Ports require 2014 model year or newer beginning Oct 1, 2018

If you’re planning on upgrading your truck to service the port, register it quick or it will have to be a 2014 model year or newer.

New trucks entering service at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles as of Oct. 1, 2018, must be model year 2014 or newer, as the ports move forward with efforts to improve air quality and reduce the health impacts of air pollution. The new requirement applies only to trucks registering in the PDTR for the first time. All trucks in port service are currently required to be 2007 model year or newer through 2023.

As part of the Ports’ Clean Trucks Program, all trucks going into marine terminals in the two ports must be on the Port Drayage Truck Registry (PDTR). Trucks that are already registered as of Sept. 30 will be allowed to continue operating at the ports, as long as they are current on their annual dues and compliant with emission regulations set by the California Air Resources Board.

New strategies seek to phase out older trucks, with a goal of transitioning to zero-emission trucks by 2035.

ELD MALFUNCTIONS

ELD

A broken ELD is not a valid excuse to avoid a violation

Inspectors across the country began enforcing the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate requirements on Dec. 18, 2017. However, enforcement of the out-of-service criteria (OOSC) associated with the ELD mandate was kicked into high gear on April 1, 2018. So, it’s extremely important to know what to do in the event your ELD malfunctions.

An ELD must monitor its compliance with the ELD technical requirements and detect malfunctions and data inconsistencies. Typically, a driver can follow the ELD provider’s and the motor carrier’s recommendations to resolve the data inconsistencies that generate a diagnostic event. The motor carrier still must correct the malfunction. However, if you’re unable to correct the malfunction on the spot, you are still mandated to keep logs.
If/when an ELD malfunctions, a driver must:

  1. Note the malfunction of the ELD and provide written notice of the malfunction to the motor carrier within 24 hours;
  2. Reconstruct the record of duty status (RODS) for the current 24-hour period and the previous 7 consecutive days;
  3. record RODS on graph-grid paper logs that comply with 49 CFR 395.8, unless the driver already has the records or retrieves them from the ELD; and
  4. Continue to manually prepare RODS in accordance with 49 CFR 395.8 until the ELD is serviced and back in compliance. The recording of the driver’s hours of service on a paper log cannot continue for more than 8 days after the malfunction; doing so would put the driver at risk of being placed out of service.

Mandatory Items to keep in your truck are: ELD User’s Manual; Instruction sheet for transferring HOS records to safety officials; Instruction sheet on reporting ELD malfunctions & recordkeeping procedures during ELD malfunctions; A supply of paper tracking forms (grid graphs) for at least 8 days, in case of ELD malfunction

Roadside inspectors ask that you know your device. There are hundreds of devices being used, so don’t expect every inspector to be familiar with yours. Inspectors also warn that if you find yourself in the catch 22 area of a few minutes this way or that way on your HOS, not to switch into personal conveyance mode in an effort to elude detection of an HOS violation. If caught, there is a more severe penalty. Drivers who indicate a special driving category on their ELD when not involved in that activity will be cited for having false driving logs.

Trying to get a good night’s sleep

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sleep1In the trucking industry where there is a need for long periods of acute mental awareness during long stretches of physical inactivity, quality sleep is vitally important. From time to time we hear of incidents where sleep was related to a crash and we must not glaze over the seriousness of proper rest.

Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep per night, although some need more or less sleep to be adequately rested. And when you have not gotten the right amount for your body, “oh boy” does it let you know. Well, sorry to say that there isn’t much that can take the place of a good night’s sleep to keep you alert. So, let’s first discuss what a good night’s sleep is and along the way talk about things to keep your alert level as high as possible while you’re awake.

Located in the brain is your body’s biological clock that tells it when it’s time to sleep and when to be awake. Your clock runs on a 24 hour cycle and regulates body temperature, alertness and the daily hormone cycles which stimulate cells into action. Disruption to any of the phases of the clock can cause physical and mental-related issues.

