New standards on lease accounting take effect for private companies and non-profit entities with fiscal years beginning in 2022, requiring them to recognize operating lease assets and liabilities on the balance sheet.

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Lighting is one of the most common roadside violations as well as one of the biggest challenges fleets face.

During the latest 2021 Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's (CVSA) Roadcheck event, there were 1,367 out-of-service lighting violations, accounting for 14.1% of all vehicle out-of-service violations. It was the third most-cited violation, after brake systems and tires. Out-of-service lighting device violations include headlamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, turn signals and lamps on projecting loads.

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Penske's Fleet Services and Operating Tax groups take the complexity out of the regulatory requirements commercial fleets encounter, enabling motor carriers to focus on their core business while remaining compliant with their federal, state, provincial and local tax obligations. Plus, Penske is always working behind the scenes to stay abreast of tax and vehicle legalization requirements in the U.S. and Canada so customers can remain in compliance even as the regulatory landscape changes.

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The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's (CVSA's) International Roadcheck will take place May 4-6. Over the 72 hours, commercial motor vehicle (CMV) inspectors throughout North America inspect commercial motor vehicles and drivers.

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Live diagnostic reporting systems have a number of benefits for carriers, including minimizing delays associated with breakdowns and reducing the risk of Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) violations, but unless the systems are managed properly, carriers may be overwhelmed with fault codes that leave them with more questions than answers.

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Federal law has required professional truck drivers to wear seat belts since 1970, and a record 86% of drivers now use safety belts, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported. According to FMCSA, safety belt use remains one of the cheapest, easiest and most important means to protect commercial motor vehicle drivers.

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The Greenhouse Gas Phase 2 emissions requirements, which will improve heavy-duty trucks' fuel economy, take effect on Jan. 1. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requirements will be phased in completely by 2027. The Phase 2 regulations are a step up from the Phase 1 standards that took effect in 2017. Once fully phased in, the standards will achieve up to 24% lower CO2 emissions and fuel consumption compared to Phase 1.

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Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s data-driven safety compliance and enforcement program, vehicles and drivers accumulate points for violations. In 2019, the top three vehicle violations came in as inoperable required lamp, operating a commercial motor vehicle without proof of a periodic inspection, and clamp or roto type brake out of adjustment. The top three driver violations for 2019 were speeding 6-10 miles an hour over the speed limit, failure to obey a traffic device and failure to use a seatbelt. Many violations are easily preventable with the right maintenance and driver training.

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Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, new international rules put forth under the International Maritime Organization will reduce the sulfur content in marine fuels to 0.5%, down from 3.5%, and the change is expected to have a ripple effect throughout the fuel industry. Increased demand for very-low-sulfur diesel fuel could drive prices higher. A report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on energy markets and the rule, which is referred to as IMO 2020, said a shift in petroleum product pricing may begin as early as mid-to-late 2019, with the effects on prices to be most acute in 2020. EIA resources say it is a potential for an 11-cent spike.

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The final element of the Department of Transportation's mandate, regarding electronic logging devices (ELDs), takes effect in December when all carriers must transition to ELD devices and Automatic On-Board Recording Devices (AOBRDs) will no longer be allowed.

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Thorough pre- and post-trip inspections help drivers and carriers meet federal safety standards and improve safety — and the results of roadside inspections can hurt or help carriers' safety scores depending on what law enforcement finds.

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Every point counts for drivers and fleets under Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) data-driven safety compliance and enforcement program. Proper maintenance is one of the best ways to minimize the risk of a violation. However, in some cases, a violation is beyond a driver's control, such as a truck crash when the driver was not at fault. While this type of event had resulted in points in the past, CSA has announced its plans to change this.

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Penske Truck Leasing is committed to providing the right preventive maintenance (PM) services at the right time to the right vehicle and has embraced technology to improve upon the traditional scheduled maintenance checklist. Penske Truck Leasing offers Dynamic PM®, a data-driven preventive maintenance technology that will enhance compliance, quality and uptime.

"We have gone from a paper document to a voice-directed maintenance technology and software system that provides specific direction based on the vehicle’s attributes, geographic location, age and domicile," said Mike Hasinec, vice president of maintenance support for Penske Truck Leasing. "We have 1,200 to 1,500 tasks identified that get populated throughout the vehicle's life."

