Posted on April 03, 2019
Every year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) holds an International Roadcheck event to inspect common areas of safety violations in trucking. This year, the event will run from June 4-6 and will focus on steering and suspension. These two components are critical to the safe operation of a commercial vehicle as they help ensure a truck can support heavy loads while maintaining stability while driving.
What to Expect During an Inspection
During International Roadchecks, CVSA sends certified inspectors to perform a Level I Inspection (North American Standard), although he or she may opt to conduct a different type of inspection depending on his or her initial evaluation. A Level I Inspection is the most common type of inspection and drivers should be prepared to provide several documents including:
- Their commercial driver’s license (CDL)
- Their medical certification and card/waiver if appropriate
- Their logs for the previous eight on-duty days to confirm their hours of service (HOS)
The inspection includes 37 steps and takes around 45 minutes to an hour to complete. In addition to the above documents, the inspector will check for drugs or alcohol as well as inspect several aspects of the vehicle such as the seat belts, exhaust system, brake system, various lights, and more.
Is an International Roadcheck Different from Standard Inspections?
While drivers may feel some trepidation going into a CVSA inspection, it is no different from the usual inspections they experience at any other time of the year. The only notable difference is that CVSA will issue an official decal for display upon completing a successful inspection. While there will be more inspections than usual, the inspections themselves are the same as always.
The intent of highlighting steering and suspension safety is to increase drivers’ awareness of those critical elements of operating a truck. CVSA announces the dates of the increased inspections to allow drivers to ensure they’re safe and compliant well in advance. It’s also to remind drivers that maximum safety is something they should strive for year-round.
Contact the experts at Interstate Motor Carriers to learn more about our innovative truck insurance solutions.
Posted on November 07, 2018
There is some confusion among motor carriers regarding commercial vehicle rentals. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) exempts short-term rentals from needing to use Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) due to the duration of usage. Drivers who fall under this exemption may continue to use paper records of duty status (RODS) in lieu of an ELD; however, there are some limitations.
Updates to the TRALA Exemption
Some motor carriers are under the impression that the exemption applies to rentals for up to 30 days. This is incorrect. In March of this year, the 30-day exemption for short-term rentals expired. While the Truck Rental And Leasing Association (TRALA) petitioned FMSCA to extend the 30-day exemption through the end of 2018, FMCSA denied the request and an 8-day exemption went into effect.
Terms and Conditions of the Exemption
FMCSA provides some basic guidelines for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) rentals.
- The exemption applies to CMV rentals for eight days or less. Attempts to release the same CMV after eight days is a violation of the exemption.
- Rental drivers need a copy of the exemption letter while operating the CMV.
- Drivers must carry a copy of their rental agreement clearly stating who is renting the vehicle and the dates of the rental.
- Drivers must keep copies of their RODS for the current day and any preceding days during the applicable eight-day period.
- All other FMCSA regulations apply during the rental.
Another provision of the rental exemption is the carrier renting the CMVs must report any accident to FMCSA within five business days. When notifying FMCSA of the incident, motor carriers need to provide the following information:
- Provide the exemption explanation (TRALA)
- Date of the accident
- Location of the accident
- Name and license number of the driver and co-driver
- Number and state license number for the vehicle
- Number of people injured
- Number of fatalities
- The cause of the accident as reported by the police
- Any citations issued to the driver
- Total time the driver spent operating the vehicle as well as their on-duty time leading up to the accident
Carriers need to submit this information via email to MCPSD@dot.gov. Failing to comply with the above provisions can lead to FMCSA revoking exemption privileges. To learn more about this exemption, other safety provisions, and truck insurance solutions, contact the experts at Interstate Motor Carriers.
Posted on August 22, 2016
Interstate Motor Carriers invites you to a complimentary, educational web seminar on the FMCSA mandated responsibilities of motor carriers, drivers, and IEPs involved in intermodal transportation. Rob Dowling, Transportation Safety & Loss Control Director at The Capacity Group, will provide an overview of intermodal transportation and related FMCSA regulations. All businesses involved in intermodal transportation should attend this webinar. Key topics include:
- Overview of Intermodal Transportation
- Motor Carrier & Driver Responsibilities
- Intermodal Equipment Provider Responsibilities
- FMCSA Roadability Safety Fitness Procedures
- UIIA & Automated DVIR Processing Guidelines
- FMCSA Requirements for Intermodal Equipment Providers
Date & Time: Wed, Sep 14, 2016 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM EDT
Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1201698415668513795
Posted on April 25, 2016
A Senate transportation funding bill to come in fiscal year 2017 would require the DOT (Department of Transportation) to promptly set forth a proposed rule on commercial power unit speed limiters. Many consider the safety-oriented and environmentally friendly changes overdue, while others consider them yet another overreach in government regulatory activity. Yet support in the administration seems quite strong, as the proposed rule received unanimous support during a hearing last month.
The speed limiter proposal primarily seeks to improve safety by reducing the frequency of fatal crashes on roadways. If implemented next year, the transportation and housing legislation would provide $56.5 billion in fiscal 2017 – approximately $3 billion less than President Obama’s funding request. The bill would provide over half a billion for infrastructure improvement, a critical and long-overlooked issue in the United States. Nearly a billion would go toward NHTSA’s autonomous vehicle research. Several other safety and efficiency projects are also earmarked for support, should the Senate transportation funding bill come to fruition.
