Every year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) sets inspection and enforcement initiatives, such as International Roadcheck, which is scheduled for May 5-7. However, with public health and safety as its top concern, CVSA has decided to postpone International Roadcheck to later in the year. The Alliance will monitor the status of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and appropriately select the new dates when it’s safe and reasonable to do so. Once the rescheduled dates have been selected, CVSA will notify the commercial motor vehicle enforcement community, the motor carrier industry, the press and the public.
It is important to note that International Roadcheck, as a high-visibility, high-volume inspection and regulatory enforcement event, will no longer take place on May 5-7; however, roadside safety inspections and traffic enforcement will continue to be conducted every day, with enforcement personnel following their departmental health and safety policies and procedures, as appropriate.
“As we urgently respond to this time-sensitive crisis, we must remain diligent and committed to ensuring that the commercial motor vehicles and drivers providing essential goods and services to our communities are following motor carrier safety regulations,” said CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police. “Safety doesn’t take a break. It is always our top priority.”
“International Roadcheck has run on-schedule for the past 32 years so its postponement was thoroughly and thoughtfully discussed before we made this decision, but it wasn’t a difficult decision to make,” said Sgt. Samis. “This experience is unprecedented in our modern society and we need to do all that we can to help stop the spread of this global pandemic.”
At this time, International Roadcheck is the only public enforcement initiative that has been postponed. Operation Safe Driver Week is still scheduled for July 12-18 and Brake Safety Week is still set for Aug. 23-29.
CVSA will closely monitor the coronavirus outbreak, follow guidance from public health expert leadership, and promptly notify the membership and industry stakeholders of the rescheduled International Roadcheck dates and the status of future scheduled enforcement campaigns.
For up-to-date information on coronavirus and guidance on this rapidly evolving situation, visit the website for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For Canada, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website. In Mexico, visit the government of Mexico’s website. Visit the World Health Organization’s website for a worldwide update on the coronavirus pandemic.
For more information or if you have any questions, contact CVSA.
PA Turnpike Temporarily Will Not Accept Cash To Safeguard Employee and Traveler Health
Cash customers should NOT stop at tollbooths; they’ll be invoiced by mail starting at 8 p.m.
HARRISBURG, PA (MARCH 16, 2020) – The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) is alerting motorists that cash will not be accepted at any interchange statewide beginning tonight at 8 p.m. This is a temporary safety measure to keep travelers moving with no need to stop at tollbooths or interact with tolling personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During this time, cash and credit cards will not be accepted anywhere on the PA Turnpike’s ticket system. All tolls will be assessed electronically via E-ZPass or the PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE program as vehicles travel at posted speed limits through tolling points.
“This temporary measure is critical to enable us to support the Commonwealth in its efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “I want to be clear that we will return to normal toll-collection operations as soon as it becomes practical.”
Customers who do not have an E-ZPass account should continue to use lanes marked “Tickets” on entry and “Cash” on exit, however they should keep moving through the lane at the posted speed without stopping. Instead of paying their toll on the roadway, they will receive a PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE invoice through the mail.
With the PA Turnpike TOLL BY PLATE option, high-speed cameras capture license-plate images as vehicles pass by. The registered owner receives an invoice within 30 days for trips made through the tolling point. Invoices can be paid online, by phone or by mail.
Customers who receive a TOLL BY PLATE invoice will be charged the “cash” toll rate. However, when paying their invoice, they will have the option to open an E-ZPass account to receive the discounted rate at time of payment.
Customers have 20 days to pay invoices before a second invoice is issued. If the first invoice is not paid, the second invoice will include an additional fee of $5 or the equivalent of 1.5% of the total amount owed, whichever is higher.
Cash tolls will still be in place on the Mon-Fayette Expressway (PA Turnpike 43) via the current Automated Payment Machines.
All customers should be prepared for possible confusion around the toll plaza areas as drivers adjust to the temporary measure. Drivers should slow down when approaching a tolling point or interchange, pay attention and proceed with caution.
For more information on how all-electronic tolling works, visit nocashzone.com.
Additionally, late last week, the PA Turnpike announced the added precaution of limiting services at the King of Prussia Service Plaza in Montgomery County and the Valley Forge and Peter J. Camiel service plazas in Chester County. All fast food dining and public restrooms are closed inside the service plazas. Portable toilets are available for the traveling public.
For other service plaza locations and amenities, visit https://www.paturnpike.com/pdfs/travel/PTC_Service_Plaza_Guide.pdf.
For more information on operational changes due to further COVID-19 guidance, visit PATurnpike.com.
