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Since 1987, Mike Byrnes and Associates, Inc. has been helping to launch and grow successful commercial motor vehicle operator careers with outstanding training and reference tools that are enjoyable and easy to use. Like BUMPER TO BUMPER®, The Complete Guide to Tractor-Trailer Operations. Five stars, ranked in the Amazon Top Ten trucking books. You can’t go wrong.

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Speed limiter proposed

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are proposing regulations that would require vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 11,793.4 kilograms (26,000 pounds) to be equipped with a speed limiting device initially set to a speed no greater than a speed to be specified in a final rule and would require motor carriers operating such vehicles in interstate commerce to maintain functional speed limiting devices set to a speed no greater than a speed to be specified in the final rule for the service life of the vehicle.

Specifically, NHTSA is proposing to establish a new Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) requiring that each new multipurpose passenger vehicle, truck, bus and school bus with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 11,793.4 kilograms (26,000 pounds) be equipped with a speed limiting device.

The proposed FMVSS would also require each vehicle, as manufactured and sold, to have its device set to a speed not greater than a specified speed and to be equipped with means of reading the vehicle’s current speed setting and the two previous speed settings (including the time and date the settings were changed) through its On-Board Diagnostic connection.

FMCSA is proposing a complementary Federal motor carrier safety regulation (FMCSR) requiring each commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with a GVWR of more than 11,793.4 kilograms (26,000 pounds) to be equipped with a speed limiting device meeting the requirements of the proposed FMVSS applicable to the vehicle at the time of manufacture, including the requirement that the device be set to a speed not greater than a
specified speed. Motor carriers operating such vehicles in interstate commerce would be required to maintain the speed limiting devices for the service life of the vehicle. Based on the agencies’ review of the available data, limiting the speed of these heavy vehicles would reduce the severity of crashes involving these vehicles and reduce the resulting fatalities and injuries. We expect that, as a result of this joint rulemaking, virtually all of these vehicles would be limited to that speed.

You’re invited to comment. Submit your comments early enough to ensure that the docket receives them not later than November 7, 2016. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by one or both of the docket numbers in the heading of this document, by any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail: Docket Management Facility: U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001
  • Hand Delivery or Courier: 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
  • Fax: 202-493-2251.

Refer to Docket FR Doc. 2016-20934.

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Federal regulatory developments

A federal regulatory proposal and an amendment could effect you.

As required by section 5404 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposes a pilot program to allow a limited number of individuals between the ages of 18 and 21 to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce if they have received specified heavy-vehicle driver training while in military service and are sponsored by a participating motor carrier.

During the 3-year pilot program, the safety records of these younger drivers (the study group) would be compared to the records of a control group of comparable size, comprised of drivers who are 21 years of age or older and who have comparable training and experience in driving vehicles requiring a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The control group would consist of volunteer drivers who meet specified criteria and are employed by a participating carrier. The comparison of the two groups’ performance would help to determine whether age is a critical safety factor. FMCSA also proposes criteria for a working group to consult with the Agency in conducting, monitoring, and evaluating the pilot program. Further, the Agency outlines procedural steps and a data collection plan, and requests comments on these elements.

You’re invited to comment on this proposal. Comments must be received on or before September 21, 2016. You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA-2016-0069 using any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
  • Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
  • Fax: 1-202-493-2251

Each submission must include the Agency name and the docket number for this notice. Reference Docket No. FMCSA-2016-0069 in your comments.

In other news, the FMCSA amends its pre-trip safety guidance recommending that the motorcoach industry encourage passengers to use lap/shoulder seat belts. This amended guidance is provided in response to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Final Rule published on November 25, 2013 [78 FR 70416] titled, “Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Occupant Crash Protection.”

For further information about this, contact Mr. Gregory Nahmens, Commercial
Passenger Carrier Safety Division (MC-ECP), greg.nahmens@dot.gov, 202-
366-5054. Office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., E.T., Monday
through Friday, except Federal holidays.

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Inspect that vehicle

You know you should inspect your vehicle before, during, and after a trip, and to conduct annual inspections. Not only is this required by law, it’s important for your safety and the safety of those with whom you share the road.

Note that today, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration amended some previously-published guidance regarding the periodic inspection of commercial motor
vehicles (CMVs). Elsewhere in today’s issue of the Federal Register,
FMCSA amends the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to,
among other things, eliminate the option for a motor carrier to satisfy
the periodic (annual) inspection requirement through a violation-free
roadside inspection. As a result of this amendment to the FMCSRs,
certain regulatory guidance is amended to ensure consistency between
the FMCSRs and the published guidance. For more information about this visit the FMCSA Web site and refer to Docket No. FMCSA-2015-0176

Wear Bars Signifying Major Tread Groove

Wear Bars Signifying Major Tread Groove

And while we’re on the subject of vehicle inspection, the FMCSA has amended the FMCSR with regard to what is a “major tread groove” in a tire. You’ll find a definition and an illustration.

