Glostone Newsletter April 2014

Glostone Newsletter

ELD Rule Analysis

There is not a logging device in trucks or on the market today that meet the new ELD requirements.   The FMCSA has proposed its long awaited Electronic Logging Device or ELD rule.  This new rule is in the “proposed” stage whereby the FMCSA allows the public to give feedback and allows itself the option to make changes based that feedback.  At some point, the FMCSA will determine that they have heard all of the comments and will have made any necessary changes (or not).  At this point, they will change the status of this rule from “proposed” to “final”.  The ELD rule will become mandatory 2 years from the date the rule is made final.  The experts who follow FMCSA rulemakings expect the “proposal” stage of this process to take until spring of 2015.  Should the ELD rule then become a “final” rule, we can expect the rule to become mandatory in the spring of 2017. The rule itself covers over 250 pages of explanation, everything from what an ELD must and must not do to driver and company penalties for not using an ELD.  In the coming weeks, there should be lot’s of analysis and feedback.  After reading the 250 pages, one thing is for certain.  There is not a logging device in trucks or on the market today that meet the new ELD requirements.  ELD makers will be scrambling to meet the new requirements and have their systems added to the FMCSA approved ELD device list. One of the largest hurdles ELD makers will need to overcome is in reporting data to enforcement.  The data itself the FMCSA requires to be reported is not difficult for a typical ELD.  As a matter of fact, the driver location data must be “dumbed down” to meet the FMCSA reporting requirement.  Allow me to explain:  Many of today’s GPS location tracking devices are very accurate and can pinpoint a location to within a couple of meters.   A major criticism for mandating such location tracking devices (like an ELD) is the loss of driver privacy with government being privy to exact locations.  The FMCSA’s attempt to answer that criticism was to dumb down the location coordinate data required for reporting to enforcement. The FMCSA wants the reported location data to be in latitude and longitude coordinates with these coordinates ONLY being carried out to 2 decimal places.  When carried out to 2 decimal places, the location tracking accuracy is to within a mile give or take.   The FMCSA feels that this 1 mile location proximity is sufficient data for determining the accuracy of a drivers time driving.  It also allows the FMCSA to say they don’t have enough data to know exact location which protects the driver’s privacy.  The rule goes on to say that when a driver is using his truck for “personal conveyance”, the ELD can only report these location coordinates with 1 decimal allowing location accuracy to within 10 miles.  Again, the attempt is to protect the driver’s privacy when using his truck for non-commercial purposes. The problem for ELD makers becomes the dumbed down location data required by the FMCSA for electronic logging will not suffice for carriers who want to know exact location data for other purposes. Dispatching, routing, distance tracking required by the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) or the International Registration Plan (IRP) all require exact locations and distance calculations.   For IFTA and IRP, these agreements require, if GPS is used, highly accurate tracking and must account for every single mile the truck travels whether in commercial operation or not.  A carrier using the FMCSA dumbed down coordinates for IFTA and IRP record keeping will find they won’t have sufficient records to determine accurate distance when audited by state auditors. The FMCSA has offered some guidance which allows a carrier to collect detailed location and distance data for other purposes if they choose but what is reported to FMCSA enforcement can ONLY be to the accuracy level they have outlined.  This leaves the ELD makers, who may also offer truck location, IFTA and IRP data collection, needing to have the ability to collect very accurate location and distance, report dumbed down data to the FMCSA and very accurate data for IFTA and IRP.   Carriers will need to be very careful with any ELD systems they may purchase.  If meeting the FMCSA ELD mandate is the only concern of the carrier, a system that collects location coordinates once per hour and only reports that location to within 1 mile is perfectly fine.  If a carriers’ intent is to also use the data to know exactly where their trucks are at any given time and/or for IFTA and IRP reporting, the system purchased must be able to not only report dumbed down data to the FMCSA but collect and report much more accurate location coordinates for these other uses.    Time will tell if changes to the rule will be made.  One thing is for certain, change is coming!

April 30 is 1st QTR IFTA Fuel Tax Deadline

Now is the time to make sure that each truck’s distance and fuel purchase records for January, February and March are accumulated, recorded, and computed to generate your 1st Quarter 2014, International Fuel Tax Agreement tax report.  Reports and payments are due by April 30.  Any reports received after the deadline can be hit with penalties and interest.  Failing to turn in a report can place your company out of service.   Avoid the headache of tax reporting. The staff at Glostone are experts at both IFTA fuel tax and Oregon mileage tax reporting.  Give us a call today!

