News

FMCSA Announces Proposal on Sleep Disorders

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of March 12, 2012
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance

FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro has announced a new proposed rulemaking on treating and detecting sleep disorders in truck drivers.

National Speed Limit Closer to Existence?

Chalk this one up to the open government initiative: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has laid out the agencies plan to combat the problem of truck drivers with sleep disorders.

Over the next few years we can expect guidance on diagnosing sleep disorders, plus a notice of proposed rulemaking and a final rule regarding sleep apnea. While the agency is usually fairly fastidious about following the usual rulemaking process, Ferro said that it would be issuing the guidance as a quick to implement stop-gap measure.

Guidance

The first measure is to issue guidance to medical examiners detailing how to detect and to treat sleep disorders in truck drivers.

That would be the second major move this year by FMCSA to regulate the people performing physicals on truck drivers. On March 30, a Final Rule that would create a national registry of qualified medical examiners is expected to be published. That Final Rule would also require that medical examiners undergo mandatory training, testing and certification before being place on the registry.

Rulemaking

Ferro also stated that the agency would look to create a formal, Final Rule concerning Sleep Apnea. That condition, which prevents sufferers from getting restful sleep has been the cause of a great deal of alarm over the last few years.

FMCSA researchers claim that driver fatigue is the root cause of 13% of truck crashes. Over the past several years the agency has done a great deal to combat driver fatigue, including the new hours-of-service regulations plus the creation of the Driver Fatigue BASIC as a part of the CSA system.

As always, Fast-Fax will keep you up-to-date on these issues as they get closer to becoming regulations.

National Speed Limit Closer to Existence?


The Truckload Carriers Association becomes the latest big voice advocating a national speed limit for trucks on the interstate.

It has been a long time since we had a national speed limit on the interstate. For some states, it has also been a long time since trucks and cars had the same speed limits. While cars can move at 65 or even 70 mph, trucks get stuck at 55 mph.

Now, the Truckload Carriers Association has become the latest of the major industry players to endorse a national speed limit for trucks of 65 mph. Other groups that have already endorsed the increased speed limit include the American Trucking Associations.

Safety Advocates

While there isn’t complete consensus, a number of safety advocates have called for a unified speed across the interstate system. The last time there was a national speed limit (of 55 mph) there was conflicting data on the safety issue.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety claiming that increasing limits from 55 to 65 mph on rural roads caused a 25-30% increase in fatalities. On the other hand, the University of California Transportation Science Center found that, under the same circumstances, there was a 3-5% decrease in fatalities.

New Rules?

While TCA’s endorsement is getting a lot of press, we wouldn’t recommend holding your breath for a new rule any time soon. A national speed limit would be controversial and the required raising of the limit in some states to be greater than 55 would surely raise the ire of the safety advocates. TCA’s endorsement is a welcome coup for advocates but there is a long way to go before a national speed limit becomes a reality.

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • www.FoleyServices.com • Vol. 111, No. 729 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011

DOT Releases New "Faces of Distracted Driving" Video

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U.S. Department of Transportation Releases
New “Faces of Distracted Driving” Video

Alison Holden of Washington, DC
Recounts Her Recovery from a Devastating Distracted Driving Injury

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today released the latest video in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Faces of Distracted Driving” series, featuring the story of Alison Holden from Washington, DC.

WATCH: “Alison Holden” – Source: youtu.be/wyUHzRDj734

On April 27, 2009, single mom Alison Holden was driving to work when she was rear-ended at a stoplight by a driver who was sending a text message. She was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. In the months after the accident, she suffered from short-term memory loss and struggled to care for her son while recovering from her injuries. She required extensive physical therapy, and she still feels effects from the crash today.

“Alison Holden’s experience reminds us that distracted driving crashes don’t have to be fatal to have devastating, long-term consequences,” said Secretary LaHood. “I hope all drivers will remember to keep their eyes on the road, their hands on the wheel, and their cell phones in the glove compartment.”

“Distracted driving stole two years of my life. It robbed my son of two years with his mother," said Holden. “No text message is important enough to risk ruining someone's life.”

“Faces of Distracted Driving” is a video series that raises awareness about the potentially tragic consequences of texting and cell phone use while driving by sharing the stories of families who have been affected by this deadly epidemic. In 2010, over 3,000 people died in crashes related to distracted driving. The series is part of Secretary LaHood’s ongoing efforts to raise greater awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.

