California Highway Patrol wants ELD requirement for intrastate truckers

Original article published by Safety+Health

Photo: Department of Transportation Flickr

Sacramento, CA — In an effort to “enhance commercial vehicle safety” and “create consistency between state and federal regulations,” the California Highway Patrol is proposing the state adopt regulations requiring the use of electronic logging devices for commercial motor vehicle carriers involved in intrastate operations.

CHP recently submitted to the California Office of Administrative Law an initial statement of reasons, contending the proposal would bolster safety by “improving compliance with the applicable hours-of-service rules and reducing the overall paperwork burden for both motor carriers and drivers.”

California regulations don’t require an ELD to record a driver’s record-of-duty status. The proposal would largely be consistent with federal ELD regulations promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, CHP says.

Exemptions would include:

  • Drivers operating under California’s 100 air-mile radius exemption
  • Drivers operating a CMV manufactured before 2000
  • Drivers operating a CMV in a driveaway-towaway operation
  • Drivers not operating more than eight days within any 30-day period
  • Authorized emergency vehicles

The deadline to comment on the proposal is Dec. 19.

Federal ELD regulations were under review for possible changes this fall. That public comment period closed Nov. 15.


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FMCSA considering electronic IDs for large trucks and buses

Original article published by Safety + Health

Photo: Missouri Department of Transportation Flickr

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking stakeholder comment on whether to require universal electronic identification for commercial motor vehicles operating in interstate commerce.

“FMCSA currently does not require CMVs to be equipped with a system capable of transmitting a unique electronic ID for operation,” the agency says. “However, FMCSA provides grant funding to states for technology projects that electronically identify a CMV; verify its size, weight and credentials information; and review its carrier’s past safety performance while the vehicle is in motion and then communicate safely to the driver to either pull in or bypass the roadside inspection station.”

According to an advance notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Sept. 23 Federal Register, FMCSA is considering amending its Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations in response to a 2015 petition from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, after the agency denied a similar request in 2013.

FMCSA says it’s considering implementing an electronic ID requirement “to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the roadside inspection program by more fully enabling enforcement agencies to focus their efforts at high-risk carriers and drivers.”

CVSA contends that “mandating an electronic identifier requirement will not only save money in the long run – for both enforcement and industry – but will also enable more effective enforcement, improve safety and save thousands of lives every year.”

FMCSA is requesting feedback on a number of questions, including:

  • Should a device that can transmit an electronic ID be permanently affixed or removable/transferrable to CMVs in operation? Would FMCSA’s rule need to specify?
  • What data should be included as part of the electronic ID? Should it include information specific to the driver? Should it also include information that may vary from trip to trip?
  • How far in advance (time, distance) does a state need to gather the electronic ID information to positively ID a vehicle and message the vehicle whether further inspection is required?
  • Are there privacy, health or coercion concerns FMCSA should consider in a future proposal?

The deadline to comment is Nov. 22.


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FMCSA requests input on possible changes to ELD regulations

Original article published by Safety + Health

Photo property of FMCSA

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is asking industry stakeholders for input on “ways to improve the clarity of current regulations on the use of electronic logging devices and address certain concerns about the technical specifications.”

FMCSA’s mandate on the use of ELDs to record commercial motor vehicle hours of service went into effect in December 2017. In April 2018, inspectors were allowed to begin placing drivers out of service for operating without ELDs, which are used in place of manual paper logs to track HOS.

In an advance notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Sept. 16 Federal Register, FMCSA requests comment on five specific areas in which the agency is considering changes:

  • Applicability to pre-2000 engines (the mandate exempts trucks with pre-2000 engines)
  • Addressing ELD malfunctions
  • The process for removing ELD products from FMCSA’s list of certified devices
  • Technical specifications
  • ELD certification

“FMCSA believes that the lessons learned by agency staff, state enforcement personnel, ELD providers, and industry over the last few years can be used to streamline and improve the clarity of the regulatory text and ELD technical specifications and resolve questions that have arisen,” the agency says. “In addition, technical specifications could be updated to address concerns raised by affected parties and improve the functionality of ELDs.”

