FAST Act Updates: CSA Scores & Intermodal Projects

Posted on June 07, 2016

shutterstock_3129935 - CopyThe FAST Act has brought about a number of significant changes in the transportation industry. Two specific issues have recently surfaced regarding implementation and funding. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx spoke on the proposed multimodal freight connectivity system known as FASTLANE. Approximately $4.5 billion has been allocated through 2020, with $800 million allocated for this year. Recipients of funding for this highway improvement project will be announced later in the year.

Additionally, CSA overhaul has been initiated as a result of the passage of FAST Act legislation. This, Foxx indicates, will require a minimum of 2 years to complete before CSA scores will again be publicized (with new figures and analysis). Regulators are supporting a proposal to activate interim safety fitness standards until the new standards are approved and enacted, but members of congress warn that any such safety determinations would be premature and counterproductive.

FAST Act legislation was passed in December, marking the first major highway bill in a decade. We can expect ongoing changes as the ramification of this legislation continue to unfold. The FASTLANE and CSA announcements give transportation businesses more time to prepare for CSA optimization and compliance, and the potential to tactically target or avoid areas undergoing infrastructural improvement. To learn more about transportation news, legislation, and compliance, contact us.

Congressional Legislation on 34 Hour Restart, Speed Limiters…

Posted on May 23, 2016

dotlogoThe United States senate has passed a fiscal 2017 transportation funding bill that could redefine some important aspects of Hours of Service and equipment regulations. These include weekly hours worked prior to required rest breaks, DOT rules on implementing speed limiters nationwide, and revised government spending on transportation infrastructure.

In addition, the bill prevents state governments from modifying break and rest periods related to Hours of Service regulations for the upcoming year, and upholds the delay of safety fitness determinations by the FMCSA. The House Appropriations Committee has shut down an amendment proposed by Representative David Price (D-N.C.). The vote to pass the bill into law is expected shortly after the Memorial Day recess. Highlights of the bill include:

  • Weekly hours allowed prior to required rest break: 73
  • DOT to issue speed limiter final rule within six months
  • Extended prohibition of modifications to the 34-hour restart
  • New infrastructure development and improvement grants
  • Pipeline network funding and Amtrak funding

To learn more about transportation compliance, coverages, and best practices, contact us.

Tread Compliance Comes into Focus in CVSA Inspections

Posted on May 09, 2016

Sufficient tread depth will be the primary emphasis of the upcoming CVSA (Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance) annual RoadCheck on June 7-9. NHTSA officials have identified a number of reasons for the growing importance of this safety practice, including increased axle loads, increased speed limits, and increased power unit uptime, among others. Inspections and out-of-service orders in this area have declined over the last three years, leading to a drop in compliance and an uptick in accidents and liability suits. Do you know your tread compliance requirements?

  • No tread/sidewall separationshutterstock_118561318 1920x750
  • No exposure of body-ply or belt material
  • No inflation/air containment breaches
  • Minimum depth of 4/32 inch for steer tires
  • Minimum depth of 2/32 inch for all other tires

What practices does your organization have in place to ensure safety and compliance with regard to tire tread wear? What liability coverages do you possess in case of tread-related motor vehicle incidents?

Contact us about regulations, risks, and what you can do to stay safe and compliant.

Senate Transportation Bill Would Advance Implementation of Speed Limiters

Posted on April 25, 2016

shutterstock_3129935 - CopyA Senate transportation funding bill to come in fiscal year 2017 would require the DOT (Department of Transportation) to promptly set forth a proposed rule on commercial power unit speed limiters.  Many consider the safety-oriented and environmentally friendly changes overdue, while others consider them yet another overreach in government regulatory activity. Yet support in the administration seems quite strong, as the proposed rule received unanimous support during a hearing last month.

The speed limiter proposal primarily seeks to improve safety by reducing the frequency of fatal crashes on roadways. If implemented next year, the transportation and housing legislation would provide $56.5 billion in fiscal 2017 – approximately $3 billion less than President Obama’s funding request. The bill would provide over half a billion for infrastructure improvement, a critical and long-overlooked issue in the United States. Nearly a billion would go toward NHTSA’s autonomous vehicle research. Several other safety and efficiency projects are also earmarked for support, should the Senate transportation funding bill come to fruition.

