FMCSA extends comment period on speed-limiter proposal

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

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Photo: Missouri Department of Transportation Flickr

Washington — Responding to stakeholder requests, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended until July 18 the comment period on a proposed rule that would require the installation of speed-limiting devices on trucks, buses and multipurpose passenger vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds.

As outlined in a notice published in the May 27 Federal Register, the extension provides interested parties additional time to submit responses. The initial deadline was June 3.

FMCSA, in the May 4 Federal Register, published an advance notice of supplemental proposed rulemaking that expands on a 2016 joint proposal from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and FMCSA. The latter is the sole agency listed on the proposal, which doesn’t specify a top speed. The 2016 proposed rule suggested capping speeds at 60, 65 or 68 mph.

FMCSA offers multiple questions on which stakeholders may comment, including:

  • What percentage of the commercial motor vehicle fleet uses speed-limiting devices?
  • If in use, at what maximum speed are the devices generally set?
  • What training or skill sets are needed for motor carriers’ maintenance personnel to adjust or program electronic engine control units to set speed limits?
  • What equipment or tools are needed to adjust or program/reprogram ECUs? How long would the process take, and where can it be completed?
  • Since publication of the notice of proposed rulemaking in 2016, how has standard practice or technology changed as it relates to the ability to set speed limits using ECUs?
    FMCSA extended comment period on speed-limiting

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FMCSA Announces Call for Applications for the Truck Leasing Task Force

First published by FMCSA

FMCSA Applications Truck Leasing Task ForceWashington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced the opening of applications for the Truck Leasing Task Force (TLTF), in consultation with the U.S. Department of Labor. The Task Force is an initiative mandated by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and a long-term effort of the Trucking Action Plan. As part of the Plan’s initiatives, the TLTF will evaluate the impacts of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) lease agreements and discuss best practices for future agreements.

“The Truck Leasing Task Force represents one of the important actions the Administration is taking to improve the trucking industry,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “America’s truck drivers need and deserve fair leasing agreements, and this work will help ensure that leasing is above board.”

“The Task Force will be instrumental in expanding our understanding of the financial impacts of truck leasing and will reinforce our commitment to quality of life and safety for professional truck drivers,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Robin Hutcheson. “We ask those who are interested in joining to reach out so we can better support CMV drivers together.”

TLTF will cover many areas related to truck leasing arrangements, including:

  • Exploring predatory truck leasing arrangements in coordination with DOL and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Evaluating common truck lease agreements and their terms, identifying and reviewing those that are potentially inequitable in the motor carrier industry
  • Reviewing agreements available to drayage drivers at ports
  • Studying the impact of truck leasing agreements on the net compensation of commercial motor vehicle drivers
  • Examining truck leasing arrangements and financing arrangements among motor carriers, entry-level drivers, driver training providers, and others involved in the industry
  • Assessing resources that assist CMV drivers in reviewing the financial impacts of leasing agreements

The Task Force will include a maximum of 10 members representing labor organizations, motor carriers, consumer protection groups, legal professionals, owner-operators, and other relevant businesses. TLTF will examine the above issues and submit a report to FMCSA and the U.S. Department of Labor.

TLTF’s charter runs through February 11, 2024. FMCSA encourages diverse, non-traditional representatives, especially women and people of color, to apply to serve on the task force. To apply, please visit www.fmcsa.dot.gov/tltf. The application period is open through Friday, May 6, 2022.


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FMCSA Announces Call for Applications for Women of Trucking Advisory Board

First published by FMCSA

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced the launch of the Women of Trucking Advisory Board (WOTAB) to recruit, support, and ensure the safety of women commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers and the trucking industry at large.

The launch of the Advisory Board is mandated by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and part of the Biden-Harris Trucking Action Plan, which aims to improve job quality and recruit more people to the truck driving profession. As part of the Trucking Action Plan, the Administration has also expanded registered apprenticeship programs, announced a driver compensation study, and is engaging the entire trucking industry around issues of retention and recruitment. Secretary Buttigieg has led roundtable discussions and has also ridden along with a truck driver.

