Additional Measures Taken to Help States Affected by Pipeline

First published by FMCSA.

USDOT Announces Additional Measures to Help States in Areas Affected by the Colonial Pipeline Incident

The U.S. DOT today announced additional help for States in areas affected by the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline.  The White House and DOT have determined that previous declarations of “major disaster” issued by the President within the past 120 days allow States covered by those declarations to use Interstate highways in their State to transport overweight loads of gasoline and other fuels.  Each State must continue to follow its own procedures for issuance of special permits authorizing the loads, but the added flexibility announced today lawfully permits these trucks to run on the Interstate Highway System and other Federal highways.  This flexibility is in addition to preexisting authority for States to issue special permits allowing the trucks to run on State highways.

The previous Presidential declarations created this authority for up to 120 days.  Given the declarations’ varied dates of issuance, that period will expire at different points for the affected States between now and early September.  The first State whose 120-day period will expire is Maryland, on June 4.  The last State is Virginia, on September 7.

The ten States covered are Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.  All these States are already covered under the separate Emergency Declaration that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued on May 9, which grants truck drivers making emergency fuel deliveries in areas affected by the pipeline disruption relief from the Federal hours of service limits and certain other safety regulations.

Consistent with 23 U.S.C. 127(i) and applicable State laws, States that are currently operating under Federal Major Disaster Declarations may issue special permits to overweight vehicles carrying divisible loads on Interstate and Defense Highways that are delivering relief supplies, including gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products.  States may exercise this authority for 120 days from the date of the declaration of the major disaster.


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FMCSA Responds to Unanticipated Shutdown of Colonial Pipeline

First published by FMCSA.

U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Administration Issues Temporary Hours of Service Exemption in Response to the Unanticipated Shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline

See the source image

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced today as part of the federal government’s efforts to actively assess the implications of the Colonial Pipeline incident and to avoid disruption to supply, that the USDOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is taking steps to create more flexibility for motor carriers and drivers. FMCSA is issuing a temporary hours of service exemption that applies to those transporting gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined petroleum products to Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

USDOT’s top priority is safety, and while current circumstances dictate providing industry flexibility, FMCSA will work closely with its state and industry partners to monitor driver work hours and conditions for the duration of the exemption.

The full text of FMSCA’s action can be found here.


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FMCSA Road Safety Art Contest

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Gianna.jpg

Second grader Gianna Liu, from Hillsborough, NJ, won a top honor for her artwork in 2020. Photo: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is accepting entries until June 4 for its annual Road Safety Art Contest for students.

As part of FMCSA’s Our Roads, Our Safety campaign, designed to remind motorists to drive safely when sharing the road with commercial motor vehicles, the contest is open to students in kindergarten up to 12th grade. This year’s contest features new creative submission categories.

“Everyone on our roads has a responsibility to help keep each other safe,” the agency says on the contest webpage. “The annual FMCSA Road Safety Art Contest invites students to use their creativity to raise awareness of how to stay safe on the road, particularly when driving, biking or walking around large trucks and buses.”

Grand prize and honorable mention winners will be awarded in four categories: kindergarten-fifth grade, sixth-eighth grades, ninth-10th grades and 11th-12th grades. Winners will receive a framed copy of their artwork and an award certificate. The winning artwork will be featured in the contest’s winner announcement video, on FMCSA’s Kid Zone and Teen Zone websites, and in the 2022 Road Safety Art Contest Calendar.


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Lawmakers reintroduce bill to allow young drivers to operate CMVs interstate

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Lawmakers reintroduce bill to allow young drivers to operate CMVs interstate

Washington — Bipartisan legislation reintroduced March 10 in the House and Senate would allow commercial motor vehicle drivers younger than 21 to operate across state lines.

The Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy Act, or DRIVE-Safe Act (S. 659 and H.R. 1745) are sponsored by two Indiana Republican lawmakers, Sen. Todd Young and Rep. Trey Hollingsworth.

Press releases from Young’s office and the American Trucking Associations note that 49 states and the District of Columbia allow 18- to 20-year-olds to obtain commercial drivers’ licenses and operate large commercial vehicles.

“This issue is particularly problematic in regions like our southern Indiana area where an emerging driver would be prohibited from making a quick trip from New Albany, IN, across the river to Louisville, KY,” a release from Hollingsworth’s office states. “But, the same driver could haul a load from New Albany, IN, to South Bend, IN, nearly 260 miles away.”

The DRIVE-Safe Act, the release continues, “would allow employers to provide CDL holders below the age of 21 with an extensive training program that will allow them to safely participate in interstate commerce upon completion.”

According to ATA, that training program would require drivers to complete at least 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time accompanied by an experienced driver.

