FMCSA puts final nail in the coffin for restart regs

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration confirmed on its website that the 2013 regulations on the 34-hour restart will not go back into effect, given the results of a study released this week.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has notified Congress that the required study of the those regs revealed they provided no safety benefit. The notification verified a DOT Inspector General notice issued last week on the study’s conclusions.

The 34-hour restart regulations took effect July 1, 2013, and were suspended on Dec. 15, 2014, following widespread pushback from the industry. As part of a broader hours-of-service overhaul by the DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the regulations required any 34-hour restart to include two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods and allowed truckers to only take one restart per 168-hour period.

Congress suspended those provisions in December 2014 and required FMCSA to perform the study to determine whether they could go back into effect.

The study, however, concluded the regs did not enhance safety or reduce driver fatigue. FMCSA, in partnership with Virginia Tech’s Transportation Institute, studied 235 truck operators for five months. Half of the drivers operated under the July 2013-December 2014 regs. The other half did not, meaning their restarts did not need two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods. Those drivers could also use the restart as often as they wanted.

Not only did the drivers operating under the more restrictive regulations show no greater levels of safety, in some cases they were less safe, according to FMCSA’s summary of the research provided to Congress this week.

For instance, drivers whose restarts included the two early morning periods recorded 0.37 safety critical events per 100 hours of driving, compared to 0.34 events for drivers operating otherwise. Safety critical events included hard braking, hard acceleration, swerves, contact with other objects and speeding. Likewise, drivers who were only allowed to use one restart in a 168-hour period recorded 0.37 safety critical events in 100 hours of driving, compared to 0.36 for the other driver subset.

Drivers were monitored via video recorder systems that trigger during safety-critical events, which were then reviewed by researchers. The agency and VTTI also employed and analyzed electronic logging device data. Wrist-worn actigraphs were used to determine sleep timing and quality, and brief psychomotor vigilance tests helped measure alertness levels.

The subset of drivers whose restarts did not require the early mornings periods also recorded slightly longer sleep duration during their restarts — 8.86 hours, compared to 8.83 hours for those whose restarts included two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods.

Their stress scores were also lower during their duty periods and during their restart periods, and the psychomotor alertness tests revealed better response speeds than the other subset of drivers.

Their fatigue scores were slightly higher during their restart periods, but were the same during on-duty periods.

The report was reviewed and verified by the DOT’s Office of Inspector General and the Institutional Review Board.

The large majority of drivers studied were in long-haul operations –  187. The remainder were in regional and short-haul applications. Of the 235, 130 were dry van haulers, 59 refrigerated and 35 flatbed. Eleven were tank operators. The drivers represented 95 carriers, and they were asked to not change their schedules as part of the study. Cumulatively, the drivers took more than 3,000 restarts during the five-month period.

Nearly all of the drivers studied were men, 224. Their average age was 45.

Given the study’s results, all that remains of the 2013 hours of service rule is the 30-minute break required within the first eight hours on duty. FMCSA denied a request from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance to rescind the break in the regulations last year.

Courtesy of overdriveonline.com

Safety Inspection Blitz Oct. 16 to Oct. 22

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will ramp up enforcement activity starting Sunday for its annual Operation Safe Driver Week enforcement blitz.

From Oct. 16 to Oct. 22, law enforcement agencies across North America will engage in heightened traffic safety enforcement and education aimed at unsafe driving by both commercial motor vehicle drivers and car drivers.

CVSA says the Operation Safe Driver program was created to help reduce the number of crashes, injuries and deaths involving trucks, buses and cars due to unsafe driving behaviors. During the week, there will be increased traffic enforcement for both cars and trucks.

Specifically, CVSA says law enforcement will be looking for speeding, failure to use a seat belt, distracted driving, failure to obey traffic control devices, following too closely, improper lane change and more.

During the 2015 Operation Safe Driver Week, more than 21,000 vehicles, including trucks and cars, were pulled over, and more than 19,000 roadside inspections were conducted on commercial vehicles. The top five warnings and citations given to commercial drivers during the 2015 event were size and weight, speeding, failure to use seat belt, failure to obey traffic control device and using a handheld phone.

