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FMCSA seeks comments on definitions of agri, livestock commodities in HOS rules

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Fmcsa seeks comments on definitions of agri, livestock commodities in hos rules
The FMCSA has received several requests recently from agricultural and livestock haulers seeking exemption from certain aspects of the Hours of Service rule. (©2019 FOTOSEARCH)  

WASHINGTON – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Monday said it is seeking public comment on revising agricultural commodity or livestock definitions in Hours of Service regulations.

The agency said it worked closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on this effort to provide clarity for the nation’s farmers and commercial drivers.

The FMCSA has received several requests recently from agricultural and livestock haulers seeking exemption from certain aspects of the HOS rule.

“The agriculture industry is vital to our nation and we look forward to receiving input that will help clarify these definitions, improve safety and offer additional flexibility to farmers and commercial drivers,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

“The current regulations impose restrictions upon the agriculture industry that lack flexibility necessary for the unique realities of hauling agriculture commodities,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “We look forward to continuing to work with Secretary Chao on revising these regulations.”

Currently, during harvesting and planting seasons as determined by each state, drivers transporting agricultural commodities, including livestock, are exempt from the HOS requirements from the source of the commodities to a location within a 150-air-mile radius from the source.

The advanced rule (ANPRM) authored by FMCSA was prompted by indications that the current definition of these terms may not be understood or enforced consistently when determining whether the HOS exemption applies.

“FMCSA has worked closely with the agriculture industry and USDA in crafting this advanced notice. We have heard concerns from the industry, and we are acting,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez.  “We encourage all CMV stakeholders, especially those involved in transporting agricultural commodities and livestock, to provide valuable feedback on how the current definitions impact safety, compliance, and enforcement.”

FMCSA continues to work closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to eliminate confusion and align the agencies’ agricultural commodity definitions.

The American agriculture industry contributes more than $1 trillion annually to the nation’s economy.

The FMCSA said in a news release that the Trump administration has been working to strengthen the agriculture industry by streamlining regulations, bolstering farm programs, and renegotiating the outdated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to improve access to Canadian and Mexican markets.

Additional information on the ANPRM, including how to submit comments to the Federal Register docket, is available at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-service/hours-service-drivers-definition-agricultural-commodity.

In June 2018, FMCSA announced regulatory guidance for transportation of agricultural commodities. Learn more at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/regulatory-guidance-concerning-transportation-agricultural-commodities.

 

 

 

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The Nation

Daimler executive honored for supporting National Guard and Reserve employees

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Daimler trucks north america executive honored for supporting national guard and reserve employees
Jeffrey Thompson, right, director of aftermarket supply chain planning, receives the Employer Support for the Guard & Reserve Patriot Award from Bruce Thompson. (Courtesy: Daimler Trucks North America)

Portland, Ore. — Daimler Trucks North America is saluting an executive for receiving national recognition for his support of National Guard and Reserve employees.

Jeffrey Thompson, director of aftermarket supply chain planning, received the Employer Support for the Guard & Reserve Patriot Award last week at DTNA headquarters in Portland, Oregon. Thompson served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy for over three years.

The Patriot Award, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Defense, is given to supervisors who have supported employees in the National Guard and Reserve through such measures as flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families and granting leaves of absence, if needed.

Shawn Meredith, manager of the continuous improvement project team in Fort Mill, South Carolina, nominated Thompson for the award. Meredith is also a battalion executive officer and commander in the U.S. Army Reserve. In his nomination, Meredith praised Thompson for supporting him while he completed his military education and during a September 2018 mobilization of reservists for hurricane relief support.

“Because of his decisions, I was able to achieve both my Army and DTNA missions for those years. Without his trust and empowerment for me to get the job done, one of my two careers would have suffered,” Meredith wrote.

“I’m honored to receive the Patriot Award,” Thompson said. “I believe it’s my duty and privilege to support those who serve our country in the Guard and Reserve. These dedicated men and women deserve employer support.”

Thompson began his career at DTNA in 2003 and has held positions in parts sales support, parts specialty sales, fleet parts sales, business excellence and distribution development with the elite support team.

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The Nation

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety releases ‘2020 Vision for Safety’

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Big rig loaded with mail crashes in little rock; tractor ends up on guard rail
In 2018, 4,951 people died in crashes involving large trucks, a 46% increase over 2009 data. (The Trucker file photo)

WASHINGTON – The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS), an alliance of consumer, medical, public health and safety groups and insurance companies and agents, today released its “2020 Vision for Safety.” The 57-page report outlines areas Advocates will be focused on improving this year and a state-by-state report card on all 50 states based on the passage of 16 laws recommended by the organization.

Cathy Chase, president of AHAS, noted that at the start of a new decade, the organization’s “clear vision is to eradicate the horrific death and injury toll occurring on our roadways.” Chase noted that every day, approximately 100 people are killed and nearly 7,500 injured in motor vehicle crashes.

“The economic devastation inflicted on families from crashes also comes with a significant annual economic cost of $242 billion,” Chase said. “This results in each person living in the U.S. essentially paying a “crash tax” of $784 every year.”

