Lawmakers reintroduce bill to allow young drivers to operate CMVs interstate

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Lawmakers reintroduce bill to allow young drivers to operate CMVs interstate

Washington — Bipartisan legislation reintroduced March 10 in the House and Senate would allow commercial motor vehicle drivers younger than 21 to operate across state lines.

The Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy Act, or DRIVE-Safe Act (S. 659 and H.R. 1745) are sponsored by two Indiana Republican lawmakers, Sen. Todd Young and Rep. Trey Hollingsworth.

Press releases from Young’s office and the American Trucking Associations note that 49 states and the District of Columbia allow 18- to 20-year-olds to obtain commercial drivers’ licenses and operate large commercial vehicles.

“This issue is particularly problematic in regions like our southern Indiana area where an emerging driver would be prohibited from making a quick trip from New Albany, IN, across the river to Louisville, KY,” a release from Hollingsworth’s office states. “But, the same driver could haul a load from New Albany, IN, to South Bend, IN, nearly 260 miles away.”

The DRIVE-Safe Act, the release continues, “would allow employers to provide CDL holders below the age of 21 with an extensive training program that will allow them to safely participate in interstate commerce upon completion.”

According to ATA, that training program would require drivers to complete at least 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time accompanied by an experienced driver.

The Senate bill was referred to the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. The House bill is with the Highways and Transit Subcommittee.

The co-sponsors of the Senate bill from the other side of the aisle are Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT), Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), as well as Sen. Angus King (I-ME). The other Republican co-sponsors are Sens. Tom Cotton (AR), James Inhofe (OK) and Jerry Moran (KS).

The house bill has four Democrats and four Republicans listed as co-sponsors, all from different states.

“This bill has strong, bipartisan backing because it’s both common sense and pro-safety,” ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said in the organization’s release. “It raises the bar for training standards and safety technology far above what is asked of the thousands of under-21 drivers who are already legally driving commercial vehicles in 49 states today.

“The DRIVE-Safe Act is not a path to allow every young person to drive across state lines, but it envisions creating a safety-centered process for identifying, training and empowering the safest, most responsible 18- to 20-year-olds to more fully participate in our industry. It will create enormous opportunities for countless Americans seeking a high-paying profession without the debt burden that comes with a four-year degree.”

The DRIVE-Safe Act has been introduced in the House and Senate a combined four times since the beginning of 2018. None of the bills made it out of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee or the House Highways and Transit Subcommittee.

ATA contends the industry will need to hire 1.1 million drivers, or 110,000 a year, over the next decade “to keep up with demand.” However, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, among other organizations, has contended that the impetus for the previous bills – a driver shortage – doesn’t exist.


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

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Trucking groups to CDC: Truck stops, travel plazas should be vaccination sites

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

travel plazas should be vaccination sites

Alexandria, VA — A coalition of trucking-related groups, including the American Trucking Associations and an association that represents truck stop owners, is urging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to designate truck stops and travel plazas as mobile COVID-19 vaccination sites to help “alleviate significant challenges that truck drivers currently face in receiving an expedient vaccine.”

In a letter dated Feb. 25 and sent to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, ATA, NATSO – formerly known as the National Association of Truck Stop Operators – and others contend truck drivers “should be allowed to receive a vaccine in a state other than that within which they reside due to their length of time on the road and away from home.”

The coalition also requests that drivers be allowed to receive a second dose of a vaccine at a different location, if needed.

“It is improbable that they would have the ability to return to the primary vaccination site on a specific date or time,” the letter states. “By administering vaccines through our nationwide network of locations, we can ensure the ability of our employees and the nation’s truck drivers to continue serving on the front lines of the fuel and food distribution systems across the country.

“Furthermore, by vaccinating truck stop employees, we can amplify the breadth and scope of vaccination deployment across the communities in which we operate. It is imperative that we protect those who are delivering critical supplies – including the vaccine – throughout the country.”

The coalition also includes the Truckload Carriers Association, National Private Truck Council, National Association of Small Trucking Companies, St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund, and National Tank Truck Carriers.


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

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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.

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FMCSA extends pandemic-related hours-of-service exemptions

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says temporary hours-of-service exemptions and other “regulatory relief” will continue for commercial motor vehicle drivers transporting items intended to assist in the COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts.

Announced Feb. 12, the extension of Emergency Declaration 2020-002, initially issued March 13 and expanded and modified multiple times, is scheduled to remain in effect through May 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.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA and USDOT to ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

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International Roadcheck Set for May 4-6 with Emphasis on Lighting and Hours of Service

First published by CVSA.

