Welcome to the family: NHTSA adds 10-year-old crash test dummy

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February 23, 2012 by Ray LaHood
Fast Lane, The Official Blog of Secretary of Transportation

At DOT, we are very proud of our special family. But this time, I don't mean the terrific public servants who work hard day in and day out to keep our nation moving safely and efficiently. No, I'm talking about the one family that literally puts their bodies on the line to make sure the vehicles on our roadways are safe--the crash test dummies of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

And, as with other families, the kids in NHTSA's safety family have been growing. So this week, NHTSA introduced the newest addition to the family of crash-test dummies, a 10-year-old.


The Hybrid III 10-year-old size child test dummy -- known to the rest of the family as HIII-10C -- weighs 77.6 pounds and has a sitting height of 28 inches. HIII-10C is the best tool currently available for measuring the risk of injury to a child using a higher-weight child restraint system in the event of a vehicle crash.

It's good news that manufacturers are making more car seats and boosters than ever before designed to keep older and heavier children safer on our roadways. But, that also means evaluating restraint systems for children in the 8- to 12-year-old age range has become increasingly important. HIII-10C gives us a great way to do that.

onedummyH3-10C seatedWe developed HIII-10C together with new safety seat requirements that were updated to keep pace with the latest research and child restraint technologies. The final rule issued by NHTSA this week amends the current federal child safety seat standard to include car seats and boosters specified for children weighing more than 65 pounds and up to 80 pounds.

The expanded standards use HIII-10C to evaluate how well these higher-weight restraint systems manage crash energy. They also use it to see whether an older child's safety seat's structure stays intact in a crash. As NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said, "Our new dummy is an excellent addition to NHTSA's extensive child seat compliance testing program and enables the agency to gather the best data yet on the performance of higher-weight child seats."

Last year, NHTSA recommended that parents and caregivers keep children in a car seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the height and weight specifications of the seat. NHTSA also recommends that children ride in a booster seat until they are big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. Typically, that doesn't happen until a child is somewhere between 8-12 years old and about 4 feet 9 inches tall.

There is only one goal in this new guidance: to keep America's children as safe as possible on our roadways. And we're happy to welcome HIII-10C to our special safety family to help us further pursue that important mission.


The Trouble with the Transportation Bill

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of February 13, 2012
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance

The much needed Transportation Funding Bill has hit Congress and ground to a halt in the partisan gridlock. We look at what is being considered and what has already been rejected.

The latest Transportation Funding Bill got off to an inauspicious start last week after Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood publicly called it “the worst“ bill he had ever seen “during 35 years of public service.
Unfortunately, things seem to have gotten worse from there. Despite the great need for highway repair, it looks like, for the foreseeable future, that transportation funding will have to wait. The quest to replenish the Highway Trust Fund, it would appear, has been caught in the partisan gridlock that has paralyzed Congress in recent years.

What’s Up For Debate?

Up until the most recent Congress, what’s being debated was actually fairly routine. Congress is supposed to be authorizing funding for the Highway Trust Fund. The HTF is the fund from which money for construction, repair and improvements for the nations highway system is pulled. The HTF also pays for road safety agencies, enforcement and education drives.

The situation, however, is a little more delicate than it might appear. Over the years, the Highway Trust Fund has become steadily more complicated.

For one, funding for highways is not even among states; many states pay more to the Federal government than they receive. Others receive much more than they pay. As a general rule, states with higher populations, such as New York pay more than they get and states with smaller populations such as Kansas pay less than they get. This is a practical solution for a country the size of ours but it has tended to make the bills (1) more partisan and (2) more prone to so-called ‘pork’.

Another complication is that for the last few decades a percentage of the HTF has gone to ‘alternative’ means of transportation. This includes transit such as bus and subway systems and projects like bike paths. Depending on who you ask, that measure is either pork or sensible policy.

The 2012 Fight

That debate is largely what has derailed the 2012 authorization bill. The House Republicans have written a bill that would provide $260 billion to the highway trust fund but remove all funding for other means of transportation. That funding would have to come out of the general fund. The House bill would also authorize oil drilling in a number of previously restricted areas, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska as a means to pay for the extra expenditure.

For a short while, the bill also included a proposal that would increase the size and weight allowances of trucks. This received a great deal of interest from the industry but was ultimately rejected in the committee stage of the debate.

The Democrat controlled Senate, on the other hand, has written a $109 billion bill which does include alternate means of transportation but does not include extra projects such as oil drilling. The Senate bill has received the endorsement of the Obama Administration. The President had asked earlier for $50 billion in infrastructure improvement funding.

Furthering the difference, the House Bill would provide funding for 5 years, the Senate bill would provide funding for only 2 years.

What’s Going to Pass?

Probably neither; the House bill has come under the most criticism as even some Republicans have balked at the price tag. The bill has come under particular criticism from Tea Party members who were elected after running on a platform of stopping precisely this kind of bill.

Unfortunately, as this is an election year, neither party is particularly willing to give ground to the other. What is most likely to happen is that — after a lot of fighting — a temporary bill will be passed by both houses that will authorize spending until after the election. That method has been in place since 2009.

The debate, however is likely to dominate the transportation calendar over the next twelve months. With this much money at stake, all the major players — and their lobbyists — will want to have a dog in the fight.

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • • Vol. 111, No. 725 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011

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
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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...