The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) wants your input! Published in the Federal Register on June 10th, the agency is seeking comments regarding “data sources, methodologies and potential technologies that could provide insight into loading and unloading delays experienced by [commercial motor vehicle] drivers,” including the frequency and severity detention has on drivers. (1)
Last week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that the agency was in the process of creating a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) which would bring about major changes to Hours-of-Service regulations for truck drivers. While exact changes that the agency is looking to reform have not yet been made available, greater flexibility for on and off-duty time was one of the initiatives FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez hinted at during a speech he made at the Omnitracs User Conference in Dallas. (1) A NPRM was expected to publish this month but the partial government shutdown may cause a delay.
The trucking industry is now preparing for Phase 3 of the Electronic Logging Device legislation that began the implementation process on February 16, 2015. The legislation to better control hours-of-service reporting was set to phase in after the final ELD rules were published in December of 2015 with a compliance date of December 2017.
The American Transportation Research Institute released its report “Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry” this week, which identified the top concerns and challenges along with strategies for each according to 1,557 motor carriers, drivers, and stakeholders in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Results from the report were as follows:
Freight Index: According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, freight transported via trucks, rail, air, waterways and pipelines decreased nationwide by 0.8% in June.1 The loss was mainly suffered by trucks and waterways while freight via air, intermodal and rail carloads saw an increase in freight.1
While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s electronic logging device (ELD) mandate goes into effect on Dec. 18th of this year, truckers will not be issued out-of-services due to compliance failure until next year, according to an announcement by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) earlier this week.
Earlier this year, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration advised the industry that a proposal, which would acknowledge hair testing as an acceptable form for a carrier to drug test its employees, would likely be released by year’s end or early 2018. But given that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was required to issue guidelines for hair testing by Dec. 4th, 2016 (a year after the FAST Act highway bill was passed), U.S. senators sent a letter last week to HHS asking to speed up the process.1 Until this is done, only the conduction of a urinalysis is recognized as a proper form of drug screening. The problem with this method is that a urinalysis only uncovers traces in the system within the past two or three days. Therefore, many carriers also require their employees to undergo hair testing as well, which provides detection as far back as 60-90 days, preventing employees that know they will be tested, the ability to refrain from usage a few days prior to the test to receive a negative result.2 The American Trucking Associations continues to back hair testing as a proper way to drug test.