FMCSA unveils driver training rule proposal, sets up core curriculum and more for PRE-CDL drivers

James Jaillet|March 04, 2016

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is set to publish Monday, March 7, a proposed rule that, if made final, would implement a required core training curriculum for prospective truckers before they receive their CDL. The curriculum notably includes at least 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training before being issued a CDL.

 

The Entry Level Driver Training rule’s implementation would take place three years after its final publication in the Federal Register, which will come after the agency takes public comment for 60 days on the proposal and makes any changes to the rule based on that feedback. The proposal then would have to be approved by the DOT and the White House’s Office of Management and Budget before being published. The three-year countdown to its implementation would begin then.

 

The proposal, unveiled Friday, March 4, by FMCSA, in addition to the core curriculum and behind-the-wheel requirements, seeks to establish a registry of FMCSA-approved driver training providers. FMCSA’s rule outlines minimum qualifications related to instructors, testing, training vehicles and more that the agency will use to approve training providers for the registry.

 

The agency is accepting public comment on the rule for 60 days, starting Monday. Visitregulations.gov then and serach for docket number FMCSA-2007–27748 to see the rule and to file a comment.

 

The rule will apply to all drivers required to complete a CDL skills test to obtain a CDL and to those upgrading their license from Class B to Class A. The curriculum for those seeking a Class A license is broken down into two categories: Theory and actual driving time.

 

The theoretical component includes required training on basic vehicle instruments and controls, basic operation of a vehicle, how to perform a vehicle inspection, controlling a vehicle under various road and traffic conditions, how to shift and back a vehicle, hours of service, handling cargo, crash procedures, fatigue awareness, vehicle maintenance and violations, trip planning and more.

 

The driving time component of the rule requires operators to spend at least 30 hours behind the wheel before receiving a CDL, with at least 10 of those hours spent on a driving range. How the other 20 hours are received will be determined by the training providers, but the rule does stipulate that drivers must drive at least 10 of them on a public road or take 10 public road trips of no less than 50 minutes each.

 

Overdrive will have more on the rule and its requirements in the coming weeks.

 

Oops: Appropriations bill may have done away with 34-hour restart entirely

CHANNEL 19

 

Todd Dills|February 12, 2016

Turns out the 34-hour restart-related item inthe late-2015 Congressional appropriations bill may have done a little more than was intended. The intent of the item was to reinforce the stay of enforcement of limitations on use of the 34-hour restart that were implemented in 2013 and which the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrationcontinues to study as to their effectiveness, as required by law.

But read what the appropriations bill actually states relative to the restart, and it becomes clear that not only did it extend that stay and put limitations on FMCSA’s ability to reinstate the restrictions — once-per-week use of the restart and inclusion of two 1-5 a.m. periods — it essentially nullified the restart entirely.

None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act or any other Act may be used to implement, administer, or enforce sections 395.3(c) and 395.3(d) of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, and such section shall have no force or effect on submission of the final report issued by the Secretary…

 

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Required 34-hour restart study finished, advances to next step, says FMCSA boss

That’s the key part of this, and what exactly does 395.3(c) and 395.3(d) refer to? Those are, essentially, everything in the regulations pertaining to the restart. And since the appropriations bill’s language doesn’t specify an alternative to those regulations, as the Truckload Carriers Association noted this afternoon in a message to members…

 

…then there is no restart provision to abide by.

 

That’s DOT’s recent interpretation at least, according to TCA. Now, before you go back to recapping entirely, take note of the rest of that message from TCA:

 

As discussions around this issue remain fluid, we are instructing our carrier members to keep their fleets operating as they have always been as members of Congress seek to reach an agreement on the best way to proceed. In an email to its Executive Committee, of which TCA is part, ATA has put forth options which they can use to negotiate with lawmakers. Of those options, the parties involved, including TCA representatives, have selected what ATA perceives to be the most flexible option on the table. The selected option consists of the following:

 

Total weekly cap of 75 hours in any 7 calendar days Retains 60/7, 70/8 rules.Taking an off-duty period of 34 consecutive hours or more allows the driver to exceed the 60/7 & 70/8 limits, up to the 75-hour, 7-calendar-day cap.

