Turn Signals – Issue 55

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance announced this year’s 30th annual International Roadcheck will take place from Tuesday, June 6th through Thursday, June 8th. During this time, roadside inspectors in North America will be performing the most comprehensive examination of heavy vehicles and their drivers, called Level 1 inspections. It is estimated during these three days that 17 trucks and buses will be inspected on the average each minute across the US, Canada, and Mexico. This year’s emphasis will be on cargo securement. Truck drivers should be reminded to properly secure their loads as well as any onboard equipment, such as tools, chains, and spare tires. Flatbed haulers should check tie-downs for wear and damage. Other devices like load bars may be needed in vans and reefers to safely immobilize cargo from shifting.


As expected, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the federal mandate to install electronic logging devices in most heavy trucks by December 19th. The group believes the regulations violate the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures by the way state troopers will retrieve data about the driver from the onboard ELDs. Previously the 7th Circuit Appeals Court rejected this argument. There is no timetable for the Supreme Court either to reject the case or to set it for a hearing.


A recent study by the American Transportation Research Institute and the Mayo Clinic found that the quality of driver physicals done by medical examiners certified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is inconsistent. The agency began requiring training certification in 2014. A spokesman for the Mayo Clinic said some examiners “may have received substandard training or are not taking their role seriously.” 6.5% of the drivers in the study reported spending 10 minutes or less with the examiner, “an insufficient time to complete all required processes of a DOT physical,” ATRI said. The research found that exams by chiropractors “were more likely to have important medical checks omitted.” Nearly 50% of the motor carriers in the study, to ensure a quality physical, reported that they specify which medical examiner their drivers must see.


The looming deadline to install electronic logging devices is a dilemma for the truck leasing and rental industry. Motor carriers will likely have hundreds of ELD systems to choose from for their individual company. So what kind of device can leasing companies install in short-term rental trucks that could transmit its ELD data and have it merge successfully with any trucking company’s ELD database? No such system exists. FMCSA knew of this problem when it issued its final ELD rules and basically said it is the leasing industry’s issue to solve. The Truck Renting and Leasing Association has a petition pending at FMCSA for a 5-year exemption for rentals of 30 days or less from having ELDs in the vehicle. As the TRALA president said, “There isn’t an obvious solution.”


Did you know….. Tesla announced that it will reveal an electric semi-truck in September. The vehicle is expected to be “semi-autonomous” with numerous self-driving capabilities.

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