Get a CDL and so much more!

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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More regulatory proposals

FMCSA proposes to amend the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to allow States to issue a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) with an expiration date of up to one year from the date of initial issuance. CLPs issued for shorter periods may be renewed but the total period of time between the date of initial issuance and the expiration of the renewed CLP could not exceed one year. This proposed amendment would replace the current regulations, which require the States to issue CLPs initially for no more than 180 days, with the possibility of an additional 180-day renewal at the State’s discretion.

You may comment on this notice. Comments on this notice must be received on or before August 11, 2017.

You may submit comments identified by Docket Number FMCSA-2016-0346 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.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Selden Fritschner, CDL Division,
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001, by email at selden.fritschner@dot.gov, or by telephone at 202-366-0677.

Also, a proposed rule would rule would allow State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs) to waive the requirements for the commercial driver’s license (CDL) knowledge tests for certain individuals who are, or were, regularly employed within the last year in a military position that requires/required, the operation of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).

You may comment on this proposal and these comments are also due by Aug. 11. Use the same methods listed above, but reference Docket Number FMCSA-2017-0047.

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Finally, a Final rule

Entry Level Driver Training

After several delays, FMCSA has finally published the Final rule on Entry Level Driver Training. All training providers and jurisdictions must comply with the rule prior to February 7, 2020.

This is a major accomplishment since leaders in the industry such as American Trucking Association (ATA), Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA), and The National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools (NAPFTDS) have been pushing FMCSA for over 30 years to implement minimum standards to training to improve the quality of skilled commercial drivers entering the trucking industry.

In short, this Final Rule requires anyone seeking a Class A or Class B CDL after February 7, 2020 to receive training from a certified training provider. Training providers must register and be listed on the FMCSA’s training provider registry (TPR). Students will be required to score at least 80% on a classroom assessment and demonstrate proficiency in specific BTW maneuvers and overall BTW safety. Training providers must certify that students have met the theory and BTW requirements before the student can sit for the CDL skills test. Only training providers listed on the FMCSA’s TPR will be authorized to certify students for the CDL skills test. Students who receive instruction from schools not listed on the TPR will be prohibited from taking the CDL skills test.

Mike Byrnes & Associates Inc. truly believe this is a major accomplishment for the trucking industry.

Our textbook, Bumper To Bumper, The Complete Guide To Tractor Trailer Operations, was first created to outline the original Commercial Vehicle Training Module Curriculum back in the mid 80’s. Since then we have updated the textbook accordingly to FMCSA standards. Our textbook is very thorough in all subjects and complies with all FMCSA’s standards published in new rule.

Online Training

The new training standards will enforce training providers to enhance their training materials to assure their students obtain the proper knowledge prior to taking their driving skills tests.

Mike Byrnes & Associates Inc. has specialized in providing training curriculum to the trucking industry for 30 years and we have been preparing to assist schools in complying with the new standards. As the premier CDL textbook of choice, we are the best resource to create the most effective online CDL training. Our network of writers, editors, educators, artists and field specialists represents extensive truck driver education, writing and editing experience. Bumper to Bumper curriculum is proven to increase your students’ knowledge and improve their pass and completion rates.

On September 1st 2016 we implemented the most effective online CDL training program available. Bumper To Bumper “EASY CDL” online training was created by using the entire textbook’s contents with new and improved animation and video. To assure the most thorough curriculum available for truck driver training online program was the best in the industry we partnered with the best software designers in the industry, ieLinks, the creator of eCampusLynx School Management Software. ieLinks has been providing innovative web-based technology solutions to Higher Education since 2000.

Bumper To Bumper Easy CDL is best online training and tracking system that meets all proposed Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandatory training standards. This innovative technology allows your students and staff to access training anywhere, anytime. Train with results, save money, and track student progress all from your computer anywhere, anytime.

For more information about the new FMCSA Training Requirements or to receive a free 30 day trial of Bumper To Bumper EASY CDL online program.