Greenbelt, Maryland – The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has set May 4-6 as the dates for this year’s International Roadcheck. Over that 72-hour period, commercial motor vehicle inspectors in jurisdictions throughout Canada, Mexico and the U.S. will conduct inspections on commercial motor vehicles and drivers.

“CVSA shares the dates of International Roadcheck in advance to remind motor carriers and drivers of the importance of proactive vehicle maintenance and driver readiness,” said CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police. “International Roadcheck also aims to raise awareness of the North American Standard Inspection Program and the essential highway safety rules and regulations in place to keep our roadways safe.”

Inspectors will ensure the vehicle’s brake systems, cargo securement, coupling devices, driveline/driveshaft components, driver’s seat, exhaust systems, frames, fuel systems, lighting devices, steering mechanisms, suspensions, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels, rims, hubs and windshield wipers are compliant with regulations. Inspections of motorcoaches, passenger vans and other passenger-carrying vehicles also include emergency exits, electrical cables and systems in the engine and battery compartments, and seating.

Inspectors will be looking for critical vehicle inspection item violations, outlined in the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria. If such violations are found, the vehicle will be placed out of service, which means that vehicle cannot be operated until the identified out-of-service conditions have been corrected.

Vehicles that successfully pass inspection, without any critical vehicle inspection item violations found after a completed Level I or Level V Inspection, should receive a CVSA decal. In general, vehicles with a CVSA decal are not re-inspected during the three-month period during which the decal is valid. Instead, inspectors focus their efforts on vehicles without a valid CVSA decal.

Also during an inspection, inspectors will check the driver’s operating credentials, hours-of-service documentation, seat belt usage, and for alcohol and/or drug impairment. A driver will be placed out of service if an inspector discovers driver-related out-of-service conditions.

Each year, CVSA asks its member jurisdictions to capture and report data focusing on a certain category of violations during International Roadcheck. This helps bring awareness to certain aspects of a roadside inspection. This year, inspectors will capture data on two categories, corresponding to the two main inspection categories of the North American Standard Level I Inspection – driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness. For the driver category, hours of service will be highlighted this year, and for the vehicle category, inspectors will be paying special attention to lighting.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the lighting violation “lamps inoperable” (Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations 393.9) was the number one vehicle violation in fiscal 2020, accounting for approximately 12.24% of all vehicle violations discovered that year. And during last year’s International Roadcheck, the top driver out-of-service violation category in North America was hours of service, accounting for 34.7% of all driver out-of-service conditions.

“It’s important to remember that International Roadcheck is a data collection effort,” said Sgt. Samis. “The inspections conducted during the three days of International Roadcheck are no different from the inspections conducted any other day of the year. Other than data collection, the inspection process is the same.”

As was the case last year, in consideration of COVID-19, law enforcement personnel will conduct inspections following their departments’ health and safety protocols during 2021 International Roadcheck.

In addition, as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues, every effort will be made to get vaccine shipments to their destination, quickly and safely. COVID-19 vaccine shipments will not be held up for inspection, unless there is an obvious serious violation that is an imminent hazard.

International Roadcheck is a CVSA program with participation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Transport Canada, and Mexico’s Ministry of Communications and Transportation and its National Guard.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA and USDOT to ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

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Federal Mask Requirement for Surface Transportation Providers

First published by FMCSA.

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an Order imposing a mask requirement applicable to public transportation systems, rail, and van, bus and motorcoach service providers to mitigate the risk of COVID-19.  The CDC Order implements President Biden’s Executive Order 13998, Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel, “to save lives and allow all Americans, including the millions of people employed in the transportation industry, to travel and work safely.”

Science-based measures are critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19. Mask-wearing is one of several proven life-saving measures including physical distancing, appropriate ventilation and timely testing that can reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Requiring masks will protect America’s transportation workers and passengers, help control the transmission of COVID-19, and aid in re-opening America’s economy.

In addition to the CDC order, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) anticipates issuing additional information and guidance on this topic.

The Department has posted a Frequently Asked Questions at this website. https://www.transportation.gov/safety/mask-travel-guidance

The Department will continue to add to this site with additional information in the coming days.

The U.S. Department of Transportation will be scheduling stakeholder calls beginning the week of February 1, 2021.

Please share the mask mandate information with colleagues and send questions to FMCSAMaskUp@dot.gov.

Links


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA and USDOT to ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

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FMCSA proposes amending guidance on CMV ‘yard moves,’ hours of service

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking public comment on a proposal to revise the agency’s guidance on “yard moves” and commercial motor vehicle drivers’ hours of service.

According to a notice published in the Jan. 4 Federal Register, FMCSA regulations require most CMV drivers to record their HOS under four categories: driving; on-duty, not driving; sleeper berth; and off-duty. The agency’s design and performance standards for electronic logging devices – which record HOS – provide two “special driving categories”: personal conveyance and yard moves.

