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

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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…

 

RELATED

 

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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Top 10 toughest states for traffic enforcement

           Indiana, Delaware, Illinois top the rankings for violations that      contribute CSA’s Unsafe Driving measure. Often used by enforcement as a reason to inspect, without an …
 
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.”

NTSB says FMCSA oversight, hands-free phone usage to blame for violent 2013 crash (with video)

|October 23, 2014

http://launch.newsinc.com/?type=VideoPlayer/Single&widgetId=1&trackingGroup=69016&siteSection=latimes_hom_non_sec&videoId=27906877

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration should restrict the hands-free use of portable electronics and lapsed in its oversight of a problematic carrier, according to a recent report by the National Transportation Safety Board, who says both factors contributed to a May 2013 truck/train crash that caused a train derailment that led to an explosion.

Related

NTSB says investigations ‘raise serious questions’ about FMCSA, asks for audit of agency

In light of four deadly crashes that it has investigated within the past year, the National Transportation Safety Board has recommended to DOT head Anthony …

NTSB released its report Oct. 22, saying the driver of the tractor-trailer that hit the train was distracted by a hands-free phone conversation.“Current laws may mislead people to believe that hands free is as safe as not using a phone at all,” said NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher A. Hart. “Our investigations have found over and over that distraction in any form can be dangerous behind the wheel.”

FMCSA oversight, however, also contributed to the accident, NTSB says. Its report concludes that the carrier had shown a “consistent and serious pattern of noncompliance” with federal safety regulations and that FMCSA was aware of the problems but failed to “take adequate steps to ensure” compliance.

“We continue to be concerned with FMCSA’s new entrant program,” Hart said. “Problem operators keep falling through the cracks.”

NTSB last year called for an audit of FMCSA and its regulatory oversight, saying the agency consistently allowed problematic carriers to slip through the cracks, leading to several deadly crashes.

OOIDA’s New York HUT tax lawsuit certified as a class action

9/8/2014

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OOIDA‘s New York HUT tax lawsuit certified as a class action
By Land Line staff

OOIDA’s lawsuit against the state of New York’s Department of Taxation and Finance was certified Sept. 1 as a class action by the state’s Supreme Court, which is the state’s trial court. The lawsuit challenges certain highway taxes as unconstitutional and discriminatory against out-of-state truckers who have paid the taxes in order to do business in New York.

The court found that a class action was appropriate due to the potential number of trucking businesses affected.

OOIDA’s attorneys filed the complaint nearly a year ago in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Albany. The action names the defendants as the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, Thomas H. Mattox (individually and in his official capacity as commissioner), along with the State of New York; and Andrew Cuomo (individually and in his official capacity as governor of the State of New York).

Named plaintiffs in the case are OOIDA and OOIDA Members Bryan Spoon dba Spoon Trucking, Steve Bixler, Jack McComb and William “Lewie” Pugh.

The class action lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of taxes that impose $15 for a certificate of registration and a $4 decal charge on all trucks using New York state highways. The taxes are imposed not only on New York-based trucks, which are driven proportionately higher miles in New York, but also on trucks based outside of New York, which are driven mostly in states other than New York.

OOIDA President Jim Johnston says that trucks owned and/or operated outside of New York travel fewer miles on New York highways than trucks owned and/or operated in New York. The imposition of the challenged taxes results in a higher per mile tax rate being imposed on out-of-state trucks.

OOIDA charges that constitutes an undue burden on interstate commerce in violation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Johnston says that OOIDA’s action asks the court to declare those taxes unconstitutional and therefore invalid and not enforceable. The complaint also asks for injunctive relief, refunds and other appropriate relief on behalf of the plaintiffs.

OOIDA’s legal action will represent a class of all interstate motor carriers who reside and operate trucking equipment primarily outside New York who have paid or will pay the taxes.

Johnston called the certification of the class action a “very positive development.”

– See more at: http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryID=27616#.VDhisv50wdU

