November 14, 2013
FMCSA to Enforce MCS-150 Requirements
Motor carriers and other entities that are required to have a U.S. DOT number are also required to file a Form MCS-150 with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) at least every two years to update their identifying, contact, and operational information. This has been the law for a long time, but FMCSA has never strictly enforced it. However, the agency now plans to do so, under a regulation that was part of its recently issued Unified Registration System rule. (See the SLN of 8/30/2013. And once again, the URS has nothing to do with the UCRA!)
FMCSA has now indicated how they’ll go about this enforcement. Starting next month, the agency will send a letter to carriers that are due to update their information in January 2014 reminding them to do so. In February, the FMCSA will check its system to see if those carriers complied. If a carrier did not, its DOT number will be deactivated on April 1. FMCSA will adhere to a similar schedule in each succeeding month for carriers whose two-year window expires in the months following January.
Although information from the MCS-150s filed by carriers and other entities is critical for FMCSA’s master database, the Motor Carrier Management Information System, MCMIS, much of the enforcement of the filing requirement has in effect been left up to the states that participate in the federal PRISM program. Under PRISM, a state participating in the program may not renew the International Registration Plan registration of a carrier unless it has updated its MCS-150 information within the preceding twelve months. And most states participate in PRISM.
FMCSA Criticized for Lack of Effective Oversight of Motor Carrier Operations.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has called for the Government Accountability Office and DOT Inspector General to audit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) oversight of Motor Carrier Safety. In particular, the NTSB questioned both the thoroughness and quality of FMCSA's compliance reviews and the agency's extensive reliance on "focused" compliance reviews that examine only part of a carrier's operations.
NTSB is an independent federal agency that investigates significant transportation accidents looking for systemic issues that are not being addressed by their respective regulatory agencies.
In this case NTSB opened an investigation into FMCSA based on four recent commercial vehicle accidents resulting in 25 deaths and 83 injuries. In each crash, NTSB found serious safety deficiencies in carrier operations that should have been red flags to the FMCSA, but instead were ignored.
The cited accidents show that driver's were running double logbooks in order to violate the hours of service regulations and their resulting fatigue may have lead to the crashes.
The NTSB findings also suggest that the carriers involved had a history of hours of service violations as discovered on both past roadside inspections and compliance reviews.
ATA Calls for Mandated Electronic Logging
The American Trucking Associations used the announcement by NTSB to reiterate its earlier stances calling on FMCSA to mandate electronic logging devices in commercial trucks and to improve its Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) fleet safety monitoring and measurement system.
“NTSB’s finding that a truck driver in a fatal crash, and many of his co-workers, routinely carried two log books is unacceptable and would have been prevented by the use of a mandatory electronic logging device,” said Bill Graves, ATA president and CEO.
ATA also highlighted NTSB’s recommendations regarding how the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration identifies and investigates potential problem carriers.
“At issue here is how FMCSA uses its limited resources to focus on problem carriers. FMCSA must improve its CSA program to better identify carriers more likely to be involved in future crashes,” said ATA Chairman Phil Byrd, president of Bulldog Hiway Express, Charleston, S.C. “We look forward to the forthcoming Government Accountability Office and DOT Inspector General CSA audit reports and hope they emphasize the need to ensure that the program accurately measures crash risk and focuses on unsafe fleets,” Courtesy www.truckinginfo.com and American Trucking Associations.
New CSA Public Data Display Now Available for Preview
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published a notice in the Federal Register requesting public comment on proposed changes to the public display of CSA Safety Measurement System (SMS) data. Users are now able to preview the proposed changes here.
The changes are intended to consolidate FMCSA safety information, provide access to more detailed information and monitoring tools and clarify SMS’s role as an enforcement prioritization tool.
Most prominently, the proposed SMS display removes percentile scores from the landing page and replaces it with a listing of all SMS BASICs and a conspicuous indication of which are in “Alert” status. Percentile scores are still available by “drilling down” into each BASIC. Other notable additions to the SMS preview website include: enforcement case histories, carrier registration information, safety ratings and licensing and insurance information.