WATCH: “Faces of Distracted Driving” – Distraction.gov/Content/Faces

The U.S. Department of Transportation encourages anyone who would like to share their distracted driving experiences to email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To learn more about USDOT’s efforts to stop distracted driving, please visit www.Distraction.gov.

Unemployment rate unchanged; trucking adds 10,200 jobs

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Source: thetrucker.com/News/Stories/2012/3/9/
Unemploymentrateunchangedtruckingadds10200jobs.aspx

By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER
The Associated Press
3/9/2012

WASHINGTON — U.S. employers added 227,000 jobs in February to complete three of the best months of hiring since the recession began. The unemployment rate was unchanged, largely because more people streamed into the work force.

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate stayed at 8.3 percent last month, the lowest in three years.

And hiring in January and December was better than first thought. The government revised those figures to show 61,000 an additional jobs.

For-hire trucking picked up 10,200 jobs for the month. The preliminary February number for trucking is better than the same month a year ago by 47,300 jobs, and it's 97,000 jobs better than March 2010, the low point in the downturn. But the current total is still 123,100 jobs shy of the industry peak in early 2007 — a slip of 8.5 percent.

The economy has now generated an average of 245,000 jobs in the past three months. The only stretch better since the recession began was in early 2010.

That bodes well for President Barack Obama's re-election chances, although he's still likely to face the highest unemployment rate of any post-war president.

Stock futures rose slightly after the report was released. Dow Jones industrial average futures, which were up 10 points before the report, added 10 points when it came out. Standard & Poor's 500 futures were up one point before the report and tacked on two.

Last month's hiring was broad-based and in both high-paying and lower-paying industries. Manufacturing, mining, and professional services, such as accounting, all added jobs.

Governments at all levels cut only 6,000 jobs in February and 1,000 in January, after a revision. That's a welcome change from the heavy layoffs by cash-strapped states and cities over the past two years. Last year alone they cut an average of 22,000 jobs per month.

Nearly a half-million people began looking for work last month, and most found jobs, the report said. That's a sign of growing optimism in the job market, as many people who had given up on looking for work came off the sidelines to search for jobs.

That also counters a troubling trend: a key reason why the unemployment rate has dropped since last year is that many out-of-work people have stopped looking for work. Only people without jobs who are actively seeking one are counted as unemployed.

A sustained rise in the number of people looking for jobs is a good sign, even if the unemployment rate doesn't change.

Friday's report comes as a host of data points to an improving economy and job market. Weekly applications for unemployment benefits have fallen about 14 percent in six months. Though they ticked up last week, average applications remain near a four-year low.

On Wednesday, payroll provider ADP said businesses added 216,000 employees last month, up from January's total. The ADP report doesn't include governments, which have been cutting jobs.

And service companies, which employ most Americans, are expanding at a faster pace, according to a private survey released this week. A gauge of employment shows that service firms are still hiring, particularly in the mining, educational services, and transportation and warehousing industries.

The service sector includes everything from restaurants and hotels to health care firms and financial service companies.

Some companies must hire because they can't squeeze more output from their current staffs. Last year, worker productivity rose at its slowest pace in nearly 25 years. That means companies will likely have to add staff to meet growing demand.

Other figures point to the same conclusion. The average work week was unchanged at 34.5 hours. That's close to the pre-recession total and suggests that companies will have to hire more workers as business improves, rather than adding more hours.

The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Source: thetrucker.com/News/Stories/2012/3/9/
Unemploymentrateunchangedtruckingadds10200jobs.aspx

Unemployment Rate Unchanged; Trucking Adds 10,200 jobs

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By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER
The Associated Press, 3/9/2012
Source: thetrucker.com/News/Stories/2012/3/9/
Unemploymentrateunchangedtruckingadds10200jobs.aspx

WASHINGTON — U.S. employers added 227,000 jobs in February to complete three of the best months of hiring since the recession began. The unemployment rate was unchanged, largely because more people streamed into the work force.

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate stayed at 8.3 percent last month, the lowest in three years.

And hiring in January and December was better than first thought. The government revised those figures to show 61,000 an additional jobs.

For-hire trucking picked up 10,200 jobs for the month. The preliminary February number for trucking is better than the same month a year ago by 47,300 jobs, and it's 97,000 jobs better than March 2010, the low point in the downturn. But the current total is still 123,100 jobs shy of the industry peak in early 2007 — a slip of 8.5 percent.

The economy has now generated an average of 245,000 jobs in the past three months. The only stretch better since the recession began was in early 2010.

