companies should prepare for a double-headed approach to address both the current slow-down and the eventual recovery when shipments begin to surge to make up for delays.

>>> How are truck drivers affected by the Coronavirus? <<<


Trucking Startups, Hiring Drivers and CDL Training

No matter what your current situation is in the trucking industry, we have a service that would be valuable to you, like CDL training, starting your own trucking business or hiring new, qualified drivers.

If you have been laid off, this might be a good time to start training to get your CDL. There will be a need for more drivers as businesses and events resume normal operation in the coming months.

If you are already a driver in the trucking industry, this may be the perfect time for you to start your own trucking company. Securing loads will not be an issue once the economy bounces back.

If you are a trucking company, you will most likely need to be hiring qualified drivers in the near future, and you will need to get good, qualified drivers very quickly, as well as manage all of the files for those drivers.

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

FMCSA expands HOS exemption list


We are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 (coronavirus) and we will work to update you with any important updates that we belive are necessary for you, our clients, to know. The FMCSA’s expanded declaration provides for regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts intended to meet immediate needs for: 

  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
  • Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants.
  • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
  • Immediate precursor raw materials—such as paper, plastic or alcohol—that are required and to be used for the manufacture of essential items.
  • Fuel.
  • Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine.
  • Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes.
  • Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services.

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