What are the industry’s biggest issues these days? Most everyone will say the driver shortage leads the way. Everyone except drivers, of course. I’d say top spot belongs to hours of service rules followed closely by the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, both of which are key reasons for the shortage… of drivers willing to work long hours within that arbitrarily constructed straitjacket. So it’s no surprise that the top three issues for drivers are those two plus the lack of parking facilities.
A ground-breaking bit of research from Australia has shown that low-frequency vibrations can make drivers drowsy. If this is true and the research is proven conclusive, it will call into question just about all we assume about truck crashes where the driver apparently fell asleep at the wheel. Those drivers may in fact have been very drowsy but may not have been “fatigued” in an hours-of-service (HOS) context, the way that term is typically applied to “tired drivers.”
Recently, the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued revised guidance on the use of a commercial vehicle as a personal conveyance. While it’s always great to have further clarification of the rules, especially surrounding hours of service, sometimes these clarifications can generate more questions than answers. Such as is the case with FMCSA’s guidance. There are two situations that haven’t yet been addressed, not because administration doesn’t care, but because they’re slightly outside of its purview.
One situation involves cross-border carriers that may have drivers using personal conveyance on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, and another issue that surprisingly has very little to do with hours of service.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A recently proposed bill in the U.S. would allow truck drivers to effectively pause their 14-hour on-duty limits for up to three consecutive hours – as long as they are off-duty during the break.
“I’m proud to introduce the REST Act and give America’s truckers the options they need to safely operate under today’s rigid federal regulations,” said Rep. Brian Babin, a member of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “This bill is an important step in making the way for improved highway safety.”
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, those running in the U.S. can’t drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on-duty, following 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time.
GREENBELT, Md. – The annual Roadcheck inspection blitz coordinated by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is set to run from June 5 to 7 this year, placing a special focus on hours of service. And Today’s Trucking has some free resources to help you prepare.
BLOOMINGTON, IN – The rollout of mandated Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) continues in the U.S. And while some trucking operations have secured temporary waivers, analysts at FTR Intel believe a bid to exempt small carriers outright is unlikely to succeed.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has asked regulators to exempt small businesses making less than US $27.5 million in revenue, that don’t have an unsatisfactory safety rating, and have a safe record with no attributable at-fault crashes. It would last five years.
An exemption like that – already rejected during the regulatory review process – would essentially gut the mandate for ELDs, and has been opposed by the American Trucking Associations and safety advocacy groups. Eighty-one percent of over-the-road trucking companies, and 93% of one-truck operators among them, have had no DOT-recordable crashes in the past two years, FTR notes.
WASHINGTON, DC – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued short-term rental trucks a 90-day waiver from mandated Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), lasting until April 19.
Trucks rented for 30 days or less will be able to use paper logbooks to record Hours of Service until the waiver expires. Carriers cannot simply replace one rental vehicle with another one within the 30 days, and must also have a satisfactory safety rating. They also need to report any collisions involving these vehicles within five business days.
The Truck Renting and Leasing Association had known since December that a waiver was forthcoming, and is telling affected truck operators to print out the notice and carry it in the cab during the waiver period. Once this waiver expires, those who rent trucks for eight days or less will continue to be exempted from the ELD mandate.
BRAMPTON, ON — It ultimately proved to be just a matter of time. On December 18, the same day that the U.S. mandated Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) to track Hours of Service, Canada’s Transport Minister Marc Garneau took to the podium to unveil plans to introduce similar rules on this side of the border.
ORLANDO, FL – Electronic Logging Devices (ELD’s) are on track to be mandated in the U.S. on December 18, as regulators finalize the underlying systems and prepare to relegate paper logbooks to the trash bin of history.
TORONTO, ON – Transport Canada has determined that the benefits of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) essentially double the related costs, according to a newly released Cost-Benefit Analysis.
The analysis examined two scenarios – a mandate for all federally regulated carriers, and one that excluded vehicles that would already have to meet a pending U.S. mandate for the devices.
The analysis “confirms the significant net benefit from an ELD mandate and dispels some of the myths about ELDs that are out there,” said David Bradley, CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, which released the results.
LAS VEGAS, NV — A pending mandate for Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) is topping a list of the Top 10 critical issues facing North America’s trucking industry, as compiled by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).
Rand McNally has unveiled a new electronic logging and fleet management device that has its own cellular modem.
LOUISVILLE, KY – With the U.S. approaching mandated electronic logging devices (ELDs), and Canada expected to follow suit, Continental Commercial Vehicles and Aftermarket is posing questions that should be asked when choosing suppliers. Among them:
CHICAGO, IL — Claiming that the coming U.S. mandate for electronic logging devices to be used by interstate truck drivers is “arbitrary and capricious”, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has filed an appeal to challenge the rule.
OOIDA is challenging the U.S. ELD mandateELDs won’t improve safety, the organization claims, adding that the mandate propagated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is in violation of 4th Amendment rights against reasonable searches and seizures.
The mandate requires that truck drivers use ELDs to track their driving and non-driving activities even though such devices can only track movement and location of a vehicle. The FMCSA finalized the rule late last year.
OOIDA, representing small-business truckers, stated its arguments in a legal brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.
“The agency provided no proof of their claims that this mandate would improve highway safety,” said Jim Johnston, OOIDA president and CEO. “There is simply no proof that the costs, burdens and privacy infringements associated with this mandate are justified.”
His point is not made in a vacuum.
In fact the FMCSA is now being urged, and strongly, to make a bunch of improvements in its data and research methods “to support a more comprehensive understanding of the relationships between operator fatigue and highway safety and between fatigue and long-term health.”