Though the DOT is clear on the pros of lowering the speed of heavy vehicles, they are not clear on where the limit should be set. The proposal references the top speeds of:
- 68 mph
- 65 mph
- 60 mph
Please make your voice heard by submitting your comments here.
Click here to view the proposal.
After 11 years of work, on April 6th, 2016, the FDA published the Final Rules regarding the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food (“STHAF” or “Rule”). The Rule apply to Shippers, Receivers, Loaders, and Carriers engaged in transportation operations for food whether or not the food is offered or enters interstate commerce. It also includes foreign entity that ship food into the United States for later consumption or distribution in the United States.
The Final Transportation Rules and Regulations have been released for the FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act.
For those who have stayed current with our blog, we are happy to report the majority of the Proposed Rules where adopted. There are a few changes we want to share with you.
- Trucking Companies employing less than 500 full-time equivalent employees; and/or that have less than $27,500,000 in annual receipts will be classified as Small Businesses and will have 2 years to becoming compliant. i.e. 04/06/2018
- "Shipper" was broadened to include property brokers or any other entities that arrange for transportation of food in the United States.
- "Loaders" is a newly defined term. Persons who load food onto a motor or rail vehicle (possible warehouse operation exposure)
- The Motor Carrier must provide adequate training in basic sanitary transportation practices to its personnel (drivers, loaders) engaged in relevant transportation operations.
We will be hosting another webinar dedicated to the new rules and regulations on Wednesday, June 8th at 11am EST. It will be a 1 hour long and will allow you an opportunity to ask questions of industry experts.
If you have any questions, please contact us at any time.
A cell phone policy seems straight forward. Don’t Use Cell Phone on the Road. It’s the law in many states in personal autos, and it’s a written rule by the FMCSA. So why should you include a cell phone policy in your manual:
- Drivers can face penalties up to $2,750 and disqualification for multiple offenses. Motor carriers are also subject to civil penalties up to $11,000.
- All cell phone violations will also impact SMS results (10 Points)
- MVR cell phone convictions are a disqualifying offense with any insurance companies
- Cell phone records are listed as discoverable and can be used in court
When developing employee handbooks, we often think of the exposures of the drivers on the road; but what about the dispatchers? Look at (b) on the both of the rules from FMCSA:
(a) Prohibition. No driver shall engage in texting while driving.
(b) Motor Carriers. No motor carriers shall allow or require its drivers to engage in texting while driving.§Part 392.82 Using a hand-held mobile telephone
(a) No driver shall use a hand-held mobile telephone
(b) No motor carrier shall allow or require its drivers to use a hand-held mobile telephone while driving a CMV
One of the issues is that some dispatchers text drivers in reference to updating them on loads. Our policy reflects not only the drivers’ responsibility, but the dispatchers’ as well. How do you share load information, and locations, and exposures ahead? How do you communicate with your fleet?
Studies have shown that passenger vehicle drivers are at fault for 80.6% of crashes between a truck and a passenger vehicle . In a court of law however, responsibility is assigned to the motor carrier in full or in part a majority of the time.
The biggest benefit of forward facing cameras (Dash Cams) is the guaranteed record of critical events. This helps protect the driver and the motor carrier from frivolous litigation because forward facing videos will help identify the truth in many accidents.
Recently a passenger vehicle slammed into the side of one of our insureds. The video shows our truck driving down the center of his lane and suddenly the camera shakes from the crash. The passenger vehicle claimed the trucker swerved into him. The video cleared the driver and the claimant’s insurance had to pay for the damages, NOT the motor carrier. If your driver didn’t do anything wrong, you will have proof.
However, if the video reveals the motor carrier to be at fault, then it’s a learning opportunity for the driver and the motor carrier. We at Dawson Transportation Services feel it’s better to know the truth than to rely on a “he said/ he said” argument.
Many owner operators have begun purchasing their own dash cams from truck stops to confirm their story. They realize the importance of having 10 seconds of video if something were to happen. The footage can be used to improve safety systems and driving practices.
Insurance companies are beginning to team up with fleet monitoring companies to offer discounts on services and equipment. With the new EDL rules coming out we expect more teaming up from motor carriers, EDL companies, and video recorders. Make sure to research the best system for your company.
 Blower, D. The Relative Contribution of Truck Drivers and Passenger Vehicle Drivers to Truck-Passenger Vehicle Traffic Crashes, Publication No. UMTRI-98-25, University of Michigan Transportation Research Instituted, Ann Arbor, MI June 1998
The proposed rule will eliminate the existing three-category rating system of “satisfactory-conditional-unsatisfactory” in favor of a single determination of “unfit.”
Unlike the current system, which is based entirely on the FMCSA’s on-site investigation, the proposed safety fitness determinations will be based on roadside inspection, on-site investigations, or a combination of the two.
While the proposed rule does afford carriers that receive the “unfit” rating the opportunity to petition the FMCSA to upgrade the rating in limited circumstances, carriers whose proposed ratings become final will be prohibited from operating commercial motor vehicles in interstate or intrastate commerce.
According to the proposed rule, the FMCSA will assess carriers on a monthly basis using fixed failure metrics for each of the seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (“BASICs”). Carriers that fail two or more of the BASICs in a given month will receive a proposed “unfit” rating. BASIC failures can stem from:
1. On-road safety data exceeding the “absolute failure standards” of a given BASIC
3. Some combination of the two
The proposed “absolute failure standards” for each BASIC differ from the current intervention thresholds in that they would reflect the carriers’ own performance against the failure standard and would not be impacted by other carriers’ performance.
The decision was based on three consecutive years of federal surveys that found less than 1% of tests to be positive for controlled substances. This change will help reduce the testing burden faced by the industry, and has received support from the American Trucking Association.
This change does not alter the minimum annual percentage rate for random alcohol testing. That will remain at 10% for 2016.
If you have any questions, please contact us at any time.
We are proud to report that Ohio has become the 44th State to enact Anti-Indemnification Language for Motor Carrier Contracts.
Some shippers have been passing their liability onto the trucking industry and forcing the motor carriers to bear the weight of the shippers’ actions, as they have the power in the relationship. This Bill will help level the playing field for trucking companies when negotiating contracts.
Dawson Transportation Services’ President, John Burtch, provided testimony as part of the process and is pleased with the outcome.
“We are very excited regarding the passage of this legislation and proud the Ohio Trucking Association, under the leadership of Tom Balzer, spearheaded the effort. Tom asked our office for some case support and for personal testimony, which we were happy to provide. This legislation is fair and brings Ohio into line with several other states that have passed similar laws. Kudos to Tom B and his staff at the OTA for a strong lobbying effort.”- John Burtch
The law will go into effect in March 2016.
If you have any questions regarding any of your contracts, please contact us at any time.
Last month we hosted a webinar to explore the current status of the FSMA. Jonathan Stringer, Sr. Corporate Cargo Claims Attorney for Great West Casualty Insurance, did a great job breaking down the proposed rules and answering some of the participants’ most pressing questions. We wanted to share the highlights of the presentation with you. Click the link below to learn more.
- Our Commitment to the Transportation Industry
- Changes to the NMFTA Bill of Lading
- Commenting on the USDOT Speed Limiting Devices Proposal
- Why You Need Separate Motor Carriers and Brokerage Corporate Entities
- Workers Compensation Exposure for Drivers Working Outside of Ohio
- FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA): The Series Part 3
- Food Safety Modernization Act Webinar- Transportation Rules & Regs
- Paper Work: Written Cell Phone Policy
- Quality Over Quantity
- Keeping the Forward Facing Camera in Focus