New USDOT Annual Human Trafficking Award

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s annual Combating Human Trafficking in Transportation Impact Award aims to incentivize individuals and entities to think creatively in developing innovative solutions to combat human trafficking in the transportation industry, and to share those innovations with the broader community.

The award serves as a platform for transportation stakeholders to unlock their creativity, and empower them to develop impactful and innovative counter-trafficking tools, initiatives, campaigns, and technologies that can help defeat this heinous crime. The award is open to individuals and entities, including non-governmental organizations, transportation industry associations, research institutions, and State and local government organizations. Entrants compete for a $50,000 cash award that will be awarded to the individual(s) or entity selected for creating the most impactful counter-trafficking initiative or technology.

Deadline: Submissions accepted January 1, 2020 through midnight on January 31, 2020.

Details: For more information, and to apply, view the Federal Register Notice.

Register Now for the Clearinghouse and Be Ready for January 6

Purchase Query PlanThe FMCSA CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse will be fully operational on January 6, 2020. Starting on this date, employers, including owner-operators, will need to be registered to:

  • Conduct queries to access a driver’s Clearinghouse record, after obtaining the driver’s consent. Beginning January 6, you will be required to conduct a full query in the Clearinghouse before hiring any CDL driver.
  • Designate a consortium/third-party administrator (C/TPA), if you work with one, which enables your C/TPA to access the Clearinghouse on your behalf. This is a requirement of all owner-operators.
  • Purchase a query plan, which must be in place before you, or your designated C/TPA, can conduct queries.
  • Report violations of FMCSA’s drug and alcohol testing program.

You can prepare for January 6 by registering for the Clearinghouse today. (If you have an FMCSA Portal account, ensure you have the correct Portal user role in place.)

FMCSA Updates SMS Website

FMCSA has updated the CSA SMS Website with the November 29, 2019 results.

Complete SMS results are available to enforcement users and motor carriers that are logged into the SMS. Logged-in enforcement users can view all carrier safety data, while logged-in motor carriers can only view their own data. If you are a motor carrier and do not have login credentials, please click here for more information on how to obtain your PIN.

U.S. Department of Transportation Proposes Major Rule for the Safe Transportation of Liquefied Natural Gas by Rail Tank Car

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), announced that it is publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding the transportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG).  The proposed rule will seek comment on changes to the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to authorize the transportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by rail in the DOT-113 specification tank cars.

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Preparing for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

Changes to the Data Required on the Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form and the Alcohol Testing Form Required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Beginning January 6, 2020

To ensure you are prepared on January 6, 2020, when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse) becomes operational, we want to remind you about an upcoming change related to recording information on the Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form (CCF) and Alcohol Testing Form (ATF).

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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.”

No sparks: Tow chains, underinflated tires can cause wildfires

377-fire_cropMotorists 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.

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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