Contact:

John Rojas

Mike Byrnes & Associates Inc.

Education Specialist

361-442-9552

Or

info@easycdl.net

Also on the Regulatory Front: Split Sleeper Berth Time

Pursuant, FMCSA proposes a pilot program to test split sleeper-berth time. Temporary regulatory relief from the Agency’s sleeper berth regulation, for a limited number of commercial drivers who have a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL), and who regularly use a sleeper berth to accumulate their required 10 hours of non-duty work status, will be allowed. During the pilot program, participating drivers would have the option to split their sleeper berth time within parameters specified by FMCSA. Driver metrics would be collected for the duration of the study, and participants’ safety performance and fatigue levels would be analyzed. This pilot program seeks to produce statistically reliable evidence on the question whether split sleeper berth time affects driver safety performance and fatigue levels. The Agency proposes criteria for participating drivers and carriers, outlines procedural steps and a data collection plan, and requests comments on these elements.

Comments must be received on or before August 7, 2017. You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA-2016-0260 using any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
  • Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
  • Mail: Docket Operations, 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, Washington, DC 20590 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Instructions: All submission must include the Agency name and the docket number.
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Trucking Tips For Novice Drivers

Trucking Tips For Novice Drivers

Guest post by Larry Labelle

As an inexperienced truck driver, you are probably still learning a lot about the industry. In addition to all the necessary rules of the road, there’s a lot you need to know about the business that you may not have learned in trucking school. For drivers who have been on the road for years, all of this is second nature, but it may take you a while to become fully acclimated to all the ins and outs. Sometimes, however, learning by experience can be painful. Rather than get an education through an aching back, an angry customer or a moving violation, consider the following advice from veterans of the road and you’ll feel like an old pro in no time.

Stay Healthy

Because you will probably spend most of your workday behind the wheel, you might not believe your job requires a physical fitness regimen. However, regular exercise is crucial for keeping your mind alert and for avoiding fatigue when you’re driving for hours on end. Just 15 minutes of exercise twice a day can make a huge difference in how you feel. Your diet also is important — always remember to eat a balanced meal when you’re on the road, and try to make breakfast your biggest meal so you can stay focused for more of the day. Don’t think you can get away without sleeping, either: Studies have shown that the driving skills of someone who has been awake for 24 hours are comparable to someone who’s drunk.

Safety First

There were more than 3,600 fatal crashes involving large trucks and buses in 2014. The sooner you can adopt safe driving habits on the road, the less likely it will be that you will be involved in any kind of collision on the road. Inexperienced drivers like yourself are anxious to make good time, but speeding or otherwise aggressive driving only put you at greater risk for collisions or getting pulled over. Also, make sure you always get out and look for obstructions before backing out of a parking space. Regular inspections of your truck’s brakes, tires, reflectors, oil level and fuel level are also good driving habits to get into early in your career.

Manage Your Time

The trucking business is all about timing, and the best way to make your life as a trucker difficult is to be late. Be sure to leave early whenever possible to give yourself plenty of time and account for the inevitable traffic jams you’ll run into along the way. If your route is going to take you through a major metropolitan area, do your best to time it so you’re passing through town when traffic is going to be light — not at 7 a.m. or 5 p.m. Sitting in traffic doesn’t just waste your time, but fuel, too. One useful tip that many veteran truckers live by is getting used to going to bed early and rising in the middle of the night. When you hit the sheets at 6 p.m. and hit the road by 3 a.m., you not only put yourself in position to avoid a lot of traffic, but you also make it easier to find a place to park at a truck stop or rest area before they get filled.

Make Friends

You’re out there on the road all by yourself most of the time, but that doesn’t mean you’re alone. Successful truckers know that forming connections with other truckers and co-workers is a big part of a successful career. Get to know your dispatcher and make sure you have a good working relationship with him or her — you’ll be more likely to get good loads as a result. Make sure you have a good relationship with your company’s safety officers, because you never know when you might need their help. Finally, form bonds with veteran truckers out there on the road. An experienced mentor is a great source of advice and encouragement when things get tough out there, which they almost certainly will sometimes.