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The compliance deadline for new lease accounting standards took effect in January for calendar-end public companies. That means public companies, whether they report under International Financial Reporting Standards or current Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), are now required to recognize operating lease assets and liabilities on the balance sheet. Private companies have until 2020 to comply.

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler launched the Cleaner Trucks Initiative (CTI) in mid-November to further decrease nitrogen oxide emissions from on-highway heavy-duty trucks and engines. The CTI will include a future rulemaking that will update the existing NOx standard last set in 2001, while also streamlining compliance and certification requirements.

"The U.S. has made major reductions in NOx emissions, but it's been nearly 20 years since the EPA updated these standards. Through rule making and a comprehensive review of existing requirements, we will capitalize on these gains and incentivize new technologies to ensure our heavy-duty trucks are clean and remain a competitive method of transportation," Wheeler said.

Even without regulatory action, private fleets are working to reduce emissions through EPA's voluntary public-private program, SmartWay. EPA launched SmartWay in collaboration with business stakeholders to strengthen competitiveness and energy efficiency while contributing to cleaner air in 2004. Since then, more than 3,500 companies have taken part in the program, and SmartWay partners have saved $27.8 billion in fuel costs, while cutting over 1.7 million tons of NOx, 70 thousand tons of PM2.5 and 84 million metric tons of carbon from our nation's freight transportation networks.

SmartWay partners have saved $27.8 billion in fuel costs

Penske Truck Leasing is an affiliate partner in the U.S. EPA SmartWay program and works to make it easy for its customers to become SmartWay partners as well. Penske assists fleets with modeling and completing the program's tools and helping them to establish fuel economy and emissions benchmarking that correlate with SmartWay Carrier Performance Rankings. Penske also provides ongoing education and implements new strategies to introduce and engage customers with the SmartWay program.

Penske Logistics is a SmartWay partner in the trucking carrier and logistics categories and received the EPA's 2018 Freight Carrier Excellence Award in November. Penske Logistics was one of 40 organizations to receive the honor, which is given to the best environmental performers of SmartWay's 3,700 program participants.

"Over the past 14 years, the U.S. EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership has collaborated with thousands of businesses to create greener supply chain networks," said Bill Wehrum, EPA's assistant administrator of the Office of Air and Radiation. "Each year, we honor the top one to two percent of these SmartWay partners with an EPA SmartWay Excellence Award, to recognize leadership in moving goods efficiently while protecting the environment and public health."

December 2018

All owners of diesel trucks, buses, trailers and transport refrigeration units (reefers) that operate in California are required to take steps to reduce air pollution under regulations issued by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the clean air agency in the state of California.

California is the only state permitted to issue emissions standards under the federal Clean Air Act, subject to a waiver from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That means there are occasions when California’s laws differ from the national standards. Penske Truck Leasing closely monitors CARB requirements, and ensures it specs equipment that will meet the state’s requirements, reducing the risk of fleet non-compliance.

CARB Requirements

Opacity Testing

CARB recently approved amendments to toughen state standards on heavy-truck smoke opacity limits as well as to require motor carriers with two or more trucks to report their annual smoke test results to the agency. The standards took effect in 2019 and reporting requirements take effect in 2023.

GHG Phase 2 Trailer Requirements

In late 2017, a court granted a request to provisionally stay the Phase 2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards that were set to effect for all trailers produced on or after Jan. 1, 2018, but California has said it plans to move forward with the regulations.

The California Air Resources Board has set a 2020 implementation date for Phase 2, whether the EPA sticks to the federal trailer and glider standards or not. Under the federal rule, trailer manufacturers would have to use a variety of aerodynamic devices as well as low-rolling-resistant tires and tire inflation systems to meet stricter fuel efficiency requirements.

Penske Truck Leasing is closely tracking approved specs and is already in compliance with the proposed federal spec.

Idling Limits

California’s idling laws restrict diesel vehicles from idling more than five minutes, and idling in school zones is not allowed with limited exceptions.

Auxiliary power units (APUs), which Penske Truck Leasing can spec for customers, reduce the need for idling, allowing fleets to reduce fuel costs, increase engine life and improve driver comfort.

