Original article published by Safety+Health
Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has denied a petition calling on the agency to recognize hair samples as an alternative drug-testing method for truckers, reasserting a longstanding position that it lacks the statutory authority to do so.
Federal regulations mandate that truckers be tested for drugs by urinalysis. In August, the Trucking Alliance, a coalition of 11 organizations, requested that FMCSA amend the definition of an employer’s “actual knowledge” of a driver’s positive drug test – which requires the employer to report the results to the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse – to include knowledge of a positive hair test.
The alliance writes in its petition that “public safety is improved through the use of hair testing because drug use is more accurately detected, and drug users are removed from the operation of commercial motor vehicles.”
In a notice published in the Dec. 23 Federal Register, however, FMCSA maintains its stance on following Department of Health and Human Services’ hair-testing guidelines, which remain under review.
“By ignoring the requirement that FMCSA follow the HHS mandatory guidelines for hair testing … the applicant effectively argues that this provision be read in isolation,” FMCSA administrator Robin Hutcheson writes in the notice. “This approach disregards an accepted standard of statutory construction, which provides that statutory text must be construed as a whole.”
In an article published online Dec. 22 in the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s Land Line magazine, OOIDA Director of Federal Affairs Jay Grimes supports FMCSA’s decision.
“FMCSA’s swift denial of another Trucking Alliance exemption request highlights the unanswered questions and validity concerns with hair testing. Just because a small percentage of trucking companies opt to screen their drivers using hair testing does not mean the process should be used for the entire industry. OOIDA maintains our opposition to any hair testing mandate.”
Speaking to industry news resource FreightWaves in a report published online Dec. 24, Robert Moseley, an attorney for one of the firms representing the alliance, said petitioning HHS may be on the horizon.
“I think we’re in a position now where we may bring this FMCSA decision over to HHS directly and request a temporary change in policy until they formalize the mandatory guidelines. It’s just not an acceptable answer to say the industry has all these positive hair tests but they can’t be shared with anyone.”
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Original article published by CVSA
Effective Jan. 1, 2023, inspectors and roadside enforcement personnel in Canadian provinces and territories may begin documenting electronic logging device (ELD) violations and issuing citations to commercial motor vehicle drivers operating vehicles without a Canadian-compliant ELD.
Each Canadian province and territory has jurisdictional regulations for applying the ELD rule to its regulated carriers. Therefore, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance recommends that drivers and motor carriers check with each Canadian province and/or territory they may travel in or through to verify each jurisdiction’s requirements.
Washington — Bipartisan legislation recently introduced in the House would require businesses to give restroom access to truckers who are loading or delivering cargo at their warehouses, manufacturers, distribution centers, retailers and ports.
Reps. Troy Nehls (R-TX) and Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) introduced the Trucker Bathroom Access Act (H.R. 9592) on Dec. 15. Although the bill doesn’t mandate businesses to construct new restrooms, it does stipulate that establishments with restrooms “intended for use by customers or employees” would have to provide truckers the same access.
Facilities not covered in the bill include rail facilities, filling and service stations, and restaurants 800-square feet or smaller whose restrooms are intended for employee use only.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and Women in Trucking support the bill.
“The men and women of America’s trucking industry keep our supply chain moving, and it’s only reasonable that their most basic of needs be accommodated while they are on the job,” OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer said in a press release. “We’ve heard from countless drivers who have been forced to ‘hold it’ because they were not allowed to access the bathroom when they were picking up or delivering freight.”
WIT President and CEO Ellen Voie added: “As more women enter the trucking industry, the need for restroom access increases while access to facilities has decreased. We applaud Reps. Nehls and Houlahan’s support.”
Washington — Bipartisan legislation recently introduced in the Senate would help address a nationwide shortage of safe truck parking by authorizing funding to increase parking capacity and improve existing infrastructure.
Federal hours-of-service regulations require truck drivers to park and rest after being on duty for long periods. A lack of safe places for truckers to park ranked third on the American Transportation Research Institute’s list of top trucking industry concerns, released in October.
The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act (S. 5169), introduced Dec. 1 by Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ), would permit the transportation secretary to issue grants for projects that provide truck parking, including $175 million for fiscal year 2023 and a combined $580 million over the next three fiscal years.
Entities eligible for the grants would be:
Grantees would be permitted to partner with private entities “to carry out an eligible project.”
The legislation is a companion bill to H.R. 2187, sponsored by Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL) and introduced in the House in March 2021. A vote on the House floor hasn’t yet been scheduled after the chamber’s Transportation Infrastructure Committee approved an updated version of the bill in July.
Washington, D.C. (Nov. 30, 2022) – During this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, which was July 10-16, officers in Canada and the U.S. pulled over more than 35,000 commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles and issued 26,164 warnings and citations to commercial motor vehicle drivers and passenger vehicle drivers engaging in unsafe driving behaviors.
Speeding, which was the focus of this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, was the top violation – in warnings given and citations issued – for both types of drivers. Officers issued 8,586 citations and 7,299 warnings for speeding/violating basic speed law/driving too fast for conditions. Broken out, that amounts to 2,577 warnings to commercial motor vehicle drivers and 4,722 to passenger vehicle drivers. Citations were given to 1,490 commercial motor vehicle drivers and 7,096 passenger vehicle drivers.
