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Sleep Apnea Screening Aimed At Reducing Collisions

Sleep Apnea Screening Aimed At Reducing Collisions

Sleep Apnea Screening Aimed At Reducing Collisions

Highway safety can be improved by requiring that drivers be tested for sleeping disorders.

However, managing treatment and testing can put an extra burden on both motor carriers and drivers. Commercial drivers currently do not have to be screened for sleep apnea. This is a condition that disrupts sleep. It can lead to daytime sleepiness.

Dr. Nathaniel F. Watson is the president of the American Academy Of Sleep Medicine, which is an organization that is based in Seattle. He has stated that he is concerned about drivers who have sleep apnea. People who have sleep apnea are more likely to fall asleep while they are behind the wheel.

The Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Carrier Safety Administration announced on March 8th, 2016 that they would be teaming up to propose a rulemaking that would require rail workers and truck drivers to be tested and treated for sleep apnea. Richard Blesser works for the Marsh Risk Consulting. He has stated that most vehicle collisions are caused by fatigue and distracted driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 72,000 accidents are caused by driver fatigue every year. There was a study done by the University of Minnesota that involved 1,613. The study took place from 2006 to 2009. The study found that people who have sleep apnea are five times more likely to be involved in an accident.

Stephen Burks was the lead author of the study. He stated that the results of the study should convince people that sleep apnea testing is necessary for professional drivers. Jamie Wilson is the senior risk engineering consultant and transportation specialist at Zurich North America. He has stated that culture, convenience and cost are the main things that stop driving companies from requiring that drivers be tested for sleep apnea.

Mr. Wilson also stated that a sleep apnea diagnosis requires that one make several trips to a sleep clinic. The costs of these tests can also be high. That is why he recommends that drivers work with a physician or use a take-home test. Additionally, Mr. Wilson stated that many companies are reluctant to add more regulations.

Dr. Watson stated that he understands people’s concerns, but he wants them to understand that sleep apnea can impair their livelihood. People have to stay awake behind the wheel so that they can keep themselves and others awake.

Extension to Diesel Emissions Reduction Act

Extension to Diesel Emissions Reduction Act

Extension to Diesel Emissions Reduction Act

Tom Carper, the US Senator of Delaware, introduced a bill that could soon extend what is called the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act through 2021. The bill provides grants from the US Environmental Protection Agency to help with reducing the emissions given off from diesel-powered trucks and equipment. Congress first passed this act in 2005, and they renewed it again in 2010, but the bill will expire this coming year.

In total, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act has given out more than $30 million every year in EPA administered federal grants. Carper reintroduced the renewal of the bill on April 20th, and it includes co-sponsors such as Shelley Moore Capito, Barbara Boxer and James Inhofe. When automakers retrofit older diesel engines with American-made technology, it gives the advantage of public health and environmental benefits. The program has been an ongoing approach to help with mitigating the toxic diesel emissions, and contributing to better public health.

With the providing of incentive to provide competitive process for equipment owners of new technology, it means that total engine replacements have become a reality. Using the new diesel technology, automakers have achieved an almost zero emissions level, and DERA is one of the leading programs that helps with upgrading older diesel engines.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, over 73,000 older diesel power engines were upgraded and replaced from 2008 to 2013, and DERA has helped with funding this project. As a result, everyone has enjoyed cleaner air and fuel savings. Related to emissions, DERA reduced the particulate matter emissions by around 14,700 tons, and they saved more than 450 gallons of fuel. For the environment, there was a $13 billion benefit, and the federal share of DERA represents a small share of the total cost that each project has for encouraging diesel engine owners to replace or retrofit their vehicle with cleaner-burning technologies.
 

A New Funding Bill May Place Caps On Truck Driver Hours

Truck Driver Hours

A New Funding Bill May Place Caps On Truck Driver Hours

Truckers may face further restrictions on how long they can work before they are required to take a break. The bipartisan 2017 funding bill may cap the maximum number of allowed hours at 73 a week and was advanced by a Senate panel on April 21st. The bill will also lead to several other changes that will influence the workweek of truckers.

The Appropriations Committee Decision

The Appropriations Committee, a group responsible for passing appropriations bills, voted unanimously to report the transportation funding bill to the floor. However, they adjourned before debating over trucking policies related to the bill.

Workers Can Reset Their Workweeks

One provision would allow for truck drivers to reset their workweeks if they took a 34-hour off-duty period. This may provide drivers and employers with more flexibility regarding how they allocate their time.

The provision is designed to handle a technicality that affects rest rules in a 2016 funding law. This would result in a reliance on a rolling recap of weekly work limits of 60 hours in seven days and 70 hours in eight days.

The Reaction To The Funding Bill

The new regulations have been welcomed by the American Trucking Associations (ATA). While many organizations have been critical of trucking regulations in the past, such as the ATA, very few groups have criticized the provision, such as the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. This organization has argued that there hasn’t been sufficient debate regarding the provision. However, politicians, including Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, argue that the legislation would improve the safety of the roads.

Speed Limiters

The funding bill will also require that the U.S. Department of Transportation advance a rule for speed limiters on trucks. These are devices that control the top speed of the truck. This is a statutory requirement in nations such as the U.K..