Driver Physicals Now Available

The DOT requires commercial drivers to be physically qualified to drive a motor vehicle.  To be qualified to drive, a physical exam is required and valid medical examination certificate obtained.    Our sister company CleanFleet has teamed up with Dr. Julia Wilber D.C. to provide driver physical examinations here at our office in Clackamas.  Other services can be performed as well including fitness agility testing and general chiropractic services.  Cost for a standard DOT driver physical is $75.00.  Appointments can be scheduled by calling 503-479-6082.

The California Air Resources Board Offering Free Webinar

The How to Comply with the Truck and Bus Regulation webinar focuses on compliance with CARB’s Truck and Bus Regulation, reporting, and proposed changes to the regulation. Also includes brief summaries of other diesel regulations.  The webinar is being offered: April 15 – Webinar (9:00-11:00) April 16 – Webinar (5:00PM-7:00PM)
For more information and to register for Course 521, please go to https://ssl.arb.ca.gov/training/courses.php?course=521
Please check the webpages for each course for revisions, cancellations, and additional sessions.

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An Important Law Affecting CMV Drivers Goes Into Effect May 21, 2014

To keep America’s interstate CMV drivers healthy and our roads safer, all interstate CMV drivers will soon be required to have their medical examinations performed by a Certified Medical Examiner listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
If you’re an interstate CMV driver, you already need a valid medical certificate signed by a medical examiner. The only change is that after May 21, 2014, you’ll need to go to a certified medical examiner for your medical certificate. If you’ve already had an exam and have a current certificate, that certificate will be valid until its regular expiration date.
You can find certified medical examiners in your area—or anywhere in the country—easily by:
1. Visit the National Registry Web site and search by Zip Code, State, or examiner name.
2. Choose a certified medical examiner from the list and call to make an appointment.
3. If your preferred health care professional isn’t on the list, simply refer him or her to the Certified Medical Examiners page to learn more about getting certified.
You can find more information by going to the National Registry Web site at https://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov/getting-started/

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ELD Rule Analysis

There is not a logging devise in trucks or on the market today that meet the new ELD requirements.

The FMCSA has proposed its long awaited Electronic Logging Devise or ELD rule this past week.  This new rule is in the “proposed” stage whereby the FMCSA allows the public to give feedback and allows itself the option to make changes based that feedback.  At some point, the FMCSA will determine that they have heard all of the comments and will have made any necessary changes (or not).  At this point, they will change the status of this rule from “proposed” to “final”.  The ELD rule will become mandatory 2 years from the date the rule is made final.

The experts who follow FMCSA rulemakings expect the “proposal” stage of this process to take until spring of 2015.  Should the ELD rule then become a “final” rule, we can expect the rule to become mandatory in the spring of 2017.

The rule itself covers over 250 pages of explanation, everything from what an ELD must and must not do to driver and company penalties for not using an ELD.  In the coming weeks, there should be lot’s of analysis and feedback.  After reading the 250 pages, one thing is for certain.  There is not a logging devise in trucks or on the market today that meet the new ELD requirements.  ELD makers will be scrambling to meet the new requirements and have their systems added to the FMCSA approved ELD devise list.

One of the largest hurdles ELD makers will need to overcome is in reporting data to enforcement.  The data itself the FMCSA requires to be reported is not difficult.  As a matter of fact, the driver location data must be “dumbed down” to meet the FMCSA reporting requirement.

Allow me to explain:  Todays GPS location tracking is very accurate and can pinpoint a location to within a couple of meters.   A major criticism for mandating such location tracking devises (like an ELD) is the loss of driver privacy and the ability for government to know exact locations.  The FMCSA’s attempt to answer that criticism was to dumb down the location coordinate data required for reporting to enforcement.

The FMCSA wants the reported location data while driving to be latitude and longitude coordinates and these coordinates to only be carried out to 2 decimal places.  When carried out to 2 decimal places, the location tracking accuracy is to within a mile give or take.   The FMCSA feels that this 1 mile location proximity is sufficient data for determining the accuracy of a drivers time driving.  It also allows the FMCSA to say they don’t have enough data to know exact location which protects the driver’s privacy.  The rule goes on to say that when a driver is using his truck for “personal conveyance”, the ELD can only report these location coordinates with 1 decimal allowing location accuracy to within 10 miles.  Again, the attempt is to protect the driver’s privacy when using his truck for non-commercial purposes.

The problem for ELD makers becomes the dumbed down data required by the FMCSA for electronic logging will not suffice for carriers who want to know exactly where their trucks are or for the distance tracking required by the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) or the International Registration Plan (IRP).  These agreements require, if GPS is used, highly accurate tracking and must account for every single mile the truck travels whether in commercial operation or not.  A carrier using the FMCSA dumbed down coordinates for IFTA and IRP record keeping will find they won’t have sufficient records to determine accurate distance when audited by state auditors.