Courtesy of ccjdigital.com

 

DOT Proposes Speed Limiter Rule

Federal safety regulators are proposing that heavy-duty vehicles be equipped with speed-limiting devices set to a specific maximum speed. A notice of proposed rulemaking was issued jointly on Aug. 26 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The NPRM comes after a decade-long push by trucking and safety advocates to put such a requirement in place for trucks and other commercial vehicles.

For its part, NHTSA is calling for establishing a new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard. This FMVSS would require that each new “multipurpose” vehicle with a GVWR over 26,000 pounds be equipped with a speed limiting device.

The proposed standard would also require each vehicle, as manufactured and sold, to have its device set to a speed not greater than a specified speed and to be equipped with means of reading the vehicle’s current speed setting and the two previous speed settings (including the time and date the settings were changed) through its onboard diagnostic connection.

FMCSA is proposing a complementary Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation that would require each commercial motor vehicle with a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds be equipped with a speed limiting device meeting the requirements of the proposed FMVSS applicable to the vehicle at the time of manufacture, including the requirement that the device be set to a speed not greater than a specified speed.

In addition, carriers operating such vehicles in interstate commerce would be required to maintain the speed limiting devices for the service life of the vehicle.

However, no speed limit has been proposed yet for the proposed limiters. The Department of Transportation said only that the proposal “discusses the benefits of setting the maximum speed at 60, 65, and 68 miles per hour, but the agencies will consider other speeds based on public input.”

“This is basic physics,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind.  “Even small increases in speed have large effects on the force of impact.  Setting the speed limit on heavy vehicles makes sense for safety and the environment.”

According to DOT, the two agencies’ review of the available data indicates that limiting the speed of heavy vehicles would reduce the severity of crashes involving these vehicles and reduce the resulting fatalities and injuries.

“We expect that, as a result of this joint rulemaking, virtually all of these vehicles would be limited to that speed,” stated DOT in its notice, which is to be published in the Federal Register. DOT said that implementing the proposal safety “could save lives and more than $1 billion in fuel costs each year.”

“There are significant safety benefits to this proposed rulemaking,” said Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. “In addition to saving lives, the projected fuel and emissions savings make this proposal a win for safety, energy conservation, and our environment.”

Courtesy of truckinginfo.com

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Brake Safety Week Inspection Spree Set for September 11-17

Inspectors will be keying in on brake safety again this September when the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Brake Safety Week takes place Sept. 11-17.

Across North America, law enforcement agencies will conduct inspections on commercial vehicles to look for out-of-adjustment brakes, and brake system and anti-lock braking system violations during the week.

 Specifically, CVSA says inspectors will be looking for “loose or missing parts, air or hydraulic fluid leaks, worn linings, pads, drums or rotors, and other faulty brake system components.” Inspectors will also be checking ABS malfunction indicator lights to make sure they’re in working order, CVSA says. Defective or out-of-adjustment brakes will result in the vehicle being placed out-of-service.

Most inspections occurring during the week will be full Level I inspections, according to CVSA, and 10 jurisdictions will be using performance-based brake testing to measure braking efficiency.

Courtesy of overdriveonline.com

FMCSA adjust fines for safety violations

The FMCSA has made adjustments to the penalties, which will go into effect on August 1, 2016, for violations of federal safety regulations.

In the past, these adjustments were rounded to the nearest multiple of $1000, however as a result of the Federal Civil Penalizes Inflation Act Improvements Act of 2015, the rounding rules have been removed. As a result penalties will increase each year with inflation, according to the FMCSA. Since the inflation calculations were reset this year, some of the penalty values will actually decrease.

The new fines for safety regulations are outlined below:

Fines2 Fines1

FDA finalizes new requirements for food haulers

The federal government’s Food and Drug Administration released April 5 a Final Rule that sets new sanitation-related standards for food haulers and others in the supply chain, like shippers, who deal in the transportation of food products.

The rule does, however, have a notable exception for small companies: Carriers, shippers and receivers who bring in less than $500,000 in total annual revenue will not have to abide by the rule’s new procedures.

The rule’s key requirements for carriers include: (1) That carriers and drivers ensure their refrigerated trailers are pre-cooled prior to loading food, carriers/drivers provide upon request by shippers and receivers proof they’ve maintained the appropriate temperature for the food they’re hauling and (3) carriers develop and implement procedures that specify their practices for cleaning, sanitizing and inspecting their equipment.

