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ATA to FMCSA: Abandon hours-of-service changes

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ccjdigital.com/ata-to-fmcsa-abandon-hours-of-service-changes
By CCJ Staff
Published March, 07 2011

In comments filed March 4, the American Trucking Associations again called on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to abandon its proposal to revise the hours-of-service rules and retain the current rules. ATA deems the proposed changes as politically motivated, while it says the current rules are based on science and have been proven to function safely.

“In its current HOS proposal, the agency has abandoned years of objective analysis in favor of speculation and internal ‘judgments’ of critical areas,” ATA said in its comments. “The agency’s approach in the current HOS proposal cannot be squared with its prior factual conclusions and analytical approach; is contrary to the real-world circumstances to which the rules apply; and its financial computations whither under objective scrutiny. In short, the agency is far from making any sort of case that the HOS rules should be changed and the obvious strains in its attempt to justify those changes illustrates how ill-considered they are.”

The current hours-of-service rules, which have been in effect since January 2004, made four primary changes to the regulations then in place: increasing the daily driving limit from 10 hours to 11 hours; increasing the required minimum daily rest from 8 hours to 10 hours; decreasing the number of hours on duty after which a driver may not operate a commercial motor vehicle from 15 hours to 14 hours; and allowing a driver to “reset” the weekly 60 or 70-hour on duty limits with 34 consecutive hours off duty. Under the current proposal, FMCSA is, among other changes, considering whether to reduce the daily driving limit from 11 hours to 10 hours and has proposed to limit the 34-hour restart provision by requiring that it include two periods from midnight to 6 a.m. and limiting its use to once per week.

In its comments, ATA points out that since the basic framework of the rules went into effect in 2004, “truck safety has improved to unprecedented levels” as the “numbers of truck-related injuries and fatalities have both dropped more than 30 percent to their lowest levels in recorded history.” ATA also told FMCSA that despite claims by the agency and anti-truck activists that the reduction in crashes is the result of a slumping economy, “truck mileage has actually increased.” ATA went on to point out that even those who choose not to believe the current hours-of-service rules are
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FMCSA Expands Pre-Employment Screening Program

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By TruckingInfo Staff
truckinginfo.com/news/news-detail.asp?news_id=73083

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration added a new feature to the screening program that gives carriers a look at the history of a driver who is applying for a job.

The agency is making data available on co-driver safety and post-crash violations, in addition to the roadside inspection and crash records that employers already can see. The agency said it also has begun showing the date that a driver's safety records were updated.


The Internet based pre-employment screening program (www.psp.fmcsa.dot.gov), gives employers five years of an applicant's crash history and three years of his inspection history - with the driver's permission.


The data is drawn from the Motor Carrier Management Information System and includes the same information that is used by agency staff and state police for enforcement. Drivers have access to the information, as well, and can make the report a part of their application if they wish.


There is a charge to use the system. Carriers with fewer than 100 power units must pay a $25 annual subscription fee and...
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Women In Trucking Association representatives meet with DOT officials

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PLOVER, Wis. — Women In Trucking (WIT) President and CEO Ellen Voie was recently invited to meet with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood in Washington.  Joining them was Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne Ferro.

LaHood and members of his staff listened as Voie described some of the challenges facing women in the transportation industry and how WIT is addressing those needs.  Issues include driver harassment concerns, safety and security on the road, using technology to reduce physical limitations and other topics.

Prior to the meeting with LaHood, Voie and WIT chair Leigh Foxall spent time with Ferro and her staff exploring opportunities to encourage women to consider careers in typically male-dominated fields.  “Many of the issues women in the trucking industry face
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Congress repeats truck weight bill

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By Jill Dunn

For the third consecutive year, Congress is considering a bill to allow states to increase interstate weight limits to 97,000 pounds for six-axle trucks.

On Feb. 17, Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) introduced the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act, or H.R. 763, which was referred to committee with one co-sponsor.

The bill text is not yet available via Congress’ online website. The Coalition for Transportation Productivity, a group of shippers and other associations supporting the increase, said some trading partners, including Canada and Mexico, use limits higher than the U.S. 80,000-pound limit set in 1982.

