Are seatbelts required in commercial motor vehicles?

FMCSA regulations about seatbelts

As a commercial driver, you do your best to keep yourself and others safe every day. One thing you may wonder about as you consider safety in your commercial vehicle is whether the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) requires these vehicles to have working seatbelts. The short answer to this question is yes. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), under the guidance of the DOT, requires seatbelt installation under Section 49 CFR 393.93 of its Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR).

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ELD malfunctions you should know about and what they mean

ELD malfunctions

Starting in December 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) began requiring the use of an electronic logging device (ELD) for most drivers. This includes drivers who must prepare and submit a record of duty status (RODS) or hours-of-service (HOS) report. The mandate also included design and performance standards as well as the requirement for drivers to obtain ELD certification and register with the FMCSA. As with most electronic equipment, however, things can occasionally go wrong with the ELD. We’ll go over some of the common messages you might see and what these ELD malfunctions mean.

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What if an ELD is deemed non-compliant after it’s being used?

What if an ELD is deemed non-compliant?

As of December 18, 2019, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will require all commercial drivers to use an electronic logging device (ELD) and discontinue the use of any other method of collecting important data. An ELD records the date and time as well as engine hours, location information, vehicle miles, and information about the driver, vehicle, and motor carrier. But what happens if an ELD is deemed non-compliant after it’s been in use?

Motor carriers must register ELDs with the FMCSA to remain compliant

Before purchasing a new unit, motor carriers must go to the FMCSA website to view a list of self-registered ELDs. The FMCSA only considers an ELD compliant if purchased from a manufacturer on that list. An ELD can also fall into non-compliant status if it fails to work properly for more than eight days.

What to do when an ELD malfunctions

Drivers should notify motor carriers within 24 hours if they receive one or more error messages on their ELD. FMCSA regulations then allow the driver to record service hours and other details on blank graph paper for up to eight days. The motor carrier must arrange for repair of the ELD in that time or risk receiving an out-of-service notice from the FMCSA. Motor carriers also have eight days to replace an ELD considered non-compliant for reasons other than malfunction.

Sometimes an entire fleet of commercial vehicles will experience problems with ELDs. If this occurs, the FMCSA will work with those affected to establish a reasonable timeframe to bring the devices back into compliance.

An ELD must connect properly with a driver’s mobile device

The way a driver connects his or her ELD to a mobile device can determine whether it’s compliant or non-compliant. If choosing this option, the driver can connect the ELD through a cellular network or Bluetooth. Unfortunately, a driver runs the risk of non-compliance by using a cellular-based ELD because it might stop working in areas with spotty cell phone coverage. The benefit of using Bluetooth is that it’s fully reliable and always available. This will always ensure that drivers remain in compliance.

Other items required for compliance

FMCSA compliance requires more than just using a properly registered and functioning ELD. When stopped for a roadside inspection, a driver must also show that he or she carries an ELD operating manual, an instruction sheet on how to transfer hours-of-service to an FMCSA-authorized safety official, an instruction sheet to report ELD malfunctions, and an information sheet on how to record required data during an ELD malfunction. Lastly, every driver should carry a supply of blank graph paper to record data manually for up to eight days.

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Stay in compliance with insurance regulations too

There is much more to working as a commercial driver than transporting a load from one location to another. You also need to keep up with numerous regulations in addition to maintaining a compliant ELD. You need to make sure that you have the right insurance coverages to protect your truck business. Get started with your quotes by giving us a call. You can also fill out our online form or message us on LiveChat.

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ELD transition deadline approaching this December

ELD transition

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced plans to transition the recording of service hours and other critical information to electronic logging devices (ELD) on February 16, 2016. From that point until December 18, 2017, the FMCSA operated Phase 1, also known as the Awareness and Transition Phase. For that period of 22 months, drivers could use the ELD, paper logs, Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD), or logging software.

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Why is my Operating Authority status showing as “Not Authorized”?

Operating Authority status

When you’re waiting for your operating authority to be completed, you can check your status online to see where you are in the process. One typical message new applicants often see is “not authorized”. This is often a cause for considerable alarm. Thankfully, there is a reasonable explanation for this code. Learn more about your FMCSA status and what the “not authorized” code means below.

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Do I need a medical certificate if I only operate in my state?

Medical certificate

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that all drivers obtain a medical certificate demonstrating that they are healthy enough to handle a commercial vehicle safely. One question that comes up often among drivers is whether they need this medical certificate if they only drive intrastate. The answer is yes. However, individual states set the requirements for drivers who remain within state borders when making their deliveries.

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Do I have to file the biennial update if there are no changes?

Biennial update

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires all carriers who have USDOT Numbers to keep updated information on file, including current entity name, address, and other important details. Any time this information changes, you must update the records associated with your USDOT Number. In order to maintain an active USDOT Number, you must also complete a biennial update, regardless of whether any of your information has changed.

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