Partially Reprinted through the consideration of the MMCA
Oklahoma Issues New Height Pole and Escort Rule
Effective September 24, every vehicle and/or load exceeding 14 feet 6 inches in height in Oklahoma must be accompanied by two escorts—one traveling in front of the load with a height pole of the same height and one following the vehicle. This is a change from the previous requirement a height pole for vehicles and loads 15 feet 9 inches or more, which did not require escorts. This emergency rule was requested, then approved by the Governor’s Office in mid September because of the extreme amount of damage to overhead structures in the state during recent years and the potential for personal injury, according to Larry Punneo Oklahoma’s Director of Size & Weight Permits. “We realize this creates an additional burden on companies moving such loads,” said Punneo. “Hopefully, this will save thousands of dollars in damages as well as remove some of the potential for personal injury and or death. It will take some time to educate the Industry.” Punneo asks truckers to observe the new regulation even though “it is impossible to recall all permits recently issued that required a 15 foot 9 inch height pole.” Changes reflecting this new rule will soon be made to the Size & Weight Permits Division website at
FMCSA to Reconsider HOS Rule
The Federal Motor Carrier Administration has agreed to reconsider, and potentially change, its oft-challenged hours-of-service rule for commercial drivers, putting on hold a federal court challenge by a coalition of interest groups. The agreement, filed on Monday, gives FMCSA nine months to submit its review to the White House and up to 21 months to issue a new final rule to replace the current one. Until that time, the current rule remains in effect. The present HOS rule allows truckers to drive for 11 hours a day as part of a 14-hour workday and to refresh their weekly allotment of hours by taking a 34-hour break. The rule, which went into effect in 2008, is a replacement for one that was voided by a federal appeals court in 2007. An official who asked not to be identified said the move was procedural” and that there was nothing in the agreement binding FMCSA to a particular outcome. The
official said it is possible that the rule won’t change after the review, but warned that it could.
Driver Pre-Employment Screening Program on the Horizon
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced that it will launch a new driver pre-employment screening program which will allow commercial trucking companies to electronically
access driver inspection and crash records as a part of the hiring process. FMCSA says it expects to launch the program in December 2009. Commercial driver safety records are currently available to
federal and state law enforcement personnel, and accessible to drivers through the Freedom of Information Act. Once the pre-employment screening program is launched, driver safety records will be readily available to motor carriers regardless of state or jurisdiction. However, in accordance with federal privacy laws, drivers must fi rst give written consent in order for their records to be released. By using driver safety information during pre-employment screening, it will be easier for you to assess any potential safety risks of a prospective driver. At the same time, drivers will have
additional opportunities to verify the data in their driving history and correct any discrepancies. Data from FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) will populate the records.
Chains Required in Colorado
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Colorado Motor Carriers Association remind operators of commercial motor vehicles traveling in the state that they must carry chains from September through May when they are operating on Interstate 70 between Dotsero and Morrison; that is, over the
mountains west of Denver. Message signs along this route, as well as other media, let drivers know when and where to chain up. CDOT provides specific areas for motor carriers to put their chains on and reminds operators that this process can be dangerous. The fine for not carrying chains on I-70 during the winter months is $67.00. The fi ne for not chaining up when chains are required is $657.00 and
the fine for blocking the road because you did not chain up when required is $1,313.
IRS Raises Safe-Harbor Per Diem Rate for Drivers
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has raised the amount per day that the employer of a truck driver may reimburse the driver for meals and incidental expenses when the driver is away from home on travel. This per diem amount, which has been $52 a day for several years, will go up to $59 a day. It represents a safe harbor for employers and drivers alike, since reimbursements up to that amount need not be documented by receipts or other evidence. Reimbursements over that amount must either be documented or
will be considered income to the driver. The change takes effect January 1, 2010, for drivers for whom the employer has used the $52 amount during 2009, and on October 1, 2009 (for amounts paid with respect to travel after October 1), for other drivers.
FMCSA Significant Rulemaking Docket
CMV Driver Positive Controlled Substances and Alcohol Test Results Database – Notice of Proposed Rulemaking –
Expected Publication Date: 6/18/10
This rulemaking would create a central database for verified positive controlled substances and alcohol test results and refusals to submit to testing. This rulemaking would require employers and service agents to report positive test results and refusals to test into the database. Prospective employers, acting on an application for a driver position with the applicant’s written consent to access the database, would query the database to determine if any specific
information about the specific driver applicant is in the database before allowing the applicant to be hired and to drive CMVs. This rulemaking is intended to increase highway safety by ensuring CMV drivers, who have tested positive or have refused to submit to testing, have completed the U.S. DOT´s return-to-duty process before driving CMVs.
ATRI Updates Idling Regulations Compendium
The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has updated the listing of state and local idling regulations found on its Web site, www.atri-online.org. The updated listing is provided in two forms, a cab card which can be carried in the glove box of a truck and the online compendium which provides links to individual regulations.
The specific updates are:
- Reducing the idling limit in the City of St. Louis, Missouri from ten minutes to five minutes and adding several operational exemptions.
- Establishing a five-minute idling limit in the Missouri counties of Clay, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Platte, St. Charles and St. Louis.
- Adopting the state’s five-minute idling limit from April through October in several areas of Texas, including the cities of Arlington, Benbrook, Celina, Colleyville, Dallas, Euless, Georgetown, Hurst Hutto, Keene, Lake Worth, Lancaster, Little Elm, Luling, Mabank, McKinney, Mesquite, North Richland Hills, Pecan Hill, University Park, Westlake and the counties of Collin, Kaufman and Tarrant.