The three States will limit crowd capacity for recreational and social gatherings to 50 people - effective by 8 PM tonight
Restaurants and bars will close for on premise service and move to take-out and delivery only effective 8 PM tonight
Movie theaters, gyms and casinos will temporarily close effective 8 PM tonight
Uniform approach to social distancing will slow spread of COVID-19 throughout the tri-state area
Amid a lack of federal direction and nationwide standards, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont today announced a regional approach to combatting the novel coronavirus - or COVID-19 - throughout the tri-state area.
These uniform standards will limit crowd capacity for social and recreational gatherings to 50 people, effective 8 PM tonight. This follows updated guidance that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued yesterday recommending the cancellation or postponement of in-person events consisting of 50 people or more.
The three governors also announced restaurants and bars will close for on premise service and move to take-out and delivery services only. These establishments will be provided a waiver for carry-out alcohol. These measures will take effect at 8 PM tonight.
Finally, the three governors said they will temporarily close movie theaters, gyms and casinos, effective at 8 PM tonight.
This uniform approach to social distancing is meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.
Governor Murphy said, "With all we are seeing in our state - and across our nation and around the world - the time for us to take our strongest, and most direct, actions to date to slow the spread of coronavirus is now. I've said many times over the past several days that, in our state, we are going to get through this as one New Jersey family. But if we're all in this together, we must work with our neighboring states to act together. The work against coronavirus isn't just up to some of us, it's up to all of us."
"Our primary goal right now is to slow the spread of this virus so that the wave of new infections doesn't crash our healthcare system, and everyone agrees social distancing is the best way to do that," Governor Cuomo said. "This is not a war that can be won alone, which is why New York is partnering with our neighboring states to implement a uniform standard that not only keeps our people safe but also prevents 'state shopping' where residents of one state travel to another and vice versa. I have called on the federal government to implement nationwide protocols but in their absence we are taking this on ourselves."
Governor Lamont said, "The only way to effectively fight the spread of COVID-19 is by working together as states. We have shared interests, and a patchwork of closures and restrictions is not the best way forward. I know that because of this collaboration, we will save lives."
All New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission agencies, road testing, and inspection facilities will be closed effective immediately as a measure to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We anticipate re-opening in two weeks, on Monday, March 30, 2020.
All driver licenses, non-driver IDs, vehicle registrations, and inspection stickers expiring before May 31 have been extended by two months.
Most renewals, replacements, changes of address, and other transactions can be processed online at NJMVC.gov.
Headquarters (TOC) and online services will continue operations.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to the nationwide coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This declaration is the first time FMCSA has issued nation-wide relief and follows President Trump issuing of a national emergency declaration in response to the virus.
“Because of the decisive leadership of President Trump and Secretary Chao, this declaration will help America’s commercial drivers get these critical goods to impacted areas faster and more efficiently. FMCSA is continuing to closely monitor the coronavirus outbreak and stands ready to use its authority to protect the health and safety of the American people,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Jim Mullen.
FMCSA’s declaration provides for regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts intended to meet immediate needs for:
To ensure continue safety on the nation’s roadways, the emergency declaration stipulates that once a driver has completed his or her delivery, the driver must receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty if transporting property, and 8 hours if transporting passengers.
To read FMCSA’s national emergency declaration, visit: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/emergency/emergency-declaration-under-49-cfr-ss-39023-no-2020-002
Three public hearings will be held in March on the New Jersey Turnpike Authority's proposed capital plan and the toll rate adjustments necessary to fund it.
The hearing dates and locations are as follows:
New Jersey Turnpike Authority Headquarters, 1 Turnpike Plaza, Woodbridge, NJ
Camden County College, Dennis Flyer Memorial Theater, Lincoln Hall, Jefferson Drive, Sicklerville, NJ
Trustee Pavilion Conference Center, Ramapo College of New Jersey, 505 Ramapo Road, Mahwah, NJ
Read the legal notice for full details.
The increase most likely would go into effect in May 2020.
New TSA Rule Will Allow Holders of TWIC Cards to Obtain Hazmat Endorsements
Arlington, Virginia – Today, the American Trucking Associations applauded the Transportation Security Administration for taking the long overdue, but important, step to allow drivers who hold a Transportation Worker Identification Credential to also obtain a hazardous materials endorsement on their license without an additional security threat assessment or associated fee.
“The announcement by TSA that they will now allow drivers with a TWIC to more quickly and easily receive a hazmat endorsement eliminates costly and duplicitous background checks for drivers,” said ATA Vice President of Safety Policy Dan Horvath. “ATA has long urged federal agencies to eliminate these redundant background checks for drivers, notably the TWIC/HME issue.”
