Turn Signals – Issue #47

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have set Sunday, October 17th to Saturday the 22nd as this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week. This program targets not only trucks and buses but also passenger cars whose drivers display unsafe behaviors. Law enforcement officials will be on the lookout for drivers who are speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, running stop signs and traffic lights, following too closely, and making improper lane changes. Drivers of commercial vehicles should also remember that September 11-17 is “Brake Safety Week”.


FMCSA has issued a safety alert on numerous incidents of the heating element of electronic smoking devices, sometimes called e-cigarettes that have overheated. Explosions, personal injuries, and fires have resulted from the burning battery case igniting nearby flammable or combustible materials. Drivers who “vape” need to heed the possibility of such events and be prepared to deal with them. FMCSA also states the use of e-cigarettes is prohibited whenever hazmat is being loaded or unloaded.


As of August 1st the Department of Labor requires all employers to display new versions of posters for the Fair Labor Standards Act and Employee Polygraph Protection Act. Previous editions are no longer allowed. A cheap solution to comply is to go to the agency’s website, print the new posters, and place them over the older ones.


New standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% and improve fuel efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles have been set by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For the first time, trailer manufacturers will be regulated beginning with the 2018 model year and required to install when practical aerodynamic technologies and low rolling resistance tires, and to develop new weight reduction strategies. Truck makers start phasing in changes in 2021. Adoption of the national rules will end the separate regulation by the California Air Resources Board. The EPA estimates by 2027 the extra cost of a new tractor will increase by $12,390 but be recouped in less than 2 years.


What violation causes many carriers to fail compliance audits? Answer: False logs!!! Drivers can turn in the prettiest logbooks with no violations to be found, but are they the truth? While all companies should be conducting an internal audit for logging errors, many do not cross-reference the drivers’ entries with known time records, like fuel receipts, scale tickets, and tolls. Government auditors will demand these records and make those checks when they come to visit. All they have to do is find a 10% or higher violation rate for false logs, and that violation alone will trigger a Conditional safety rating.


Did you know…..FMCSA denied the CVSA’s request to eliminate the required 30-minute break for interstate drivers no later than their 8th hour on duty. CVSA said the numerous exemptions for various classes of drivers made enforcement difficult. FMCSA replied that its scientific studies used to establish the regulation proved the safety benefit of the break.

Turn Signals is published by Nicholas Wingerter (210.863.9759) and TRUCK SAFETY.
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