The Allocated Funding

The purpose of the funding legislation is to provide $644 million for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, $525 million for a grants program, $259 million for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and $900 million for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Bill Might Be Tweaked

Senator Susan Collins has commented that the bill might be tweaked. She is the chairwoman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, which was responsible for advancing the bill. It is not certain whether the provision affecting hours of service will be included in the bill, but the legislation would be released soon after being approved.

 

 

Get Ready Tire Inspection

Get Ready Tire Inspection

Get Ready Tire Inspection

Get Ready! Roadcheck June 7-9 Focuses On Tires

It is important for truck drivers to make sure that their tires are in good shape. Law enforcement officials will be checking tires in about a month and a half. The Commercial Vehicle Alliance will hold its International Road Check June 7-9. This year, they will be focused on tire safety.

There are several things that will be checked during the international road check. This includes tire pressure and tire tread depth. Inspectors will also make sure that nothing is stuck in between dual tires. Additionally, the overall condition of the tires will be inspected.

The International Road Check first started in 1988. It is estimated that 17 vehicles are inspected every minute during a 72-hour period. Over 10,000 inspectors in North America participate in this event. Buses are also inspected. This annual event is sponsored by The Commercial Safety Vehicle Alliance.

Sweeping Changes For Food Safety Rules

Food Safety Rules

Sweeping Changes For Food Safety Rules

The Food And Drug Administration has made a rule that requires motor carriers and shippers to make sure that vehicles are cleaned and properly-refrigerated when they are transporting food. Doug Morris is the OOIDA Director Of Safety And Security Operations. He has stated that the changes are something that they have been working on since January 2013. He also stated that these are major changes dealing with the housing, shipping and production of food.

The Food And Drug Administration Modernization Act sets requirements for carriers, loaders and shippers who are involved in transporting both human and animal food. People are required to use the proper sanitary practices in order to ensure that food is safely transported.

The rule specifically applies to the following:

Transportation Equipment And Vehicles

Transportation equipment and vehicles are supposed to be maintained and designed to ensure that the food is transported safely. For example, the vehicles and equipment must be adequately cleaned and suitable for their intended use. They must also be able to maintain the temperatures needed for transporting the food.

Training

People who are involved in sanitary transportation practices must be adequately trained. This trained must also be documented. The training is required when both the shipper and carrier agree that the carrier will be held responsible for making sure that the food is transported safely.

Transportation Operations

This includes taking food safety measures. Making sure that the adequate temperature is maintained, preventing the cross-contact of food and preventing the cross-contamination of food while it is being transported.

Records

This includes maintaining the records of training, written procedures and agreements. The covered activity and the type of record will depend on how long the records will need to be obtained. However, this time will not exceed 12 months.

The Food And Drug Administration plans on allocating resources for the enforcement of this rule by following up with the Department Of Transportation. Morris said that he would not be surprised if he saw a FDA worker at the inspection and weigh facility. This worker will inspect the paperwork, load and do a temperature check. He believes that the FDA is going to be more proactive.

The new regulations may create problems for people who have not been keeping the food at the recommended temperature or following the other rules. Morris said that the new rules will not go into the effect at the same time. Some rules will go into effect within 60 days. Others will not go into effect for one or two years.

Morris stated that drivers probably do not know what to expect yet. The FDA has stated that the rules and regulations could affect 500,000 drivers. Carriers, receivers and shippers that are involved in food operations and have an annual revenue that is less than $500,000 are exempt from these new rules.

On April 25, 2016, the FDA will be hosting a webinar to explain the Food Safety Modernization Act.
 

Owner-operators Likely Excluded from FDA’s New Sanitation Regs

new sanitation regs

Owner-operators likely excluded from FDA’s new sanitation regs

There are new rules and regulations in place regarding the transportation of food by truckers and other carriers as of April 5. The Food and Drug Administration’s new guidelines are mostly a clarification of previously existing rules and therefore should not have a major impact on the industry.

The first rule regulates the temperature of the food-carrying trailer. Trailers must be pre-cooled to the safe temperature before food is packed in. Any carrier who packs the food prior to cooling a trailer to its proper temperature will be in violation of this rule.

Upon delivery of the food items the truck driver will be responsible for providing a document that confirms the proper handling of all food being delivered. If any rules are broken or any safety standards not met it is required that the entire delivery be disposed of.

The carriers will also be expected to document their process for the cleaning and sterilization of all trailers used to carry food.

These rules do not go into effect for one calendar year. Anybody who needs to change their business practices to meet the new regulations will have until April 6, 2016 to make the necessary adjustments.

Many owner-operators will be excluded from these new guidelines due to one provision in the rule. This provision states that any carrier whose annual revenue is less than $500,000 per calendar year will be exempt from the regulations. This means that the majority of the burden of these new rules will fall onto major operators with larger fleets of trucks and trailers.