In addition, several other changes were made. The final rule:

  • revises the rear license plate lamp requirement
  • eliminates the requirement for an operable rear license plate lamp on vehicles when there is no rear license plate present
  • amends the regulations regarding tires to prohibit the operation of a vehicle with speed-restricted tires at speeds that exceed the rated limit of the tire
  • provides specific requirements regarding when violations or defects noted on an inspection report must be corrected
  • amends two appendixes to the FMCSRs to include provisions for the inspection of antilock braking systems (ABS) and automatic brake adjusters, speed-restricted tires, and motorcoach passenger seat mounting anchorages

For details about these changes, visit the FMCSA Web site and refer to Docket 
No. FMCSA-2015-0176.

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Fasten your safety belt

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a correction to an error in its June 7, 2016, final rule “Driving of Commercial Motor Vehicles: Use of Seat Belts.” The amendatory language in the final rule inadvertently limited the applicability of the requirement for drivers to use their seat belts to operators of property-carrying vehicles. Today’s correction fixes the error such that drivers of passenger-carrying vehicles will continue to be required to wear their seat belts. The correction is effective August 8, 2016. For more information, visit the FMCSA Web site and refer to
Docket No. FMCSA-2015-0396.

Be safe out there. Whether you haul people or property, buckle up.

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Making it easier

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposes to make it easier for military personnel to launch civilian careers in the truck and bus industry.

A Notice of Proposed Rule Making filed today seeks to simplify the process of getting a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) or CDL. This rulemaking would extend the time period for applying for a skills test waiver from 90 days to 1 year after leaving a military position requiring the operation of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).

This rulemaking also would allow States to accept applications and administer the written and skills tests for a CLP or CDL from active duty military personnel who are stationed in that State. States that choose to accept such applications would be required to transmit the test results electronically to the State of domicile of the military personnel. The State of domicile would be required to issue the CDL or CLP on the basis of those results.

Comments on this notice must be received on or before May 16, 2016. You may submit comments identified by Docket Number FMCSA-2016-0051 using any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
  • Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
  • Fax: 202-493-2251.

To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods.

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Minimum training standards proposed

The moment we’ve all been waiting for has arrived.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposes new training standards for certain individuals:

  • applying for their initial commercial driver’s license (CDL);
  • an upgrade of their CDL (e.g., a Class B CDL holder seeking a Class A CDL);
  • or a hazardous materials, passenger, or school bus endorsement for their license;
  • and a “refresher” training curriculum.

These individuals would be subject to the proposed entry-level driver training requirements and must complete a course of instruction provided by an entity that:

  • Meets the minimum qualifications for training providers;
  • covers the curriculum;
  • is listed on FMCSA’s proposed Training Provider Registry;
  • and submits electronically to FMCSA the training certificate for each individual who completes the training.

You can read the details of just exactly what is proposed here.

The compliance date of this proposed rule would be three years after the
effective date of the final rule.

Comments? Get them submitted to FMCSA by April 6, 2016. You can comment
on docket number FMCSA-2007-27748 using any one of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov.
  • Fax: 202-493-2251.
  • Mail: Docket Services (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
  • Hand delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202-366-9329.
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Define your terms

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposes to amend the regulations for “Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation,” and “Inspection, Repair and Maintenance,” of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) in response to several petitions for rulemaking from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) and the American Trucking Associations (ATA), and two safety recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Specifically, the Agency proposes to add a definition of  ”major tread groove” which we think is a great idea.   As writers of instructional material we always endeavor to give accurate definitions of terms. The agency also proposes to:

  • revise the rear license plate lamp requirement to provide an exception for truck tractors registered in States that do not require tractors to have a rear license plate;
  • provide specific requirements regarding when violations or defects noted on a roadside inspection report need to be corrected;
  • amend Appendix G to the FMCSRs, “Minimum Periodic Inspection Standards,” to include provisions for the inspection of antilock braking systems (ABS), automatic brake adjusters, and brake adjustment indicators, speed-restricted tires, and motorcoach passenger seat mounting anchorages;
  • and amend the periodic inspection rules to eliminate the option for motor carriers to use a violation–free roadside inspection report as proof of completing a comprehensive inspection at least once every 12 months.

In addition, the Agency proposes to eliminate introductory text from Appendix G to the FMCSRs because the discussion of the differences between the North American Standard Inspection out-of-service criteria and FMCSA’s periodic inspection criteria is unnecessary.

The FMCSA invites you to comment on or before December 7, 2015. You may submit comments identified by docket number FMCSA-2015-0176 using any one of the following methods:

  1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
  2. Mail: Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
  3. Hand delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202-366-9329.
  4. Fax: 202-493-2251.

To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods. See the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” heading under the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for instructions on submitting comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions about this proposed rule, call or email Mr. Mike Huntley, Vehicle and Roadside Operations Division, Office of Bus and Truck Standards and Operations, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, telephone: 202-366-5370; michael.huntley@dot.gov. If you have questions about viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Ms. Barbara Hairston, Program Manager, Docket Services, telephone 202-366-9826.

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Editing your AOBRD record

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued regulatory guidance concerning the editing of records created by automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDs), otherwise known as electronic logging devices or ELDs.

