October 2014

Overdrive Magazine | Trucking Business News & Owner Operator Info

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16 | Overdrive | October 2014 Logbook A coalition of highway safety and labor advocates have brought a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Transpor- tation and the Federal Mo- tor Carrier Safety Admin- istration for not heeding congressional requirements to produce an entry-level driver training rule. The suit was filed Sept. 18 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The plaintiffs say the agency is more than 20 years late on producing the rule by the original 1993 deadline, as Congress ordered in a 1991 law, and now is nearly a year late on the same requirement made by the 2012 MAP-21 highway funding act. FMCSA said it has been working on improving a rule it produced in 2004 regarding entry-level driver training. That rule "implements entry-level driver training that includes behind- the-wheel instruction for operating large trucks and buses," the agency said. "We have engaged the public in listening sessions and are bringing together stakeholders to collaborate on a new proposal that meets the requirements passed in the 2012 trans- portation bill." Plaintiffs in the suit include the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and Citi- zens for Reliable and Safe Highways. Public Citizen is repre- senting the groups. "People are dying needlessly while the agency drags its feet," said Henry Jasny, senior vice president and general counsel with Advocates. The groups say in their lawsuit they have filed petitions with courts in the past trying to spur the agency to act. They filed a suit in 2004 that attempted to mandate a rulemaking on minimum training requirements. The plaintiffs also take FMCSA to task not only for missing MAP-21's October 2013 deadline for the final rule, but also for not even initiating the rulemaking process. The groups want the court to order DOT to produce a proposed rule within 60 days of a court ruling and to issue a final rule within 120 days after the issuance of the pro- posed rule. – James Jaillet Feds sued for lack of training rule FMCSA said it has been working on improving a rule it produced in 2004 regarding entry-level driver training. Cross-border program under audit The U.S. Department of Transporta- tion Office of the Inspector General has started its final audit of the cross-border trucking pilot program with Mexico. This month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will conclude its three-year program granting long-haul authority to Mexican carriers. A 2007 law requires OIG to audit the program and submit a final audit to Congress six months after the program ends. The office announced July 30 it would begin work immediately to determine: • Whether FMCSA is able to determine if the pilot program ad- versely affected motor carrier safety; • If there is sufficient monitoring to ensure that program participants comply with all regulations; and • That the program consists of a representative sample of Mexican carriers likely to engage in cross-bor- der operations. The auditors issued their initial report shortly before the program began and an interim report in its 11th month, when four carriers had authority under the program. At that time, auditors concluded it lacked suf- ficient data and participation to draw safety conclusions, saying the program requires at least 4,100 inspections of 46 carriers over three years to make statistically valid analysis and projec- tions regarding safety. Currently, 13 carriers participate in the program, and 5,312 inspec- tions have been conducted. – Jill Dunn GOODYEAR is accepting nomina- tions for its North American Highway Hero Award until Nov. 29. Candidates must be a full-time truck driver and reside in the United States or Canada. He or she must have been on the job or on the way to or from work in his or her truck at the time of the incident, which must have occurred between Nov. 16, 2013, and Nov. 16, 2014. Go to goodyeartrucktires.com and search for "highway hero." A FEDERAL REGULATION increasing the required amount of liability insurance for carriers from $750,000 is slated to be published as a proposed rule Oct. 22, according to an update from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The report also said DOT's rule to require speed limiters on heavy trucks would be published Jan. 12, and that its Safety Fitness Determination rule would be published Feb. 10.

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