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U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Proposes Rule to Ban Texting for Truck and Bus Drivers

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DOT 55-10
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Contact:  Olivia Alair
Tel:  202-366-4570

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Proposes Rule to Ban Texting for Truck and Bus Drivers
Department Announces Unprecedented Partnership with Cornell University

to Engage Public in Rulemaking Process

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced a federal rule that proposes to specifically prohibit texting by interstate commercial truck and bus drivers. The proposed rule would make permanent an interim ban announced in January 2010 that applied existing safety rules to the specific issue of texting.  

The Department also announced an unprecedented partnership with Cornell University to increase public involvement and collaboration in the rulemaking process.  The Cornell e-Rulemaking Initiative (CeRI) partnership will make the federal regulatory process more accessible to the public through Regulation Room, an online public participation environment where people can learn about and discuss proposed federal regulations and provide effective feedback to the Department. 

"This is good news on two fronts," said Secretary LaHood.  "This rulemaking keeps our commitment to making our roads safer by reducing the threat of distracted driving. And our partnership with Cornell on the e-Rulemaking Initiative is an important step toward keeping President Obama's promise of opening government to more effective citizen participation." 

Today's proposed rule to ban texting by drivers of commercial vehicles and bus drivers is the first effort in this innovative partnership.  Citizens can find more information on the Cornell online effort and provide comments on the proposed rule at regulationroom.org over the next 30 days.  The Department of Transportation encourages participation in this rulemaking through Regulation Room, but the public may also submit comments to the DOT docket at regulation.gov.

FMCSA research shows that drivers who send and receive text messages take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds while texting.  At 55 miles per hour, this means that the driver is traveling the length of a football field, including the end zones, without looking at the road. 

Drivers who text while driving are more than 20 times more likely to get in an accident than non-distracted drivers.  Because of the safety risks associated with the use of electronic devices while driving, FMCSA is also working on additional regulatory measures that will be announced in the coming months.

"We are committed to using every resource available to eliminate the dangers of distracted driving," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro.  "This rulemaking to prohibit texting by interstate commercial truck and bus drivers, along with the Cornell E-Rulemaking Initiative, reinforces our unwavering commitment and provides the public with a unique opportunity to share their ideas and comments on how together we can make our roads safer."  

The proposed rule will be on public display in the Federal Register March 31 and will appear in print in the Federal Register on April 1.

During the September 2009 Distracted Driving Summit, the Secretary announced the Department's plan to pursue this regulatory action, as well as rulemakings to reduce the other  risks posed by distracted driving.

President Obama also signed an Executive Order directing federal employees not to engage in text messaging while driving government-owned vehicles or with government-owned equipment.  Federal employees were required to comply with the ban starting on December 30, 2009. 

The public can follow the progress of the U.S. Department of Transportation in working to combat distracted driving at www.distraction.gov.

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J. J. Keller to Sponsor Seavey’s Iditarod® Racing Team in 2010

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Neenah, WI – James and Rosanne Keller, representing J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc., announced their sponsorship of Seavey’s Iditarod Racing Team for the fourth consecutive year. They will be the exclusive sponsor for musher Dallas Seavey, who in 2005 became the youngest musher ever to finish the Iditarod and was the sixth-place finisher in the 2009 race. They will also be a major sponsor for Dallas’ father, Mitch, who was the 2004 Iditarod champion and fourth-place finisher in the 2009 race.

According to J. J. Keller President & COO James J. Keller, “We are honored to support the Seaveys. Calling this a sponsorship doesn’t do it justice. This is more of a partnership with mutual respect between both families, with the ultimate goal being to win the Championship.” Keller added that if either musher wins, a 2010 J. J. Keller Iditarod Championship Celebration will be held at J. J. Keller headquarters.

The Iditarod, Alaska’s best-known sporting event, begins on Saturday, March 6, 2010, in Anchorage and will end in Nome 10 to 13 days later after a 1,149-mile trek through harsh terrain and unbelievable obstacles. It is often called "The Last Great Race on Earth," and to date 75 mushers have registered for this year’s event.

To view entire release, click here.

