FMCSA withdraws its December 26, 2007 Rulemaking on ELDT

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it has withdrawn its December 26, 2007, notice of proposed rulemaking regarding Entry Level Driver Training, and is proposing a new rulemaking based upon the statutory requirements set forth in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The official notice will appear in tomorrow's Federal Register.
In the notice, the FMCSA states that it "withdraws the 2007 proposal because commenters to the NPRM, and participants in the Agency's public listening sessions in 2013, raised substantive issues which have led the Agency to conclude that it would be inappropriate to move forward with a final rule based on the proposal. In addition, since the NPRM was published, FMCSA received statutory direction on the issue of entry level driver training (ELDT) from Congress via the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) reauthorization legislation. Finally, the Agency tasked its Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) to provide ideas the Agency should consider in implementing the MAP-21 requirements. In consideration of the above, the Agency has concluded that a new rulemaking should be initiated in lieu of completing the 2007 rulemaking."

DoD MOU Partner Institution Notification of Complaint System

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This notice is for information purposes only. Early in the new year we expect the U.S. Government to launch a centralized online reporting system, allowing Service members, Veterans, and their families to provide feedback about educational institutions. The initiative, part of the President's Executive Order for Principles of Excellence, is designed to empower the students and their families by ensuring they have the best information needed to make the most informed educational choices while holding institutions of higher learning to the highest standards. This includes:

  • Providing meaningful information about the financial cost and quality of the school;
  • Preventing abusive and deceptive recruiting practices; and
  • Providing high-quality academic and student support services.

The Departments of Defense, Education, and Veterans Affairs, along with the Department of Justice, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Federal Trade Commission, are championing this effort.  More details to follow in the new year.

Truckload Driver Turnover Dips

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Large-Fleet Churn Still Tops 90% for 7th Qtr.

By Rip Watson, Senior Reporter

This story appears in the Dec. 16 print edition of Transport Topics.

Driver turnover ticked downward at truckload carriers during the third quarter but remained at relatively high levels, American Trucking Associations reported last week.

ATA said turnover at large truckload fleets slipped 2 percentage points to 97% and that at smaller fleets it dropped 8 percentage points to 74%.

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Fleets Must Keep Drug Testing 50% of Drivers, DOT Orders

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By Michele Fuetsch, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the Dec. 16 print edition of Transport Topics.

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that fleets must again randomly drug test the urine of at least half their drivers during 2014.

DOT, which issued the mandate Dec. 5, is still compiling drug-test results for 2012. Trucking’s positive test rate in 2011 was 0.9%, the lowest since drug testing began in 1996. If the 2012 rate turns out to be lower than 1%, the industry could become eligible to halve the testing, to 25% of its drivers.

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Flawed Safety Data Penalizing Many Fleets Under CSA Program, ATA Report States

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By Eric Miller, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the Dec. 16 print edition of Transport Topics.

Flawed data and methodology used in the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program have created “tens of thousands” of statistical anomalies, according to an American Trucking Associations white paper released last week.

“ATA continues to support the objectives of CSA and to call for improvements to the program,” ATA President Bill Graves said. “However, data and methodology problems continue to plague the system and the accuracy and reliability of companies’ scores.”

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Trucking helps Wreaths Across America Lay Record Number of Wreaths for Fallen Heroes

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by Brad Bentley

Every headstone has a story — That was the message delivered by Karen Worcester as she stood before thousands of volunteers who gathered to lay remembrance wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday, Dec. 14.

She also expressed appreciation to those who have made her family’s attempt to honor deceased veterans grow into a national observance. Several years ago, her husband, Morrill, found himself with a surplus of 5,000 balsam wreaths at Worcester Wreath Co. in Harrington, Maine. He brought the batch to Arlington and placed them on graves in an older, little-visited section of the cemetery.

With a mission of “remember, honor and teach” about the service and sacrifices of veterans, the Worcesters later launched the non-profit organization Wreaths Across America, which now conducts wreath-laying ceremonies at hundreds of veterans’ cemeteries nationwide. This annual tradition requires the assistance of many trucking companies and industry organizations to make it happen.

And at Arlington National Cemetery, the hallowed ground that represents fallen soldiers who marched in all American conflicts, the trucking industry left quite a footprint this past weekend.

