News

Electronic Logging Devices: What Schools Need to Know

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Brian Stout, Transportation Compliance Services USA

The latest DOT regulations mandating Electronic Logging Devices (ELD’s) have generated more rumor, interpretation, speculation, and concern than any other Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulation in recent memory. These new regulations should not come as a shock to anyone in the transportation industry because some version of this has been anticipated for nearly a decade. However, as the date approached for a more finalized version, rumors began to surface about who would be regulated, what weight class would be affected, and what would be exempted.

Now that the 126-page final rule has been published in the Federal Register, and we see that the Phase 1 effective date of February 16, 2016 has come and gone, questions and mystery still remain, and thus, calls and questions continue to roll into our office.

Let’s take a minute to briefly discuss how ELDs will affect CDL schools.

Electronic Logging Devices

The new ELD regulations in the FMCSR’s do not change who is subject to the FMCSR’s hours of service (HOS) requirements (Part 395). The current ruling just adds some additional stipulations to this part that establishes the mandatory use and definition of ELDs, sets minimum performance and design standards, identifies supporting documentation and retention, and addresses concerns regarding harassment of drivers using ELD’s.

Essentially, with a few exceptions, if you are required to complete a paper log book now, you will be required to implement ELDs. The only exemptions that have been released to date that may be different than usual HOS exemptions are for:

  • any CMV’s older than model year 2000;
  • drivers conducting drive away/tow away operations as a delivery of a CMV; or
  • drivers using paper logs for 8 days or less a month (30 days).

These exemptions are limited to the ELD requirement only; these drivers are still bound by the records of duty status (RODS) requirements in 49 CFR Part 395.

How Does This Affect CDL Schools?

The question that is most frequently asked from CDL schools regarding DOT compliance requirements is, primarily, “Are we regulated, and to what extent?”  The answer is yes, but depends on your particular circumstances.  The particulars of your operations are very important in the analysis. Specifically, the question must be addressed from two perspectives: federal and state.

For the purposes of this question, we will assume that all of the commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) used by CDL schools are over 26,000 lbs Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), even though the regulations can identify a CMV in other ways. If the school is engaged in operating a private fleet (non-government) that is crossing state lines, they are subject to the rules and regulations found in the FMCSRs. Even if your school’s students are not crossing state lines with their CMVs, they will still be subject to certain requirements of the FMCSRs. However, generally speaking, most schools can claim an exemption from using paper logs and ultimately ELD’s  if they operate their CDL classes inside of a 100 air mile radius from their base of operations and if their drivers/instructors/students return to and are released from duties within 12 hours.

As a reminder, just because a school or student may be exempted from regulations regarding ELDs, they are likely responsible for other requirements such as CDL licensing requirements, driver qualification, drug and alcohol testing, and more. Why? Because nearly every state has adopted either some or all of the federal FMCSR’s for their own intra-state laws.  Moreover, even though the GVWR minimum threshold varies from state to state, all states consider the 26,001 lb GVWR weight class to be a commercial motor vehicle and will enforce some combination of federal and local standards. Depending on the state, this may include things such as driver qualification standards, vehicle maintenance procedures, registration requirements, accident policies and corrective action, and others including yes, hours of service (HOS) and now ELDs.

In our next article, we will discuss the other two phases of enforcement and the most frequently asked questions regarding ELDs. It is important to note that many state and federal auditors and investigators still have not been fully trained on the enforcement of these new regulations, both for roadside and on-site reviews. Since every company/school has their own unique set of procedures and types of operations, exercise caution before making any sizeable investments or operational decisions regarding ELDs.

If you have specific questions regarding ELDs or other FMCSA regulations and how they apply to your situation, please do not hesitate to contact any of our TCS Certified Compliance Specialists (CCS) for a more customized approach to your concerns at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 877-CMV-REGS.

Notice of Elections

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We greatly encourage all members in good standing to run for the Board. Six Board of Director seats are up for election (2 School, 2 Motor Carrier, and 2 Associate).

This is a great opportunity to work with your industry colleagues. We have made the Board election process a simple one. To view the official notice and understand how Board members are elected, please click here. To fill out an Applicant Statement, please click here. After completing the Applicant Statement, please email to Cindy Atwood (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ), or fax 703-642-5399. The deadline for applications is March 15th.  We will post all applicant statements on our website and the election will be held during the business meeting at the 2016 Spring Conference in San Juan, PR.. Newly elected Directors' terms will begin at the 2016 Fall Conference and last two years.

