What to know about driver vehicle inspection reports

Driver vehicle inspection is a very important part of any trip.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) bears responsibility for ensuring that commercial trucks and buses remain safe on America’s roadways. There are a lot of regulations and requirements about inspecting vehicles, and some of those regulations have to do with vehicle inspection reports.

Commercial drivers have a responsibility to inspect all major parts of their vehicle to ensure they are in safe working order. For example, this includes the brakes, horn, lighting, steering wheel, emergency equipment, axles, and tires at a minimum. We’ll go over what you should know about driver vehicle inspection reports.

Read moreWhat to know about driver vehicle inspection reports

How are percentiles for the Safety Measurement System determined?

How are BASIC percentiles created?

The Safety Management System (SMS) is a program initiated and enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). It contains data from crash reports and roadside inspections for every commercial driver for the past 24 months. The FMCSA relies on the SMS to help identify drivers with safety challenges that might require intervention, up to and including putting their vehicles out of service.

Read moreHow are percentiles for the Safety Measurement System determined?

How often does the SMS update?

How often does the SMS update?

The Safety Measurement System (SMS), a program operated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), gathers information about commercial drivers to prioritize those who require a safety intervention. Drivers chosen for intervention will first receive a letter explaining the reasons along with any specific actions the agency plans to take. The goal is to correct unsafe driving behaviors as early as possible or get certain drivers off the road if necessary.

Read moreHow often does the SMS update?

What is reefer breakdown coverage?

Reefer breakdown coverage

The typical reefer truck weighs a lot and contains a refrigerated unit or refrigeration built directly into its frame. It helps to keep perishable goods fresh during long-distance deliveries. If you routinely transport refrigerated goods, adding reefer breakdown coverage to your insurance policy can give you added protection and peace of mind. Refrigerated goods need special protection and come with a higher risk than certain other types of cargo. This cargo isn’t your typical load, and it needs special care and attention so that it can be delivered to the client.

We’ll highlight some of the risks of hauling refrigerated goods below as well as what to look for in a new insurance policy.

Read moreWhat is reefer breakdown coverage?

Clearinghouse registration has now opened

Clearinghouse registration

On January 6, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will release an online database called the Clearinghouse that provides real-time information about driver drug and alcohol violations. Those who can access the data include the FMCSA, employers, state driver license agencies (SDLA), and state law enforcement personnel. We’ll go over what you should know about Clearinghouse registration.

Read moreClearinghouse registration has now opened

When do I report a name change instead of transfer operating authority?

Name change vs. transfer operating authority

When you need to change operating authority records, it can be difficult to know what type of change to make. For example, in some cases, you may wonder whether you need to complete a transfer of operating authority or simply report a name change. We’ll explain what the difference is between the two and what’s necessary to either transfer operating authority or do a name change.

Read moreWhen do I report a name change instead of transfer operating authority?

What if I applied for name change but my company profile hasn’t changed?

What if my name change hasn't updated yet?

Completing a name change sometimes takes some time. However, if you have already submitted your application and paid any required fees, you may wonder when you should expect the change to appear. Below is some information to help you understand the name change process and figure out what you should do if you are experiencing delays.

Read moreWhat if I applied for name change but my company profile hasn’t changed?

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).

Read moreAre seatbelts required in commercial motor vehicles?

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.

Read moreELD malfunctions you should know about and what they mean

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.

truck insurance quotes

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.

Source 1 | Source 2