FMCSA Urges Everyone to Stay Alert and Stay Safe Traveling the Nation’s Roadways this Summer
July 21, 2021
With a significant rise in the number of vehicles now returning to the Nation’s roadways, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) urges everyone to do their part to share the road safely.
“We depend on trucks to keep our stores supplied with food and medicine, and commercial buses to transport our loved ones safely,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Meera Joshi. “We urge truck drivers and bus operators to be extra alert for those on foot and bike, and we urge drivers, motorcyclists, people walking, riding scooters or bicycles to give large trucks and buses extra space to maneuver.”
Joshi also emphasized that commercial truck and bus drivers have responsibilities to operate safely and courteously, to obey speed and other traffic signage, and to be fully compliant with all federal and state safety rules. “These regulations exist to help protect commercial operators – as well as all other roadway travelers,” she said.
The Our Roads, Our Safety campaign is a national partnership program led by FMCSA and designed to continually reach a broader audience with updated safety information resources, including videos, infographics, tip sheets and other materials all freely available for use and distribution.
Because it’s never too early to learn about roadway safety, this year the Our Roads, Our Safety campaign is also launching an interactive web game where children can pick between two adventures to test their knowledge of large truck and bus safety with fun quizzes and challenges along the way.
While the Our Roads, Our Safety outreach efforts will be conducted nationwide, there will be a heightened emphasis across ten states – California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas – that have the highest number of fatal crashes involving large trucks and buses.
For more information, visit https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/ourroads.
USDOT Announces Additional Measures to Help States in Areas Affected by the Colonial Pipeline Incident
May 12, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. DOT today announced additional help for States in areas affected by the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline. The White House and DOT have determined that previous declarations of “major disaster” issued by the President within the past 120 days allow States covered by those declarations to use Interstate highways in their State to transport overweight loads of gasoline and other fuels. Each State must continue to follow its own procedures for issuance of special permits authorizing the loads, but the added flexibility announced today lawfully permits these trucks to run on the Interstate Highway System and other Federal highways. This flexibility is in addition to preexisting authority for States to issue special permits allowing the trucks to run on State highways.
The previous Presidential declarations created this authority for up to 120 days. Given the declarations’ varied dates of issuance, that period will expire at different points for the affected States between now and early September. The first State whose 120-day period will expire is Maryland, on June 4. The last State is Virginia, on September 7.
The ten States covered are Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. All these States are already covered under the separate Emergency Declaration that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued on May 9, which grants truck drivers making emergency fuel deliveries in areas affected by the pipeline disruption relief from the Federal hours of service limits and certain other safety regulations.
Consistent with 23 U.S.C. 127(i) and applicable State laws, States that are currently operating under Federal Major Disaster Declarations may issue special permits to overweight vehicles carrying divisible loads on Interstate and Defense Highways that are delivering relief supplies, including gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products. States may exercise this authority for 120 days from the date of the declaration of the major disaster.
Large Trucks Are Involved In 1/3 of All Fatal Crashes Occurring In Work Zones
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has called on all drivers to “share work zones safely” by staying alert, obeying traffic signs and allowing all vehicles extra space as the nation’s annual roadway repair and construction season commences.
“Fatal crashes occurring in work zones are both tragic and absolutely preventable,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Meera Joshi. “I am especially concerned that large trucks continue to have a disproportional involvement in fatal crashes occurring in work zones – 33 percent – when large trucks comprise roughly five percent of vehicular traffic. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted, slow down, obey the signs and the instructions of flaggers and be courteous and safe by giving every vehicle extra space. Highway workers equally depend on you for their safety.”
The Department’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reports that in 2019, the most recent year for which data are available, 842 people died in highway work zone crashes compared to 757 the year before. The 11.2-percent increase is the largest percentage increase of highway work zone fatalities this century.
For its part in supporting National Work Zone Awareness Week, FMCSA will be concentrating its safety awareness efforts in three states – Florida, Georgia and Texas – which, unfortunately, experience some of the highest rates of work zone crashes involving large trucks in the country. In those states, motorists can expect to hear public service announcements and see safety messaging on billboards as they approach work zones.
FMCSA has also developed educational resources, including fact sheets, post cards and shareable social media infographics for safety advocates to help amplify work zone messaging. Arkansas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania – also states that have a high number of fatal crashes in work zones each year – will be conducting special activities such as holding educational workshops for commercial vehicle drivers and placing safety signage at weigh stations.
