Final rule for hours of service goes to White House

HOS Final Rule to White House

HOS proposal goes to White House

In August of 2019 the FMCSA released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) related to the hours of service rules and regulations and were also taking public comment on the DOT hours-of-service proposal.

As of Monday, March 2, 2020, the FMCSA has announced that they have filed the rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is one of the final steps before the rule is published in the Federal Register.

The rulemaking to reform the hours of service has maintained momentum, even with resignation of Ray Martinez in October of 2019. Martinez started the hours of service reform in the beginning of his term in 2018 and Jim Mullen said the FMCSA was still focused on seeing the rulemaking through.

The content of the final rule is not clear, as the text has not been made public, however it will still address the key issues that were covered in August 2019. You can review those proposed changes in our previous post.

>>> More driver flexibility after hours of service changes <<<

According to the Federal law, the rule must be approved or denied by the OMB within 90 days of its submission, however that deadline can be extended to 120 days.

When the OMB clears the rule, the FMCSA can publish the rule in the Federal Register. What does that mean? It means that the final rule could be filed in the coming months and once filed there will likely be an implementation period of months or years allowing the industry to prepare for the changes.


Stay DOT compliant

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

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

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

CVSA International Roadside DOT Inspection Readiness (2020)

DOT Inspection

2020 DOT Inspection Readiness

The annual International Roadcheck—conducted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) in the spring of each year—is a high-visibility reminder of the importance of commercial motor vehicle safety.

Let’s review a few important notes and changes for the 2020 International Roadcheck.

Date change for 2020 International Roadcheck

Historically, the International Roadcheck has happened the first week of June. In 2020, the DOT inspection dates have been moved up a month to take advantage of potentially more favorable weather conditions.

This year, the CVSA’s International Roadcheck will happen from May 5-7, 2020.

DOT inspection focus for 2020 International Roadcheck

Primarily, the International Roadcheck conducts the North American Standard (NAS) Level I Inspection, which includes 37 steps in two main inspection categories:

  • driver operating requirements
  • vehicle mechanical fitness
  • Note: hazardous materials/dangerous goods are sometimes part of a Level I inspection

Depending on other factors, an inspector could conduct a:

  • Level II inspection (walk-around driver/vehicle)
  • Level III inspection (driver/credential/administrative) and/or
  • Level IV inspection (vehicle-only)

Each year, there is also a special category focus. This year’s focus is on the driver requirements category.

>>> Download 2020 International Roadcheck Driver Requirements <<<

CVSA’s President, Sgt. John Samis of the Delaware State Police, commented that due to the US Federal mandate for electronic logging device compliance, “this year’s International Roadcheck would be the perfect opportunity to revisit all aspects of roadside DOT inspection driver requirements.”

What to expect during the CVSA International Roadcheck

At a minimum, drivers should anticipate the following procedures during a roadside DOT inspection:

  • inspector greeting, interview, driver preparation
  • collection/verification of driver documents
  • motor carrier ID
  • license examination
  • records check (duty status and periodic inspection reports)
  • certification check (if needed)
    • Medical Examiner’s Certificate
    • Skill Performance Evaluation Certification, and
    • daily vehicle inspection report
  • other inspections such as driver seat belt usage, illness, fatigue, impairments due to substance use

A roadside DOT inspection would include critical components such as:

  • brake systems
  • cargo securement
  • coupling devices
  • driveline/driveshaft components
  • driver’s seat (missing)
  • exhaust systems
  • frames
  • fuel systems
  • lighting devices
  • steering mechanisms
  • suspension system
  • tires
  • van and open-top trailer bodies
  • wheels, rims, and hubs
  • windshield wipers
  • Buses, motor coaches, passenger vans or other passenger-carrying vehicles: emergency exits, electrical cables and systems in engine and battery compartments, and temporary and aisle seating

Although this 3-day event spanning from Canada to Mexico intensifies the frequency of inspections, it’s crucial to remember that DOT inspections happen every day of the year.

The FMCSA 2019 data reports 3.36 million inspections last year, with only 67,072 (or, about 2%) happening during the International Roadcheck. The annual data show 944,794 driver violations, with just over 20% (195,545) being for out-of-service conditions.

>>> Review the 2019 International Truck Inspection Results <<<

Obeying safety standards and being prepared for inspection at any time of the year is a vital aspect of any driver’s protocol.

What are CVSA Standards for critical violations?

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

There are eight different levels of inspection the CVSA follows. However, truck inspections in the 2019 Roadcheck were only subjected to the North American Standard (NAS) Level I, II and III Inspections.

Out-of-service orders and the number, type and severity of safety violations affect a motor carrier’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) score and its Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rating.


DOT Audits

We can perform a mock audit for you

You can stay ahead of the FMCSA by ensuring your drivers are in compliance before sending them out on the road. We offer many services, but one specifically—DOT Mock Audits—help trucking companies operate with the confidence that they will pass any audits or inspections the FMCSA throws at them.

