DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of March 7, 2011
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Here’s the latest Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration news, including updates on CSA, Hours of Service and texting while driving.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The following is a brief look at the latest regulatory news for the two DOT agencies.
Settlement Agreement Results in CSA Changes
As part of a settlement agreement with three trucking associations, FMCSA has decided to make some changes to the CSA system.
As of March 25, 2011, FMCSA will:
(1) Replace any ALERT symbol currently displayed in orange on the SMS website with the symbol of an exclamation mark inside a yellow triangle.
(2) Revise the disclaimer language on the SMS website to read: “The data in the Safety Measurement System (SMS) is performance data used by the Agency and enforcement community. A symbol, based on that data, indicates that FMCSA may prioritize a motor carrier for further monitoring. The symbol is not intended to imply any federal safety rating of the carrier pursuant to 49 USC 31144. Readers should not draw conclusions about a carrier’s overall safety condition simply based on the data displayed in this system. Unless a motor carrier in the SMS has received an UNSATISFACTORY safety rating pursuant to 49 CFR Part 385, or has otherwise been ordered to discontinue operations by the FMCSA, it is authorized to operate on the nation’s roadways. Motor carrier safety ratings are available at http://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov and motor carrier licensing and insurance status are available at http://li-public.fmcsa.dot.gov.”
EOBR Comment Period Extended
FMCSA has just extended the comment period on its “Electronic On-Board Recorders and Hours of Service Supporting Document” proposal to May 23, 2011. The original deadline of April 4 has been extended to gather input from more potential commenters.
The proposal calls for all interstate carriers who currently use Records of Duty (RODS) logbooks to document drivers’ HOS to be required to use EOBRs. It also seeks to relieve interstate motor carriers from retaining certain HOS supporting documents (e.g., delivery and tool receipts) that are currently used to verify logbook entries.
Warning Letters in the Mail
PHMSA Texting Ban Begins March 30
PHMSA recently issued a final rule that prohibits texting on electronic devices while transporting hazardous materials requiring placarding. PHMSA’s texting ban expands the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s earlier rule banning texting while driving a commercial motor vehicle. As of March 30, all Hazmat carriers, even those who do not cross state lines, are prohibited from texting while driving a commercial motor vehicle laden with hazardous materials. FMCSA’s texting ban — and the associated penalties — went into effect on October 27, 2010.
PHMSA Final Rule Enhances Enforcement Authority
PHMSA’s new enforcement and inspection procedures Final Rule enhances, but does not change, the current inspection procedures. Specifically, it establishes procedures for:
(1) Issuing emergency orders (restrictions, prohibitions, recalls and out-of-service orders) to address unsafe conditions or practices posing an imminent hazard;
(2) Opening packages to identify undeclared or non-compliant shipments, when the person in possession of the package refuses a request to open it; and
(3) The temporary detention and inspection of potentially non-compliant packages.
PHMSA Seeks to Amend Cargo Loading, Unloading Rule
PHMSA’s latest rulemaking proposal seeks to require each carrier and facility that engages in cargo tank loading and unloading operations to perform a risk assessment and develop safe operating procedures based on the results of the assessment. The agency is also proposing mandatory training and evaluation for each employee involved in the cargo tank loading and unloading process. Comments are due by May 10, 2011.
Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • www.FoleyServices.com • Vol. 111, No. 677 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011