The FMCSA has offered some guidance which allows a carrier to collect detailed location and distance data for other purposes but, what is reported to FMCSA enforcement can ONLY be to the accuracy level they have outlined.  This leaves the ELD makers who may also offer truck location, IFTA and IRP data collection, needing to have the ability to collect very accurate location and distance, report dumbed down data to the FMCSA and very accurate data for IFTA and IRP.

Carriers will need to be very careful with any ELD systems they may purchase.  If meeting the FMCSA ELD mandate is the only concern of the carrier, a system that collects location coordinates once per hour and only reports that location to within 1 mile is perfectly fine.  If a carriers’ intent is to also use the data to know exactly where their trucks are at any given time and/or for IFTA and IRP reporting, the system purchased must be able to not only report dumbed down data to the FMCSA but collect and report much more accurate location coordinates for these other uses.

Time will tell if changes to the rule will be made.  One thing is for certain, more change is coming!

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Glostone Newsletter – March 2014

Glostone Newsletter – March 2014

FMCSA Proposes ELD Mandate for Nearly All Trucks

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on March 13 issued a revised proposal to mandate that electronic logging devices be installed in interstate commercial trucks and buses. The requirement would help enforce hours-of-service rules, reduce paperwork burdens on carriers and ensure that drivers are not harassed, FMCSA said. The new proposal supplements the agency’s February 2011 proposal. FMCSA stopped work on that requirement in 2012 after a federal court ruled that a previous regulation mandating the devices for some carriers did not properly prevent the ELDs from being used to harass drivers. The proposal addresses new technical specifications for ELDs, mandates ELDs for drivers currently using record of duty status, clarifies hours-of-service supporting document requirements and outlines procedural and technical provisions aimed at ensuring that ELDs are not used to harass vehicle operators. In an effort to allay drivers’ and motor carriers’ fears, FMCSA said in its statement that the rule protects privacy because electronic logs would only be available to law enforcement or FMCSA during roadside inspections, compliance reviews and post-crash investigations. The rule would come with a new prohibition on carriers harassing drivers, which could carry an $11,000 fine. Carriers must allow drivers access to their logs, and the devices must be able to be muted when drivers sleep.
FMCSA estimated the mandate would save 20 lives and prevent 434 injuries each year, with a net benefit to the country of $394.8 million annually. “Impaired driving, including fatigue, was listed as a factor in more than 12% of the 129,120 total crashes that involved large trucks or buses in 2012,” the agency said. FMCSA will soon publish the proposal in the Federal Register, starting a 60-day period during which the public can comment on it. The agency will then consider the comments before making the rule final. As proposed, the mandate would take effect two years after FMCSA makes it final. Carriers and drivers using compliance electronic logs will be allowed to continue using them for two more years after the rule takes effect.

What Are IRP & IFTA Auditors Looking For?

The International Registration Plan (IRP) and the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) both apply to carriers with trucks over 26,000lbs and traveling interstate.  The IRP deals with how states register vehicles and distribute the registration fees to the states traveled.  IFTA is the system states use to collect and distribute fuel tax monies based upon where the fuel was used.  Each state is required to audit 3% or more of their carriers registered in these programs.   Both IRP and IFTA have similar record keeping requirements when it comes to tracking distance traveled.  IFTA goes beyond IRP record keeping requirements by also requiring fuel purchase records.  The records are used by auditors to verify that each carrier has an adequate record keeping system in place and uses those records accurately to calculate distance and pay the proper registration and fuel tax fees.  Auditors can request records going back 4 years.   Here is a list of required records common to both IRP and IFTA:

  1. Distance recaps for each vehicle for each jurisdiction in which the vehicle operated.
  2. An acceptable distance accounting system is necessary to substantiate the information reported on the tax return filed quarterly or annually. At a minimum, must include distance data on each individual vehicle for each trip and be recapitulated in monthly fleet summaries. Supporting information should include:
  • Date of trip (starting and ending);
  • Trip origin and destination;
  • Route of travel;
  • Beginning and ending odometer
  • Total trip miles/kilometers;
  • Miles/kilometers by jurisdiction;
  • Unit number or vehicle identification number;
  • Vehicle fleet number;
  • Registrant’s name; and
  • May include additional information at the discretion of the base jurisdiction.
Additional fuel records are required for IFTA. The fuel records shall contain:
  1. The date of each receipt of fuel;
  2. The name and address of the person from whom purchased or received;
  3. The number of gallons or liters received;
  4. The type of fuel;
  5. The vehicle or equipment number into which the fuel was placed, and
  6. If applicable, details of taxable and non-taxable usage of fuel;

These are the minimum records needed for an IFTA and/or IRP audit.  Just having the document does not mean it will be acceptable.  Auditors will verify the accuracy of the records plus ensure the correct numbers were actually reported.

