The FAST Act highway bill signed into law Dec. 4, along with a raft of provisions that in some ways pulled back the reins on the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program’s Safety Measurement System, also included a section intended to be a potential addition to the program. Headed “Beyond compliance,” the section details several additional requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration over the next 18 months, the same length of time the bill gave FMCSA to address several issues with the CSA SMS and report back to Congress.
The highway bill’s “Beyond compliance” directives require FMCSA to develop and implement in that time an incentive system for carriers that gives credit either in the CSA SMS or via some other methodology in the CSA program to carriers who do one of several things in their safety investments and operations. According to the bill’s text, credits are to be required for motor carriers who do one or a combination of the following:
But this isn’t the first to be heard of it. FMCSA launched a request for comments on such an initiative in April, as previously reported, following a March “Beyond compliance” discussion by the agency’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee. The committee discussed possibilities for credit-worthy activities in its September-issued letter to FMCSA. Among them were carrier use of technologies such as various collision mitigation systems, speed limiters and electronic logs; management practices, including driver training of various kinds, that promote safety; and compensation models/levels that promote safety, such as incentive programs.
MCSAC also recommended that a third party, rather than FMCSA, administer the program. Language in the highway bill explicitly enables such an option, but leaves the decision up to the agency.
Organizations that filed comments in response to FMCSA’s early-year request warned against structuring the program such that it becomes nothing more than a way of rewarding one group of carriers for doing some they already do. Of particular issue was investment in leading-edge technologies, more common among the larger fleets. Noted the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Alliance in its comments, “Although similar concepts have proven more successful with larger motor carriers in other jurisdictions around the globe, it is critical that the Beyond Compliance program be inclusive of all sectors of the motor carrier industry, including smaller motor carriers.”
The American Trucking Associations, while applauding attention to a potential program that would “help alter a challenging paradigm by changing FMCSA from an agency that takes an enforcement-centric approach to one that recognizes the safety benefits of incenting and rewarding safe behavior,” also recognized challenges to implementation.
In addition to SMS credits of some kind, reduction of carrier Inspection Selection System scores, utilized by bypass programs and law enforcement as a marker of inspection priority at the roadside, has likewise been discussed.
Relief from existing regulations, such as bonus hours flexibility or another incentive, however, CVSA warned against: “The Beyond Compliance program should not include any relief from existing regulations or requirements. The purpose of such a program is to recognize motor carriers who go above and beyond the minimum requirements. Releasing participating motor carriers from the minimum requirements is inappropriate and in direct conflict with the purpose of the program. CVSA strongly opposes any effort to do so.”
Article is from Commercial Carrier Journal by Todd Dills
ATA Share the Road Professionals Offer Holiday Travel Tips
Arlington, Va. – With more than 99 million motorists expected to use the nation’s highways this holiday season – and only one traveling via flying sleigh – American Trucking Associations and the Share the Road highway safety program want to ensure everyone arrives at their destinations safely by being nice and not naughty on the roads this year.
“Even though reindeer do a great job of navigating the sleigh, drivers should not pretend to be Dasher or Comet when taking to the highways this month,” said professional driver John McKown (UPS Freight). “Safe driving is critical this time of year and there are many steps you can take to prepare for holiday travel. Take a minute to review our list of good highway safety habits before going over the river and through the woods.”
“Winter weather poses many unique challenges to the motoring public and professional truck drivers and we want to remind everyone that the goal should be to arrive safely. That may mean leaving a few minutes early or being extra cautious when facing difficult road conditions,” said professional driver Bill West (ABF Freight). “Truck drivers are delivering many of the products that play important roles in holiday celebrations, such as decorations, wrapping paper and cookies, so we all must work together to share the road safely in order to have happy holidays.
The Share the Road highway safety program compiled this list of tips for drivers hitting the road this holiday season:
“Trucks move many of the things that make our holidays possible, but not everything,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said in a video message. “Trucks do not move the family and friends we celebrate with, so on behalf of the millions of professional truck drivers on the road, I urge you to be safe on the highways this holiday season.”