If you have a specific question regarding the experience serving as a Director, please contact Lou Spoonhour, Chairman of the Nominations Committee, at 219-743-6272. For all other questions, please call the CVTA office at 703-642-9444.

CVTA to the Rescue

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By Aimee Napier, Napier Truck Driving Training

As a CVTA member for 13 years, I have relied upon the association to help solve problems when they arise. Generally, I am able to solve most problems on my own. However, sometimes I am not. Two weeks ago I was facing a nightmare scenario that I am happy to say was resolved because of my membership in CVTA. I am writing to all CVTA members to let them know the value of being a member in CVTA, but more important, to urge members to reach out and seek guidance if they ever face a similar scenario as I did.

Ohio is in the process of changing its Workforce system from the old WIA system to the new WIOA system. In this transition, Ohio requires all eligible training providers to fill out a set of new forms and be approved by the State. After completing my forms, I received an email that I had been denied. Since 1995 our school has trained thousands of students who come through the Workforce Program and we maintain a 94% placement rate for those students. I was baffled. When I reached out to contact the state, I learned we were denied because when we filled out the form, we were not accredited by an accreditor on the list. No matter how I tried to reason with gentleman with who I spoke, I got nowhere.

With frustration and fear setting in, I reached out to CVTA to inquire about this matter and seek their guidance on it. CVTA sprang into action for us. After reviewing the state forms, looking at the WIOA law, talking with the state officials to determine the problem, CVTA was able to connect us to the Governor’s office and to help identify the breakdown in the workforce process. The State’s form, which listed accreditors, failed to capture those programs that were also authorized and overseen by other state agencies and departments. Therefore, while some in the workforce department interpreted that a school had to be accredited in the formal, term of art sense, in order to qualify, CVTA help point out that the letter and intent of the new workforce law never intended to bar successful programs like ours to from operating. Allowing Napier and other quality programs to become eligible training providers to align training and jobs in high demand industries, like trucking, will continue to allow programs with a record of success to continue delivering this success.

CVTA advised the State to revise its criteria and approve programs that are overseen by other agencies and departments. I am happy to report that within days of raising this issue to CVTA, and through their help by conducting outreach with the Governor’s office, we were approved. While I hope your school will never have to undergo an experience like mine, but if you do, my advice is to reach out to CVTA to see if they can help. Because of CVTA’s quick action, the matter was resolved and CVTA has once again come to my rescue. A job well done!

CVTA’s Statement on the President’s FY 2017 Budget

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For Immediate Release

February 11, 2016

Contact:
Cindy Atwood
703-642-9444

Alexandria, Virginia - Commercial Vehicle Training Association's (CVTA) President and CEO Don Lefeve released the following statement on the President's FY 2017 Budget Request:

"CVTA applauds the President's Budget for its commitment to fully funding the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). WIOA enables thousands of Americans to acquire the training needed to obtain good paying jobs in trucking with high quality carriers. WIOA grants are a critical source of funding which help individuals afford the schooling and high quality training needed to become a professional truck driver. We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress in the coming months to ensure that WIOA is fully funded and more Americans are able to receive the training they seek from CVTA schools.

"While we work on the federal level, we are also focused on helping Governors and Workforce officials better understand the impact that the current driver shortage is having on the economy, both locally and nationally, and the importance WIOA grants can play addressing the shortage by supporting Americans looking to secure commercial driver training.

"CVTA is committed to policies which enable students to receive funding to attend school, and we are equally committed to addressing policies which prevent students from entering the workforce in a timely fashion."

CVTA Applauds Congress For Producing Long Term Highway Bill

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Bipartisan bill recognizes the impact skills test delays have on producing commercial truck drivers and filling critical jobs

December 2, 2015

Earlier today, CVTA President & CEO Don Lefeve released the following statement:

"CVTA commends Congress on producing a bipartisan, bicameral long term Highway bill called the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (“FAST Act”). The FAST Act is a critical step in setting transportation policy and funding America's transportation network and infrastructure moving forward. CVTA would particularly like to recognize Representatives John Duncan (R-TN), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and their staffs, along with all conferees, for their efforts to include a provision which will help address the growing problem of skills test delays.

