Posted on November 29, 2016
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) completed its review of the CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse final rule. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) can proceed with the rule so long as they follow OMB’s recommended changes. OMB did not make these recommendations public.
The trucking industry has long sought this ruling. After years of lobbying, the FMCSA proposed the rule in 2014. OMB received the final rule in May of this year. The problem with the current setup is there is no way for trucking companies to check drug and alcohol background information on drivers who tested positive or refuse to submit to testing.
The new ruling would make a central database of these individuals. Carriers would then be able to reference the database before hiring an individual. Industry professionals believe it will help curb job-hopping and the number of truckers operating vehicles while under the influence.
While OMB’s recommendations are unknown, motor carriers should expect this ruling to become federal regulation soon. Driver drug and alcohol testing should be a priority for all trucking companies. The results of these tests affect driver safety as well as your company’s risk. To stay up to date with federal regulations and improve your transportation risk management, contact us.
Posted on November 01, 2016
Sometimes motor carriers need to exchange equipment. However, this raises questions about liability. In order for authorized motor carriers to interchange equipment, they must address the following.
Motor carriers need a written contract or document that describes the equipment. This document should also detail how the motor carrier will use the equipment and how much compensation is required for the equipment’s use. All involved motor carriers must sign the agreement.
Any motor carrier who wants to participate in an equipment interchange must register with the Secretary of Transportation. The Secretary will then supply the transport of equipment at the designated location for the physical exchange.
Bill of Lading
The original motor carrier must issue a bill of lading in order for the equipment interchange to progress. The bill of lading provides a receipt of services rendered.
Identifying the Equipment
The motor carrier receiving the equipment must identify all power units. The motor carrier must have a document verifying they are operating the equipment. The document should provide other details as well such as the date and time the motor carrier assumes responsibility for the equipment.
Connecting Carriers and Liability
Any motor carrier who transfers equipment from one motor carrier to another assumes ownership of the equipment. This applies to both leasing and returning equipment.
Posted on October 24, 2016
The Uniform Intermodal Interchange & Facilities Access Agreement (UIIA) provides uniform industry processes and procedures for the exchange of intermodal equipment between trucking companies, railroads, companies that lease equipment, and ocean carriers. As such, it behooves individuals within the transportation industry and UIIA participants to stay up to date with the latest changes at the UIIA.
Tire Tread Damage
Effective September 19, 2016, the UIIA revised its definition for slid flat tire damage. The new definition indicates a tire experienced flat tire damage if the removed tread wore down to 2/32 of an inch or less in the flat area. This only holds true if the unaffected tread is greater than 4/32 of an inch.
This type of damage occurs when a driver brakes suddenly or when a vehicle begins to slide out of the driver’s control. It often leaves behind skid marks on the asphalt. Proper tire maintenance and replacement improve safety, so inspect your tires for tread wear and damage often.
The Intermodal Interchange Executive Committee (IIEC) held a meeting on September 20, 2016. The committee put forth two UIIA modifications with unanimous approval.
Binding Arbitration Guidelines
The IIEC proposed changes to Item D.10 under their binding arbitration guidelines. For claims in regards to maintenance and repair, the invoicing party must provide an Equipment Interchange Receipt or Recorded Image from the time of the interchange. It must clearly show the condition of the equipment. If the individual sending the invoice cannot produce either of these documents, the party receiving the invoice is not responsible.
Free Days, Per Diem, Container Use, Chassis Use/Rental and/or Storage/Ocean Demurrage
The provider has 60 days from returning equipment to invoice the motor carrier for Per Diem, Container Use, Chassis Use/Rental and/or Storage/Ocean Demurrage charges. If the provider fails to invoice the motor carrier in this period, they forfeit the cost.
However, if the provider sends the invoice to the wrong party, they can re-invoice the correct motor carrier. They have 30 days from when the incorrect party submits a charge dispute or they can work within the original 60 days, whichever is later. However, this window is not indefinite. The provider can only recoup expenses for an incorrectly billed charge if they resubmit the invoice within 90 days of returning the equipment.
The proposed changes above are open to public commentary through October 31, 2016.
Posted on October 11, 2016
Join Interstate Motor Carriers for this educational webinar to learn how effective pre-trip and post-trip vehicle inspection practices reduce costs and DOT penalties. Expert speaker Rob Dowling, Transportation Safety & Loss Control Director at The Capacity Group, will review the key components of pre-trip and post-trip vehicle inspections, and explain the consequences of failing to comply. Topics include:
* Pre-Trip Inspection Requirements
* Post-Trip Inspection Requirements
* Driver Vehicle Inspection Reporting & Responsibilities
* Recordkeeping, Compliance & Audits
Date & Time: Wed, Oct 26, 2016 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM EDT
Posted on September 20, 2016
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has brought a number of relevant changes to the transportation industry regarding the handling of both human and animal food. The rule exists to reduce the likelihood of contamination, and requires all shippers to develop and implement written procedures adequate to ensure sanitary handling of the products in question.