The bill includes no language regarding Hours of Services regulations, a perennial issue in the transportation industry. Amendments may be proposed to add such legislation into the bill prior to its passage in the Senate – a move that could make the bill even more contentious, but also even more relevant. To learn more about how this bill and other imminent trucking regulatory changes could affect your organization, contact us.

New FDA Final Rule on Safe Transportation of Food Products

Posted on April 11, 2016

shutterstock_211095490 - 1920x750Last week the FDA released a final rule regarding sanitation standards for those involved in the process of food transportation. The rule includes an important exception for small companies – it doesn’t pertain to carriers, shippers, and receivers with less than $500,000 in total annual revenue.

Key requirements for carriers under the new final rule dicate that carriers and drivers alike are responsible for:

  • Ensuring their refrigerated trailers are pre-cooled prior to loading food
  • Providing proof they’ve maintained the appropriate temperature for the food they’re hauling when it is requested of them
  • Developing and implementing procedures that specify their practices for cleaning, sanitizing and inspecting their equipment

Additionally, the new rule requires that shippers inspect carriers’ trailers prior to loading food products and that “appropriate” action is taken to ensure that the food is not sold if any party becomes aware of any indication that a shipment of food was not kept at the proper temperature throughout its shipment. Shippers will now also be required to give carriers written sanitation requirements for their vehicles and require shippers to keep records showing they’ve done as much.

The FDA says the rule isn’t likely to have a dramatic impact on carrier and shipper practices – rather that it codifies already existing best practices for food shipments and assists in the process of punishing those who don’t take the necessary steps to comply.

The rule goes into effect in April of 2017. To learn more about transportation regulatory compliance, contact us.

Improving Driver Health & Safety with Telemedicine

Posted on March 29, 2016

shutterstock_69873625 - CopyMany truckers travel long distances, increasing the likelihood of fatigue and health-related challenges. Yet the farther they get from home, the less likely it becomes that they will have access to affordable and effective healthcare. Deciding whether or not to seek out an emergency room is a lose-lose, with drivers either spending large sums of money or suffering through potentially compromising illness. Telemedicine shifts the paradigm by:

  • Making healthcare affordable and accessible to drivers across the country
  • Improving the quality of care with reduced wait times
  • Enhancing availability with expanded hours of service
  • Reducing costs and risk for employers and employees

These all add up to a working environment focused on healthier, happier, more capable employees, performing at higher standards as a result of better, more frequent care. Telemedicine is supplementary, and does not interfere with the benefits compliance process – it’s simply a tool to support and enhance more traditional benefits offerings. Contact us to learn more.

Transportation Regulatory Updates: MAP-21, FAST Act, CSA Data, and GHG Emissions

Posted on March 16, 2016

Several potentially significant transportation regulatory items have recently surfaced in the news causing much discussion and preparation for motor carriers across the country. These include:

  • CSA raw data once again available to publictraffic of bridge
  • Highway safety improvement reporting requirement for states removed
  • High risk rural roads provision removed
  • Greenhouse gas regulatory documents released
  • EPA & NHTSA legal policy memo & engine test results

CSA raw data was originally legislated to exist in the public eye, but was pulled from view almost immediately after being signed into law. FMCSA claims that their analytics represent a fair, accurate, and important picture of safety culture and records throughout the transportation industry.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has released revisions to its Highway Safety Improvement Program, which could have numerous effects on transportation professionals across the country. These revisions stem from MAP-21 and the FAST Act, and include a removal of reporting requirements as well as the high risk rural roads provision. This reduced transparency could alter the efficacy of the program.

Private meetings with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have resulted in the release of a variety of documents by federal regulators regarding greenhouse gas emissions. These include memos on the legality of the greenhouse gas policy, selective enforcement and inspection of aerodynamic compliance among transportation power units, effects of tire rolling resistance on stopping distance for Class 8 vehicles, and more.