“We’re proud to launch the Women of Trucking Advisory Board to work together with drivers and trucking companies to help eliminate barriers that keep women from entering and staying in the trucking profession,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “This advisory board is a key part of our Trucking Action Plan, which is focused on improving job quality for truckers and recruiting more people to join their ranks.”

“The establishment of the Women of Trucking Advisory Board furthers our commitment to collaboration, equity, and safety across the trucking industry by evaluating existing and potential opportunities for women throughout the trucking industry,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Robin Hutcheson.

Women are significantly underrepresented in the trucking industry, holding only 24 percent of all transportation jobs. The formation of the Advisory Board kicks off this month amid Women’s History Month.

WOTAB will coordinate with trucking companies, nonprofit organizations, and trucking associations to support women in trucking. The Board will provide recommendations to the Administrator of FMCSA and the U.S. Secretary of Transportation as well as tackle many areas, including:

  • Evaluating barriers and trends that impact women in trucking across the country and ways to support women pursuing careers in trucking.
  • Identifying opportunities to expand roles for women and increase the number of women in the trucking industry
  • Advising on policies that provide education, training, mentorship, or outreach to women in the trucking industry
  • Reviewing opportunities to enhance safety, training, mentorship, and education for women in the trucking industry

The Board will include a minimum of eight members with diverse backgrounds, experience, and certifications to provide balanced points of view. The group will include:

  • Women representing small, mid-sized, and large trucking companies, nonprofit organizations in the trucking industry
  • Trucking business associations
  • Independent owner-operators and professional truck drivers
  • And an institution of higher education or trucking trade school

WOTAB’s charter runs through February 11, 2024. If you are interested in applying, please visit www.fmcsa.dot.gov/wotab.


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Next 3G Sunset Date Is March 31, 2022

First published by FMCSA

Are you prepared for the 3G sunset?

T-MOBILE TO SHUT DOWN SPRINT 3G CDMA NETWORK BY MARCH 31, 2022

Mobile carriers are shutting down their 3G networks, which may impact motor carriers if their ELDs rely on a 3G network. Read more about the 3G sunset.
T-Mobile will complete the shutdown of Sprint’s 3G CDMA network by March 31, 2022.
Any ELD that requires 3G cellular connectivity to perform its functionality will no longer be in compliance with the technical specifications in the ELD rule after the 3G network it relies on is sunset.
When in an area that does not support 3G, a 3G device will register a malfunction. In accordance with 49 CFR 395.34, the carrier has 8 days to get the malfunction resolved, in this case by replacement, unless an extension is granted.

FMCSA has granted an extension for specific 3G dependent ELDs. See which ELDs are covered by this extension.

Motor carriers should be working with their ELD providers to upgrade or replace ELDs that rely on a 3G network.
What actions do motor carriers need to take now?
Confirm whether your ELD relies on a 3G networkIf you are unsure if your ELD relies on a 3G network, contact your ELD provider. If your ELD does not rely on 3G, and meets all minimum requirements, no further action is needed.
Ask your provider for their upgrade or replacement planIf your ELD relies on a 3G network, ask your ELD provider about their plan for upgrading or replacing your device to one that will be supported after the 3G sunset, and to complete the necessary actions as soon as possible. Even if your ELD is covered by the extension, you must still replace your device by the extension deadline. Once you receive your upgraded or replaced device, you should no longer use paper logs.
FMCSA strongly encourages motor carriers to take the above actions as soon as possible to avoid compliance issues. See the announced dates listed below and plan accordingly to avoid service disruptions and compliance issues. Note that portions of carrier 3G networks will be unsupported in advance of the announced sunset dates.
3G Sunset DatesThe announced sunset dates are below.* These are dates for completing the shutdowns. Mobile carriers are planning to retire parts of their networks sooner.

  • AT&T 3G: February 22, 2022
  • Sprint 3G (T-Mobile): March 31, 2022
  • Sprint LTE (T-Mobile): June 30, 2022
  • T-Mobile 3G: July 1, 2022
  • Verizon 3G: December 31, 2022
Note: Many carriers, such as Cricket, Boost, Straight Talk, and several Lifeline mobile service providers, utilize the AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile networks.
*Sunset dates are subject to change. Contact your mobile carrier for up-to-date information.
Questions?Contact ELD@dot.gov.

