Turn Signals – Issue 83
Reminder: Brake Safety Week is scheduled by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance from Sunday September 15th through Saturday September 21st. Besides the brakes themselves and their adjustment, the emphasis this year will be on the air hoses and tubing. Inspectors will be looking for air lines that (1) are cracked, broken, kinked, or improperly joined or spliced, (2) are chafing or rubbing and worn down to a second color or have nylon braid showing, (3) could contact the exhaust system or other heat source, or (4) bulge or swell when air pressure is applied or have an audible air leak.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced its pricing for motor carriers to look up driver records, called a “query”, beginning January 6th in the agency’s Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse. The price is $1.25 per query, regardless if it is a “limited” or “full” query. Limited queries are performed annually for current drivers and report only yes or no if any drug/alcohol violations are listed in the Clearinghouse. Full inquiries reveal the exact drug/alcohol violations committed by the driver and if he has undergone the required rehabilitation protocols. Queries will be purchased in 19 various quantity bundles, from 1 to 7,500. Although there is no discount for buying larger bundles, the queries never expire. The advantage of buying in bundles is to avoid processing a payment each time the Clearinghouse is accessed, and it is the only way to allow third party administrators to perform queries for their motor carrier clients.
When will I perform Clearinghouse queries? Trucking companies must perform full queries on all applicants and whenever a limited query reveals a violation exists in the Clearinghouse for a current driver. For a limited query, the driver must give the carrier a written release. For a full query, the driver must set up an account in the Clearinghouse and give electronic permission for the specific company to conduct its inquiry. Drivers who refuse to give consent for a Clearinghouse query must be removed from duty or not hired.
Later this year FMCSA will allow trucking companies to set up Clearinghouse accounts through the FMCSA Portal. Truckers without Portal accounts should plan ahead and get one now. They will need their USDOT PIN number to do so. Single owner-operator carriers have to use their drug/alcohol consortium to set up their accounts.
FMCSA is seeking public input to permanently operate and expand its Crash Preventability Program. This is the system that carriers can petition for certain crashes to be reviewed and declared non-preventable. The proposed changes include expanding the crash causes eligible for review and streamlining the review process. The agency’s intent is to have the new process in place by October 1st for crashes that happened August 1st or later. Accidents occurring July 31st or earlier must be submitted by September 30th and reviewed under the current procedures. Stay tuned for final details in this newsletter.
Did you know…. Last May 15th CVSA conducted a secret Brake Safety Day across the US and Canada. 10,358 heavy motor vehicle inspections focused on identifying brake system violations. 1,667 vehicles, or 16.1%, were placed out of service for critical brake violations.
Published by Nicholas Wingerter and TRUCK SAFETY
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