FMCSA taking driver panel applications until Oct. 16

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has released details of how truckers can apply to be a part of the agency’s commercial motor vehicle driver panel.

FMCSA announced the creation of the panel, which will serve as a subcommittee to the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee, on Sept. 18. According to the agency, the panel will provide direct feedback to FMCSA on important issues, such as safety, hours of service, training, parking and driver experience.

The panel is expected to be comprised of about 25 drivers from all sectors of the industry.

FMCSA said on Sept. 28 that it is accepting applications for the panel until Oct. 16.

To apply, the agency asks for commercial drivers to submit a resume detailing your driving experience and a personal statement outlining how your qualifications and experience as a driver make you suitable to be on the panel. A letter of recommendation may be included but is not required.

The documents need to be emailed to MCSACDriver@dot.gov by Oct. 16.

“Truck drivers and other commercial vehicle operators are American heroes who have stepped up during the current public health emergency to keep our economy moving, so their input is essential to strengthening safety on the roads,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said in a news release.

FMCSA said the goal of the panel is to capture a wide array of viewpoints and experiences within the commercial motor vehicle community.

“The Department of Transportation and this administration believe in listening to our drivers and hearing their concerns directly,” FMCSA acting Administrator Wiley Deck said. “We know that many of the solutions to the challenges we face don’t come from Washington. They come from the hard-working men and women who are behind the wheel all over our nation. This new subcommittee to MCSAC will further help us hear from America’s commercial drivers.”

More information about the new panel can be found here.


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

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

DOT COVID-19 Drug & Alcohol Testing Statement of Enforcement Discretion for Substance Abuse Professionals and Service Agents

April 4, 2020; updated June 17, 2020; updated September 22, 2020

On March 23, 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC) provided guidance about the impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency on DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements for employers, employees, and service agents.  On April 4, 2020, ODAPC provided supplemental information specific to performing remote evaluations by Substance Abuse Professionals (SAP) and the re-qualification timelines for collectors, Medical Review Officers (MRO), Screening Test Technicians (STT) and Breath Alcohol Technicians (BAT), and SAPs.  As published on April 4, 2020, this statement was effective through June 30, 2020.  On June 17, 2020 the guidance was extended to September 30, 2020.  As of September 22, 2020, ODAPC has extended the statement and it continues to be effective through December 31, 2020.

SAP Assessments and Evaluations

Under 49 CFR §§ 40. 291, 40.293, and 40.301, the SAP must conduct a face-to-face assessment and evaluation of an employee who has violated DOT drug and alcohol regulations.  DOT has always maintained that the “face-to-face” assessment and evaluation must be done “in person” and is essential to the SAP process.  ODAPC recognizes that conducting face-to-face assessments and evaluations during the COVID-19 public health emergency may not be possible or advisable for certain individuals. ODAPC will allow SAPs to conduct a remote “face-to-face” evaluation and assessment while this policy is in effect.

The flexibility to conduct remote assessments and evaluations is voluntary, and SAPs may continue to conduct in-person face-to-face assessments and evaluations as appropriate.  ODAPC recommends that, when a SAP conducts assessments and evaluations remotely, the format of the assessment be documented in the final report for reference.

ODAPC realizes that performing evaluations remotely may not provide as much information to the SAP as a face-to-face evaluation would, but believes remote evaluations are preferable to not performing the evaluations at all.  While ODAPC will not prescribe the exact manner in which the remote evaluations should be conducted, SAPs who choose to conduct initial assessments and evaluations and follow up evaluations remotely should consider the following parameters:

  1. The technology you use should permit a real-time two-way audio and visual communication and interaction between you and the employee.
  2. You should determine if the quality of the technology (e.g., speed of the internet connection, clarity of the display, application being used, etc.) is sufficient for you to gather all the visual (e.g., non-verbal physical cues) and audible information you would normally observe in an in-person face-to-face interaction.
  3. You may only utilize the technology if your State-issued license authorizes you to do so and within the parameters of that authority.

ODAPC will not consider an evaluation or assessment performed remotely as an act of serious non-compliance for purposes of starting a public interest exclusion proceeding against the service agent while this statement of enforcement discretion is in effect. 

Re-qualification Timelines for Certain Service Agents

Under 49 CFR §§ 40.33(e), 40.121(d), 40.213(e), and 40.281(d), collectors, MROs, STT/BATs, and SAPs are required to maintain their DOT required qualifications to continue to act as service agents in the DOT drug and alcohol testing program.  Specifically, collectors and STT/BATs must complete refresher training every five years, MROs must complete requalification training every five years, and SAPs must complete 12 professional development hours every three years.