The opening ceremony took place on a custom-built, mobile stage—a curtain-sided flatbed trailer—provided by Gary Salisbury, former Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) chairman and the president and CEO of Fikes Truck Line. The agenda included two songs by Lindsay Lawler, the spokesperson for TCA’s Highway Angel program and a country singer known for patriotic, pro-trucking lyrics.

“Wreaths Across America Day at Arlington National Cemetery is the most special experience I have ever been a part of and one that has given me such great honor,” Lawler said. “To stand before thousands and salute our past and present troops and their families by singing our National Anthem and God Bless America is a memory that I will carry the rest of my life.”

After the opening ceremony, volunteers flocked to 41 tractor-trailers that were scattered throughout Arlington National Cemetery. The trucks were loaded with more than 143,000 wreaths — a record amount helped along by a last-minute surge of donations that enabled Wreaths Across America to surpass their original goal of 135,000.

Throughout the day, participants could easily identify some 300 core volunteers thanks to vests donated by the Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA). Cindy Atwood, Deputy Director of the CVTA, served as the head greeter and said she was privileged to work with a dedicated group of individuals who arrived at 6:00 a.m. to organize and facilitate the wreath laying process.

“Volunteers gathered in the dark and very cold weather, then stood at the gates to welcome those coming to lay wreaths on the graves of our veterans. The greeters rarely have an opportunity to lay a wreath themselves and yet they proudly man their posts, answering questions and directing the crowds,” Atwood said.“Everyone is happy and motivated, with a shared desire to make this a memorable experience for all involved. Wreaths Across America sheds light on the strength of the community during the holiday season and serves as an amazing example of individuals, businesses and government coming together as one to remember our fallen heroes in a meaningful and respectful manner.”

The simple act of laying a wreath on a headstone can have a powerful effect. “Until you step foot onto this sacred place and listen to the stories of remembrance from friends and family members of loved ones buried there, you have no idea how this place will impact you,” Lawler said. “Placing a wreath on a grave of someone unknown to me, whose family and friends were not able to be there to place one themselves gave me such a sense of unity and pride for my country.”

In less than two hours, the simple white headstones in more than 30 sections of Arlington’s landscape were transformed by green wreaths with red bows. Simultaneously, veteran’s cemeteries nationwide were experiencing a similar metamorphosis thanks in part to the generosity of the trucking industry... Continue reading.


Guides for Private Vocational and Distance Education Schools

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            On November 18, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) revised its Guides for Private Vocational and Distance Education Schools, which are intended to advise proprietary businesses that offer vocational training courses (either on the school’s premises or through distance education) how to avoid deceptive practices in connection with the advertising, promotion, marketing, or sale of their courses or programs. Truck driving schools are listed on the FTC’s website as falling under the realm of Vocational Training. Therefore it is importance for CVTA institutions to understand how this rule applies to their advertising and marketing.

            These current revisions covers six areas:

  • Deceptive trade or business names;
  • Misrepresentation of extent or nature of Accreditation or Approval;
  • Misrepresentation of facilities, services, qualifications of staff, status, and employment prospects for students after training;
  • Misrepresentations of enrollment qualifications or limitations;
  • Deceptive use of diplomas, degrees, or certificates; and
  • Deceptive sales practices.  

The Deceptive trade or business names section does not allow schools to misrepresent that they are connected to the US government or an employee agency. Under the Misrepresentation of extent or nature of Accreditation or Approval, there are some areas where CVTA schools will need to possibly tailor their websites and printed material to ensure compliance. For instance, it makes it deceptive for an Industry Member to misrepresent that its courses or programs of instruction fulfill a requirement that must be completed prior to taking a licensing examination. This could be an issue where a school indirectly or directly makes it seem that a student must take a training program before sitting for the CDL, which of course they do not as of now.

            CVTA schools need to be careful when advertising that they do not show trucks, simulator equipment, or buildings that they no longer have or use as that will be seen as a deceptive practice. Schools will also have to be careful that they do not misrepresent the actual job market in their advertising. This could be an issue where a school leaves up information that is no longer accurate concerning the availability of jobs in the trucking industry. Schools cannot have any language in their advertisements that imply that employment is being offered. For instance “Men/women wanted to train for ****,” or “Help Wanted” cannot be in advertisements.

            CVTA recommends that you or your legal counsel review your institutions advertising and website to ensure they are not in violation of misrepresenting some key area of their program. If you have any questions, please contact Don Lefeve.