These comments were filed on behalf of CVTA with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regarding the Issuance of Commercial Learners’ Permits. The Comments were drafted by an ad hoc committee comprised of CVTA members that met five times over a period of nearly three months. The Association expresses its thanks to those members that participated in the drafting process.
You can download the full copy of the comments by clicking HERE.
To download the ATRI Study, click HERE.
U.S. diesel price sets record again, California hits $5 The national average retail price of a gallon of diesel soared 22.6 cents to yet another new record high of $4.723 for the week ending Monday, May 26. The price -- which has climbed 76.8 cents in the last seven weeks -- is $1.906 higher than the same week last year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The 22.6-cent increase is the third-highest single-week price increase since the Energy Information Administration began keeping figures; No. 1 was the week immediately following Hurricane Katrina. The second-biggest single-week spike followed about a month later in the wake of Hurricane Rita. Out of the Top 10, six are from 2008 -- with No. 3-5 coming during May alone. There have been only 20 double-digit single-week increases, and nine of them have occurred this year. The average U.S. price now has been above $4 for seven weeks. DOE's weekly roundup of the nation's diesel prices was delayed one day because of the Memorial Day holiday. All regions tracked by DOE saw price increases. The largest increase by region, 27.3 cents, was found on the West Coast, where week-over-week prices rose to $4.883. The smallest price increase by region, 20.4 cents, was found in the Midwest, where week-over-week prices climbed to $4.667. The nation's most expensive diesel by region, $4.913, was found in the Central Atlantic, where prices soared 23.1 cents. California, which DOE tracks separately, recorded the nation's first-ever $5 diesel price, $5.027; prices in that state rose 29.0 cents last week. The nation's least expensive diesel by region, $4.653, was found in the Rocky Mountains, where prices climbed 21.1 cents.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
“As a fleet, we have long believed that the litmus test for commercial driver training should be performance-based and not a derivative of hours spent in training; this research bears out our hypothesis,” said
“This study provides a critical benchmark for carriers and driver training schools alike,” commented
The driver training report is available on
Monster Contributing Writer
A man with a mild cerebral palsy-related
gait impairment was refused admittance to an interstate trucking firm’s
driver-training program. He had a Department of Transportation learner’s permit,
but company officials feared he could not properly operate a clutch. He sued
under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and was awarded $90,000.
In a separate case, a training school for tractor-trailer drivers was found not to have violated the ADA after rejecting the application of a potential driver with severe hearing loss. A federal district court determined that accommodating such a disability would require a fundamental alteration in the school’s program. In addition, the applicant’s inability to communicate with his instructor while driving would threaten public safety.
Case law regarding truckers with disabilities is all over the lot. The ADA allows workers with disabilities to seek “reasonable accommodations.” Thanks to those accommodations, men and women with disabilities are on America’s roads today. But the question for truck drivers often boils down to this: Can you drive safely?
Broad Range of Disabilities
According to Tom Weakley, director of operations for the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association, the regulatory Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) considers a number of disabilities as potentially affecting safe driving. “Any disability that the FMCSA believes may hinder safe driving is in their domain,” he says. If a question is raised -- whether due to loss of limb, insulin-dependent diabetes, a sleep disorder or any other reason -- the driver must prove he can perform his duties safely and effectively.
Whether applying to the FMCSA individually or through his company, a driver with a disability must show he is under a doctor’s observation. He also must pass a skill performance evaluation, using the type of truck he would normally drive.
“For a while, the FMCSA didn’t approve anyone,” Weakley says. “But the diabetes association and other groups protested. People were getting treatment, and they wanted to know what the problem was. They provided logical arguments. It’s less stringent now. People are getting CDLs (commercial driver’s licenses).”
Yet, Weakley notes, most drivers with heart problems or cardiovascular disease -- where the danger of losing consciousness lurks -- cannot be certified. The FMCSA is also hard on drivers with high blood pressure, which interferes with judgment and reactions. Medications for those ailments may also increase drowsiness.