More Resources from FMCSA

Read and understand the technical specifications in the ELD rule.
ELD RULE
Learn more about the ELD rule and what it means for you.
ELD FAQs
Download materials and information for the motor carrier industry.
ELD WEBSITE

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DOT proposes oral fluid drug testing as an alternative method

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Washington — The Department of Transportation has issued a proposed rule that would revise industry drug testing protocol by adding oral fluid testing as an alternative to urine testing for commercial motor vehicle operators and other safety-sensitive transportation workers.

In a notice published in the Feb. 28 Federal Register, DOT claims the proposal “will give employers a choice that will help combat employee cheating on urine drug tests and provide a more economical, less intrusive means of achieving the safety goals” of the transportation industry’s drug and alcohol testing program.

The proposed rule stems from a Department of Health and Human Services final rule allowing federal agencies to collect and test oral fluid specimens as part of their drug testing programs. Under the rule, effective Jan. 1, 2020, agencies must initiate individual rulemaking to begin the process of allowing oral fluid testing as an option.

“The advantage of every oral fluid collection is that it will be directly observed, as opposed to most urine collections, which are unobserved,” DOT states. “While directly observed urine specimen collections have long been the most effective method for preventing individuals from cheating on their drug tests by substituting or adulterating their specimens, directly observed urine collection may only be done in certain circumstances due to employee privacy concerns. Unlike directly observed urine collections, an oral fluid collection is much less intrusive on the tested employee’s privacy.”

The agency adds that it is not proposing to eliminate urine drug testing.

HHS is still considering amendments to proposed guidelines – issued in September 2020 – concerning the use of hair samples as a method for drug testing federal employees and safety-sensitive employees in federally regulated industries, the notice states.

Comments on the proposed rule are due March 30.


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FMCSA final rule expands 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 increasing the area safety technology may be mounted inside commercial motor vehicles and expanding the definition of “vehicle safety technology.”

According to a final rule published in the March 7 Federal Register and set to go into effect May 6, the rulemaking was promulgated in response to a petition from Daimler Trucks North America.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations previously mandated that vehicle safety devices be mounted no more than 4 inches “below the upper edge of the area swept by the windshield wipers.” FMCSA is changing that parameter to 8.5 inches.

The devices must still remain outside the driver’s line of sight to the road and highway signs/signals. The regulation that states the devices may not be mounted more than 7 inches “above the lower edge of the area swept by the windshield wipers” will remain unchanged.

In addition, the final rule amends another regulation to add “technologies that had been granted temporary exemptions.”

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


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Truckers Launch Ad Campaign

First published by ATA

Distracted Driving Safety Ad Campaign Launched by the Arizona Trucking Association Foundation

Phoenix, AZ – As the ad states, “Distracted driving is deadly, period!” Yet every day the professional men and women of the trucking industry see the dangers of distracted driving on Arizona’s roads.

Distracted driving puts people’s lives and families at risk. That is why the Arizona Trucking Association Foundation (ATA Foundation) has launched a public safety campaign discussing the dangers of distracted driving on Arizona’s roads. The ATA Foundation’s campaign is being run through the Arizona Broadcasters Association (ABA) Public Education Programing (PEP), which allows the ads to reach a wider audience at a discounted rate.

The ads feature Arizona professional truck drivers, including two national truck driving championship winners, who represent the best drivers in Arizona. The ads are running in both Spanish and English on over 175 different TV and radio stations around the state for the next four months.

“Ask any professional truck driver what they fear on the road, and they will tell you distracted drivers,” stated ATA Foundation Executive Director, Tony Bradley. “Distracted driving is not just dangerous, its deadly. However, people don’t always see the risks they are putting themselves and others in when they don’t pay attention to the road. Our hope is that we can give another perspective to the problem from our professionals drivers who see distracted driving daily from behind the wheel of their tractor trailers.”

The television versions of the ads can be seen here:

English: https://youtu.be/TVK1gnJbWg8

Spanish: https://youtu.be/61HP3pDgwLY

English Version

English text:

I am an Arizona truck driver…

And this is my office.

I deliver food, medicine, supplies and hope.

