DOT Hours of Service: Understanding the Unique Compliance Requirements.

The federal Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations are designed to keep fatigued drivers off the nation’s roadways. The rules set limits on how much time commercial drivers can spend behind the wheel, mandate certain amounts of rest, and require documentation.

The interstate trucking safety rules apply to anyone who operates a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) that weighs or is rated at 10,001 pounds or more or that is placarded for hazardous materials. In-state-only rules may vary somewhat from federal rules. Companies and drivers are required to know and comply with all regulations. Ongoing training for drivers, dispatchers, safety personnel, and others is critical for staying well-informed about these ever-changing rules.

Preventing fatigued driving increases highway safety and prevents crashes, injuries, fatalities, cargo claims, fines, high CSA scores, and litigation. HOS compliance is one area of emphasis during Continue reading

Earth Day – April 22, 2017


With Earth Day coming up on April 22, 2017, we share tips and product solutions to help those in the transportation industry move closer to their environmental goals.

Recycle used motor oil

Commercial vehicle maintenance centers likely already have a solution in place for the environmentally safe handling and recycling of used oil and other automotive waste materials. But what about at home? Be diligent there too and spend the $8 or so for an oil recycle jug that’s designed for easy disposing and recycling. Look for features such as a large opening (for easy filling and emptying), an easy carry handle and a lid to keep the oil contained while transporting to the recycle center. You’ll be surprised at how this convenient little jug-with-a-purpose will actually encourage you to make the trip to your local recycle center to dispose of the oil properly. Otherwise, it’s easy to give in and let that oil you just changed sit in a make-shift container in the garage month after month because there’s no practical way to move it anywhere else.

For home garage use, we’ve found this small 3 gallon jug “The Dispos-Oil Recycle Jug”   makes it super easy to collect, carry and transport used oil.


Explore Aerodynamic Technologies for Class 6-8 Trucks

There are several aerodynamic technologies available in the heavy duty aftermarket today that are providing owner operators and fleets with valuable fuel savings.

Consider some of the options listed below –  chosen based on their affordability, ease of installation and shorter payback period.

Trailer Side Skirts: Add the fuel-saving, aerodynamic technology of a trailer side skirt to reduce wind resistance and fuel consumption. For example, the EZ Edge Trailer Skirt is EPA SMARTWAY verified to deliver up to 7.3% in fuel savings. It also receives high marks because it is 100% recyclable and made in the USA.

• Fuel Saving Wheel Covers: Streamlining wheel openings on a truck & trailer with specially designed wheel covers, such as Deflecktors, is another simple and affordable aftermarket solution for reducing fuel consumption. These install in seconds with no tools needed.

• Aerodynamic Mud Flaps:  Even mud flaps have gone aerodynamic. Fleet Engineers, a Ryder Fleet Products supplier, manufacturers the AeroFlap® Aerodynamic Mud Flap. These lower fuel consumption by reducing drag, accomplished via a unique design which channels airflow in different, complimentary directions. Works in synergy with the EPA SMARTWAY program and are available in 24in, 30in, and 36in heights. Made in the USA from recycled materials.


Heavy Duty Truck Parts

Keep your fleet running smoothly with easy access to the same maintenance tested and road-proven heavy-duty aftermarket truck parts that Ryder® uses on its own fleet. With over 80 years of experience maintaining the most reliable fleet in America, Ryder knows more about parts than anyone else.

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Compliance on the go!  Video Training Books is the newest and easiest way to train new, contract, mobile or temporary workers.

Recently introduced by JJ Keller®, the Video Training Book lets your employees learn on the go – without having to wait for internet connection or a classroom. This portable training format makes training as accessible as possible and is ideal for those who regularly hire new or temporary workers and need to ensure they are properly trained.

What is a Video Training Book?

The Video Training Book, from JJ Keller, is a portable training format with 7” video screen that goes wherever your employees need to learn – making it easier for you to ensure they are properly trained and in compliance.

