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CSA Data Could Be Used Against Fleets in Court Cases, Defense Lawyer Warns

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Source: ttnews.com/articles/petemplate.aspx?storyid=32737

By Eric Miller, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the Aug. 19 print edition of Transport Topics.

A trucking industry defense attorney warned that plaintiffs’ attorneys will attempt to get Compliance, Safety, Accountability data into evidence to bolster accident claims that a carrier is unsafe.

“If CSA evidence makes its way into the courtroom, in my opinion, it could very well tip the scales in given cases,” Ted Perryman, a lawyer with the St. Louis law firm of Roberts Perryman, said during an American Trucking Associations webinar earlier this month.

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HOS Combatants Agree Court Ruling Marks End of 17-Year Regulatory Fight

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Source: ttnews.com/articles/petemplate.aspx?storyid=32741

By Timothy Cama, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the Aug. 19 print edition of Transport Topics.

The chief adversaries in the nearly 17-year battle over federal work rules for commercial drivers agreed that the recent appeals court decision upholding most of the government’s latest regulation closes the book on the overhaul of the so-called hours-of-service rule, which had not changed significantly in 57 years.

But while the trucking industry says it wants to move beyond the issue of truck-driver fatigue, groups that have filed numerous lawsuits aimed at pushing regulators, lawmakers and courts to restrict truckers’ driving hours said they want to make sure the government does not forget about the issue.

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FMCSA Says HOS Exception Doesn’t Apply to Oil-Field Drivers Hauling Sand, Water

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Source: ttnews.com/articles/petemplate.aspx?storyid=32735

By Timothy Cama, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the Aug. 19 print edition of Transport Topics.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration refused last week to make changes to a regulatory guidance document it published last year allowing some specialty truck drivers at oil and gas exploration sites to extend their workdays.

FMCSA said the hours-of-service exception cannot be used by drivers hauling sand and water.

In the Aug. 12 notice published in the Federal Register, FMCSA said that after opening the issue to public comment and holding hearings, it will not change its interpretation that the waiting-time exception for oil-field workers can apply only to specially trained drivers with specially constructed equipment.

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Industry Asked to Rank Top Concerns

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:  Dave Pierce
(770) 432-0628
August 5, 2013

Arlington, VA  – The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the trucking industry’s not-for-profit research organization, today launched the 2013 Top Industry Issues Survey.  The annual survey, commissioned by the American Trucking Associations (ATA), asks trucking industry stakeholders to rank the top issues of concern for the industry along with appropriate strategies for addressing each issue.  The survey is in its 9th year and participation by trucking stakeholders has grown each year.

“In complex times like this it is critical that we do our part to help ensure a thriving future for the trucking industry,” said ATA Chairman Mike Card, President, Combined Transport, Inc.  “With your participation, we can speak with a collective industry voice on what’s most important to us.”  The results of the 2013 survey will be released at the ATA Annual Management Conference and Exhibition, to be held October 19-22, 2013 in Orlando. 

Industry stakeholders are encouraged to complete the survey online.

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DC Court of Appeals Rules on HOS Challenges

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From Eric Sauer, Vice President- Policy & Regulatory Affairs, California Trucking Association

On August 2, 2013, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit announced their ruling on challenges to the new Hours of Service rules that went into effect on July 1, 2013.
 
The court was responding to challenges brought forth by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and Public Citizen. The court combined the two challenges and issued a single ruling for both.
 
The Court ultimately denied both challenges, with one exception – the ruling vacates the 30-minute rest break requirement for short haul truck drivers.
 
“We conclude that what remains of the 2003 Final Rule after two remands and three rulemakings are highly technical points best left to the agency. We therefore generally affirm the rule and vacate only the agency’s application of the 30-minute break to short-haul drivers.”
 
At this time it is unclear if further legal maneuvers or appeals will be taken to continue to challenge the HOS rule. CTA is monitoring the developments with these challenges and will provide guidance on the final outcome once it becomes available.

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Court to Hear CSA Arguments in September

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Source: ttnews.com/articles/petemplate.aspx?storyid=32585

A federal court will hear arguments in September on whether the federal government followed the law in implementing and publicizing the new Compliance, Safety, Accountability program for trucking and bus company safety rankings.

The Alliance for Safe, Efficient and Competitive Truck Transportation (ASECTT), a group of brokers, shippers and carriers, filed the lawsuit last year, saying the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration should have followed the formal rulemaking process when it told shippers and brokers to consider CSA scores when hiring carriers.

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Congressional Budget Office Offers Grim View of Highway Fund

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Source: ttnews.com/articles/petemplate.aspx?storyid=32553

Projects a $10 Billion Shortfall in 2015

By Michele Fuetsch, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the July 29 print edition of Transport Topics.

WASHINGTON — The Congressional Budget Office last week presented a grim picture of an insolvent Highway Trust Fund to the House committee that oversees highway policy, but there was little discussion of possible solutions.

In 2015, there will be an estimated $50 billion in outlays for highways and transit — if spending levels stay the same as today — but only $40 billion in receipts, said Kim Cawley, a chief official at the Congressional Budget Office. “Without some change in policy, there won’t be enough money to go around.”

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Medical Groups, States Oppose FMCSA Plan to Require Daily Reports of Drivers’ Physicals

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Source: ttnews.com/articles/petemplate.aspx?storyid=32495
By Timothy Cama, Staff Reporter

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

Medical professionals and state driver licensing agencies objected to a proposal to require daily updates of commercial drivers’ physical exam information, telling federal regulators the system would be burdensome and costly.

The comments came in response to a May proposal from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that would require medical examiners to submit the results of their physicals on drivers at the end of each day. FMCSA would forward that data to states’ licensing agencies the next day, and the states would have to post it to a database the day after that.

 

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CBO Warns House Panel on Highway Trust Fund

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Source: ttnews.com/articles/petemplate.aspx?storyid=32519

WASHINGTON — A congressional subcommittee received a grim picture Tuesday of what lies ahead for the Highway Trust Fund if Congress and the White House do not find a way to pay for transportation before the fund is declared insolvent in 2015.

That year, there will be about $50 billion in outlays — if spending levels are the same as 2013 — but only $40 billion in receipts, Kim Cawley of the Congressional Budget Office said at a hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s highways subcommittee.


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FMCSA Changes Instructions for Off-Duty Time

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Source: truckinginfo.com/news/story/2013/07/fmcsa-changes-instructions-for-off-duty-time.aspx

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has simplified its instructions for driver off-duty time.

The old guidance said that the driver had to get written instructions from his employer spelling out how long the off-duty time would be.

Under the new guidance, effective today, there is no requirement for employer instructions, either written or verbal.

In a notice in today’s Federal Register, the agency said the old requirement had the effect of discouraging drivers from taking breaks or documenting those breaks in their logs.

It imposed a recordkeeping requirement but did require that records actually be kept. Also, it was not enforceable because it said the break had to be long enough to “significantly reduce” fatigue.

The new guidance says drivers may record meal and other routine stops, including the 30-minute break required by the new hours of service rule, as off-duty time provided they are relieved of duty for the truck and its cargo and they are at liberty to do what they want during the break.

Source: truckinginfo.com/news/story/2013/07/fmcsa-changes-instructions-for-off-duty-time.aspx