FMCSA will join FHWA in urging the public to wear orange on Wednesday, April 28, for a national “Go Orange” Day to show their support for highway workers.
For more information on this year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week, visit http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/outreach/wz_awareness.htm, follow @USDOTFHWA on Twitter, and use hashtags #NWZAW, #Orange4Safety and #OrangeForSafety.
2021 National Work Zone Awareness Week: “Drive Safe. Work Safe. Save Lives”
Each year in the spring, National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) is held to bring national attention to motorist and worker safety and mobility issues in work zones. Since 1999, FHWA has worked with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) to coordinate and sponsor the event. The first national event was held at a work zone in Springfield, VA in April 2000. Over the years, other transportation partners have joined the effort to support NWZAW. In addition to a national event conducted each year, many States host their own NWZAW events.
Statistics from the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse show there were 762 fatal crashes in work zones resulting in 842 deaths in 2019. In addition, 135 roadway workers were killed in work zones in 2019. The vast majority of people killed were motorists, passengers and pedestrians.
“National Work Zone Awareness Week is meant to heighten everyone’s awareness of the need to be alert when approaching a work zone and then traveling safely through the area,” said ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner. “Everyone’s safety is at risk in these work zones and we want everyone—workers, motorists and their passengers–to get to their destinations and home again safely.”
Statistics from 2018 show there were 123,000 work zone crashes—31,000 of which injury-involved crashes resulting in 45,000 injuries–underscoring the need to observe work zone speeds and eliminate distractions when approaching and driving through work zones.
This year’s Work Zone Safety Training Day takes place Monday, April 26. The national stand down encourages employers and workers to pause voluntarily during the workday for safety demonstrations, training in hazard recognition and fall prevention, and talks about hazards, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies, goals and expectations.
As part of NWZAW, all are also encouraged to participate in Go Orange Day on Wednesday, April 28, a day when individuals are encouraged to wear orange as a visual reminder to others of work zones. They are also encouraged to post photos of their Go Orange Day activities to further spread awareness of work zone safety. While fun, participation in Go Orange Day and NWZAW goes a long way in getting much needed attention on work zone safety.
State departments of transportation, federal agencies and other organizations will be participating in NWZAW and Go Orange Day, putting out Public Service Announcements about work zone safety and hosting events to highlight the issue. For additional information on the history of NWZAW, visit NWZAW.org/learn.
Important Information Regarding CDL Medical Qualification and MVA Operations During The Pandemic
December 21, 2020
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Last week the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced another extension for drivers whose medical qualifications have or soon are expiring as follows:
• Medical cards that expired after September 1, 2020 are valid until February 28, 2021.
Also last week, Governor Hogan announced a two-week closure of state offices, including the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. The closure starts today. Offices are scheduled to reopen on January 4. MMTA spoke with the Motor Vehicle Administrator on Friday. The agency is notifying anyone with a previously scheduled appointment of the closure; however, while the offices will be officially closed, there will be limited staff on site to provide the following types of services.
• Titles/Tags – You can still get trucks titled and tagged even with the MVA’s reduced operations. Please email your requests and paperwork to COVID19MVAAction@mdot.maryland.gov.
• Online Options for CDL Holders – Current CDL holders with a valid Medical Certificate and REAL ID documents on file can order a renewal, correction or duplicate copy of their license on the MDOT MVA eStore (https://mva.maryland.gov/online-services/Pages/default.aspx).
• Medical Qualification – Drivers needing to submit their medical qualifications can do so via mail, fax, and email:
Via Email: email@example.com (please include document as an attachment)
Via Fax: 410-787-7959
Via Standard Mail:
Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration Driver Services Division
Room 207 · Commercial Licensing Unit
6601 Ritchie Highway N.E., Glen Burnie, MD 21062
U.S. Department of Transportation Takes Action to Assist America’s Truckers in the Efficient and Safe Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines
December 3, 2020
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an extended and expanded national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting vaccines and emergency relief in response to the nationwide coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency.
“America’s truck drivers have been heroes in keeping this nation’s supply chains open and are now on the front lines of this historic effort to safely deliver the COVID-19 vaccine,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.
“Under Secretary Chao’s leadership, FMCSA is helping lead the way to allow for an efficient and effective distribution of the first COVID-19 vaccines. The Agency is continuing to provide additional regulatory relief to our nation’s truckers to get critically important medical supplies, food, and household goods to Americans in need. We will continue to support them and help protect the health and safety of the American people,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Wiley Deck.
FMCSA’s expanded and extended declaration provides for regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts intended to meet immediate needs for:
• Vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19.
• Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19.
• Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap, and disinfectants.
• Livestock and livestock feed.
• Food, paper products, and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
The declaration stipulates that direct assistance does not include routine commercial deliveries, including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of the emergency declaration. To ensure continued safety on the nation’s roadways, the emergency declaration stipulates that when a driver is moving from emergency relief efforts to normal operations, the driver must receive a minimum of 10 hours off duty if the total time a driver operates conducting emergency relief efforts, or a combination of emergency relief and normal operations, equals 14 hours.
The declaration has been extended to February 28, 2021.
In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, FMCSA has taken unprecedented action to support the nation’s motor carrier industry and protect America’s supply chains—including the first ever hours of service national emergency declaration, actions to allow drivers to still get access to commercial driver’s licenses and permits, assistance in the distribution of over 3 million protective face coverings, and efforts to ensure rest stops and truck parking remain open.
A full listing of FMCSA’s emergency actions can be found at: www.fmcsa.dot.gov/COVID-19
FMCSA Announces New Commercial Driver Panel to Provide Feedback on Critical CMV Issues and Initiatives
September 4, 2020
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator (FMCSA) today announced it will be launching a new panel to its Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) comprised of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. This new panel will provide direct feedback to FMCSA on important issues facing the driving community—such as safety, hours-of-service regulations, training, parking, and driver experience.
“Truck drivers and other commercial vehicle operators are American heroes who have stepped up during the current public health emergency to keep our economy moving, so their input is essential to strengthening safety on the roads,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
This new panel is comprised of 20 to 25 drivers from all sectors of the CMV industry—tractor trailer drivers, straight truck drivers, motor coach drivers, hazardous materials drivers, agriculture haulers, and more. FMCSA’s goal with the new driver panel is to capture the wide array of viewpoints and experiences within the CMV community.
“The Department of Transportation and this Administration believe in listening to our drivers and hearing their concerns directly. We know that many of the solutions to the challenges we face don’t come from Washington—they come from the hard-working men and women who are behind the wheel all over our nation. This new subcommittee to MCSAC will further help us hear from America’s commercial drivers,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Wiley Deck.
During the Trump Administration, FMCSA has focused on hearing directly from commercial drivers and incorporating their opinions and concerns into the Agency’s safety initiatives. The Agency continues to hold listening sessions and discussions with the motor carrier industry to gather feedback and shape FMCSA’s priorities.
In May 2020, FMCSA published updates to the hours-of-service rules that were based directly off the feedback the Agency heard from commercial drivers regarding the need for increased flexibility and improved safety.
To learn more about the MCSAC committee, visit: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/advisory-committees/mcsac/welcome-fmcsa-mcsac
DOT Compliance Consults, LLC Announces New Location In Crofton, MD
Troy Smith of DOT Compliance Consultants, LLC is pleased to announce the official opening the company’s new office in Crofton, Maryland. The new office, strategically located in the central business district of Delmarva region, brings the company closer to its clients in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, while strengthening the company’s overall presence.
“We are excited about our new office in Crofton, and we’re ready to enhance our offerings to the region.” —Troy Smith, DOT Compliance Consultants, LLC
Our team of experts is the region’s leading experts in the safety of commercial vehicles and drivers. We offer the commercial vehicle industry peace of mind in meeting all rules and regulations pertaining to FMCSA’s requirements. The services provided by our DOT Compliance Consultants, LLC will assure your company is maintaining the proper paperwork, meeting all trucking and driver safety requirements, and providing you with the most up-to-date information in rules and regulations. Our highly certified consultants have built a reputation as one of the leading agencies in the commercial vehicle industry.
For more information regarding the new Crofton office, contact us at 443-829-5937.
FMCSA Proposes New Under-21 Commercial Driver Pilot Program
September 4, 2020
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced that it is proposing and seeking public comments on a new pilot program to allow drivers aged 18, 19, and 20 to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce.
“This action will allow the Agency to carefully examine the safety, feasibility, and possible economic benefits of allowing 18 to 20-year-old drivers to operate in interstate commerce. Safety is always FMCSA’s top priority, so we encourage drivers, motor carriers, and interested citizens to review this proposed new pilot program and share their thoughts and opinions,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Wiley Deck.
