Motorists can do their part to make highways spark-free zones
PHOENIX – Summer is right around the corner, and with it comes an increased risk of wildfires along state highways caused by motorists dragging chains, driving on underinflated tires and tossing cigarettes.
Fires along highways not only put people and property at risk but can cause long backups and even extended closures.
Last June, the 377 Fire in Navajo County started when dragging metal on a trailer sparked several fires along 24 miles of State Route 377 between Heber-Overgaard and Holbrook. Those fires grew into a 5,000-acre wildfire that closed the highway for four days and prompted evacuations.
“Simple tasks like properly inflating your tires and taking a moment to make sure nothing is dragging on your vehicle or trailer can significantly reduce the risk of creating sparks that can cause wildfires,” said Dallas Hammit, the Arizona Department of Transportation’s state engineer and deputy director for transportation. “One act of carelessness, like tossing a lit cigarette out the window, can potentially burn thousands of acres.”
According to the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, dragging chains is one of the main causes of fires along highways.
“Roadside fires continue to be one of the biggest causes of Arizona’s wildfires every year, especially on heavily traveled highways like Interstates 10 and 17. A majority of these roadside fires are preventable, yet they continue to happen,” said Tiffany Davila, public affairs officer for the Department of Forestry and Fire Management. “Please do your part to help keep wildfire activity low this summer. Before traveling, ensure tow chains are secure and your vehicle is properly serviced. We all need to do our part.”
Here’s how you can help cut down on sparks that start wildfires:
- Check and secure tow chains, and never substitute parts when towing.
- Make sure nothing is hanging beneath your vehicle and dragging on the pavement.
- Check tire pressure before you travel. Exposed wheel rims can cause sparks.
- Don’t park in tall grass, as the heat from parts under your vehicle can start a fire.
For more information on how to prevent fires, please visit wildlandfire.az.gov.
Arlington, VA — Concerned about truck drivers sharing the roads with passenger vehicle drivers who are under the influence of marijuana in states where recreational and medicinal use is legal, the American Transportation Research Institute has released a report detailing methods to identify and deter impaired driving.
Published March 13, Marijuana Legalization and Impaired Driving: Solutions for Protecting Our Roadways also addresses safety issues related to marijuana-impaired driving, a top study priority of ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee.
Today, April 23, 2019, the Department of Transportation (DOT) published a final rule that makes minor technical corrections to the OST, FAA, FTA, and PHMSA regulations governing drug testing for safety-sensitive employees to ensure consistency with the recent amendments made to the Department of Transportation’s regulation, “Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs,” which added requirements to test for oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, and hydromorphone to DOT-regulated drug testing programs. The changes to the Department’s regulation make it necessary to refer to these substances, as well as the previously covered drugs morphine, 6-acetylmorphine, and codeine, by the more inclusive term “opioids,” rather than “opiates.” This rule amends the term in the FAA, FTA, and PHMSA regulations to ensure that all DOT drug testing rules are consistent with one another and with the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs. In addition, this rule makes a conforming amendment to include the term “opioids” in the wording of the Department’s annual information collection requirement and clarifications to section 40.26 and Appendix H regarding the requirement for employers to follow the Department’s instructions for the annual information collection.
To learn more about this final rule, visit their web page athttps://www.transportation.gov/odapc/frpubs.
The FMCSA has released an official notice proposing to completely eliminate the requirement that trucking companies obtain a DOT-specific employment application. If implemented as proposed, this will radically affect your hiring practices and make it more difficult for you to hire drivers. We’ve been following the FMCSA’s activities on this proposal since it was first mentioned last year. The FMCSA regulators are now at the point in the rulemaking process where they want to hear how the proposal will affect actual trucking companies. That is, they want to hear from you.
The FMCSA has asked specific questions directed to carriers in the industry on how the proposed changes will affect hiring drivers. Read on for more information and our suggestions of how best to address these questions. This is a valuable opportunity to give your feedback on an issue that will impact you significantly – you can do so at this link.
To see the specific notice by the FMCSA and the additional questions they’ve posed, you can read more at their website
FMCSA Launches Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Website
This week, FMCSA launched a new website with information about the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. Visit https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov to learn more about how CDL drivers and their employers will be required to use the Clearinghouse beginning January 6, 2020. You will be able to sign up for email updates.
FMCSA Updates SMS Website
FMCSA has updated the CSA SMS Website with the February 22, 2019 results.
Motor carriers participating in FMCSA’s Crash Preventability Demonstration Program will continue to see the Agency’s final determinations on SMS for crashes reviewed as part of the program. Logged-in carriers and enforcement users with crashes determined to be Not Preventable as part of the program can view measures and percentiles calculated with and without those crashes.
Arizona’s first statewide texting-and-driving just cleared a significant hurdle.
Senate Bill 1165 passed the Senate Monday on a 20-10 vote, and now heads to the House. The bill passed on a 20-10 vote. All 10 “no” votes came from Republicans. Both Democrats and Republicans voted in favor of the bill.
The bill would ban any use of an electronic device with one’s hands while driving — allowing for use of “hands-free” devices like headsets or bluetooth technology built into the car. The bill does have exceptions for emergencies, or licensed individuals.
Arizona remains one of only a few states without a full, statewide ban on texting while driving — though many municipalities, cities and counties have ordinances against it. The statewide bill would override those local laws.
You can read the full bill here.
PHOENIX – An innovative truck safety training program is continuing to make Arizona roads safer 18 months after Arizona Department of Transportation enforcement officers began taking their important messages to Mexican truck drivers south of the border. Continue Reading»