Turn Signals – Issue 82
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration again denied a petition which sought to exempt small trucking companies from being required to operate ELDs in their trucks. The request was filed in June 2018 by the Small Business in Transportation Coalition on behalf of motor carriers with less than 50 employees. After reviewing the petition and public comments, FMCSA denied the request for failure to compute how many truck drivers would be affected and to describe “countermeasures” that would be undertaken to create a level of safety equal to or better than the current level. A similar petition filed by OOIDA was denied by the agency in July of last year.
FMCSA announced a program to survey women and minorities about the “prevalence, seriousness, and nature” of harassment and assault in the trucking industry. The agency will not use the information to create new regulations but is hopeful it can formulate and provide programs to address any problems. It believes that training and outreach to drivers and carriers could have beneficial effects of attracting more women and minorities to trucking jobs and helping relieve current driver shortages.
The Department of Health and Human Resources has not yet reported to Congress if fentanyl should be added to the drug testing of transportation workers. It has not ordered such action in the past because fentanyl has usually been mixed with heroin, a drug whose presence has long been tested. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Experts believe fentanyl is increasingly being used without mixing it with other substances. The Center for Disease Control reports synthetic opioids are now the deadliest illicit drug used across the country.
FMCSA has established a new regulation disqualifying permanently any CDL driver who uses a commercial motor vehicle to commit a “severe” human trafficking felony. The principal offenses are involuntary coerced servitude and sex trafficking of minors, which are being added to FMCSA’s list of CDL disqualifying offenses.
The American Trucking Associations is vigorously protesting a proposed bill in Congress to have side underride guards installed on all trailers and straight trucks along with strengthening of their rear underride guards. The legislation, ATA states, “is not based on sufficient science, data, or demonstrated effectiveness.” It estimates an overall cost of $34 billion to retrofit the nation’s 12 million trailers. The expected cost of labor alone would exceed the trucking industry’s annual net revenue.
Canada will require ELDs in its commercial motor vehicles by June 2021. Many carriers have already installed devices because they haul cross-border freight to and from the US. Transport Canada estimates ELD use will reduce fatigue-related crashes by 10%.
Did you know…. FMCSA is asking for public input to update the definitions of agricultural commodities and livestock. Certain hauling of these goods are exempt from hours-of-service rules, but interpretations of current lists by troopers differ and can be inflexible.
Published by Nicholas Wingerter and TRUCK SAFETY
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