 

DOT to hold truck parking workshops

DOT to hold truck Parking workshops

DOT to Hold Truck Parking Workshops

The Federal Highway Association has announced last Thursday, March 31, that they will be holding four workshops this year aimed at discussing nation’s truck parking shortage. Three of these workshops have been announced already, with a fourth yet to be scheduled. The fourth event is expected to be either in July or September. Tom Kearney, FHWA truck parking project manager, said that the FHWA wants to hear from you on the issues surrounding truck parking.

As of now the workshops are being held on:

  • June 8 at the Utah Trucking Association headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • August 25 at the Great American Truck Show in Dallas, Texas
  • October 5 at the OOIDA (Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association) headquarters in Grain Valley, Missouri

Participating in the workshops is going to be restricted to create a balance of different industry representatives. Organizations like the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association will source participants from their partnerships, allowing owner-operators into the discussion.

According to Thomas Phelan, managing director for Vanesse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., the directors of the event will be controlling the attendance at the workshops. “The information coming out of it is going to be more important than the participation at the event,” Phelan explains.

Mexican Truck-Inspection Standard Accepted by FMCSA

Mexican Truck-Inspection

Mexican Truck-Inspection

Mexican government standards for the inspection of commercial vehicles satisfy the requirements for operation in the United States. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration began accepting the Official Mexican Standard on March 16. The U.S. agency posted the policy in a notice found in the Federal Register.

The FMCA document depicts the Mexican standard NOM-068-SCT-2-2014 (NOM 68) as a standard equivalent to the inspection requirements found in the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The decision applies to Mexican-based motor carriers operating in the USA.

Commercial motor vehicles operated by Mexican carriers must have a copy of their NOM 68 paperwork and a current decal or sticker applied before they can work in the United States. Mexican carriers obtain their documentation via an annual inspection required by the Mexican Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT). FMCA documents indicate that Mexican carriers can no longer choose to have their employees perform the annual inspections their vehicles. Similarly, compliance certifications by roadside inspections or commercial garages will cease to satisfy the annual inspection requirement.

FMCA decided to accept Mexican CMV annual inspections after reviewing the criteria used to determine whether a vehicle passes or fails. The study evaluated how well the Mexican standards evaluated specific components and systems and concluded that the tests match the effectiveness of FMCA requirements.

In Mexico, timeframes differ for compliance with some safety components and systems. The FMCA recognizes the different implementation dates for systems such as antilock brakes, but it believes that the Mexican schedule does not necessitate substantially different standards for the annual inspection of Mexican CMVs. Similarly, the agency observed that the types of vehicles covered by the Mexican standard mirror those that fall under FMCSA purview. Also, the U.S. and Mexican standards apply to vehicles weighing 10,001 or more pounds.

FMCSA analysts concluded that the inspections performed in both countries follow similar criteria, so Mexican-based carriers can legally operate in the U.S. as long as they have passed the requirements of NOM 68.

Bus Companies Suspended For Falsifying Information

Bus Companies Suspended

Bus Companies Suspended

The Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration conducted an investigation to make sure that bus companies complied with federal safety regulations. They found that four bus companies did not comply with the federal safety regulations. As a result of this, the companies’ operating authority registration was revoked.

The Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration found that the four carriers provide a false or misleading physical address. Federal safety regulations forbid people from providing a false address. Below is a list of companies that have had their operating authority registration revoked:

*AKAI, which is located in Homeland, Alabama
*Luxury Express Bus Company, which is located in Norcross GA
*Magnum Coach Lines, which is located in Waltham, GA
*Hermes Luxury Coach, which is located in Raleign, North Carolina

These violations were discovered during a multi-state investigation, which lasted for four months. The bus companies could be required to pay up to $25,000 per violation. They could also spend up to one year in jail. Furthermore, bus companies that receive an unsatisfactory safety rating will not be able to operate in intrastate and interstate commerce.

The Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration is committed to making travel safer for everyone. That is why they encourage people to do research on a bus company before they select one. The SaferBus app can help people find the right bus company. This app allows people to see reviews from other customers. You can download this app for free by visiting the FMSCA’s Look Before You Book webpage. The FMSCA also encourages people to report unsafe bus companies.

Interstate 10 still Flooded at Texas-Louisiana Border

Interstate flooded

Interstate flooded

Due to the extreme weather in the area, Interstate 10 is still closed at the Louisiana/Texas border. Starting Tuesday, March 15th, the road has been closed for traffic in both directions. As of Friday, it has been closed for 4 continuous days.

Both Louisiana and Texas Departments of Transportation are reporting that the Sabine River has completely covered I-10. The westbound lanes are closed at milepost 4 and the eastbound at Texas 62. Detours include I-20 to cross the border.

Rainfall levels are at their highest since 1884. Both the Sabine and the Red Rock Rivers are well over their banks. The Red River—in North Central Louisiana—is expected to crest on Sunday at 40.5 feet. The Sabine crested on Tuesday at 33.24 measured at Deweyville, Texas.

Flood warnings are continuing in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama as well as Louisiana and Texas.

No timeline has been given at this time for the reopening of the highway. Once the water has receded enough to be safe, crews will do evaluations on the interstate to ensure that no damage has been done.

There is no way of predicting when the water will clear off the highway and the road may be open sporadically, but State Troopers advise finding alternative routes.