Low Participation by Mexican Truckers Threatens Cross-Border Program

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Low participation by Mexican carriers in the cross-border trucking program could lead to the resumption of Mexican tariffs on U.S. goods, an official with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said.

Without more carriers participating, FMCSA cannot collect the safety data it needs to judge Mexican carriers’ safety, said Bill Quade, the agency’s associate administrator.


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Marvin Garvey wasn’t about to ignore a distraught woman - Highway Angel

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Marvin Garvey wasn’t about to ignore a distraught woman who looked like she could use a Highway Angel

Alexandria, Virginia:

When no one else will stop, it is often a professional truck driver who saves the day. The Truckload Carriers Association honors these individuals as Highway Angels, and the latest one is Marvin Garvey of Hampstead, North Carolina. Garvey, who drives for Epes Transport System, Inc., of Greensboro, North Carolina, is being recognized for the compassion he showed to a stranded motorist.

On August 19, 2012, in the late morning, Garvey was driving along I-85/I-40 near Greensboro, North Carolina, on his way to make a delivery. Traffic was very heavy, and up ahead, he heard horns honking and saw vehicles maneuvering around something. It turned out to be a woman whose car engine had stalled and would not turn back on. The woman was quite upset – in tears because she was stuck in the middle of heavy traffic with horns blaring at her. No one was stopping to help.

After passing her, Garvey pulled over, walked back to the scene, and pushed the woman’s vehicle onto the shoulder. He then calmed her down, telling her which way she was headed, where the closest exit was, and other pertinent information. At one point, he even walked back to his truck to check the GPS, wanting to be certain he had provided the correct details. He stayed with the woman until she managed to reach her brother on a cell phone.

The next day, the woman wrote a letter to Epes Transport praising Garvey for his assistance during her stressful ordeal. “He was really like an angel,” she said. “He could have possibly saved my life. Who knows how long it would have taken for someone to run right into me? I offered to pay him for his trouble, but he politely refused. He was a gentleman who went out of his way to help me. It is a rare thing in this day and time for someone to get involved.”

Garvey, who retired from the U.S. Army two years ago after a 20-year career, says that helping people is the “military thing to do.”

“I can’t believe how cold-hearted some people are,” he said, referring to the many motorists who saw what happened but kept on driving. “She was clearly frustrated. I just couldn’t leave her stranded in that danger zone.”

For his efforts to help the woman, Garvey has received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate, and patch. Epes Transport System also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.

The Highway Angel program is sponsored for TCA by Internet Truckstop. Since the program’s inception in August 1997, hundreds of drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the unusual kindness, courtesy, and courage they have shown others while on the job. TCA has received letters and e-mails from people across North America nominating truck drivers for the program.



More Information in Regards to Sending Convictions on MX Drivers

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This announcement from FMCSA is to provide additional information and an update to the previous guidance and information provided regarding the Gateway Portal shut down on midnight Tuesday, Oct. 9th.
For your awareness: A State's ability to access CDLIS information on US and Canadian drivers continue without any interruption. The shutdown of the Gateway has no effect on State CDLIS transactions involving US and Canadian drivers.
A. For States that are sending convictions via CDLIS on MX drivers the CDL Division provides the following guidance:
Please re-send your convictions when the MX node is back up again. FMCSA will notify you when the MX node is back up. For more information about how to use UNI to re-drive your convictions automatically, please see the CDLIS System Specifications 5.2 document, page 10, Section 3.6 Message Retry.
B. For states that are sending convictions via paper on MX drivers:
Please send the paper convictions to the following new mailing address that has been provided by the new service provider:
8300 Boone Blvd, Ste 550
Vienna, VA 22182-2681
You may also contact the following phone number and email address for any questions about paper convictions on MX drivers:
Helpdesk email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Helpdesk Telephone: 1(855) 537-7517


DOT Inspector General Agrees to Audit CSA After Request From Congress

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By Eric Miller, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the Oct. 22 print edition of Transport Topics.

The Department of Transportation’s Inspector General has agreed to conduct an in-depth audit of the government’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program and to include a look at the relationship between carrier safety scores and crash risks.

The Oct. 12 audit request was made by Rep. John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.), chairman of the House Transportation Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, and the ranking Democratic member, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.)... Continue reading. (Log in to TTNEWS is Required.)



CVTA Attended Veterans Transportation Career Opportunities Forum

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Recently Mike O’Connell received an invitation to the Veterans Transportation Career Opportunities Forum. Mike and Cheryl Hanley asked John Diab and Cindy Atwood to attend in his place.

/CVTA_JohnDiab_VAT_ForumThe forum focused on careers in the trucking, transit, and motor coach sectors. Participants discussed the importance of working with truck and bus companies to recruit qualified and safety-conscious Veterans for the critical jobs that need to be filled. The DOT is striving to remove barriers that stand in the way of our veterans’ success and connecting them with job opportunities that they deserve. This meeting gave motor carriers and other stakeholders a chance to tell DOT and DOL how they can assist in making the transition for veterans easier.

Together, DOT and Veterans Affairs have launched the Veterans Transportation Career Center, a web site to help veterans find jobs in the private sector. On this site, veterans can learn what training and certification are needed for civilian jobs, determine what career fits best with their background, and search for available jobs in their field. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is doing what it can to make obtaining a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) easier for veterans with military driving experience.

In May, FMCSA proposed a rule allowing states to waive the CDL skills test for military drivers with two years of safe driving experience. Today, 39 states are offering or preparing to offer this option, and DOT is encouraging the other states to do the same.