The “2020 Vision for Safety” is AHAS’ 17th annual report, and it focuses on five areas of motor vehicle laws – occupant protection, child passenger safety, graduated driver licensing, novice teen drivers, impaired driving, and distracted driving. Regardless of the category, responsibility for increased highway safety falls on manufacturers of vehicles and child safety restraints, each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, Law Enforcement, manufacturers of technology such as cell phones, lawmakers, and motor vehicle operators. The five areas for law improvement fall under seven overall issues of concern for AHAS. And, while only one area of emphasis is truck-specific, drivers should become educated on all of the AHAS issues of concern, as they share the road with motorists less educated and careful when it comes to safety.

In 2018, fatalities in motor vehicle crashes were down 2.4% from the previous year. Still, over 36,000 people died in crashes and 2.7 million were injured. Nearly half of those killed in crashes were unrestrained, 14% were motorcyclists, and 2,841 died as a result of distracted driving.

Chase introduced seven areas of motor vehicle safety on which AHAS is working to improve:

• Driver Assistance Technology: a proven aid in avoiding or mitigating crashes, but lacking minimum performance standards or requirements for all new vehicles
• Autonomous Vehicles: technology that may become of great benefit in the future, such vehicles are developed and deployed without insufficient information. Public opinion polls indicate a high rate of skepticism and fear of this developing technology.
• Drug-impaired driving: legalization of marijuana in many states has led to an increase in drivers impaired while behind the wheel. In surveys, 12 million people nationwide admitted to using marijuana while driving.
• Automated enforcement: traffic laws such as speeding and ignoring traffic lights are increasingly enforced via technology. Drivers and passengers are more likely to be injured while sitting at a stoplight then any other type of crash. Increased technology use will significantly reduce these statistics.
• Rear seat safety: whether it involves the proper installation of child restraints, failure to use them, or drivers who forget a child is strapped into a safety seat behind them, action must be taken to require a detection and alert system to decrease the dangers of equipment required to increase safety.
• Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety: roadways are not used by only motorists. Bicyclists and pedestrians are at increased risk of injury or death. Vehicles, however, can be designed with features to make collisions with less protected users less catastrophic.
• Large Truck Safety: in 2018, 4,951 people died in crashes involving large trucks, a 46% increase since 2009. Likewise, 100,000 people are injured in such crashes annually. In terms of fatalities, 97% are occupants of a passenger vehicle, not trucks. AHAS recommends additional safety measures in truck design and requirements including speed limiting devices, automatic electronic braking systems, and underride guards to prevent crashes in which a passenger vehicle becomes trapped beneath large trucks.

“Over the last three decades, AHAS efforts to secure passage of legislation in state capitals, while also pursuing strong vehicle safety standards at the federal level, have resulted in significant progress toward achieving our mission of safety drivers, passengers, road users, and roads,” Chase said. “We are excited to kick-off a new decade and intend our 2020 Vision to provide clarity and inspiration to elected officials about the path to improve road safety for all.”

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The Nation

Mack Trucks renews partnership agreement as ‘Official Hauler of NASCAR’

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Mack trucks renews partnership agreement as ‘official hauler of nascar’
Mack Trucks and NASCAR have announced a multi-year extension of their partnership agreement continuing the designation of Mack as the “Official Hauler of NASCAR.” Mack will continue to provide a dedicated fleet of customized Mack Anthem 70-inch stand-up sleeper models to haul critical technology and equipment throughout the 36-race NASCAR season. (Courtesy: Mack Trucks)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Mack Trucks and NASCAR have announced a multi-year extension of their partnership agreement continuing the designation of Mack as the “Official Hauler of NASCAR.” As part of the agreement, Mack will continue to provide a dedicated fleet of customized Mack Anthem 70-inch stand-up sleeper models specified to meet the needs of NASCAR’s demanding schedule.

“For the past several years, NASCAR has entrusted Mack to haul the critical technology and equipment needed to complete a successful race weekend — and we’ve delivered,” said John Walsh, Mack vice president of marketing. “We’re extremely pleased to announce the continuance of our partnership, providing a great opportunity not only to further demonstrate the capabilities of our products, but also to share our trucks, services and technology with customers and NASCAR fans each week.”

Mack and NASCAR inked the initial “Official Hauler of NASCAR” agreement in 2016. In addition to providing primary transportation solutions for NASCAR, Mack has developed a unique activation and engagement program that provides a one-of-a-kind experience for customers at the track.

“Our relationship with Mack Trucks continues to deliver a transportation solution that plays an integral role in our success every weekend,” said Elton Sawyer, vice president, officiating and technical inspection, NASCAR. “With their partnership, we have developed a customized fleet of NASCAR trucks that has simplified our transportation logistics and in turn, help us remain focused on our events.”

Spanning 10 months and 36 races across the U.S., the NASCAR schedule is one of the most grueling in all of sports. Every week during the season, the sport relies on its Mack Anthem models to efficiently and safely move tons of race equipment, technology and even facilities from track to track. Tough jobs require not only tough equipment, but also highly dedicated and skilled people. Mack featured the men and women instrumental in pulling off the extreme coordination behind each race in an episode from the first season of its #RoadLife series.

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