The bill includes no language regarding Hours of Services regulations, a perennial issue in the transportation industry. Amendments may be proposed to add such legislation into the bill prior to its passage in the Senate – a move that could make the bill even more contentious, but also even more relevant. To learn more about how this bill and other imminent trucking regulatory changes could affect your organization, contact us.
Posted on April 11, 2016
Last week the FDA released a final rule regarding sanitation standards for those involved in the process of food transportation. The rule includes an important exception for small companies – it doesn’t pertain to carriers, shippers, and receivers with less than $500,000 in total annual revenue.
Key requirements for carriers under the new final rule dicate that carriers and drivers alike are responsible for:
- Ensuring their refrigerated trailers are pre-cooled prior to loading food
- Providing proof they’ve maintained the appropriate temperature for the food they’re hauling when it is requested of them
- Developing and implementing procedures that specify their practices for cleaning, sanitizing and inspecting their equipment
Additionally, the new rule requires that shippers inspect carriers’ trailers prior to loading food products and that “appropriate” action is taken to ensure that the food is not sold if any party becomes aware of any indication that a shipment of food was not kept at the proper temperature throughout its shipment. Shippers will now also be required to give carriers written sanitation requirements for their vehicles and require shippers to keep records showing they’ve done as much.
The FDA says the rule isn’t likely to have a dramatic impact on carrier and shipper practices – rather that it codifies already existing best practices for food shipments and assists in the process of punishing those who don’t take the necessary steps to comply.
The rule goes into effect in April of 2017. To learn more about transportation regulatory compliance, contact us.
Posted on February 11, 2016
Safety is a primary concern for any commercial driver. The Hours of Service regulations exist to promote and enforce uniform safety practices. Understanding and complying with these rules helps to ensure safe vehicle operation while avoiding fines and penalties. So let’s review the latest round of regulatory changes.
An interstate property-carrying driver is allowed to drive their truck up to 11 hours. All their time spent behind the wheel of the CMV in operation is considered “driving time.” After 11 hours of driving time, the driver must have at least 10 consecutive hours “off duty” before they can drive again. In order for time to be considered off duty, the driver must be relieved of all duty and responsibility for performing work. Also, the driver must be able to leave the place where their vehicle is parked.
The 14-hour rule is known as the 14 hour “driving window” limit. A driver is allowed a period of 14 consecutive hours in which they may drive up to 11 hours of those 14 hours on duty. Under the 14-hour rule, a driver may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty.
The 14-hour window begins the moment the driver starts any kind of work. “On duty” time includes all the time a driver is working or is required to be ready to work. Examples include time spent at a terminal or facility of a motor carrier or shipper, time inspecting and servicing the truck, time loading and unloading and all driving time. Once the driver reaches the end of the 14th hour on duty period, they cannot drive again until they have been off for 10 hours.
The window is limited to 14 consecutive hours, even if you have some off-duty time such as a 30-minute lunch break or nap during those 14 hours. Your 30-minute break will not extend this 14-hour period, rather the 30-minute meal break will count against the 14-hour driving window. An exception to this rule would be with drivers in the 100 air-mile radius of their work reporting location who are not required to take the minimum 30-minute breaks.
A driver may only drive if 8 hours or less has passed since end of driver’s last off duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes. Meal breaks or other off duty time of at least 30 minutes qualifies as a break. Within the 14-hour window and 11-hour driving rule, a driver may drive a total of 11 hours during their 14-hour driving period; but, driving will not be permitted if more than 8 hours have passed since the end of the driver’s last 30-minute break. Of note, the FMCSA has exceptions to the required rest break, such as the short-haul exceptions in 395.1(e). Further, if a driver is working but not driving after 8 hours, no break is required.
To learn more, contact the transportation experts at Interstate.
Posted on January 04, 2016
As of the first of this month, motor carriers will only have to test half of the previous portion of employees for use of illegal substances. The FMCSA reduced the threshold from 50% to 25% in an effort to reduce financial burden on the transportation industry while maintaining the same level of safety standards. Studies have indicated that a 25% random drug screening rate is sufficiently high to discourage use of illegal substances, making any testing beyond this threshold likely superfluous.
This comes as a result of three consecutive years with an industry-wide positive rate of less than one percent, indicating a high degree of compliance among transportation professionals. Though subject to further change, it is expected that these levels of random testing will continue for the foreseeable future. To learn more about these and other transportation issues, contact us.
Posted on November 30, 2015
Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) missed its October 30 deadline for issuing its final rule on Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), the new regulation should be out soon.
Dave Osiecki, senior vice president of policy and regulatory affairs for American Trucking Associations (ATA), told attendees at a recent conference he’s “pretty confident” the rule will be published this month. It has already passed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Aiming to hold businesses accountable for higher safety standards, Congress mandated ELDs in the transportation reauthorization bill of 2012. The law called for a rule requiring commercial motor vehicles to use ELDs to record hours of service (HOS), replacing the current rule that requires drivers to maintain paper logs.