FMCSA’s Federal Register notice requests comments on a new pilot program that would allow younger drivers to operate in interstate commerce. The Agency proposes a pilot program to allow drivers to participate if they fall within two categories: 1) 18 to 20-year-old commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders who operate CMVs in interstate commerce while taking part in a 120-hour probationary period and a subsequent 280-hour probationary period under an apprenticeship program established by an employer, or 2) 19 and 20-year-old commercial drivers who have operated CMVs in intrastate commerce for a minimum of one year and 25,000 miles. The study group drivers would not be allowed to operate vehicles hauling passengers or hazardous materials or special configuration vehicles.
Currently, 49 states and the District of Columbia already allow 18 to 20-year-old CDL holders to operate CMVs in intrastate commerce—meaning under-21 drivers may currently drive within state borders, such as from Houston to El Paso or from Miami to Tallahassee.
In July 2018, FMCSA announced the details of a Military Commercial Driver Pilot Program, which allows certain 18 to 20-year-olds with military training to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.
U.S. DOT Awards Record-Level Funding For Safety Programs
August 20, 2020
WASHINGTON – The Transportation Department’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has awarded nearly $80 million in grants to states and educational institutions to promote commercial motor vehicle (CMV) safety, the agency said today. The awards represent the agency’s highest ever funding level for safety grants.
The grants aim to improve CMV safety in three areas: general safety and technology-related programs; states’ efforts to achieve FMCSA compliance for Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) standards and programs; and for CMV operator safety training programs at educational institutions. FMCSA made the following awards:
• $45 million in High Priority (HP) grants to enhance states’ commercial motor vehicle safety efforts, as well as advance technological capabilities within states.
• $32.7 million in Commercial Driver’s License Program Implementation (CDLPI) grants to enhance efforts by states to improve the national commercial driver’s license (CDL) program.
• $2 million in Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training (CMVOST) grants to 20 educational institutions to help train veterans for jobs as commercial bus and truck drivers.
Nearly 60% of FMCSA’s funding is provided to states and local communities through grant funding—all intended to enhance commercial vehicle safety, according to the agency.
To learn more about FMCSA grants, visit https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/mission/grants.
U.S. Department of Transportation Modernizes Hours of Service Rules to Improve Safety and Increase Flexibility for America’s Truckers
May 14, 2020
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today published a final rule updating hours of service (HOS) rules to increase safety on America’s roadways by updating existing regulations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers.
“America’s truckers are doing a heroic job keeping our supply chains open during this unprecedented time and these rules will provide them greater flexibility to keep America moving,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
“The Department of Transportation and the Trump Administration listened directly to the concerns of truckers seeking rules that are safer and have more flexibility—and we have acted.
These updated hours of service rules are based on the thousands of comments we received from the American people. These reforms will improve safety on America’s roadways and strengthen the nation’s motor carrier industry,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Jim Mullen.
First adopted in 1937, FMCSA’s hours of service rules specify the permitted operating hours of commercial drivers. In 2018, FMCSA authored an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to receive public comment on portions of the HOS rules to alleviate unnecessary burdens placed on drivers while maintaining safety on our nation’s highways and roads. Subsequently, in August 2019, the Agency published a detailed proposed rule which received an additional 2,800 public comments.
Based on the detailed public comments and input from the American people, FMCSA’s final rule on hours of service offers four key revisions to the existing HOS rules:
- The Agency will increase safety and flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by requiring a break after 8 hours of consecutive driving and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on-duty, not driving status, rather than off-duty status.
- The Agency will modify the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods: an 8/2 split, or a 7/3 split—with neither period counting against the driver’s 14‑hour driving window.
- The Agency will modify the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by two hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted.
- The Agency will change the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers by lengthening the drivers’ maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extending the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.
FMCSA’s final rule is crafted to improve safety on the nation’s roadways. The rule changes do not increase driving time and will continue to prevent CMV operators from driving for more than eight consecutive hours without at least a 30-minute break.
In addition, FMCSA’s rule modernizing hours of service regulations is estimated to provide nearly $274 million in annualized cost savings for the U.S. economy and American consumers. The trucking industry is a key component of the national economy, employing more than seven million people and moving 70 percent of the nation’s domestic freight.
The new hours of service rule will have an implementation date of 120 days after publication in the Federal Register.
The complete final rule is available here: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-service/hours-service-drivers-final-rule
Truckers have played a key role in getting America through the COVID-19 public health emergency. FMCSA has provided regulatory relief to commercial drivers to get critically important medical supplies, food, and household goods to Americans in need. The nation’s truck drivers have been on the front lines of this effort and are vital to America’s supply chain. The latest information, declarations, and resources on FMCSA’s response to the COVID-19 are available at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/COVID-19