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FMCSA

15 Mar

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FMCSA Threatens Deactivation of USDOT Numbers of Motor Carriers Who Fail to File Biennial Report

March 15, 2014 | By |

Be Aware!  If this is your year to file your biennial report with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), do not be late or your USDOT number may be deactivated.

As a part of the Unified Registration System (URS), the FMCSA requires all motor carriers, even those whose information has not changed, have ceased interstate operations since their last update, or have not notified the USDOT that they are out of business, to update their information on a bi-annual basis.

Back on November 1, 2013, the FMCSA began issuing warning letters to motor carriers 30 days in advance of their biennial update and those letters included a note that motor carriers’ US DOT numbers would be deactivated and warning and noncompliance alerts would be posted in the FMCSA IT system if they failed to comply.  Here is a guideline to help determine the due date of your biennial report:

  • If the SECOND to last number in your USDOT is odd, you are expected to file every odd-numbered calendar year.
  • If the SECOND to last number in your USDOT number is even, you are expected to file every even-number calendar year, including 2014.

Your report will be due by the last day of the month.  To determine the month due, look to the LAST number of your USDOT number and see the listing below:

 USDOT ends in 1 = January

USDOT ends in 2 = February

USDOT ends in 3 = March

USDOT ends in 4 = April

USDOT ends in 5 = May

USDOT ends in 6 = June

USDOT ends in 7 = July

USDOT ends in 8 = August

USDOT ends in 9 = September

USDOT ends in 0 = October

 

To complete your update, visit www.saferfmcsa.dot.gov and click on the FMCSA Registration & Updates link.  You may also login to the FMCSA portal at http://portal.fmcsa.dot.gov/login.  There is no charge for the update, but a credit card and your USDOT PIN will be required.  If you have forgotten your PIN, a new one maybe requested online, using your credit card (again, at no charge.)  The new PIN will be mailed to you.  PIN requests can take the FMCSA 4-7 business days to process, plus transit time – so please plan accordingly.

Do you have any questions regarding your biennial report?  Call our offices at (800) 596-TRUCK (8782) today.  At the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency we work hard to be accessible, helpful and result oriented.

 

18 Oct

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Hours of Service Q & A:

October 18, 2013 | By |

Acuity Insurance Company recently published an article answer common questions regarding the new Hours of Service rules that took effect July 1, 2013.  With their permission, we are reprinting the article here for your reference:

 

The first phase of Hours of Service (HOS) changes mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) took affect February 27, 2012, adding new criteria for on-duty time and penalties for exceeding allowable time.  The second phase took effect July 1, 2013, and included more restrictive rules in two areas: mandating rest breaks and limiting “restarts.”

 

Here are the answers to some common questions about the new regulations:

 

30-Minute Rest Breaks Rule Summary:  If more than eight consecutive hours on duty have passed since the last off-duty period of at least half an hour, a driver must take an off-duty or sleeper-berth break of at least 30 minutes before driving.

 

Q: Why are these required?

A: The FMCSA found that breaks reduce risks, including accidents and safety lapses, cause by long driving shifts.

 

Q: Do I have to spend the break resting?

A: No, but you must be off duty.  For instance, a lunch break could count as your 30 minutes.

 

Q: Can the break be spent loading or unloading, as long as I’m out of the cab?

A: No.  Time spent loading or unloading is considered on duty in most cases.

 

Q: Do I have to break right at the eight-hour mark if my shift is longer than eight hours?

A: No.  You can break earlier, but you must not drive more than eight consecutive hours.  For instance, a 10-hour drive can be broken into two 5-hour shifts separated by a break.

 

Q: Is break time included in the 14-hour duty limit?

A: Yes.  The 30-minute break cannot extend the work day.

 

34-Hour Restart Rule Summary: Drivers can only use the 34-hour restart once every seven calendar days (168 hours) to restart the 60- or 70- hour clock.  In addition, the restart must include two nighttime periods of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., using the driver’s home terminal time zone.

