Three transportation bills introduced earlier this week covering safety topics which include electronic on-board recording devices (EOBRs), chameleon carriers, detention, the loading/unloading of hazardous materials, among other issues, will be heard by the Senate Commerce Committee next week.
The first bill, the Motor Vehicle and Highway Safety Improvement Act of 2011, “reauthorizes highway and vehicle safety programs under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration…managing safety and research programs designed to decrease vehicle deaths and injuries by changing driver behavior” (http://www.transportationissuesdaily.com/senate-to-act-on-highway-safety-bills/).
Among these safety programs is the mandatory requirement of electronic on-board recorders (EOBRS) on trucks.
Last August, the U.S. Court of Appeals sided with the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA), agreeing that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) needed to address the issue of driver harassment in their EOBR mandate.
On November 1st, the FMCSA submitted its proposal of whether it will reduce a driver’s hours of service from 11 to 10 hours, among several other proposed changes. But before the FMCSA’s decision will be announced to the public, the OMB must first review the rule, returning it to the DOT with any recommendations, who will then pass it to the Federal Register for publication.
Recommendations to the requirement were submitted to the FMCSA this week with details on the suggestions expected to be released next week.
The bill also addresses the issue of chameleon carriers (existing carriers who register as a new carrier in order to hide poor safety records). As Transport Topics notes, “The bill would also make it harder for a carrier shut down for violations to “reincarnate” under a new name,” along with “requiring new ‘applicant motor carriers’ to demonstrate knowledge of safety regulations through written exams.”
Detention, labeled the “biggest productivity or efficiency problem in trucking” by the Owner-Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA), costing the trucking industry $3 billion a year and drivers 30-40 hours a week, is also addressed in the bill.
This detention not only threatens the next shipment on the driver’s truck being late, but also takes away from a driver’s allowed hours of service (HOS). In return, the bill explains concern that drivers who are detained would be more apt to violate their HOS, driving fatigue in order to make delivery appointments.
The other two bills (the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act of 2011 and Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2011) are not yet available to the public but would include the requirement of “a paperless hazard communication system between all parties in the transportation chain, along with emergency responders and law enforcement personnel,” as well as “uniform procedures for the safe loading and unloading of hazardous materials on and off trucks,” Transport Topics explains.
Road Scholar Transport is a hazmat certified carrier, hiring only the most professional and experienced drivers who are subject to background checks and safety tests well beyond the industry standard. Road Scholar’s hazmat certified drivers participate in a training program that keeps them “up to speed” on the latest techniques to prevent accidents and protect hazardous cargo. Combine Road Scholar’s drivers’ experience with our strict in transit security protocols and the result is a “security officer” behind the wheel escorting your freight.
Those wishing to tune into the session on Wednesday can do so at 10 a.m. by going to http://commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Home.