FMCSA Seeks Public Comment on Revising Current Hours-of-Service Regulations for Interstate Truck Drivers

Areas under consideration for revision include short-haul operations, adverse driving conditions, 30-minute break, and split sleeper-berth

 

 

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced that it is seeking public comment on revising four specific areas of current hours-of-service (HOS) regulations, which limit the operating hours of commercial truck drivers.

 

The upcoming Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-service-advanced-notice-proposed-rulemaking, which will be published in the Federal Register, responds to widespread Congressional, industry, and citizen concerns and seeks feedback from the public to determine if HOS revisions may alleviate unnecessary burdens placed on drivers while maintaining safety on our nation’s highways and roads.  The comment period will be open for 30 days.

 

The four specific areas under consideration for revision are:

 

·       Expanding the current 100 air-mile “short-haul” exemption from 12 hours on-duty to 14 hours on-duty, in order to be consistent with the rules for long-haul truck drivers;

·       Extending the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to two hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions;

·       Revising the current mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after 8-hours of continuous driving; and

·       Reinstating the option for splitting up the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating trucks that are equipped with a sleeper-berth compartment.

In addition, the ANPRM seeks public comment and relevant data on two recently submitted petitions requesting regulatory relief from HOS rules (1) pertaining to the 14-hour on-duty limitation (filed by the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association) and (2) pertaining to the 10-hour off-duty requirement (filed by TruckerNation).

 

Earlier this year, the congressionally mandated electronic logging device (ELD) rule, which required most FMCSA-regulated motor carriers to convert their records from paper to an electronic format, became effective. While compliance with the ELD rule has reached nearly 99 percent across the trucking industry, it has also brought focus to HOS regulations, especially with regard to certain regulations having a significant impact on agriculture and other sectors of trucking.

 

Additional information on the ANPRM, including how to submit comments to the Federal Register docket, is available at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-service-advanced-notice-proposed-rulemaking

 

The first in a series of public listening sessions on the ANPRM will take place Friday, August 24, 2018, in Dallas, Texas, at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time.  Further information is available at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/event/public-listening-session-hours-service.

 

Information on current HOS regulations is available at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-service/summary-hours-service-regulations.

 

Information on electronic logging devices (ELDs) carried on-board long-haul trucks and used by commercial vehicle enforcement officers to check compliance with HOS regulations is available at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/electronic-logging-devices.

 

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Daimler recalls more than 45,000 Cascadia tractors over instrument panel issue

Daimler Trucks North America is recalling more than 45,000 Freightliner Cascadia tractors for an issue with the ignition control unit not performing required bulb checks on the instrument panel in certain situations, according to documents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

 

Daimler says if the ignition in the affected trucks is turned from on to off to on too quickly, the ICU may not perform the required bulb checks for the anti-lock brake system or electronic stability control, as required by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

Senate files bill to allow under-21 truckers to drive interstate

A bill that would allow CDL holders under the age of 21 to cross state lines has been filed in the U.S. Senate. The Drive-Safe Act, which was also filed in the U.S. House in March, would institute extra training hurdles and require 18-20-year-old drivers to log hundreds of hours behind the wheel alongside a more experienced driver before being permitted to operate interstate. The bill is backed by the American Trucking Associations.

 

Currently, federal law prohibits interstate operations to drivers 21 years and older. However, proponents of allowing younger drivers to cross state lines argue that, in large states, drivers can operate on trips hundreds of miles long, yet can’t make much shorter trips across multiple states. They also argue that nabbing drivers at an earlier age — 18 or 19 instead of 21 — could expand the industry’s ability to attract career truck operators.

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Brake maintenance can’t be stressed enough

I can’t recall exactly how many times I have used this space to talk about the importance of brake maintenance, but I know it is a subject I have returned to on more than one occasion.

 

I need to do it again now because of the recent announcement from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) regarding the designation of Sept. 16-22 as the days for its annual Brake Safety Week. This year CVSA is once again devoting a whole week to the brakes issue; last year it had cut back the inspection blitz to just one day. I don’t know why they chose to return to a weeklong blitz, but I, for one, think it’s very important that we should focus extra attention on brake maintenance for a full week each year.

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EXTENDED ROAD CLOSURE ON NH ROUTE 127 IN HOPKINTON

TEN WEEK DETOUR IN PLACE DURING WORK ON HYDROELECTIC FACILITY

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation announces the planned extended closure to through traffic of a section of NH Route 127 in Hopkinton for approximately ten weeks. 

