Tag: safety

Parking Shortage Worsens

September 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

WASHINGTON — Concerns over the ongoing plight to park trucks safely is prompting a group of national and regional stakeholders to plan ways to improve parking availability, given a new Department of Transportation survey that found dire shortages in metropolitan areas. Deputy Transportation Secretary Victor Mendez said a National Coalition on Truck Parking would convene in a few months to develop recommendations. “We know truck parking has been a long-standing problem in our nation, and we need new approaches to fix it,” Mendez said. “Now more than ever, this country needs better planning, investment and innovation from those who have a stake in safe truck parking and transportation.” More than 75% of truck drivers and almost 66% of logistics personnel reported regularly experiencing problems with finding safe parking locations, according to the congressionally mandated report from the Federal Highway Administration, unveiled Aug. 21. “As states and private truck-stop operators reported only a few plans to expand truck parking capacity, the incorporation of truck parking analysis and planning into the state or metropolitan freight plan, if one exists, may help to galvanize stakeholders and champions and build off of freight analytical information derived for the plan to help advance opportunities for public, private or public-private investment,” the report said. The report, titled Jason’s Law Truck Parking Survey, and the formation of the coalition stem from the 2009 murder of Jason Rivenburg. The New York driver was killed during a robbery while parked at an abandoned South Carolina gas station. His widow, Hope Rivenburg, has advocated for federal rules meant to ensure safe parking.

Members of the new coalition include American Trucking Associations, FHWA, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Natso and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. Trucking executives say a lack of parking for truck drivers is among the most pressing challenges confronting the industry because difficulties in finding places to park pose problems for truck drivers looking for safe stops to rest. “Real action includes better information for professional drivers, and it requires real money, making truck parking another reason our leaders in Washington must pass a robust, long-term highway bill and for the states to dedicate the resources we need to this critical, yet too often overlooked, necessity,” said Dave Osiecki, ATA’s chief of national advocacy. FHWA’s survey said drivers, state motor carrier safety officials and state DOTs cited parking problems in every state. The report indicated that shortages are primarily evident during nighttime hours, from the early evening into late morning. The shortages also occur mostly on weekdays throughout the year, although certain weekends present challenges. “State departments of transportation recognize that the issue of adequate parking for commercial truck drivers is a serious safety concern,” AASHTO Executive Director Bud Wright said. Natso, which represents truck-stop operators, praised DOT’s efforts in establishing a coalition focused on the issue but noted the report did not expand on how trucking fleets work to ensure drivers and trucks have safe, legal places to park. In the DOT report, truck-stop groups indicated there is a need for additional spaces. Very few of them, however, responded that there were actual plans to increase the facilities to accommodate more truck parking. The report highlights regions and corridors such as the Chicago region and the Interstate 95 corridor in the Northeast with a significant shortage of truck parking, as well as regions with strong showings of unofficial or illegal parking along shoulders and ramps, on local streets and in commercial areas.

Matt Hart, executive director of the Illinois Trucking Association, told Transport Topics that consistent parking options throughout the Chicago region and the Midwest are hard to find for many truckers — a well-known fact among drivers. “Our members’ hope is that [the coalition] finds a way to improve safety for truck parking — safety for the truck drivers and safety for the motoring public that we share the road with. As long as we keep safety as our top priority, I think we’ll be fine,” Hart said. Gail Toth, executive director of the New Jersey Motor Truck Association, said she hopes the coalition stops studying the issue and starts proposing reforms that would provide safe parking. “We have a shortage of truck parking. No surprise. We have a couple of truck stops, by no means the size of something that you would find in the Midwest,” Toth told TT. “We already know we have a shortage of over a thousand parking spaces any given night of the week. So where do we put those guys?”

Read more at: http://www.ttnews.com/articles/petemplate.aspx?storyid=39300&page=3

© Transport Topics, American Trucking Associations Inc.

Safety Tips

August 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Trucking requires full concentration on the road. Not only must commercial drivers contend with other motorists, dangerous weather conditions, and wandering wildlife, but they must do so while operating large rigs, often carrying heavy and sometimes dangerous cargo. One mistake carries possible huge repercussions.
To help stay out of harm’s way, consider the following safety tips when driving:
• Do not tailgate. Be patient. Maintain proper space with the vehicle in front of you. According to studies, the most common vehicle trucks hit, is the one in front of them, due to tailgating. The bigger the rig the longer it takes to brake and stop.
• Signal early when approaching an intersection, giving other motorists ample warning of your intended direction.
• With so many blind spots on a truck, minimize lane changing. Check your side mirrors at least once every 10 seconds.
• Use the truck’s flashers when driving below the posted speed limit for an extended period of time.
• Give your truck ample time and space when slowing down for a complete stop. Use brake lights early. Most motorists don’t realize how long it takes for a rig to stop.
• If you must idle the truck, keep windows closed to avoid prolonged exposure to fumes.
• Avoid idling while sleeping, loading, or unloading.
• When pulled off to the side of a road, highway, or Interstate due to mechanical problems, always use flashers, reflective triangles, and even road flares to alert approaching drivers.
• Always have tire chains at the ready, especially when driving in mountainous regions.
• Try to maintain a full fuel tank in winter driving to prevent water condensation from building in the fuel lines.
• Maintain additional space with the vehicles in front of you when driving in rain or snow.
• Operate below the posted speed limit when driving in wintery conditions.
• Exercise caution when approaching bridges in wintertime. Bridges freeze faster than roads, creating difficult to detect black ice.
• Slow down in work zones. Close to one-third of all fatal work zone crashes involve large rigs. Plus, you could lose your commercial drivers license if caught speeding in a posted work zone.
• Take plenty of driving breaks, especially while driving cross-country, to help remain alert.
• Don’t fight eye-fatigue. Pull off the road and take a nap. The consequences of falling asleep at the wheel, far outweigh those associated with arriving late.
• Strictly adhere to commercial driver hour restrictions. By law you cannot exceed 11 continuous hours of driving. You could jeopardize your truck driver career if caught violating this law.