Basically, in a DOT Mock Audit, we send out a specialist that will conduct an audit in the exact same way a DOT officer would. This can help keep you prepared for any surprise roadside inspection or any future actual DOT audits, and you can be sure that they will happen.

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

For any assistance related to DOT Audits, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

DOT hours-of-service: Comment extension


The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) wants more time to collect and analyze comments on the FMCSA’s proposal for changes to the hours-of-service rules.

The CVSA sent a formal petition to the FMCSA requesting a 45-day extension to the comment period regarding a notice of proposed rulemaking aimed at providing commercial motor vehicle drivers more hours-of-service flexibility.

In early August the FMCSA proposed five changes to the hours-of-service regulations:

  1. 30-minute break requirement: Changes will allow drivers to satisfy the required break using on duty, not driving status, rather than off duty.
  2. Sleeper berth exception: Changes will allow drivers to split the required 10 hours off duty into two periods.
    • One period must contain at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth.
    • The other period cannot be less than 2 consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth.
    • Note: Neither period would count against the driver’s 14‑hour driving window
  3. 30-minute to 3-hour off-duty break: Changes will allow drivers one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes and no more than 3 hours, that pauses the driver’s 14-hour driving window
    • Note: Driver must take 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.
  4. Adverse driving conditions exception: Changes will extend the maximum window during which driving is permitted by two hours.
  5. Short-haul exception: Changes will lengthen the drivers’ maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extends the operating distance limit from 100 to 150 air miles.

CVSA fully supports FMCSA in their request for comments, however, Executive Director Collin Mooney said that 45 days is not enough time to prepare and approve comments on such a complicated and important issue. Mooney stated that it is imperative that stakeholders provide more time.

The August 22, 2019 proposal opened a 45-day comment period allowing comments on regulations.gov using docket number FMCSA-2018-0248 until Oct. 7, however the extension would leave the comment period open until November 21, 2019.

Stay DOT compliant

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

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

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

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.

>>> Final rule goes to White House as of March 2020 <<<


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.

Alternate Cargo Securement for Agricultural Commodities Approved by FMCSA

April 15th 2019, FMCSA granted a waiver to the American Trucking Associations’ Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference.  This allows alternate securement for ag commodities transported by wood or plastic boxes and large fiberglass tubs, or for hay, straw and cotton bales that are grouped by large singular units.

 

Wood and Plastic boxes and bins should be secured by perimeter tie-downs used in pairs with corner irons, along with blocking at the front end of the trailer.  Trailers 32 ft long or less would also require the use of at least one lateral tie-down in the center of the trailer.  Trailers longer than 32 ft would require at least two lateral tie-downs.

Fiberglass tubs need be secured with at least two perimeter tie-downs – one attached near the front right corner of the trailer crossing diagonally to the left rear corner of the tub, and one attached near the front left corner of the trailer and extending to the right rear corner of the tub.

 

Baled Cotton, hay, straw and other similar commodities in horizontal bales would have to be secured with at least two parallel longitudinal tie-downs over the top of the load and by a least four cross tie-downs if loaded more than one tier high.  Vertical bales would have to be secured with two perimeter tie-downs.  If stacked in two tiers, two longitudinal tie-downs that extend over the top of the load and at least four cross tie-downs.

The exemption is effective through April 15, 2024.

Read more regulation through https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FMCSA-2017-0319-0004

Now Offering DOT CDL Physical Exams

CNS is now offering appointments for DOT medical card exams. The service will be provided at CNS headquarters, located at 38 Copperfield Circle, Lititz PA 17543 as well as onsite exams across PA for fleets. The service will also extend to PA School Bus medical exams.

Exam appointments can be scheduled Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each Month.

CNS has hired, John Reel, PA-C, MPAS, as our new Certified DOT Medical Examiner.     DOT CDL Physical Exams

John has 35 years of experience in emergency medicine, general surgery, family practice, pulmonary medicine, internal medicine, occupational medicine and urgent care. John was named one of 50 Physician Assistants Who Make A Difference Today by the National Commission of Certified Physician Assistants Health Foundation in 2017.

 

Schedule an exam today! Exams@cnsprotects.com or by calling 717.625.0280 Option 2

Video Blog: Safety Rating Upgrade Frequently Asked Questions

Compliance Review, Conditional, Unsatisfactory, Notice of Claim

Frequently asked questions about the safety rating upgrade process at CNS! Chris, our VP of Business Development, interviews Hoyt Craver, our Safety Rating Upgrade Project Coordinator. We achieve incredible success with the FMCSA, learn more in this short clip.