For more information, contact: 
Marketing Communications
Tom Hines
1-800-843-3174, ext. 7543
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To visit J. J. Keller's full Press Room, click here.
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Scam Alert

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One unfortunate effect of the sluggish economy is that thieves have gotten more numerous, more desperate and bolder. We've seen an increase in the number of truck driving student job scams. This is where an individual claiming to be a carrier's recruiter calls schools and gets student names and contact information. Then the scammer contacts the students and/or their spouses or parents claiming to have a job opening. The catch is that the victim has to send the phony recruiter money, to cover a "placement fee" or fuel costs for transportation to orientation. Of course the money is supposed to be wired, or sent as a money order to a P. O. box. So once the scam is discovered, there's no way to stop the payment. Not only does this victimize students and the people who care about them, it gives schools and carriers a black eye.

Let's Squash This Scam!
Students, be wary. If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is a scam. It's tempting to jump on what looks to be a great opportunity, but check it out with school placement personnel. Schools, check and double-check the identity of individuals who call claiming to be a carrier's recruiter. A quick way to do this is to call the carrier at a published phone number (rather than the call-back number supplied by the alleged recruiter). Verify the employment of the individual and that there really is a legitimate job offer.

Visit our Web site www.bumper2bumpertruckbook.com and our blog blog.bumper2bumpertruckbook.com for updated information on where the scam is taking place and what names are being used. If we can raise the level of awareness about this scam, it will be harder to pull it off.
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Hours of Service Regulations Will Be Changing

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As the result of a settlement with Public Citizen and other petitioners, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will revise the hours of service. FMCSA will submit a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for approval within 9 months. Within 30 days of publishing the NPRM, the parties will file motions regarding further proceedings, and FMCSA will publish a final rule with 21 months. This case is scheduled for argument January 15, 2010.

Of course, we will stay on top of this and provides updates as they become available. Visit our Web site often for news. Check our blog at http://blog.bumper2bumpertruckbook.com and follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/redwritertx for the latest developments in this important change to truck driving regulations.
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Senate Confirms Ferro as FMCSA Administrator

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Ferro

The Senate late Thursday confirmed Anne Ferro's nomination to head the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Thursday night's confirmation follows a vote of approval from the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Oct. 27.

In a statement Friday morning, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance said it was “pleased” with the Senate's decision to confirm Ferro, who led the Maryland Motor Truck Association for six years.

“She has an excellent understanding of how government, law enforcement and industry need to work together to solve problems, and will be a great advocate for safety,” said Buzzy France, president of CVSA.

Following her nomination by President Obama in June, Ferro has come under fire from labor and safety groups for her ties to the trucking industry.

The Senate also confirmed the nomination of Cynthia Quarterman as administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration Thursday.

By Transport Topics

http://ttnews.com/articles/basetemplate.aspx?storyid=23141

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FMCSA to launch Driver Pre-Employment Screening Program

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By CCJ Staff

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced Wednesday, Oct. 7, that it will launch a new Driver Pre-Employment Screening Program designed to allow commercial motor carrier companies to electronically access driver inspection and crash records as a part of the hiring process. The program is expected to begin in December.

“Safety is our number one priority at the Department of Transportation,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This new initiative will help trucking companies ensure the safest drivers are behind the wheel of commercial trucks and buses. Making this information more transparent will make our roads and highways safer for everyone.”

FMCSA says that by using driver safety information during pre-employment screening, motor carriers will be able to better assess potential safety risks of a prospective driver-employee, and drivers will have additional opportunities to verify the data in their driving history and correct any discrepancies.

Commercial driver safety records currently are available to federal and state law enforcement personnel, and accessible to drivers through the Freedom of Information Act. Once the pre-employment screening program is launched, driver safety records will be readily available to motor carriers regardless of state or jurisdiction. In accordance with federal privacy laws, drivers first must give written consent in order for their records to be released.

The Driver Pre-Employment Screening Program will be populated by FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Management Information System. The MCMIS is comprised of driver performance data, including roadside inspection and compliance review results, enforcement data, state-reported crashes and motor carrier census data.
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FTC Guidelines for Vocational School Advertising

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The Federal Trade Commission has announced it’s Guidelines for Advertising by Private Vocational Schools.  These Guidelines apply to ALL schools, and can be (and have been) enforced by the Federal Trade Commission against truck driver training schools.

The review of the rules presents an opportunity for our schools to comment on the existing rules and/or suggest changes.  CVTA will submit comments for the record in this review, and individual schools are free to do the same.  A copy of the Guidelines can be found here for your review

Please e-mail any comments to Mike O’Connell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before close of business on Monday, October 5th.  Depending on the interest in this issue, we may schedule a conference call on October 8th or 9th to discuss CVTA’s position.