The preview website also contains expanded functionality including the ability to download the violation, inspection, measure and percentile score information of all motor carriers in a particular peer group. Motor carriers are asked to log in using their CSA portal credentials to review how their public SMS data will be presented to third parties. Other interested stakeholders can review fictitious data to get a sense of the proposed changes. Comments are due by January 6, 2014. The docket ID number is: FMCSA-2013-26543. Courtesy of ATA Daily
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The COHMED Conference is presented by the Cooperative Hazardous Materials Enforcement Development (COHMED) Program. This partnership works to foster coordination, cooperation and communication between federal, state and local agencies that have regulatory and enforcement responsibility for the safe transportation of hazardous materials and the industry that they regulate.
The conference encourages industry participation and this meeting provides a major networking and educational opportunity for those involved in the transportation of Hazardous Materials.
COHMED is sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and registration details may be found on their website.
ATRI Study Identifies Significant Impacts of New HOS Rules
Arlington, VA - The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) today released the findings of its latest analysis of the operational and economic impacts resulting from the new Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules, which went into effect July 1, 2013.
The changes to the Hours-of-Service rules implemented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) include provisions which limit use of the 34-hour restart and require a rest break before driving after 8 hours on-duty.
Among the operational and economic impacts identified by ATRI are:
- More than 80 percent of motor carriers surveyed have experienced a productivity loss since the new rules went into effect, with nearly half stating that they require more drivers to haul the same amount of freight.
- Among commercial drivers surveyed by ATRI, 82.5 percent indicated that the new HOS rules have had a negative impact on their quality of life, with more than 66 percent indicating increased levels of fatigue.
- Commercial drivers are forced to drive in more congested time periods, although the FMCSA Regulatory Impact Analysis did not address increased safety risks with truck traffic diversion to peak hour traffic.
- The majority of drivers (67%) report decreases in pay since the rules took effect.
- The impacts on driver wages for all over-the-road drivers total $1.6 billion to $3.9 billion in annualized loss.
ATRI’s analysis is based on industry survey data of over 2,300 commercial drivers and 400 motor carriers as well a detailed analysis of logbook data representing 40,000+ commercial drivers.
“We anticipated significant impacts on our operations and across the entire supply chain from the new rules and our experience since July 1st is bearing that out,” commented Kevin Burch, President of Jet Express. “ATRI’s analysis clearly documents the productivity impacts and real financial costs being borne by carriers and drivers. It’s only a matter of time before these impacts ripple throughout the nation’s economy.”
A copy of this report is available from ATRI .
Driver Turnover Rate Increased in Second Quarter of 2013
There is a continued high driver turnover rate in large fleets that indicates a strong demand for qualified, experienced drivers.
According to ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello, "the continued improvement in the freight economy, coupled with regulatory challengers from the changing hours-of-service rule and CSA will only serve to put a further squeeze on the market for drivers.
The current large fleet turnover rate is 99%, two percentage points higher than the last quarter. Turnover at truckload fleets with less than $30 million in annual revenue remained unchanged at 82% while turnover at less-than-truckload fleets plummeted nine percentage points to 6% - the lowest level in two years.
This data comes from the American Trucking Associations' Trucking Activity Report.
CDL/Medical Card Merger - Deadline Approaches
On January 30, 2014, all CDL holders must had advised their state driver's licensing agency of the typ of driving they do and the status of their medical certificate.
Non-compliance means that the driver will lose CDL privileages and their driver's license will be downgraded to a non-CDL class. Reinstatement may be a time-consuming and costly process for drivers.
The first thing the driver must provide to the state DMV is a self-certification or the type of commercial driving he/she does. These formscan be obtained from the DMV or in many cases may be downloaded from the DMV website.
In addition to the self certification the driver must also provide a valid copy of their medical certificate which will be attached to the driver's driving record.
The good news is that once this is done, drivers will no longer be required to carry their medical cards and carriers are not required to maintain a copy in the driver's qualification files. Courtesy www.truckinginfo.com.
FMCSA Issues Final Rule Adopting Regulations Required by MAP-21
This week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a Final Rule adopting 17 regulatory changes mandated by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) act, the highway reauthorization bill passed by Congress in 2012.
They include adjustments to various fine levels, an increase in the minimum broker bond amount to $75,000, and a variety of other enforcement and penalty provisions. Because these changes are considered “nondiscretionary,” they become effective immediately and are implemented without the need to submit them to the standard notice and comment rulemaking process.