As many as 3.1 million trucks and 3.4 million drivers will be affected by the new rule. ATA anticipates a two-year window to comply with the new rule, along with a four-year “grandfather” window to allow current electronic logging systems to be brought up to the new specification.
But there are good reasons to start planning now to implement a solution.
Monitoring a truck’s engine to capture a wide range of data such as engine hours, miles driven, power and motion status, and authenticated user identification data, ELDs promise to reduce paperwork and reduce accidents by keeping fatigued drivers off the road.
They also will:
- reduce your office administrative costs by eliminating manual auditing of paper logbooks;
- prevent paperwork mistakes and reduce fines, penalties, and fees associated with them;
- enable management and dispatchers to better ensure HOS compliance and plan driver assignments more effectively.
To meet the requirements of the law, fleets should find the onboard technology partner best suited to meet their goals and ROI. Options will range from low-cost, single-function systems that simply meet the requirements of the new regulations to comprehensive systems that provide a wide range of benefits to management and drivers.
ELDs can potentially reduce your insurance premiums by reducing risk and proving that your fleet is HOS compliant. To learn how ELDs might reduce what you pay for trucking insurance, contact us.
Posted on November 03, 2015
Any motor carrier that must comply with MCA80 and attach MCS90 will have to file for proof of financial responsibility under the new regulations. The effective date these regulations has been pushed back to a 9/30/16 implementation and 12/31/16 for enforcement.
At present, only for-hire motor carriers who have applied for authority to haul processed goods of others in interstate commerce and have been provided an MC# are required to have an insurance filing. The MCA80 requires all for-hire interstate motor carriers to meet the financial responsibility requirements ($750,000). Additionally, it requires all motor carriers hauling any quanitity of hazardous material across state lines to have a filing (limit of no less than $1,000,000). This only applies to intrastate hazmat transport in bulk quantities.
The implementation pushback will allow the Department of Transportation additional time to prepare to for the significant increase in registered transportation professionals/operations. Estimates vary from 25,000 to over 100,000 new registrations resulting from the regulatory changes. Additionally, the extra time will allow motor carriers to prepare for and better understand the new rules by the time they are implemented.
Clearly this will affect a wide number of motor carriers. But it will also impact insurance providers. How? According to Tommy Ruke, a trucking insurance expert: “The first consideration is that this is a law, unlike proposals for ELD’s, speed limiters, and the drug clearinghouse, so URS will happen. The first published date is 12/12/15 when only the MCSA-1 application will be available and must be used for all new applications for registration (obtaining a new DOT#). It will be very interesting on how this will be done and what it will look like. We will keep an eye on how this works.”
Ruke goes on to say “The entities with new DOT#’s will be provided temporary registration that will allow them to operate without a financial responsibility filing until 9/29/16. The 9/30/16 date will be the important date for insurance providers because as published this is the date that the MC# will go away and filings can first be made. As I read the rule, the current motor carrier with a MC# and a 91X filing will not have to make a new filing. Any motor carrier who has a current filing and the filing is cancelled and replaced, the replacement filing will have to be done with the new system. Effective 9/30/16 the exempt for-hire motor carrier (ones with DOT#’s but no MC#, so no filing) will be able to have a filing made on their behalf. Private carriers with federal DOT#’s that are hauling any hazardous items in interstate commerce will also be able to have a filing made on their behalf as well as intrastate carriers that haul in bulk.”
For more information on this and other transportation regulatory changes, contact us.
Posted on October 02, 2015
A public hearing in Long Beach, CA this month prompted a wave of support for this initiative and concern for the current trajectory of human environmental impact. The hearing was held regarding a proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) originally submitted in June. While commercial freight and passenger trucking comprises the backbone of our economy and way of life, the transportation industry is also a major generator of greenhouse gases and other concerning pollutants. But is the concern that can be found so easily in California one that will resonate with those in other parts of the country?
Daniel Kieffer, Director of Emissions Compliance for Paccar Inc., indicated that his truck manufacturing business sees the pending proposal as a potential win-win. He notes that this may only be possible, however, if the complexities of market costs, market demand, aerodynamic science, and vehicle ownership and operation costs can reconcile into a profitable arrangement. It will be difficult to know how this will shake down for individual businesses until the proposal specifics are defined and approved, and go-live date is then posted.
Current details available indicate that the proposed regulations would aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by approximately 1 billion metric tons, conserving nearly 2 billion barrels of oil. This would theoretically save the transportation industry about $170 billion in fuel costs over the lifetime of vehicles sold under the program.
The proposal would have regulation changes begin for model year 2021 and phase in fully by model year 2027. While some have shown great concern over the industry’s ability to bear these up-front (and potential) long-term costs, other have spoken out in opposition to the seeming lack of urgency. While climate scientists are working harder than ever to determine what impact our behaviors have on years and decades to come, it is unclear to what extent these regulatory changes will be effective. But if, as Mr. Kieffer points out, the regulations can provoke a positive shift in the transportation community, this may be a transformative shift in trucking technology.