Industry New Briefs, Courtesy of PMTA
FMCSA seeks public input on new applicants knowledge testing
FMCSA is gathering public opinion on setting up knowledge testing for new applicants seeking authority to operate as motor carriers, brokers and freight forwarders. It will hold a public listening session Jan. 13 in Nashville, Tenn., as part of an American Bus Association meeting. Listening sessions on the same day will also be webcast on FMCSA's website.
The test, ordered by Congress as part of the MAP-21 multiyear highway funding bill, will cover knowledge of applicable regulations. When the regulation becomes final, it will affect new motor carriers hauling general freight and household goods as well as passenger carriers in addition to new brokers and forwarders.
Senate bill asks GAO to study methodology used in writing new HOS rule
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) introduced a bill that would suspend the HOS restart provisions that took effect in July. The legislation would require the Government Accountability Office to conduct an independent study of the methodology FMCSA used in writing the new rule. FMCSA could reinstate the rule six months after the study is complete. Ayotte's bill would return the rule to its status before July 1, without the restrictions. The bill was referred to the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) introduced a similar bill in the House in October, and it has 34 co-sponsors.
Holiday shipping plagued with delays
Higher than expected volume during the holiday shopping season, which was already six days shorter than last year because Thanksgiving fell later, caused late deliveries and angry consumers. Bad weather added to the problem. Each of the major package carriers, UPS, Inc., FedEx Corp and the U.S. Postal Service, said they are considering changes such as surcharges during peak periods. Overall retail sales rose a modest 3.5%, but online purchases increased more than 10%.
Wait continues for ELD mandate
The trucking industry continues to wait for the release of e-logging rule by FMCSA. A spokesman for FMCSA said it expects the rule in the near future, meaning sometime in 2014. The rule is currently at the Office of Budget and Management. MAP-21 contains a mandate to have ELDs on all trucks.
NHTSA survey says most support speed limiters on trucks
According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey, most U.S. drivers support mandating speed limiters on trucks but don't like the idea for all vehicles. Nearly half of drivers surveyed think speeding is a problem, and 91% agreed with the statement that "everyone should obey the speed limit because it's the law.” But 60% also agreed they get impatient with slower drivers.
Three out of five respondents think mandating speed governors for trucks is a good idea, but only 24% think it's a good idea for all drivers. NHTSA, along with FMCSA, is drafting a new rule that would require speed limiters on all heavy trucks, including older vehicles on the road. FMCSA estimates the rule would prevent 1,115 fatal collisions each year. Roughly 70% of trucks in the United States currently have set speed limiters.
House gets back to road bill
The U.S. House of Representatives convenes its first hearing on the new highway bill today. The hearing will focus on how the U.S. pays for highways and other transportation modes. Under the current funding law, MAP-21, the Highway Trust Fund and public transit accounts will be insolvent when it expires on Sept. 30. It's unclear whether Congress can agree on a new reauthorization bill in an election year.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is due to provide updates on MAP-21 mandates and the CSA program today as well. FMCSA is expected to issue a new rule on electronic logging devices, a rule creating a clearinghouse for driver drug and alcohol test results, and a rule on speed limiters in the near future.
FMCSA extends requirement to carry medical cards
The trucking industry is expecting FMCSA to issue a rule this week extending for one year a requirement that interstate truck drivers carry a paper copy of their medical record. FMCSA's associate administrator for enforcement said the agency did a rule that requires drivers to submit their medical certificate to the DMV so the information could be on the electronic record available to law enforcement. The deadline date for that rule is Jan. 30, but there are still a few states that aren't ready to post information and make it available to law enforcement. There are also technical glitches. Stay tuned for updates.
Impact of new fuel taxes not yet clear
If you bought fuel in Pennsylvania after Jan. 1, you probably didn't notice the effect of the new tax formula, a mix of franchise and per-gallon taxes. The new taxes are part of the funding plan Gov. Tom Corbett approved last year. The $1 cap on the state's oil franchise tax was lifted at the same time that 12 cents was shaved off the 38.1-cent-per-gallon state tax on diesel and off the 31.2-cent tax on gasoline. It is not yet clear how much of the higher oil franchise tax will show up at the pump. PMTA President Jim Runk, said he expects the franchise taxes to raise fuel prices by about 8 cents.
ATRI seeks input on Smart Roadside technologies
Trucking industry stakeholders are invited to participate in an interactive webinar on January 23 to learn more about the Smart Roadside Initiative (SRI) and provide important feedback on what technologies are needed to implement SRI.
As part of the SRI effort, ATRI has assessed industry investment trends for a variety of existing and emerging safety systems and technologies. Market penetration, relative costs and other key findings have also been evaluated.
During the webinar, ATRI will present draft findings and ask trucking industry representatives to comment on the results. Industry input is critical for developing what could become a major DOT program.
Industry stakeholders are encouraged to register here
WHAT: Trends in Trucking Technology Utilization
WHEN: Thursday, January 23, 2014, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. ET (1:00 – 2:30 p.m. CT)
HOW: Participants will need access to the internet and a telephone.Please register on the website.An email with instructions for joining the webinar will be sent to all registrants.
OMB reviewing FMCSA rule to prevent driver coercion
The White House Office of Management and Budget is reviewing a proposed rule that would prohibit carriers, shippers and brokers from coercing truck drivers to violate safety regulations. FMCSA said the proposal is in response to a requirement in MAP-21. The proposed rule is scheduled to be issued in late April. FMCSA said coercion includes pressure wither by threat of economic damages or threat of physical harm, to violate a core safety rule, whether it's hours of service or something else.
Congressman writes bill with 1% freight fee to fund infrastructure
Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) introduced a bill that would create federal grants to fund freight infrastructure and fund the grants through a dedicated 1% fee on shipping. The bill was referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He said his proposal "would establish the National Freight Mobility Infrastructure Improvement Program through the U.S. Department of Transportation that would provide competitive grants to states and designated entities to improve the efficiency and capacity of freight networks.” The final recipient of the freight will pay the 1% fee to the company that delivers the shipment, and the transporter would then forward the funding to the Treasury Department.
For more information on PMTA (Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association), go to www.pmta.org