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.

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Annual brake inspection blitz examines more vehicles than in 2019

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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.

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

CVSA Releases New Video on the Future of Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) released a new stop-motion video envisioning the future of commercial motor vehicle safety technology, inspections and enforcement. This four-minute video takes the viewer to a future – near and far – that’s safer for all road users. The future of commercial motor vehicle safety includes important advancements such as:

  • Vehicle-to-everything applications, including vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure, vehicle-to-pedestrian and vehicle-to-enforcement technologies
  • Alerts to drivers regarding inclement weather, crashes, closed roadways, bridge height restrictions, construction, road conditions, etc.
  • Lane centering, lane keeping, automatic emergency braking and controlled driver steering
  • North American Standard Level VIII Electronic Inspections and universal electronic identification
  • Vehicles equipped with automated driving systems
  • Vehicle, driver and pedestrian monitoring technologies with cameras, sensors and radars inside and outside of the vehicle

Universal deployment of these critical safety technologies would revolutionize commercial motor vehicle roadside enforcement, monitoring and inspections, exponentially growing the North American Standard Inspection Program and drastically improving roadway safety.

The “Welcome to the Future of Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement” video provides a clear and easy-to-understand visual presentation of today’s challenges and the solutions to those challenges, such as the deployment of proven safety technologies that improve transportation safety and prevent crashes. In addition, implementing the safety technologies referenced in the video will enable law enforcement officials to better identify and prioritize unsafe commercial motor vehicles and drivers for intervention, taking unfit vehicles and operators off the roads, while making roadside inspections and enforcement more efficient and reducing impacts on the movement of goods.

This public video is meant to be shared with lawmakers, regulators, safety advocates, motor carriers, drivers, researchers, vehicle safety technology developers and vendors, the law enforcement community and anyone else interested in learning about commercial motor vehicle safety and CVSA’s efforts to improve roadway, driver and vehicle safety.


 

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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Group files suit against FMCSA, DOT over final rule amending trucker hours-of-service regulations

As new hours-of-service regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are scheduled to go into effect Sept. 29, a group has filed a petition asking a federal court to overturn the new rules.

As new hours-of-service regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are scheduled to go into effect Sept. 29, a group has filed a petition asking a federal court to overturn the new rules.

Washington — A coalition of roadway safety advocacy groups, in conjunction with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation challenging a controversial final rule FMCSA claims will add flexibility to hours-of-service regulations for commercial truck drivers.

In the lawsuit, filed Sept. 16 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, Parents Against Tired Truckers, and the Teamsters request a reexamination of the final rule as well as their petition for FMCSA to reconsider the rule. The groups filed the petition June 30, and FMCSA denied it Aug. 25.

At press time, the rule was slated to take effect Sept. 29. The petitioners call the rule “flawed” in a Sept. 16 press release.

“Under the guise of increased flexibility, the changes will further exacerbate the already well-known threat of fatigue among commercial motor vehicle drivers by significantly weakening current HOS rules,” the release states.

Under the rule, announced in a May 14 agency press release and published in the June 1 Federal Register, FMCSA will:

  • Change the short-haul exemption to 150 air miles from 100, and 14 hours on duty from 12, to be consistent for rules with long-haul truck drivers.
  • Extend the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to two hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions.
  • Revise the current mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after eight hours of continuous driving.
  • Reinstate the option for splitting up the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating trucks equipped with sleeper berth compartments.

In the petition, the groups contend that “the final rule is not in the public interest and does not meet the agency’s statutory mission in carrying out its duties to assign and maintain safety as the highest priority.” They cite National Highway Traffic Administration data showing that 4,951 fatalities in incidents involving a large truck occurred in 2018, as well as additional research highlighting fatigue-related hazards associated with the profession.

Preliminary data released in NHTSA’s May 2020 “Traffic Safety Facts” report shows that fatalities in incidents involving a large truck are projected to have increased 1% in 2019.

“If I fall asleep on the job, my head hits the keyboard,” Cathy Chase, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, said in the Sept. 16 release. “If a truck driver falls asleep, his/her head hits the windshield, and that’s only part of the catastrophic outcome. Allowing operators to work longer hours and drive farther distances without proper rest breaks and other protections ignores science, data and expert opinion.”

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa also expresses his opposition to the final rule in the release.

“By issuing this HOS regulation, FMCSA has bowed to special trucking industry interests at the expense of highway safety, seeking longer workdays for drivers who are already being pushed to the limit,” Hoffa said. “We join this lawsuit to ensure that our members and their families are protected from fatigued drivers when they use our nation’s roadways.”

The rule doesn’t include a proposed provision that would have allowed covered CMV operators one rest break of up to three consecutive hours during every 14-hour on-duty period. However, under a proposed FMCSA pilot program published in the Sept. 3 Federal Register, CMV operators would be allowed one rest break of up to three consecutive hours but no less than 30 minutes during every 14-hour on-duty period. Comments on the pilot program are due Nov. 2.

In a May 14 video posted on the DOT’s YouTube channel, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said the final rule’s provisions “will help drivers reach their destination safely without feeling like they’ve got to race against the clock to comply with federal mandates. They will also help truckers get the rest they need when they need it. When safety rules make sense, drivers are better table to comply, and that benefits everyone.”


