House lawmakers call for automatic emergency braking on new commercial trucks, buses

Photo: Chesky_W/iStockphoto

Washington — Automatic emergency braking would be a standard feature on all new commercial motor vehicles, including large trucks, under legislation introduced in July by Reps. Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL) and Hank Johnson (D-GA). Read more

DOT needs your help defining ‘agricultural commodity’ and ‘livestock’

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking input on whether it should clarify or revise the definitions of “agricultural commodity” or “livestock” in its hours-of-service regulations for commercial truck drivers.

FMCSA made the announcement in an advance notice of proposed rulemaking published in the July 29 Federal Register. 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.

In 49 CFR Part 395.2, FMCSA defines “agricultural commodity” as “any agricultural commodity, non processed food, feed, fiber or livestock.” The agency states that the newly published ANPRM “is prompted by indications that the current definitions of these terms may not be understood or enforced consistently when determining whether the HOS exemption applies.”

The comment period is open until Sept. 27.

In June 2018, FMCSA issued guidance intended to clarify both the agricultural commodities exemption and the “personal conveyance” provision in HOS regulations.

U.S. Department of Transportation Permanently Bans Commercial Drivers Convicted of Human Trafficking

PHOTO: At a San Antonio Walmart lot Sunday morning there was Tractor trailer parked with eight bodies and 30 undocumented immigrants severely injured from overheating inside, Photo Date: 7/23/17

The Department of Transportation has announced a new policy permanently banning any driver convicted of human trafficking from ever driving a commercial vehicle again.

According to a press release, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced the rule on July 16, 2019.

It follows up on the recent passage of the “No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act,” which President Trump signed into law.

The new policy prohibits anyone who has used a commercial motor vehicle in the commission of a felony involving human trafficking from operating any other commercial vehicles for life.

A list of offenses permanently disqualifying people from driving commercial vehicles that require a commercial driver’s license already exists, but it did not include human trafficking offenses.

“The commercial motor vehicle industry is uniquely positioned to help detect and report human trafficking, and thankfully professional drivers’ efforts often bring an end to these tragic situations. Sadly, however, some human trafficking activities are facilitated by the use of commercial trucks or buses,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez. “By enforcing a lifetime ban on any CMV driver convicted of severe human trafficking, we aim to deliver a strong and effective deterrent to this abhorrent behavior. If a commercial driver is convicted of using their commercial motor vehicle related to human trafficking—that person will never be driving interstate commercial vehicles again.”

Proposed rule to amend trucker hours-of-service regs slated for publication in June, DOT says

Washington — June 7 is the target date for publication of a proposed rule intended to add flexibility to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hours-of-service regulations for commercial truck drivers, according to a Department of Transportation regulatory update released in May.

The comment period on the proposed rule is scheduled to conclude July 26. An FMCSA spokesperson confirmed to Safety+Health that the proposed rule, which was submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget on March 28, remains under OMB review.

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