DOT Proposes Distraction Guidelines for Automakers

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Proposed recommendations would encourage manufacturers to develop “less distracting” in-vehicle electronic devices

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced the first-ever federally proposed guidelines to encourage automobile manufacturers to limit the distraction risk for in-vehicle electronic devices. The proposed voluntary guidelines would apply to communications, entertainment, information gathering and navigation devices or functions that are not required to safely operate the vehicle.

Issued by the Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the guidelines would establish specific recommended criteria for electronic devices installed in vehicles at the time they are manufactured that require visual or manual operation by drivers. The announcement of the guidelines comes just days after President Obama’s FY 2013 budget request, which includes $330 million over six years for distracted driving programs that increase awareness of the issue and encourage stakeholders to take action.

“Distracted driving is a dangerous and deadly habit on America’s roadways – that’s why I’ve made it a priority to encourage people to stay focused behind the wheel,” said Secretary LaHood. “These guidelines are a major step forward in identifying real solutions to tackle the issue of distracted driving for drivers of all ages.”

Geared toward light vehicles (cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, minivans, and other vehicles rated at not more than 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight), the guidelines proposed today are the first in a series of guidance documents NHTSA plans to issue to address sources of distraction that require use of the hands and/or diversion of the eyes from the primary task of driving.

In particular, the Phase I proposed guidelines released today recommend criteria that manufacturers can use to ensure the systems or devices they provide in their vehicles are less likely to distract the driver with tasks not directly relevant to safely operating the vehicle, or cause undue distraction by engaging the driver’s eyes or hands for more than a very limited duration while driving. Electronic warning system functions such as forward-collision or lane departure alerts would not be subject to the proposed guidelines, since they are intended to warn a driver of a potential crash and are not considered distracting devices.

“We recognize that vehicle manufacturers want to build vehicles that include the tools and conveniences expected by today’s American drivers,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “The guidelines we’re proposing would offer real-world guidance to automakers to help them develop electronic devices that provide features consumers want—without disrupting a driver’s attention or sacrificing safety.”

The proposed Phase I distraction guidelines include recommendations to:

  • Reduce complexity and task length required by the device;
  • Limit device operation to one hand only (leaving the other hand to remain on the steering wheel to control the vehicle);
  • Limit individual off-road glances required for device operation to no more than two seconds in duration;
  • Limit unnecessary visual information in the driver’s field of view;
  • Limit the amount of manual inputs required for device operation.

The proposed guidelines would also recommend the disabling of the following operations by in-vehicle electronic devices while driving, unless the devices are intended for use by passengers and cannot reasonably be accessed or seen by the driver, or unless the vehicle is stopped and the transmission shift lever is in park.

  • Visual-manual text messaging;
  • Visual-manual internet browsing;
  • Visual-manual social media browsing;
  • Visual-manual navigation system destination entry by address;
  • Visual-manual 10-digit phone dialing;
  • Displaying to the driver more than 30 characters of text unrelated to the driving task.

NHTSA is also considering future, Phase II proposed guidelines that might address devices or systems that are not built into the vehicle but are brought into the vehicle and used while driving, including aftermarket and portable personal electronic devices such as navigation systems, smart phones, electronic tablets and pads, and other mobile communications devices. A third set of proposed guidelines (Phase III) may address voice-activated controls to further minimize distraction in factory-installed, aftermarket, and portable devices.

The Phase I guidelines were published in today’s Federal Register and members of the public will have the opportunity to comment on the proposal for 60 days. Final guidelines will be issued after the agency reviews and analyzes and responds to public input.

NHTSA will also hold public hearings on the proposed guidelines to solicit public comment. The hearings will take place in March and will be held in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington D.C

To view today’s proposed electronic equipment guidelines, click here.

FMCSA Harmonizes Drug and Alcohol Possession Rules

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of February 6, 2012
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance

FMCSA has clarified a number of drug and alcohol testing rules. Under the newly revised rules, carriers will have a clearer picture of what they should do when they find a driver using drugs.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has tweaked regulations regarding drug and alcohol usage to clarify both the driver’s and the motor carrier’s responsibilities. They have amended various rules to clear up ambiguities in the regulations regarding drug and alcohol usage.

What Has Changed?

While the regulations aren’t new per-se, there are a number of tweaks to clarify earlier rules:

Sections 382.201 and 382.215

In these sections, the current regulations use the term “actual knowledge”. FMCSA has amended the rules to say “knowledge” instead of “actual knowledge”. This is because “actual knowledge” is officially defined as relating to observations and regulations 201 and 215 refer to knowledge that could only be gained from drug or alcohol testing.

Section 382.211

This amendment adds pre-employment and return-to-duty drug and alcohol testing to the list of tests that can be counted as a refusal to test. This change simply clarifies that a driver refusing to take part in these tests is violating the regulations and would have to undergo the return-to-duty process before taking a safety-sensitive position.