And during times of crisis I support our communities.

But every day I see people putting lives and families at risk.

Distracted driving is deadly, period!

Be aware, be safe and visit sharetheroadaz.com and find tips on how to drive safely around trucks. That’s sharetheroadaz.com

This message is sponsored by the Arizona Trucking Association Foundation.

Spanish Version

Spanish text:

Y esta es mi oficina.

Entrego alimentos, medicinas, suministros y esperanza.

Y en tiempos de crisis apoyo a nuestras comunidades.

Pero todos los días veo a personas que ponen vidas y familias en riesgo.

Conducir distraídamente es mortal. Punto.

Sea consciente, actúe con precaución y visite sharetheroadAZ.com … Y encuentre consejos sobre cómo conducir con seguridad alrededor de los camiones. Eso es sharetheroadAZ.com

Este mensaje es patrocinado por la fundación de la asociación de camiones de Arizona.


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Study questions whether FMCSA’s ELD mandate for truckers ‘has improved safety’

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

East Lansing, MI — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s mandate on the use of electronic logging devices to record commercial motor vehicle driver hours of service “did not immediately achieve its goal of reducing accidents,” and may be linked to increases in unsafe driving behaviors and crashes, results of a recent study suggest.

The mandate took effect in December 2017. On April 1, 2018, inspectors were permitted to begin placing CMV drivers out of service for operating without ELDs, which are used in place of manual paper logs to track HOS.

Researchers at Michigan State University and the University of Arkansas analyzed data from about 4 million roadside inspections and all federally recordable crashes between Jan. 1, 2017, and Sept. 1, 2018. Although the mandate triggered significant improvement in driver compliance with reporting HOS, especially among smaller fleets, findings show that the number of incidents increased after the mandate went into effect.

For independent owner-operators, incidents climbed 11.6%, while fleets employing between two and 20 trucks experienced a 9% increase. The researchers also report an increase in violations for unsafe driver behaviors – including speeding, frequent lane changes, following too closely and hard braking – in conjunction with the mandate.

“These results call into question whether increased electronic monitoring has improved safety in this industry,” the researchers write.

After publishing the final rule in December 2015, FMCSA estimated the mandate would help prevent 1,844 crashes, 562 injuries and 26 fatalities each year.

“Drivers have reacted in ways the FMCSA has not fully anticipated, and these behaviors should be accounted for as the FMCSA revisits their hours-of-service policies,” Andrew Balthrop, study co-author and research associate at UA, said in a press release.

“Surprisingly, the number of accidents for the most affected carriers – those operators for whom the federal mandate was intended – did not decrease. In fact, following the implementation of the mandate, accidents among small carriers and independent owner-operators increased, relative to large asset-based carriers.”

ELDs record – at frequent intervals – vehicle information such as date, time, location, engine hours and miles, as well as identification information for the driver, vehicle and motor carrier.

Proponents of the mandate contend that relying on ELDs rather than paper logs to track HOS improves safety and efficiency. Opponents claim the rule violates drivers’ Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure and lacks concrete evidence that it increases safety.

CMV drivers must carry four items as part of the mandate:

  • A user’s manual that describes how to operate the ELD
  • A sheet listing step-by-step instructions on producing and transferring HOS records to an authorized safety official
  • A sheet that outlines ELD malfunction reporting requirements and protocol for maintaining records during such incidences
  • At least eight days’ worth of blank grids to chart record of duty status reports

The study was published in the March issue of the Journal of Operations Management.


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CVSA Adopts North American Fatigue Management Program

