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.


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Operation Safe Driver Week set for July 11-17

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Greenbelt, MD — Law enforcement officers will target speeding and other unsafe driving behaviors during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Operation Safe Driver Week, slated for July 11-17.

They’ll be on the lookout for passenger and commercial motor vehicle drivers following too closely, driving distracted, making improper lane changes, failing to use a seat belt and driving while impaired.

Preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council show that, in 2020, the rate of motor vehicle deaths in the United States climbed 24% compared with the previous year, even as the estimated total number of miles driven fell 13%.

During last year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, citations and warnings related to speeding were most common among both groups of drivers: CMV drivers were given 2,339 citations and 3,423 warnings, while passenger vehicle drivers received 14,378 citations and 11,456 warnings.

“Data shows that traffic stops and interactions with law enforcement help reduce problematic driving behaviors,” CVSA President John Samis said in a press release. “By making contact with drivers during Operation Safe Driver Week, law enforcement personnel aim to make our roadways safer by targeting high-risk driving behaviors.”


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House Bill 2173 Extends CDL renewal period from 5 years to 8 years

First published by ATA.
ATA Commends the Passage and Signing of House Bill 2173
ATA Commends The Passage And Signing Of House Bill 2173

Legislation allows commercial drivers to renew their CDL every eight years instead of five

Tolleson, AZ – Yesterday, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed House Bill 2173 into law, Commercial Driver Licenses; Renewal Time (HB2173). HB2173 passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate with unanimous support.

HB2173 adds three years to the renewal period for a person possessing a commercial driver license, increasing the renewal period from five years to eight years. Medical certificates and hazmat endorsement remain the same.

“Truck drivers often spend long periods of time away from home and during this pandemic they have been on the frontlines delivering necessary food, supplies, medicine, and more,” stated ATA President and CEO, Tony Bradley. “HB2173 makes it easier on drivers to renew their CDLs now and in the future by extending the renewal period from five to eight years. ATA and its membership are grateful for the overwhelming bi-partisan support we received from legislators. We would like to thank our primary sponsor Rep. Frank Carroll in addition to our co-sponsors Rep. Leo Biasiucci, Rep. Judy Burges, Rep. Tim Dunn, Rep. Gail Griffin, Rep. Brett Roberts, Rep. Ben Toma, and Rep. Justin Wilmeth. Finally, we would like to thank Governor Ducey for signing this important legislation,” continued Bradley.

The text of HB2173 can be found at: https://www.azleg.gov/legtext/55leg/1R/bills/HB2173H.pdf

The new law will take effect on the General Effective date, which is 90 days after the legislature adjourns sine die.


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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.


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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.


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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 comment on clarification of ‘agricultural commodities’

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is asking for input on an interim final rule that clarifies the definitions of the terms “any agricultural commodity” and “livestock” in the agency’s hours-of-service regulations for commercial truck drivers.

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.

Published in the Nov. 24 Federal Register and effective Dec. 9, the interim final rule acknowledges the ambiguity of current regulations while amplifying the agency’s interpretation. The rule states that “horticultural products subject to perishability or significant degradation in product quality during transport” by commercial motor vehicle – such as sod, flowers, seedlings, live trees and Christmas trees – fall under the parameters of “any agricultural commodity.”

Additionally, FMCSA expands the scope of the definition of “livestock” to include “all living animals cultivated, grown or raised for commercial purposes.” Previously, the agency did not include aquatic animals under this description.

“Our nation’s farmers and agriculture haulers will benefit from this clarification of the rules and will be able to deliver their products in a safer and more efficient manner,” FMCSA acting administrator Wiley Deck said in a Nov. 19 press release. “These improved rules will help farmers move commodities and get food to our grocery stores. We have heard the concerns from our farmers and ag haulers, and we’ve worked closely with [the U.S. Department of Agriculture] and the industry to provide regulatory clarity and craft this new rule.”

FMCSA in July 2019 issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking requesting comment on whether to clarify or revise the definitions, receiving 140 responses. In June 2018, the agency issued guidance intended to clarify both the agricultural commodities exemption and the “personal conveyance” provision in HOS regulations.

Comments on the interim final rule are due Dec. 24. FMCSA states that it “will consider and address submitted comments in the final rule that will follow this IFR and may make changes to the rule in response to comments received.”


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Technology could ‘greatly reduce’ rear-end crashes involving large trucks: IIHS study

See the source image

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Arlington, VA — Installing crash prevention technologies on the front of large commercial trucks may reduce, by more than 40%, crashes in which those trucks rear-end another vehicle, according to a recent report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

IIHS Director of Statistical Services Eric Teoh analyzed data from about 2,000 crashes involving large trucks that occurred from 2017 to 2019. He found that forward-collision warning systems reduced rear-end crashes by 44%, while automatic emergency braking systems reduced the crashes by 41%. Additionally, these technologies were found to reduce overall crashes by 22% and 12%, respectively.