“I’ve been on both sides,” Weakley says. “I’ve managed a fleet, and now I represent drivers. If I still worked for a company, to be honest, I’d have second thoughts about who should drive. Just because the FMCSA says it’s OK, can a person without a foot drive? If there’s an accident, what would a jury think? Would my premiums go up because my insurance company says this guy’s a greater risk?” On the other hand, Weakley notes, “good drivers are hard to find -- and these guys can be good drivers. Companies want to do the right thing. They’re just not always sure what that is.”
Mental Illness and Driving
Emotional disorders also fall under the ADA’s purview. “If you have a psychiatric disability that is likely to interfere with your ability to drive safely, you shouldn’t drive a truck,” Weakley says. “But I don’t know how you determine whether bipolar disorder or depression interferes with driving. And if you don’t allow someone to drive because of mental illness, you could be open to an ADA claim.”
One solution is to assign drivers with an emotional disability to a non-safety-sensitive desk job. Most drivers resist, says Weakley. “For a lot of them, being on the road is the only thing they know. They feel they can function perfectly well out there. It’s a great job, they’re their own boss, and the pay is good.”
Job Accommodation Network Helps
Anne Hirsh, associate manager of the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) -- a free consulting service working with people with disabilities -- often hears from current and potential truckers. Many have back or repetitive strain injuries. JAN has designed a number of accommodations. For example, a suspension seat and vehicle cushion that reduce vibrations allows drivers with back impairments to sit comfortably for longer periods of time.
A trucker with thoracic outlet syndrome (a nerve disorder characterized by pain, numbness or tingling in the arm) had difficulty driving for long periods and unloading bags at his destination. JAN helped his employer provide a spinner knob to eliminate prolonged grasping of the steering wheel, an anti-vibration seat to cut down on fatigue, a small crane in the back of the trailer and a lightweight aluminum hand truck to help unload.
Other accommodations include a swivel seat and lift so wheelchair users can get in and out of the cab, hearing aids, hearing protection and portable TTY units for drivers with hearing impairments, and a two-way radio allowing a driver with a learning disability to confirm each order with his dock manager.
“When truckers contact us, it shows they really want to be good at their jobs,” Hirsh says. “And when companies contact us, it shows their willingness to accommodate drivers.”
If you have a disability and need help in ascertaining how your trucking job can better accommodate your needs, contact JAN.
The following information was submitted by CVTA member Michael Darling of Western Truck School
Fuel management lesson available to drivers for free
By CCJ Staff
Instructional Technologies Inc. announced today, April 11, that it is joining the trucking industry’s efforts to save on fuel costs by offering to all professional drivers in the United States and Canada its Pro-Tread “Fuel Management” lesson for free, from June 1 through June 21.
ITI’s client fleets already have paid for more than 13,000 drivers to complete this half-hour lesson, which the company says soon will be updated for the latest equipment and with new fuel-saving techniques and ideas. Current ITI clients have been offered this lesson for free as of April 9 and will be allowed to take the updated lesson again at no cost during June.
“We speak with drivers and with fleet owners constantly, and all we’ve heard in the past few months is ‘fuel, fuel, fuel,’ " says Jim Voorhees, chief executive officer of Vancouver, Wash.-based ITI. "We can’t lower the cost of diesel, unfortunately, but we can help drivers burn less of it. With our ‘Initiative Save-Green,’ we’re delighted to be able to give something back to the drivers and to the fleets that not only have helped make ITI such a success, but who also keep America’s arteries flowing with everything we all need and want."
To take advantage of this offer, drivers simply have to go to www.protread.com and follow the sign-in instructions. They’ll be taking the lesson within a minute of arriving at the website, and completion takes about half an hour, according to ITI.
"We hope that every driver on the road will find time between June 1st and June 21st to stop for half an hour, get on the Internet and take this lesson," Voorhees says. "Together, we can greatly reduce our industry’s fuel costs.”
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published in today’s Federal Register a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Commercial Driver’s License Testing and Commercial Learner’s Permit Standards. The Proposed Rule is lengthy and contains many very detailed requirements for the issuance of Commercial Driver Learners Permits, as well as changes to the CDL requirements. Comments on the Proposed Rule are due by
This Proposed Rule will have a substantial impact on training organizations. Because current state practices regarding issuance of
By CCJ Staff
The economic stimulus package passed last week by the U.S. House and Senate and signed by President Bush provides enhanced expensing and depreciation relief for businesses buying equipment and placing it into service this year.