The trucker life is not for everyone, but it can be a rewarding, highly satisfying career for the right person in the right circumstances. By paying attention to these simple rules, your first year behind the wheel will go by smoothly and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a long career on the road.

 Larry Labelle is Marketing Manager for Verduyn Tarps, an international leader in the tarp system industry. Labelle utilizes his creativity and background in sales to deliver solutions for the company’s branding, message and marketing strategy. 

Continue reading “Trucking Tips For Novice Drivers” »

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Vote for “Detour”

Have you enjoyed meeting Archie Harlanson, trucking’s newest hero, in Detour, A Big Rig Thriller?
This novel tells the tale of a truck driver who starts out planning to meet his girlfriend’s parents and stumbles upon a plot to harm the president of the United States. Those in the trucking industry will appreciate seeing a CMV driver portrayed in a positive light. Readers will get an idea of what a working truck driver’s job and life are like.

Detour has received five star reviews and has been voted one of ten thrillers for 50 Best Indie Books of 2016. Your vote will name it Number One. Plus, just for voting, you become eligible to win an amazon gift card. So please cast your vote for Detour by Devorah Fox in the Mystery/Thriller genre. Voting ends Friday, December 16, 2016. Just click on this link: http://www.readfree.ly/vote-50-best-indie-books-2016-mysterythriller

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APUs and weight limits

APUs and Weight Limits

a guest post by Robert Hall

APUs (Auxiliary Power Units) are used by many truck drivers to help limit fuel use since they reduce the need for trucks to run their engines on idle while parked. But seeing as they typically weigh a couple hundred pounds, they may be a problem for drivers who frequently carry close to the maximum weight limits. With the president’s recent expansion of the MAP-21 bill dealing with state-by-state APU regulations, this may be confusing to drivers crossing state lines.

A guide put together by Track Your Truck, a GPS vehicle tracking company can inform drivers exactly how much weight is exempt in each state.

Check it out:

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And now for something completely new and different

Detour, A Big Rig Thriller by Devorah Fox

Something brand new from Mike Byrnes and Associates, Inc.: a novel!

Since 1988, we have helped to launch hundreds of thousands of truck driving careers.

First there was Bumper to Bumper, The Complete Guide to Tractor-Trailer Operations, then and now the premier truck-driving textbook.

Bumper to Bumper, The Complete Guide to Tractor-Trailer Operations

We translated Bumper to Bumper into Spanish and released a guide for diesel mechanics students working on tractor-trailers.

Our Instructor Guides assist trainers in their job of teaching new drivers, and El Glosario, the Bumper to Bumper® Spanish/English Glossary of Trucking Terms lists alphabetically hundreds of terms used in the trucking industry, along with their Spanish translation and definition.

For those preparing on their own to take the CDL tests we wrote CDL Truck Driver’s Testa self-guided study book, for Barron’s Education Series, Inc. and created the Easy CDL smartphone-friendly CDL-prep apps.

Our latest production, Easy CDL, is an online training and tracking system that meets all proposed Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandatory training standards. This innovative technology allows students and teaching staff to access training anywhere, anytime. Train and track progress all from your computer anywhere, anytime.

Now there’s Detour, A Big Rig Thriller, a novel about a truck driver who starts out planning to meet his girlfriend’s parents and stumbles upon a plot to harm the president of the United States. Those in the trucking industry will appreciate seeing a CMV driver portrayed in a positive light. Readers will get an idea of what a working truck driver’s job and life are like.

Detour has already received a five star review. It will be available in print and Kindle editions on Nov. 4 but you can claim your Kindle copy now at a special price of 99¢. Then the book will be in your Kindle the minute it launches. Be the first to meet America’s newest hero, truck driver Archie Harlanson.

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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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