Front crash prevention systems employ cameras, radar or other sensors to monitor roadways, while AEB systems automatically engage brakes to prevent or mitigate collisions.

According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 4,415 fatal crashes involving large trucks occurred in 2018 – a 52.6% increase from the 2,893 recorded in 2009.

“This study provides evidence that forward-collision warning and AEB greatly reduce crash risk for tractor-trailers and other large trucks,” Teoh said in a Sept. 3 press release. “That’s important information for trucking companies and drivers who are weighing the costs and benefits of these options on their next vehicles.”


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Annual brake inspection blitz examines more vehicles than in 2019

roadside-inspection-2.jpg
Photo: Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Greenbelt, MD — Commercial motor vehicle inspectors across North America conducted 43,565 brake system inspections and identified 5,156 vehicles – or 11.8% – with out-of-service conditions during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s annual Brake Safety Week, the organization announced Oct. 27.

Conducted Aug. 23-29 – during Brake Safety Awareness Month – this year’s outreach and enforcement campaign saw more vehicles inspected and fewer placed out of service than in 2019, when those totals were 34,320 and 4,626 (13.5%), respectively.

According to CVSA, 53 jurisdictions – including 45 in the United States – participated in this year’s event, which involved both announced and unannounced brake system inspections. Inspectors put special emphasis on brake hoses and tubing; a separate data query from participating jurisdictions found 6,697 hose chafing violations.

“Although many commercial motor vehicle enforcement agencies were forced to reduce services in the spring due to the (COVID-19) pandemic, it was important that we resumed inspection and enforcement duties as soon as it was safe to do so,” CVSA President John Samis said in a press release. “With truck drivers designated ‘essential personnel’ by the government, we needed to ensure that the vehicles traversing our roadways were safe to support commercial drivers as they selflessly continued to work during such a difficult and challenging time.”

Brake Safety Week is part of CVSA’s Operation Airbrake campaign, which is conducted in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators.

Next year’s event is set for Aug. 22-28.


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CVSA reacts to FMCSA rejection of personal conveyance petition

rejection of personal conveyance petition

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Washington — The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is evaluating its next course of action after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Sept. 18 denied a CVSA petition requesting that the agency update its definition of personal conveyance and clarify a mileage limit.

A letter written by FMCSA acting administrator Wiley Deck and addressed to CVSA Executive Director Collin Mooney claims that the CVSA proposal lacks a “sufficient safety basis” to proceed with rulemaking that “would essentially propose arbitrary limits without any evidence of safety critical events avoided.”

CVSA filed the petition in May, after FMCSA announced a controversial final rule the agency claims adds flexibility to hours-of-service regulations. The rule went into effect Sept. 29.

“We understand the agency’s position on personal conveyance,” Mooney told Safety+Health, “but we still believe that it’s not addressed adequately.”

In June 2018, FMCSA issued guidance intended to clarify both the agricultural commodities exemption and the personal conveyance provision in HOS regulations.

According to the agency, personal conveyance – a driver’s movement of a commercial motor vehicle for personal use – is considered off-duty status and therefore does not affect HOS limitations.

However, CVSA contends in the petition that the guidance is “incomplete” without establishing a maximum distance and/or time a CMV operator can travel under the personal conveyance provision, stating that “a driver could, in theory, drive hundreds of miles over the course of several hours” under this designation, increasing the risk of driver fatigue and impacting roadway safety.

“Even though the agency says that setting a distance or time limit would be arbitrary, on the flip side of things, having things wide open for personal conveyance now is open-ended in itself, which is the whole point in the petition – why it’s creating issues,” Mooney said. “Because it gives the motor carrier industry and drivers an opportunity to hide hours under the premise of personal conveyance, which in fact is a falsification of the hours of service of the records of duty status. So, by providing that loophole, that gateway to camouflage or hide hours, we feel, is very problematic and jeopardizes highway safety.”

Deck writes that the guidance remains “an appropriate response to the issue, given the lack of research and data to support the adoption of specific restrictions.”

According to the guidance – which is effective until June 7, 2023 – other examples of personal conveyance include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Time spent traveling to restaurants and entertainment facilities from en route lodging, such as a motel or truck stop.
  • Commuting between the driver’s terminal and his or her residence, between trailer-drop lots and the driver’s residence, and between worksites and the driver’s residence.
  • Time spent traveling in a motorcoach without passengers to en route lodging, or to restaurants or entertainment facilities and back to the lodging.
  • Time spent transporting personal property while off duty.
  • Authorized CMV use to travel home after working at an offsite location.

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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