Turn Signals – Issue 62

We wish all of our readers a very Happy and Safe Holiday Season!

Payment of the 2018 Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) fee, normally required by December 31st for all interstate motor carriers and freight brokers, has been postponed. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has not completed its review of the proposed 9% reduction in the fees made by the UCR board of directors. Until approved, any attempt to pay the 2018 fees will be rejected. When the 2018 fee levels are finalized, companies will be given 90 days to make their payments. Stay tuned.

So you have installed ELDs in your trucks – What else needs be onboard? FMCSA regulations require an information packet in the truck which contains: (1) a guide on how to operate the ELD, (2) instructions on how to transmit the ELD’s data to a safety official, (3) instructions on ELD malfunction reporting requirements and record keeping procedures during the ELD malfunction, and (4) a minimum of 8 days of blank paper logs.

What must the motor carrier do when an ELD stops working? First, drivers must (1) provide a written notice of the malfunction to the company within 24 hours, (2) prepare the current day’s paper log plus the 7 previous days’ logs if they are not retrievable from the ELD, and (3) continue using paper logs until the malfunction is fixed. The driver should also keep a copy of the written notice of the ELD’s malfunction to show highway enforcement officers. The carrier has 8 days to fix or replace the ELD from the time it first knew of the malfunction. If this deadline cannot be met, the carrier must file a request for an extension with its state’s FMCSA division chief within 5 days of when it first found out about the malfunction. Filing the request stays the 8-day deadline. It is recommended that the driver carry a copy of the request to explain why he is still preparing paper logs.

FMCSA has granted transporters of agricultural commodities and livestock a 90-day delay beyond December 18th to install ELDs. These carriers have a unique 150-airmile zone during planting and harvesting seasons when they are exempt from the logbook rules. Cattle haulers are also not required to take a 30-minute break by the 8th hour on-duty when they are operating beyond the exempt zone. FMCSA guidance states the time spent in the 150-mile zone for shipments being delivered beyond the zone should be coded as “exempt” on the ELD and not added to regulated daily and weekly hours outside of the zone. Fears were expressed that many ELDs are not programmed to handle this industry’s unique ELD rules, which could lead to disruptions in the food supply chain.

Beginning January 1st USDOT will add four semi-synthetic opioids to the list of drugs checked for in all driver drug tests. Specifically, the tests will now be looking for hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone. The agency had been urged to include these substances due to their widespread abuse and impairing effects.

Did you know…. FMCSA reports usage of seat belts by drivers of commercial motor vehicles has increased 20% since 2007. Last year, 86% of these drivers were buckling up.

Turn Signals is published by Nicholas Wingerter (210.863.9759) and TRUCK SAFETY.
©2017 All Rights Reserved. Article posted on this site with their permission.