Which Businesses Must Comply with the FSMA?
With some exceptions (noted below), the final rule applies to shippers, receivers, loaders and carriers who transport food in the United States by motor or rail vehicle, whether or not the food is offered for or enters interstate commerce. Persons in other countries who ship food to the United States directly by motor or rail vehicle (from Canada or Mexico), or by ship or air, and arrange for the transfer of the intact container onto a motor or rail vehicle for transportation within the U.S., if that food will be consumed or distributed in the United States.
Exemptions to the FSMA Include:
- Shippers, receivers, or carriers engaged in food transportation operations that have less than $500,000 in average annual revenue
- Exporters who ship food through the United States (for example, from Canada to Mexico) by motor or rail vehicle if the food does not enter U.S. distribution.
- Transportation activities performed by a farm
- Transportation of food that is transshipped through the United States to another country
- Transportation of food that is imported for future export and that is neither consumed or distributed in the United States
- Transportation of compressed food gases (e.g. carbon dioxide, nitrogen or oxygen authorized for use in food and beverage products), and food contact substances
- Transportation of human food byproducts transported for use as animal food without further processing
- Transportation of food that is completely enclosed by a container except a food that requires temperature control for safety
- Transportation of live food animals, except molluscan shellfish
The FSMA Key Requirements
- Vehicles and transportation equipment: The design and maintenance of vehicles and transportation equipment to ensure that it does not cause the food that it transports to become unsafe. For example, they must be suitable and adequately cleanable for their intended use and capable of maintaining temperatures necessary for the safe transport of food.
- Transportation operations: The measures taken during transportation to ensure food safety, such as adequate temperature controls, preventing contamination of ready to eat food from touching raw food, protection of food from contamination by non-food items in the same load or previous load, and protection of food from cross-contact, i.e., the unintentional incorporation of a food allergen.
- Training: Training of carrier personnel in sanitary transportation practices and documentation of the training. This training is required when the carrier and shipper agree that the carrier is responsible for sanitary conditions during transport.
- Records: Maintenance of records of written procedures, agreements and training (required of carriers). The required retention time for these records depends upon the type of record and when the covered activity occurred, but does not exceed 12 months.
- Small businesses must comply by June 6, 2018
- Other businesses must comply by June 6, 2017
To learn more about transportation regulations, coverages, and news, contact us.
Posted on September 13, 2016
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released the final data on car crash fatalities from 2015 and the numbers are not good. For the past five decades, traffic-related deaths have been on the decline. This past year saw a 7.2% increase in traffic fatalities compared to the previous year—the highest it’s been since 2008. The nation hasn’t seen a one-year increase of this size since 1966.
In just a decade, safety programs and vehicle improvements helped reduce traffic-related deaths by nearly 25%. This dramatic increase in traffic fatalities spurred the White House into action. The Department of Transportation (DOT) and NHTSA are conducting an investigation to try and determine the cause of the rising traffic deaths. Even without the completed report, they have some preliminary thoughts behind the increase in fatalities.
More jobs and cheaper fuel. Both of these factors correlate to an increased number of drivers on the roadways. This includes driving for leisure (e.g. vacations and day trips) and young people driving. Total vehicle miles traveled in 2015 rose by more than 3.5%. That is the largest surge in almost 25 years.
Poor safety habits. Driving safety campaigns seem to have lost their edge in 2015. Almost half of the passenger vehicle fatalities involved the occupant not wearing a seat belt. Nearly one third of the fatalities involved drunk driving or speeding. One in ten involved distracted driving.
In essence, there are more drivers making poor safety decisions. The data shows that driving drunk, distracted driving, speeding, and not wearing a seat belt all contribute to an increase in traffic-related deaths. Drivers can reduce their risk by making safe choices such as wearing their seat belts, following the speed limit, and staying focused on the road. This increase in passenger vehicles and poor safety habits poses a serious risk to truck drivers. To learn more about reducing trucking risks, contact us.
Posted on September 06, 2016
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), in partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a proposal August 26, 2016 that would require commercial vehicles to be equipped with speed limiting devices (also known as speed limiters.) The new regulation would apply to trucks weighing more than 26,000 lbs.
The proposal does not include a specific speed to which trucks will be limited. The speed limits that have been suggested include 60, 65 and 68 mph; additional research and analysis needs to be completed before a decision is reached.
