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Truck Stops Going Green

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(Central Valley Business Times © 10/05/2010 )
SEAL BEACH
October 5, 2010 5:00 AM

More than 500 truck stops across the country, including the Central Valley, will offer natural gas filling stations for trucks thanks to a deal announced Tuesday between Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (NASDAQ: CLNE) of Seal Beach and Pilot Travel Centers LLC of Knoxville, Tenn., which runs Flying J truck stops.

Clean Energy will build, own and operate public access, compressed and liquefied natural gas (CNG/LNG) fueling facilities.

While Pilot Flying J operates over 550 truck travel centers in 43 states and six Canadian provinces, the initial rollout is expected to include only agreed-upon truck centers. The exact number and locations were not revealed by either firm.

“This is the critical link for Clean Energy to be able to roll out natural gas truck fueling services across the nation,” says Andrew Littlefair, Clean Energy president and CEO. “With the availability... Continue to read more.

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Agency Forced to Issue Hours Rule

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(e-Trucker © 10/05/2010)
By Avery Vise

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has said it plans to issue a proposed rule by the end of this year on supporting documents for hours-of-service compliance, but now it has no choice.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Sept. 30 ordered FMCSA to issue the proposed rule by Dec. 30.

In January, the American Trucking Associations asked the appeals court to issue a “writ of mandamus” to order FMCSA to issue a supporting documents regulation that Congress mandated as part of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Authorization Act of 1994. The regulations were to have been issued by Feb. 26, 1996. FMCSA and ATA set the lawsuit aside this spring to settle their differences, but in July ATA said settlement talks had failed and asked the court to rule.

For many years, FMCSA has used regulatory guidance and policies rather than formal regulations to govern motor carriers’ supporting documents requirements. This approach has been frustrating for many carriers and has led to several court ... Continue to read more.

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Randall-Reilly publications bring the printed word to life with Microsoft Tag barcodes

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For Immediate Release

Brent Reilly
(800) 633-5953, ext. 1335
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

TUSCALOOSA, ALA (October 2010) — Beginning immediately, recipients of all Randall-Reilly construction and trucking publications will be able to enhance their reading experience quickly and easily by using their smart phones to unlock access to multimedia content. Readers can scan Microsoft Tag barcodes placed within editorial content or in advertisements and be instantly directed to a company's website, view a video, receive a text message or have their phone automatically dial a number.

"Placed within feature articles and advertisements, these tags bring the printed word to life and connect readers to richer, more interactive experiences," says Jim Davis, vice president, Randall-Reilly Interactive Media Division. "Each interactive page view presents our advertisers with additional sales opportunities. By including Tags in advertising messages we can drive reader engagement and measure the effectiveness of advertising campaigns."

Randall-Reilly tested all types of bar codes and the software used to scan them and found the Microsoft Tag to be the best quality and easiest to use. It also offered superior backend reporting capabilities.

"We're excited that Randall-Reilly is using Tag with its advertisers to engage with readers at a deeper level," says Bill McQuain, director of Tag Product Management at Microsoft Corp. "Microsoft Tag makes the world around you clickable, and now with the scan of Tag from a Randall-Reilly publication, readers will get a rich interactive brand experience."

The service is available for free to advertisers and readers. The Microsoft Tag reader is compatible with Internet-capable mobile devices, including many based on the Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Java, Android, Symbian S60, iPhone and Java ME platforms. Try out the Microsoft Tag technology by simply downloading the software at http://gettag.mobi (or download the Tag app in the Apple store) and follow the directions to scan.

For more information about Microsoft Tags, contact your Randall-Reilly sales representative at (800) 633-5953.

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DOT Finalizes Ban on Texting While Driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of September 20, 2010
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood personally announces the Final Rule banning texting while driving a CMV.

Banning texting while driving, an issue that has become a personal quest for Secretary of Tranportation Ray LaHood, reached another milestone on Tuesday as the Secretary personally announced the Final Rule banning texting while driving a Commercial
Motor Vehicle (CMV).

LaHood’s Pet Project

Preventing distracted driving incidents is quickly becoming the key issue that will define LaHood’s tenure at the Department of Transportation (DOT). LaHood has dedicated a great deal of his time to the issue, recruiting celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey to help drive home the message that texting behind the wheel is unsafe.

The new regulations were announced at this years National Distracted Driving Summit. LaHood announced the regulations while giving a speech explaining the effectiveness of the regulations and plans that had been enacted as a result of last year’s summit — the first of its kind.

“We are taking action on a number of fronts to address the epidemic of distracted driving in America,” said Secretary LaHood. “With the help of the experts, policy-makers, and safety advocates we’ve assembled here, we are going to do everything we can to put an end to distracted driving and save lives.”

Is This Really A Problem?

