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  • January 25, 2022 2:15 PM | John Rigney (Administrator)

    This morning, OSHA announced that it is withdrawing its vaccinate-or-test emergency temporary standard, effective upon publication in tomorrow’s Federal Register. On January 13, the Supreme Court had stayed the ETS pending full resolution of the challenges filed by ATA and other groups, and making clear that those challenges were going to succeed on the merits because, in the Court’s view, OSHA did not have the authority to promulgate this ETS. With this notice, OSHA chose to withdraw the rule rather than continue the litigation in the court of appeals. However, OSHA indicated that this withdrawal does not affect the notice-and-comment rulemaking that the ETS commenced, leaving open the possibility that OSHA will try to promulgate some kind of covid-related standard under its non-emergency authority. ATA will continue to monitor those efforts and update members on significant developments.

  • January 21, 2022 9:01 AM | John Rigney (Administrator)

    HERE IS THE FEDERAL REGISTER FOR THE PROGRAM:


    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

    Federal Motor Carrier Safety

    Administration

    [Docket No. FMCSA–2018–0346]

    Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot

    Program To Allow Persons Ages 18,

    19, and 20 To Operate Commercial

    Motor Vehicles in Interstate Commerce

    AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety

    Administration (FMCSA), Department

    of Transportation (DOT).

    ACTION: Notice and establishment of

    pilot program.

    SUMMARY: On September 10, 2020,

    FMCSA proposed a pilot program to

    allow persons ages 18, 19, and 20 to

    operate commercial motor vehicles

    (CMVs) in interstate commerce. That

    pilot was never implemented. However,

    the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs

    Act (IIJA), which was signed into law on

    November 15, 2021, requires FMCSA to

    establish a pilot program that would

    allow employers to establish an

    apprenticeship program for certain 18-,

    19-, and 20-year-old drivers to operate

    commercial vehicles in interstate

    commerce. This notice addresses the

    comments received on the September

    10, 2020, notice and provides the details

    on the establishment of the Safe Driver

    Apprenticeship Pilot Program required

    by the IIJA.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms.

    Nikki McDavid, Commercial Driver’s

    License Division, Federal Motor Carrier

    Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey

    Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590–

    0001, [email protected], (202)

    366–0831. If you have questions about

    viewing or submitting material to the

    docket, call DOT Dockets Operations,

    (202) 366–9826.


  • January 21, 2022 8:57 AM | John Rigney (Administrator)

    Believe it or not the Federal Government has removed a hoop to jump through for those requiring vision exemptions.  Here is the Federal Register:

    Docket No. FMCSA–2019–0049]

    RIN 2126–AC21

    Qualifications of Drivers; Vision

    Standard

    AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety

    Administration (FMCSA), Department

    of Transportation (DOT).

    ACTION: Final rule.

    SUMMARY: FMCSA amends its

    regulations to permit individuals who

    do not satisfy, with the worse eye, either

    the existing distant visual acuity

    standard with corrective lenses or the

    field of vision standard, or both, to be

    physically qualified to operate a

    commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in

    interstate commerce under specified

    conditions. Currently, such individuals

    are prohibited from driving CMVs in

    interstate commerce unless they obtain

    an exemption from FMCSA. The new

    alternative vision standard replaces the

    current vision exemption program as the

    basis for determining the physical

    qualification of these individuals.

    DATES: This final rule is effective March

    22, 2022.



  • January 11, 2022 3:37 PM | John Rigney (Administrator)

    FMCSA is proceeding with the under 21 year old driver program.  There will be some significant hoops to jump through but, the end result should be worth the effort.  Here is a short segment of the proposed program:

    More Details on the Younger-Driver Program

    The notice explains that an “apprentice” for this program is defined as a person under the age of 21 who holds a commercial driver's license. These apprentices will complete two probationary periods where they may operate in interstate commerce under the supervision of an experienced driver in the passenger seat.

    Those experienced drivers must be at least 26 years old and have held a CDL and been employed for at least the past two years, with at least five years of interstate CMV experience, along with other safety requirements.

    The first probationary period will be 120 hours of on-duty time (at least 80 of which must be driving) in length, during which the motor carrier must evaluate the apprentice on the following:

    1.    Interstate, city traffic, rural 2-lane, and evening driving;

    2.    Safety awareness;

    3.    Speed and space management;

    4.    Lane control;

    5.    Mirror scanning;

    6.    Right and left turns; and

    7.    Logging and complying with rules relating to hours of service.

    The second probationary period will be 280 hours of on-duty time (at least 160 of which must be driving), during which the motor carrier will evaluate the apprentice on the following:

    1.    Backing and maneuvering in close quarters;

    2.    Pre-trip inspections;

    3.    Fueling procedures;

    4.    Weighing loads, weight distribution, and sliding tandems;

    5.    Coupling and uncoupling procedures; and

    6.    Trip planning, truck routes, map reading, navigation, and permits.

    Assuming the apprentice successfully completes both probationary periods, he/she will then be permitted to operate in interstate commerce unaccompanied.

    In addition to data regarding successful completion of the probationary periods, FMCSA wants to collect data relating to any incident in which a participating apprentice is involved, as well as other data relating to the safety of apprentices. Additional data will include crash data (incident reports, police reports, insurance reports), inspection data, citation data, safety event data (as recorded by all safety systems installed on vehicles), as well as exposure data (record of duty status logs, on-duty time, driving time, and time spent away from home terminal). This data will be submitted monthly through participating motor carriers.