Operation Safe Driver Week is a seven-day, driver-behavior traffic enforcement and awareness and outreach activity of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). CVSA’s law enforcement community participates in this voluntary week-long campaign to identify unsafe driving behaviors and target those unsafe drivers for intervention and education in an effort to reduce driver-behavior-caused crashes on our roadways.
First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is requesting comment on its plan to revise and restore the agency’s Medical Examiner’s Handbook, which guides personnel who complete physical exams for commercial motor vehicle drivers.
According to a notice of proposed regulatory guidance published in the Aug. 16 Federal Register, FMCSA withdrew the handbook in 2015 because “some of the information was obsolete” or “prescriptive in nature.” Medical examiners and training organizations were told that the document, first published in 2008, should no longer be construed as agency guidance.
The proposed revision and reinstatement of the handbook, which offers regulatory requirements and guidance to medical examiners, reflects the work of the FMCSA Medical Review Board. Members of the board were appointed by the transportation secretary to “provide FMCSA with medical advice and recommendations on medical standards and guidelines for the physical qualifications of CMV operators, ME education and medical research.”
Examiners have consulted federal regulations on drivers’ physical qualifications on a case-by-case basis since the handbook was withdrawn.
Comments are due Oct. 31.
Washington — Responding to stakeholder requests, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended until July 18 the comment period on a proposed rule that would require the installation of speed-limiting devices on trucks, buses and multipurpose passenger vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds.
As outlined in a notice published in the May 27 Federal Register, the extension provides interested parties additional time to submit responses. The initial deadline was June 3.
FMCSA, in the May 4 Federal Register, published an advance notice of supplemental proposed rulemaking that expands on a 2016 joint proposal from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and FMCSA. The latter is the sole agency listed on the proposal, which doesn’t specify a top speed. The 2016 proposed rule suggested capping speeds at 60, 65 or 68 mph.
FMCSA offers multiple questions on which stakeholders may comment, including:
First published by FMCSA
Are you prepared for the 3G sunset?
T-MOBILE TO SHUT DOWN SPRINT 3G CDMA NETWORK BY MARCH 31, 2022
|T-Mobile will complete the shutdown of Sprint’s 3G CDMA network by March 31, 2022.|
|Any ELD that requires 3G cellular connectivity to perform its functionality will no longer be in compliance with the technical specifications in the ELD rule after the 3G network it relies on is sunset.|
|When in an area that does not support 3G, a 3G device will register a malfunction. In accordance with 49 CFR 395.34, the carrier has 8 days to get the malfunction resolved, in this case by replacement, unless an extension is granted.|
FMCSA has granted an extension for specific 3G dependent ELDs. See which ELDs are covered by this extension.
|Ask your provider for their upgrade or replacement planIf your ELD relies on a 3G network, ask your ELD provider about their plan for upgrading or replacing your device to one that will be supported after the 3G sunset, and to complete the necessary actions as soon as possible. Even if your ELD is covered by the extension, you must still replace your device by the extension deadline. Once you receive your upgraded or replaced device, you should no longer use paper logs.|
|FMCSA strongly encourages motor carriers to take the above actions as soon as possible to avoid compliance issues. See the announced dates listed below and plan accordingly to avoid service disruptions and compliance issues. Note that portions of carrier 3G networks will be unsupported in advance of the announced sunset dates.|
|3G Sunset Dates
The announced sunset dates are below.* These are dates for completing the shutdowns. Mobile carriers are planning to retire parts of their networks sooner.
|Note: Many carriers, such as Cricket, Boost, Straight Talk, and several Lifeline mobile service providers, utilize the AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile networks.|
|*Sunset dates are subject to change. Contact your mobile carrier for up-to-date information.|
More Resources from FMCSA
|Read and understand the technical specifications in the ELD rule.|
|Learn more about the ELD rule and what it means for you.|
|Download materials and information for the motor carrier industry.|
First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication
Washington — The Department of Transportation has issued a proposed rule that would revise industry drug testing protocol by adding oral fluid testing as an alternative to urine testing for commercial motor vehicle operators and other safety-sensitive transportation workers.
In a notice published in the Feb. 28 Federal Register, DOT claims the proposal “will give employers a choice that will help combat employee cheating on urine drug tests and provide a more economical, less intrusive means of achieving the safety goals” of the transportation industry’s drug and alcohol testing program.
The proposed rule stems from a Department of Health and Human Services final rule allowing federal agencies to collect and test oral fluid specimens as part of their drug testing programs. Under the rule, effective Jan. 1, 2020, agencies must initiate individual rulemaking to begin the process of allowing oral fluid testing as an option.
“The advantage of every oral fluid collection is that it will be directly observed, as opposed to most urine collections, which are unobserved,” DOT states. “While directly observed urine specimen collections have long been the most effective method for preventing individuals from cheating on their drug tests by substituting or adulterating their specimens, directly observed urine collection may only be done in certain circumstances due to employee privacy concerns. Unlike directly observed urine collections, an oral fluid collection is much less intrusive on the tested employee’s privacy.”
The agency adds that it is not proposing to eliminate urine drug testing.
HHS is still considering amendments to proposed guidelines – issued in September 2020 – concerning the use of hair samples as a method for drug testing federal employees and safety-sensitive employees in federally regulated industries, the notice states.
Comments on the proposed rule are due March 30.