FMCSA again extends regulatory relief for truckers carrying pandemic-related goods

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is extending its temporary hours-of-service exemptions and other regulatory relief for commercial truck drivers transporting items intended to assist with COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts.

Announced Aug. 31, the extension of Emergency Declaration 2020-002, initially issued March 13, 2020, and expanded and modified multiple times, is scheduled to remain in effect through Nov. 30.

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
  • Gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and ethyl alcohol
  • Supplies to assist individuals impacted by the “consequences” of the pandemic (e.g., building materials for individuals displaced or otherwise impacted as a result of the emergency)
  • 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.

“To be eligible for the exemption, the transportation must be both (i) of qualifying commodities and (ii) incident to the immediate restoration of those essential supplies,” FMCSA says.

The regulatory relief doesn’t extend to safety regulations concerning speed limits, fatigue, texting/phone use while driving, crash documentation and out-of-service rules, among others.


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.

FMCSA to medical examiners: Submit driver exams conducted when registry was offline

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has set a deadline of Sept. 30 for certified medical examiners to submit the results of physical qualification exams of commercial truck and bus drivers that were completed while the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners was offline from Dec. 1, 2017, through Aug. 13, 2018.

According to a notice published in the Aug. 9 Federal Register, “a significant number of health care professionals” – estimated at around 14,000 – haven’t uploaded results of exams conducted during the 36-week window in which the national registry website wasn’t accessible after a hacking attempt.

“FMCSA makes this request to ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that results of all examinations conducted during the outage are reported to the national registry,” the notice states. In an audit published in January, the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General estimates that 780,000 or so exams may be outstanding from the database.

FMCSA announced in April 2018 that the attempted hack was unsuccessful and no personal information was exposed. After the incident, the agency says it advised medical examiners to “segregate all examinations completed during the outage and be prepared to upload them to the national registry system when it is back online and operating normally.”

According to the notice, the database’s reporting functionality for medical examiners was restored on June 22, 2018, while administrative assistants and third-party organizations were able to again submit results on behalf of medical examiners on Aug. 13, 2018. However, FMCSA didn’t require immediate uploads amid initial concerns of accelerated activity on the temporary national registry system. “Continued improvements” to the system have helped alleviate the concerns, the notice states.

The national registry website notes that FMCSA is developing a new database “to better serve you.”


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.

FMCSA finalizes entry-level driver training rule, extension

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

FMCSA finalizes entry-level driver training rule, extension

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has finalized an interim final rule that delayed, by two years, the compliance date for its initial final rule on minimum training requirements for entry-level commercial motor vehicle drivers.

According to a final rule published in the June 30 Federal Register, the compliance date for the ELDT final rule is Feb. 7.

The final rule – initially published in December 2016 with an effective date of Feb. 7, 2020 – is the first to establish minimum training standards for first-time applicants for Class A or B commercial drivers’ licenses or those seeking a CDL upgrade to Class A or B. It also sets standards for drivers attempting to obtain hazardous materials, passenger or school bus endorsements for the first time.

The extension allows for “additional time to complete development of the Training Provider Registry (TPR) and provides state driver licensing agencies (SDLAs) time to modify their information technology systems and procedures” to accommodate the driver-specific training data.

The latest final rule is set to go into effect July 31, more than a year after the interim rule was finalized Feb. 4, 2020.

An increase in driver training, according to FMCSA, will result in improved fuel economy based on changes in driver behavior, such as smoother acceleration and braking. Better fuel economy also is anticipated to result in lower air emissions and improved air quality.


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.

FMCSA looks to expand area where safety tech can be mounted on truck, bus windshields

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking to increase the area safety technology can be mounted inside commercial motor vehicles and expand the definition of “vehicle safety technology.”

According to a notice of proposed rulemaking published in the July 6 Federal Register, the proposals are in response to a rulemaking petition from Daimler Trucks North America.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations mandate that vehicle safety devices be mounted no more than 4 inches “below the upper edge of the area swept by the windshield wipers.” The devices also must remain outside the driver’s line of sight to the road and highway signs/signals.