FMCSA, however, did not define “yard moves” in its final rule on ELDs and is seeking to update its guidance to include the following: “A driver may record time operating a CMV for yard moves as on-duty, not driving under 49 CFR 395.8(b) only if the movement of the CMV occurs in a confined area on private property,” such as an intermodal or port facility.

Other examples of “yards” may include a motor carrier’s place of business; a shipper’s privately owned parking lot; and a public road where access is restricted by gates, lights, flaggers or other means.

“For example,” FMCSA says, “if a driver must operate on a public road briefly to reach different parts of a private property, the movement may be considered a yard move if public access is restricted during the move.”

Additionally, FMCSA is seeking responses to the following questions:

  • Would defining “yard moves” provide necessary clarification while benefiting drivers and carriers?
  • Are there other situations or properties where drivers may be in a “yard move” status that should be included in the guidance?
  • Would adding examples of “yard moves” prove helpful? If so, give examples for consideration.
  • How should “yard” be defined in the guidance?

The deadline to comment is Feb. 3. FMCSA plans to reevaluate its guidance “no later than” five years after it’s finalized.

“This guidance, if finalized, lacks the force and effect of law and is not meant to bind the public in any way,” FMCSA says. “This guidance document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding the agency’s interpretation of its existing regulations.”


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FMCSA seeks to add rear impact guards to annual CMV inspection list

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

See the source image

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing to add rear impact guards to the list of components to be examined during mandatory yearly inspections of commercial motor vehicles.

Rear impact guards are designed to prevent “underrides,” which occur when a passenger vehicle strikes the rear of a CMV and slides underneath.

According to a notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Dec. 29 Federal Register, rear impact guards have been required on CMVs for nearly 70 years but aren’t included on the list of components in Appendix G for required inspections. This means that a CMV can pass an annual inspection with a missing or damaged rear impact guard, FMCSA notes.

Additionally, the agency 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 deadline to comment on the proposed rule is March 1.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA and USDOT to ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

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NOTICE: ORM-D Marking Phase-out

First published by PHMSA.

After December 31, 2020, hazmat shippers will no longer be able to use the ORM-D Consumer Commodity marking on packages containing limited quantities of low risk hazardous materials. Packages must be marked with the Limited Quantity marking in accordance with the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Section 173.156.

PHMSA published a final rule in January 2011 that revised the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to align with various international standards regarding hazard communication, hazard classification including packing group assignment, packaging authorization, air transport quantity limitations, and other harmonization-related topics. This final rule specified the phase-out of the marking for limited quantity materials reclassed as “other regulated material” (ORM-D).

Federal Register Notice

What is ORM-D?

The ORM-D classification stands for Other Regulated Materials—Domestic and is used for materials that meet the DOT definition of a consumer commodity. A consumer commodity, as defined in § 171.8, is a material that is packaged and distributed in a form suitable for retail sale or consumption by individuals for purposes of personal care or household use.


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

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ADOT moving to fully-cashless permitting system for commercial trucks will help keep commerce flowing more efficiently

First published by ADOT.
Cashless paymentPHOENIX – When commercial truckers purchase their permits for driving through Arizona online ahead of time or use a cashless method at the port of entry, they spend less time making payments and get on their way faster.

That’s one reason the Arizona Department of Transportation successfully implemented a pilot program to move to a fully-cashless permitting system. Now, after working with trucking companies that pay with cash to ensure they have enough time to convert to a cashless system, ADOT’s ports of entry intend to go fully cashless on Jan. 1, 2021.

The move to end the acceptance of cash and checks at ports of entry also supports recommendations by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention to curb the spread of COVID-19 through the exchange of currency.

ADOT’s truck permitting systems, ePro and Transport, have cashless features and nearly 80% of truckers getting permits use those features. But in order to help trucks move through the ports more efficiently, ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division began to encourage the other 20% of truckers to pay for permits online using Apple Pay, Android Pay or credit card.

“We have been getting a feel from the trucking industry on how much they would support this change and the feedback has been positive,” said Lt. Jason Sloan, team lead for implementing the change. “This improvement will help eliminate waste and maximize resources available at ports of entry to process commercial traffic faster.”

The move also allows more officers to be available for enforcement duties instead of having one or more of them make a long drive from a remote port of entry to a financial institution to deposit the cash and checks collected.

This change is one more way ADOT’s continuous improvement process is making more efficient use of time, resources and taxpayer dollars. It will also be implemented at VIN inspection stations around the state.

ADOT is also developing a new commercial permitting system that will support the move to cashless and touchless that is expected to be operational by the end of next year.


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

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