MDOT MVA Bills Impacting Commercial Trucking Industry Takes Effect In October
October 1st, 2021
The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) is highlighting several new bills taking effect October 1 that address the commercial trucking industry, traffic safety and driver penalties.
Introduced by MDOT MVA leadership, passed by the Maryland General Assembly and signed into law earlier this year by Governor Larry Hogan, Senate Bill 291 accommodates truck platooning – a practice that utilizes vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology hosted by radar, GPS and Wi-Fi to allow two or more vehicles to be electronically synced with one another.
Other bills going into effect on October 1 that are related to motor vehicle operations and the MDOT MVA include:
• HB 519: Vehicle Equipment – Safety Glass – Replacement Standards requires MDOT MVA to establish standards and requirements for aftermarket safety glass replacement.
• HB 0115/SB 0020: Vehicle Laws – Canceled, Revoked and Suspended Driver’s Licenses – Penalties alters certain penalties for a person who displays a canceled, revoked or suspended driver’s license, and requires that a person who violates certain sections of the law must appear in court and may not prepay the fine.
• SB 0681: Motor Vehicles – Inspection Certificates – Exception allows transfer of a used vehicle from a business to a majority owner of the business without the need to obtain a motor vehicle safety inspection certificate, if the vehicle is primarily driven by the majority owner and the business has been dissolved or is in the process of dissolution.
THE FOLLOWING BILL HAS AN IMPACT ON ALL COMPANIES:
• HB 1074/SB 0140: Vehicle Laws – Commercial Motor Carriers – Safety, Inspection, Performance and Insurance Information, also known as James Cohran’s Law, requires employers of commercial motor vehicle drivers to provide certain information to a prospective employee driver. This law ensures prospective employees receive information on an employer’s safety record and crash data. Companies will be held accountable via civil penalties if they do not comply.
National Truck Driver Appreciation Week — September 12-18
National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is September 12-18, 2021. This is an initiative designed to celebrate professional truck drivers for their hard work and commitment in undertaking one of our economy’s most demanding and important jobs. Almost every aspect of daily life in America is impacted by our truck drivers as these 3.5 million professional men and women not only deliver our goods safely, securely, and on time, they also keep our highways safe.
New State Laws Impacting Truckers To Take Effect In Maryland In October
September 9th, 2021
As we roll into the Fall of 2021, there are two new state laws set to impact ALL companies operating trucks in Maryland.
The new requirements, starting October 1st, 2021, will be:
Preventive Maintenance Inspections for Trucks: Current Maryland laws require an annual Preventive Maintenance Inspection for registered commercial motor vehicles to be done annually or every 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.
• Annually or every 35,000 miles (whichever comes first) for Class F tractors that are no more than 5 years old.
• Annually or every 50,000 miles (whichever comes first) for Class E straight trucks that are no more than 5 years old and are powered by a zero-emission fuel source (e.g., electric or hydrogen).
• Vehicles that are older than 5 years will continue to need a PM inspection annually or every 25,000 miles consistent with current law.
Mandatory Information Sharing with Prospective Drivers: FMCSA regulated employer with more than one driver and a place of business in the state must provide a driver with its U.S. DOT number and the URL for FMCSA’s Safety and Fitness Records system (https://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov/) when it makes an offer of employment. This applies to any driver of a commercial motor vehicle over 10,000 lbs.
There are several ways in which companies can comply with these regulations. These methods include printing your company’s DOT number and the SAFER web address (https://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov/) and including them with your application, offer letter, or other documentation given to a prospective driver.
FMCSA Awards More Than $76 Million in Grants to Improve Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety
September 9th, 2021
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced that it has awarded more than $76 million in grants to states and educational institutions to enhance commercial motor vehicle (CMV) safety. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, plus the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are slated to receive federal funds.
“At FMCSA and USDOT our mission is to ensure that all road users, from the Pacific to the Atlantic, reach their destination safely,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Meera Joshi. “Together these grants represent the Administration’s commitment to supporting strong state and local partnerships to reach our national goal of reducing commercial vehicle-involved crashes and saving lives.”
In addition to these grants, USDOT is one of the leaders of the White House Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, where they are working to address truck driver retention issues. In July, USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, and FMCSA’s Meera Joshi hosted a roundtable to discuss truck driver recruitment and retention. After the roundtable Secretary Buttigieg and Secretary Walsh wrote an Op-Ed detailing how truck drivers are essential workers and what USDOT is doing to support driver retention
The FMCSA grant announced today include:
$45.2 million in High Priority (HP) grants to enhance states’ commercial motor vehicle safety efforts, as well as advance technological capabilities within states. The High Priority (HP) grant program consists of HP-Commercial Motor Vehicle (HP-CMV) grants and HP-Innovative Technology Deployment (HP-ITD) grants. HP-CMV grants are designed to provide financial assistance to state commercial vehicle safety efforts, while HP-ITD grants provide financial assistance to advance the technological capability and promote the deployment of intelligent transportation system applications for CMV operations. A full list of this year’s HP grant recipients is available here.
$29 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. The Commercial Driver’s License Program Implementation (CDLPI) grant program provides financial assistance to states to achieve compliance with FMCSA regulations concerning driver’s license standards and programs. Additionally, the CDLPI grant program provides financial assistance to other entities capable of executing national projects that aid states in their compliance efforts, which will improve the national CDL program. A full listing of this year’s CDLPI grant recipients is available here.
$2 million in Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training (CMV-OST) grants to 21 educational institutions to help train veterans for jobs as commercial bus and truck drivers. The Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training grant program awards grants to a variety of educational institutions that provide commercial truck and bus driving training, including accredited public or private colleges, universities, vocational-technical schools, post-secondary educational institutions, truck driver training schools, associations, and state and local governments, including federally recognized Native American tribal governments. A full listing of this year’s CMV-OST grant recipients is available here.
In addition to the grants noted above, in May/April 2021, FMCSA awarded more than $304 million in Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) grants supporting state and local law enforcement agencies to utilize approximately 12,000 enforcement personnel toward reducing the number and the severity of crashes and hazardous materials incidents involving commercial motor vehicles. A full listing of Fiscal Year 2021 MCSAP grants is available here.
In total, nearly 60 percent of FMCSA’s funding is provided to states and local communities through grant funding – all intended to enhance commercial vehicle safety.
To learn more about FMCSA grants, visit https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/mission/grants.
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.
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.