February 2014

Trucking Calls on Washington to Have a Productive 2014

Arlington, Va. – With Congress returning to Washington this week, leaders of American Trucking Associations called on lawmakers and policymakers in Washington to take several steps to improve the nation's economy and make our highways safer.

"This time of year is a good one for self-reflection and analysis," said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. "We hope our leaders in Washington will take the necessary steps to make our roads safer and improve the flow of goods in our economy."

ATA's list includes:

• Identify sustainable, efficient and reliable funding for our nation's roads and bridges rather than seeking out the "easy money" of tolls and privatization;

• Advance important safety technology rules, including ones that limit the speed of commercial vehicles and electronically record drivers' hours-of-service;

• Be more precise in defining "large trucks" and in looking at crash accountability so the trucking industry's safety record can be more accurately measured and understood;

• Analyze the first phase of the Environmental Protection Agency's greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards for large trucks before hastily moving ahead with a second phase;

• Review and reconsider the recently changed hours-of-service rules – particularly the restart provision;

• Use data and science, rather than emotions, when reviewing and establishing truck size and weight regulations;

• Create a long-overdue clearinghouse for drug and alcohol test results;

• Improve government data and databases, from CSA to security screenings and background checks to completing the long-overdue Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey;

• Work with state agencies to place far greater focus on commercial and noncommercial vehicle traffic enforcement rather than the current trend of more roadside vehicle inspections

FMCSA Announces One-Year Extension of Paper Medical Certificate Requirement for Commercial Bus and Truck Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) today announced that it is extending by one year, until Jan. 30, 2015, a requirement that interstate commercial driver's license (CDL) holders retain paper copies of their medical examiner's certificate and continue to make the document available for review upon request at the roadside by federal and state commercial motor vehicle inspectors. In Dec. 2008, FMCSA issued a Final Rule modernizing, streamlining, and simplifying recordkeeping obligations for drivers, carriers and state governments by requiring that a driver's medical certification record be merged with state-issued CDLs. States received support from FMCSA to implement the necessary IT system upgrades and merge the records into one, online database – the Commercial Driver's License Information System (CDLIS). FMCSA announced the one-year extension today to protect commercial drivers from being cited for violations because some states are not yet in full compliance with the new system. For a copy of the Federal Register announcement, see: www.FMCSA.DOT.gov.

FMCSA Chief Warns US Shippers: Don't Delay Drivers

William B. Cassidy, Senior Editor, JOC.com | Jan 15, 2014

WASHINGTON — The United States' top trucking safety regulator is sending a clear message to the nation's shippers: stop detaining and delaying truck drivers unnecessarily, or prepare to be regulated.

"I'm pretty passionate about driver compensation and driver detention," Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne S. Ferro said in a keynote speech Tuesday at the 93rd annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board.

"Drivers have among the toughest jobs in our nation. They operate under very difficult conditions, they operate under extreme stress and they operate, frankly, in some cases with extreme disrespect when it comes to detention time and poor compensation given the job and the skills and knowledge they have to have," she said.

In 2014, "we'll continue to drive those initiatives forward," Ferro said. Driver detention has been in the FMCSA's regulatory crosshairs some time now, as the agency advances a regulatory agenda based on changing driver behavior to reduce the number of truck crashes and related fatalities. "We need a real change in our transportation culture to recognize that safety means more than complying with safety rules. It means changing work-rest schedules that contribute to fatigue," Ferro told the National Industrial Transportation League in November 2011.

With the CSA program firmly established, though still evolving, new hours of service rules in place and the proposed rule on electronic logging devices in the wings, a regulation attacking unnecessary detention moves higher on FMCSA's to-do list.

The agency has been studying how detention affects driver safety, pay and compliance with hours of service rules since 2012. Detention, Ferro said at the TRB meeting, "is an area of not just inefficiency in the supply chain but inefficiency that is placed on the back of truckers and for which they are not compensated."

Driver detention costs the trucking industry as much as $4 billion a year in lost productivity, according to a 2009 Department of Transportation study.

"No person can be a great leader, unless he takes genuine joy in the success of those under him."-Unknown