DOT realizes that during the COVID-19 public health emergency, these service agents may find it difficult to find the necessary resources (e.g., exam location or personnel to conduct mock collections, etc.) to meet their re-qualification requirements. If a service agent is unable to meet their re-qualification due date while this statement of enforcement discretion is in effect, DOT will not consider it a non-compliance for purposes of starting a public interest exclusion proceeding against the service agent.  DOT is providing this flexibility for service agents who cannot meet their re-qualification requirements by their respective due dates due to restrictions imposed by Federal, State and local authorities, and health agencies related to the COVID-19 public health emergency (e.g., facility closures, State or locally imposed quarantine requirements, or other impediments).  DOT will consider these service agents qualified per Part 40 to continue providing the Part 40 required services while this policy is in effect.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with the current DOT drug and alcohol regulations. Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free DOT/FMCSA Compliance Assessment

FMCSA Announces New Commercial Driver Panel to Provide Feedback on Critical CMV Issues and Initiatives

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator (FMCSA) today announced it will be launching a new panel to its Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) comprised of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers.  This new panel will provide direct feedback to FMCSA on important issues facing the driving community—such as safety, hours-of-service regulations, training, parking, and driver experience.

“Truck drivers and other commercial vehicle operators are American heroes who have stepped up during the current public health emergency to keep our economy moving, so their input is essential to strengthening safety on the roads,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

This new panel is comprised of 20 to 25 drivers from all sectors of the CMV industry—tractor trailer drivers, straight truck drivers, motor coach drivers, hazardous materials drivers, agriculture haulers, and more. FMCSA’s goal with the new driver panel is to capture the wide array of viewpoints and experiences within the CMV community.

“The Department of Transportation and this Administration believe in listening to our drivers and hearing their concerns directly. We know that many of the solutions to the challenges we face don’t come from Washington—they come from the hard-working men and women who are behind the wheel all over our nation.  This new subcommittee to MCSAC will further help us hear from America’s commercial drivers,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Wiley Deck.

During the Trump Administration, FMCSA has focused on hearing directly from commercial drivers and incorporating their opinions and concerns into the Agency’s safety initiatives.  The Agency continues to hold listening sessions and discussions with the motor carrier industry to gather feedback and shape FMCSA’s priorities.

In May 2020, FMCSA published updates to the hours-of-service rules that were based directly off the feedback the Agency heard from commercial drivers regarding the need for increased flexibility and improved safety.


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

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

Traffic fatalities in Arizona reached a 3-year low in 2019

Crashes involving distracted drivers fall 11.8%

PHOENIX – Traffic crash fatalities on Arizona roadways in 2019 fell to their lowest total in three years, according to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report published Tuesday, June 30.

Total traffic crash fatalities was one of several key measurements that decreased in 2019 from 2018. The 2019 report also tallied fewer pedestrian fatalities, alcohol-related fatalities, fatalities of those not wearing seat belts and distracted drivers involved in crashes compared to the previous year.

The Arizona Department of Transportation produces the annual Motor Vehicle Crash Facts Report, which is a compilation of traffic crash reports provided by law enforcement agencies around the state. The report reflects crash data for all Arizona roadways, including city streets, county roads, reservation roads and state highways.

While the total number of fatalities decreased, the total number of crashes in Arizona rose by 1.6% from 2018 to 2019. In the same timespan, Arizona saw the total number of licensed drivers increase by 1.3% to 5.38 million.

Reducing crashes, fatalities and injuries can’t be solved by state agencies alone because 68% of crashes occur on roads other than state highways. In fact, real change must begin in the driver’s seat because driver behavior is a factor in more than 90% of collisions. Some of those behaviors saw better results in 2019 than recent years, but there are still too many preventable crashes, fatalities and injuries occurring on Arizona’s roads.

The report shows that at least 10,491 drivers involved in collisions during 2019 engaged in “distracted driving behavior.” This is an 11.8% decrease from 2018, when the figure was 11,898. In April 2019, when Governor Doug Ducey signed HB 2318, it became illegal for drivers to talk or text on a cellphone while driving unless the device is in a hands-free mode.

