Industry New Briefs, Courtesy of PMTA
Maryland State Police targeting CMV parking on I-83
Maryland State Police are urging truck drivers to plan for safe parking and are launching an enforcement campaign to reduce the dancers associated with commercial vehicles parking on the shoulders of Interstate 83 in Baltimore County. Due to the increase in the number of commercial vehicles parked along Interstate 83 in Baltimore County causing unsafe driving conditions, state troopers from the Golden Ring Barrack are focusing enforcement in that area. The strict enforcement will target commercial vehicles parked on the shoulders of Interstate 83 from the Pennsylvania line to Interstate 695. The traffic citation carries a fine of $60 and no points.
Truck drivers can go to the State Highway Administration website, www.sha.md.gov, for a list of welcome centers and rest areas for parking. Maryland State Police weigh stations are also available for commercial vehicle parking when they are closed.
Ordinance seeks to prevent toll diversion
In response to a fatal crash and explosion of a gasoline tank truck on Aug. 24, the town of Port Deposit, Md., and the Maryland State Police plan to aggressively enforce an ordinance designed to prevent trucks from using the town as a pass through option to avoid the I-95 and Route 40 toll plazas. The city’s three-month old prohibition on trucks over five tons effectively makes it illegal for commercial motor vehicles to enter the town unless they are making local deliveries. The primary route being used to diver from I-95 is Route 222, which has a sweeping curve on a steep hill coming west from I-95 into the town. For more information, contact Louis Campion at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carriers show increased interest in NG
According to a new survey by Transport Capital Partners and ACT Research, 51.4% of carriers are considering natural gas-fueled trucks when buying new vehicles. TCP said carriers are interested because of the significant price difference between natural gas and diesel fuel.The survey said 75% of carriers said they would need an investment return within two years to justify the higher purchase price of the truck. Natural gas can be about $1.50 to $2 a gallon less, compared with an equivalent gallon of diesel.Almost half of the carriers surveyed said they would require a commercial natural-gas fuel station within 100 miles of their operations. The study also noted that 51.4% of motor carriers are concerned about product specifications and performance and 50% are concerned about secondary market value.
FMCSA announces CSA changes
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration plans to implement changes to the CSA program in December. Administrator Anne Ferro said FMCSA will rename CSA’s Cargo-Related Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category the Hazardous Materials Compliance BASIC. Only motor carriers and law enforcement officials will have access to carrier safety scores in that category for the first 12 months.
FMCSA will also implement a planned change to include cargo-related violations in the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC. Ferro said the Fatigued Driver BASIC will become the Hours-of-Service Compliance BASIC. And, FMCSA will remove 1-mph-to-5-mph speeding violations to ensure citations are consistent with current speedometer regulations.
Rob Abbott, vice president of safety policy for American Trucking Associations, said that while some adjustments FMCSA announced were in response to motor carrier concerns, most were related to improving compliance rather than crash risk.
Ohio Turnpike stops toll cheaters
Truckers on the Ohio Turnpike will no longer be able to avoid tolls on the road. The Associated Press reported that the turnpike updated its toll-collecting system to deter a scam under which some truckers would claim that they lost a toll ticket, then use the ticket when going the other direction in order to pay a lower toll. The turnpike now charges truckers the full, cross-state fare if they exceed a certain time limit between entry and exit on the toll road. Truckers had been able to evade automated fare machines to save up to $40 a trip across the 241-mile road.
Cell-phone enforcement is tough
Quite a number of jurisdictions in the United States and Canada have acted to prohibit people from using cell phones while they drive. Judging from the experiences of a state and a province that have recently been reported in the press, enforcing such a prohibition can be quite a job. In Nevada, a law effective at the beginning of this year outlaws both texting while driving and the use of a handheld cell phone. A violation is a primary offense that carries an initial fine of $50, with higher penalties for repeat offenders. The Nevada Highway Patrol has already issued 4,500 tickets under the new statute. In Saskatchewan, a ban on drivers using cell phones has been in effect since the beginning of 2010, and the province has had to resort to stern measures to enforce it. Although the usual citation for a cell- phone offense includes a fine of $280 and four points on the driver’s record, police also have authority under the law to impound the miscreant’s vehicle. This is to be done “only in exceptional circumstances where there is a danger posed to public safety,” according to the province, but the power was exercised more than 2,500 times in 2010 and 2011. (American Trucking Associations The State Laws Newsletter)
MA passes anti-indemnification law
Massachusetts has become the 35th state to enact legislation to protect carriers from having to sign shipping contracts that require them to assume all liability, regardless of whether an accident is their fault. On Aug. 10, Gov. Deval Patrick (D) signed the anti-indemnification bill. The American Trucking Associations insurance task force made liability protection a priority in 2008. At that time, only 12 states had anti-indemnification laws. Pennsylvania passed the Fair Share Act, its anti-indemnification law, in June 2011.
Final rule on new carrier entrants
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said in a Federal Register posting that new motor carrier entrants who fail their initial safety audit must provide evidence to FMCSA of their corrective actions within 15 days. The entrant will have its registration revoked if there is no response within 15 days. Carriers receiving expedited action notices must respond within 10 days. The requirement, effective Aug. 20, was part of an overall effort to improve the safety audit process.
For more information on PMTA (Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association), go to www.pmta.org