Transport Refrigeration Units

All transport refrigeration units (TRU) and TRU generator sets that operate in California must meet in-use performance standards issued by the state. Every California-based TRU and TRU generator set must be registered in the ARB Equipment Registration program (ARBER) and be labeled with an ARB identification number. Fleets may comply by using alternative technologies, installing a verified PM filter or upgrading to cleaner engines.

CARB has said that reducing emissions from existing equipment is necessary to meet federally imposed clean air standards and to reduce the adverse health effects from pollution. Penske Truck Leasing can work with its customers to spec the right equipment to ensure compliance with all state and federal laws.

July 2018

Understanding FSMA compliance is essential if you operate a private fleet in the food transportation industry.

If you operate a private fleet in the food transportation industry, it's time to get more familiar with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Implemented by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the FSMA aims to improve safety and prevent spoilage.

Your amount of annual receipts determines how soon you will need to be compliant:

  • More than $27.5 million in annual receipts must comply by April 2017.
  • Less than $27.5 million in annual receipts must comply by April 2018.
  • Less than $500,000 in average annual revenue is exempt.

Benefits of Compliance

Complying with the FSMA protects your private fleet’s brand, reduces reputational risk and limits liability. Private fleets must use equipment that meets the FDA’s standards and show that food products are handled correctly during transit.

Failure to comply can have huge financial costs. If anyone in the supply chain becomes aware of possible temperature control failure or other conditions that may render the food unsafe during transportation, the food cannot be sold or distributed. The costs can add up quickly and in addition, failure to comply with the FSMA is prohibited, subject to injunction and criminal prosecution.

Understand the Rule

While broad, the FSMA includes specific elements devoted strictly to transportation. Under the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food rule within FSMA, shippers and carriers involved in transporting human and animal food must follow recognized best practices, such as protecting food during transportation, properly refrigerating it and cleaning vehicles between loads. The rule applies to:

  • Foods transported in bulk (such as juice)
  • Packaged foods not fully enclosed by a container (such as fresh produce)
  • Foods that require temperature control for safety

FSMA Includes these Requirements

Vehicles and Transportation Equipment: The design of vehicles and equipment used in transportation operations and the materials used in their manufacture and their workmanship must be “suitable.” Equipment must be “adequately cleanable” to allow the sanitary transport of food. In addition, the rule specifies “vehicles and transportation equipment must be stored in a manner that prevents harborage of pests or becoming contaminated in any other manner that could result in food becoming adulterated.”

Transportation Operations: FSMA defines this as “all activities associated with food transportation that may affect the sanitary condition of food,” subject to certain exceptions. Transportation operations must be conducted “under such conditions and controls necessary” to prevent the food from becoming filthy, putrid, decomposed, or otherwise unfit for food or rendered injurious to health.

Temperature Controls: For food requiring specific temperatures, vehicles and transportation equipment must be equipped, as necessary, to provide adequate temperature control. The FSMA requires shippers and carriers to agree to procedures for monitoring temperatures within the trailer or truck body, when applicable, and private fleets must provide temperature-related documentation.

Written Procedures: Under the rule, carriers must develop and implement written procedures subject to recordkeeping that describe practices for cleaning, sanitizing, and inspecting vehicles and transportation equipment used to transport food. In addition, carriers and shippers must maintain written procedures and records related to equipment cleaning, prior cargoes and temperature control for 12 months.

Information Exchange: The act establishes procedures for exchange of information about prior cargoes, cleaning of transportation equipment, and temperature control between the shipper, carrier and receiver, as appropriate. For example, a carrier transporting bulk nondairy food must ensure vehicles that have previously hauled milk will not introduce allergens into nondairy food.

Training: Under the final rule, private fleets must provide training about potential food safety problems, basic sanitary transportation practices and the responsibilities of the carrier.

Additional Specific Requirements: The FSMA further dictates a number of specific requirements, ranging from pallets to hand washing.

Spec the Right Equipment

Both refrigerated trucks and trailers must be FSMA compliant. Newer, late-model equipment can make this easier. For example, the right trailers, such as those with multi-temp trailer compartments, may help maintain product temperatures.

