Turn Signals – Issue 63

We wish all of our readers a Safe and Prosperous New Year!

The deadline to install electronic logging devices (ELDs) in interstate trucks and in many intrastate units occurred on December 18th with no postponement, as many had hoped, and with no widespread protests, as some had promised. So far there has been no data released on compliance by truckers on the highway or issues that may have arisen with safety enforcement agencies. There was a last-minute Christmas present given to the to the truck renting and leasing industry, which stated that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will give them an additional 90 days to install ELDs. This group had previously urged an exemption from ELDs on short-term rentals of 30 days or less, but it only received 8 days or less. FMCSA recognizes there are still unsolved issues of rental ELDs not being compatible with customers’ ELD platforms.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance released its scorecard for the one-week Operation Safe Driver enforcement crackdown in October. Officials across North America issued 8,164 tickets and 30,714 warnings to drivers of commercial motor vehicles. 84.2% of the citations were for moving violations, followed by speeding (7.4%), and failure to use a seatbelt (2.6%). 16 drivers were ticketed for having radar detectors.

One positive regulatory change for motor carriers will happen in 2018 on June 22nd. That is the date when medical examiners must electronically file the results of driver physicals directly to FMCSA, who will then submit the information to the appropriate state driver licensing agencies for listing on the drivers’ CDL records. Drivers and trucking companies will no longer be involved with the process of reporting a physical’s results to the state driver license bureau. Because only certified medical examiners will have access to the FMCSA system, motor carriers will no longer have the duty to verify the physician’s certification. Companies will still need to have a copy of the “short form” medical examiner’s certificate for all drivers. They must verify an applicant’s physical is shown on his MVR before being allowed to drive, and must also verify any new exam for an existing driver is reflected on his MVR within 15 days of the date of the new medical examination.

FMCSA is seeking public comments for its proposal to expand and better explain using heavy trucks as a “personal conveyance”. Since 1997, the agency’s guidance to the hours-of-service regulations allowed driving of commercial motor vehicles as off-duty on a driver’s logs if the driver had been “relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work” and the involved vehicle was not “laden”. The new guidance would not include the “no cargo” restriction. It would also allow most commuting between a driver’s residence and a terminal, drop yard, or last work location. The guidance specifically disallows the use of “personal convenience” if a unit is returning empty or bobtailing back after delivering a load, or if it is being repositioned by the carrier.

Did you know…. Canada is now proposing ELDs within 2 years for its 170,000 federally-regulated trucks. Almost half of these vehicles operate in the US and already have ELDs.

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