The new rule also requires that shippers inspect carriers’ trailers prior to loading food products and requires any entity subject to its requirements, such as carrier personnel and drivers, to “take appropriation action to ensure that the food is not sold” if they become aware of any indication that a shipment of food was not kept at the proper temperature throughout its shipment.

Shippers will now also be required to give carriers written sanitation requirements for their vehicles and require shippers to keep records showing they’ve done as much.

The FDA says the rule likely won’t change carrier and shipper practices, saying it essentially only codifies already existing best practices for food shipments.

The rule will take effect a year following its April 6, 2016-scheduled publication date in the Federal Register.

– See more at: http://www.ccjdigital.com/fda-finalizes-new-requirements-for-food-haulers-excludes-some-small-carrier-operations/?utm_source=weekender&utm_medium=email&utm_content=04-10-2016&utm_campaign=Commercial%20Carrier%20Journal&ust_id=034425e741c076dfe7e53d53de72fea6#sthash.4OItQXUA.dpuf

The federal government’s Food and Drug Administration released April 5 a Final Rule that sets new sanitation related standards for food haulers and others in the supply chain, like shippers, who deal in the transportation of food products.

The rule does, however, have a notable exception for small companies: Carriers, shippers and receivers who bring in less than $500,000 in total annual revenue will not have to abide by the rule’s new procedures.

The rule’s key requirements for carriers include: (1) That carriers and drivers ensure their refrigerated trailers are pre-cooled prior to loading food, carriers/drivers provide upon request by shippers and receivers proof they’ve maintained the appropriate temperature for the food they’re hauling and (3) carriers develop and implement procedures that specify their practices for cleaning, sanitizing and inspecting their equipment.

The new rule also requires that shippers inspect carriers’ trailers prior to loading food products and requires any entity subject to its requirements, such as carrier personnel and drivers, to “take appropriation action to ensure that the food is not sold” if they become aware of any indication that a shipment of food was not kept at the proper temperature throughout its shipment.

Shippers will now also be required to give carriers written sanitation requirements for their vehicles and require shippers to keep records showing they’ve done as much.

The FDA says the rule likely won’t change carrier and shipper practices, saying it essentially only codifies already existing best practices for food shipments. The rule will take effect a year following its April 6, 2016-scheduled publication date in the Federal Register.

Courtesy of: www.ccjdigital.com

 

FMCSA Removes CSA Data from Public View

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced that, as of Dec. 4, “much of the information previously available on the FMCSA website related to property carrier’s compliance and safety performance will no longer be displayed publicly.”
The agency said the action was taken in light of Congress passing the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act highway bill on Dec. 3.

FMCSA stated that while it is not prohibited from displaying all of the data from its Compliance, Safety, Accountability program, no information will be available for motor carriers “while appropriate changes are made.”

The agency added its action also applies to information provided to the public through the QCMobile app.

FMCSA noted that it is “working to return the website and app to operation as quickly as possible.”

Per the bill’s text, the FAST Act reforms the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program by requiring a “thorough review and reform of the current enforcement prioritization program to ensure that FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability analysis is the most reliable possible for the public and for enforcement purposes.

“Following reviews by the GAO, the Department of Transportation Inspector General and various law enforcement organizations, the Act requires that FMCSA analysis of enforcement data be temporarily removed from public websites on the day after enactment, until the agency has completed reforms required by this Act. Enforcement and inspection data reported by states and enforcement agencies will remain available for public view.”

Courtesy of truckinginfo.com

Congress advances CSA-slathing highway bill to White House

The U.S. Senate passed by an 83-16 vote late Thursday, Dec. 3, the five-year, $305 billion FAST Act surface transportation funding bill, meaning the legislation is only President Obama’s signature shy of being enacted. The bill includes a number of trucking regulatory reforms, and it will, upon enactment, remove carrier rankings in the federal Compliance, Safety, Accountability program from public view.

The bill also expands driver drug testing options and tries to institute measures to increase transparency in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s rulemaking process.

