Overdrive Staff | April 03, 2011

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sent warning letters to 23,000 carriers that need to address areas of compliance, Administrator Anne Ferro said.

The letters, which are less serious than an onsite audit, are part of the agency’s new Compliance, Safety, Accountability program, which outlines how FMCSA will intervene with carriers whose performance is sub-par. Ferro spoke to Truckload Carriers Association members at TCA’s annual meeting last month in San Diego.

She said CSA and other regulatory initiatives support FMCSA’s three basic goals of raising standards for those entering the trucking industry, ensuring high standards for those in it and “getting the bad guys off the road,” meaning trucks, drivers, carriers, brokers or others.

Among other pending FMCSA matters, Ferro mentioned:

• HOURS OF SERVICE. The agency received 25,000 comments, which are being analyzed for shaping the final rule.

• COMMERCIAL DRIVER LEARNER’S PERMIT. The agency is about a month away from issuing a final rule.

• DRIVER PHYSICAL QUALIFICATIONS. It will be 12 to 18 months before FMCSA seriously addresses how obstructive sleep apnea and other physical conditions affect driver licensing.

• REGISTRY OF CERTIFIED MEDICAL EXAMINERS. Prior to tackling driver health qualifications, the agency will act on establishing certification for doctors who can verify that drivers meet CDL health criteria. It’s an area that seriously needs “integrity” restored, Ferro said.

• DRUG AND ALCOHOL TESTING DATABASE. The agency is establishing this to ensure that carriers get current records of all driver applicants.

— Staff reports


SPOT MARKET van freight rates nationwide in February remained stable, according to TransCore Trendlines. Flatbed rates increased 1.9 percent and reefer rates moved up 1.6 percent compared to January.

TRUCK FREIGHT as measured by the American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 3.8 percent in January. Compared with January 2010, adjusted tonnage climbed 8 percent, which was the largest year-over-year increase since April 2010.

JANUARY TRAILER orders dropped 22 percent from December, said ACT Research Co. The January total of 17,800 units was 151 percent greater than a year earlier. Dry vans accounted for all of the month-to-month decline, while some specialty trailer types hit 4- and 5-year highs, ACT said.

Opposition builds against hours proposal

In comments submitted on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposed changes to the hours-of-service rule, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the American Trucking Associations and a shippers’ group all opposed the proposal.

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