Arizona continues to see fewer deaths related to drinking and driving and not wearing seat belts. Alcohol-related fatalities decreased for the third straight year, falling 21% since 2017, and the 256 fatalities in 2019 is the lowest total since 2010. The number of people killed not wearing seat belts fell for the fifth year in a row – from 258 in 2015 to 211 in 2019 – but unbuckled occupants still account for about a fifth of all traffic fatalities.

Pedestrian fatalities fell to their lowest total since 2016, with 220 in 2019. Most pedestrian fatalities occur on surface streets in urban areas, and pedestrians should cross streets only at marked crosswalks where drivers expect to see them.

Crashes involving bicyclists and motorcycles continued a years-long downward trend. The 1,275 total crashes involving bicyclists in 2019 are the fewest since at least 1991 – crashes involving bikes peaked in 2012 with 2,146. Crashes involving motorcycles declined for the third straight year and reached their lowest total (2,676) since 2004. Yet, despite the decrease in crashes for these categories, each saw a year-over-year increase in bicyclists and motorcycle operators and passengers killed in vehicle collisions.

The full 2019 Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report is available at azdot.gov/CrashFacts.

 

COVID-19 pandemic: DOT to provide more than 15 million cloth facial coverings to essential workers

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Photo: andresr/iStockphoto

Washington — The Department of Transportation has announced it will distribute about 15.5 million cloth facial coverings to transportation workers during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Previous guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified transportation workers as essential and among those in “critical infrastructure” occupations.

“Transportation workers are on the front lines of keeping our transportation systems operational during this public health emergency and their well-being and safety is paramount,” Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said in a May 28 press release.

Distribution of facial coverings by industry is as follows:

  • Mass transit and passenger rail: 4.8 million
  • Aviation: 3.8 million
  • Maritime: 2.4 million
  • Freight rail: 2.2 million
  • Highway and motor carrier: 2.1 million
  • Pipeline systems: 258,000

FEMA secured the facial coverings, which are expected to be distributed via the U.S. Postal Service “over the coming weeks.”

DOT weighs in on CBD products: Workers in safety-sensitive jobs should be cautious

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Photo: StephM2506/iStockphoto

Washington — CBD products may have higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC – the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana – than the Department of Transportation allows in a non-controlled substance, the agency cautions in a Feb. 18 policy and compliance notice, adding that CBD use is not a “legitimate medical explanation” for a safety-sensitive employee who tests positive for marijuana.

The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 – also known as the Farm Bill – altered the definition of “marijuana” under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Hemp-derived products with a THC concentration of 0.3% or less are no longer considered controlled substances.

In response to inquiries about whether safety-sensitive employees (e.g., pilots, school bus drivers, truck drivers, transit vehicle operators, aircraft maintenance personnel, train engineers and ship captains) can use CBD products, DOT notes that although it requires testing for marijuana and not CBD, many CBD products have misleading labels.

“The products could contain higher levels of THC than what the product label states,” the notice states. “The Food and Drug Administration does not currently certify the levels of THC in CBD products, so there is no federal oversight to ensure that the labels are accurate.”

Employees who claim to use only CBD products can test positive for marijuana and run afoul of DOT’s drug-testing regulations.

“[Because] the use of CBD products could lead to a positive drug test result, [DOT]-regulated safety-sensitive employees should exercise caution when considering whether to use CBD products,” the notice states.

COVID-19 Guidelines for ADOT Construction Sites

Construction sites are a busy place full of people including ADOT, consultants, prime contractor, subcontractors, and vendor employees; and utilities and other agencies. Field teams should maintain constant communication with these multiple entities and be vigilant for obviously sick employees in the field. Any employees reporting to work sick should be sent home.

Positive Test

In the event an individual goes home with COVID-19 symptoms and later tests positive and is linked to a field office or construction site, the individual is strongly encouraged to self-report a positive COVID-19 result for current pandemic public health reasons. This notification should be to either the Prime Contractor’s Safety Supervisor or the ADOT Resident Engineer as applicable. Once the confirmed case is reported, the following measures should be taken:

  • All companies working on the site should be informed of the situation without specifically naming the sick individual.
  • A thorough disinfecting (not just cleaning) of all common and high touch spaces should be completed at the job site
  • Any employees working in the immediate area with the sick employee, should continue to self-monitor for symptoms and continue practicing good hygiene and social distancing protocols.