There are two main types of sleep, rapid-eye-movement (REM), and non-rapid-eye-movement (NREM). In most adults, sleep begins with the NREM phase. NREM sleep has three main stages. NREM begins with the 1st stage of gently dozing off until reaching the 3rd stage which is the “couldn’t wake you up with a bullhorn” stage of the NREM phase. In the progression from stage 1 to stage 3, brain waves slow and become more synchronized, and the eyes remain still. In the 3rd stage, the brain becomes less responsive to external stimuli, blood pressure and body temperature drop and muscles relax. The 3rd stage is where scientists believe physical and mental recuperation occur like protein building and hormone release. The NREM phase then reverses stages to a more awake stage 2 then stage 1 at which point the REM phase begins.

During REM sleep (aka “active sleep” state), muscles in the arms and legs are temporarily paralyzed, the slow brain wave sleep of NREM quickens as does your heart beat and breathing. The blood pressure rises and the eyes move around in all directions. Scientists believe these eye movements are related to dreams. REM can last from 5 to 30 minutes. NREM sleep and REM sleep continue to alternate throughout the night with the length of NREM stage 3 declining during each cycle. The average length of the NREM-REM sleep cycles are between 70 and 120 minutes.
Many of us have awake times that do not match our internal sleep clock which wants to be awake during the day and asleep at night. For those that do, you’ll have to work extra hard to get the sleep your body needs.

There are a lot of factors that affect the quality and quantity of sleep which include stress, what we eat and drink, medical conditions and the medications we take, the environment in which we sleep and the times at which we finally get to sleep. Any one of these can disrupt the depth of sleep we need so badly.

STRESS: Stress can stimulate an arousal response making restful sleep more difficult to achieve. Search out ways to help decompress e.g., exercise, yoga, music, deep breathing techniques, etc.

ALCOHOL: Alcohol can cause a person to fall asleep more quickly, but the quality of sleep will be compromised. Ingesting alcohol before bedtime has shown to cause increased awakenings due to the arousal effect the alcohol has as it is metabolized throughout the night.

CAFFEINE: A chemical called adenosine, which naturally builds in the brain during awake times is believed to inhibit brain cells that promote alertness. Hence, the longer we’re awake, the more sleepy we become. Interestingly, caffeine works to block the adenosine receptors of the brain allowing nerve cells to maintain activity. However, the more caffeine we ingest the longer it will take for the affects to wear off which can interfere with sleep cycles.

LIGHT: Exposure to light in the evening tends to delay the phase of our internal clock and leads us to prefer later sleep times. Bright light bulbs and electronic devices are common examples and should be minimized before bedtime.

PAIN: Pain and discomfort limit the depth of sleep we get. Those with chronic and acute pain should limit caffeine and alcohol consumption and practice stress reliving techniques. Use of pain killers and/or sleeping pills, while effective, should only be used under the supervision of a physician.

DRUGS: Many medications contain alpha and beta blockers used to control heart rhythms and reduce blood pressure both of which affect sleep. Talk to your doctor about the affects they may cause.

SLEEP ENVIRONMENT: Increase your chances of better sleep by controlling your sleep environment. 1) Use no/low lighting such as nightlights to minimize the effects on the internal clock; 2) Reduce noise that can prevent transitions to the deeper stages of sleep, and; 3) Maintain a comfortable temperature to avoid disruptive sleep; 4) Invest in quality bedding.

Driving without the proper amount of quality sleep makes it harder to pay attention to the road and dramatically impacts your reactions. Signs of drowsy driving are trouble focusing, heavy eyelids, an inability to remember the last stretch of road that you just drove, yawning constantly, bobbing your head, and drifting from your lane. If this starts to happen while you’re driving, find a safe place to pull over and take a quick nap or stretch, breath deeply and take a short walk, or buy a cup of caffeinated coffee to help keep you alert. STAY SAFE AND GET SOME REST!