Enacting a one-minute idling limit adjacent to public schools in New York City. In addition to these updates, the listing provides information on new idling regulations which are, or will soon be, in effect in Florida, Maine, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. ATRI continues to monitor the development of idling regulations and maintains the compendium and cab card as a fare service to help trucking companies and truck drivers comply with the increasing number of state and local idling regulations.
No More Texting While Driving in Tennessee
Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen signed into law May 13 a ban on reading or sending text messages while behind the wheel. There’s a $50 fine if caught, but the driver won’t get any points for the offense. It isn’t considered a moving violation under the new law. As with similar bills in other states, SB 0393 exempts emergency
calls and allows certain emergency officials to text without getting a citation.
Oregon Weight-Distance Tax to Rise
By general transportation legislation (H.B. 2001) signed into law by Governor Kulongoski on July 29, Oregon has raised many taxes and fees associated with motor vehicles, including the state’s weight-distance tax. This onerous tax, by far the nation’s highest,is currently 13.16 cents per mile for a truck registered at 80,000 pounds. On October 1, 2010, the rate will rise to 16.38 cents a mile.
New Texas Laws Affecting Truckers
The Texas Motor Transportation Association reports that the state’s recent 81st Legislative Session resulted in a number of laws affecting the trucking industry. The new regulations, which will go into effect Sept. 1, 2009,include:
- No use of cell phone communication devices while operating a motor vehicle within a school zone, unless the vehicle is stopped or the cell phone is hooked up to a hands-free device.
- Drivers will no longer have an exemption to idle while getting mandated rest. (TMTA had lobbied for the sleeper berth exemption to be extended until April 2011, without success. The group also wanted the law to allow California certified clean idle” engines and offer a 400-pound weight exemption for trucks with auxiliary power units, but were unable to convince the Legislature).
- In order to receive delivery of a commercial driver’s license at a post offi ce box, the applicant must provide the documentation to verify the validity of the applicant’s address.
- A driver with a commercial driver’s license must notify the state and their employer within seven days of a conviction of any motor vehicle traffic law or ordinance violation.
- If a person uses a motor vehicle in an offense that involves the transportation, concealment or harboring of an alien, this person is disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for life.
Many legislative issues affecting the trucking issue did not get passed. One piece of legislation, which would have prohibited the parking of commercial vehicles in driveways in residential neighborhoods, got shot down. The TMTA Margins Tax Bill also died, which would have reduced the tax rate for trucking companies. The legislature also rejected the Fuel Tax Refund, which would have allowed industry to submit diesel tax refunds on fuel used for power takeoff equipment, off road equipment and reefer trailers. For more information, visit http://www.tmta.com/legislative.php
Texas does not renew idling exemption for commercial vehicles
In spite of efforts to pass legislation that would have extend the idling exemption because of opposition in both chambers, the bills proposed by the association dies in the legislature. The TMTA is working in the interim to make the changes administratively but time is running out. Therefore we are informing our members that while in Texas no person shall cause, suffer, allow, or permit the primary propulsion engine of a motor vehicle to idle for more than five consecutive minutes when the motor vehicle, as defined in §114.510 of this title (relating to Definitions), is not in motion during the period of April 1 through October 31 of each calendar year. No driver using the vehicle’s sleeper berth may idle the vehicle;
in a residential area as defined by Local Government Code, §244.001, in a school zone, within 1,000 feet of a hospital, or within 1,000 feet of a public school during its hours of operation. An offense under this subsection may be punishable by a fine not to exceed $500. Because the law is not written in the transportation code but in the environmental code, the Department of Public Safety will not enforce the code. The Code will be enforced through a
Memorandum of Understanding with several cities and counties in central Texas.
Below are the areas that have agreements with the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality
North Central Texas Area Central Texas Area
City of Dallas City of Austin
Town of Little Elm City of Bastrop
Town of Westlake City of Lockhart
City of Luling City of Arlington
City of Round Rock City of Benbrook
City of San Marcos City of Celina
Bastrop County City of Colleyville
Travis County City of Euless
Williamson County City of Hurst
City of Georgetown City of Keene
City of Hutto City of Lake Worth
Caldwell County City of Lancaster
Hays County City of Mabank
City of Mesquite
City of McKinney
City of North Richland Hills
City of Pecan Hill
City of University Park
NH Governor Signs Law to Ban Texting
Gov. John Lynch signed a law July 31 making New Hampshire the 16th state to ban text messaging while driving. “It is clear that texting while driving poses a serious danger on our roadways. This new law sends a strong message that drivers should be attentive to the road and those around them at all times,” Lynch said in a statement. The law also bans typing on laptop computers or other electronic
devices while driving. An exception is made for entering a name and number in a cell phone to make a call. Texting violators face a $100 fine. The texting ban takes effect January 1, 2010
New Mexico TAX Penalty
By 2009 legislation (S.B. 213) effective July 1 this year, New Mexico has added a penalty for underreporting either miles traveled or vehicle weights on a weight-distance tax return. The penalty for
either offense is geared to the amount of the weight-distance tax owed on the return, and runs from $100 with a minimal tax liability to $4,000 if the tax owed is over $3,000. Note that even fully compliant carriers could be hit with large penalties if they report miles traveled in New Mexico on the wrong quarter’s return.
Email me your comments or suggestions...look for the link over to the left.....
OK...now even THIS COMPANY is getting picky with drivers and their background and work history.....Drivers...if you have a job and your getting miles..STAY PUT! if your are REALLY getting no miles, for example...200 - 500 miles a week then look around, but DON'T quit for cryin out loud until you HAVE another job lined up! if you have made that mistake...if you have at least 12 months OTR experience and good job history (12 months or more at the same job) call me up and lets see if I can get you working 800-393-3649 - David
OK, I got it all cleaned up and got rid of all the useless crap that we don't need! if you have any suggestions or questions, email me and I'll be happy to help