Note that this does not change that not arriving for a Pre-Employment test is not considered a refusal-to-test.

Sections 382.213, 391.41 and 391.43

These regulations clarify that no safety-sensitive individual may use a Schedule I substance. As the regulation was previously written, there seemed to be an exception that a driver could get a prescription for a Schedule I. As all Schedule I drugs are illegal and cannot be prescribed, that was never possible.

In addition, the rule clarifies that a safety sensitive individual using medication prescribed by a medical practitioner, may continue with their duties only when the prescriber has been made aware of the individual’s duties and has advised that the medication will not affect the individual’s ability to do those duties.

If they choose to, carriers may require that drivers inform them of any therapeutic drug use.

Explanation: What if I Find My Driver Using Drugs?

There are several scenarios where you might find one of your drivers is using drugs. (1) After a DOT drug test; (2) if you observe the driver using drugs; (3) without prompting, the employee voluntarily admits to using drugs (4) your driver gets a DUI in his or her CMV; and (5) it is revealed on an in the driver’s Safety Performance History File.

In the case of (1), a DOT drug test, the answer is simple, you follow the regulations; the driver must go through the return-to-duty process.

In the case of (2), observing an employee using a drug, you would not send the employee for a test, (not even a reasonable suspicion test). The employee would then have to go through the return-to-duty test.

In the case of (3), the employee admits to using drugs you would follow your company’s human resources policy. If you have a voluntarily admission as described in the regulations in Section 382.12 you would follow that protocol. (Note: Foley does not recommend using such a policy).

In the case of (4), the driver gets a DUI in his or her CMV, the driver would have to undergo the return-to-duty process before returning to safety-sensitive duties. (Assuming the courts allow them to perform such duties at all).

In the case of (5), a violation is revealed on an applicant’s Safety Performance History File, the individual would have to undergo the return-to-duty process before beginning safety-sensitive function. It’s your responsibility to ask applicants if they have had a violation in the past.

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • • Vol. 111, No. 724 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011

“Be Ready. Be Buckled.” Kids Art Contest Deadline Extended to Feb. 29!

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The annual Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Safety Belt Partnership “Be Ready. Be Buckled.” art contest for children of relatives in the truck and bus industries in grades K-6 (ages 5-12) has been extended to run through Wednesday, February 29, 2012!

The contest is held in conjunction with the American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) North American Occupational Safety and Health Week (May 6-12, 2012) celebrations aimed at increasing awareness about being safe on the job. The “Be Ready, Be Buckled” art contest focuses on urging truck, bus and all drivers to buckle up to save lives and reduce injuries. This year’s theme focuses on the motto “Safety Belts Save Lives!”

Children with a relationship with individuals or organizations in the trucking and bus industries can participate as per entry requirements.

Artwork that best illustrates “the importance of commercial motor vehicle drivers buckling up” with the overarching message “Safety Belts Save Lives” will win the grand prizes in each of the two age categories.

The winners of this contest will be honored at the 10th annual ASSE kids' “Safety-on-the-Job” poster contest awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on May 7, 2012, as part of the North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week kick-off events.

For more information, rules, regulation and entry form, please click on the image above or go to:

Best of luck!

Recent Legislation on Federal Funding for Training

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Recent legislation changed the ability of students that do not have a high school diploma or GED to access federal funding for training. These students were previously permitted to take an “ability to benefit” test and still receive funding, however this exception was eliminated. At the request of several accredited schools, this week CVTA Executive Director Mike O’Connell will be meeting with the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities to discuss the substantial impact of this provision on students that wish to train as truck drivers and how this restriction might be addressed legislatively. Mike will also be discussing the impact of the proposed FMCSA rule which specifies accreditation and establishes a specific number of hours of training. The Proposed Rule will also have a major impact on both accredited and non-accredited schools.

Penske Plans to Hire 3,500 This Year

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PenskePenske Truck Leasing and Penske Logistics plan to hire 3,500 employees in the United States and Canada this year.

Increased demand for Penske’s truck leasing and logistics services are the main reason for the hiring, said Ron Schwartz, staffing director at the Reading, Pa.-based company.

“We definitely have seen an increase in logistics [demand] as more product moves and the economy makes a slow turnaround,” Schwartz said, adding that Penske “will hire everyone from diesel technicians to drivers, to people in our warehouses [and] sales and customer service at our rental counters.”

About 3,300 hires will be in the United States, with another 200 in Canada. Hiring will include metropolitan areas such as Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, New York, Detroit and Chicago, Schwartz said... Continue reading...

J. J. Keller's Transportation SafetyClicks: February 2012

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1. FMCSA to revise violation list for CSA Methodology
The FMCSA has enhanced the Safety Measurement System (SMS) Methodology so that it includes violations based on new cell phone use regulations. Click to continue.