EPA proposes to remove gliders from regulations

Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards Phase 2

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to repeal emission standards under its Phase 2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards that apply to glider vehicles, glider engines, and glider kits. The proposed repeal is based on the interpretation that glider vehicles would not be considered “new motor vehicles”, glider engines would not be considered “new motor vehicle engines”, and glider kits would not be treated as “incomplete” new motor vehicles. Under this proposed interpretation, EPA would lack authority to regulate glider vehicles, glider engines, and glider kits under the Clean Air Act.

Opposition to the proposed changes is fierce. Environmentalists and large trucking associations have commented strongly against the change stating that the EPA has clear authority to regulate rebuilt engines and that creating such a loophole could potentially upend the agency’s ability to regulate emissions from the trucking sector. Considering language used in their comments, the American Trucking Association appears to see this as a slap in the face from the EPA. The association commented, “ATA members buy a tremendous amount of new equipment and pay a premium price investing in clean engine technologies.”, and “The Continued Growth of Gliders Creates a Competitive Disadvantage to Fleets Purchasing New Equipment”.

The comment period ended January 5, 2018. You can view comments and actions at www.regulations.gov, RIN 2060–AT79.
A glider kit is a new truck chassis, special ordered from the factory, without engine or transmission. This allows for a customized powertrain to be added that better meets the needs of the consumer.

Cummins unveils electric truck ahead of TESLA’s November reveal date

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Cummins AEOS Electric Truck

Aug. 29, 2017 — Indiana based Cummins, Inc., a leading maker of engines and engine components has unveiled an all-electric, 18,000 lb, Class 7 semi truck called AEOS. AEOS with its 100-mile range and 20-ton payload capacity is designed for local hauling. It is equipped with a 140 kWh battery pack that — at present — takes an hour to charge. However, Cummins says that by 2020, improvements in battery technologies are expected to reduce that time to 20 minutes. Additionally, technologies such as regenerative braking and the potential for solar panels on the trailer roof can extend its range by sending energy to the battery pack. Along with the expertise of Roush Industries, AEOS is expected to be ready for market by 2019.

In August of 2016, electric car maker Tesla said it expected to unveil an electric semi-truck in the following six to nine months and then enter production in less than five years. Most recently, the company has set a November 16 date for the unveiling and test ride of that truck in Hawthorne, CA.

In his “Master Plan” released last year, CEO Elon Musk wrote, “We believe the Tesla Semi will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate”. Along with the tentative October date, Musk tweeted “Worth seeing this beast in person. It’s unreal.

Unreal is just what a pair of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University believe. In a paper they wrote, the two found that the heavy-duty truck that Musk is looking to produce would need a 14 ton battery for 600 miles of non-stop driving at a cost exceeding $250,000. Taking into account the limits on truck weights and the room needed for the battery, cargo capacity would be reduced by one third. Compounding the problem would be the lack of infrastructure and regeneration times. However, the researches did agree that a next generation “beyond lithium battery pack” could produce a 600-900 mile range and increased cargo capacity, but that 300 to 350 miles is probably the limit of what the vehicle could be designed for with current technology.

Climate change is a big driver of aggressive electrified technologies with China and California leading the way. If it were up to California Governor Jerry Brown, the success of these two companies couldn’t come sooner. According to Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, the Governor has expressed serious interest in barring the sale of vehicles powered by internal-combustion engines. A ban on sales would help both company’s interests and would assist the state in meeting its aggressive 2050 emissions target of an 80% reduction. “The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California,” Nichols stated.

It appears that electrification has some serious business allies in a very large market. Electric vehicles around the world are increasing rapidly and electric trucks… well they’re gaining momentum and are here for the short haul, but how long before engineers find a way to build a better battery for the long haul? Stay tuned!

FMCSA to review/remove crashes from CSA data

In an effort to right the ship in regards to its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, the FMCSA has launched a new pilot program that allows a review of crashes for potential removal from CSA records.

