Owners of Trucking Company Guilty of Forcing Drivers to Falsify Safety Records

On Monday September 16, the owners of CDE Corporation and Winsor Hill Hauling and Recycling Corporation, based in Rhode Island, were sentenced to 12 months of probation and fined $1250 for instructing employees to falsify federally mandated United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR) so their trucks, needing repair, could remain on the road.

The owners, a married couple, Leslie Cucino and Robert Cucino, Jr. admitted to threatening their drivers to report “no defects” on the DVIR reports otherwise they will be fired. The drivers knew of serious defects but falsified records to keep their jobs. 

Although both Companies are closed down now the scheme went on for years. In multiple cases officers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts issued inspection reports, citing many defects such as faulty brakes. The couple plead guilty to the charges.

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FMCSA Seeking Public Feedback on IL Emblem Petition

On January 20, 2012, Allerton Charter Coach, Inc. submitted a petition to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requesting the agency review the Chicago Ground Transportation Tax, which applies to interstate motor passenger carriers, in the FMCSA’s jurisdiction.

The tax requires providers of vehicle passenger transportation in Chicago to pay a fee that varies by the capacity of the vehicle and display an emblem on their windshield as evidence of payment. The tax applies regardless if the vehicle is registered in the state of Illinois and failure to comply results in a fine. The FMCSA prohibits states from requiring interstate CMV’s to display any form of identification other than the ones required by the Secretary of Transportation. However, Chicago found a way around the rules. 

The emblem display is exempt under U.S.C. 14506(b)(2), stating, “The statutory exceptions cited by Chicago are, respectively, credentials required under the International Fuel Tax Agreement or applicable State law and State law rendering motor vehicle licence plates or other displays that the Secretary determines are appropriate.” In 2012, when Atterton first submitted the petition, Chicago opposed and counteragrued that Allerton didn’t demonstrate a live dispute, and proved that the display is exempt. 

Now, seven years later the American Bus Association (ABA) requested the FMCSA republish the petition for an opportunity of additional public feedback. As during the original petition from Allerton, the FMCSA only received five comments. The comment period will end on October 3, 2019. If you’d like to leave a comment, go here.

Source: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/notices/2019-18983

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FMCSA Warns Drivers of Scams Requesting Payment for Biennial Filing

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires trucking companies and corresponding businesses to update their information every two years, even if the information hasn’t changed. The required information on the biennial update form (Form MCS-150) includes the name and location of business, operational information, number of vehicles and drivers.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT),  issued a warning on Friday, August 30, as well as the FMCSA following up with a social media post warning truckers of scams requesting money for carriers to file their DOT biennial update. 

The scams are sent out via email and letters which include threats of fines for failure to pay. These emails and letters containing links to websites requesting money is not associated with the DOT or WisDOT. 

More information about the FMCSA’s biennial updates can be found here. While companies are required to renew their USDOT number ever two years, filing is free on the FMCSA website, here.

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State of Emergency—Tropical Storm Dorian

Hurricane Dorian is making its way towards Florida, and is expected to reach a category 4 storm before it hits land. President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency and ordered federal assistance for the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has also issued an emergency declaration for the states and territories that are expected to be effected by Hurricane Dorian.  

Florida is preparing for what could be the most powerful storm in 27-years. Governor Ron Desantis, of Florida, issued an executive order on Wednesday, declaring the following counties in a state of emergency, suspending HOS for drivers providing aid: Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Glades, Hendry, Highlands, Indian River, Lake, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Volusia and Union.

The FMCSA’s declaration states, “This emergency declaration addresses anticipated emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of supplies, equipment, fuel and persons and provides necessary relief.” Precisely, the FMCSA’s notice allows exemption from parts of 390-399, of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), which cover parts and accessories needed for safe operation, HOS and longer combination vehicles. Drivers aren’t exempt from requirements relating to CDL, drugs and alcohol, hazmat, size, weight and registration requirement. 