That bodes well for President Barack Obama's re-election chances, although he's still likely to face the highest unemployment rate of any post-war president.

Stock futures rose slightly after the report was released. Dow Jones industrial average futures, which were up 10 points before the report, added 10 points when it came out. Standard & Poor's 500 futures were up one point before the report and tacked on two.

Last month's hiring was broad-based and in both high-paying and lower-paying industries. Manufacturing, mining, and professional services, such as accounting, all added jobs.

Governments at all levels cut only 6,000 jobs in February and 1,000 in January, after a revision. That's a welcome change from the heavy layoffs by cash-strapped states and cities over the past two years. Last year alone they cut an average of 22,000 jobs per month.

Nearly a half-million people began looking for work last month, and most found jobs, the report said. That's a sign of growing optimism in the job market, as many people who had given up on looking for work came off the sidelines to search for jobs.

That also counters a troubling trend: a key reason why the unemployment rate has dropped since last year is that many out-of-work people have stopped looking for work. Only people without jobs who are actively seeking one are counted as unemployed.

A sustained rise in the number of people looking for jobs is a good sign, even if the unemployment rate doesn't change. Continue reading...

Source: thetrucker.com/News/Stories/2012/3/9/Unemploymentrateunchangedtruckingadds10200jobs.aspx

Fuel Crisis Starts to Hit Home

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of February 27, 2012
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance

Truckers nationwide are beginning to feel the pressure of increased prices at the pump. Now, news that the latest in a series of diesel refineries is closing means the problem will only get worse.

Perhaps you have already experienced this yourself: All over the country, truckers are pulling into fueling stations and finding the cost of diesel is eye-wateringly high.

The price of fuel is up for a number of reasons including, increased demand, trouble in the Middle East and rampant Wall Street speculation. However, truckers in the Northeast are being hit by another major problem; several refineries of the Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel have closed or are closing making demand on truck fuel incredibly tight.

Sky-High Prices

A look at the numbers reveals the issue: Already, diesel’s national average is up 33 cents from this time last year. On Monday, the nationwide average for fuel was $4.09 a gallon. Predictions are that, by Memorial Day, prices may be well over $5 a gallon.

The price increases are coming from a wide variety of sources. Increased global demand, particularly from India, China and Brazil has slowly pushed up prices over the last few years. The situation in Iran and the wider Middle East has caused concerns about future supplies, rising prices further. Finally, oil speculation on Wall Street is artificially increasing the price of fuel as traders seek to capitalize on the market. This all adds up and we may see record prices later this year.

Closing Refineries

Along with the fuel price increases comes news that things are only likely to get worse. Oil company, Sunnoco announced that, if it couldn’t find a buyer, it would close a diesel refinery responsible for 24% — or 335,000 barrels a day — of East Coast capacity.

Predictions are ranging from bad to dire. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) warns that the East Coast has already lost major refiners in the last year. Two weeks ago, a 350,000 barrel a day refinery in the US Virgin Islands, which served the East Coast, was closed. Last fall, two more refineries were closed; one produced 178,000 barrels a day, the other 185,000 barrels a day.

All together, the East Coast has lost 50% of its refinery capacity. While there is plenty of fuel being produced in other areas of the country, transportation problems are being predicted, forcing shortages and subsequent price-hikes.

Hope From the Government

To offset the price increases in the Northeast, the Energy Department has announced that it may release some of the 1 million barrels of diesel it stores in the Connecticut and Massachusetts heating oil reserve.

There is no confirmed word on when or even if this will definitely happen. It is hoped that if it does happen, the move will force the markets to lower prices. Until then, the industry will have to sit and wait with everyone else.

Data Courtesey of EIA

National fuel prices are an average of 33 cents higher than they were this time last year. Prices in February and March of 2012 rival those of the height of the summer of 2011.

The average price of fuel in New England has grown at an accelerated pace compared to the rest of the country. Prices are already higher than the national average and have already surpassed the peaks of 2011.

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • www.FoleyServices.com • Vol. 111, No. 728 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011

Driver Reclassification Battle Pushes Onward In New York

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Source: findatruckingjob.com/trucking-info/trucking-news/
driver-reclassification-battle-pushes-onward-new-york

The newest legislative battle over truck driving is taking place in New York. As states across the country struggle to reclassify parcel drivers and drayage truck operators, lawmakers in New York are trying to lump owner-operators in with employee drivers. The differences between the two truck driving jobs are not clear to the legislators. Port operations in Washington, New Jersey and California are proposing a similar change to truck company classifications. The laws being discussed in New York would affect all owner-operators currently working in the state. Both the NY State Motor Truck Association and the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association have spoken out against this classification change.