 

Q: Why was this change made?

A: The purpose of the rule change is to limit work to no more than 70 hours a week, which is aimed at reducing fatigue, crashes, and driver health problems.

 

Q: Who will be affected by the two0night provision?

A: Only drivers who drive nights and work more than 60 or 70 hours in a week will be impacted.

 

Q: What is the minimum length of time a driver has to be off duty to get credit for the two nighttime periods?

A: The minimum period is 34 hours.  Most drivers driving daytime schedules will be able to obtain the two nights in a 34-hour restart, if needed.  Only drivers who regularly drive overnight and work more than five nights a week will need to take longer to restarts to obtain the two nights off.

 

Q: If a driver works 10 hours a night, six nights a week and takes the seventh night off, does he then have to take an extra night off?

A: No, the driver would be working 60 hours in seven days and would not need a restart to start working again on the eighth day.
Q: Are the two nighttime periods based on the driver’s terminal time or local time, when different?

A: Drivers’ logs are based on the time zone of their home terminal, so the two night periods are set by the time at the home terminal.

 

Note: These illustrations are not legal advice.  If you have a question about a specific scenario or are looking for an official interpretation related to these changes, please contact the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at (609) 275-2604.

06 Aug

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Creating a Compliant Authorized Passenger Policy

August 6, 2013 | By |

Frequently clients inquire about the limitations and allowances of passengers inside their truck.  We at the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency recommend that non-employee passengers not be allowed in vehicles operated under your authority.  However, if a passenger program is considered an essential element in the retention of quality drivers, we recommend that you have a well planned, well documented, and consistently followed passenger policy in place as a risk management practice to reduce your exposure to claims made by non-employee passengers.  In addition a passenger policy should also comply with requirements outlined in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act.

Per Section 392.60(a) of the Act, drivers must have specific authorization from the motor carrier in order to bring a passenger along in the truck.  The motor carrier should issue their authorization to transport in writing and include the following elements:

  1. The name of passenger
  2. The beginning and ending points of transport
  3. The date when the drivers authority to transport a person will expire

Written authorization is not required when a fellow employee has been assigned to ride along in a vehicle or if the driver is transporting someone who is providing aid as the result of an accident or emergency.

The Department of Transportation’s interpretation of the Rule provides that the written authorization does not have to be in the truck, but simply on file at the motor carrier’s office.  However, it would be a best practice to require that a copy accompany the driver.

Would you like assistance developing an Authorized Passenger Policy?  Call us now at (800) 596-TRUCK (8782).  At the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency we work hard to be accessible, helpful and result oriented.

06 Apr

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The Importance of Maintaining and Accurate MCS-150

April 6, 2013 | By |

Do your company’s Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) percentiles on the FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) look inaccurate to you?  It could be that you are in need of updating your company’s Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT) and Power Unit (PU) data on your Motor Carrier Registration Form (aka: MCS-150.)

Accurate VMT and PU information is vital to properly asses your level of exposure.  If your VMT data is from 2010 or older, it was not used in your calculations for the January SMS snapshot.  Instead, the level of exposure defaulted to average power units over the last 18 months.  Obviously, this could impact your percentiles in the Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator BASICs.

To update your MCS-150 with 2012 VMT and PU information, go to: https://li-public.fmcsa.dot.gov/LIVIEW/PKG_REGISTRATION.prc_option.  Under the “Existing Registration Updates” section, choose the first option: “I need to update my USDOT number registration information or file my biennial update”.

You may wish to note that the SMS website is updated monthly, so your MCS-150 changes will not be reflected on that site until the next monthly update.  You can find the schedule of SMS updates at http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms/InfoCenter/Default.aspx#question30897.

For questions regarding your SMS snapshot or MCS-150, please call our office at (800) 596-TRUCK (8782).  All of us at the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency work hard to be accessible, helpful and result oriented.