 

FMCSA Issues Personal Conveyance Guidance

FMCSA states personal conveyance is the movement of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for personal use while off-duty. A driver may record time operating a CMV for personal conveyance as off-duty only when the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work by the motor carrier. The CMV may be used for personal conveyance even if it is laden, since the load is not being transported for the commercial benefit of the motor carrier at that time. Personal conveyance does not reduce a driver’s or motor carrier’s responsibility to operate a CMV safely. Motor carriers can establish personal conveyance limitations either within the scope of, or more restrictive than, the guidance provided here.

Click here for a recorded presentation that provides an overview of the revised personal conveyance guidance; the corresponding powerpoint slides are available here.

FMCSA updates the guidance for § 395.8 Driver’s Record of Duty Status to read as follows:

Question 26: Under what circumstances may a driver operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) as a personal conveyance?

Guidance: A driver may record time operating a CMV for personal conveyance (i.e., for personal use or reasons) as off-duty only when the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work by the motor carrier. The CMV may be used for personal conveyance even if it is laden, since the load is not being transported for the commercial benefit of the carrier at that time. Personal conveyance does not reduce a driver’s or motor carrier’s responsibility to operate a CMV safely. Motor carriers can establish personal conveyance limitations either within the scope of, or more restrictive than, this guidance, such as banning use of a CMV for personal conveyance purposes, imposing a distance limitation on personal conveyance, or prohibiting personal conveyance while the CMV is laden.

Examples of Appropriate Uses of a CMV While Off-duty for Personal Conveyance

The following are examples of appropriate uses of a CMV while off-duty for personal conveyance include, but are not limited to:

  1. Time spent traveling from a driver’s en route lodging (such as a motel or truck stop) to restaurants and entertainment facilities.
  2. Commuting between the driver’s terminal and his or her residence, between trailer-drop lots and the driver’s residence, and between work sites and his or her residence. In these scenarios, the commuting distance combined with the release from work and start to work times must allow the driver enough time to obtain the required restorative rest as to ensure the driver is not fatigued.
  3. Time spent traveling to a nearby, reasonable, safe location to obtain required rest after loading or unloading. The time driving under personal conveyance must allow the driver adequate time to obtain the required rest in accordance with minimum off-duty periods under 49 CFR 395.3(a)(1) (property-carrying vehicles) or 395.5(a) (passenger-carrying vehicles) before returning to on-duty driving, and the resting location must be the first such location reasonably available.
  4. Moving a CMV at the request of a safety official during the driver’s off-duty time
  5. Time spent traveling in a motorcoach without passengers to en route lodging (such as motel or truck stop), or to restaurants and entertainment facilities and back to the lodging. In this scenario, the driver of the motorcoach can claim personal conveyance provided the driver is off-duty. Other off-duty drivers may be on board the vehicle, and are not considered passengers.
  6. Time spent transporting personal property while off-duty.
  7. Authorized use of a CMV to travel home after working at an offsite location.

Examples of Uses of a CMV that Would Not Qualify as Personal Conveyance

The following are examples of uses of a CMV that would not qualify as personal conveyance include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. The movement of a CMV in order to enhance the operational readiness of a motor carrier. For example, bypassing available resting locations in order to get closer to the next loading or unloading point or other scheduled motor carrier destination.
  2. After delivering a towed unit, and the towing unit no longer meets the definition of a CMV, the driver returns to the point of origin under the direction of the motor carrier to pick up another towed unit.
  3. Continuation of a CMV trip in interstate commerce in order to fulfill a business purpose, including bobtailing or operating with an empty trailer in order to retrieve another load or repositioning a CMV (tractor or trailer) at the direction of the motor carrier.
  4. Time spent driving a passenger-carrying CMV while passenger(s) are on board. Off-duty drivers are not considered passengers when traveling to a common destination of their own choice within the scope of this guidance.
  5. Time spent transporting a CMV to a facility to have vehicle maintenance performed.
  6. After being placed out of service for exceeding the maximum periods permitted under part 395, time spent driving to a location to obtain required rest, unless so directed by an enforcement officer at the scene.
  7. Time spent traveling to a motor carrier’s terminal after loading or unloading from a shipper or a receiver.
  8. Time spent operating a motorcoach when luggage is stowed, the passengers have disembarked and the driver has been directed to deliver the luggage.

For questions regarding personal conveyance email: shane@cnsprotects.com

DOT Allocates $10M For Emergency Repairs for I-85

The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued $10 million in emergency funds to the state of Georgia for repairs on the section of Interstate 85 that collapsed Thursday evening due to a fire.

A fire underneath an overpass on I-85 outside of Atlanta caused it to collapse, indefinitely closing both lanes of the major corridor. Through-trucks are required to use the I-285 bypass regardless, but now the state is diverting car traffic from I-85 to I-285, which could cause greater congestion on the bypass route.

The DOT has stated that the $10 million in “quick release”funding will be used to restore emergency access and to initiate the most critical repairs to the damaged roadways and bridges in the next few weeks.