March 2019

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The Latest Transportation News in Trucking Safety and Regulations

The Americn Transportation Research Institute reported that it costs over-the-road drivers $4,600 annually in direct lost compensation to search for a parking spot to rest.  The group estimates the average driver spends 56 minutes daily looking for parking.  . ATRI says, "it's not just a safety and compliance issue, it's an economic issue." Interestingly, the head on the national association of truck stops responded saying their members would provide more parking if truckers were willing to pay for the spaces.

ATRI also just released its annual update of the 100 most congested highway bottlenecks for trucks.  Top in the USA is the intersection of I-95 and New Jersey Hwy 4 near the George Washington Bridge to Manhattan. Even during non-peak driving hours, trucks only average 31.7 mph. By state, Texas ranks at the top with 13 bottlenecks, followed by California with 7, and Connecticut, Georgia, and Washington each have 6.

The Inspector General's office at the US Department of Transportation revealed it will audit the medical certification program run by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.  The office noted since August 2014 there have been 8 indictments and 6 convictions of fraud by medical examiners. In one instance, a Georgia physician issued fraudulent physicals for truck drivers who were not medically tested.

A study by Northeastern University finds the FMCSA ELD mandate has not reduced highway crashes.  While researchers stated there had clearly been a sharp decrease in hours-in-service violations, there was no measureable impact on the number of accidents. However, the study pointed out since ELD enforcement began, there has been a significant increase in driving violations, as muck as 33.3% higher for owner-operators. The suggestion is that in order to compensate for the reduction of driving time since changing from paper logs to ELDs, drivers are speeding and driving less carefully. The research suggests this behavior may be why crash levels remain the same.

FMCSA has implemented its new procedure for insulin-dependent type 1 diabetics to be medically qualified to drive trucks by the agency's certified medical examiners.  Previous requests for medical waivers had to be sent to the FMCSA head quarters for  review and approval. DRivers must now show to his clinician and the medica examiner that the diabetes is under control. The driver must also have a three-month record of checking his sugar levels, the results of his A1C tests in the last 12 months, an he must reveal if he has had any hypoglycemic episodes in the last three months. The new process is expected to shorten the previous procedure by two to three months.

Did you know......  Drivers, beware and check before hauling loads of hemp. While a member of the cannabis family, hemp with less than 0.3% THC is legal under federal law. However, several states have laws banning any level of THC. In January. a driver crossing into Idaho with a hemp loadwas arrested and faces 5 years in prison and a$15,000 fine.



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March 2019