Severity weights, out-of-service protocol for new hours rules

Violation of the 60/70-hour rule due to a nonqualifying restart under the new hours of service will result in the driver being placed out of service.   As drivers adjust to the operational differences surrounding the hours rule, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and industry watchers have been sharing intelligence on how various enforcement systems — from the police at roadside to the federal Compliance, Safety, Accountability system — will treat violations of the new rules.   Drivers who’ve violated the new requirement to have at least 30 minutes off-duty before driving eight consecutive hours — otherwise known as the mandatory 30-minute break — will incur with the violation a severity weight of 7 in the CSA system, reports Vigillo’s Drew Anderson at the company blog, citing a Department of Transportation source.   Furthermore, the source noted, the new weighting/violation will be placed in the CSA Safety Measurement System with the early-August snapshot.   Such a violation will not be an out-of-service violation, however, according to a CVSA memo sent out to member law-enforcement and other organizations June 27 and referenced at the Arizona Trucking Association’s website.   The Maine Motor Truck Association references the same memo in this analysis and goes further into detail on how police/inspectors will treat the break.    Upshot: It’s likely to vary considerably by state:  While it might not technically be an out-of-service violation, a driver who is out of compliance with this provision in Maine will not be allowed to drive until they have taken the requisite off-duty break.   To make things even more convoluted, it appears each state can make their own determination as to whether they will allow a driver to continue, or make them wait until they have taken at least 30 minutes off.   Either way, this scenario will not result in an official out-of-service order affecting the carrier’s safety records.   If it’s registering in your or your carrier’s CSA SMS profile with extra points for an out-of-service violation, pursue removal of the OOS points via the DataQs system.However, Maine noted in its memo, “due to the potentially inconsistent message that results from this memo, it is likely that CVSA’s position on rest break violations may change as the organization is due to revisit the issue at its upcoming Annual Conference in September.”  Violations of the 60/70-hour rule due to a nonqualifying restart, however, will be treated as out-of-service violations, the same CVSA memo noted, both Maine and Arizona associations concurring.

Severity weights, out-of-service protocol for new hours rules

Violation of the 60/70-hour rule due to a nonqualifying restart under the new hours of service will result in the driver being placed out of service.   As drivers adjust to the operational differences surrounding the hours rule, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and industry watchers have been sharing intelligence on how various enforcement systems — from the police at roadside to the federal Compliance, Safety, Accountability system — will treat violations of the new rules.   Drivers who’ve violated the new requirement to have at least 30 minutes off-duty before driving eight consecutive hours — otherwise known as the mandatory 30-minute break — will incur with the violation a severity weight of 7 in the CSA system, reports Vigillo’s Drew Anderson at the company blog, citing a Department of Transportation source.   Furthermore, the source noted, the new weighting/violation will be placed in the CSA Safety Measurement System with the early-August snapshot.   Such a violation will not be an out-of-service violation, however, according to a CVSA memo sent out to member law-enforcement and other organizations June 27 and referenced at the Arizona Trucking Association’s website.   The Maine Motor Truck Association references the same memo in this analysis and goes further into detail on how police/inspectors will treat the break.    Upshot: It’s likely to vary considerably by state:  While it might not technically be an out-of-service violation, a driver who is out of compliance with this provision in Maine will not be allowed to drive until they have taken the requisite off-duty break.   To make things even more convoluted, it appears each state can make their own determination as to whether they will allow a driver to continue, or make them wait until they have taken at least 30 minutes off.   Either way, this scenario will not result in an official out-of-service order affecting the carrier’s safety records.   If it’s registering in your or your carrier’s CSA SMS profile with extra points for an out-of-service violation, pursue removal of the OOS points via the DataQs system.However, Maine noted in its memo, “due to the potentially inconsistent message that results from this memo, it is likely that CVSA’s position on rest break violations may change as the organization is due to revisit the issue at its upcoming Annual Conference in September.”  Violations of the 60/70-hour rule due to a nonqualifying restart, however, will be treated as out-of-service violations, the same CVSA memo noted, both Maine and Arizona associations concurring.

DOT Proposes Four Cities to Receive New Rights

DOT Proposes Four Cities to Receive New Rights for U.S.-Brazil Air ServiceThe U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today proposed new or expanded U.S. carrier rights from four U.S. cities–Los Angeles, Atlanta, Detroit, and Charlotte–to Sao Paulo, Brazil. The proposed awards would go to American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and US Airways.

“New air services to Brazil will provide important benefits for thousands of Americans and for tourists coming to the U.S.,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We look forward to additional opportunities for U.S.-Brazil air service when full Open Skies takes effect in two years.” If today’s proposal is made final, American Airlines would inaugurate the only daily nonstop service by a U.S. airline between Los Angeles and Sao Paulo, while Delta would add a second daily flight from Atlanta.

In addition, the tentative decision would enable Delta Air Lines to continue its daily service from Detroit and US Airways to continue to operate a daily flight from Charlotte, N.C. The additional flights are the result of a U.S.-Brazil agreement reached in March 2011. The agreement provided for a phase-in of new air service opportunities until October 2015, after which all restrictions on air routes, destinations and fares between the two countries will be lifted. In its proposed decision, the Department said that American Airlines’ planned Los Angeles service would provide the only nonstop flights by a U.S. carrier to Sao Paulo from the west coast, while a second daily flight by Delta from its Atlanta hub would give connecting passengers from more than 150 cities an additional option for travel to Brazil.

DOT’s proposed decision also would enable Delta and US Airways to continue Sao Paulo service that they might otherwise have to give up due to arrangements with other airlines. Continuing Delta’s Detroit service and US Airways’ Charlotte flights would maintain valuable connections to Brazil from two important hub airports, the Department tentatively found. Comments on the proposed decision are due in 10 days, and answers to comments seven days afterward. After the comment period, the Department will prepare a final decision. The proposed decision, airline proposals and public comments may be found at http://www.regulations.gov, docket DOT-OST-2013-0072.