The House passed the bill earlier Thursday, also by a big majority, 359-65. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said earlier this week President Obama intends to sign the bill. This is the longest highway bill Congress has passed in more than a decade. Trucking industry advocacy and lobbying groups voiced their general support for the bill earlier this week, too.

Courtesy of Overdrive.com

Trucker medical certification changes begin this month

One part of an FMCSA rule published in April that made changes to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s medical examination regulations will take effect Dec. 22.

Drivers going in for their DOT physicals after Dec. 22, 2015, will notice a new Medical Examination Report Form, which features more questions about medical history.

Also included in the new rule is a requirement of medical examiners to electronically submit on the National Registry the results of medical exams once a month. Until June 22, 2018, FMCSA says drivers only have to carry the exam certificate for 15 days after the physical for proof of medical certification. After that 15-day period, law enforcement will have the records in a database they can access at roadside.

After June 22, 2018, drivers won’t have to carry medical examiner’s certificates at all because examiners will have to submit exam results by midnight of the day the exam is conducted, and the results will be available to law enforcement immediately.

Courtesy of Overdrive.com

FMCSA Proposes Changes to CSA

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Monday unveiled proposed changes to its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, including changing some intervention thresholds to better reflect crash risk.

The agency says its proposed enhancements to the Safety Measurement System (SMS) will improve its ability to prioritize and intervene with motor carriers that pose the greatest safety risk.

Changing Intervention Thresholds

The proposal would change some of the SMS Intervention Thresholds to better reflect the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories’ (BASICs) correlation to crash risk.

As part of its SMS Effectiveness Test analysis, FMCSA analyzed the correlation of each BASIC with crash risk and introduced three levels of crash risk correlation:

  • High: Unsafe Driving, Crash Indicator, Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance
  • Medium: Vehicle Maintenance
  • Low: Controlled Substances/Alcohol, HM Compliance, and Driver Fitness

The proposal would maintain the current intervention thresholds of 65% for the BASICs with the strongest relationship to crash risk — Unsafe Driving, Crash Indicator, and HOS Compliance.

However, the Vehicle Maintenance Basic would drop from the current 80% threshhold to 75%, which the agency notes will identify a new set of motor carriers to receive warning letters so the agency can address non-compliance issues before crashes occur.

The Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASIC, the Hazmat Compliance BASIC and the Driver Fitness BASIC would rise from the current 80% to 90%, reflecting their lower correlation to crash risk.

Segmenting Hazmat Compliance

The proposal would segment the HM Compliance BASIC by cargo tank (CT) and non-CT carriers.

Industry and enforcement stakeholders raised concerns that large non-cargo-tank hazmat carriers have difficulty improving in the HM Compliance BASIC because they are being unfairly compared to cargo tank HM carriers.

FMCSA studied the feasibility of segmenting the HM Compliance BASIC by business type and found that for most motor carriers that operate cargo tanks, the cargo tanks make up a majority of the carrier’s inspections. A carrier was categorized as a CT carrier if more than 50% of its inspections indicated the vehicles were CTs, and for most that percentage was actually much higher.

Non-CT HM and CT HM carriers have different operations and as a result they often receive different violations. After analyzing the issue carefully, FMCSA determined that segmenting the HM Compliance BASIC by CT and non-CT carriers will address this bias and improve the SMS’s ability to identify HM carriers with serious safety problems.

Other changes

Other proposed changes to the SMS would:

  • Reclassify violations for operating while out-of-service (OOS) as under the Unsafe Driving BASIC, rather than the BASIC of the underlying OOS violation.
  • Increase the maximum Vehicle Miles Travelled used in the Utilization Factor to more accurately reflect operations of high-utilization carriers.

“These enhancements to SMS allow us to sharpen our focus on carriers with high crash rates, more effectively identify driver safety problems and hazardous materials carriers with serious safety problems, and more accurately account for carriers that are driving on our roads the most,” said the agency on its website.

FMCSA encourages everyone to review and comment on the proposed SMS enhancements in the Federal Register Notice. The 30-day comment period will end on July 29, 2015. You can submit written comments on the proposed changes to the Federal Docket Management System, Docket ID Number FMCSA-2015-0149-0001.

After reviewing comments received, FMCSA will announce the preview of the proposed enhancements to SMS in a second Federal Register Notice.

Courtesy of truckinginfo.com