Earlier this week the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an alert concerning motor carriers and their motor carrier Personal Identification Number (PIN).
The PIN is your personal identifier and should not be shared with anyone you have not authorized to make changes to your motor carrier status. A motor carrier’s PIN allows access to a carrier’s USDOT data and to make changes or updates to the company’s information, including identification updates, name and address changes, transfers, and voluntary revocations.
FMCSA strongly advises carriers to only share their PIN with individuals authorized to make changes to their FMCSA records. FMCSA recommends that carriers conduct regular checks of their company information that is contained in the FMCSA system. If you suspect your PIN has been compromised, it is strongly recommended that you change your PIN immediately. If you are experiencing difficulty changing your PIN contact the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Information Line at 1-800-832-5660.
American Trucking Associations and a coalition of public interest advocates are expected to tell a federal court on Friday to strike down portions of the latest changes to federal hours-of-service rules.
In briefs filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, ATA has argued that in putting restrictions on the optional 34-hour restart that drivers could use to reset their weekly driving limits, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration overstated the role of fatigue in truck-related crashes, thus improperly tipping the scales in favor of the restrictions.
The changes, set to take effect July 1, also require drivers to take a 30-minute break before driving more than eight hours.
Public Citizen and its allies, meanwhile, have urged the court to force FMCSA to further restrict drivers’ hours, saying the agency did not fulfill its duty to improve highway safety when it chose not to do that.
Recently, the FMCSA presented new guidelines reflective of the upcoming changes to the hours of service requirements. As most of you know, the ATA filed suit against the FMCSA over the changes. Oral arguments are scheduled to begin in March, the new rules are scheduled to be implemented in July (2013) . Click on the link to view the HOS guide.
On January 7th, the California Supreme Court accepted the California Trucking Association's Amicus Brief filed in the case of the People vs. Pac Anchor Transportation case.
This case presented CTA with an opportunity to “tell the trucking side of the story” at the state’s highest court, the State Supreme Court. The request by CTA members to file an amicus was triggered after the state included its Unfair Competition Laws (UCL) as a way to regulate motor carriers who utilize owner operators. Instead of using the UCL, the Attorney General could have used a number of resources under current California law contained in the Labor Code to pursue the wage and hour claims at the heart of the case.
Several CTA member subject matter experts provided valuable input and resources for this project. CTA staff drafted those sections that present standard industry practice and the economic reasons for the use of independent contractors. Attorney Linda Allderdice, a CTA member, recently provided an overview of the Amicus Filing during the joint CTA Intermodal Conference meeting held during the 2013 Annual Management Conference.
New Advisory Panel Broadens Access to CSA Planning
By Oliver B. Patton, Washington Editor
The trucking industry and other interest groups are getting more say in how the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shapes its signature CSA safety enforcement program.
At the first meeting of a new CSA advisory panel yesterday, the agency spelled out the help it needs, calling for ideas and suggestions on how to solve such long-standing issues as public access to data, improvements in the data correction system and whether or not carriers should get credit for safety technology.
The panel is a subcommittee of the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee, a group of 19 officials from industry, the enforcement community and labor and safety advocacy groups that provides counsel to FMCSA on a variety of issues.
David Parker, senior counsel at Great West Casualty, is chairman of the committee and also will chair the CSA Subcommittee.
The shape and size of the subcommittee is not yet clear. At yesterday's meeting in Alexandria, Va., Parker said he believes shippers, brokers, equipment suppliers and others should be involved in the CSA discussions, in addition to interested members of the Advisory Committee. He expects these issues to be resolved by the time of the subcommittee's first meeting in October.
The subcommittee will have a daunting agenda. Keying off on a list presented by the agency, the MCSAC members discussed a broad range of issues they hope to cover, many of which have been in play ever since CSA got under way two years ago.
What FMCSA Wants
Bill Quade, associate administrator for enforcement at FMCSA, outlined the agency's wish list.
It wants advice on how to handle public display of CSA data and messaging, on the thresholds it has established to trigger intervention by enforcement officials, and on whether or not the safety data should take a carrier's area of operation into account.
