Heavy Duty Trucking

DEC 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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54 HDT • DECEMBER 2014 www.truckinginfo.com carriers have been seeking for years is the creation of a national clearing- house for drug and alcohol test re- sults. It is scheduled to be published in September. The rule will require employers to report positive test results and refusals, and prospective employ- ers to query the database, with the applicant's permission. It will give carriers a way to make sure that the applicant has completed the return- to-duty process, and to ensure that carriers are doing the required test- ing. Other top regulatory issues to watch for next year: • Due any time is a proposal from FMCSA that could lead to higher insurance minimums for carriers in a couple of years. • Also due soon is a final rule that would relieve drivers from filing a truck inspection report if the truck has no defects. • The agency has granted author- ity to a small number of Mexican carriers that have been providing long-distance service into the U.S. under a pilot program, but expect to see continued resistance to this busi- ness from labor and owner-operator interests. • The agency is reviewing com- ments on a rule intended to protect drivers from coercion by carriers, shippers, receivers or brokers. The rule is due soon. • The agency is trying to figure out how to write training require- ments for entry-level drivers. Look for more in 2015 on a move to nego- tiate a solution. • The National Highway Traf- fic Safety Administration is close to proposing a rule that would require speed limiters on new trucks. • NHTSA also will propose new fuel efficiency standards for trucking equipment. ■ to distinguish fault is limited and there is a statistical probability that some of the crashes will be the car- rier's fault. Carriers say it is illogical and wrong to include non-fault crashes in a system that measures safety performance. The agency studied the issue and has drafted a report that is supposed to outline a possible solution. The report, which must go to Congress, is overdue and not yet available, but it is likely to turn on the question of cost: Will the expense of deter- mining fault be worth the value it achieves? Another major CSA issue in 2015 will be the agency's proposal to establish safety fitness: the rule that will use roadside inspection data and investigations to decide if a carrier is fit to operate. That proposal is scheduled for publica- tion in March. More regulations 15 Beyond the major regulatory issues out- lined above, the FMCSA and other federal safety agencies will be working a crowded agenda next year. Starting at the top, the Obama administration must nominate a new FMCSA chief to replace Anne Ferro. Ferro retired in Au- gust and was replaced in an acting capacity by chief counsel Scott Darling. One major item due in 2015 that arguing that it can reduce carrier productivity and may increase risk by putting more trucks on the road during Monday morning rush hour. The association is pushing legisla- tion that would suspend the provi- sion pending more research into its impact. Continued tweaking of CSA 14 The FMCSA will con- tinue to refine its CSA program. CSA (Compli- ance, Safety, Account- ability) uses data from crashes and roadside inspections to flag carriers for en- forcement action The agency is constantly work- ing on improving CSA. This year, for example, it added the results of court rulings on carrier challenges of roadside inspection citations to the CSA database. In 2015 it will look at steps to simplify the CSA safety measurement system. But the agency does not accept all of the criticisms of CSA. American Trucking Associations and other groups say that the CSA data is neither consistent nor accurate, and that it should be available only to the carriers, the agency and enforcement personnel. As one agency official recently said, FMCSA "respectfully dis- agrees" with that assessment. The impasse has led carriers to push Congress for legislation that would force the agency to hide CSA truck safety data from public view. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., offered a bill in 2014 that would shield the information until the agency cor- rects shortcomings in the system. The bill is likely to resurface in the new Congress. Another CSA issue will be crash accountability. The agency includes non-fault crashes in the safety measurement system. It does so because its ability top trends "I'm not sure we are taking seriously the void that will be left as they retire in in- creasing numbers over the next decade." – Chris Kemmer CK Commercial Vehicle Research

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