THE ELECTION. Well, I am at a loss for words at the outcome of the election. All I can say is that we can expect Biden to repeal everything that Trump did. And I mean everything – from EPA to Immigration. Electric vehicles in the United States have been tied to strong pollution reduction mandates, and a Biden administration likely will move some of our policies closer to what we see in other parts of the world. Biden will inevitably restore the stricter fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards that were rolled back under the Trump administration. Biden is also expected to drop the effort to revoke California’s EPA waiver. On the bright side, the majority of our top transportation decision-makers on Capitol Hill made it through the elections and were re-elected.
PERSONAL CONVEYANCE. In a recent study that was conducted by J.J. Keller and Associates, Inc., respondents reported that one of the biggest challenges surrounding the hours-of-service compliance is managing personal conveyance. Carriers are right to be concerned about compliance in this area, as drivers who misuse personal conveyance are essentially creating false logs. But misuse isn’t impossible to identify. Carriers that can’t confidently say that personal conveyance is being used appropriately might want to start by watching for certain patterns in personal conveyance data and considering what those patterns might be telling them.
Carriers that run on a weekly cycle and allow drivers to keep their commercial vehicles at home should see a good amount of personal conveyance use at the beginning and end of the week. But the amount should be balanced. If significantly more personal conveyance occurs at the end of the week as compared to the start of the week, further investigation might be warranted. Drivers may be misusing personal conveyance by using it to complete assignments when out of hours.
In certain operations, such as those where drivers are assigned to remote work locations for extended periods, or those with day-cab drivers that stay out overnight, carriers may see daily use of personal conveyance. The key in such setups will be watching for drivers that have excessive amounts of personal conveyance or abnormal spikes in its use. For instance, if the average driver has one hour per day earmarked for personal conveyance, but one driver has four hours one day, the latter deserves special attention. Likewise, if the average driver at a company is using personal conveyance one to three times a week, but one driver used it nine times in a week, this is another spot where the use of personal conveyance should receive some special attention.
In short, carriers should keep an eye out for sudden spikes in the amount or frequency of personal conveyance use on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis. If these show up without a corresponding change in operation, the carrier must take the time to look into such anomalies. When the misuse of personal conveyance is discovered, carriers don’t have to immediately assume abuse is to blame. A driver first starting to use personal conveyance may simply need additional training on the concept. Where abuse is identified, however, the key is to catch the issue early and make sure drivers fully understand the carrier’s commitment to keeping logs in line. This may be a matter of a simple correction, a warning, or even discipline, if the situation merits it. Carriers need to remain committed to listening to what the data is telling them, because those that don’t risk accepting false logs.
CLEARINGHOUSE QUERIES. Have you conducted your annual queries in the Clearinghouse yet? The FMCSA wants to remind everyone that per Sec 382.701, employers of CDL drivers must conduct a query of the Clearinghouse at least once per year for each CDL driver they employ or use. The annual query requirement is tracked on a rolling 12-month basis. The one-year time frame resets with each query done on a driver. A limited query satisfies the annual query requirement. Employers must obtain a general consent from the CDL drivers they employ before conducting limited queries in the Clearinghouse to view these drivers’ information.
REVISED CCF FORM. Here is some guidance on the revised drug testing forms. Do you know the differences between the old CCF (Custody and Control Form) and the revised CCF? The old CCF is the one that has been used under the DOT-regulated program since 2017, but a new one was recently adopted in 2020. Most of the changes adopted in the revised CCF were made to accommodate the use of oral fluid specimens for federal drug testing programs. Oral fluid drug testing is not authorized in DOT’s current drug testing program. In addition to the changes regarding oral fluids, the revised CCF also includes the following changes:
On Copies 1-5, Step 1 (C) – added “CDL State and No.” to donor identification (FMCSA only). On Copies 1-5, Step 1 – added “Other” (for possibly an email address) to Collector Contact Info. On Copy 1, Step 5A – removed analyte names and check boxes, repositioned results and check boxes, and added a line for the certifying scientist to record the positive analyte(s) and concentration(s) if a positive result is recorded. On Copies 2-5, Step 5 – added a line for the donor’s email address. On Copy 5 – removed instructions for completing the CCF from the back of the form (instructions for completing the revised CCF are now posted on a separate sheet).
That’s right, now you will have to put your email address on the form. DOT-regulated employers and their service agents (collectors, laboratories, and Medical Review Officers) are authorized to use the revised CCF beginning September 1, 2020. To avoid confusion regarding whether oral fluid testing is authorized in the DOT program, and to allow existing supplies of old CCFs to be depleted, we recommend as a best practice that laboratories not mail any of the revised CCFs to any DOT-regulated clients or their service agents until after June 1, 2021 (or until supplies of the old CCFs have been completely depleted). If you have any questions, you are always free to give us a call at (800) 805-0040 or visit our newly redesigned website anytime at www.ntassoc.com.