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

Speeding most cited violation during Operation Safe Driver Week


First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.
Greenbelt, MD — Law enforcement officials issued more than 71,000 citations and warnings to drivers during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s annual Operation Safe Driver Week.

From July 12 to July 18, law enforcement officials throughout the United States and Canada were on the lookout for commercial and passenger vehicle drivers engaging in unsafe behaviors such as following too closely, not wearing a seat belt and distracted driving, while placing added emphasis on speeding, CVSA states in a Sept. 2 press release.

Citations and warnings related to speeding were most common among both groups of drivers. Commercial motor vehicle drivers received 2,339 citations and 3,423 warnings for speeding, while passenger drivers accounted for 14,378 citations and 11,456 warnings.

Rounding out the top five citations issued to CMV drivers: failure to wear a seat belt (1,003), failure to obey a traffic control device (617), texting or using a handheld phone (269), and improper lane change (122).

The next most common citations issued to passenger vehicle drivers were failure to wear a seat belt (932), possession/use/under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (452), failure to obey a traffic control device (399), and improper lane change (273).

“Although CVSA is a commercial motor vehicle safety organization, it was important that passenger vehicle drivers were also involved in this annual weeklong driver safety enforcement initiative,” CVSA President John Samis said in the release. “When commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles collide, no matter who was at fault, the results can be catastrophic, especially for the smaller and lighter passenger vehicle. Preventing crashes from happening requires every driver – commercial and personal – to be aware of how to safely share the road with other types of vehicles.”

The rate of motor vehicle-related deaths jumped 20% in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2019 – despite a 17% drop in the number of miles driven – according to preliminary estimates released Sept. 15 by the National Safety Council.


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

Group petitions FMCSA to delay final rule amending trucker hours-of-service regulations

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Photo: Grafissimo /iStockphoto

Washington — A coalition of safety advocacy groups, in conjunction with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, is petitioning the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to reconsider a controversial final rule the agency claims will add flexibility to hours-of-service regulations for commercial truck drivers.

Submitted June 30 and filed by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, Parents Against Tired Truckers, the Truck Safety Coalition, and the Teamsters, the petition requests a stay of the effective date of the final rule – slated for Sept. 29 at press time – until the FMCSA administrator can further review the petition.

Under the rule, announced in a May 14 agency press release and published in the June 1 Federal Register, FMCSA will:

  • Change the short-haul exception to 150 air miles from 100, and 14 hours on duty from 12, to be consistent for rules with long-haul truck drivers.
  • Extend the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to two hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions.
  • Revise the current mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after eight hours of continuous driving.
  • Reinstate the option for splitting up the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating trucks equipped with sleeper berth compartments.

The final rule doesn’t include a proposed provision that would have allowed covered commercial motor vehicle operators one rest break of up to three consecutive hours during every 14-hour on-duty period.

The petition cites National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data showing that 4,951 fatalities in incidents involving a large truck occurred in 2018, as well as other research highlighting fatigue-related hazards associated with the profession.

According to preliminary data released in NHTSA’s May 2020 Traffic Safety Facts report, fatalities in incidents involving a large truck are projected to have increased 1% in 2019.

“The final rule is not in the public interest and does not meet the agency’s statutory mission in carrying out its duties to assign and maintain safety as the highest priority,” the groups contend in the petition. “The agency had failed to address the significant risk to public safety posed by fatigued drivers of CMVs at a time when large truck crashes continue to increase.”

Jim Hoffa, Teamsters general president, and Lamont Byrd, director of the Teamsters’ safety and health department, voiced their opposition to the final rule in a May 14 press release.

“In an effort to increase so-called ‘flexibility’ for trucking companies, the FMCSA is abandoning safety and allowing drivers to push themselves to the limit even further,” Hoffa said. “Trucking is already one of the nation’s most dangerous jobs. We shouldn’t be sacrificing the health and safety of drivers just to pad the profits of their big business bosses.”

yrd added: “Extending the workday to 14 hours for CDL-qualified short-haul drivers will result in an increase in occupational injuries and driver fatigue. We are also concerned with the revised rest break provision. This revised rule could allow a driver to spend hours performing physically demanding work and then drive up to eight hours without having to take a break.”

After multiple delays, FMCSA published a proposed rule in the Aug. 22 Federal Register. The initial comment deadline also was delayed before FMCSA on March 2 submitted the proposal to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review.

In a May 14 video posted on the Department of Transportation’s YouTube channel, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said the final rule’s provisions “will help drivers reach their destination safely without feeling like they’ve got to race against the clock to comply with federal mandates. They will also help truckers get the rest they need when they need it. When safety rules make sense, drivers are better able to comply, and that benefits everyone.”

Marijuana tops list of substances identified in CMV drivers’ failed drug tests: FMCSA

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Photo: vitpho/iStockphoto

Washington — The first report to use data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s new Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse shows that, from the database’s Sept. 28 launch through May, marijuana was the most common substance found in positive drug and alcohol tests among commercial motor vehicle drivers.

