Overdrive Staff | January 01, 2012

In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled against the FMCSA’s requirement to mandate recorders. The court agreed with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s argument that the agency’s rule lacked sufficient protection against carriers to prevent companies from harassing drivers, such as demanding they work when fatigued.

The legislation would require applicants for operating authority pass a safety proficiency examination and submit a safety management plan, according to information from Lautenberg, also chair of the Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation.

Additionally, the bill would:

• Increase the FMCSA’s ability to revoke carriers’ operating authority and require new operators applying for authority to disclose all relationships with other carriers during the past five years.

• Directs the DOT to support implementation of the Compliance, Safety and Accountability program.

• Requires study of the safety and infrastructure effects of increasing truck size and weight limits.

Democrat Sens. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Senate Commerce Committee chairman, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Consumer Protection Subcommittee chairman, co-sponsored the bill. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and Parents Against Tired Truckers support the bill.

— Jill Dunn

Health certificate change starts Jan. 30

Truckers must keep paper copies of their medical examiner’s certificate with them while driving for another two years beginning Jan. 30, according to a federal final rule.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s rule extends that mandate for interstate CDL holders until Jan. 30, 2014. It also will continue requiring carriers keep paper copies of their drivers’ certificates until then.

The final rule is a follow-up to the agency’s notice of proposed rulemaking, issued last June, which proposed amending a 2008 final rule.

That 2008 final rule required CDL holders subject to federal physical qualification to provide an original or copy of their medical examiner’s certificate to their state driver’s licensing agency. State agencies must post the medical certification information in the Commercial Driver’s License Information System, a federal database.

After the 2008 rule, several states told the FMCSA their offices lacked the capacity to comply by the rule’s Jan. 30 deadline. The agency extended the paper copy requirement for interstate CDL holders and carriers two years to provide sufficient overlap for state agencies.

However, FMCSA did not extend the deadline for state agencies. Beginning Jan. 30, drivers applying for or renewing CDLs under the non-excepted interstate category will have to self-certify and provide the certificate or a copy to the state licensing agency. All drivers affected by the rule will have to comply by Jan. 30, 2014.

More information on the final rule, FMCSA-1997–2210, is available at www.regulations.gov.

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