FMCSA Revisions to HOS Rules – Drivers and Dispatchers Respond

FMCSA Coming Revisions to HOS on 9/29/20

For quite some time we have been hearing about revisions to the HOS rules intended to provide more flexibility for drivers.  At long last, several are slated to be implemented the end of next month.  We reached out to some of our current clients to get their take on the coming rule changes, and the response was quite positive.

What are the coming FMCSA revisions?

  • The on-duty limits for short-haul operations will increase from 12 to 14 hours and from 100 air-miles to 150.
  • The adverse driving provision will extend the driving window two hours if the driver encounters adverse driving conditions. In the final rule, the definition of “adverse driving” was modified so that the exception may be applied based on the driver’s (in addition to the dispatcher’s) knowledge of the conditions after being dispatched.
  • In addition to splits of 10/0 and 8/2, drivers will be allowed a split-sleeper option of 7/3. Also, the qualifying period doesn’t count against the 14-hour window.
  • The 30-minute break provision will be modified to require the break after eight hours of driving time (instead of on-duty time) and allows an on-duty/not driving period to qualify as the required break.
Happy Trucker

What are drivers and dispatchers saying?

They all sound like positive changes that will be helpful to drivers and dispatchers.
Scott Olson

Maier's transportation and Warehousing

I really like the changes to the 30 minute break provision. Now I won’t have to take a break after sitting at a terminal waiting to be loaded or unloaded.

Mike Zeug

Driver, Maier's Transportation and Warehousing

Most Outspoken Response

One of our clients was dead set against ELD from the beginning.  He expected it to be a royal pain with drivers unwilling to embrace the new technology, and he fought it kicking and screaming, but in the end, had to comply.  After implementing and using ELD for some time, his response was utterly shocking.  Monty now agrees that ELD implementation is a good thing, and that it simplifies the driver’s record keeping saving time and frustration.

Regarding the FMCSA coming revisions to HOS Rules,

It should have been done a long time ago.  It moves us from making political sense to using common sense.  Most important are the sleeper berth changes.  It allows a driver to make better use of unanticipated situations, for instance if the highway traffic is backed up he can pull off at a rest stop to take 3 hours sleeper berth time.  Since it does not count against his 14 hour window, he can make up his lost travel time after the traffic clears.

Monty Hack

Fleet Manager - Safety Director, JS Weipz

OOIDA’s Response

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association expressed support for the final rule by filing  formal comments.  They say the new rules will accomplish FMCSA’s intended goal of providing drivers with more flexibility and control over their own schedules.
GEotab GO9 GPS Vehicle Tracking
Fleet Management Platform
Mobile Phone GPS Tracking App
Fleet Weather Service

Geotab Drive “Must Have” Add Ins & ELD Reports

Geotab Drive with ELD Reporting – Free Marketplace Tools

 

Geotab Drive makes ELD compliance easy, but many users miss the free add-ins and reports that truly simplify a fleet manager’s life.  In this post, we present the options that we feel are “Must Have” applications for our clients.  Everything shown can be downloaded or directly installed in your system from the Geotab Marketplace.  Just click on “Marketplace” at the bottom of your main menu and open up a world of possibilities.

 

ELD Services – Settings Validator Add-In

There is a multitude of settings and entry fields presented to you when initially setting up your ELD drivers.  When drivers begin to use the system, all of the static information that must be included in their RODS is pulled from these entries.  Thus, if the driver’s license issuing state was not completed when the driver was created in the system, it will not show up on a compliance print when generated.  Unfortunately, when this happens at a roadside inspection, you have likely ruined your driver’s day.  Using this add-in assures that all required information is accessible to the Geotab Drive app, and compliance prints or RODS transferred to FMCSA will include all required information.

The ELD Settings Validator is a free add-in for Geotab.  It identifies missing driver data and links you right to the form to correct the ommissions.  Fields marked with an X are an indication that information is missing for that field. Select the information icon on the right-hand side for quick access to the driver’s User Settings. Simply fill in the missing information and select Save at the top of the screen.  Drivers that are not missing information will not be displayed, only entries that need to be corrected.