The national online database – aimed at enhancing road safety by providing, in real time, the names of CMV drivers who fail drug and alcohol tests – identified 10,388 positive tests for marijuana. Cocaine (3,192) and methamphetamine (2,184) were the next most common substances detected.

Under federal regulations, motor carriers must conduct pre-employment drug testing in addition to random testing. Employees who test positive are prohibited from performing safety-sensitive functions, which includes operating a CMV.

According to the report, 19,849 CMV drivers had at least one violation and were unable to operate until completing the return-to-duty process – including 15,682 drivers who had yet to begin the process.

In an article published June 15 in the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s Land Line magazine, Amber Schweer, supervisor of OOIDA’s drug and alcohol consortium, said the legalization of marijuana for medicinal and/or recreational use in numerous states may be complicating the problem.

“There is a huge misconception that just because it is legal on the state level that it will be OK on the federal level,” Schweer said. “That is not the case.”

CBD products also figured to factor into the findings, Schweer added. In a Feb. 18 policy and compliance notice, the Department of Transportation cautioned that CBD products may contain higher levels of THC – the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana – than DOT allows in a controlled substance. DOT added that CBD use is not a “legitimate medical explanation” for a safety-sensitive employee who tests positive for marijuana.

“There are so many companies that claim you won’t test positive using their product when in reality they cannot guarantee that,” Schweer said. “Drivers are not heeding the warnings that are put out there and, unfortunately, are facing expensive and detrimental consequences to their career.”

Overall, the clearinghouse observed 21,156 positive tests for substance misuse among CMV drivers during the reporting period. Multiple substances can appear in positive tests, FMCSA notes in the report, which does not include the total number of tests conducted. Future reports are set to be released monthly. Employers made more than 905,000 queries into the clearinghouse since it was fully implemented Jan. 6.

FMCSA seeks to close ‘loophole’ that lets CMV drivers who fail drug, alcohol tests get licenses

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Photo: KLH49/iStockphoto

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking input on a proposed rule that would ban states from issuing commercial driver’s licenses to operators with existing drug or alcohol violations, in an effort to eliminate a “regulatory loophole.”

The proposed rule, published in the April 28 Federal Register, also would prohibit state driver’s licensing agencies from renewing, upgrading and transferring CDLs for those operators.

FMCSA contends that although its online Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse – fully implemented in January – provides real-time national data on commercial motor vehicle drivers who have failed drug and alcohol tests, most states remain unaware that the violations have occurred.

“Consequently, there is no federal requirement that SDLAs take any action on the license of drivers subject to that prohibition,” FMCSA states. “As a result, a driver can continue to hold a valid [commercial learner’s permit] or CDL, even while prohibited from operating a CMV under FMCSA’s drug and alcohol regulations.”

Provisions of the clearinghouse require employers and medical review officers to report information about drivers who test positive for drugs or alcohol, or who refuse to comply with testing. Substance misuse professionals must report information about drivers who participate in the return-to-duty drug and alcohol rehabilitation process.

The proposal outlines two possible methods for determining the process by which SDLAs would access driver-specific information from the clearinghouse:

  • Require SDLAs to initiate a mandatory downgrade of the CLP and CDL driving privilege. Drivers would be required to complete the [return-to-duty] process and comply with any state-established procedures for reinstatement of the CMV driving privilege.
  • Provide SDLAs with optional notice of a driver’s prohibited status from the clearinghouse. The states would decide whether and how they would use the information under state law and policy to prevent a driver from operating a CMV.

Under the second alternative, SDLAs could choose to receive “push notifications” from the clearinghouse when drivers licensed in their state are prohibited from operating CMVs because of violations of drug or alcohol regulations.

Comments on the proposed rule are due June 29.

FMCSA final rule amends trucker hours-of-service regulations

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Photo: vitpho/iStockphoto

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has unveiled a highly anticipated final rule the agency claims will add flexibility to hours-of-service regulations for commercial truck drivers.

Under the rule, announced in a May 14 agency press release and slated to take effect 120 days after publication in the Federal Register, FMCSA will:

  • Change the short-haul exception to 150 air miles from 100, and 14 hours on duty from 12, to be consistent for rules with long-haul truck drivers.
  • Extend the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to two hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions.
  • Revise the current mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after eight hours of continuous driving.
  • Reinstate the option for splitting up the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating trucks equipped with sleeper berth compartments.

On the heels of multiple delays, FMCSA published a proposed rule in the Aug. 22 Federal Register and set an initial comment deadline of Oct. 7. The comment period later was extended to Oct. 21. FMCSA weighed nearly 8,200 comments on the proposed rule and, on March 2, submitted the proposal to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review.

The final rule does not include a proposed provision that would have allowed covered commercial motor vehicle operators one rest break of up to three consecutive hours during every 14-hour on-duty period.

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao addressed the final rule in a May 14 video published to the Department of Transportation’s YouTube channel.

“These new commonsense rules give truckers more options when planning their days,” Chao says. “They will help drivers reach their destination safely without feeling like they’ve got to race against the clock to comply with federal mandates. They will also help truckers get the rest they need when they need it. When safety rules make sense, drivers are better able to comply, and that benefits everyone.”