The deadline to comment is Nov. 15.


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FMCSA awards nearly $81 million in high-priority safety grants

Original article published by Safety + Health

Photo: FMCSA

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has awarded almost $81 million in grants via its High Priority Grant Program.

The program provides funding for initiatives aimed at strengthening commercial motor vehicle safety under the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program. It also invests in innovative technology, research and other projects that enhance CMV safety. Groups eligible for the funding include state and local governments, Native American tribes, political jurisdictions, nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher education.

Activities and projects include:

  • Improving the safe and secure movement of hazardous materials.
  • Improving safe transportation of goods and people in foreign commerce.
  • Demonstrating new technologies to improve CMV safety.
  • Advancing technology to enhance CMV operator awareness of roadway hazards and truck parking availability.
  • Supporting participation in performance and registration information systems management.
  • Conducting safety data improvement projects.
  • Increasing public awareness and education on CMV safety.
  • Targeting unsafe driving of CMVs in areas identified as high-risk crash corridors, including roadway work zones.
  • Improving CMV safety and compliance with CMV safety regulations.

Nearly $43 million of the grant funding was awarded to 63 high-priority CMV safety-related activities and projects, while 35 grants totaling nearly $38 million were awarded via FMCSA’s HP Innovative Technology Deployment Program.


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Trucking survey asks: What are the industry’s top concerns?

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Photo property of FMCSA

Arlington, VA — Trucking industry stakeholders are encouraged to help identify the most critical issues facing the industry by participating in an annual survey conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute.

Respondents are asked to rank their top three issues from a selection of 28. The list includes:

Respondents can submit additional concerns not on the list, as well as suggest potential strategies for addressing each issue.

The survey results will be used to help ATRI, the research arm of the American Trucking Associations, develop possible strategies for the concerns.

“The annual Top Industry Issues Survey has long been a crucial part of understanding the issues facing our country’s supply chain,” ATA Chair Harold Sumerford Jr. said in a press release. “ATRI’s research provides a chance for thousands of trucking industry professionals, from drivers to executives, to weigh in on the most important topics that affect trucking and collectively decide on the best strategies for addressing each.”

The deadline to complete the survey is Oct. 7. Survey results are slated to be released Oct. 22 during the 2022 ATA Management Conference and Exhibition in San Diego.


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ATA Celebrates America’s Truck Drivers

First published by ATA

Washington – American Trucking Associations leaders, on behalf of the association and the industry, are celebrating and thanking the nation’s truck drivers this week as part of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week.

“Every day, our country’s 3.7 million truck drivers deliver America’s freight safely, securely and efficiently – they are the glue that keeps our economy and nation together,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “And while they should be appreciated all year round, we are proud to recognize them this week during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week.”

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, September 11-17, provides the trucking industry an opportunity to formally recognize the efforts of professional truck drivers. State trucking associations, industry suppliers, law enforcement and motor carriers of all sizes from coast to coast are set to host appreciation events for the men and women who safely deliver more than 70% of the country’s total freight tonnage.

More than 80% of American cities and towns exclusively rely on trucks to deliver their goods, and driving a truck is the top job in 29 states.
As part of the weeklong celebration, ATA is bringing its rolling classroom, Interstate One, to Capitol Hill today and inviting policymakers to talk to members of America’s Road Team about the industry and try their hand at a driving simulator.

“Our drivers – whether they are delivering emergency relief goods or simply doing their normal runs – can be counted on to get the job done,” said ATA Chairman Harold Sumerford Jr.“We should thank them every day, but I call on my fellow Americans – along with our industry – to recognize these hardworking men and women this week.”

ATA members celebrate NTDAW with cookouts and other events, and Trucking Moves America Forward is recognizing drivers with a series of billboards around the country in partnership with many state trucking associations. TMAF will also be thanking truck drivers and sharing need-to-know industry facts on the radio airwaves on Red Eye Radio, Westwood One Sports and Westwood One talk radio programs.  To participate in NTDAW, or show how you’re celebrating drivers – post your events on social media with the hashtag #ThankATrucker.