ELD Settings Validator

ELD Add-In – Driver Access to
Support Help Desk

The ELD Information Add-In provides instant, driver-friendly access to the Reseller Support Help desk. View the latest ELD information documents that are required during a roadside inspection in accordance with §395.22 (h), or stream the latest How-to videos for Geotab Drive.  Please note that this add-in is currently only available for mobile devices running on Android.

With this add-in installed in your Geotab system, all drivers will see the add-in populated on their HOS Dashboard.  The step by step instructions for using Geotab Drive are contained in the Data Transfer Guide, ELD Manual, and Data & Diagnostics ELD Malfunction Sheet Guide.  All are launched right from the app in a single click.  Most importantly, these are the documents required to be kept in the cab under the FMCSA regulations.  By linking to the electronic documents you know you always have the latest version.

Workflow documents for HOS and DVIR are also available anytime a quick refresher is needed.  Alternately, for drivers that prefer video learning, a playlist of video training is also linked to the app.  The linked documents and videos are updated when changes are made to the app, so the latest information is always available to the driver.

Geotab ELD for FMCSA

Want Custom HOS Reports?  Here’s a dozen to choose from!

Just download the report from the Marketplace and upload it to your database to get the most out of Geotab Drive.

Driver Availability report
Excessive Yard Moves
Drivers On Duty Report
Data Diagnostic & Malfunctions report
Drivers Approaching limit report
Total HOS Violations Report
DVIR Defects Report
HOS driver Violations
Severe violations Cost report
Excessive Personal Conveyance Report
Off Duty to Drive report
Unverified Logs report
GEotab GO9 GPS Vehicle Tracking
Fleet Management Platform
Mobile Phone GPS Tracking App
Fleet Weather Service

DOT Compliance For Small Business

Small Business Explanation

This blog is designed as general information for the small business operator who is unsure if their line or volume of work requires being DOT registered and compliant. The video will help distinguish between a weekend warrior and commercial entity. It will guide you through some of the most common requirements so when you are eventually pulled over you are prepared. It also gives you an idea of how to respond if you are not a commercial entity so you can get on your way quicker. Be sure to check your local regulations and read the FMCSA website for details.

 

Does My Business Need to Be DOT Compliant

Knowing if you need to be DOT compliant as a small business may be confusing. There are a few questions to answer to make this determination. Once realized, you can work to get compliant in an organized manner.

The first criteria is whether your power unit (truck) is being used to generate revenue. Are you acting on behalf of a business to make money?  Second is gross vehicle weight.  Does your power unit and trailer have a combined GVWR over 10,001 lbs?  The gross vehicle weight rating is marked on the decal inside the door jam. Most heavy duty pickup trucks have a GVWR over the 10,001 lbs limit. When you add a trailer to the power unit, it is easy to exceed 10,001 lbs.

Last, where is the vehicle operating? If the vehicle is operating state-to-state, the vehicle is considered to be a commercial vehicle. There are mileage exceptions to this.  Most widely used is the 100 air mile short haul exemption.  A commercial vehicle that stays withing a 100 mile radius of the work reporting location, and returns to that location within the work day may be exempt.  There are also agricultural exemptions for a 150 mile radius.

Always refer to the FMCSA guidelines and FAQ to be sure your vehicle qualifies for an exemption.  If DOT compliance is in doubt, contact your local FMCSA filed office for guidance.

 

FMCSA Compliance Made Easy

Once you are designated as a commercial operator, you are required to implement electronic driver logs for hours of service compliance. This can be a daunting realization. Failing to be compliant can lead to all sorts of terrible consequences such as DOT fines, higher insurance rates or even being dropped.  On top of that, reduced delivery times with limited driving hours and a host of computer related activities will suck up your time and financial resources.

In contrast, compliance with a full featured ELD system eliminates wasting time correcting paper driver logs, a second set of books, and potential DOT fines.  Ultimately it rewards you with happier drivers and  less turnover. In the end, your investment in ELD generally pays for itself in many ways.  Fortunately, Fleetistics offers ELD, DVIR, IFTA and other services in a single platform to facilitate FMCSA compliance and save you time and money.