The Video Training Book is an 8” x 9” hard cover “book” with a 7” LCD screen. Each book also comes with:

• Employee handbook
• Quizzes and answer key
• Training log
• Earbuds
• AC adapter

Recognized for its ability to improve workplace safety, the Video Book was named a 2016 New Product of the Year by Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) magazine.

RYDER Fleet Products now offers the following three popular driver training topics in Video Book format. Plus they qualify for FREE standard ground shipping! 

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Free Automotive Tools – with our BOGO Promos!


Whether you are a Diesel Technician, Auto Mechanic, or a DIYer, RYDER® Fleet Products can help you stock your toolbox faster, easier and sometimes even free!

Look for our “Stock Your Toolbox” icon on our blogs (or choose “Stock your Toolbox” under our blog categories) to view all of our tool promotions. Check back often – sometimes there may be no current promotions; other times, there may be several!

Free Tools

Check-out our latest Free Automotive Tool offer:

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New-Entrant Motor Carriers: Understanding the Requirements and Clearing the Hurdles

What is it?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has special requirements for “new-entrant” motor carriers. A new-entrant motor carrier is subject to special roadside inspection monitoring and a “new-entrant safety audit, normally within the first 18 months of operation. The special monitoring continues until the carrier undergoes the safety audit or the 18 months have passed, whichever is later.

Who does this apply to?
A new-entrant motor carrier is a carrier that has been granted a new US DOT number or a carrier that has reapplied for a DOT number after being placed out of service by FMCSA. The carrier will be considered a new-entrant carrier until the special monitoring ends and the safety audit is passed.

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10 Ways to Fail a Brake Inspection


What common issues frequently result in failed brake inspections, out-of-service notices, or accumulation of CSA violation points? Does being issued a citation for a brake violation mean your vehicle is automatically placed out-of-service? Did you know that for vehicles placed Out-of-Service, nearly half are due to brake-related violations?

After reading this article, you will have a good understanding of what inspectors look for during a brake inspection as well as tips on what you, as a driver or technician, can do to help maintain a safe and compliant brake system.

Additionally, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) works to educate and remind fleets, drivers and technicians of the importance of properly installed and maintained brakes. Each year, they conduct an annual Brake Safety Week campaign. For 2016 this will be held during the week of September 11-17. Be prepared for commercial motor vehicle inspectors to be conducting brake system inspections on trucks and buses.

Citations and Out-of-Service Orders – What’s the Difference?

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Truck Driver’s Appreciation Week

Truck Driver AppreciationThis week is National truck drivers week (September 13-19, 2015) and to highlight the significant contributions of the 3.5 million professional truck drivers, we’ve gathered some industry statistics to illustrate how critical this industry is to our everyday lives.

One of my first recollections of the industry and its drivers is from elementary school, riding the school bus home each afternoon. It was a daily thrill when we passed one of the large tractor trailer trucks on the road and all of us on the bus would wave madly out the window to catch the driver’s attention and gesture for them to blow their horn. The drivers always knew just what we wanted and would dutifully oblige by giving us a big smile and reaching up to pull the chain that sounded their massive horn. The drivers were always friendly and made us all smile on our way home.

I didn’t realize then that these were the very people that delivered the food to our grocery store shelves, the latest shoes and clothes we all wanted or the medicine and supplies to our hospitals and pharmacies. I had no idea that some of them may have already driven hundreds of miles by the afternoon or that they wouldn’t be able to return back to their homes for several days.

Here are some more facts and figures about the industry that, though often in the background and at times underappreciated, keeps America seamlessly moving.

Trucker miles driven daily

An over-the-road driver logs an average of 500 miles each day.

Collectively, approximately 421 billion miles are traveled by truck drivers each year, and 152 billion of these miles are from class 6-8 trucks.


More than 80% of US communities depend solely on truck drivers to deliver their products.



Truckers deliver 40 million boxes of chocolate each Valentine’s Day,
257 million Roses for Valentine’s Day,
46 million Thanksgiving Turkeys, and
33 million Christmas trees each year.