Staying FSMA compliant also means embracing a proactive preventive maintenance process (PM). It minimizes the risk of breakdowns, which could leave loads sitting and compromise load safety. PM also helps private fleets detect risks that must be addressed before they become a larger problem.

Although the rule provides some flexibility regarding how to track temperatures, private fleets still need to show proper product handling during transit. This can be accomplished using reefer units on trailers that record temperatures, which can be checked manually or by installing on-board, real-time, GPS-enabled temperature tracking devices.

Embrace Track-And-Trace Technology

As part of the FSMA, those within the supply chain must be able to track and trace products in the event of a recall. Utilizing transportation management systems and GPS monitoring can help private fleets pinpoint the exact location of a load if a shipper needs to halt the delivery. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology on pallets also can ensure quick and easy traceability in the event of a food safety crisis.

Educate Employees

If the carrier is responsible for the sanitary conditions during transport operations, then carrier personnel must receive adequate and documented training on sanitary transportation practices. They also need training on awareness of potential food safety problems that may occur during food transportation.

Plan Ahead

No matter the size or compliance date of your private fleet, now is the time to know the FSMA and move toward compliance. Build a game plan. Proactively spec the right equipment. Prepare your employees. Document your procedures. These steps will help you ensure compliance, mitigate your risk and protect your brand reputation that you’ve worked so hard to build in your marketplace.

February 2018 / Updated May 2018

Fleets have data coming at them from multiple sources, including electronic logging devices and the engine.

When managed properly, information can be used to improve operations and increase efficiency. Otherwise, the vast amount of data can be overwhelming to private fleets.

“You have to be wary of paralysis by analysis,” said Mike Hasinec, vice president of maintenance support at Penske Truck Leasing.

Fortunately, Penske Truck Leasing can help private fleets monitor and organize data to make it accessible and usable.

ELD Data

Electronic logging devices became mandatory in 2017, and data obtained from the devices can help private fleets become more efficient and improve safety. Fleets could use data to examine the productivity of individual drivers and make decisions regarding their loads.

In addition, ELDs could make it easier to track miles traveled in each state. ELDs could also change conversations with shippers by making it easier to identify which shippers are detaining drivers and drive discussions regarding loading and unloading.

Engine Communications

Live diagnostic reporting systems have a number of benefits for carriers, including minimizing delays associated with breakdowns and reducing the risk of CSA violations. But unless the systems are managed properly, carriers may be overwhelmed with fault codes that leave them with more questions than answers.

“There are so many fault codes. You need to work with an OEM to determine which codes are important,” Hasinec said.

Penske Truck Leasing has taken more than 1,000 fault codes and categorized them into red, yellow and green to help technicians, carriers and drivers understand which codes require immediate attention.

For private fleets, the important element is to be able to decipher what the fault codes mean. “If you have identified what is important, you can manage a phone call from the driver to let them know not to worry about it, write the code up that night or pull over at the first safe opportunity,” Hasinec said, adding that Penske has identified 12 critical codes.

Penske can also analyze fault codes and adjust preventive maintenance schedules if certain items are failing prematurely. This minimizes the risk of an over-the-road failure and increases a vehicle’s uptime.

Financial Information

Full-service leases through Penske Truck Leasing can help consolidate information, including billing and financial data, so it can be pulled up with the click of a mouse. Having the information in a central location makes it easier for chief financial officers to access the data when they need it.

Regulatory Compliance

Penske Truck Leasing compiles information related to regulatory compliance of Class 8 trucks and carefully tracks information related to maintenance. Proper maintenance not only minimizes the risk of roadside inspection violations but also ensures information on maintenance is readily available in the event of a Department of Transportation (DOT) audit. Penske can also assist with licensing, further reducing the regulatory burden on private fleets and improving record keeping as it applies to critical data.

March 2018

Under the Department of Transportation's Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) program, the Safety Measurement System quantifies the on-road safety performance of carriers and drivers to identify candidates for interventions. The system relies heavily on data from roadside inspections, so every vehicle and driver violation counts. Fortunately, proper maintenance and driver training can prevent nearly all of the most frequent violations private fleets receive.

Minimizing Vehicle Violations

Not only does regular maintenance improve uptime, it can also keep CSA violations at bay.