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is sponsored by the Allied Committee for the Trucking Industry (ACT I). ATA and ACT I are asking the motoring public to thank professional drivers through fuel pump advertising this month.

For more about National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, click here. American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation’s freight.


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Freight-carrier alliance pushes for federal recognition of hair-sample drug testing

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking public comment on a freight-carrier alliance petition regarding the use of hair samples as a drug-testing method for commercial motor vehicle drivers.

Under federal regulations, CMV operators must be tested for drugs by urinalysis. According to a notice published in the Aug. 24 Federal Register, the Trucking Alliance, a coalition comprising 11 organizations, is asking FMCSA to amend the definition of an employer’s “actual knowledge” of a driver’s positive drug test – which requires the employer to report the results to the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse – to include knowledge of a positive hair test.

“We think that every employer should at least know that this person failed a hair test,” Trucking Alliance Managing Director Lane Kidd told Safety+Health. Kidd added that, among the thousands of positive drug tests via hair testing the alliance has recorded through the years, “not one single person has ever filed a lawsuit against the company for falsely accusing them of using drugs.”

In the notice, FMCSA states that it lacks the statutory authority to grant a hair follicle exemption request “until the Department of Health and Human Services has taken certain action.” In September 2021, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, part of HHS, requested comment on proposed guidelines on the use of hair samples as a method for drug testing federal employees and safety-sensitive employees in federally regulated industries, including CMV operators.

FMCSA’s Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act of 2015 required SAMHSA to report to Congress on its progress in developing and completing guidelines for hair sample drug testing. Congress mandated HHS establish hair-testing guidelines by Dec. 4, 2016, but the department didn’t announce until June 2019 that it had forwarded the proposal to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review.

“We look at the ‘actual knowledge’ argument as one that FMCSA can hang its hat on regardless of if HHS ever proposes guidelines or not, even though Congress has mandated them to,” Kidd told S+H. “We think the ‘actual knowledge’ angle is sufficient, and FMCSA could actually grant the petition, utilize actual knowledge and go forward.”

In its petition, the alliance contends that “public safety is improved through the use of hair testing because drug use is more accurately detected, and drug users are removed from the operation of commercial motor vehicles.”

The American Trucking Associations has long advocated the use of hair samples as a drug-testing method for CMV drivers.

However, in an article published online Aug. 23 in the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s Land Line magazine, OOIDA Director of Federal Affairs Jay Grimes calls the alliance’s petition “misguided,” citing environmental contamination and variances in hair types among long-standing faults of hair testing.

“Given the many uncertainties and lack of safety improvements from hair testing, there is no sound reasoning for federal agencies to adopt any sort of hair-testing mandate for drivers,” Grimes said. “This is in large part why FMCSA does not have the statutory authority to even grant the exemption, as rightly mentioned in the notice.”

Comments on the petition are due Sept. 23.


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Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act advances out of House committee

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Photo: Missouri Department of Transportation

Washington — The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on July 20 approved an updated version of the bipartisan Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act.

Sponsored by Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL), H.R. 2187 would address a nationwide shortage of safe parking spots for commercial motor vehicle drivers, who are required under federal hours-of-service regulations to park and rest after being on duty for long periods.

“Since at least 2002, the U.S. Department of Transportation has identified the growing shortage of truck parking spaces as an issue of national concern that jeopardizes the safety of truck drivers and the motoring public,” Bost said during a committee hearing. “Often, truck drivers have been unable to find safe places to park their vehicles and are forced to use sides of the roads and off-ramps. This leads to accidents when other motorists don’t expect the truck to be parked on the side of the road.

“The longer we allow this problem to go on, the worse it’s going to get for the trucking industry.”

The bill would allow the transportation secretary to issue grants for projects that provide truck parking – $175 million for fiscal year 2023 and a combined $580 million over the next three fiscal years. Entities eligible for the grants include states, metropolitan planning organizations, local governments, an agency of a state or local government “carrying out responsibilities relating to CMV parking,” a tribal government or a consortium of tribal governments, and a multistate or multijurisdictional group. Grantees would be permitted to partner with private entities “to carry out an eligible project.”