Also on the agency's agenda: what to do about shortcomings in the DataQs system for correcting errors, particularly with respect to handling violations that have been dismissed by a court.
In addition, the agency asked how it accounts for roadside screening versus a full inspection in the database, and should carriers get credit for using safety technologies such as lane departure warning.
And, should Safety Measurement System data be segmented by the type of operation, such as truckload, less-than-truckload, private carriage, flatbed, rural or urban?
What MCSAC Wants
To this the MCSAC members added a considerable list of their own.
They want to determine if CSA is working as it is supposed to, perhaps by engaging a third party to do an analysis.
They question whether the CSA system should focus on reducing the number of crashes, or on the severity of crashes.
Committee members applauded the agency's effort to roll out CSA to the entire community, but indicated that they would look for ways to improve communications with small carriers.
Other issues: how to lessen disparities in enforcement by the states, and find data that ties specific safety violations to crash risk.
Committee member Danny Schnautz of Clark Freight Lines put on the agenda the issue of shippers using CSA data as a carrier selection tool.
"Among shippers and brokers the (SMS) score is viewed as the Holy Grail," he said. Despite the warnings on the CSA web site about the uses of the data, "the message is not getting through to them."
The committee members took time to enumerate the ways CSA has benefited truck safety. They noted that the system is dispensing more data and giving the agency the ability to reach more carriers without a dramatic increase in resources.
It is better than the earlier system, SafeStat, in getting at the worst offenders, and it has led to the start of a cultural change in the industry by forcing carriers to focus on the details of safety management.
The agency already is planning another round of improvements to follow on those it posted last Friday.
It will consider modifying roadside violation severity weights, and changing the way it uses vehicle miles in determining scores for the Crash and Unsafe Driving categories of CSA. In addition, it will consider adjusting safety event groupings in all of the categories.
Jul 17, 2012 4:47 PM
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has changed the process for calculating and publicizing the driver, vehicle, and hazardous materials out-of-service (OOS) rates and crash rates.
The current method for determining the qualifying crash and OOS rates under this rule, in effect since the inception of the Hazardous Materials Safety Permit (HMSP) program, utilizes two years of inspection data from FMCSA's Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) to calculate the OOS rates representing the top or worst-performing 30% of the national average. FMCSA has been recalculating the threshold crash and OOS rates every two years, using MCMIS data from the preceding two years.
As stated in 49 CFR 385.407, in order for FMCSA to issue a hazardous materials safety permit, a motor carrier must not have a crash rate, or driver, vehicle, or hazardous materials Out-of-Service (OOS) rate that falls in the top 30 percentile of the national average.
Effective June 27, FMCSA began using a new methodology to calculate the threshold crash rate and driver, vehicle, and HM OOS rates that qualify or disqualify a carrier for HMSP issuance. The revised methodology uses eight years of data from MCMIS (data from 2003 to 2010) to determine the national average for eligible crash and OOS thresholds that qualify for an HMSP. These rates will remain static rather than change every two years.
FMCSA decided that crash and OOS rates, which remain static over a longer period of time, will improve safety by providing a clearly identifiable standard for industry compliance and minimize the burden on motor carriers and the HM industry by allowing more appropriate measures that ensure eligibility for the HMSP. The calculations of crash and OOS rates in this notice of amendment will be implemented immediately and posted to FMCSA's Web site. These new static rates will remain in effect until further notice.
A truck transportation group together with four trade associations and 12 other named plaintiffs have filed suit against the FMCSA seeking judicial review of the regulator’s “New Resources Available for Shippers, Brokers, and Insurers” publication issued May 16.
The suit was filed Monday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by ASECTT (the Alliance for Safe, Efficient and Competitive Truck Transportation) and the other plaintiffs.
Petitioners allege the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s publication is a “bureaucratic overreach without process.” Tom Sanderson, president of ASECTT, said, “ASECTT members believe SMS methodology is a work in progress, unapproved for the agency’s own use in making safety fitness determinations.
“With no concern for the effect of its publication on shippers and brokers or the false branding of carriers and resulting economic consequences on small businesses, the agency has in effect told the shipping community it cannot rely upon the agency to do its statutory job to certify carriers as safe for use and must make an independent safety evaluation of all carriers before use. This amounts to a new rule with significant economic consequences which must be timely challenged.”