The declaration issued by the FMCSA applies to the following states and territories: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Source: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/emergency-declarations

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FMCSA Will Charge $1.25 for Every Driver a Carrier Hires

Starting next year the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will require trucking companies to pay $1.25 per employee, prior to hiring them. In addition, carriers are still required to pay a yearly fee for pre existing employees, as part of the FMCSA’s new Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse rule.

Beginning January 6, 2020 carriers will be required to report drug and alcohol violations and check their employees records if prohibited from performing certain functions. The database will provide the necessary information for the past five years. The FMCSA stated they’ll charge carriers to access the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, a flat fee of $1.25, and carriers can purchase bulk query plans but they’ll still be priced at $1.25 each. 

The agency offers two types of queries; The first is “limited”, which checks for the presence of information in the queried driver’s Clearinghouse record. Second, is “full”, which provides employers with detailed information about any resolved or unresolved violations in a driver’s Clearinghouse record. The carrier must obtain the drivers consent for both queries. 

The Clearinghouse will be implemented to replace the old process of calling a driver’s previous employer to retrieve drug and alcohol records. Once the Clearinghouse goes into effect on January 6, 2020, carriers must comply with both the old and new rules until 2023 when the old method will discontinue.

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Long Awaited HOS Changes

The FMCSA released the HOS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). The proposal is designed to increase safety and not increase driving time. The FMCSA believes these changes will save an estimated $274 million for the U.S. economy and American consumers.

Based on public comments the FMCSA proposed to revise the following rules:

  1. 30-Minute Rest Break
    • Required after 8 hours of driving time. Previously was 8 hours on duty.
    • The break will be allowed while on-duty, not driving. Previously had to be off-duty.
  2. Split Sleeper Berth
    • 7/3 hour splits are permissible. Previously drivers were required to split 10 hours off duty into two periods. 
    • NPRM requests research on further splits
  3. Adverse Driving Conditions
    • On-duty time can be extended to accommodate 2 additional hours of driving during adverse conditions. 
  4. Short-Haul Drivers 
    • Short haul CDL drivers can now operate within 150 air-mile radius and up to 14 hours. Previously 100 air-mile radius and 12 hours. 
  5. 14 Hour Clock 
    • Drivers will be allowed to “pause” their 14 hour on-duty clock once, for up to 3 hours during their duty day. 

The FMCSA is currently seeking public feedback on the proposed revisions. If you’d like to leave a comment, click here

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Surprise Inspection Blitz Placed 1,600 Trucks Out of Service

On May 15, an unannounced break-focused inspection blitz placed over 1,600 trucks out of service in the U.S and Canada, in a single day. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) announced that the commercial vehicle inspectors conducted more than 10,358 inspections which placed 1,667 (16.1%) of those vehicles out of service. 

Inspectors paid close attention to break hoses/tubing. According to the CVSA, 996 trucks were issued violations for chafed rubber hoses, 185 trucks were issued violations for chafed thermoplastic hoses. Totalling, 1,125 violations for chafed rubber hoses and 124 violations for damaged thermoplastic hoses. 

CVSA President Chief Jay Thompson stated to the Arkansas Highway Police, “Brake hoses and tubing must be properly attached, undamaged, without leaks and appropriately flexible,” Thompson concluded, “because they are such an important part of the braking system, the failure of hoses or tubing can cause problems for the entire braking system.” 

Top five brake-related violations are:

  • Clamp or roto type brake out of adjustment
  • CMV manufactured after Oct. 19, 1994, has an automatic brake adjustment system that fails to compensate for wear 
  • Brake hose or tubing chafing and/or kinking 
  • No or defective ABS malfunction indicator lamp for trailer manufactured after March 1, 1998 
  • Inoperative/defective brakes

The CVSA will have another brake-focused inspection blitz next month, scheduled for September 15-21.