The director of regulatory affairs for OOIDA, Joe Rajkovacz, explained that this change would cause a wealth of problems for New York state drivers. Independent operators would have the burden of proof put on them to prove that they were not full employees of a company. Under current legislation, the state holds the burden of proof when it comes to tax disputes for truck driving jobs. The New York State Motor Truck Association is trying to warn drivers that the bill may strip away their ability to work as a independent contractor is they are engaged in the same activities as trucking companies.

Issues found with the legal codes surrounding the construction industry in the state sparked the reclassification focus. Unfortunately, the problem the law is attempting to fix is not a real issue in the trucking industry. The research that discovered misclassification issues in New York did not investigate truck driving jobs, but only looked at problems within the construction field. The organizations against the bill say that this is an inappropriate way to change classifications within their industry.

The country-wide push to reclassify owner-operators is coming after the American Trucking Association won a lawsuit in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The association won... Continue reading...

Source: findatruckingjob.com/trucking-info/trucking-news/driver-reclassification-battle-pushes-onward-new-york

Some Hours-of-Service Changes Start

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of February 27, 2012
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance


Despite a slew of recent lawsuits, some aspects of the new hours-of-service regulations have gone into effect. The rest — baring court action — will become effective in 2013.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) moved ahead with the rollout of the revised hours-of-service regulations this week, as several provisions went into effect. This came despite several lawsuits objecting to other provisions in the regulations being filed in Federal courts.

What Went Into Effect?

The following provisions of the rule became effective on February 27, 2012:

On-Duty Time:

As of February 27, on duty-time no longer includes any time resting in a parked CMV. In a moving property-carrying CMV, on-duty time does not include up to 2 hours in passenger seat immediately before or after 8 consecutive hours in sleeper-berth. This provision also applies to passenger-carrying drivers.

Penalties:

As of February 27, driving (or allowing a driver to drive) 3 or more hours beyond the driving-time limit will be considered an egregious violation and subject to the maximum civil penalties. This provision also applies to passenger-carrying drivers.

Oilfield Exemption:

As of February 27, “Waiting time” for certain drivers at oilfields must be shown on logbook or electronic equivalent as off duty and identified by annotations in “remarks” or a separate line added to “grid.”

What is Still to Come?

The following provisions are still to be implemented (currently scheduled for July, 2013).

11 Hours Of Driving Time:

In the NPRM, FMCSA had indicated that they wanted to restrict this to 10 hours but conceded to carrier demands that the 11 hours of Driving Time remain on the books.

14 Hours Of On Duty Time:

FMCSA left in the Final Rule, the allowance for 14 hours of On Duty Time: all the time a driver begins to work or is required to be ready to work until the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work. It includes driving time, inspection time, loading and unloading time, etc.

Drivers Must Take A 30-Minute Break Within An 8-Hour Driving Window:

In a nod towards practicality, FMCSA has left in flexibility as to when drivers take the break, but they can’t drive for more than 8 hours without taking a 30-min break.

34-Hour Restart Rule Limited To Once A Week:

The rules still allow you to ‘reset’ your hours of service by taking a 34 hour break, however, you can only do this once every 168 hours — 7 days.

34-Hour Restart Period Must Include Two Periods Of Off Duty Time Between 1 AM And 5 AM.:
This was a concession to both carriers and safety advocates; the safety advocates want drivers to have two nights sleep but FMCSA has reduced the amount from the proposed Midnight to 6 AM.

Lawsuits

Everything, however, is at risk of being struck down by the courts after several lawsuits were filed against the regulations.

The most prominent lawsuit came from the American Trucking Associations (ATA) which sued over two provisions: (1) the reduction of total driver hours from 82 to 70 per week; and (2) the 34-hour restart provision.

While FMCSA have claimed that these regulations would improve safety and reduce driver fatigue, ATA claims that those assertions are based on flawed evidence. In a statement, ATA President Bill Graves claimed:

“The law is clear about what steps FMCSA must undertake to change the rules and we cannot allow this rulemaking, which was fueled by changed assumptions and analyses that do not meet the required legal standards, to remain unchallenged,”

With the rollout this week, it seems FMCSA is confident it can continue with the regulatory implementation. We will keep you updated ov any change in the schedule.

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • www.FoleyServices.com • Vol. 111, No. 727 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011