David Owen, president of the National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC), a lead plaintiff in a previous suit against FMCSA over the issue of publication of SMS data, said: “We thought in the settlement of NASTC et al. v. FMCSA that the agency recognized and affirmed its statutory duty to make a safety fitness determination upon which shippers and brokers could rely.
“The agency’s May 16th publication makes clear that it seeks to abdicate its ultimate safety fitness obligations to the shipper and broker community with no concern for the resulting prejudicial effect on safe carriers arbitrarily branded under SMS methodology. Over 1,000 of our small carrier members which the agency certifies as safe to operate on the nation’s roadways are faced with loss of business as a result of the agency’s action.”
Joining in the lawsuit are four other trade organizations, five brokers and seven named carriers.
Jimmy DeMatteis of Des Moines Truck Brokers said that “Over the past 18 months, we have tried repeatedly to explain to the agency that SMS methodology brands perfectly safe carriers as somehow unfit for use. That premature publication of percentile rankings will create chaos in the marketplace, restricting competition as the methodology is used as a tool … to increase the shipping public’s liability for truck accidents under state law.
“In this context, the May 16th publication made it very clear that the agency has not heard industry’s concern and intends to deputize the shipping community to enforce the agency’s statutory responsibilities.”
The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), along with the American Automobile Association, American Trucking Associations, and Carbon Express, Inc., today sent a message to Congress urging their support in adopting the Senate language in section 32301 of S. 1813 as part of the conference agreement on the transportation reauthorization bill. Trucking, safety, and law enforcement interests are united in their support of an Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBRs) requirement because of the positive impacts EOBRs have on safety, compliance with hours of service regulations (i.e., how long a truck driver may legally be on duty and behind the wheel), and efficiency.
As you know, hours of service compliance is far and away our largest driver-related safety challenge. We communicated this message recently during our 2012 Roadcheck kick-off event in Landover, MD on June 5, 2012. It bears repeating. We need to do a better job at affecting compliance.
EOBRs have been shown by many fleets that have already adopted them to significantly increase their compliance rates AND increase their safety performance. In addition, fleets adopting EOBRs have seen positive returns on their investment with respect to impacting their CSA scores. This in turn affects how enforcement targets their resources with respect to carriers and drivers.
Overall, CVSA strongly believes that EOBRs help to improve compliance, expand the enforcement footprint and increase its efficiency, as well as to help mitigate the falsification of logbooks thereby allowing it to contact more carriers and helping to level the playing field – ultimately improving compliance and safety.
A video message was included in the communication. That message can be viewed here.
Today, the US DOT released its final rule regarding the requiring of medical professionals who perform medical examinations for interstate drives to be trained, certified and tested on the qualifications that pertain to a driver’s ability to operate a cmv in a safe manner. Included in the final rule was the creation of a national online database of medical examiners that have completed the FMCSA’s certification process. The deadline for all certified examiners to be included in the national database is May21, 2014. The training and testing standards will be released within the next 30 days.
Recently a CTA member who was transporting hay was stopped by the CHP and received a warning for using an extension device and having bales overhang off of the device. The member contacted CTA. Staff discussed the issue with the CHP and the FMCSA to clarify the interpretation of the legal use of extension devices.
Haulers who are transporting hay or straw may utilize the method as prescribed in the Technical Review from 2008 or they can secure it under the general cargo securement rules contained in Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations Sections 393.100 - 393.114.
The bales may extend a third of a bale beyond the bed surface and the use of 18" extension devices is acceptable. The 18" extension is viewed as temporary bed surface and therefore the measurement of the one third bale overhang should be measured from the end of the extension device, not the originally manufactured bed surface. Carriers utilizing the 18" extension are not allowed to overhang their load beyond 75', nor are they allowed any overhang if their overall vehicle combination length is over 75' per California Vehicle Code Section 35411.
The Commercial Vehicle Section of the CHP is in the process of revising HPM 82.6, Chapter 10 in which it will include the federal securement regulations as well as the interpretation when using the extension device.