    Trucks used in the program will have to be equipped with advanced driver assistance systems, automatic emergency braking systems, onboard monitoring systems, and forward-facing and in-cab video systems.


  • January 04, 2022 8:52 AM | John Rigney (Administrator)

    The development of autonomous trucks is advancing at a pretty good pace.  A recent test run from a rail yard to a distrubution center in Arizona was successful: 

    Autonomous trucking startup TuSimple has completed its first autonomous truck run on open public roads without a human in the vehicle, according to the company. TuSimple’s Autonomous Driving System (ADS) navigated 100% of the 80-mile run along surface streets and highways between a railyard in Tuscon, Arizona and a distribution center in Phoenix, which took place with no human intervention, marking a milestone for the company that aims to scale its technology into purpose-built trucks by 2024, says president and CEO Cheng Lu.

    How many of us thought you could never put a movie on a plastic disc?  There are many challenges to the ADS but it may be coming to a highway near you quicker than expected.


  • January 03, 2022 12:52 PM | John Rigney (Administrator)

    It is hard to believe in the modern world we live in that human trafficking still exists.  Unfortunately this horrible situation is still active and the bad actors prey upon the most vulnerable.  TAT is a group that educates truckers and others who travel frequently on what to look for to spot suspected victims of trafficking.  January 11 - 13 is TAT awareness week.  If you see something, say something.

  • January 03, 2022 9:42 AM | John Rigney (Administrator)

    CVSA posted a bulletin to inspectors concerning enforcement of UCR payments.  Here is the message to inspectors:  Enforcement Guidance The 2022 UCR enforcement began Jan. 1, 2022. The UCR Board recommends that states begin enforcement for the 2022 registration year on Jan. 1, 2022. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) violation code in the inspection software to indicate that a carrier is not in compliance with UCR, which is 392.2 UCR - Failure to pay UCR fees. Any non-compliance of UCR fees should be documented and the driver should be issued a citation. The link to the website for payment is:  https://www.ucr.gov/

  • December 30, 2021 1:21 PM | John Rigney (Administrator)

    I was surprised to see the number of crashes in the area on Monday.  The conditions were perfect for slick roads.  Before you leave your home, check the outside temperature.  If it is in the mid-thirties or below proceed with caution.  Monday we had low temperatures and fog.  That vapor freezes fast and too many found out the hard way that traction on those surfaces is non-existent.  I passed many crashed vehicles sitting on the shoulder.  Be safe.  Take it slow.  One of my drivers told me years ago, "I tell them if they say the load it hot that it will get there two seconds after I do."

  • December 17, 2021 12:41 PM | John Rigney (Administrator)

    I hope you all have a great time celebrating with family and friends over the holiday season.  I have a word of caution.  If you find yourself indulging  more than usual first of all don't drive and second remember that the BAC level for CDL drivers is .04%.  Make sure you have ample time to let the alcohol purge from your system before returning to driving.  The Return to Duty process is long and costly.  Be safe.

  • December 07, 2021 9:29 AM | John Rigney (Administrator)

    Due to a lack of raw materials the Fed has granted use of the 2017 version of the CCF.  Here is the story:


    ATTENTION: HHS-Certified Laboratories, Applicant Laboratories, and NLCP Inspectors Subject: 2017 Federal CCF Use HHS-certified laboratories: Please forward this email to Medical Review Officers (MROs), collection sites for federal workplace drug testing programs. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has granted an extension for using the 2017 Federal Custody and Control Form (CCF) for urine specimens until August 31, 2023. With this extension, either the 2020 Federal CCF or the expired 2017 Federal CCF may be used for urine specimens collected for federal workplace drug testing programs and those collected for testing under the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. With this change, the use of the 2017 Federal CCF is now permitted (as of November 23, 2021) without a memorandum for the record (MFR). The use of the 2017 Federal CCF for specimens collected prior to that date requires an MFR. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) requested OMB approval for continued use of the 2017 Federal CCF due to a shortage of raw materials needed for the 2020 Federal CCF, reported to SAMHSA by DOT and HHS-certified laboratories. Short supplies include the carbonless paper used for CCF and the resins and plastics used for the labels directly affixed to the form. Items used for specimen collection kits (e.g., cardboard, shipping materials) are also in short supply. These shortages are attributed to the materials’ use for COVIDrelated activities. Additionally, it was noted there is only one supplier of the carbonless paper and the supplier has indicated they will not be increasing its production. SAMHSA continues to support efforts to continue workplace drug testing during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the health and safety of employees, maintain public safety, and sustain US workforce productivity. This change is intended to reduce burden on all drug testing service providers (e.g., collectors, laboratories, Medical Review Officers) and to preserve the supply use by the non-regulated sector, which uses the same materials as the federally regulated sector. The OMB Notice of Action may be viewed here: View Information Collection Request (ICR) Package (reginfo.gov):

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John's Safety Minute

My name is John Rigney and I am a retired Pennsylvania State Trooper. I retired in July of 2011 as a Sergeant in charge of Staff Services at Troop J, Lancaster. While there I received extensive training in emergency response with PEMA and FEMA. I was heavily involved in Motor Carrier safety and was certified by PADOT and FMCSA as an instructor for the roadside inspection processes. I hold a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Forest Products from the Pennsylvania State University. I also hold a Certified Safety Supervisor accreditation from the National Transportation Management Institute (NATMI) which is administered by the University of Central Florida. 

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