The guidance makes clear that, within certain limits, a driver must be allowed to review his or her AOBRD records, annotate and correct inaccurate records, enter any missing information, and certify the accuracy of the information. The AOBRD must retain the original entries, and reflect the date, time, and name of the person making edits to the information. Drivers’ supervisors may request that a driver make edits to correct errors, but the driver must accept or reject such requests. Driving time may not be edited except in the case of unidentified or team drivers, and when driving time was assigned to the wrong driver or no driver. All prior Agency interpretations and regulatory guidance on this subject, including memoranda and letters, may no longer be relied upon to the extent they are inconsistent with this guidance.

This regulatory guidance is effective October 2, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Thomas Yager, Chief, Driver and Carrier Operations Division, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, phone (202) 366-4325, email MCPSD@dot.gov.

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FMCSA Update

With three months left in 2015, FMCSA Acting Administrator T.F. Scott Darling, III shared this update on the agency’s top five priority initiatives for the year:

“Safety Fitness Determination (SFD)
FMCSA is in the final stages of publishing a Proposed Rule that would increase the use of inspection data in making Safety Fitness Determinations for motor carriers. This rule would propose important changes to the Agency’s process for assessing the safety performance of truck and bus companies, focusing on incorporating current on-road safety performance data (i.e., roadside inspection and crash data) and evaluating carriers based on their own performance. We will be seeking public input on the Proposed Rule and look forward to hearing your views as we develop a Final Rule.

Inspection Modernization
FMCSA launched a new version of our inspection software program – Aspen 3.0. It features a new look and feel and enhanced capabilities. Many of the functions needed at roadside are now integrated into the Aspen system without requiring external software. Law enforcement personnel are also able to obtain direct access to out-of-service notices. We launched a series of training webinars this month that go into great detail on the many improvements.

Unified Registration System (URS)
FMCSA will implement a new, revamped system designed to improve the accuracy and timeliness of the information in our database of registered motor carriers based on our 2013 Final Rule. URS will streamline manual processes and combine several forms that regulated entities are required to submit into one unified registration – the electronic “smart form.” It is important that we get this right. As such, we will move forward with a new phased implementation that will ensure a successful launch. A Federal Register Notice will be published in October that will provide details on the updated implementation timeline. 

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Phase III
In preparation for a successful launch of the final two CSA interventions – offsite investigations and cooperative safety plans – we are lining up the necessary training for Federal and State investigators and outreach to the industry. Two important things to note:

  • The Agency is also moving forward on a new type of investigation – the crash BASIC investigation – that focuses on identifying trends in carrier crash behaviors. 
  • FMCSA will be fine-tuning the SMS algorithm to better identify carriers for investigation so that we can intervene more quickly with those found to be at greatest risk. A second Federal Register notice announcing the preview of the changes will be published in the coming months.

Electronic Logging Devices (ELD)
A Final Rule on ELDs is being reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget and is scheduled to be out later this year. Although we cannot discuss the provisions of a Final Rule before it is made public, I can say that the rule is designed to benefit everyone by:

  • By improving hours of service (HOS) compliance, which we estimate will prevent about 20 fatalities and over 400 injuries each year; 
  • Helping businesses cut paperwork and save money; 
  • Protecting drivers from harassment; and
  • Making it easier for law enforcement and safety inspectors to review driver HOS records.” 

T.F. Scott Darling, III – Acting Administrator

United States Department of Transportation
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE Washington DC 20590
www.dot.gov
www.fmcsa.dot.gov

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Drum roll, please

Bumper to Bumper Kindle editionWe are proud to announce (drum roll, please) that Bumper to Bumper, The Complete Guide to Tractor-Trailer Operations, is now available on Kindle.

Yes, you can now read Bumper to Bumper on a Kindle. Not only that, you can download free apps from Kindle so you can read the Kindle edition on all these devices:

Fire Tablets

  • Kindle Fire(1st Generation)
  • Kindle Fire(2nd Generation)
  • Kindle Fire HD(1st Generation)
  • Kindle Fire HD 8.9″
  • Kindle Fire HD(2nd Generation)
  •  Kindle Fire HDX
  • Kindle Fire HDX 8.9”

Free Kindle Reading Apps

  • Kindle for Android Phones
  • Kindle for Android Tablets
  • Kindle for iPhone
  • Kindle for iPad
  • Kindle for iPod Touch
  • Kindle for Mac
  • Kindle for PC

Just download the free app from the Kindle store to read the Bumper to Bumper Kindle edition on phones, tablets and computers. You’ll find a link to those reading apps on the amazon.com page where the print and Kindle editions are sold. Just click on this link. 

The Bumper to Bumper Kindle edition is a “print replica” so it looks just like the book you’re familiar with, including all the illustrations, charts and test questions. It was an immediate hit on release and ranks #1 in the Kindle store in its category.

Schools can distribute the Bumper to Bumper Kindle edition to their students. Just purchase a license for the number of copies you want, then share them wirelessly using Whispercast. 

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