The Senate bill was referred to the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. The House bill is with the Highways and Transit Subcommittee.

The co-sponsors of the Senate bill from the other side of the aisle are Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT), Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), as well as Sen. Angus King (I-ME). The other Republican co-sponsors are Sens. Tom Cotton (AR), James Inhofe (OK) and Jerry Moran (KS).

The house bill has four Democrats and four Republicans listed as co-sponsors, all from different states.

“This bill has strong, bipartisan backing because it’s both common sense and pro-safety,” ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said in the organization’s release. “It raises the bar for training standards and safety technology far above what is asked of the thousands of under-21 drivers who are already legally driving commercial vehicles in 49 states today.

“The DRIVE-Safe Act is not a path to allow every young person to drive across state lines, but it envisions creating a safety-centered process for identifying, training and empowering the safest, most responsible 18- to 20-year-olds to more fully participate in our industry. It will create enormous opportunities for countless Americans seeking a high-paying profession without the debt burden that comes with a four-year degree.”

The DRIVE-Safe Act has been introduced in the House and Senate a combined four times since the beginning of 2018. None of the bills made it out of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee or the House Highways and Transit Subcommittee.

ATA contends the industry will need to hire 1.1 million drivers, or 110,000 a year, over the next decade “to keep up with demand.” However, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, among other organizations, has contended that the impetus for the previous bills – a driver shortage – doesn’t exist.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, DOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

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FMCSA grants regulatory relief to drivers taking emergency supplies to storm-hit states

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced temporary relief from regulations – including hours of service – for commercial motor vehicle drivers delivering “direct assistance” to emergency efforts in states affected by severe winter weather.

FMCSA’s regional emergency declaration – issued Feb. 17 and effective through March 4 or until the end of the emergency – covers 33 states and the District of Columbia. The declaration “is in response to damage and heating and other fuel shortages.”

Drivers covered under the declaration are transporting heating fuels (e.g., propane, natural gas and heating oil) and other fuel products, including gasoline. Also included are drivers transporting people, supplies, goods or equipment into and out of the affected states.

“When a driver is moving from emergency relief efforts to normal operations, a 10-hour break is required when the total time a driver operates conducting emergency relief efforts, or a combination of emergency relief and normal operation, equals 14 hours,” FMCSA says.

The regulatory relief “terminates” when a driver or CMV is used in interstate commerce or “to transport cargo or provide services not in support of emergency relief efforts related to the severe winter storm.” It also doesn’t apply when a motor carrier dispatches a driver or CMV to another place “to begin operations in commerce.” Likewise, drivers or motor carriers under an out-of-service order aren’t eligible for regulatory relief.

The regulatory relief doesn’t exempt drivers from testing for alcohol and controlled substances, commercial driver’s license requirements, insurance or financial responsibility requirements, hazardous materials regulations, and size and weight requirements.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA and USDOT to ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

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FMCSA extends pandemic-related hours-of-service exemptions

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says temporary hours-of-service exemptions and other “regulatory relief” will continue for commercial motor vehicle drivers transporting items intended to assist in the COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts.

Announced Feb. 12, the extension of Emergency Declaration 2020-002, initially issued March 13 and expanded and modified multiple times, is scheduled to remain in effect through May 31.

Regulatory relief is extended to drivers who are transporting:

  • COVID-19 vaccines; constituent products; and medical supplies and equipment, including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines
  • Medical supplies and equipment for the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19
  • Supplies and equipment to help curb the spread of COVID-19, including masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants
  • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of stores or distribution centers
  • Livestock and livestock feed

Drivers making routine commercial deliveries, “including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration,” are not covered under the exemption.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA and USDOT to ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

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Federal Mask Requirement for Surface Transportation Providers

First published by FMCSA.

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an Order imposing a mask requirement applicable to public transportation systems, rail, and van, bus and motorcoach service providers to mitigate the risk of COVID-19.  The CDC Order implements President Biden’s Executive Order 13998, Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel, “to save lives and allow all Americans, including the millions of people employed in the transportation industry, to travel and work safely.”

Science-based measures are critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19. Mask-wearing is one of several proven life-saving measures including physical distancing, appropriate ventilation and timely testing that can reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Requiring masks will protect America’s transportation workers and passengers, help control the transmission of COVID-19, and aid in re-opening America’s economy.

In addition to the CDC order, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) anticipates issuing additional information and guidance on this topic.

The Department has posted a Frequently Asked Questions at this website. https://www.transportation.gov/safety/mask-travel-guidance

The Department will continue to add to this site with additional information in the coming days.

The U.S. Department of Transportation will be scheduling stakeholder calls beginning the week of February 1, 2021.

