New Out-Of-Service Criteria Going Into Effect April 1st

New Out-Of-Service Criteria Going Into Effect April 1st

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has announced pivotal changes to the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria (OOSC) that are set to redefine the trucking landscape from April 1, 2024. These amendments, detailed in the 2024 edition of the Out-Of-Service Criteria, are not just procedural updates but are a reflection of the industry’s commitment to ensuring the safety of commercial truck drivers and the general public.

A Closer Look at the Changes

The modifications, ratified by a majority vote from CVSA Class I Member jurisdictions, encompass a wide array of criteria ranging from driver medical requirements to vehicle inspection standards. Notably, changes include the clarification on the status of hazardous materials endorsements, the addition of a new violation code for drug and alcohol prohibition, and significant updates to brake system criteria. Other key areas touched upon include coupling devices, lighting requirements, and tire standards, all aimed at tightening safety protocols and reducing ambiguity in inspection processes.

1. Endorsements and Restrictions Clarity for Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

Added details to make it clear that if a truck driver doesn’t keep their hazardous materials (HM) endorsement up to date with the TSA screening, they can’t transport hazardous materials that require special placards. Basically, if you’re carrying certain dangerous goods and your paperwork isn’t current, you’re not allowed to drive.

2. Medical Certificate Requirements for Ontario Class D Licenses

Ontario Class D license holders no longer need to provide extra proof of meeting medical requirements due to changes in how their medical certification is renewed. This means drivers with this license type have a simpler process for proving they’re medically fit to drive.

3. Adding Violation Codes for Drugs and Alcohol Prohibitions

A new rule is included to better track when drivers operate vehicles under drug or alcohol influence, using a specific violation code. This ensures that there’s a clear record if someone is caught driving when they shouldn’t due to substance use.

4. Clarification for Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) Holders

This change ensures that rules about not driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol also clearly apply to those holding a commercial learner’s permit. This makes it clear that learners are held to the same standards as fully licensed drivers.

5. Brake System Criterion for Defective Brakes

Added a specific condition for cam shaft bushings in the brake system criteria. This change ensures that even if a part of the brake system is missing but the brakes still work partially, it’s considered a defect. This aims to catch more potential brake issues before they cause problems.

6. Identification of the 20% Criterion for Defective Brakes

This update introduces watermarks and extra wording to documents to help inspectors easily identify the rules about brake defects, specifically which issues count towards the brake system being considered 20% defective.

7. Inspector Discretion for Retesting Vehicles

Changed the rules around retesting vehicles with brake performance issues to give inspectors more flexibility. Now, retesting isn’t always mandatory if it could cause traffic problems, giving inspectors the judgment call to ensure safety without causing additional hazards.

8. Amendments to Coupling Devices Standards

This change adds rules about latches not in use and mismatched ball hitches to the standards for coupling devices, ensuring that trailers are securely connected to the truck to prevent accidents where trailers might become detached.

9. Clarification on When Lights Need to Be On

Added a clarification that not having your lights on when required isn’t by itself a reason to be put out of service, as long as the lights work during inspection. This acknowledges that while it’s a violation, it’s more of a traffic offense rather than a vehicle defect.

10. Note Addition for Lighting Devices

Introduced a note specifying that lighting devices that meet operational requirements but fail to comply with specific standards like height or color are violations but not grounds for out-of-service, as long as they work properly.

11. Tire Conditions and Automatic Tire Inflation Systems (ATIS)

Updated rules to differentiate between tires with ATIS and those without. This especially focuses on punctures in the tread area. Vehicles with ATIS can travel to a repair facility as long as the tire pressure doesn’t drop below 50% of the maximum, recognizing the safety benefits of ATIS in preventing tire blowouts.

Impact on the Trucking Industry

For the trucking industry at large, these changes mark a significant shift towards increased scrutiny and regulation. Companies must now navigate these updated criteria, ensuring their fleets and drivers not only comply with the new standards but are also trained to understand their implications. The emphasis on safety is expected to push companies towards more rigorous maintenance routines, better training programs, and, ultimately, a more safety-conscious culture.

What It Means for Truck Drivers

For truck drivers, the updated Out-Of-Service Criteria signals a time for adaptation. The clearer regulations on endorsements and medical certificates require drivers to be more vigilant about their qualifications and health status. The introduction of a new violation code for drugs and alcohol underscores the seriousness of substance use in the industry, demanding strict compliance. Moreover, updates in vehicle inspection criteria, particularly regarding brake systems and tires, highlight the need for drivers to be proactive in vehicle maintenance and checks, ensuring their rigs are up to the mark before hitting the road.

Steps Forward for Drivers and Companies

To navigate these changes effectively, both truck drivers and companies should consider the following steps:

  • Comprehensive Training: Implementing comprehensive training programs that cover the new Out-Of-Service Criteria changes is crucial. Drivers should be made aware of the updates, particularly those regarding drug and alcohol use, medical requirements, and vehicle inspection standards.
  • Regular Vehicle Inspections: Companies should intensify their vehicle inspection and maintenance routines to comply with the new criteria, especially those related to brake systems and tires. A proactive approach to maintenance can prevent out-of-service designations and enhance road safety.
  • Stay Informed: Staying abreast of all updates and amendments to the Out-Of-Service Criteria is vital. Participating in webinars and training offered by CVSA can provide valuable insights into the changes and how to comply with them.
  • Embrace Technology: Leveraging technology to track and manage compliance can be a game-changer. Systems that monitor vehicle health in real-time and software that helps manage driver qualifications and medical certificates can streamline compliance.

Rolling with the Changes

The amendments to the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria represent a significant step forward in the ongoing effort to enhance road safety. They reflect a collective commitment to ensuring that commercial vehicles and their operators meet the highest standards of safety. By embracing these changes, both drivers and companies can contribute to a safer, more reliable future for the trucking industry. As we move towards the implementation date, the industry’s collective focus should be on education, compliance, and a steadfast commitment to safety above all.

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