In 2018, ATA along with National Tank Truck Carriers, submitted comments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regarding the issuance of a hazardous materials endorsements. As part of these comments, ATA and NTTC urged the agency to modify the requirements on states for issuing HMEs to align with federal law. Specifically, ATA and NTTC requested the agency acknowledge language in the Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act of 2018, which explicitly empowers states to issue HMEs to drivers who already hold a valid TWIC. ATA and NTTC also requested that FMCSA issue guidance to the states regarding the best method to ascertain whether a TWIC is valid.
“We appreciate TSA making this common sense change, a change that will keep our highways safe while reducing the administrative burden on drivers and costs to our industry,” said Horvath.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's (CVSA) International Roadcheck will take place May 5-7. International Roadcheck is a high-volume, high-visibility three-day enforcement initiative that highlights the importance of commercial motor vehicle safety through roadside inspections. Over that 72-hour period, commercial motor vehicle inspectors in jurisdictions throughout North America will conduct inspections on commercial motor vehicles and drivers.
Each year, International Roadcheck places special emphasis on a category of violations. This year's focus is on the driver requirements category of a roadside inspection. According to the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) fiscal 2019 data (as of Dec. 27, 2019), of the 3.36 million inspections conducted, 944,794 driver violations were discovered, of which 195,545 were out-of-service conditions.
"With last year's federal electronic logging device full-compliance mandate in the U.S., the Alliance decided that this year's International Roadcheck would be the perfect opportunity to revisit all aspects of roadside inspection driver requirements," said CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police.
During International Roadcheck, CVSA-certified inspectors primarily conduct the North American Standard Level I Inspection, a 37-step procedure that includes two main inspection categories: an examination of driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness. A third category, hazardous materials/dangerous goods, may also be part of a Level I Inspection. Depending on weather conditions, available resources or other factors, inspectors may opt to conduct the Level II Walk-Around Driver/Vehicle Inspection, Level III Driver/Credential/Administrative Inspection or Level V Vehicle-Only Inspection.
An inspector will start each inspection procedure by greeting, interviewing and preparing the driver. The inspector will collect and verify the driver's documents, identify the motor carrier, examine the driver's license or commercial driver's license, check record of duty status and review periodic inspection report(s). If applicable, the inspector will check the Medical Examiner's Certificate, Skill Performance Evaluation Certificate and the driver's daily vehicle inspection report. Inspectors will also check drivers for seat belt usage, illness, fatigue, and apparent alcohol and/or drug possession or impairment.
The vehicle inspection includes checking critical vehicle inspection items such as: brake systems, cargo securement, coupling devices, driveline/driveshaft components, driver's seat (missing), exhaust systems, frames, fuel systems, lighting devices, steering mechanisms, suspensions, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels, rims and hubs, and windshield wipers. Additional items for buses, motorcoaches, passenger vans or other passenger-carrying vehicles include emergency exits, electrical cables and systems in engine and battery compartments, and temporary and aisle seating.
If no critical vehicle inspection item violations are found during a Level I or Level V Inspection, a CVSA decal will be applied to the vehicle, indicating that the vehicle successfully passed a decal-eligible inspection conducted by a CVSA-certified inspector. However, if a required rear impact guard is inspected during a Level I or Level V Inspection and violations are present, a CVSA decal will not be issued.
If an inspector does identify critical vehicle inspection item violations, he or she may render the vehicle out of service if the condition meets the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria. This means the vehicle cannot be operated until the vehicle violation(s) are corrected. A driver can also be placed out of service for driver credential-related issues or driver conditions, such as fatigue or impairment.
In the past, International Roadcheck usually took place during the first week of June. However, this year, International Roadcheck was moved up by one month, from June to May, when the weather may be more favorable for many jurisdictions.
"Announcing the dates of International Roadcheck has always been a deliberate, thoughtful and purposeful decision by the Alliance," said Sgt. Samis. "By announcing the dates in advance, we hope to remind motor carriers of the importance of proactive vehicle maintenance and remind drivers to be prepared for inspections and to always conduct pre- and post-trip inspections. We want every vehicle and driver inspected during this initiative to pass inspection with no violations."
Sgt. Samis added, "We're aware that some drivers opt to stay off roadways during the three days of International Roadcheck. Although there is certainly an increase in the number of inspections conducted during International Roadcheck, it's important to remember that inspections are conducted every day of the year. Inspectors will be inspecting commercial motor vehicles the day before International Roadcheck starts, the day after it ends, as well as any other day of the year."