Please share the mask mandate information with colleagues and send questions to FMCSAMaskUp@dot.gov.

Links


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA and USDOT to ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

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FMCSA proposes amending guidance on CMV ‘yard moves,’ hours of service

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking public comment on a proposal to revise the agency’s guidance on “yard moves” and commercial motor vehicle drivers’ hours of service.

According to a notice published in the Jan. 4 Federal Register, FMCSA regulations require most CMV drivers to record their HOS under four categories: driving; on-duty, not driving; sleeper berth; and off-duty. The agency’s design and performance standards for electronic logging devices – which record HOS – provide two “special driving categories”: personal conveyance and yard moves.

FMCSA, however, did not define “yard moves” in its final rule on ELDs and is seeking to update its guidance to include the following: “A driver may record time operating a CMV for yard moves as on-duty, not driving under 49 CFR 395.8(b) only if the movement of the CMV occurs in a confined area on private property,” such as an intermodal or port facility.

Other examples of “yards” may include a motor carrier’s place of business; a shipper’s privately owned parking lot; and a public road where access is restricted by gates, lights, flaggers or other means.

“For example,” FMCSA says, “if a driver must operate on a public road briefly to reach different parts of a private property, the movement may be considered a yard move if public access is restricted during the move.”

Additionally, FMCSA is seeking responses to the following questions:

  • Would defining “yard moves” provide necessary clarification while benefiting drivers and carriers?
  • Are there other situations or properties where drivers may be in a “yard move” status that should be included in the guidance?
  • Would adding examples of “yard moves” prove helpful? If so, give examples for consideration.
  • How should “yard” be defined in the guidance?

The deadline to comment is Feb. 3. FMCSA plans to reevaluate its guidance “no later than” five years after it’s finalized.

“This guidance, if finalized, lacks the force and effect of law and is not meant to bind the public in any way,” FMCSA says. “This guidance document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding the agency’s interpretation of its existing regulations.”


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA and USDOT to ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

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FMCSA seeks to add rear impact guards to annual CMV inspection list

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

See the source image

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing to add rear impact guards to the list of components to be examined during mandatory yearly inspections of commercial motor vehicles.

Rear impact guards are designed to prevent “underrides,” which occur when a passenger vehicle strikes the rear of a CMV and slides underneath.

According to a notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Dec. 29 Federal Register, rear impact guards have been required on CMVs for nearly 70 years but aren’t included on the list of components in Appendix G for required inspections. This means that a CMV can pass an annual inspection with a missing or damaged rear impact guard, FMCSA notes.

Additionally, the agency is proposing to amend labeling requirements for the guards “and to exclude road construction controlled (RCC) horizontal discharge trailers from the rear impact guard requirements.”

The deadline to comment on the proposed rule is March 1.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA and USDOT to ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

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FMCSA seeks comment on clarification of ‘agricultural commodities’

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is asking for input on an interim final rule that clarifies the definitions of the terms “any agricultural commodity” and “livestock” in the agency’s hours-of-service regulations for commercial truck drivers.

Current regulations call for exemptions in HOS requirements during harvesting and planting season in each state. Drivers are exempt in a 150-air-mile radius from the source of that agricultural commodity.

Published in the Nov. 24 Federal Register and effective Dec. 9, the interim final rule acknowledges the ambiguity of current regulations while amplifying the agency’s interpretation. The rule states that “horticultural products subject to perishability or significant degradation in product quality during transport” by commercial motor vehicle – such as sod, flowers, seedlings, live trees and Christmas trees – fall under the parameters of “any agricultural commodity.”

Additionally, FMCSA expands the scope of the definition of “livestock” to include “all living animals cultivated, grown or raised for commercial purposes.” Previously, the agency did not include aquatic animals under this description.

“Our nation’s farmers and agriculture haulers will benefit from this clarification of the rules and will be able to deliver their products in a safer and more efficient manner,” FMCSA acting administrator Wiley Deck said in a Nov. 19 press release. “These improved rules will help farmers move commodities and get food to our grocery stores. We have heard the concerns from our farmers and ag haulers, and we’ve worked closely with [the U.S. Department of Agriculture] and the industry to provide regulatory clarity and craft this new rule.”

FMCSA in July 2019 issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking requesting comment on whether to clarify or revise the definitions, receiving 140 responses. In June 2018, the agency issued guidance intended to clarify both the agricultural commodities exemption and the “personal conveyance” provision in HOS regulations.

Comments on the interim final rule are due Dec. 24. FMCSA states that it “will consider and address submitted comments in the final rule that will follow this IFR and may make changes to the rule in response to comments received.”


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, DOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

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