The Agency has stated that its “Stakeholders”, referring to those that commented during a 2016 notice of proposed rulemaking, have expressed concern that their Safety Measurement System (SMS) may not identify the highest-risk motor carriers and that the listing of crashes on its public website without an indication of preventability can give a misleading impression of a company’s safety.

As of August 1, Requests for Data Review (RDRs) are being accepted into the FMCSA’s Crash Preventability Demonstration Program for crashes that occurred on or after June 1, 2017. Motor carriers and drivers can submit RDRs through the Agency’s website at: dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov.

It’s important to note that not all types of crashes are reviewable. Following are the eight crash types that qualify for a review:
• When the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) was struck by a motorist
driving under the influence (or related offense);
• When the CMV was struck by a motorist driving the wrong direction;
• When the CMV was struck in the rear;
• When the CMV was struck while it was legally stopped or parked, including
when the vehicle was unattended;
• When the CMV struck an individual committing, or attempting to commit,
suicide by stepping or driving in front of the CMV;
• When the CMV sustained disabling damage after striking an animal;
• When the crash was the result of an infrastructure failure, falling trees,
rocks, or other debris; or
• When the CMV was struck by cargo or equipment from another vehicle.

The Agency says that carriers/drivers must submit compelling information and documentation to show that the crash was Not Preventable. Suggested documentation/evidence includes, but is not limited to: Crash reports; Police Accident Reports; Insurance documents; Videos; Media reports; Affidavits; or Transcripts.

Once FMCSA completes its review of the crash, the Agency will post results to SMS within 60 days. FMCSA says it will continue to list Not Preventable crashes on the SMS website, but that the crash will appear with a notation that reads, “FMCSA reviewed this crash and determined that it was not preventable.”

Editorial — The FMCSA tells us that their studies show crash involvement is a strong indicator of future crash risk. Common sense tells us that a crash that was NOT preventable (e.g., when the CMV was struck while it was legally stopped or parked) would NOT aide in determining a carrier’s crash risk. Yet, here we are seven years later only now discussing that as a possibility. Stakes are high for motor carriers as the Agency’s “public risk calculator” is used by a number of industries to determine rates and even whether or not to do business with a carrier. Is it a step in the right direction? Yes, but it is both unfortunate and disappointing that it has taken this much time to only be at this point. Get involved and stay involved.

Operation Airbrake set for September 7

On May 3, 2017, more than 9,500 commercial motor vehicles were inspected for an unannounced brake safety enforcement event coordinated by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). Enforcement personnel throughout North America conducted inspections on large trucks and buses to identify out-of-adjustment brakes, and brake-system and antilock braking system (ABS) violations.

Inspection data from the enforcement initiative produced the following notable results:

  • In all, 9,524 inspections (U.S. 8,140; Canada 1,384) were conducted as part of Brake Safety Day
  • 79% of the vehicles inspected did not have any critical item vehicle violations.
  • 21% (1,989) resulted in a vehicle being placed out of service for vehicle violations of any kind.
  • 12% (1,146) resulted in a vehicle being placed out of service for brake-related violations.

Many participating jurisdictions were able to survey ABS compliance, as follows:

  • 4,635 air-braked trucks and tractors were identified as requiring ABS; 8% (391) had ABS violations.
  • 3,222 trailers were identified as requiring ABS; 15% (487) had ABS violations.
  • 723 hydraulic-braked trucks required ABS; 6% (41) had ABS violations.

Brake-related violations comprise the largest percentage of all out-of-service violations cited during roadside inspections. Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce the braking capability and increase stopping distances of trucks and buses, which pose a serious risk to driver and public safety.

