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CVSA Updates Out-of-Service Criteria for 2021
5 mins read

There’s one thing for sure: You never want to have a vehicle or a driver out of service. It greatly impacts your business, your drivers, your bottom line, and your reputation.

So it’s critical that you understand out-of-service criteria and stay on top of updated rules and regulations. Case in point: The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) recently made important updates to its North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria (OOSC). These changes went into effect April 1. Here’s what you need to know.

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The OOSC and its Updates

 The CVSA, which is made up of industry representatives and state, provincial, territorial and federal commercial motor vehicle safety officials, develops the OOSC and updates it annually.

Motor vehicle inspectors then rely on the OOSC to determine what mechanical or loading conditions would likely cause a truck to be in an accident or have a breakdown. Likewise, drivers can be declared out-of-service—for such factors as using drugs or alcohol while driving or violating hours of service rules. An entire carrier can be placed out of service, too, for violating the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) many rules and regulations.

What’s changed:

  •  The Driver’s Record of Duty Status section was amended to make it clear that automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) cannot be used in place of a compliant electronic logging device (ELD), when an ELD is required. However, carriers that are exempt from ELDs can still choose to use AOBRDs.
  • The Lighting Devices section was amended to make it clear that, while smaller vehicles must be equipped with operational, well-maintained center-mount brake lamps, this is optional for larger vehicles. An inoperative center high-mounted stop lamp is considered a critical vehicle inspection item but not considered for out-of-service purposes.

Amendments were also made to the Driver’s Record of Duty Status for Canadian drivers; these clarify terminology ahead of the pending implementation of the Canadian ELD requirement.

The Impacts of Out of Service Violations

 Having a vehicle, driver, or your entire business declared out-of-service has significant repercussions, to be sure. All related operations must cease until the problem is remedied—which means that you’re spending money on maintenance, hiring new drivers, or making other administrative upgrades, even though your revenues have undoubtedly slowed down or temporarily ceased.

And going forward, your partners and customers may be hesitant to work with you—or may demand lower price rates. You could also have difficulty attracting experienced drivers, your insurance premiums would undoubtedly increase, and you could have problems qualifying for simply things such as weigh station bypass programs.

But most significantly, depending on the safety category, or Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) that the violation falls under, out-of-service violations can weigh more heavily against your Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) score.

Remember: You must make the proper improvements—whether the out-of-service violation be due to a truck (or trucks), a driver, or your business operations itself—and receive FMCSA approval before any of these can go back into service. If you continue operating under an out-of-service order, you’ll be in even bigger trouble, and could lose your business.

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How to Stay Compliant

First, know—and understand—all out-of-service criteria. (The items above are in no way exhaustive.) These criteria, as well as the most recent amendments, are posted on the CVSA website, and you can also order a hard copy there. The alliance has updated its OOSC app for both Apple and Android, as well.

It is also critical to keep your trucks maintained, keep close tabs on your drivers (and educate them on the rules and regulations they must follow), and have a strong, reliable compliance system in place.

This is where Foley can help. We offer a wide range of compliance products, from DOT Clearinghouse services, to background checks and driver qualification file maintenance, to drug and alcohol testing, MVR monitoring and audit support. Partnering with Foley can help you stay compliant so that your business can thrive.

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