International Roadcheck is the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial motor vehicles in the world, with approximately 17 trucks and buses inspected, on average, every minute in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. during a 72-hour period. Since its inception in 1988, more than 1.6 million roadside inspections have been conducted during International Roadcheck campaigns.
International Roadcheck is a CVSA program with participation by FMCSA, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Transport Canada and the Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes (Ministry of Communications and Transportation) of Mexico.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration today released data following the first weeks of operation of its Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. The information released showed that the clearinghouse has detected and identified nearly 8,000 positive substance abuse tests of commercial drivers since January 6, 2020. The clearinghouse now has more than 650,000 registrants.
“We’ve seen encouraging results from the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, but there’s still work to do to ensure we identify more drivers who should not be behind the wheel. The clearinghouse is a positive step, and the Agency continues to work closely with industry, law enforcement, and our state partners to ensure its implementation is effective,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Jim Mullen.
The clearinghouse is aimed at improving road safety by providing FMCSA and employers with the necessary tools to identify drivers who have violated federal drug and alcohol testing program requirements and are prohibited from operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle. The goal of the clearinghouse is to ensure that such drivers receive the required evaluation and treatment before they have the opportunity to resume driving.
Those required to register for the clearinghouse include:
There is no cost for registration. Commercial drivers are not required to immediately register for the clearinghouse, but will need to register to respond to an employer’s request for consent prior to a pre-employment query or other full query being conducted. In addition, employers must be registered during the first year of implementation to ensure they are able to conduct the required annual query on all employed drivers.
Combatting drug abuse has been a top priority of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Trump Administration. President Trump has brought attention to the nation’s opioid crisis by declaring it a nationwide public health emergency and has implemented critical federal initiatives to help reduce opioid abuse.
FMCSA’s clearinghouse website contains important resources, including user brochures and instructional aids with step-by-step registration instructions for all users. Users can visit https://clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.govto access these resources.
The clearinghouse is a secure online database that allows FMCSA, employers of CDL drivers, State Driver Licensing Agencies, and law enforcement officials to identify – in real time – CDL drivers who have violated federal drug and alcohol testing program requirements, and thereby improve safety on our nation’s roads.
The American Transportation Research Institute today released its annual list highlighting the most congested bottlenecks for trucks in America.
The 2020 Top Truck Bottleneck List assesses the level of truck-involved congestion at 300 locations on the national highway system. The analysis, based on truck GPS data from over 1 million heavy duty trucks uses several customized software applications and analysis methods, along with terabytes of data from trucking operations to produce a congestion impact ranking for each location. ATRI’s truck GPS data is also used to support the U.S. DOT’s Freight Mobility Initiative. The bottleneck locations detailed in this latest ATRI list represent the top 100 congested locations, although ATRI continuously monitors more than 300 freight-critical locations.
The intersection of I-95 and SR 4 in Fort Lee, New Jersey is once again the Number One freight bottleneck in the country. The rest of the Top 10 includes:
2. Atlanta: I-285 at I-85 (North)
3. Nashville: I-24/I-40 at I-440 (East)
4. Houston: I-45 at I-69/US 59
5. Atlanta, GA: I-75 at I-285 (North)
6. Chicago, IL: I-290 at I-90/I-94
7. Atlanta, GA: I-20 at I-285 (West)
8. Cincinnati, OH: I-71 at I-75
9. Los Angeles, CA: SR 60 at SR 57
10. Los Angeles, CA: I-710 at I-105
“ATRI’s bottleneck analysis is an important tool for TDOT as we work to maximize the safety and efficiency of our transportation system, and ensure we are making the smartest investments possible,” said Tennessee Department of Transportation Assistant Bureau Chief Freight & Logistics Dan Pallme. “The additional capacity we are providing as part of the ongoing I-440 Reconstruction Project should improve the safety and reliability of this important corridor, which we know is critical to freight movement.”
ATRI’s analysis, which utilized data from 2019, found that the number of locations experiencing significant congestion – with average daily speeds of 45 MPH or less – has increased 92 percent in just five years, far outpacing the 10 percent growth in traffic congestion for that same time period.
“ATA has been beating the drum about the continued degradation of our infrastructure, and thanks to ATRI’s research we can see exactly how decades of ignoring the problem are impacting not just our industry but our economy and commuters everywhere,” said American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear. “This report should sound the alarm for policymakers that the cost of doing nothing is too high and provide a roadmap of where to target investments to really solve our nation’s mounting infrastructure crisis.”
For access to the full report, including detailed information on each of the 100 top congested locations, please visit ATRI’s website at TruckingResearch.org.
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