70% Americas FreightNearly 70% of America’s freight is hauled by truck drivers. Rail is second at 14.8%.

Of the 3.4 million truck drivers,  5.8% of them are female
Ryder has partnered with to help encourage the industry to be more welcoming to women drivers. Women in Trucking  is a non-profit organization founded to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles they can encounter when working in the trucking industry.

Since 2003, trucks have seen an 88% drop in Sulfur Dioxide Emissions and a 32% drop in particulate matter.

If you connected all the loads delivered by trucks in 2013, the chain would stretch from the Earth to the moon more than 11 times.


Back-to-Back Safety. Injury Prevention Training for Drivers and Warehouse Employees

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, professional truck drivers suffer more injuries requiring time away from work than any other industry. This is a trend that has continued for over a decade.


Per OSHA, manual materials handling is the main cause of compensable injuries in the American work force, with four out of five of these injuries affecting the lower back. In 2013, there were 212,080 cases involving injuries to the back. These cases include sprains, strains, and tears; bruises and contusions; fractures; and soreness and pain in general.

These statistics, coupled with the fact that nearly 25% of all warehouse injuries occur at loading docks, highlight the importance of implementing and enforcing safe lifting practices in the workplace for professional truck drivers and warehouse employees.

Improper lifting, twisting, or bending can strain or sprain the back, cause ruptured or slipped disks, muscle spasms, and other pain. Back disorders can develop over time due to repetitive motions, or they can be triggered by a single movement or accident.

Several factors can increase the likelihood of developing a back disorder:

  • Poor posture and bad body mechanics
  • Stressful living and working activities
  • Poor physical condition
  • Poor design of job or work station
  • Repetitive lifting
  • Twisting or bending or reaching while lifting
  • Heavy lifting
  • Fatigue
  • Poor footing such as slippery floors, or constrained posture
  • Lifting with forceful movement
  • Vibration, such as with lift truck drivers, delivery drivers, etc.

While protecting workers from back injuries does not fall under any one particular standard, OSHA points to the General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act of 1970, which requires employers to provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm.

Osha general duty clause

Below are some of our favorite DVDs from JJ Keller that can help you keep your employees injury free:

Back Safety DVDJJK 38232 – Back Safety
This DVD will help you educate your employees on how to keep their backs healthy and provide preventive measures that can be taken to avoid back injuries.


Warehouse Safety TrainingJJK 178DVD – Loading Dock and Warehouse Safety Training
This DVD covers the safety issues unique to drivers, loading dock workers, and warehouse employees. Includes topics such as: back injuries resulting from improper lifting or carrying; using forklifts; and preventing slips and falls caused by wet or oily docks.

Injury prevention for driversJJK 13937 – Injury Prevention for Drivers
This industry-specific DVD teaches drivers how to stay injury-free while performing non-driving tasks.  Covers best practices for preventing back injuries, avoiding sprains, cuts, pinches, abrasions and cuts, and avoiding becoming pinned or crushed by cargo.


About Ryder Fleet Products
With, you have instant access to the trucking industry’s premiere aftermarket parts and shop supplies – all at discounted prices.

We’re here to help
Find a part number, cross reference a part, or ask a question by contacting our customer service team at 855.885.5631or

Copyright 2015 J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.     Copied with permission


‘No-Defect’ DVIR Rule Designed to Lower, Not Raise, Costs

Effective December 18, 2014, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration eliminated the requirement for truck drivers to prepare a post-trip driver vehicle inspection report (DVIR) when no defects are discovered. While the post-trip inspection must still take place, drivers are required to complete a DVIR only when a defect is identified. Drivers of buses, motorcoaches, and other passenger-carrying vehicles are not affected by this change. They must continue to prepare DVIRs whether there aredefects to report or not.