Beginning Monday, August 27, 2018, Route 127 (Maple Street) will be closed immediately east of the Rowell Covered Bridge to allow for upgrades to the nearby hydroelectric facility.  These upgrades to a section of penstock will require excavation of the roadway.

During this construction work, a detour will be in place utilizing Interstate 89 and US Route 202. The only section of NH 127 being closed is the area of the penstock, downstream of the Hopkinton-Everett Reservoir.  Route 127 will still be accessible from both sides, but will not allow for through traffic.

Here’s our list of truck driver safety pointers perfect for both drivers new to their vehicles and savvy pros looking for a quick refresher.

Neil Nogues, YRC Freight, the 2018 NHMTA State Champion came home with the highly-coveted Neill Darmstadter Professional Excellence Award.

 The Neill Darmstadter Professional Excellence Award is sponsored by C.H. Robinson and recognizes a driver judged to best exemplify the characteristics of a professional truck driver. The criteria is based on their driving record, skill, knowledge, Photo courtesy Mickey Rafealattitude toward safety, and personality as evidenced by their work history and performance in various NTDC skills tests and overall professionalism. Contestants for the award must have competed at seven or more National Truck Driving Championships.

Three other drivers, one from New Hampshire and two from Vermont placed in the top five of their class.

From New Hampshire:

Paul Robichaud, Fed Ex Express, 4th Place Tanks

From Vermont:

Matt Smith, Fed Ex Express, 4th Place Twins

Chris Goddard, Fed Ex Express, 5th Place 3 Axel

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!

7 Truck Driving Tips

Here’s our list of truck driver safety pointers perfect for both drivers new to their vehicles and savvy pros looking for a quick refresher.

1. Watch your blind spots

Other motorists may not be aware of a truck’s “no zones” — those where crashes are most likely to occur. Common “no zones” include:

·       Off to the side just in front of the cab

·       Just behind the side mirrors

·       Directly behind the truck

If others aren’t aware of these trouble spots, they may drive dangerously close. As frustrating as this can be, it’s up to you to exercise caution before turning or changing lanes and to maintain a safe distance.

2. Reduce speed in work zones

Roughly one-third of all fatal work-zone accidents involve large trucks. Make sure to take your time going through interstate construction — your delivery can always wait.

3. Maintain your truck

Give your vehicle a thorough check each morning (fluid levels, horn, mirrors, etc.). The brakes are particularly vital, given how much weight is riding on them. If you spot anything unusual, report it to dispatch before attempting to drive.

4. Load cargo wisely

The higher you stack cargo, the more drag on the truck. By stacking lower and spreading cargo through the full space of the truck, you can stay more nimble and improve your fuel economy.

5. Reduce speed on curves

Usually, following the speed limit is a good thing. When it comes to trucking, however, there are times when even adhering to posted signs is still too fast (confusing, we know).

Particularly on exit/entrance ramps, the speed limits are meant more for cars; trucks have a tendency to tip over if they take the curves too fast. When going through any curve, it’s best to set your speed far lower than the posted limit to make up for your rig’s unique dimensions.

6. Adjust for bad weather

Inclement weather causes roughly 25 percent of all speeding-related truck driving accidents. Cut your speed down by one-third on wet roads, and by one-half on snowy or icy ones.

Also allow more time for maneuvers in poor weather. Let your blinker run for a good 5 blinks before your change lanes, and signal for turns before slowing down.

And if you see other truckers pulling over, maybe it’s best you do likewise.

7. Take care of yourself

A big part of truck driver safety has less to do with your vehicle, and more to do with you. Getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising, and taking quality home time will all help you feel more content and refreshed behind the wheel — 2 qualities prized in any driver.

U.S. DOT and EPA Propose Fuel Economy Standards for MY 2021-2026 Vehicles

WASHINGTON – On August 2, 2018, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a notice of proposed rulemaking, the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks (SAFE Vehicles Rule), to correct the national automobile fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards to give the American people greater access to safer, more affordable vehicles that are cleaner for the environment.

The SAFE Vehicles Rule is the next generation of the Congressionally mandated Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards. This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is the first formal step in setting the 2021-2026 Model Year (MY) standards that must be achieved by each automaker for its car and light-duty truck fleet.

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