The proposal states that a standard will be set and each vehicle will have its device set to that speed limit when it is manufactured and sold. Every vehicle that qualifies under the ruling will be equipped with a device that will read the vehicle’s current speed setting as well as its past settings through its onboard diagnostic connection.
Interstate carriers who operate vehicles that meet the requirement will be required to maintain the speed limiting device for the life of the vehicle.
“Even small increases in speed have a large effect on the force of an impact. Setting the speed limit on heavy vehicles makes sense for safety and environment” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind.
According to the DOT, review of data indicates that limiting the speed of heavy vehicles reduces the severity of crashes and reduces fatalities and injuries. In addition to saving lives, the DOT maintains that implementing the speed-limiter devices could save lives and more than $1 billion in fuel costs each year, making the proposed regulation a win for safety, reducing fuel costs for transportation companies as well as helping the environment.
Many carriers that are already using speed limiter devices voluntarily have experienced an increased level of on-road safety as well as fuel efficiency and equipment lifespan with little or no negativity to productivity.
The DOT is seeking public comment on the rule for 60 days following its official publication in the Federal Register. The DOT is seeking input on two issues:
- What should the speed limit for heavy-duty trucks be?
- Should the mandate apply to all trucks or only new trucks?
The DOT will use comments submitted by the trucking industry as well as other interested parties when developing the actual mandate. To learn more about trucking regulatory compliance, risk management, and coverages, contact us.
Posted on August 22, 2016
Interstate Motor Carriers invites you to a complimentary, educational web seminar on the FMCSA mandated responsibilities of motor carriers, drivers, and IEPs involved in intermodal transportation. Rob Dowling, Transportation Safety & Loss Control Director at The Capacity Group, will provide an overview of intermodal transportation and related FMCSA regulations. All businesses involved in intermodal transportation should attend this webinar. Key topics include:
- Overview of Intermodal Transportation
- Motor Carrier & Driver Responsibilities
- Intermodal Equipment Provider Responsibilities
- FMCSA Roadability Safety Fitness Procedures
- UIIA & Automated DVIR Processing Guidelines
- FMCSA Requirements for Intermodal Equipment Providers
Date & Time: Wed, Sep 14, 2016 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM EDT
Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1201698415668513795
Posted on August 16, 2016
Cargo theft continues to prove a serious threat to the security and stability of businesses in the transportation industry. At various points in the supply chain, your cargo could be vulnerable to attack or subterfuge. To control your risk and loss, a number of best practices should be implemented. These include:
- Use best in class locks, not plastic or a bolt seal.
- Trucks should be full of fuel, drivers rested and available to drive for at least 250 miles.
- Screen all job applicants and current employees. An online authentication service can be used to detect fake licenses.
- Don’t ship on a Friday for a Monday delivery – shippers will be anxious to move product out and may be less rigorous with driver vetting.
- Track the location and possession of your cargo – always. Leverage real-time monitoring, GPS tracking, and other technologies – they’ll save you money in the long run.
- A photo of the driver and their CDL should be copied and attached to shipping records. It is essential that all personal information is securely handled and stored during ID validation.
- Brokers should verify references by using GIS (Google maps) mapping tolls to verify company information. If the name on the truck doesn’t match the load tender, confirm with carrier of record.
- Brokers should validate insurance information by calling the insurance company. Cross reference company contact information by viewing the insurance company’s website. If you can’t find the website or the information doesn’t match up, consider this a red flag.
To learn more about ways to avoid cargo theft, improving transportation practices, and obtaining trucking coverages, contact us.
Posted on August 09, 2016
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate began to go into effect on February 16 of this year. But we’re still in phase 1 of the three-phase implementation process. Currently compliance is voluntary, as the FMCSA encourages motor carriers to prepare for their upcoming compliance requirements. Phase 2 begins on December 18, 2017. In this phase, carriers will be permitted to use only AOBRDs (Automatic On-Board Recording Devices) installed prior to this date, or ELDs certified and registered after the inception of phase 1.
In the third and final phase beginning December 16, 2019, all applicable carriers must enlist certified and registered ELDs in their transportation efforts. Currently ELD manufacturers certify their own devices for compliance with federal guidelines. Increasingly widespread use of ELDs is intended to help protect drivers from excessive road-time, reduce the likelihood of falsified logs, and standardize data across the industry. The mandate applies to most commercial vehicles with a GVWR over 10,000 pounds.
There have been legal challenges filed by some businesses and organizations – perhaps most notably the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), which has claimed that the FMCSA has failed in proving the cost-benefit ratio of the new regulations are beneficial to the industry. This transitional period in the industry is likely to provoke a number of challenges, both legal and logistical, but many carriers have already initiated compliance efforts with the forthcoming regulatory phases. To learn more about the ELD mandate and how your organization can comply and benefit, contact us.