Truck, rail regulators withdraw sleep apnea proposal

From Transport Topics.

Despite noting lingering concerns about the potential dangers of obstructive sleep apnea, federal regulators announced plans to formally withdraw a 2016 advance notice of proposed rulemaking seeking information on the potential for adopting standards to assess risks associated with transportation workers in safety sensitive positions diagnosed with apnea.

The announcement, planned for publication in the Federal Register on Aug. 7 was issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration.

“The agencies have determined not to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking at this time,” the announcement said.

“OSA remains an on-going concern for the agencies and the motor carrier and railroad industries because it can cause unintended sleep episodes and resulting deficits in attention, concentration, situational awareness and memory, thus reducing the capacity to safely respond to hazards when performing safety sensitive duties,” the announcement said. “The agencies received valuable information in response to the ANPRM and a series of public listening sessions in May 2016.”

However, the notice stated, “The agencies believe that current safety programs and FRA’s rulemaking addressing fatigue risk management are the appropriate avenues to address OSA.”

 

FMCSA adds 12 violations to SMS, updates website

From the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) added 12 violations to the Safety Measurement System (SMS) to give large truck and bus companies a more complete picture of their safety performance. This update aligns with recent changes to FMCSA’s roadside inspection collection software and builds on efforts to continuously improve the consistency of data in the Agency’s systems, so enforcement personnel can make the best decisions impacting safety on our Nation’s roads.

More information on these violations is available in the SMS Methodology document and the SMS Appendix A spreadsheet.

In addition, FMCSA has updated the CSA SMS Website with the July 28, 2017 snapshot. Motor carriers can check their own safety assessments now.

Additional SMS results are available to enforcement users and motor carriers that are logged into the SMS. Logged-in enforcement users can view all carrier safety data, while logged-in carriers can only view their own data.

Currently, the SMS allows carrier login via U.S. DOT Number and U.S. DOT Number PIN; however, FMCSA encourages carriers to log in using the FMCSA Portal. Carriers can register for Portal accounts here.

FMCSA guidance – States may accept learner’s permit applications from out-of-state drivers

From Overdrive Online:

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is issuing regulatory guidance to clarify that states can choose to accept out-of-state commercial learner’s permit (CLP) applications and administer the general knowledge test to out-of-state applicants.

In a notice to be published in the Federal Register Thursday, Aug. 3, FMCSA says the state administering the general knowledge test will send the test results “directly, securely and electronically” to the applicant’s home state, and the driver’s home state agrees to accept the test results and issue the CLP.

The guidance issued this week is in line with FMCSA’s final rule issued Oct. 13, 2016, that amended CDL regulations to ease the transition of military personnel into the trucking industry. Previously, states could only accept out-of-state applications from military personnel, but the new guidance applies to all drivers.

FMCSA clarifies that the guidance does not allow states to issue a CLP or CDL to a driver who is not domiciled in that state – they must be issued by the driver’s home state.

 

IRS webinar on Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax (Form 2290)

Payment of the federal heavy vehicle use tax, reported on the Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax (IRS Form 2290), is due Aug. 31. The IRS has asked us to spread the word that it will be giving a webinar on preparing and filing 2290s on Aug. 15 and 16, 2017, at 2 p.m. ET both days.

More details are available in this IRS distribution flier.

The webinar last approximately 30 minutes and will include an overview of the following:

  • Federal Highway Use Tax Responsibilities
  • Form 2290: Best Practices for Filing and Obtaining IRS-stamped Schedule 1
  • Advantages of e-Filing Form 2290
  • IRS Resources for Trucking Industry
  • Live Q & A

Registration

Send and email to SBSE.SL.Web.Conference.Team@irs.gov with the following information:

  • Name
  • Your email address
  • Session date selection (Aug. 15 at 2 p.m. ET or Aug. 16 at 2 p.m. ET)

Inclement weather and over-dimensioned moves

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CT DOT) has revised their policy regarding the movement of over-dimensioned loads as it pertains to inclement weather. MTAC worked with CT DOT during the crafting of the new policy. The changes will provide clarity as to when moves can or cannot be made during inclement weather, in order to better insure highway safety.

MTAC appreciates the opportunity to work with CT DOT on this issue. The following is the new language regarding inclement weather that CT DOT will begin to use on over-dimensioned permits. This is effective as of August 1, 2017.

Inclement Weather

No travel is allowed when weather conditions or restricted visibility make traveling hazardous to the operator or to the driving public as follows.

Visibility – No travel is allowed when fog, rain, or other atmospheric conditions reduce visibility to less than 1,000 feet.

Ice – No travel is allowed during any ice condition including, but not limited to: snow, freezing precipitation, slush, roadway ice, or any combination thereof.

Roadway Surface – No travel is allowed when the surface of the roadway is made hazardous by the conditions listed above.