The motivation behind the FMCSA’s reasoning for this rule change was to save the trucking industry money ― claiming that $1.7 billion was spent annually on this paperwork process, yet 95 percent of all DVIRs listed no defects. Adding to this cost was the fact that these “no-defect” DVIRs were kept at the carrier’s place of business for recordkeeping purposes, and then discarded after 90 days.
Now, just over a month since this rule became effective, it may be too soon for a motor carrier who eliminated this paperwork requirement to see a reduction in its administrative costs. However, an increase in maintenance costs may be felt by some carriers, as could a rise in their Vehicle Maintenance BASIC ranking in the CSA program.

Many motor carriers have concerns that their drivers will not adequately inspect their vehicles under the changed requirement and therefore will continue to have their drivers complete a DVIR for all post-trip inspections. Some see this as a best practice and safety management control that can minimize the risk of operating unsafe vehicles and protect company safety rankings. Daily DVIRs can:
• Protect a company’s Vehicle Maintenance CSA scores by preventing any of nearly 350 vehicle maintenance violations that can be found during a roadside inspection.
• Increase efficiency through a preventive maintenance program that identifies and avoids mechanical problems that lead to costly breakdowns, repair, and out-of-service orders.
• Reduce risk by having pretrip and post-trip inspection documents as evidence in the event of accident related litigation.
• Improve safety by catching mechanical problems before they lead to serious accidents or fatalities.

The FMCSA wrote that it “will allow motor carriers to continue to require drivers to submit no-defect DVIRs if they believe that doing so is appropriate for their operations.” While this certainly can be viewed as a “best practice,” it is also a good example of managing above the rules.


For more in-depth knowledge of the Driver’s Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR), this DVD from J.J. Keller will help your drivers realize that routine inspections are essential to preventing breakdowns, out-of-service delays and crashes. It also reviews a standard procedure for conducting inspections and goes over the DVIR.

What are your thoughts on the new “No Defect” DVIR rule? Voice your opinion in the comments below.

This article was copied with permission from J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc.
Copyright 2015 J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.  

How Does CSA Affect Small Carriers?

 The size of the carrier is not a factor in deciding which carriers the FMCSA will investigate, but size is a factor in how carrier scores are calculated.

The first question that comes up in many discussions is, “What is CSA and what does it do?”

Despite all of the folklore that has been built around it, at its core, CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) is simply a program used by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to track and evaluate carriers based on compliance and crash history. Carriers that do not score well in the system are the ones FMCSA will spend time warning or investigating.

How the scoring works
The scoring in the system is based on roadside inspections, violations listed on roadside inspection reports, and crash reports. Violations are “valued” based on severity and time. The severity of a violation is based on its relationship to crash causation. Severity weighting uses a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being violations that have the closest relationship to crash causation.

The time factor involves multiplying the severity of a violation by a “time weight.” The severity for any event (inspection, violation, or crash) that has occurred in the last 6 months is multiplied by 3. If the event took place between 6 and 12 months ago, it is multiplied by 2. Events that took place between 12 and 24 months ago are multiplied by 1. Events over 24 months old are not used in the scoring.

In most of the Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs), the total of all severity- and time-weighted violations is divided by the time-weighted inspections a carrier has undergone. This results in a “BASIC Measure” that reflects a “violation rate per inspection,” with severity and time factors considered.

Two of the BASICs, Unsafe Driving and Crash, use a different process for calculating the measures. It involves dividing the total of all severity- and time-weighted violations by the company’s power unit count that has been multiplied by a utilization factor. The utilization factor is based on the carrier’s average miles per power unit. The power unit count and mileage are taken from the carrier’s MCS-150s that have been on file over the last 18 months.

Once the BASIC Measures have been calculated, they are compared to other carriers’ BASIC Measures.

To start this comparison process, carriers are placed into “Safety Event Groups” in all of the BASICs. Depending on the BASIC, the groups are based on the number of violations, inspections, or crashes. The result is that small carriers are compared to small carriers and large carriers are compared to large carriers. The carrier with the best (lowest) measure in each group gets a “percentile rank,” or BASIC Score, of “0.” The carrier with the worst (highest) measure in the group gets a BASIC Score of “100.” All other carriers in the group will have a score in between these two extremes based on their BASIC Measure.