During a media roundtable at the Mid-America Trucking Show in March, Robin Hutcheson, acting administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, acknowledged that the agency was “really feeling the urgency” to address the lack of safe parking. She added that FMCSA was collaborating with the Federal Highway Administration to try to fix the issue.

A month earlier, in a letter sent to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Chris Spear, president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations, and Todd Spencer, president and CEO of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, called on the Department of Transportation to prioritize funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to address the lack of safe parking for CMV drivers.

They requested that the department work with the Biden administration, state DOTs, Congress and industry stakeholders “to ensure appropriate actions are taken to mitigate the growing truck parking shortage.”

The bill, introduced March 26, 2021, initially had three Democrats and two Republicans listed as co-sponsors. That list has since grown to 37 lawmakers from both side of the aisle.

The legislation now goes before the full House for a vote, which has not yet been scheduled.


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Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Information Session

First published by FMCSA

Photo property of FMCSA

The Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program (SDAP) will open its application portal for participation on Tuesday, July 26, 2022. Created by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the program acknowledges that safety is the highest priority for truck drivers. SDAP will help individuals between 18 – 20 explore interstate trucking careers and assist trucking companies in hiring and training new drivers through rigorous training standards – pairing each young driver with an experienced mentor. For more information, please view the SDAP Public Information Webinar  that covers training qualifications, participation requirements, and instructions about the application process.

Please contact safedriver@dot.gov with any additional questions.


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Brake Safety Week Is Aug. 21-27

First published by CVSA

Photo: Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has announced Aug. 21-27 as the dates for this year’s Brake Safety Week. Brake Safety Week is an annual commercial motor vehicle brake-safety inspection, enforcement and education initiative conducted by law enforcement jurisdictions in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. During Brake Safety Week, inspectors will conduct their usual  and capture and report brake-related data to CVSA. The results will be released in the fall.

Brake-related violations comprise the largest percentage of all out-of-service vehicle violations cited during roadside inspections, and according to last year’s three-day International Roadcheck data, brake systems and brake adjustment violations accounted for 38.9% of all vehicle out-of-service violations, the most of any category of vehicle violations. To address this, CVSA’s Brake Safety Week seeks to:

  • Identify and remove commercial motor vehicles with critical vehicle inspection violation items identified in the  from roadways.
  • Conduct inspections and identify and acknowledge commercial motor vehicles that do not have critical vehicle inspection violations by affixing those vehicles with a CVSA decal.
  • Encourage proactive vehicle maintenance in advance of the week.
  • Highlight the hard work and commitment to safety by inspectors, drivers and motor carriers.
  • Remind drivers and motor carriers about the importance of proper brake maintenance and vehicle pre-trip and post-trip inspections.
  • Provide an opportunity for outreach and educational brake-safety efforts by inspectors.

During the brake portion of a , inspectors will look for missing, non-functioning, loose, contaminated or cracked parts on the brake system, and non-manufactured holes (such as rust holes and holes created by rubbing or friction) and broken springs in the spring brake housing section of the parking brake. They will listen for audible air leaks around brake components and lines, and ensure the air system maintains air pressure between 90-100 psi (620-690 kPa). Inspectors will also check for S-cam flip-over and measure pushrod travel. They will check that slack adjusters are the same length (from center of S-cam to center of clevis pin) and the air chambers on each axle are the same size. They will also inspect required brake-system warning devices, such as ABS malfunction lamp(s) and low air-pressure warning devices. In addition, inspectors will ensure the breakaway system is operable on the trailer, and inspect the tractor protection system, including the bleed-back system on the trailer.

In addition to reporting total inspections and brake-related out-of-service violations, inspectors will also capture and provide data on brake hose/tubing chafing violations – the  for this year’s Brake Safety Week.

“Poorly maintained brake systems can reduce the braking capacity and stopping distance of large trucks and motorcoaches, which poses a serious risk to driver and public safety,” said CVSA President Capt. John Broers with the South Dakota Highway Patrol. “In those split-second emergency situations, the proper functionality of the brake systems on large commercial motor vehicles is crucial.”


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