"Preventive maintenance is the primary means to reduce roadside violations," said Mike Hasinec, vice president of maintenance support at Penske Truck Leasing.

As part of preventive maintenance, technicians evaluate lights, grease oil leaks, tire tread and fire extinguishers, all of which are frequent violations. Drivers can also monitor these items during daily inspections.

"All of these are nuisance items, but if the driver does a proper pre- and post-inspection, they should catch those little things so when they go through a scale or inspection, there is nothing relevant," Hasinec said.

Of course, things can happen while a driver is out on the road, such as a light bulb burning out. "Nowadays, for the most part, people have gone to LED and they last a lot longer. They also have diodes, so when a light goes out, it doesn't go out totally," Hasinec said.

Manufacturers are also offering technology that checks circuits and makes sure all of the lights are burning. "It is like a mini pre-trip," Hasinec said, adding that some manufacturers now make the feature standard.

Hasinec said drivers need to be good citizens for their organizations. "They have to fill out their paperwork properly and do their pre- and post-trips. If drivers follow that handful of tips they won't have any issues," he said.

Frequent Violations

Frequent Violations Info-graphic

Addressing Driver Violations

Chuck Pagesy, director of safety at Penske Truck Leasing, said many of the most frequent driver violations are easy to control. "A good driver can do just a few minor things to ensure he avoids some of the more common violations," he said, citing wearing a seatbelt and carrying a medical certification card as examples.

Drivers can also avoid violations by obeying driving laws, such as speed limits, traffic lights and stop signs. "These are manageable items that drivers can be trained on and held accountable for good performance," Pagesy said.

Log violations in one form or another make up a good percentage of violations. "If drivers kept their log book current, they could avoid these," Pagesy said, adding that electronic logging devices could minimize those types of violations. "In most cases, when they fire the truck up, it will prompt them to enter in information and start their electronic log. It will make sure it is current."

However, drivers are still obligated to make entries into the system. "If they stop that truck for two hours, the truck doesn't know if they are unloading, taking a break or have been in an accident, so they still have to be religious about entering information," Pagesy said.

Dispatchers have a role to play in minimizing violations by monitoring the drivers' hours of service to make sure they give drivers work assignments that can be legally completed. "They need to monitor and reinforce that it is time to shut down," Pagesy said.

Good communication between dispatchers, supervisors and drivers can reinforce drivers' roles in minimizing violations. "By having daily huddle meetings, frequent handouts or updates on the latest regulations, it keeps it in the forefront of their minds," Pagesy said.

Top Roadside Inspection Vehicle Violations:

  • Operating Vehicle Not Having the Required Operable Lamps
  • Inspection/Repair and Maintenance Parts and Accessories
  • Oil and/or Grease Leak
  • Tire-Other Depth Less Than 2/32 of an Inch
  • No/Discharged/Unsecured Fire Extinguisher
  • Operating a CMV Without Periodic Inspection
  • No/Defective Lighting Devices/Reflective Devices/Projected
  • Inoperative Turn Signal
  • Automatic Brake Adjuster CMV Manufactured on or After 10/20/1994-Air Brake
  • Windshield Wipers Inoperative/Defective
  • Brake Hose/Tubing Chaffing and/or Kinking

Top Roadside Inspection Driver Violations:

  • Log Violation (General/Form and Manner)
  • Non-English Speaking Driver
  • State/Local Laws − Speeding 6-10 Miles Per Hour Over the Speed Limit
  • State/Local Laws - Speeding 11-14 Miles Per Hour Over the Speed Limit
  • Driving Beyond Eight-Hour Limit Since the End of the Last Off-Duty or Sleeper Period of At Least 30 Minutes
  • Failing to Use Seat Belt While Operating a CMV
  • Operating a Property-Carrying Vehicle Without Possessing a Valid Medical Certificate
  • Failure to Obey Traffic Control Device
  • Driving Beyond 14-Hour Duty Period (Property-Carrying Vehicle)
  • False Report of Driver's Record-of-Duty Status Driver's Record-of-Duty Status Not Current
  • No Driver's Record-of-Duty Status
  • Driver Failing to Retain Previous Seven Days' Logs

September 2016