The current weight limit means even if trucks have additional unfilled space, shippers must pay for additional trucks, adding to road congestion and emissions.

The American Trucking Associations supports the measure, which the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association opposes because of safety concerns.

The two previous years, the SETA was referred to committee the day of introduction. In 2009, Michaud’s bill had 54 co-sponsors and last year, Republican Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo’s bill had three co-sponsors.
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States target licensing of illegal immigrants

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http://www.landlinemag.com/todays_news/Daily/2011/Feb11/021411/021611-04.shtml
By This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , Land Line state legislative editor

Two states still allow illegal immigrants to obtain full-blown driver’s licenses. One more state offers a permit that allows them to drive, but not use the license as an ID. In each case, lawmakers are trying to end the practice.

In recent years, the list of states providing driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants has dropped from nine to two – New Mexico and Washington. In Utah, illegal immigrants can obtain licenses to drive, but they cannot be used as identification.

Supporters of stricter licensing rules say the current system allows for identity fraud and raises other public safety concerns.

Opponents say that cutting access to driver’s licenses would raise insurance costs because illegal immigrants wouldn’t be able to obtain insurance. The result would be many more uninsured drivers.

They also say that the purpose of a license is to show proof of the ability to drive – not be used for identification purposes.

In New Mexico, Gov. Susana Martinez said the system is a disaster waiting to happen. She campaigned a year ago on a pledge to stop letting illegal immigrants get driver’s licenses.

The governor’s administration said the change could affect 82,000 driver’s license holders in the state.

“As other states clamp down, New Mexico has become a haven for people looking to circumvent the law,” Martinez said during a recent news conference.

A House bill would require applicants to have a Social Security number to get a driver’s license... Continue to read more...

http://www.landlinemag.com/todays_news/Daily/2011/Feb11/021411/021611-04.shtml

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California Dump Truckers Sue CARB to Overturn Emission Rule

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http://www.truckinginfo.com/news/news-print.asp?news_id=73012

Calling the regulation "overreaching," the California Dump Truck Owners Association has filed suit against the California Air Resources Board challenging the legality of board's Truck and Bus Regulation.

The lawsuit, California Dump Truck Owners Association v. Air Resources Board, was filed in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, Sacramento Division, on February 11.


Specifically, CDTOA asserts that CARB's regulation is unconstitutional as it is preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act, and seeks an injunction prohibiting CARB from enforcing the rule.


CDTOA has attempted to work with CARB for more than four years to find reasonable solutions that accomplish the goal of cleaning California's air while avoiding the needless devastation of the state's trucking industry and specifically the dump truck industry, the group said in a press release.


The group says the dump truck industry is struggling with 50 percent unemployment and rampant construction price deflation in the state. It claims enforcement of the costly emissions rule will cause incalculable damage to the construction transportation industry.


CARB, the association says, has repeatedly refused to address the association's concerns. Left with no remaining option, CDTOA has decided to pursue a solution through the courts.


"Our members are experiencing the worst economic conditions in living memory and CARB continues to place impossible regulatory burdens on them at a time they can least afford it," says Lee Brown, executive director of CDTOA. "Our members support clean air, but the air we breathe can't be more important than the people that are breathing it."


Brown says the CARB regulations would adversely affect the truckers' business model by forcing premature retirement or replacement of otherwise perfectly good assets...
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CARB holds "one stop" truck regulation meetings for truckers

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The California Air Resources Board is working with local air quality districts to host “one stop” events to help explain truck regulations already being enforced in the Golden State.

The events include regulation updates, financial information, and demonstrations of truck inspections, though no actual inspections will be performed.

Suppliers of exhaust retrofits and SmartWay approved equipment will be in attendance, and financial grant application assistance is available by appointment.

The next meeting is Feb. 19 at the College of Alameda in Alameda, CA. Other events will be held March 5 in Riverside, CA; March 19 in San Mateo, CA; and March 26 in Fresno, CA.

Click here for more information.