 

Basic DOT Compliance Checklist

  • Read and follow your State & FMCSA guidelines
  • Train your drivers and test their knowledge as your first line of defense to a DOT audit
  • Issue and train drivers how to use paper logs if your electronic logging device goes down
  • Carry a correct and properly mounted fire extinguisher
  • Carry a box of three roadside triangles
  • Display your company name, IFTA decals and DOT number on both sides of your vehicl
  • Always keep spare fuses on hand for the vehicle type
  • Have available in cab the proper registration, insurance, ELD documents and CDL
  • Track time on duty and mileage by state for IFTA
  • Maintain annual inspection and documentation

 

Check out our other blogs on:

GEotab GO9 GPS Vehicle Tracking
Fleet Management Platform
Mobile Phone GPS Tracking App
Fleet Weather Service

GPS Tracking

Fleet Management

Phone Tracking

Tablets & Data

Top 10 Most Common Unsafe Driving Violations

J.J. Keller’s List of Unsafe Driving Violations

Let’s talk about safety. J. J. Keller notes the Top 10 CSA unsafe driving violations. The FMCSA is an organization of authority in the industry. Paying attention to these scores is essential to operations.

 

No. 1: Speeding

Speeding violations range in severity from 1-10 dependent on speed and location. Speeding 1 encompasses speeding 1-5 mph above posted speed limit. Levels 2 and 3 are reserved for speeds 6-10 mph and 11-14 mph, respectively. Level 10 severity speeding violations include speeds 15 mph in excess of posted speed limit, and any speeding in construction zones. All of these speeding violations will affect your driver’s CSA score. Keep an eye out for excessive speed behaviors to protect your business!

 

No. 2: Failing to use a seat belt

This violation is an automatic level 7 for severity. Such a simple, life saving device, yet 2009 racked up over 70,000 of these violations. Failure to wear a seat belt not only affects your driver CSA score, but risks lives in the process.

 

No. 3: Failing to obey a traffic control device

We’re looking at a level 5 offense here. Failure to obey a traffic control device is a general category encompassing running stop signs, red lights, passing in a no-passing zone, and all other ignorance to road signage.

How can you avoid these violations? Simple. Make sure your drivers know the rules of the road and maintain awareness. This means limiting fatigued drivers, in addition to continuing education courses.

 

No. 4: Following too close

Categorized within “dangerous driving” this level 5 offense can be a deadly offense, and the CSA looks at it that way too. According to the FMCSA, “If you are driving below 40 mph, you should leave at least one second for every 10 feet of vehicle length… For speeds over 40 mph, you should leave one additional second”.

Watch: Dangers of Following too Closely

 

No. 5: Improper lane change

This is an automatic level 5 offense. An improper lane change is when a person changes or attempts to change lanes without an open and clear path. Essentially, it’s cutting someone off.

It’s very difficult to receive a citation for this because it requires one of two things. Either an officer has to witness to the improper lane change, or an accident resulting from the lane change with witnesses. Even with this being the case, there were still over 11,000 citations in 2009.

 

No. 6: Using/equipping a CMV with a radar detector

This level 5 offense is considered highly illegal. This is primarily because it endangers other drivers on the road. Not only is speeding dangerous overall, but speeding in a CMV can be especially dangerous because of the size of the vehicle, or the cargo. In particular, semi-truck tires are not rated for speeds above 75 mph, which means speed can lead to a dangerous blowout.

Using radar detectors is a practice that enables speeding in locations not currently under monitor.

 

No. 7: Failure to yield right of way

Failure to yield the right of way is a level 5 offense. It is considering a dangerous driving offense, and also negatively affects your driver’s CSA score. This includes intersections, multi-way stops, pedestrians, and other traffic signage. Violations can be a result of ignorance or confusion, but either way you can control violations to the law through driver education and coaching.

Unnecessarily yielding right of way can be just as dangerous, because it is often the cause of confusion.

 

No. 8: Improper turns

Improper turns are categorized under level 5 severity. This violation includes failing to make a complete stop before a right on red, improper distance from roadside when performing a turn, not utilizing turn signals, and improperly executed u-turns. Behaviors resulting in an improper turn violation also result in an impact on driver CSA score.