While some have questioned the need for regulations or for the level of attention that Secretary LaHood has given this issue, the statistics don’t lie. In 2009, nearly 5,500 people died and half a million were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research, distraction-related fatalities represented 16 percent of overall traffic fatalities in 2009.

What Exactly is Being Banned?

The Final Rule included a fairly broad definition of the term ‘texting’.

Texting means manually entering alphanumeric text, or reading text from an electronic device.
This action includes, but is not limited to, short message service, e-mailing, instant messaging, a command or request to access a World Wide Web page, or engaging in any other form of electronic text retrieval or electronic text entry for present or future communication.

The breadth of this definition should close any loopholes that the ticketed might attempt to exploit. Don’t — for example — tell a police officer you were emailing on a BlackBerry, not texting on a phone.

What About My Other Electronic Devices?

In a nod to practicality, the ban does have a number of exemptions. Essentially, the list of allowed devices and methods of communication are those that the trucking industry in particular rely on to perform its daily tasks. As such:

Texting does not include:

  • Reading, selecting, or entering a telephone number, an extension number, or voicemail retrieval codes and commands into an electronic device for the purpose of initiating or receiving a phone call or using voice commands to initiate or receive a telephone call;
  • Inputting, selecting or reading information on a global positioning system or navigation system; or
  • Using a device capable of performing multiple functions (e.g. fleet management
    systems, dispatching devices, smart phones, citizens band radios, music players, etc.) for a purpose that is not otherwise prohibited in part 392.

The DOT consulted with major industry players to craft these exemptions. Previous attempts at curbing distracted driving have descended into confusion. The most notable problem came in 2009, when the State of Arizona unilaterally declared that all laptops with access to the internet were technically televisions and were therefore banned. The Federal DOT was forced to step in in that case after an outcry from the industry.

Editor: Donald E. Lewis, President • 1-800-253-5506 • www.FoleyServices.com • Vol. 110, No. 655 • © Foley Services, Inc. 2010

 

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The Transportation Industry Gears Up for a Busy Fall, Winter

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance
Week of September 13, 2010

The industry is abuzz with news about Part 40 changes, safe trucker parking, EOBR rule revisions, distracted driving and, of course, CSA2010.

It’s been a busy week in the world of DOT safety regulation news. In this week’s issue, we are highlighting a few of the top stories and looking forward to a few big changes on the horizon.

Distracted Driving Summit

This week the DOT announced the agenda for its second national Distracted Driving Summit. The day-long event will be held on September 21 in Washington, D.C. and broadcast live over the internet at www.distraction.gov. Those who are unable to attend have been invited to submit questions in advance by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by the close of business on September 20. “Distracted Driving as an Occupational Safety Issue,” scheduled for 9:25 a.m., appears to be the most interesting presentation on the agenda.

Safe Truck Parking Drive

On Wednesday, an industry association staged a national call in day to show support for two “Jason’s Law” bills. The bills — HR2156 and S971 — would allocate $120 million over the next six years for safety improvements to rest areas and truck stops across the country.

The drive may be over, but it is not too late to show your support for “Jason’s Law.” To participate, simply call the U.S. Capital switchboard at 202-224-3121 and give the operator your home zip code. He or she will then connect you with your representatives.

FMCSA Amends April EOBR Rule

FMCSA made two technical corrections and made changes to performance standards in its April 2010 Electronic Onboard Recorders for Hours of Service final rule. After reviewing petitions for reconsideration from EOBR manufactures, FMCSA has eliminated the specific operating temperature range and replaced the requirement for a USB Type B connector with the requirement for a Type A connector. The agency also said it is considering if it must undertake a separate rulemaking to establish fault code thresholds.

FMCSA began mandating the use of EOBRs on June 10, 2010 for motor carriers who have more than a 10% error rate on their hours-of-service documentation. The regulations governing the technical specifications go into effect on June 4, 2012.

Part 40 Changes, Effective Oct. 1

This week we’ve been busy putting together a mailing for our DOT drug and alcohol testing clients. We want to make sure everyone is up-to-speed with the changes that go into effect on October 1, 2010. The changes include a revised 5-panel drug test designed to remove more drug-using employees from safety-sensitive jobs as well as new qualification requirements for Medical Review Officers. (See Fast-Fax issue #650 for details). The bottom line is that clients using a standard Foley Services’ policy do not need to make any revisions at this time. Those with custom policies that include specific cut-off levels will need to revise and reissue their policies or issue an addendum.

We are also encouraging clients to educate their DOT-regulated supervisors and employees about the DOT’s new 5-Panel drug test. To aid in this effort, we have developed an informational flyer that employers can distribute to employees or post on break room walls. (To request a copy of the flyer, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .) We have also updated our “DOT Supervisor Training for Reasonable-Suspicion Drug and Alcohol Testing” webinar. The two-hour session now includes information about Ecstasy, including the signs and symptoms of abuse. Registration information is available at foleyservices.webex.com.

