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U.S. Bridge Spending Lags as Repair Needs Dwarf Funds

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Source: ttnews.com/articles/petemplate.aspx?storyid=32732

By Michele Fuetsch, Staff Reporter

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

Despite the nation’s efforts to upgrade its bridges in recent years, a staggering 151,500 are still labeled as deficient, the cure for which is to spend $20.5 billion every year between now and 2028.

That estimate comes from the Federal Highway Administration, which oversees the health of the nation’s bridges and which says that current spending on the spans is $12.8 billion annually.

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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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