Turn Signals – Issue 43

The Food and Drug Administration published its final rules on April 6 sanitary transportation of human and animal food. The regulations apply on all shipments requiring temperature control or when the foodstuffs are not “completely enclosed by a container.” The rules go into effect on April 6, 2017 for motor carriers with annual revenues of $27.5 million or more. Smaller companies must comply by April 6, 2018. The FDA abandoned its proposed micromanaging of the food chain for a system in which the shipper bears most of the responsibility of defining the measures to be taken during transportation which ensure food safety, such as adequate temperature controls, trailer cleaning, and preventing contamination from other sources. Carriers must have written procedures to clean and inspect vehicles and how they will handle food products loaded in temperature-controlled or bulk equipment. Trucking companies must also train drivers and any loaders in sanitary procedures before they can handle these foodstuffs. Records of shipper agreements, procedures, and training records must be kept one year.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has begun publishing its list of electronic logging devices which have been self-certified by their manufacturers as conforming to the technical specifications of the ELD rules. The full list can be found here.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has announced that Roadcheck 2016 will be conducted on Tuesday, June 7. 10,000 highway inspectors in the USA, Canada, and Mexico will be performing inspections on large trucks and buses at an estimated rate of 17 vehicles per minute. This year’s emphasis will be on tire safety. Inspectors will be closely checking tire tread depths and tire pressures, and looking for deep cuts or bulges in the sidewalls of the tires.

CVSA also revealed in October it filed a petition with FMCSA to eliminate the 30-minute break required for interstate drivers no later than the 8 hour. The highway safety enforcement group believes drivers can easily disguise and falsify on-duty work or driving during a rest time shown on a driver’s log, and there is no evidence the breaks improve a driver’s overall operational capabilities or increase safety. FMCSA had not previously revealed receipt of this petition and has not given a response.

FMCSA denied a request by the American Trucking Associations to allow all drivers working at a natural gas and oil well sites to exclude waiting time from their daily allowed hours for driving. The proposed exemption would have allowed drivers with access to a sleeper berth or other resting facilities to suspend the countdown of the daily 14-hour “clock” when driving is allowed. In its denial, the agency stated ATA had failed to show how allowing the exception would maintain or improve highway safety.

Did you know….. Researchers at the University of Minnesota-Morris and Virginia Tech found that drivers with sleep apnea who refuse treatment have five times the risk of a severe crash. Over 3,200 drivers were studied and compared in the research study.