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 to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

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.”

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 to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

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

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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.”

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 to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

New from NTSB: Safety tip card for truck drivers


Photo: National Transportation Safety Board

Washington — A new safety tip card created by the National Transportation Safety Board for commercial motor vehicle drivers and owners is intended to reinforce common lessons learned from agency crash investigations, as well as issues outlined in NTSB’s list of 10 “Most Wanted” safety improvements for 2019-2020.

Designed to be stored above a truck’s visor, the card advises drivers to:

  • Minimize all distractions and follow federal regulations regarding cell phone use.
  • Follow posted speed limits, and drive slower in inclement weather.
  • Stay healthy by taking breaks, exercising and managing fatigue. Also, avoid driving while taking prescription or over-the-counter medications that can cause impairment.
  • Wear seat belts, and make sure passengers follow suit.
  • Drive sober; never operate a CMV while impaired by drugs and alcohol.

Tips for CMV owners and/or managers include:

  • Implement a fatigue management program following North American Fatigue Management Program guidelines.
  • Purchase CMVs equipped with underride protection, advanced speed-limiting technologies and collision avoidance technologies, and train drivers on their use.
  • Establish policies to address driver medical fitness for duty.

Citing data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, the card states that 4,951 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks in 2018 – an increase of almost 6% from 2016.

House lawmakers call for automatic emergency braking on new commercial trucks, buses

Photo: Chesky_W/iStockphoto

Washington — Automatic emergency braking would be a standard feature on all new commercial motor vehicles, including large trucks, under legislation introduced in July by Reps. Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL) and Hank Johnson (D-GA). Read more