Typical Notification Message Point may include:

“Someone in our workplace has tested positive for COVID-19, and you have been identified as working in closed contact according to the CDC definition.” The key to notifying employees is doing it quickly to minimize the risk of spreading the disease. Notification should ideally be done by phone or chat. If that is not possible, an email with the heading “Important Action Required” in the heading should be used.

Negative Test

In the event an employee goes home with COVID-19 symptoms and later tests negative, the individual is strongly encouraged to self-report the negative result and the employee will be allowed to return to work upon following the guidance from their healthcare professional or the employee has no symptoms for the prior 72-hour period. For more detailed resources regarding COVID-19, visit AZ Department of Health Services at https://www.azdhs.gov/ or the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

COVID-19 pandemic: Rest stops must remain open, trucking stakeholders contend

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Photo: tekinturkdogan/iStockphoto

Washington — Transportation officials and a trucking industry group are calling for highway rest stops to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic to help ensure the safety and well-being of commercial motor vehicle drivers, especially those transporting items intended to assist in relief efforts.

In a March 17 letter sent to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear asks that the federal government keep rest stops open. On March 23, Federal Highway Administration Administrator Nicole Nason sounded a similar call in a letter to American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials President Patrick McKenna.

“Closing rest areas where professional drivers can rest may risk the safe and timely delivery of medical supplies, food and other essential goods,” Nason writes. “As we all work to stem the tide of this outbreak, let us also continue to facilitate the safe, efficient and seamless transport of critical supplies across the nation.”

The requests came as multiple states decided to close their rest stops. On March 16, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation shuttered 35 interstate rest stops, including parking access. Two days later, however, in response to pushback from industry stakeholders, the department announced 13 of its facilities would reopen.

During the pandemic, ATA is tracking state declarations concerning various trucking issues, including parking and rest stop availability. As of April 1, three states – Illinois, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania – had enacted partial closures of rest stops. ATA notes that although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration lacks preemptive authority over states that elect to close rest stops, the agency is “working closely with the states to ensure adequate truck parking and facilities are available.”

According to a March 17 report from Transportation Nation, FMCSA acting administrator Jim Mullen sent a letter that same day to NATSO (formerly known as the National Association of Truck Stop Operators) President and CEO Lisa Mullings, demanding that rest stops remain open.

“As the nation continues to come to grips with the realities of COVID-19, I am writing to let you know that [FMCSA] recognizes the integral role that travel centers and truck stops play in the nation’s supply chain,” Mullen writes. “All of your members must heed the [Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention] guidelines and follow state and local restrictions. In the coming weeks and months, it will be critical that these businesses remain open, 24 hours per day, providing America’s truck drivers with fuel, food, showers, repair services and opportunities to rest.”

A day before Mullen sent his letter, Mullings issued a statement confirming that member facilities remain open.

“Truck drivers are depending on truck stops and travel centers as they deliver food and life-saving supplies,” Mullings said in a March 16 press release. “As the nation confronts the coronavirus outbreak, the country’s travel centers and truck stops are committed to remaining open and serving America’s drivers.”

FMCSA on March 18 issued an expanded national emergency declaration granting temporary exemption from federal hours-of-service regulations to CMV drivers transporting items intended to assist in COVID-19 relief efforts.

DOT Guidance on Compliance with DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulations

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DOT Guidance on Compliance with Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulations [1]

March 23, 2020

 

This guidance document provides clarity to DOT-regulated employers, employees, and service agents on conducting DOT drug-and-alcohol testing given concerns about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).  We, as a Nation, are facing an unprecedented public health emergency that is straining medical resources and altering aspects of American life, including the workplace. The Nation’s transportation industries, which are not immune to the impacts and disruptions resulting from the spread of COVID-19 in the United States, are playing a vital role in mitigating the effects of COVID-19.

DOT is committed to maintaining public safety while providing maximum flexibility to allow transportation industries to conduct their operations safely and efficiently during this period of national emergency. Read More»

FMCSA CDL Waiver

Waiver in Response to the COVID-19 Emergency –
For States, CDL Holders, CLP Holders, and Interstate Drivers Operating

Commercial Motor Vehicles

March 24, 2020

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Grant of waiver.

SUMMARY: FMCSA grants, until June 30, 2020, a waiver from certain regulations applicable to interstate and intrastate commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders and to other interstate drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). The Agency has initiated this action in response to the President’s declaration of a national emergency under 42 U.S.C. § 5191(b) related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

DATES: This waiver is effective March 20, 2020 and expires on June 30, 2020. Read More»