We’ll update more when we have word of any final solution, as changes wouldn’t go into effect until certified by DOT in concert with lawmakers. As TCA noted, “as of today, we are continuing to operate as we did yesterday.”

At once, reminds me of Tom Strese‘s sage words from about a year ago as the exemptions to the milk-and-cookie break really started to pile up: If we’re not careful, Strese said, “pretty soon our HOS rules are going to look like the tax code.”

Can you live without the restart? Keep it simple, so to speak — or as simple as recapping can be? Stay tuned for more…

Rollback of 34-hour restart regs further entrenched by Congressional budget deal.

FMCSA will have to prove its 2013-implemented rules are better for driver fatigue and highway safety than previous hours rules before they can go back …

 

Nearly 20,000 inspections occurred in Safe Driver blitz in October, CVSA says

INSPECTIONSMatt

        Law enforcement officers conducted 19,480 roadside inspections on commercial drivers and vehicles during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s 2015 Operation Safe Driver Week in October, CVSA announced Jan. 5.

          The total number of inspections dropped from the 24,184 conducted in 2014’s Safe Driver inspection blitz. The top five warnings and citations issued to commercial truck drivers were size and weight, speeding, failure to use a seatbelt, failure to obey a traffic control device and using a handheld phone. In total, 13,807 commercial vehicles were inspected during the week.

         Law enforcement officers handed out 1,243 size and weight citations and 497 warnings, 404 speeding citations and 877 warnings, and 580 seatbelt citations and 112 warnings. In all, 4,062 citations and 3,923 warnings were given to commercial vehicle drivers.

         “Unsafe driving behaviors can result in lives lost. That’s what Operation Safe Driver Week aims to combat through driver enforcement and education,” said CVSA President Maj. Jay Thompson with Arkansas Highway Police. “Our mission is to make our roadways as safe as possible. We will continue to work toward that goal by ensuring drivers are operating safely in and around large trucks and buses.”

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Other statistics from Operation Safe Driver Week for commercial vehicles include:

                    The percentage of stopped CMVs given speeding warnings and         citations increased from 5.8 percent in 2014 to 9.3 percent in 2015.

                    The percentage of warnings and citations for failing to obey traffic control devices increased from 2.5 percent in 2014 to 3.85 percent in 2015.

                     The percentage of CMVs pulled over that were given seatbelt warnings and citations increased to 5 percent in 2015 from 2.8 percent in 2014. 

       “Everyone traveling on our highways and roads should reach their destination safely,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “I thank CVSA and its members for their partnership and commitment to safety. By working together through efforts like Operation Safe Driver, crashes will be prevented and lives will be saved.”

New App – Periscope

Over the weekend I asked my niece Stacie to record a song and post it to Facebook because I wanted to show her off.  She agreed.  I kept checking Facebook to see if she had placed the video out there and she hadn’t, instead she texted me to tell me to watch her live on this app called Periscope.  She sent me her username and I searched for her.  Unfortunately, where she was singing, a church, did not have a good connection so I was unable to hear her beautiful voice.

Immediately after the service was over, she sent me a text to say that she was going to be LIVE, in her car!  I hurried and pulled her feed up and watched and listened as she serenaded me and others that joined the feed.  I am a big fan of my niece, Stacie.  I love to hear her sing.  Her voice brings me joy and I find myself tearing up.  I am going to try to place the link to her recording on Periscope so that you all can hear what I am talking about.

UPDATE – I tried to retrieve the video, but unfortunately, it is no longer available.

I am not sure if I am going to keep this app. I’m not to keen on watching someone live to just do weird stuff. I mean, all I have to do is watch the folks around here and I can laugh all I want. I guess for some, it’s okay, but for me, what am I doing that I have to broadcast it , LIVE?