 

No. 9: Improper passing

Improper passing can be very unsafe. It includes endangering other vehicles while passing, blind passing at the tops of hills or around curves, and passing on the right. These behaviors result in high-speed, deadly accidents. As such, the severity level is 5, and it will absolutely impact driver CSA score.

This violation can also be issued when passing in a passing lane, or illegally crossing designated lane boundaries to pass another vehicle. In the case of most CMVs, size generally prohibits these behaviors.

 

No. 10: Reckless driving

Reckless driving is a major moving traffic violation. It ranks a level 10 on the severity index, and can result in the revocation of a license or jail time. It includes driving 25 mph over the speed limit, street racing, eluding a police officer, and even passing when visibility is limited.

Clearly, this would impact CSA score, but beyond that, it can severely damage your company’s reputation. When a potential customer sees your company vehicle weaving between lanes of traffic, they lose trust in your professional image.

 

Avoiding unsafe driving violations

The easiest way to avoid unsafe driving violations is to educate your drivers. Knowing the rules of the road can really make an impact on your driver CSA score. Abiding by the rules will eliminate the likelihood of receiving any violations at all.

Other ways to avoid violations:

  1. Stay alert
  2. Wear your seat belt
  3. Drive defensively
  4. Participate in NSC training
  5. Utilize driver coaching plug-ins

Read more about plug-ins and driver coaching here.

Vehicle Classifications for FMCSA

Vehicle Classificiations

Vehicle Type Classification

The Federal Highway Administration Sets the Standards

There are 13 vehicle classifications identified by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) which is a department of the Department of Transporation (DOT). Understanding the classification of your fleet will help you remain compliant. Some vehicles may operate in a gray area, such as axles that can be lifted, which makes compliance even more challenging. Hazardous material introduces 9 additional classifications which requires compliance (download here).

As a small or medium fleet operator, it may be difficult to understand the regulations and keep up with changes. The regulation for ELD still are not defined which is why the largest companies in the GPS tracking and ELD space are not listed as being compliant on the FMSCA website. The companies that are listed are literally self registered as compliant yet have done so before FMSCA has defined the final rule set. It is misleading to allow GPS tracking and ELD companies to self register without FMSCA oversight or regulation.

What is clear is the deadlines, the first being 12/18/2017. On 12/18 all vehicles subject to FMSCA regulations must be AOBRD compliant. Being one day late will mean a fleet operator must then be ELD compliant prior to 12/16/2019. By being AOBRD compliant fleets have longer to be ELD compliant that those that do not meet the 12/17/18 deadline. The rule set for AOBRD and ELD compliance is rather significant which will lead to ELD compliance being more expensive. Fleet operators are much better off implementing an AOBRD system that has the flexibility to be ELD compliant in almost any configuration required by the regulation.

So what are a few features to look for in an AOBRD solution that will likely be ELD compliant?

  1. Equipment. Equipment is far less flexible and much more expensive to update than software (client install or web application). If the FMSCA regulation dictates new features a device does not have today, it will result in a new investment to get compliant come 12/16/2019. Being ABORD compliant gives fleet managers the maximum time to spend on a single platform before potentially having to update equipment. In small fleets this may be a big deal but in enterprise fleets with over 1,000 vehicles this is a very large and expensive project.
  2. Application. There are two choices for the application. A true application is a service you run on a device like your smart phone. It is updated routinely as development takes place. This gives you the maximum flexibility and assurance that compliance is possible without having to install a software update. An application that is installed on a device, like a Garmin unit, means that Garmin must be connected to a computer and an update installed. This means touching each device every time updates and new features are released.

If you are in starting to think about investigating being AOBRD or ELD compliant contact Fleetistics to discuss your plan, timeline and budget. With ELD being an add-on to a very robust GPS tracking and telematics platform, getting your ROI well in advance of deploying ELD is possible.

Contact Us
close slider

Contact Us

Why wait? Call now! 855.300.0527
  • Schedule a quick consultation now using an online calendar if you do not have time for a call. Be sure to include your name, phone, company and interest in the comment section.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Call now for a quick demo. 855.300.0527