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Bits & Pieces

Volume 14, Edition 12

Did Santa treat you well? Hope he made you happy.  One client has inquired as to which of our clients might actually be insuring Santa?  You know – fat guy, drives outdated rig, poor maintenance, hauls mostly dry freight?  (Thanks for putting this thought in our head Ms. Jerrie Brannon!) I know that we all believe that Shuie can find out the most interesting of information about entities which haul other people’s property but even he has not figured that one out yet – Santa must not need a filing. Anyone going to come clean?   I wonder what his loss runs look like?

We are working away on the resumé so there is not much that we want to report at this end of the year – it will all be in resume which will be out shortly.  So for those of you who were actually stuck going to work this week, we give you these little bits of news:

HOURS OF SERVICE RULES – The Hours of Service of Drivers Final Rule has been published in the Federal Register. The effective date of the Final Rule is February 27, 2012, and the compliance date of selected provisions is July 1, 2013. A comparison between the old and new rules table provides:

SUMMARY OF 2011 HOS FINAL RULE PROVISIONS Changes Compared to Current Rule

PROVISION

CURRENT RULE

FINAL RULE

COMPLIANCE DATE JULY 1, 2013

Limitations on minimum “34-hour restarts”

None.

(1) Must include two periods between 1 a.m. – 5 a.m. home terminal time.

(2) May only be used once per week.

Rest breaks

None except as limited by other rule provisions.

May drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since end of driver’s last off-duty period of at least 30 minutes. [HM 397.5 mandatory “in attendance” time may be included in break if no other duties performed]

PROVISION

CURRENT RULE

FINAL RULE

COMPLIANCE DATE FEBRUARY 27, 2012

On-duty time

Includes any time in CMV except sleeper-berth.

Does not include any time resting in a parked CMV. In moving CMV, does not include up to 2 hours in passenger seat immediately before or after 8 consecutive hours in sleeper-berth. Also applies to passenger-carrying drivers.

Penalties

“Egregious” hours of service violations not specifically defined.

Driving (or allowing a driver to drive) 3 or more hours beyond the driving-time limit may be considered an egregious violation and subject to the maximum civil penalties. Also applies to passenger-carrying drivers.

Oilfield exemption

“Waiting time” for certain drivers at oilfields (which is off-duty but does extend 14-hour duty period) must be recorded and available to FMCSA, but no method or details are specified for the recordkeeping.

“Waiting time” for certain drivers at oilfields must be shown on logbook or electronic equivalent as off duty and identified by annotations in “remarks” or a separate line added to “grid.”

More on the new rules can be viewed here. Read More

Volume 14, Edition 11

Have you dug your way out of the turkey fog? Are you ready to move onto the next holiday?  I am, and hope you are too.  Hopefully things start to wind down as we move into the end of the year mode.  Of course, we all have that end of the year rush and the government, with its proposed regulations, is no different. This month we report:

CELL PHONES – The FMCSA has banned all hand-held cell phone use by commercial truck and bus drivers while operating their vehicles. Drivers who violate the restriction will face federal civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense and disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle for multiple offenses. Companies whose drivers violate the law will face a maximum penalty of $11,000. In September 2010, FMCSA had banned text messaging.

FMSCA CRACKING DOWN ON BAD CARRIERS – The FMCSA shut down three companies this month, ATA Trail Inc., Gunther Transport and Clock Transport.  The FMCSA issued an imminent hazard out-of-service order against ATA and Gunther following a comprehensive review of their compliance with federal safety standards.  The FMCSA also moved to shut down a chameleon carrier ™, Clock Transport LLC that opened shortly before Gunther was shut down, operating at the same address. In addition, the FMCSA had a nationwide crackdown on unsafe bus operators, during which federal, state and local police conducted 8,300 surprise safety inspections of motorcoaches, tour buses, school buses and other commercial passenger vehicles over a two-week period. The unannounced inspections were part of FMCSA’s annual National Passenger Carrier Inspection Strike Force, which resulted in 902 unsafe buses or drivers being placed out of service.  The DOT has asked Congress to increase the penalty for operating illegally from $2,000 a day to $25,000 per violation, and to close loopholes that allow bus and truck companies that have been shut down to recreate themselves under a new name.

ACCIDENTS – The FMCSA has released its report for fatal truck-involved crashes and the numbers are good, at least for accidents between 2007 and 2009, the most recent years with available crash data.  During that time crashes fell 31% to 3,215 from 4,633, with the fatal crash rate for large trucks dropping to 27%.  Since 2000, the fatal crash rate has fallen to 1 crash per 100 million miles.  80.5% of the time the driver error was with the passenger vehicle and not the truck. A copy of the report can be viewed here.

MEDICAL CERTIFICATIONS – Under new regulations, truck drivers will have to provide proof of medical certification to their state licensing agency. The state agency must electronically tie the medical certification to the commercial driver’s license, which should allow roadside law enforcement to electronically confirm valid medical certification. Once the driver takes this step he will no longer be required to carry the certification with him. However because of delays in getting everything implemented the rule was slightly modified to continue to require drivers to retain the medical certificate for proof on the roadside during an inspection until 2014. Read More

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