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Trucking South of the Border: US Changes Cross-Border Rules for Big Rigs

Published on March 26, 2015 by in Blog, CATI

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Canada and the US have a long history of cross-border trading and in fact, have the largest trade relationship in the world. Trade between the two countries involves thousands of different goods, and a majority of these goods are imported or exported cross-border via the trucking industry.

Recently, there were several rule and regulation changes made in the United States that directly impact Canada-based motor carriers who operate into the US. Training at an automotive training center can help you become familiar with many of these guidelines.

Let’s take a look at the recent changes and their benefits for truckers and those entering automotive school to become dispatchers.

Hours-of-service Restart Rules Suspended

Hours of Service regulations are issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and govern the working hours of anyone operating a commercial motor vehicle in the United States. Basically, truck drivers are required to keep a record of working hours using a log book or an electric on-board recorder that outlines the total number of hours spent driving and resting, as well as the time at which change of duty status occurs. This is extremely useful information for students taking dispatcher training, as a major duty in this career is monitoring driver logs.

The main purpose of these regulations is to prevent accidents due to driver fatigue. This is accomplished by limiting the allowed number of driving hours per day. After a certain amount of driving hours per week, a “restart” period is required where truckers take time off in between work weeks.

Passing of the new bill means that drivers will no longer need to spend two consecutive 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods off-duty when taking a 34-hour restart. The bill would also suspend restrictions limiting drivers to one 34-hour restart within 168 hours or seven days. This will make it easier for carriers to make customer deliveries early Monday without having to hire more drivers. Truck drivers may find it easier to get more miles, make more turns and in theory make more money.

No-defect Driver Vehicle Inspection Report Eliminated

The most effec­tive method for drivers to determine that their vehicle is in safe operating condition is to do a daily vehicle inspection before starting the day’s trip,” states the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

Recently, the FMCSA eliminated the “no-defect” report, allowing truck drivers to perform their inspections without having to fill out a report, should no defects be found.

By law, Canadian truck drivers must inspect their vehicles to determine if they are in optimal running condition and then fill out a vehicle inspection report even if there are no defects found. This means that drivers trucking cross-border are advised to maintain the habit of filling out “no-defect” reports as they can still be required to submit them upon request when driving on Canadian soil.

USDOT number deactivations

Companies that operate commercial vehicles transporting passengers or hauling cargo in interstate commerce must be registered with the FMCSA and must have a USDOT Number. The USDOT Number serves as a unique identifier when collecting and monitoring a company’s safety information acquired during audits, compliance reviews, crash investigations, and inspections.

The new regulation is pretty straightforward: make sure your motor carrier information on file with the FMCSA (your MCS-150) is updated at least once every 2 years, or you will be faced with deactivation of your USDOT number.


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