The FMCSA announces a 120-day grace period during which Medical Examiners may use either the current or the newly revised versions of the Medical Examination Report (MER) Form and Medical Examiner's Certificate (MEC). This period is from December 22, 2015, until April 20, 2016. This action is being taken to ensure that Medical Examiners have sufficient time to become familiar with the new forms and to program electronic medical records systems.
View Federal Register notice at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-12-21/pdf/2015-32001.pdf.
Retaining Restart Suspension Provides Long-Term Benefit for Trucking Safety
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. Follow ATA on Twitter or on Facebook.Trucking Moves America Forward
The Medical Examiner's Certification Integration final rule requires certified Medical Examiners (MEs) to continue using the current driver examination forms found on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website until December 22, 2015, and to use the newly revised driver examination forms discussed in the final rule beginning December 22, 2015.
FMCSA posted the final PDF versions of the Medical Examination Report (MER) Form, MCSA-5875 and Medical Examiner's Certificate (MEC) Form, MCSA-5876 on the FMCSA and National Registry websites. However, the agency reports that the delays in posting the forms do not allow examiners enough time to fulfill their duties.
As a result of the unexpected delays in posting the final versions of the driver examination forms and recognizing that MEs need to have access to the forms prior to the effective date for a number of reasons, the FMCSA is planning to postpone the effective date for use of the newly revised MER and MEC. FMCSA will be publishing a Federal Register notice announcing this change and providing a revised effective date. 2015 © J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.® All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it is seeking public comment on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) requiring passengers riding in property-carrying commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to use safety belts.
Federal rules have long required all commercial drivers to use safety belts (49 CFR 392.16); this proposed rule would hold both trucking companies and commercial truck drivers responsible for ensuring that any passenger riding in the truck cab is also buckled up.
Approximately 275 occupants of large trucks killed in crashes in 2013 were not wearing their safety belts, according to the most recently available data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
For a copy of the Federal Register announcement, see: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/12/10/2015-30864/commercial-drivers-license-standards-use-of-seat-belts.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced the adoption of a Final Rule that will improve roadway safety by employing technology to strengthen commercial truck and bus drivers’ compliance with hours-of-service regulations that prevent fatigue.
“Since 1938, complex, on-duty/off-duty logs for truck and bus drivers were made with pencil and paper, virtually impossible to verify,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This automated technology not only brings logging records into the modern age, it also allows roadside safety inspectors to unmask violations of federal law that put lives at risk.”
The Final Rule requiring the use of electronic logging devices (ELD) will result in an annual net benefit of more than $1 billion – largely by reducing the amount of required industry paperwork. It will also increase the efficiency of roadside law enforcement personnel in reviewing driver records. Strict protections are included that will protect commercial drivers from harassment.
On an annual average basis, the ELD Final Rule is estimated to save 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries resulting from crashes involving large commercial motor vehicles.
“This is a win for all motorists on our nation’s roadways,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “Employing technology to ensure that commercial drivers comply with federal hours-of-service rules will prevent crashes and save lives.”
An ELD automatically records driving time. It monitors engine hours, vehicle movement, miles driven, and location information.
Federal safety regulations limit the number of hours commercial drivers can be on-duty and still drive, as well as the number of hours spent driving. These limitations are designed to prevent truck and bus drivers from becoming fatigued while driving, and require that drivers take a work break and have a sufficient off-duty rest period before returning to on-duty status.
The four main elements of the ELD Final Rule include:
In developing the ELD Final Rule, FMCSA relied on input from its Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee, feedback from two public listening sessions, comments filed during an extended comment period following the 2011 proposed rule, and comments to the 2014 supplementary proposed rule. The Final Rule also incorporates the mandates included in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act and other statutes.
The ELD Final Rule permits the use of smart phones and other wireless devices as ELDs, so long as they satisfy technical specifications, are certified, and are listed on an FMCSA website. Canadian- and Mexican-domiciled drivers will also be required to use ELDs when operating on U.S. roadways.
Motor carriers who have previously installed compliant Automatic On-Board Recording Devices may continue to use the devices for an additional two years beyond the compliance date.
A copy of the ELD Final Rule announced today is available at: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/electronic-logging-devices-and-hours-service-supporting-documents.