A trade or business can depreciate an additional 50 percent of the cost of an asset acquired and placed into service in 2008. Eligible properties for bonus depreciation include (1) tangible property that had a recovery period not exceeding 20 years, (2) purchased computer software and (3) qualified leasehold improvement property.
Bush signed the two-year $168 billion economic stimulus package on Wednesday, Feb. 13, hoping it would deliver "a booster shot" to an ailing American economy. Bush said the world's largest economy had overcome shocks in the past and expressed confidence that the giant economic aid plan would help the economy through a "rough patch."
The economic stimulus package, which also includes tax rebates to individual taxpayers, is effective for calendar year 2008.
By CCJ Staff
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Circuit on Thursday, Jan. 24, issued an order denying Public Citizen’s request
to invalidate the recently issued hours-of-service Interim Final Rule.
The decision means that the 11-hour daily driving time limit and 34-hour restart provision will remain in place pending further consideration of a final HOS rule by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Public Citizen claimed that the court’s prior decisions in the case effectively prohibited FMCSA from issuing an IFR that included the 11- and 34-hour provisions.
The American Trucking Associations, FMCSA and shipper interests all filed briefs opposing Public Citizen's motion. Those filings argued the need for retention of the 11- and 34-hour provisions in an IFR to avoid significant disruptions to the industry and to law enforcement, as well as the safety gains achieved under the current HOS rules.
The court did note that its denial of the motion did not preclude Public Citizen from challenging the IFR in a separate legal proceeding. However, such a proceeding potentially would take many months to pursue, even if expedited, with a final HOS rule likely to be issued before the litigation could be completed.
ATA said it was pleased with the court's decision, saying the ruling confirms its view that the court’s prior concerns with the 11- and 34-hour provisions were only procedural in nature and that the court does not view those provisions as inherently unsafe.
“Government and industry safety data clearly indicate that the current rules are working in terms of driver health, truck safety and overall highway safety,” said Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer. “The rules have been in force for four years, and safety has improved over this time period.”
Under the IFR made public Dec. 11, truck drivers will continue to be limited to driving only 11 hours within a 14-hour duty period, after which they must go off duty for at least 10 hours. The IFR also retains the provision of the hours rules that allows drivers to restart their cumulative on-duty limits by taking 34 consecutive hours off duty.
Comments on the IFR must be filed with FMCSA no later than Feb. 15. FMCSA also is seeking comment on its methodology and on safety data that was not available when the agency issued its most recent version of the rules in 2005.
The agency issued the new hours-of-service rule in response to the decision by the D.C. appeals court vacating those two key provisions of the existing rules. The IFR took effect Dec. 27 -- the same day that a stay granted by the appeals court expired. In order to ensure no gap in coverage of the rules, the IFR temporarily reinstated those two provisions while the agency gathered public comment on its actions and the underlying safety analysis before issuing a final rule.
In its July opinion, the court voided the 11 hours of driving and the 34-hour restart on the grounds that the public didn't have adequate notice of FMCSA's methodology for analyzing crash risk. The IFR was developed after new data showed that safety levels have been maintained since the 11-hour driving limit was first implemented in 2003, FMCSA said.
After the IFR became effective Dec. 27, a 60-day period began for the public to comment on the proposal and its underlying safety analysis. Further analysis after that could take “a few weeks or even a few months,” according to FMCSA Administrator John Hill. Once a final rule has been established, FMCSA will review longstanding concerns from drivers and carriers over the provision that restricts the sleeper berth split to eight-hour and two-hour periods, Hill said.
FMCSA also is working to finalize a proposed rule that would require drivers and trucking companies with serious or repeat hours-of-service violations to track their hours of service using electronic onboard recorders.
- Transportation action plan proposes sweeping changes
- FMCSA Publishes New Rulemaking for Public Comment - 12/26/2007
- CARB set to vote on port truck plan
- California amends intrastate hours-of-service regulations
- Alligator on the Zipper
- "Operation Safe Driver" Targets CMV - Non CMV Drivers
- Career schools a growing part of upper-level education
- CVTA Mid West Regional Meeting - Nov. 30
- CVTA Supports GetTrucking.com
- Senate Blocks Funding / Mexican Trucks