Compliance with Certified Medical Examination regulations

Recently, both federal and state law enforcement officials have told MTAC that they have seen some CDL holders (and their employers) have difficulty complying with the federal regulation regarding physical examinations. These examinations are required to be administered by a Certified Medical Examiner (CME) who is registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). A physical examination performed by anyone who is not registered with FMCSA as a CME does not comply with the federal regulation.

To be sure that a CME is properly registered with FMCSA, check this website. The site can also be used to search for registered CMEs near a company’s location, for those who might need to establish a new relationship with a certified medical examiner.

Drivers required to be examined by a Certified Medical Examiner include: drivers operating vehicles over 10,000 pounds GVWR/GCWR in interstate commerce; intrastate drivers operating trucks over 18,000 pounds GVWR/GCWR in CT; anyone operating a vehicle which requires a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), which is any vehicle over 26,000 pounds GVWR. CDL holders are required to submit proof of their certified medical examination to CT DMV.

DMV has created an email address (DMV.CDL@ct.gov) where the proof of medical examinations can be sent, and it has very much improved efficiency in complying with the regulation. After the certification has been submitted to DMV, check this website to confirm that DMV’s records reflect that they have processed the paperwork within 10 days. In the meantime, the driver may use a copy of the new medical card for 15 days after the date of the medical exam to prove compliance while DMV updates the driver’s records.

Record keeping rules require employers to have: a copy of the medical examiners certificate; a verification that the CME who conducted the medical exam was registered as required; either the MVR or the DMV printout showing that the medical examiners certificate was received by DMV and posted to the CDL driving record.   These documents must be kept for 3 years after date of execution in the Drivers Qualification (DQ) file.

MTAC is having a training class on March 14, 2017 for driver file requirements, which covers this subject and the requirements for DQ files. Register to attend on the MTAC website.

ATRI annual list of top 100 truck bottlenecks

Excerpt from Yahoo News.

The American Transportation Research Institute today released its annual list highlighting the most congested bottlenecks for trucks in America, seven of which are in Connecticut.

The 2017 Top Truck Bottleneck List assesses the level of truck-oriented congestion at 250 locations on the national highway system. The analysis, based on truck GPS data from 600,000+ 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. The data is associated with the FHWA-sponsored Freight Performance Measures (FPM) initiative. The locations detailed in this latest ATRI list represent the top 100 congested locations.

“The population density of the Northeast generates greater consumer demand for goods and more traffic than any other region of the U.S.,” said Joe Sculley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut. “That combination means more trucks sitting in congestion on our roads. ATRI’s analysis allows us to target state and federal resources to keep those trucks, and the economy, moving.”

The seven bottlenecks in Connecticut:

  • No. 24 – I-84 at I-91 in Hartford
  • No. 47 – I-95 in Norwalk
  • No. 57 – I-95 at I-91 in New Haven
  • No. 58 – I-95 in Stamford
  • No. 68 – I-84 at SR 8 in Waterbury
  • No. 76 – I-91 at Charter Oak Bridge
  • No. 77 – I-95 at RT 8 in Bridgeport

See the full story from Yahoo News online.

Senate panel approves Chao as Secretary of Transportation

Excerpt from Transport Topics article:

The Senate Commerce Committee on Jan. 24 approved the nomination of Elaine Chao to be Secretary of Transportation.

The panel also approved President Trump’s choice of Wilbur Ross to be Secretary of Commerce.

“We hit the ground running at our first markup of the 115th Congress,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the committee’s chairman. “With this bipartisan endorsement, the Senate should now move forward on confirming both Secretary Chao and Mr. Ross to President Trump’s cabinet.”

The Republican-led Senate is likely to consider both nominations as early as this week, Capitol Hill aides told Transport Topics.

Chao told the panel, during her Jan. 11 confirmation hearing, the administration would emphasize the potential benefits of public-private partnerships as a way of funding big-scale infrastructure projects.

“It is important to note the significant difference between traditional program funding and other innovative financing tools,” Chao said.

See the full article from Transport Topics online.

Connecticut court rules on nonconsensual towing

By Bob Pitcher, State Laws Newsletter.

The Connecticut Supreme Court has held that federal law did not preempt various aspects of the state’s regulation of nonconsensual towing. The plaintiff towing company had been called by the state police to remove a disabled trailer from the highway following a traffic accident. For its services, it had charged the trailer’s owner some $16,700.

On the owner’s appeal to the state regulator, all but less than $4,000 had been disallowed. In court, the plaintiff argued that federal law, 49 U.S. Code section 14501(c)(2)(C) – often referred to as FAAAA, preempted the state’s power to regulate all or part of the services it had provided.

The FAAAA generally preempts state authority to regulate the prices, routes, or services of motor carriers, but contains an exception for “transportation by a tow truck” in nonconsensual towing. The trial court found that the state could regulate the charge for the actual movement of the damaged trailer itself, but was preempted from regulating the provision of pre- and post-tow services, including storage of the trailer until its owner reclaimed it.