First published by CVSA
                      
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is now home to the North American Fatigue Management Program (NAFMP), a comprehensive educational and training program aimed at preventing fatigue-related risks and crashes and cultivating a corporate safety culture that proactively works to eliminate driver fatigue.
As an organization comprised of law enforcement jurisdictions, motor carriers, trucking organizations, safety associations and federal agencies committed to eliminating crashes on our roadways, CVSA was tasked by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FNCSA) with the management and evolution of the NAFMP. The NAFMP steering committee also includes Transport Canada, working closely with FMCSA to support the program.
“Our goal at CVSA is to prevent crashes involving commercial motor vehicles,” said CVSA President Capt. John Broers with the South Dakota Highway Patrol. “Offering the North American Fatigue Management Program as one of the Alliance’s driver-related educational programs helps us do our part to combat crashes caused by driver fatigue and exhaustion.
”“CVSA has the ideal infrastructure of events and channels of communication to foster the NAFMP,” said NAFMP Steering Committee Chair Roger Clarke.
“FMCSA is excited for this additional opportunity to partner with CVSA to address driver fatigue,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Meera Joshi. “FMCSA has supported the NAFMP since its inception and looks forward to CVSA continuing to provide this important program to educate the motor carrier industry on driver fatigue.”The NAFMP was developed by medical and sleep scientists from Canada and the United States through a multi-year, four-phase comprehensive process. The program aims to prevent driver fatigue and eliminate fatigue-related crashes by:

  • Offering easy-to-access online fatigue prevention training and education to commercial motor vehicle drivers, motor carrier executives and managers, freight shippers and receivers, dispatchers, driver managers, driver’s spouses and families, safety managers and trainers, etc.
  • Encouraging a motor carrier safety culture that proactively considers situations that may contribute to driver fatigue and fights to prevent it
  • Identifying sleep disorders and treatment options
  • Utilizing driver fatigue management technologies

In addition, CVSA plans to enhance, improve and grow the program by:

  • Hosting live and recorded Q&A sessions
  • Offering a moderated forum where users may ask questions and provide feedback
  • Offering information sessions at CVSA events and conferences
  • Hosting program and steering committee meetings to discuss program improvements
  • Offering webinars on various topics relevant to fatigue management
  • Offering Spanish content in addition to English and French

Learn more about the NAFMP and how to implement a fatigue management program by visiting the NAFMP website. Download a step-by-step implementation manual and register in the eLearning platform for the program courses.

“This program has the potential to reduce fatigue-related risks, improve driver alertness, health and wellness, increase productivity, and decrease crashes and roadway fatalities,” said Capt. Broers. “The online training and educational courses available through this program are free, voluntary, self-paced and available 24/7. We encourage all drivers and motor carriers to utilize these online tools.”

For more information, contact CVSA Fatigue Management Program Specialist Rodolfo Giacoman via email or at 301-830-6155.

This program was made possible through an international partnership of law enforcement jurisdictions, federal agencies, academics and motor carrier stakeholder groups.


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FMCSA renews regulatory relief extension

First published by FMCSA

EXTENSION OF THE MODIFIED
EMERGENCY DECLARATION No. 2020-002 UNDER 49 CFR § 390.25

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hereby declares that the continuing national emergency warrants extension of the modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002.  The extension of the modified Emergency Declaration continues the exemption granted from certain requirements in Part 395 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) for the fifty States and the District of Columbia as set forth below.

FMCSA issued Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 in response to the March 13, 2020 declaration of a national emergency under 42 U.S.C. § 5191(b) related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and the immediate risk COVID-19 presents to public health and welfare.  FMCSA has previously modified Emergency Declaration 2020-002 to expand and remove categories of supplies, equipment and persons covered by the Emergency Declaration to respond to changing needs for emergency relief.  On August 31, 2021, FMCSA extended and amended the modified Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 and associated regulatory relief through November 30, 2021 in accordance with 49 CFR § 390.25.

FMCSA is continuing the exemption and associated regulatory relief in accordance with 49 CFR § 390.25, because the presidentially declared emergency remains in place and because, although the number of COVID-19 cases began to decline in the U.S. following widespread introduction of vaccinations, persistent issues arising out of COVID-19 continue to affect the U.S. including impacts on supply chains and the need to ensure capacity to respond to variants and potential rises in infections.  Therefore, a continued exemption is needed to support direct emergency assistance for some supply chains.  This notice continues the relief granted in Emergency Declaration 2020-002, as modified on June 15, 2020, August 15, 2020, December 1, 2020, and August 2021, through February 28, 2022 subject to the restrictions and conditions set forth herein unless modified or terminated sooner.  This extension of the modified Emergency Declaration addresses national emergency conditions that create a need for immediate transportation of essential supplies and provides necessary relief from the FMCSRs for motor carriers and drivers.  Read More»


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