The Disappearance of a Black Neighborhood in Central Virginia

Brown Grove is an area in the town of Ashland, Virginia that is mainly a black community.  Lately, more white families have been moving in. Many of the residents are related in some way, by marriage or blood.  Over the years, families have grown and some of the younger generation has moved away, leaving the older people and the ones that refuse to leave.  Recently, the county of Hanover approved a plan to bring stores and shops to the area, in the Brown Grove community. It started with building a school bus garage, then other businesses like Champion Windows, an RV dealer and recently, Harley Davidson built a new facility in that area.  Bass Pro Shops moved in across Lewistown Road, along with Bojangles, Wendy’s, Dunkin Donuts, Subway, and several other stores.

I remember traveling that stretch of road between Route 1 and Ashcake road, and looking at the numerous houses  along the way. Children playing outside, riding bikes, having family cookouts during the summer or snowball fights during the winter. At any time you can see someone walking the road,  heading across the bridge to work at the TA truck stop (aka Speed & Brisco), or going to the Shell station for beer and cigarettes.  Sometimes just to get to someone’s house. For the most part, this has been a quiet area.  Except for the occasional uproar, there was no trouble here.  We lived on a dirt road that sometimes the kids would all get together and have go-cart races from one end to the other.  When we had cookouts on that road, there would be cars parked from the house that was having it to the end.  We moved out the community because of the Air Park extension of the runway for the planes.  But, our hearts will always be in that neighborhood.

I know that things have to change in order for the community to grow, but it seems that everything I remember about the neighborhood is disappearing. They are also talking about hotels that are going up, how many is anyone’s guess.  It seems that the black neighborhoods are disappearing all over the U.S.  If there is what they consider to be prime real estate that would be great for a Walmart, Lowes, Target or some other big store, they will do what they can to take it, purchase it and run the occupants out.  Yeah, I’m feeling a little upset about it!  All of this reminds me of the phrase, “You can never go home again.” In some cases, that is very true!

C.R. England says goal in driver training exemption to get qualified truck operators working sooner

|June 19, 2015

C.R.-EnglandMajor refrigerated carrier C.R. England, one of the largest fleets in the U.S., was granted last week an exemption to one portion of federal rules dictating driver training. But, says C.R. England chief counsel TJ England, the exemption was not sought as an attempt to evade driver training regulations, as perceived by some, but is instead meant to help new entrant drivers start work quicker by avoiding unnecessary red tape.

“A lot of confusion exists with our exemption request,” he said this week. “People think this is an attempt to try to escape some sort of training or safety requirement or diminish training or safety — and that’s not the case at all.”

The only new entrant drivers that fall under the exemption, England says, are those who have completed all necessary skills tests and written tests and who have a commercial learner’s permit, but simply haven’t been to their home state “to stand in a line at the DMV,” England said, to receive their CDL.

“They’ve met all the same requirements” as an actual CDL holder, he said. “There are no more requirements and no more testing. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have asked for [the exemption].”

The waiver granted to C.R. England this week by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration allows new drivers, who have documentation that they’ve passed written and skills tests, to operate a commercial truck without a CDL-licensed driver-trainer in the front seat, as required by federal regulations.

The driver-trainer would still be in the vehicle, according to C.R. England’s exemption application and FMCSA’s waiver, but he or she could be in the sleeper. C.R. England said in its original application for the exemption in December, and TJ England told Overdrive this week, that the exemption will allow the fully trained, learner’s permit-holding drivers to work in a team operation until they can be routed to their home state to obtain their CDL.England said upcoming changes to CDL issuance rules, set to go into effect July 8, make it more difficult for drivers to get to their CDL-issuing state — their home state — to receive their actual CDL card. England likened the changes to a student who goes to school outside of his or her home state, but must return home to obtain a diploma before being able to work a job.

England said while FMCSA’s intentions with the rule changes are good — reducing CDL fraud — one key “unintended consequence” limits states’ ability to grant temporary CDLs, which would allow new entrant drivers to drive and carriers to route them to their home state to receive their permanent CDL before the temporary would expire.

“We didn’t like [how the new rules] unfairly impeded out of state drivers and made it more difficult for them to get a CDL and get to work,” he said. “What we wanted was to level the playing field between in state and out of state driver applicants, so when they were qualified and had met all the standards, they were then able to drive.”

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Two dissenting votes on the committee — from NASTC and ATA — open the door for FMCSA to not pursue an training rulemaking, but signs …