The state Supreme Court, however, ruled that state regulation of all aspects of nonconsensual towing was allowable under the FAAAA, since the Act was intended by Congress to be read broadly in this respect. (Modzelewski’s Towing & Recovery, Inc. v. Comm’r of Motor Vehicles, docket no. SC 19453.)

Unified Registration System suspended

From FMCSA:

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a notice that announces the suspension of the Unified Registration System (URS). During this suspension, entities needing to file will follow the same procedures and forms used to submit information to FMCSA as they do today.

The URS 1 final rule was issued to improve the registration process for motor carriers, property brokers, freight forwarders, Intermodal Equipment Providers (IEPs), hazardous materials safety permit (HMSP) applicants, and cargo tank facilities required to register with FMCSA, and streamline the existing Federal registration processes to ensure the Agency can more efficiently track these entities. FMCSA is extending the implementation date of the final stage of the URS 1 final rule beyond January 14, 2017, because additional time is needed to securely migrate data from multiple legacy platforms into a new central database and to conduct further compatibility testing with its State partners.

Safety fitness determination – supplemental rulemaking

From the FMCSA.

On Jan. 21, 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to update its present Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) methodology and enhance the Agency’s ability to identify non-compliant motor carriers.   The NPRM public comment period ended June 23, 2016.

In order to thoroughly evaluate and possibly incorporate comments received, and to allow the Agency to address any recommendations that result from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) study on the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, FMCSA has determined that a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) is the appropriate next step in the rulemaking process.

The Agency’s projected rulemaking schedule will be available in January 2017 via the Department’s monthly online Report on DOT Significant Rulemakings.

FMCSA initiates annual drug and alcohol information survey

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has begun notifying selected truck and bus companies that they will be required to submit their 2016 USDOT drug and alcohol testing program results within 60 days as directed by 49 CFR § 382.403.

The Annual Drug and Alcohol Information Survey results are used to determine the random testing rates for the following year.

Carriers notified by FMCSA that they have been selected to complete the annual survey are required to respond by March 15, 2017. Failure to respond may result in civil penalties.

For more information on USDOT/FMCSA drug and alcohol testing rules and regulations, visit their online website.

Drivers and carriers with further questions should contact FMCSAdrugandalcohol@dot.gov or call 202-366-4844.

MTAC compliance questions

This is a friendly reminder to MTAC members that MTAC’s consultant Mike Glinski is available to answer your questions about complying with state and federal laws and regulations that apply to the commercial trucking industry. Any MTAC members that have questions about complying should call the MTAC office at (860) 520-4455, and MTAC staff will connect you to Mike Glinski.

Mr. Glinski is a retired Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) CMV enforcement officer, and accordingly, is an expert on commercial trucking regulations.

Additionally, Mr. Glinski teaches several educational seminars at MTAC throughout the year, including upcoming classes on Driver Qualification File requirements, Complying with FMCSA, and Hours of Service regulations. Members can see the schedule for those classes and follow the links below to register.

Trucking, rail industries team up to limit new rules

Excerpt from Wall Street Journal article:

The trucking and rail industries, often at odds in Washington, are teaming up to press the incoming Trump administration to limit the ability of transportation regulators to write new rules.

Leaders of the industry trade groups say they are trying to unite transport representatives in Washington, including airline, automobile and shipping groups, in the effort to reverse Obama administration-era safety initiatives and slow the process for enacting new regulations.

The effort is part of a push lobbying groups are making in Washington as they prepare for the prospect of business-friendly policy changes with Donald Trump in the White House and Republicans in control of both chambers of Congress.

The Obama administration, through agencies that oversee trucks, railroads and highways, has written a series of freight and passenger transport rules in the past eight years that safety advocates say reduce traffic and rail accidents. Opponents, including truck freight and rail companies, say the rules’ benefits are unproven, and they have added heavy costs at a time when tepid freight volumes have squeezed corporate profits.

Transportation companies want the Transportation Department to rethink rules that include work limits for truck drivers, safety-equipment requirements for trains and other regulations. And the rail and truck groups want to go farther by setting particular steps transportation agencies must go through as they write rules and operating guidelines.

“We want to see industry included in developing regulations,” Chris Spear, chief executive of the American Trucking Associations, said in an interview. “We’d hope to see a lot more collaboration than we’ve seen in the past few years.”

See the complete Wall Street Journal article online.

Guidance on onboard safety monitoring systems

From the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently released guidance for industry and fleet managers on safety culture concepts, improving safety culture and the use of onboard safety monitoring (OSM) systems. This guidance document is available online.

The implementation of OSM systems involves more than installing the technology in commercial vehicles. It requires detailed planning and involvement from all levels within a fleet to overcome expected criticism and resistance when implementing an OSM device.

FMCSA’s goal for making this guidance document on OSM systems available to the industry was to provide a manual for use by fleet management personnel prior to implementing an OSM technology, or to assist motor carriers that have already implemented an OSM device but who are having problems achieving safety results.

This manual is a practical, easy-to-understand reference guide for implementing an OSM program. It includes an overview of safety culture, a step-by-step guide for implementing a behavior-based safety (BBS) program in conjunction with an OSM device, and provides a list of commercially available OSM systems.

For additional information concerning this guidance document, please contact Martin Walker at (202) 385-2364.