Commercial Motor Vehicle
NWRA's commercial motor vehicle issues include Hours of Service, Onboard Cameras, Accident Causation, and Regulations.
Hours of Service
The Association has filed comments on numerous occasions with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on different proposal to change the agency’s hours of service regulations. These requirements govern how long a commercial motor vehicle driver can operate a truck in a day and a week. Most recently, the Association supported the retention of the 34-hour “restart” provision. This provision would have allowed a driver to “restart” the work week after taking 34 hours consecutive hours off. The restart would have allowed our industry flexibility, especially when dealing with changed route schedules due to federal or state holidays. FMCSA did not retain that provision, instead imposing a requirement of two consecutive periods off from 1 to 5 a.m. A summary of hours of service regulations can be found at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/topics/hos/index.htm.
FMCSA published the final Hours of Service of Drivers Rule in the Federal Register on December 27, 2011. The Final Rule became effective on February 27, 2012, and compliance with all remaining provisions was required by July 1, 2013.
The Association provided comments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on the agency’s proposal to require electronic on-board recorders to verify compliance with hours of service requirements. Solid waste and recycling collection trucks currently follow local routes under the 100 air-mile rule. As a result, the operators use time cards instead of the more formal record of duty status (“driver logs”) to verify compliance.
The 2012 Federal Transportation Act, “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” required the FMCSA to promulgate regulations requiring electronic on-board recorders for hours of service compliance for commercial motor vehicle operators. However, that law included a specific exemption for all local route vehicles.
Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) system, crashes are recorded regardless of the fault of the driver. This causes the driver and carrier’s grade on the “Crash Indictor” to increase. FMCSA intends to build a system that screens out no-fault crashes, but a remedy has not been found yet. NWRA supports a system that screens out no-fault crashes to ensure that truckers who are not at fault are not punished. This will also ensure that state and federal truck safety resources are focused on preventable accidents and on drivers and carriers with a high rate of at-cause incidents.
Commercial Drivers License
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released new minimum training requirements for commercial drivers licenses. These went into effect July 2004. The requirements mandate training on wellness, hours of service, federal medical rules and whistleblower protections.
On December 2, 2005, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturned the regulations and ordered FMCSA to rewrite these requirements. The Court noted that FMCSA's rule did not include instruction in driving skills or in safe operating practices. The regulations will remain in effect until new rules are promulgated.
New rules were proposed in accordance with the Court decision, but the agency has not yet issued final regulations.
Motor Vehicle Regulations
NWRA is an active member of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and works closely with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in regard to proposed changes to commercial motor vehicle requirements. We place particular emphasis on ensuring that regulators and legislators understand the unique nature of “local route” trucking operations. We advocate on a range of commercial motor vehicle laws and regulations in our members interest, covering everything from new technology including on board cameras to hours of service and accident causation.