CVSA’s International Roadcheck Annual Three-Day Enforcement Event to Take Place

April 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) 28th annual International Roadcheck will take place June 2-4, 2015. International Roadcheck is a 72-hour period when approximately 10,000 CVSA-certified local, state, provincial and federal inspectors in jurisdictions across North America perform truck and bus inspections.

International Roadcheck is the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial motor vehicles in the world, with nearly 17 trucks or buses inspected, on average, every minute in Canada, the United States and Mexico during a 72-hour period. During the annual three-day event, CVSA-certified inspectors conduct compliance, enforcement and educational initiatives targeted at various elements of motor carrier, vehicle, driver, and cargo safety and security.

Each year, International Roadcheck places special emphasis on a category of violations. The special emphasis for International Roadcheck 2015 is cargo securement. While checking for compliance with safe loading regulations is always part of roadside inspections, CVSA is highlighting cargo safety as a reminder to drivers and carriers. The proper loading and securing of cargo on vehicles is a matter of public safety. For many types of loads, particularly those that are not sealed or otherwise inaccessible to the driver, regulations require the driver to stop within the first several miles of a trip and recheck the tie downs and other load securing equipment.

Inspectors will primarily be conducting the North American Standard Level I Inspection, which is the most thorough roadside inspection. It is a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of both the driver and vehicle. Drivers will be asked to provide items such as their license, endorsements, medical card and hours-of-service documentation, and will be checked for seat belt usage and the use of alcohol and/or drugs. The vehicle inspection includes checking items such as the braking system, coupling devices, exhaust system, frame, fuel system, lights, safe loading, steering mechanism, drive line, suspension, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels and rims, windshield wipers, and emergency exits on buses.

International Roadcheck is a program of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance with participation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Transport Canada and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (Mexico).

Since its inception in 1988, roadside inspections conducted during Roadcheck have numbered over 1.4 million, resulting in an estimated 318 lives saved and 5,840 injuries avoided. It also provides an opportunity to educate industry and the general public about the importance of safe commercial vehicle operations and the roadside inspection program.

Safety groups and union take FMCSA to court over driver training

October 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Safety advocates and a union are hoping that their arguments will sway a federal appellate court to order the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue a rule outlining training standards for entry-level truck drivers.

The suit was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia against the DOT and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Public Citizen is representing the groups.

A history of missed deadlines and inactivity by the DOT was cited in the court papers. It is not the first time that safety advocates have taken DOT and FMCSA to court over the issue of entry-level driver training.

Background

In 1991, U.S. Congress passed a law requiring an entry-level driver training rulemaking by 1993. In 2002, FMSCA still had not acted on the Congressional law, prompting safety advocates to challenge the agency in court in effort to force rulemaking. The FMCSA agreed to issue the rule by 2004, but safety advocates did not feel the rule that was presented was adequate. This rule is still in effect in 49 CFR Part 380.

In 2005, safety advocates returned to court citing the need for behind-the-wheel training. They told the court that the FMCSA had ignored evidence that on-street training enhances safety. As a result, the FMCSA issued a proposed rule in 2007. But a final rule was never published.

Recent legislation, “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” (MAP-21), mandated FMCSA to issue a new entry-level training rule by October 1, 2013, to include behind-the-wheel training. The agency actively held listening sessions on the topic and withdrew its 2007 proposal. But it missed the 2013 deadline drawn up by Congress.

Most recently, FMCSA published a notice on August 19, 2014, indicating that it was exploring its options, but a timetable for rulemaking was not given.

DOT seeking input on how it should revise its regulations

March 19, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) are under the microscope again, and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) wants the public’s help in deciding what to focus on.

The DOT is asking for public input in deciding how to go about reviewing and overhauling all of its regulations, including the FMCSRs. This is the second round of “regulatory review” since early 2011 when President Obama issued an executive order requiring federal agencies to review their rules and look for ways to make them more effective and less burdensome.

In the first round of review, the DOT says it identified 135 regulations that need updating, removal, or other changes. One rule that may be removed as a result of this process is the requirement that drivers complete a post-trip inspection report when there are no defects to report.

In this round, the DOT is collecting information on specific questions about how to proceed, including whether the agency should:
•ask for suggestions for specific rules to be reviewed;
•focus on a list of 56 specific rules already identified as having potential savings;
•focus on the existing rules of a particular agency, like the FMCSRs, or rules that cut across agencies like the drug and alcohol testing rules;
•hold listening sessions and workshops to focus on the issues; and/or
•look at other alternatives.

“The Department has long recognized that there should be no more regulations than necessary and those that are issued should be simple, comprehensible, and impose only as much burden as is necessary,” the DOT wrote. “Likewise, the Department understands that review and revision of existing regulations is essential to ensure that they continue to meet the needs for which they originally were designed and that they remain cost-effective and cost justified.”

The DOT regulates safety issues across many modes of transportation, including aviation, motor carrier, railroad, motor vehicle, commercial space, and pipeline transportation.

Comments are due by March 31, 2014, and may be submitted online at www.regulations.gov under docket DOT-OST-2014-0024. The DOT announcement appeared in the Federal Register on February 27, 2014.

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