Carriers that do not perform well are the ones that are placed on the “intervention list,” and can expect the FMCSA to take action against them. The action can include a warning or an investigation.

Because the system uses DOT numbers as its basis, if you are an owner-operator operating under your own DOT number, all inspections and violations are scored directly against your DOT number. If you are leased onto another carrier and operate under that DOT number, your inspections and violations are scored under that DOT number.

There are ‘minimums’
Each of the BASICs has minimum standards; that is, inspections, violations, and crashes, to be scored. If the carrier does not have enough data in a BASIC, the carrier is not scored in that BASIC. Here is a table that explains what is required in each BASIC to receive a score.

Data requirements
All three criteria below, where applicable, must be met before a BASIC score (percentile) will be assigned.

BASIC Min. # of inspections/crashes in past 24 months Min. # of violations/crashes in past 12 months Min. # of violations recorded during latest relevant inspection
Unsafe Driving 3 inspections 1 violation 0
Drug & Alcohol 1 inspection 1 violation 0
HOS Compliance 3 inspections 1 violation 1
Driver Fitness 5 inspections 1 violation 1
Vehicle Maintenance 5 inspections 1 violation 1
HM Compliance 5 inspections 1 violation 1
Crash Indicator 2 crashes 1 crash


These standards are why many small carriers, including one-truck owner-operators, are not scored in most or all BASICs. They either do not have enough inspections or violations to receive a score.

Drivers are separate
The driver scoring system is different. All drivers are scored in the Driver Safety Measurement System, which works basically the same as the carrier system discussed above. The differences are that drivers are not held responsible for certain technical violations and the driver system uses a different time weighting.

In the driver scoring system, drivers are scored independently of the carriers. It does not make any difference what carrier the driver is working for when the inspection and/or violation occurs.

Driver scores are completely confidential and they are only used by FMCSA investigators when investigating carriers. Part of the carrier investigation process is to review the carrier’s drivers’ BASIC scores, and investigate the drivers that have high scores.

How do I make my BASIC scores better?
The easiest way to get better BASIC Scores (as a carrier or as a driver) is to get good inspections. In five of the BASICs, this will make an immediate difference due to the “violation free” inspections being used directly in the math. In the other two BASICs (Unsafe Driving and Crash), good inspections do not help in the math, but they don’t hurt you either since there is no violation to bring into the BASICs for scoring.

What’s the challenge with being a small carrier?
The challenge is, once a small carrier gets a score, the carrier does not have a broad base of inspections over which to “spread” the violations. The result is that each violation has a significant impact on the carrier’s BASIC Measures, and therefore scores. The Safety Event Groups used in the comparison process help even this out, but only to a certain point. In most BASICs, the smallest Safety Event Groups are based on 3 to 10 inspections or 5 to 10 inspections. One violation spread over 3 inspections has quite a different impact than one violation spread over 10 inspections.

Also, small carriers are not likely to see an increase in inspections due to increased BASIC Scores, so getting good inspections to offset high scores is difficult. Large carriers that have high scores will see an increase in inspections, and if they can pass them they can actually see their scores lowered fairly quickly.

So what is the biggest challenge with being a small carrier as far as CSA is concerned? Once you get a bad score, it is hard to get it to come down. What’s the solution to this challenge? Avoid violations in the first place. This can be done by being aggressive with maintenance and inspection, and keeping your credentials and log current at all times.

About Ryder Fleet Products:
Ryder Fleet Products provides a wide range of truck parts, shop supplies & safety items for the medium and heavy duty truck industry at prices much lower than retail. And we offer FREE shipping for orders over $250. Find a part number, cross reference a part, or ask a question by contacting our customer service team at 855.885.5631 or

Thomas Bray is an editor in the Transportation Publishing Department of the Editorial Resource Unit at J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc, specializing in motor carrier safety and operations management

Copyright 2013 J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.        Copied with permission

This article first appeared on HDT/,, is the website of Heavy Duty Trucking