On the Horizon

The regulatory deck is stacked with several highly anticipated final rules, proposals and procedural changes expected in the coming weeks and months. Here are a few worth paying attention to:

  • Hours of Service. New proposal expected in November 2010.
  • The National Launch of Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 (CSA2010). FMCSA says the new system will be rolled out nationally in fall/winter 2010. Preview data is already available to carriers at csa2010.fmcsa.dot.gov.
  • Safety Fitness Determination. Proposed rule slated for release in February 2011.
  • National Database on CMV Drug and Alcohol Testing. The database they’ve been talking about for years is getting closer to reality.


Keep reading Fast-Fax for updates on these important issues and anything else the DOT and FMCSA are working on.

Editor: Donald E. Lewis, President • 1-800-253-5506 • www.FoleyServices.com • Vol. 110, No. 654 • © Foley Services, Inc. 2010

 

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FMCSA Makes Several Requests to Change On-Going Information Collection Activities

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance
Week of September 6, 2010

Information collection activities ranging from training certificates to hazmat safety permits may be changed following FMCSA’s requests.

Thursday’s Federal Register contained several requests by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to make changes to current information collection activities. Ranging from Training Certificates to Hazmat Safety Permits, the information collection activites undertaken by FMCSA cover a wide variety of topics. The public is encouraged to submit comments on these requests.


Training Certification for Drivers of Longer Combination Vehicles


FMCSA requested Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval to revise an Information Collection Request (ICR) entitled, Training Certification for Drivers of Longer Combination Vehicles. This ICR was deemed necessary because the training certificates drivers are required to present to prospective employers serve as proof the drivers have successfully completed the training to operate Longer Combination Vehicles (LCVs) safely.


Motor carriers are required to maintain a copy of the training certification in each LCV driver’s qualification file. This file may be reviewed by Federal or State enforcement officials. This ICR was revised because of an anticipated increase in the number of LCV drivers submitting training certificates to employers. This has resulted in FMCSA having to alter the estimated information collection burden for this training task.


Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program


FMCSA requested approval to revise an ICR entitled Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program. The information FMCSA requires consists of grant application preparation, quarterly reports and electronic data documenting the results of driver/vehicle inspections performed by the States. This ICR is being revised due to an increase in the estimated number of State inspections that will be performed annually resulting in change to the estimated burden to perform this activity.


Hazardous Materials Safety Permits


FMCSA requested approval to revise an existing ICR entitled Hazardous Materials Safety Permits, due to an increase in the estimated number of annual trips in which permitted hazardous materials are transported. This ICR requires companies holding permits to develop a communications plan that allows for the systematic tracking of the hazmat shipment.


A record of these communications, including the time of the call and location of the shipment must be kept by either the driver (for example, if it were recorded in the log book) or by the company. These records must be kept, either physically or electronically, for at least six months at the company’s principal place of business or readily available to the employees at the company’s principal place of business. This ICR was revised because of an increase in the estimated number of annual trips in which permitted hazmats is transported resulting in change to the total information collection burden for maintaining a daily communication record.


Accident Recordkeeping Requirements


Finally, FMCSA announced its plan to request that the OMB approve revision of the Information Collection (IC) entitled Accident Recordkeeping Requirements because FMCSA has obtained more accurate data upon which to base calculation of the paperwork burden of this IC.


Submitting Comments

You can submit comments via the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Portal:
http://www.regulations.gov .
Fax:
1-202-493-2251
Mail/Courier:

Docket Management Facility,
U.S. Department of Transportation,
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140,
Washington, DC
20590-0001

Editor: Donald E. Lewis, President • 1-800-253-5506 • www.FoleyServices.com • Vol. 110, No. 653 • © Foley Services, Inc. 2010

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Enrollment is up at trucking schools

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By Gordon Dickson, 817-390-7796
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Michael Brock is hitting the open road in search of job security.

After two decades working construction jobs, he is tired of being laid off when times get tough. He enrolled at the C1 Truck Driving School in Benbrook and plans to become a long-distance driver.

"Construction is not stable enough for me," Brock, 43, said last week during a class. "Driving a truck is a stable industry. As long as you keep your report clean, you've got a job."

Americans as a whole may be struggling to find work after a long recession, but there are jobs aplenty in the cab of an 18-wheeler. Trucking companies are reporting a shortage of drivers nationwide, which could delay shipments and ultimately raise the price of goods.

"During the recession, companies had to cut the work force, so now that freight volumes are picking back up they don't have the work force to accommodate the demand," said Brandon Borgna, spokesman for the American Trucking Associations in Arlington, Va. "A lot of drivers are older. There isn't that younger generation stepping in."

Read more at Star-Telegram