Commercial drivers are a key part of the engine that powers the sustainability of our economy. However, in many states, commercial drivers are prevented from going to work because they are unable to timely secure a skills test needed to acquire their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). CVTA is excited to see that Congress recognized the negative impact that skills testing delays are having on the system’s ability to train and employ the next generation of truck drivers. We look forward to working with Congress, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and other stakeholders to help solve this problem.”

Driver Examination Forms

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Attention Certified Medical Examiners

Until December 22, 2015, Certified Medical Examiners are required to continue to use current driver examination forms found on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/medical/driver-medical-requirements/medical-applications-and-forms.

On December 22, 2015, Certified Medical Examiners will be required to use the newly revised driver examination forms discussed in the Medical Examiner's Certification Integration final rule published on April 23, 2015. A copy of this rule in its entirety can be found in the National Registry Resource Center.

FMCSA has received numerous calls and emails from various stakeholders requesting to review the newly revised driver examination forms that will go into effect on December 22, 2015. To accommodate these requests, FCMSA has posted PDF samples of the new driver examination forms on the National Registry website which can be accessed by clicking the links below. Please note that these forms are samples only and are prohibited from being used prior to the December 22, 2015 compliance date.

Medical Examination Report (MER) Form, MCSA-5875 (Sample)

CMV Driver Medical Examination Results Form, MCSA-5850 (Sample)

Medical Examiner's Certificate (MEC) Form, MCSA-5876 (Sample)

FMCSA will be announcing future Q&A sessions to address any questions that may arise from stakeholder's review of the new driver examination forms discussed in this notice. In addition, fillable PDF versions of the Medical Examination Report (MER) Form, MCSA-5875 and Medical Examiner's Certificate (MEC) Form, MCSA-5876 will be made available for download from the National Registry (https://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov) and FMCSA (www.fmcsa.dot.gov) websites at a later date to be announced in the near future, by December 22, 2015.

CVTA Applauds House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee for passing a long-term Highway Bill that addresses numerous CVTA concerns, including Skills Testing Delays.

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Dear CVTA Members,

I am writing to update you on a number of very positive developments on Capitol Hill on October 22, 2015 for CVTA members.

Over the past year, CVTA has been advocating for a number of legislative changes that would enhance our members’ ability to provide quality training programs to new drivers. Specifically, CVTA has been urging Congress to: (1) reduce skills testing delays, (2) promulgate performance based Entry-Level Driver Training standards, (2) ensure that any additional federally approved drug testing options are really options, and (3) allow qualified and trained 18-year-old drivers to obtain a CDL allowing them to operate interstate.

We are pleased to report that Congress took major steps towards addressing all of these issues on October 22, 2015, as the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee conducted a mark-up of H.R. 3763, the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act (“STRR Act”). This Bill, which is the House of Representatives version of the Highway Bill, authorizes federal transportation programs, policy, and funding for the next six years. Though the STRR Act still has a long way to go until it becomes law, we are pleased to report that the Act proposes comprehensive solutions to each of the major concerns that CVTA has been raising on Capitol Hill over the past year.

Specifically, the STRR Act would:

  1. Require the FMCSA to issue a report on CDL skills testing delays, by location and month, on these delay times for tests and retests, including requiring the Administrator to describe specific steps he is taking to address test and retest delays of longer than 7 days. Furthermore, the bill authorizes the Department of Transportation (DOT) to allocate additional funds to improve a state’s implementation of its CDL programs, including expenses incurred for testing, personnel, and CL program coordinators;
     
  2. Put additional pressure on DOT to publish long-awaited minimum Entry-Level Driver Training Standards;
     
  3. Ensure that any additional federally-approved drug testing options will truly be options for our schools and carriers and will not obligate our schools and carriers to employ these more costly options for fear of lawsuit; and
     
  4. Create a pilot program allowing qualified and adequately trained 19½ -year-old drivers to obtain a CDL so that they could operate commercial vehicles interstate, rather than just intrastate.

CVTA applauds the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for its commitment to ensuring that new drivers are able to access quality driver training and testing. We are particularly thankful to Representatives John Duncan (R-TN) and Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), who cosponsored the language addressing skills testing delays, for their ongoing leadership and commitment to this issue.

Sincerely,

Don Lefeve
President & CEO, CVTA

For a more detailed summary of the above sections of the STRR Act, please click HERE.