06 Mar

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FMCSA Hours-of-Service Enforcement Will Not be Delayed

March 6, 2013 | By |

On February 26, 2013 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced that it will not delay enforcement of the new hours-of-service rules.  This was in response to the American Trucking Association’s request to delay enforcing the rules until three months following the ATA’s currently pending lawsuit is decided.

Currently the new hours-of-service rules are expected to go into effect July 1, 2013.  However, the ATA, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association have all requested that the implementation of the new rules be delayed until after the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has reviewed and made a ruling on the case requesting the new changes be overturned.  The argument is that by waiting until the court has made its decision, individuals who will ultimately be impacted, including shippers, carriers and FMCSA-funded state enforcement agencies, will not be forced to spend time and money on training and adaptation of the new system only to potentially have changes handed down by the court.

You can learn more about the hours-of-service regulations and final rule by visiting http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/topics/hos/index.htm.

20 Jun

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FMCSA Extends SMS System Review Period

June 20, 2012 | By |

On June 6, 2012 the FMCSA’s CSA Web Team issued notification that the SMS System review period has been extended until July 30, 2012.  This allows motor carriers additional time to address areas where improved compliance is necessary and provide the FMCSA feedback on the SMS System.  Following is the request in its entirety, including information regarding upcoming webinars that will help to explain the SMS improvements:

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is proposing changes to the Safety Measurement System (SMS) (http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms/) to improve the Agency’s ability to prioritize its workload. In keeping with its commitment to continually improve the SMS, and to do so in an open and transparent manner, FMCSA is now providing additional time for motor carriers to preview their data under the proposed improvements and to provide feedback.

Call to action: Motor carriers should log in and see where they stand based on the refined methodology. The SMS Preview gives motor carriers time to take the following actions:

  • Improve safety compliance by diagnosing issues and taking action to correct organizational problems, train drivers, or take other appropriate measures to improve safety;
  • Request corrections to any inaccurate data; in particular, motor carriers should focus on ensuring that information related to placardable Hazardous Materials inspections is correct; and
  • Provide feedback to FMCSA about refinements they think should be made before the changes are implemented.

The SMS Preview comment period has been extended to July 30, 2012. FMCSA will review comments and make any necessary changes prior to implementation. Carriers can access the SMS Preview through two FMCSA websites:

On the CSA Website’s Resources page, visitors can access a foundational document http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/SMS_FoundationalDoc_final.pdf) that provides additional information about this first set of SMS changes. A Federal Register Notice (https://federalregister.gov/a/2012-12634) outlining the changes is also available for review. Written comments regarding the changes can be filed to the Federal Docket Management System (http://www.regulations.gov/), Docket ID Number FMCSA-2012-0074.

Attend a webinar to learn more: Motor carriers are invited to attend a webinar that will help explain the SMS improvements and answer frequently asked questions. The webinar will take place on the following three dates:

  • Tuesday, June 26, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
  • Wednesday, June 27, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time
  • Thursday, June 28, 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

Registration is required to attend one of these sessions and interested parties should register as soon as possible through FMCSA’s National Training Center at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/ntc/webinarinfo/CSA_Improvements_Webinar-FMCSA.pdf.

Questions or concerns: The CSA Outreach Website has technical assistants who can answer motor carrier questions about the SMS Preview as well as the CSA program itself. Questions can be submitted by email or phone (http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/CSA_Feedback.aspx).

We encourage you to take an active role in reviewing your company’s information for compliance and assisting the FMCSA in developing the new SMS improvements.  If you have any questions that we can help to address, please call us at (800) 596-TRUCK (8782).  All of us at the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency work hard at being accessible, helpful and result oriented.

15 Nov

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How to Appeal Inaccurate BASIC Data

November 15, 2011 | By |

With the implementation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) program, many motor carriers have become increasingly concerned about how their company and drivers may be represented (or worse, misrepresented) to the public, fellow motor carriers and customers.  The accuracy of data records can now prompt more than a change in a safety rating.  The safety –related data collected and published by the FMCSA can impact a company’s BASICs score and lead to interventions up to and including being forced out of business.

