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 • • Vol. 111, No. 728 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011

Driver Reclassification Battle Pushes Onward In New York

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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...


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.


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.


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 • • Vol. 111, No. 727 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011

FMCSA Publishes Log Book Guide

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of February 20, 2012
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance

In response to pleas for clarity, FMCSA has published a guide to using log books as a means to explain the new Hours of Service rules.

Over the last two months, both in Fast-Fax and on the Transportation Ticker Blog, we have tried to explain the new hours of service rules. We’ve found there to be a great deal of confusion still regarding a number of aspects of the new rules. It seems that this confusion is universal as FMCSA has published a guide to using log books as a means to demonstrate how the new rules will work when they go into effect in 2013.

In this issue we will highlight the guidance for the issues we had the most questions about; Rest Breaks and the 14-hour driver limit. There are many more examples; we have made the entire guide available to you on the Transportation Ticker Blog at

Rest Breaks

This example shows the consecutive hours of driving and necessary rest breaks. A driver may drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since the end of the driver’s last off-duty period of at least 30 minutes.

“In this example, beginning with the start of the driving window at 10:00 a.m. on Day 1, the driver was on duty for 1 hour, drove for 2 hours, was on duty for 3 hours, and then drove 2 more hours – totaling 8 hours (combined driving and on-duty time). At 6:00 p.m. on Day 1, the driver takes the required minimum 30-minute off-duty break, then goes back on duty for ½ hour, and completes the 14 hour “window” at 12:00 Midnight with 4 hours of driving and 1 hour of on-duty time.”

14-Hour Driving Window

This is an example of the 14 consecutive-hour “driving window.” Under this rule, the driver may drive for 11 hours but only within a 14-hour window. After 14 hours he or she must go off duty even if they haven’t driven 11 hours yet.

“After 10 consecutive hours off duty, the driver had 14 hours available and started his/her driving window at Midnight on Day 1. At 2:00 p.m., the driver had reached the end of the 14-hour window (10 hours driving; 3 hours on duty; 1 hour off duty). The driver may not drive a CMV once he or she has reached the end of the 14 consecutive-hour period (unless a 16-hour day is available [Section 395.1(o)]), and in this example the driver goes off duty for the required 10 consecutive hours starting at 2:00 p.m. on Day 1.”

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • • Vol. 111, No. 726 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011

SCAM ALERT - Feb 27, 2012

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From David L. Johnson, America's Driving Force

I hope that this finds you all doing well. Even though we are not members ( I wish) I just thought that I would share this with you.

We had a call from Johnny Griffin who said he was with Willey Sanders and needed drivers. The phone number he gave was 850-597-2262. When a student called him back he wanted $400.00. The student hung up and reported it to me.

David L. Johnson
America's Driving Force

J. J. Keller Joins Commercial Carrier Journal Honoring 2012 Innovator...

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Neenah, WI – J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.® is proud to be one of four sponsors of Commercial Carrier Journal’s Innovator of the Year Award. This award recognizes trucking operations that have demonstrated true innovation in trucking management.

This year’s CCJ Innovators Summit was held February 8-10, 2012 in Duck Key, Fla., where the Innovator of the Year Award was presented to American Central Transport (ACT) of Liberty, Mo. ACT is a truckload carrier serving major shippers throughout the eastern half of the U.S.

J. J. Keller President/CEO James J. Keller and his wife Rosanne attended the event on behalf of the company. This year marked the fifth year that J. J. Keller has sponsored the event.

"We were very pleased with our reception and the fact that all of the Innovator nominees were also J. J. Keller customers,” said Keller. “We spent quality time getting to know these Innovator companies — it was a real learning experience."

American Central Transport received the award for its innovative driver recruiting program and pay model. The company developed the ACTivate Careers Program targeting returning military veterans and former drivers. It also initiated a performance-based driver pay system in which company drivers are paid by performance in five categories: utilization, fuel economy, safety, service, and route compliance.

For more information, visit

About J. J. Keller
J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.® was established in 1953 and has become the nation’s most respected name in risk and regulatory management. The company employs over 1,100 associates and serves over 350,000 customers including more than 90% of the Fortune 1000. J. J. Keller's broad product and service line includes DVD and online training programs, online management tools, outsourced services, consulting, mobile technology, subscription services, printed publications, custom solutions, forms and supplies. These diverse product offerings cover over 1,500 topics, including CSA, hours of service, vehicle inspection and maintenance, driver qualification, and hazardous materials. For more information, visit

For more information, contact:
Mary Borsecnik
Corporate Marketing Communications Specialist
J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.® 
1-800-843-3174, ext. 7050
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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