Is your transportation business prepared for these and other regulatory changes? Do you know the potential cost savings or increase associated with each policy change? To learn more about the impact these and other regulatory changes could have on your business, contact us.

Trucking Webinar: ELD Final Rule Published – Overview & Impact

Posted on March 11, 2016

Interstate Motor Carriers and Sentry Insurance offer this complimentary, on-demand web seminar to learn how the new ELD Final Rule will impact your transportation business. Subject matter expert Daniel Grant, Director of Safety Services at Sentry Insurance, provides an overview of the ELD mandate, including compliance requirements and implementation timelines. Mr. Grant also discusses how the final rule integrates driver harassment/coercion guidelines. For more information on trucking compliance and coverages, contact us.

Webinar: ELD Final Rule Published – Overview & Impact

Posted on February 22, 2016

Interstate Motor Carriers and Sentry Insurance invite you to a complimentary, educational web seminar to learn how the new ELD Final Rule will impact your transportation business. Subject matter expert speaker Daniel Grant, Director of Safety Services at Sentry Insurance, will provide an overview of the ELD mandate, including compliance requirements and implementation timelines. Mr. Grant will also detail how the final rule integrates driver harassment/coercion guidelines. Featured topics:

* Truck InsuranceImpact of ELD Mandate & Adoption Timelines
* Device Specifications & Hardware Requirements
* Roadside Inspections & Supporting Documentation
* Exceptions to New Final Rule
* Implementation Challenges
* Driver Harassment Rule

Date & Time: Thu, Mar 10, 2016 1:00 PM – 1:45 PM EST

Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2927157611217343745

Click here to learn more about Interstate Motor Carriers & Sentry Insurance.

Know Your Hours of Service Regulations

Posted on February 11, 2016

slide1Safety is a primary concern for any commercial driver. The Hours of Service regulations exist to promote and enforce uniform safety practices. Understanding and complying with these rules helps to ensure safe vehicle operation while avoiding fines and penalties. So let’s review the latest round of regulatory changes.

11-Hour Limit:

An interstate property-carrying driver is allowed to drive their truck up to 11 hours. All their time spent behind the wheel of the CMV in operation is considered “driving time.” After 11 hours of driving time, the driver must have at least 10 consecutive hours “off duty” before they can drive again. In order for time to be considered off duty, the driver must be relieved of all duty and responsibility for performing work. Also, the driver must be able to leave the place where their vehicle is parked.

14-Hour Limit:

The 14-hour rule is known as the 14 hour “driving window” limit. A driver is allowed a period of 14 consecutive hours in which they may drive up to 11 hours of those 14 hours on duty. Under the 14-hour rule, a driver may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty.

The 14-hour window begins the moment the driver starts any kind of work. “On duty” time includes all the time a driver is working or is required to be ready to work. Examples include time spent at a terminal or facility of a motor carrier or shipper, time inspecting and servicing the truck, time loading and unloading and all driving time. Once the driver reaches the end of the 14th hour on duty period, they cannot drive again until they have been off for 10 hours.

The window is limited to 14 consecutive hours, even if you have some off-duty time such as a 30-minute lunch break or nap during those 14 hours. Your 30-minute break will not extend this 14-hour period, rather the 30-minute meal break will count against the 14-hour driving window. An exception to this rule would be with drivers in the 100 air-mile radius of their work reporting location who are not required to take the minimum 30-minute breaks.

Rest Breaks:

A driver may only drive if 8 hours or less has passed since end of driver’s last off duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes. Meal breaks or other off duty time of at least 30 minutes qualifies as a break. Within the 14-hour window and 11-hour driving rule, a driver may drive a total of 11 hours during their 14-hour driving period; but, driving will not be permitted if more than 8 hours have passed since the end of the driver’s last 30-minute break. Of note, the FMCSA has exceptions to the required rest break, such as the short-haul exceptions in 395.1(e). Further, if a driver is working but not driving after 8 hours, no break is required.

To learn more, contact the transportation experts at Interstate.