Common mistakes carriers make with IFTA and IRP record keeping:

  • Recording miles from dispatch records and not balancing them with odometer readings
  • Recording miles using mapping software and zip code references
  • Not recording odometer readings
  • Not recording routes of travel
  • Not recording empty or bob-tail miles
  • Not recording personal miles
  • Not keeping fuel receipts or accepting fuel receipts without all of the required information included.

When an auditor finds an error, percentages are applied to the entire three year audit period and to all vehicles which can result in substantial fee, penalty and interest assessments.  When it comes to compliance and audits, being proactive is the key.  Have systems in place that will guarantee records compliance and promote safety.  If you need help with a proactive plan, give us a call!

The “Classic Blunder” Of New Commercial Insurance Filings

Buying insurance is a critical piece of the process for a new company to obtain his Motor Carrier (MC) operating authority.  At Glostone, we help dozens of clients get set up with new MC authorities every year.   When we ask about how they are going to handle their insurance requirement, we often hear statements like “I’m going to my insurance guy” or worse yet, “my car insurance agent said he could give me a quote.”   What typically happens is our clients will call up the same person who provides all of their other various insurances (personal car, life, property) and say something like “I just bought a truck, I need insurance”. That agent is, of course, going to say, “Yes, I can insure a truck”!  The uninformed agent has no idea that we are talking about a commercial truck, with totally different insurance needs and a filing requirement that is attached directly to an FMCSA Motor Carrier authority number.   This approach always leads to delays in obtaining the authority and usually wastes a lot of time and money.  The best rule of thumb is if an insurance provider does not already insure 100’s of other commercial motor vehicles, they probably have a limited knowledge of what the carrier actually needs.   Even companies that insure motor carriers, trucks and drivers are not all the same.  Some sell through independent agents, others through their own sales staffs.  Some specialize in commercial truck insurance, while others sell it as one of a secondary line of coverage they offer.  Some companies specialize in specific niches within trucking, such as large fleets, temperature-controlled equipment or owner-operators.  Some cover thousands of small customers, while others only handle a few big companies.   This intense specialization suggests the first insurance-buying decision:  Buy from a company that specializes in truck insurance for your type of operation.  Specialists know what to ask and will recommend a policy that will not only meet the FMCSA requirements, but will also match the needs of your operation and at a price you can afford.    If you are looking a quote from a truck insurance specialist, we can to refer you to the best in the business!  Give us a call at 503-607-1088

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FMCSA’s New Proposal For Mandated ELDs

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on March 13 issued a revised proposal to mandate that electronic logging devices be installed in interstate commercial trucks and buses.

The requirement would help enforce hours-of-service rules, reduce paperwork burdens on carriers and ensure that drivers are not harassed, FMCSA said.

The new proposal supplements the agency’s February 2011 proposal. FMCSA stopped work on that requirement in 2012 after a federal court ruled that a previous regulation mandating the devices for some carriers did not properly prevent the ELDs from being used to harass drivers.

“Today’s proposal will improve safety while helping businesses by cutting unnecessary paperwork — exactly the type of government streamlining President Obama called for in his State of the Union address,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “By leveraging innovative technology with electronic logging devices, we have the opportunity to save lives and boost efficiency for both motor carriers and safety inspectors.”

The proposal addresses new technical specifications for ELDs, mandates ELDs for drivers currently using record of duty status, clarifies hours-of-service supporting document requirements and outlines procedural and technical provisions aimed at ensuring that ELDs are not used to harass vehicle operators.

“By implementing electronic logging devices, we will advance our mission to increase safety and prevent fatigued drivers from getting behind the wheel,” FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro said in the statement. “With broad support from safety advocates, carriers and members of Congress, we are committed to achieving this important step in the commercial bus and truck industries.”

In an effort to allay drivers’ and motor carriers’ fears, FMCSA said in its statement that the rule protects privacy because electronic logs would only be available to law enforcement or FMCSA during roadside inspections, compliance reviews and postcrash investigations.

The rule would come with a new prohibition on carriers harassing drivers, which could carry an $11,000 fine. Carriers must allow drivers access to their logs, and the devices must be able to be muted when drivers sleep.

FMCSA estimated the mandate would save 20 lives and prevent 434 injuries each year, with a net benefit to the country of $394.8 million annually. “Impaired driving, including fatigue, was listed as a factor in more than 12% of the 129,120 total crashes that involved large trucks or buses in 2012,” the agency said.

FMCSA will soon publish the proposal in the Federal Register, starting a 60-day period during which the public can comment on it. The agency will then consider the comments before making the rule final.

As proposed, the mandate would take effect two years after FMCSA makes it final. Carriers and drivers using compliance electronic logs will be allowed to continue using them for two more years after the rule takes effect.

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