Further information, including a comprehensive, searchable list of frequently asked questions, and a calendar of upcoming free training webinars, is available at: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/elds.
Every year, we marvel at Santa Claus’ extraordinary feat of delivering toys to boys and girls all over the world.
But, while it’s impossible for any mortal to match what Santa accomplishes in a single night, he does have down-to-earth counterparts in freight terminals and truck stops across the nation — truckers.
Think about it. Over the course of a year, truckers probably move about as much freight as Santa does (and in tougher conditions — Santa doesn’t have to contend with heavy traffic, road construction, tolls and inspections). Both leave home and family to get the job done.
Santa and truckers both have to meet impossibly tight delivery deadlines and follow complicated routes. While both deliver toys and coal, truckers also haul everything from auto parts to zucchini. Santa doesn’t get paid and truckers don’t get paid enough.
Both have big hearts and a soft spot for children. Both have a mystique about them and appear larger than life. Most importantly, they’re both absolutely necessary for the holidays.
Here’s a chart comparing the two:
1 (very long) night a year
Several hundred nights a year
Reindeer & magic
Toys & coal
Cookies and milk
Jerky and Mountain Dew
Red suit, boots, stocking cap
Jeans and flannel, boots, baseball cap
No weight scales or HOS for Santa
Enough for the world’s biggest bow
A list he checks twice
CB radio, smartphone
Lands on rooftops
Backs into loading docks
Star of TV & movies
Has own musical genre
Makes people happy
Following two oversize load crashes that led to partial bridge collapses, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued a Safety Alert to remind motor carriers of the importance of obtaining permits and carefully reviewing routes before transporting oversize loads.
The Safety Alert, “The Impact of Oversize Loads on Our Nation’s Bridges,” cites the May 2013 crash in which a truck transporting an oversize load struck the Interstate 5 Skagit River Bridge near Mount Vernon, Wash., resulting in the collapse of a bridge span. It also cites the March 2015 crash in Salado, Texas, involving a truck carrying an oversize load on Interstate 35 that struck concrete bridge beams of an overhead highway bridge. The beams collapsed and fell into the travel lanes of the interstate, resulting in one motorist fatality and three injuries.
“When transporting oversize loads, planning ahead is critical,” said NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart, “Both carriers and permitting authorities need to do their part to ensure the safe transport of oversize loads.”
The NTSB Safety Alert provides several tips that carriers and permitting authorities can use to ensure that oversize loads are transported safely.
Each year truck drivers across the United States volunteer to drive a cargo of honor and respect by delivering wreaths to the cemeteries for veterans for Wreaths Across America Day.
On Tuesday, Dec. 8, two truckloads of wreaths from Wreaths Across America will be arriving from Maine. One Eleven Logistics, based in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey has volunteered the trucks and their truck drivers Mark Jensen from Blackwood NJ, a Navy Veteran and Frank Postell from Croyde, PA to pick the wreaths up from Maine. Destiny Transportation in Edison, New Jersey has volunteered warehouse space and equipment.
Mark from One Eleven Logistics picking up the wreaths to come back to NJ.
The wreaths will be transported by volunteers from New Jersey based trucking companies for delivery to local cemeteries for the December 12th National Wreaths Across America Day ceremonies.
According to New Jersey Motor Truck Association Executive Director, Gail Toth, “The New Jersey Motor Truck Association is a proud supporter of the Wreaths Across America program. Our members in addition to volunteering to make deliveries have donated 470 wreaths for NJ cemeteries and will be sponsoring the wreath laying ceremony at the historic Old Colonial Cemetery in Metuchen. The ceremony on December 12th at Noon – all are welcome especially the children.”
WAA's mission is to; Remember our fallen heroes Honor those that serve and Teach our children about the sacrifices made by veterans to preserve our freedoms. This mission is carried out by laying wreaths on veterans' graves across the country on the second Saturday of December.
Frank from One Eleven Logistics picking up the wreaths for NJ
If you would like more information about the event, please call Gail Toth at 732-254-5000. For more information about Wreaths Across America visit www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org
New Jersey Motor Truck Association | 160 Tices Lane, East Brunswick, NJ 08816 | 732-254-5000