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TuSimple partners with PCC for a first of its kind AV certificate program for truck drivers

TuSimple a company located out of San Diego, Calafornia, whose mission is to bring self-driving trucks to the market has partnered up with Pima Community College (PCC) in Tucson, Arizona, for a first-of-its-kind autonomous vehicle certificate program.

The program is called “Autonomous Vehicle Driver and Operations Specialist”, which launches on September 2019, registration will be in August. The program will consist of five courses covering technology deployed in self-driving semi trucks. The program requires the students to have a Class A Commercial Driver’s Licence (CDL) prior to enrollment as the students will build on their knowledge through out each course.

TuSimple director of public affairs Robert Brown says, “Human drivers will have to interact with our vehicles for the foreseeable future.” Brown concluded that the Autonomous Vehicle Driver and Operations Specialist program will allow truck drivers up-skill as the industry changes. TuSimple will prioritize hiring the certificate graduates for jobs at its Tucson testing center and they hope to eventually expand the program nationwide.

TuSimple most recently partnered up with the United States Postal Service (USPS) for a two-week pilot program to transport mail between the USPS distribution center in Phoenix, AZ and Dallas, TX.

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How Much Time Do Truckers Waste At Loading Docks? The FMCSA Wants To Know

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is seeking public feedback on driver detention times at loading docks to better understand how it impacts safety on the road.

In a 2011 study conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) which recommended the, “ FMCSA examine the extent to which detention time contributes to hours of service violations in its future studies on driver fatigue and detention time.’’ In response to the GAO report, the FMCSA sponsored a study later conducted that estimated the average detention time a driver spends loading and unloading is, “10 percent of their stops for an average duration of 1.4 hours beyond a commonly accepted two-hour loading and unloading period”. However, the study failed to calculate what normal loading and unloading times should be.

The DOT study hypothesizes that not only does detention time increase fatigue, but may also contribute to dangerous driving behaviors and increased frustration.

The FMCSA is seeking comments on the following questions:

  • Are data currently available that can accurately record loading, unloading, and delay times?
  • Is there technology available that could record and delineate prompt loading and unloading times versus the extended delays sometimes experienced by drivers?
  • How can delay times be captured and recorded in a systematic, comparable manner?
  • Could systematic collection and publication of loading, unloading, and delay times be useful in driver or carrier business decisions and help to reduce loading, unloading, and delay times?
  • What should FMCSA use as an estimate of reasonable loading/unloading time? Please provide a basis for your response.
  • How do contract arrangements between carriers and shippers address acceptable wait times? Do these arrangements include penalties for delays attributable to a carrier or shipper?
  • What actions by FMCSA, within its current statutory authority, would help to reduce loading, unloading, and delay times?

Ezlogz offers geofencing, a feature which allows the admin to set up a barrier to track how long a driver is at a location, which will then notify the admin when they leave the geofenced area. Many of our customers like to use this feature at loading docks. Geofencing is an essential feature every fleet should have to track which loading docks effect your drivers available driving and on-duty time.

The FMCSA stated they need more information on trucker detention time at shippers and receivers in order to understand how those delays impact highway safety. The FMCSA is requesting feedback, there is a 90-day comment period ending on September 9, 2019. If you’d like to leave a comment please follow all guidelines listed here

Source: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-06-10/pdf/2019-12167.pdf

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Reminder: New Hours of Service Releasing Today, June 7

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) U.S Department of Services (DOT) is scheduled to release new flexible hours of service. They began revising the HOS in August 2018, and opened the proposed rule making for public comment and feedback.

The FMCSA asked for comments on the following:

  • 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.

The new HOS regulations are scheduled to be released today, June 7th, however the DOT can change the date. Following the release of the revised HOS, there will be a 49-day comment period allowing the public to give valuable feedback. The comment period will end on July 26. Based on the feedback, the agency will determine to either revise the rules or proceed with the final rule.

For a more in depth article please see our post https://ezlogzblog.com/2019/05/02/new-flexible-hours-of-service-set-for-next-month/

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