CVSA’s Operation Airbrake Program is holding one more brake safety enforcement event this year on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017 throughout Canada, Mexico and the United States.
Brake Safety Day is part of the Operation Airbrake Program sponsored by CVSA in partnership with the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Operation Safe Driver Week set for October 15-21

Get ready for more inspections! Law enforcement agencies throughout North America will engage in heightened traffic safety enforcement and educational outreach as part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Safe Driver Week, Oct. 15-21, 2017. Throughout the week, enforcement personnel will identify and issue warnings and/or citations to commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers and passenger-vehicle drivers exhibiting unsafe driving behaviors on our roadways.

DOT shelves speed limiter proposal drops financial responsibility and sleep apnea proposals

FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY WITHDRAWN

The FMCSA has decided to withdraw a 2014 Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) which sought to increase minimum financial responsibility limits for motor carriers. The Agency stated that it does not have sufficient data or information to support further rulemaking.

Despite receiving thousands of comments in response to the ANPRM, commenters did not provide responsive information necessary to allow the Agency to proceed to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking – which oddly enough hasn’t seemed to stop them in the past. And a formally announced withdrawal is very odd as well.

In accordance with the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), the FMCSA was required to conduct a study on the issue of minimum financial responsibility limits for motor carriers. With skyrocketing medical costs and high-profile crashes i.e., Walmart vs Tracy Morgan and the Skagit River bridge collapse that far exceeded the insurance limits, FMCSA floated a proposal to more than triple those minimums to somewhere around $3.5 million. However, studies (including FMCSA’s own study) have shown that roughly half of 1% of all truck-involved crashes even exceed the current minimum levels.

SLEEP APNEA WITHDRAWN

FMCSA has also withdrawn its 2016 ANPRM on obstructive sleep apnea.

Per the Agency, “Upon review of all public comments to the ANPRM, FMCSA has determined there is”, — again — “not enough information available to support moving forward with a rulemaking action and so the rulemaking will be withdrawn”.
See regulations.gov RIN: 2126-AB88

SPEED LIMITERS SHELVED

In an under-the-radar move by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Department’s proposed speed limiter mandate was moved away from their active rulemakings list to a long-term agenda item. The proposed rulemaking would require the installation of speed limiters on all new heavy trucks & buses over 26,000 lbs.

The proposal was announced last September by then U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. Foxx touted the proposed mandate as a safety measure that could save lives and more than $1 billion in fuel costs each year.

The move away from the active list gives an indication that the Department will not pursue a rulemaking any time soon.
Given that federal regulation since President Trump’s inauguration has slowed to a crawl, the Administration’s stance on implementing new regulations likely had an impact on these regulations.

Mandatory ELECTRONIC LOGGING DEVICES

The end of the year will be here before you know it. It’s time now to begin discovering what is expected of you to be compliant with Electronic Logging Devices.

Beginning on December 18, 2017, motor carriers required to maintain records of duty status (RODS) must select compliant Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), and ensure they are installed and drivers and administrative staff are trained to use them (December 16, 2019 for carriers using AOBRDs). Additionally, motor carriers should know how to annotate and edit RODS, certify RODS, and collect required supporting documents.

ELD Requirements

Devices must be synchronized with the Engine Control Module (ECM) to automatically record the following:

    • Engine power status
    • Vehicle motion status
    • Miles Driven
    • Engine hours
    • Date & Time
    • Geographic location information
  • Must have a display or printout function
  • Must have a wireless connection or be able to locally transfer data via USB and Bluetooth®
  • Must have volume control or mute option for any audio feature

Supporting Documents

The ELD Rule still requires drivers and carriers to retain supporting documents (in paper or digital format) to verify HOS compliance. Drivers must submit all their supporting documents to their motor carriers, and motor carriers must retain (not more than eight) supporting documents for each 24-hour period that a driver is on duty.

Document Types

Bills of lading, itineraries, schedules, or equivalent documents that show the starting and ending location for each trip.

  • Dispatch records, trip records, or equivalent documents;
  • Expense receipts (meals, lodging, fuel, etc.);
  • Fleet management system communication records;
  • Payroll records, settlement sheets, or equivalent documents showing payment to a driver.