Wind – No travel is allowed when wind conditions can cause a failure to stay in an established lane.

Call on Washington

From Sept. 12-14, MTAC members will travel to Washington, DC for “Call on Washington.” This event is open to all interested members. Come spend time discussing important industry issues with our Congressional delegation. The members of Congress and their senior staff members need to hear directly from constituents as they work to craft policy. Below is the projected schedule for the event.

Tuesday, September 12

  • Arrive at the ATA Capitol Hill office from 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the afternoon
  • Briefings on issues and a political overview go from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. there will be an evening event, usually a cocktail reception.

Wednesday, September 13

  • Breakfast beginning between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.
  • Go to Capitol Hill around 10 a.m. for a day full of congressional visits.
  • 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. – Reception followed by dinner

Thursday, September 14

  • Depart on Thursday morning

Contact Joe Sculley if you would like to attend.

Goodyear offers cost-savings for MTAC members

Goodyear has set up special program for MTAC members. When purchasing Goodyear tires through any authorized Goodyear tire dealer, MTAC members who reference our national account number will receive discounted pricing on tires used for on-highway applications, off-highway, construction, and more. The program includes Goodyear as well as Dunlop products.

Update (Aug. 3, 2017) – Goodyear has just provided updated rates for tires that are covered in the program, which can be seen at this link. Many of the changes are favorable.

When the volume of tires purchased through this program increases, the discounts will increase. This is the benefit of a strong purchasing plan – small businesses combine their buying power to access bulk discounts that would not normally be available.

Contact the MTAC office to be provided the account number exclusively available to MTAC members.

FMCSA Chief: CSA to have public meeting, defends ELD mandate

From Transport Topics.

A meeting to gather input on ways to improve the Compliance, Safety, Accountability performance scoring program for carriers will be scheduled this year, the country’s top trucking regulator told House lawmakers on July 18.

With nearly four months to finalize a corrective plan for the CSA program, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will hear from stakeholders and collaborate with industry, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Acting Administrator Daphne Jefferson said.

CSA was recently the focus of a National Academy of Sciences study. The reforms proposed in the study included adoption of an “item response theory” for gathering and computing safety data from carriers’ performance on the roadways. The study’s authors will assist the agency with adopting the proposed methodology in the corrective plan, Jefferson noted.

The corrective “strategy that will get us to a better result,” she said, while not announcing when a public meeting would be held.

The CSA corrective plan, required by the 2015 FAST Act highway law, would need to be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Inspector General. CSA was designed to improve safety along freight corridors by issuing a scoring system for the industry.

See the full story from Transport Topics online.

Operation Safe Driver Week starts Oct. 15

From Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance:

Law enforcement agencies throughout North America will engage in heightened traffic safety enforcement and educational outreach as part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Safe Driver Week, Oct. 15-21, 2017. Throughout the week, enforcement personnel will identify and issue warnings and/or citations to commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers and passenger-vehicle drivers exhibiting unsafe driving behaviors on our roadways.

Unsafe driver behaviors by CMV drivers and passenger-vehicle drivers continue to be the leading cause of crashes. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) “Large Truck Crash Causation Study” cites driver behavior as the critical reason for more than 88 percent of large truck crashes and 93 percent of passenger-vehicle crashes.

CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Program was created to help to reduce the number of crashes, deaths and injuries involving large trucks, buses and passenger vehicles due to unsafe driving behaviors. During Operation Safe Driver Week, there will be increased CMV and passenger-vehicle traffic enforcement.

Examples of dangerous driver behaviors that enforcement personnel will be tracking throughout Operation Safe Driver Week are speeding, distracted driving, texting, failure to use a seatbelt while operating a CMV or in a passenger vehicle, traveling too closely, improper lane change, failure to obey traffic control devices, etc.

See the full post at the CVSA website.

Note from MTAC: Members should consider attending the “Complying with FMCSA” class that will be held at MTAC on Sept. 12. Register online for the program.

New Training Class: Complying with Federal Motor Carrier Regulations

Be prepared when the FMCSA investigators come knocking at your door! This course is designed as an overview of the regulations that affect your operation and compliance with Federal and State regulations. We will review the basics of DOT regulations, hours of service, vehicle maintenance, driver files, and controlled substance/alcohol testing and related subjects.

Your questions on compliance will take center stage and we will work through them to make sure you are comfortable with your compliance efforts. Fines and FMCSA orders of shutdown can be avoided many times with the basic understanding of the regulations. If any carrier would like, we will look up your individual company records (using publicly available data) to better understand your current compliance situation, and identify areas for improvement.

Please note that this is a 2.5 hour long class, which will run from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Date: September 12, 2017

Time: 9:30 a.m. to noon

Cost: Members: $50, Non-members: $75

Register on the MTAC website.