 

Our clients often inquire how they can investigate and correct any misinformation that may negatively impact their BASICs score.  This month I want to address how to make these appeals.

 

First, if you have not done so already, you will need to collect all of your data.  There are multiple sources in which to turn.  Personal inspection and crash data can be accessed through the FMCSA’s Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) at www.psp.fmcsa.dot.gov.  Using this service will cost you $10, but the information will be available almost immediately.  A more economical option is to request the information via the Freedom of Information Act at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/foia/foia-request.htm.  Note that it will take considerably longer for you to get your data using this method.  Inspection reports can be reviewed at https://dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov. 

 

Once you have obtained and reviewed the information and determined there is clearly an error that requires challenging, you can register to use the DataQs system at http://dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov to file your challenge.

 

Once registered you should have the following supporting information available:

 

1.)    The relevant inspection report information, such as report number, date and time and state

2.)    The data you plan to challenge

3.)    An explanation of why the data should be changed

4.)    Any evidence or documents that may prove your case

 

Once your appeal is completed there is no guaranteed date by which it will be reviewed and approved.  It will depend greatly upon how the data flow for your particular appeal falls.  A helpful link that will provide answers to frequently asked questions regarding how to make DataQ appeals as well as the workflow for an appeal itself, visit https://dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov/Data/help.stm#enterchal. 


Do you have questions regarding your BASICs information or need assistance beginning the appeals process?  Call our office today at (800) 596-TRUCK (8782).  At the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency we work hard to be accessible, helpful and result oriented. 

14 Jul

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Drug and Alcohol Testing and the FMCSA

July 14, 2010 | By |

I regularly receive phone calls from clients asking me if they have to test their drivers for drugs and alcohol when they are involved in an accident.  I generally advise my clients that taking a zero tolerance approach to drugs and alcohol is in their company’s (and their employees’ and the general public’s) best interest.  Having a written drug and alcohol policy in place that clearly communicates the company will drug and alcohol test any employee involved in accident, no matter how minor, is a good plan.  Be sure to have your employees sign off on the policy, confirming they have not only received it, but have read and understood it, as well. 

 

But what I often find my client really needs to know is whether the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will require a driver to be tested for drugs and alcohol following an accident that has just occurred.  In an effort to help clients out we created a “Drug and Alcohol Testing” data sheet.  The data sheet provides you an attractive color copy “decision tree” that you can print and post on a bulletin board for future quick reference.  Among the questions asked are:

 

1.)    Did the accident involve a commercial motor vehicle you own or is leased on to you?

a.       If No, no test is required

b.       If Yes, proceed to question 2.

2.)    Did the accident occur on a public road?

a.       If No, no test is required

b.       If Yes, proceed to question 3.

3.)    Did any person involved in the accident require immediate medical treatment away from the scene of the accident, AND was your employee cited for a moving traffic violation by law enforcement, or did the accident involve a fatality?

a.       If No, no test required.

b.       If Yes, you must test.

 

The FMCSA regulations require alcohol and drug testing of drivers who are required to have a CDL.  The regulations include procedures for urine drug testing and breath alcohol testing.  A driver must be tested after an accident that resulted in a fatality regardless of fault.  Accidents that include bodily injury or a vehicle that needs to be towed require a driver to be testing only if that driver is issued a citation.

 

Alcohol tests must be taken within two to eight hours after the accident.  Drug tests must be taken within 32 hours of the accident.  Unless there are extenuating circumstances, a driver must be available for testing, or it might be assumed the driver has refused testing.  A refusal is considered the same as a positive test. 

 

Do you have questions regarding FMCSA regulations or need help developing a zero tolerance drug and alcohol policy?  Give us at call at (800) 596-TRUCK (8782).  At the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency we work hard at being accessible, helpful and result oriented. 

 

Until next month,

 

Jeffery A. Moss, ARM

President