Required Information

Each supporting document must contain the following information: Date, time and Location (including the name of the nearest city, town, or village); driver name (or a carrier-assigned ID number) that allows the carrier to link the document to the driver. The vehicle unit number can be used, if that number can be linked to the driver.

Editing and Annotating Records of Duty Status

Limited editing is allowed to correct mistakes, enter missing information, and provide notes or explanations (annotation) for ELD records. All edits, whether made by the driver, or suggested by the carrier, must be annotated.

Driver Certification of RODS

The driver must certify each RODS. A driver must certify any edits he/she makes; and should certify carrier edits if they are accurate. Certification is intended to protect drivers from unilateral changes to the RODS.

Carrier Retention of ELD Information

Carriers must retain original ELD information (on the device, or on a separate back-up system) for at least six months, along with the associated required supporting documents. Carriers must ensure ELD information is stored with appropriate security, to protect driver privacy. Carriers must also provide drivers with access to the records, on request, for a period of six months.

Displaying and Transferring Data

Starting on the compliance date, enforcement officials may request access to RODS through data transfer. An ELD must be able to either: Transmit data using wireless Web services and email, or Transfer data locally using a thumb or flash drive (USB2.0) and Bluetooth®.
Installation of these units is a bit cumbersome, but not so much that you couldn’t do it yourself. Basic installation for most units consists of locating, connecting and routing the adapter cable to the ECM and the ELD module and (in some models) connecting the Bluetooth® connection. Check the FMCSA website for a list of registered ELDs.

When choosing a compliant device, you will have two basic options. 1) a unit designed only to track HOS requirements; and 2) a management system (requiring a wireless web connection) that includes tracking, monitoring and mapping options. Some devices do not include a tablet. Instead, carriers connect their own tablet or phone to an application via Bluetooth®.

The costs vary greatly between the two. For example, with both systems you will be charged to lease or purchase the connection equipment and with a management system you also pay a monthly fee for the connectivity and the additional system features. Lease/purchase charges can start around $100 and monthly fees can start as low as $15.

IMPORTANT: a smartphone or tablet alone will not meet the ELD requirements. A device must be “integrally synchronized” with the truck’s engine to comply.

Docket No. FMCSA-2010-0167

International Roadcheck June 6-8, 2017

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CVSA Puts Special Emphasis on Cargo Securement

Mark your calendars for June 6-8, 2017. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) 30th annual International Roadcheck will take place during those three days. International Roadcheck is the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial motor vehicles in the world covering Canada, the United States and Mexico.
Over the 72-hour period, CVSA-certified commercial motor vehicle inspectors Throughout North America will conduct inspections of commercial motor vehicles and their drivers. Each year, International Roadcheck places special emphasis on a category of violations. This year’s focus is cargo securement. While checking for compliance with safe cargo securement regulations is always part of roadside inspections, CVSA is highlighting cargo securement safety this year as a reminder of its importance to highway safety.

According to the CVSA, damaged or defective tiedowns, loose or unfastened tiedowns, and not having the required number of tie-downs are the most common violations. Drivers need to take specific care in calculating the weight of the cargo plus any length requirements when determining the correct number of tiedowns required.

TIP: unmarked or illegible markings on tiedowns may cause an inspector to error on the side of caution and downgrade your tiedown and its Working Load Limit (WLL) which could cause you to be cited.

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 driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness. Drivers are required to provide items such as their driver’s license, hours-of-service documentation, motor carrier registration and shipping documentation, and inspectors will be checking drivers for seat belt usage and the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The vehicle inspection includes checking items such as the brake systems, cargo securement, coupling devices, driveline/driveshaft, exhaust systems, frames, fuel systems, lighting devices (required lamps), steering mechanisms, suspensions, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels, rims and hubs, windshield wipers, and emergency exits (on buses). Learn more at cvsa.org.