FMCSA is proposing to increase that parameter to 8.5 inches below the upper edge of the area swept by the windshield wipers. The FMCSR’s rule that the devices may not be mounted more than 7 inches “above the lower edge of the area swept by the windshield wipers” would remain unchanged.

The proposed expanded definition of “vehicle safety technology” adds braking warning/assist systems, automatic emergency braking, driver camera systems and attention assist warning, as well as global positioning systems and other devices. Those include systems and devices that use lidar, radar and sensors.

The deadline to comment on the NPRM is Aug. 5.


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.

Spring 2021 regulatory agenda: FMCSA seeks to ‘streamline and improve’ database of drivers who fail drug, alcohol tests

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.
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Photo: Jane Terry

 

Washington — A proposal to “streamline and improve error-correction procedures, queries, and consent requirements” within the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is among the anticipated agency actions listed on the Department of Transportation’s regulatory agenda for Spring 2021.

Released June 11, the agenda – issued by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs twice a year – provides the status of and projected dates for all potential regulations listed in three stages: pre-rule, proposed rule and final rule. Listings marked “long term” aren’t expected to be worked on for at least six months.

The potential measure to amend clearinghouse protocol is among seven regulations listed in the proposed rule stage, with a notice for proposed rulemaking expected in February.

FMCSA fully implemented the clearinghouse in January 2020, unveiling a national online database intended to enhance road safety by providing – in real time – the names of commercial motor vehicle drivers who have failed drug and alcohol tests.

Federal regulations mandate motor carriers conduct preemployment drug testing in addition to random testing. Employees who test positive are prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions, which includes operating a CMV.

As of May 1, marijuana was the most common substance found in positive tests for substance misuse among CMV drivers, having been detected in 40,053 of the 75,522 positive tests reported to the clearinghouse since Jan. 6, 2020. Cocaine (10,626) and methamphetamine (6,969) were the next most common substances identified. Multiple substances can appear in positive tests, FMCSA notes.

Among the 12 regulations FMCSA lists in the final rule stage is an item concerning the addition of rear impact guards to the list of components to be examined during mandatory annual inspections of CMVs.

Designed to prevent “underrides,” which occur when a passenger vehicle strikes the rear of a CMV and slides underneath, rear impact guards have been required on CMVs for nearly 70 years, states a notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Dec. 29 Federal Register. However, the guards are excluded from the list of components in Appendix G for required inspections, meaning a CMV can pass an annual inspection with a missing or damaged rear impact guard, according to FMCSA.

The agency also 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 NPRM states.

“Including rear impact guards and rear end protection in the periodic inspection requirements in Appendix G will call additional attention to this critical safety component and help ensure that each vehicle is checked at least once a year, improving compliance and helping to prevent fatalities and injuries when rear-end collisions occur,” the NPRM states. “Furthermore, including rear impact guards and rear end protection in the periodic annual inspection standards will harmonize U.S. regulations with those in Canada and Mexico, which include rear impact guards and rear end protection as part of their annual inspection programs.”

A final rule is expected to be published in November.


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.

FMCSA extends ‘regulatory relief’ for transporters of pandemic-related goods

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration once again is extending temporary hours-of-service exemptions and other “regulatory relief” for commercial motor vehicle drivers transporting items intended to assist with COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts.

Announced May 26, the extension of Emergency Declaration 2020-002, initially issued March 13, 2020, and expanded and modified multiple times, is scheduled to remain in effect through Aug. 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.

“To be eligible for the exemption, the transportation must be both (i) of qualifying commodities and (ii) incident to the immediate restoration of those essential supplies,” FMCSA says in a notice.

The regulatory relief doesn’t extend to safety regulations concerning speed limits, fatigue, texting/phone use while driving, crash documentation and out-of-service rules, among others.

FMCSA says it plans to review the emergency declaration on or around July 1, and may modify or terminate it “if conditions warrant.”


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.

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.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA 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.

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.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA 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.

FMCSA Road Safety Art Contest

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

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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.


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.

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.

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