The latest transportation bill, MAP-21, requires DOT and FMCSA to examine the gaps between military training and the requirements for a CDL. This study will provide us with the information needed need to work with the military and the states to fill those gaps.
There are significant grants available from DOL and DOT that CVTA members are not currently able to access. There was an indication that privately owned schools were not held in the same esteem as Community Colleges. CVTA is striving to change the perception with the Departments of Labor and Transportation.
Our friends from ATA specifically Boyd Stephenson did a wonderful job of supporting CVTA and its members schools. His comments were very favorable and we believe had an impact on the group. We thank Boyd and ATA for their continued support.

The session ended with a commitment to work together. We all realize that providing opportunities to talented and skilled veterans is essential to strengthening America’s transportation system. The DOT promised will continue to work with an ever increasing wide range of partners to help veterans find success in transportation fields.


ODAPC Confirms Heroin Testing Change

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of October 8, 2012
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance

The Department of Transportation’s Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance confirmed changes to the process by which heroin is identified in a urine sample. Under the new rules, testing for and identifying heroin use should be more streamlined.

Under the new rules, Laboratories and MROs will no longer be required to consult with one another about testing for morphine usage when the laboratory finds 6-AM in a urine sample. In a Final Rule issued on Wednesday, October 3, the Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance chose to enact the rules unchanged from the Interim Final Rule issued on May 3 (see Fast-Fax 736).

6-AM and Morphine

Opiates, one of the ‘drugs’ tested for under the DOT 5-Panel are in fact not a unified, single substance, but instead a broad family that includes legitimate medications and illegal substances. Morphine, an opiate, is a legitimate pain management medication. Heroin, also an opiate, does not have any legitimate usage.

Heroin differs from Morphine in a variety of ways. Most importantly, in terms of drug testing, it is marked by a unique metabolite — 6-AM. When laboratories test your urine sample, they look for these metabolites as a sign of drug use. While heroin use may produce Morphine metabolites, it will also always produce 6-AM. However, Morphine (or any other drug) will never produce 6-AM: only Heroin will.

By this process, the MRO can tell if the positive test can be explained by the use of legitimate medication or not. Heroin has no legitimate use, so the MRO will know the positive cannot be explained away.

So What Has Changed?

During the last revision of the drug testing regulations, the DOT was confronted by industry figures who claimed that a provision of the rules was unnecessary. Under the current rules, if a laboratory finds 6-AM, the must consult with the laboratory about whether traces of morphine were also found in the sample. These traces would be lower than the normal cut-off level but higher than the laboratories’ minimum level of detection.

That was quite complicated, and, according to many of the experts that contacted the DOT, not necessary. DOT has agreed, and, in the Interim Final Rule, has removed the complicated relationship entirely.

The new regulations were scheduled to go into effect on July 3 of this year. ODAPC did not explain why they were delayed.

How Does This Affect You?

This is one of those ‘behind-the-scenes’ regulations that won’t affect you very much at all (unless you get a heroin positive). In reality, you probably won’t notice any changes.

The change does, however, streamline the process of identifying a heroin user; hopefully speeding up the time it takes to get the individual off the road.

Avoiding Trouble With Opiates

It is safe to claim that opiates are the cause of more unintentional violations of the regulations than any of the other controlled substances that the DOT tests for. Safety-Sensitive personnel need to be very careful when they are being prescribed a painkiller, as failure to follow the rules can lead to very serious consequences. Most importantly, they need to ensure that the doctor prescribing the drug knows that the patient drives a truck for a living.

In fact, this is good advice for any time a safety-sensitive individual is given a new prescription. If the individual is sent for a test, and has been taking a prescription opiate, the initial test will come back positive. The MRO will investigate, including contacting the prescribing doctor. One of the questions asked will be ‘were you aware of the patient’s job and would you still have prescribed this medication if you were?’ If the Doctor assures the MRO that they knew and that the medication will not affect the patient’s job-skills, the MRO will declare the test negative. If, however, the patient had not told the MRO that he or she was a truck driver the likely result is a confirmed positive test.

Ensure that all safety-sensitive personnel know to talk to their doctors BEFORE they start a new medication.



Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • • Vol. 112, No. 758 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2012


Mike Card Elected ATA Chairman

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LAS VEGAS — Mike Card, president of Combined Transport, Central Point, Ore., was elected American Trucking Associations’ 68th chairman at ATA’s annual Management Conference & Exhibition here Wednesday.

“It is a tremendous honor to be selected by one’s peers to represent them,” said Card, who succeeded Dan England, chairman of C.R. England Inc., Salt Lake City, in the one-year position.

“It is not secret that our nation and our industry are at a crossroads,” Card said in a statement, “with looming changes in hours-of-service, a steady, but still slow, economic recovery, a federal government threatening to impose even more onerous regulations on our industry — while all the while underinvesting in the highway system we depend on.”

Speaking at ATA’s annual MCE banquet Wednesday evening, Card said being named chairman was “the highlight of my life [and] I’m going to do everything I can to expand the influence of ATA’s voice.”

He also said he is planning a trip to Mexico City in a few weeks to talk with Mexican trucking industry officials, as well as ATA’s Canadian counterpart, to help with cross-border trade issues.

“Mike is emblematic of what makes our industry great,” ATA President Bill Graves said in a statement. “The son of a driver-turned-entrepreneur and the leader of a family business, Mike will be a tremendous ambassador for ATA and for trucking,” Graves said.

By Transport Topics