2. The hours-of-service changes are here, but don’t panic
On December 27, 2011, the FMCSA published the final rule changing the hours-of-service regulations. There are a few significant dates involved, as well as some vital changes. Click to continue.

3. List of state requirements for med card/CDL merger rule posted by AAMVA
Starting January 30, 2012, and no later than January 30, 2014, all CDL holders must provide information to their state driver licensing agencies (SDLAs) regarding the type of CMV operation they drive in or expect to drive in with their CDL.
Click to continue.

4. New FAQ on cell phone ban posted by FMCSA
The FMCSA updated its list of Cell Phone Ban Frequently Asked Questions appearing on its website. Click to continue.

5. CVSA releases results of 'Operation Safe Driver'
Targeting enforcement and education efforts at both passenger as well as commercial vehicle drivers is starting to pay off, according to recently released results. Click to continue.

6. Do you operate interstate or intrastate?
It seems like a fairly straightforward issue. Interstate transportation involves a vehicle crossing borders and operating in two or more jurisdictions; if a truck never leaves a state, it must be performing intrastate motor carriage. Surprisingly, this is not always true. Click to continue.

7. Are your placards clean and visible?
It is important to keep placards visible, clean, and displayed as specified in the Hazardous Materials Regulations. Click to continue.

SafetyClicks articles are published by J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. You may post SafetyClicks content to your intranet provided you include the copyright notice. If you would like to use the content in whole or in part on an internet site or elsewhere, please contact J. J. Keller for a license.

America's Commercial Vehicles Help Deliver Distracted Driving Message

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{vsig}fmcsaphoto{/vsig} {vsig_c}0|_JFK7267.jpg|Smith & Solomon:|Bill Applegate - Lead Instructor, John Diab - COO, Michael Baker{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|_JFK7269.jpg|Smith & Solomon and CVTA:|Bill Applegate, John Diab, Mike O'Connell - CVTA Executive Director, Michael Baker{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|_JFK7273.jpg|ATA, Smith & Solomon and CVTA:|Bill Applegate, John Diab, Rob Abbott - VP of Safety Policy, ATA, Mike O'Connell, Michael Baker{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|_JFK7275.jpg|CVTA:|Mike O'Connell, John Diab - Vice Chairman, Cindy Atwood - Deputy Director, Charlie Kim{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|_JFK7277.jpg|CVTA: Mike O'Connell - Executive Director, John Diab - Vice Chairman{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|_JFK7289.jpg|John Diab - Vice Chairman, CVTA, Anne Ferro - Administrator, FMCSA{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|_JFK7310.jpg|Bill Applegate, Michael Baker, and Administrator Anne Ferro{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|_JFK7340.jpg|ATA, CVTA and FMCSA with Smith & Solomon|From left: Jack Van Steenburg, FMCSA, Deputy Administrator Bill Bronrott, FMCSA{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|_JFK7342.jpg|CVTA and FMCSA with Smith & Solomon{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|_JFK7346.jpg|ATA, CVTA and FMCSA with Smith & Solomon{/vsig_c}
The Official Blog of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation

DOTsecretaryLaHood.jpgIt's no secret that I am serious about our fight to end distracted driving.  For three years, DOT has been actively working to make our roads safer by getting drivers to focus on one task and one task only: driving.

Throughout that time, we've been fortunate to have terrific safety partners to help us deliver the message that one text or call could wreck it all.  And I'm happy to add the Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA) to the roster of organizations and companies supporting our work.

Last month, a semi from Smith & Solomon, a commercial driving school, pulled up in front of DOT headquarters here in Washington, DC.  Driver John Diab, the CVTA Vice Chair and Smith & Solomon's Chief Operating Officer, was greeted by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne Ferro, Deputy Administrator Bill Bronrott, and CVTA Executive Director Mike O'Connell.

An hour later, Diab's truck was festooned with large decals  bearing our signature message.

The "One Text or Call Could Wreck it All" decals were designed to be large so they would be easy to see wherever the truck goes.  And, with the support of the CVTA, we hope trucks all over America will soon be carrying this important safety message.

As Administrator Ferro said, "It is powerful to have the trucking industry behind us, enhancing our campaign against distracted driving, because as traveling billboards, those trucks are so visible to other drivers across the country."

DOT has taken several regulatory steps to ensure that commercial drivers don't text or use handheld phones behind the wheel.  But we've had to leave passenger vehicle laws to the States or to Congress.  Now, with this campaign, truck drivers and commercial driving instructors are helping us educate non-commercial drivers about the dangers of distracted driving.

Said driver John Diab, “We are honored to represent CVTA and our industry’s commitment to eliminating distracted driving. We believe strongly in DOT’s campaign because it reinforces our commitment - instituted throughout our training programs - to ensure our drivers are aware of the dangers of distracted driving.”

Well, John, to see the nation's commercial drivers take up the banner in this important safety mission is really something, so I think the
honor is all ours.

The Official Blog of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation

smith and solomon back of the trailer