NTSB called for a total ban on mobile phones for truck and bus drivers in September. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration banned handheld cell phones for interstate truck and bus drivers last month and banned texting in January 2010.
— Staff reports
TEN TRUCKER FAMILIES from the United States and Canada received $700 each in this year’s Trucker Charity Christmas Group fundraiser. The 10 families were selected from among 23 nominations. Since the all-volunteer Christmas group was formed in 2008, more than $37,000 has been raised and distributed to 59 needy trucking families. The money is donated by drivers and others in the industry.
Groups want hours lawsuit dismissed
Both sides in the lawsuit that resulted in the new hours of service rule have asked a federal court to dismiss the case.
The Washington, D.C., appellate court had asked both parties on Dec. 7 to file motions to govern further court proceedings. They were given until Jan. 23, when the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Teamsters union, Public Citizen, Truck Safety Coalition and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration filed a joint motion requesting voluntary dismissal of the case.
The court, per the parties’ 2009 settlement agreement, is holding the case in abeyance while the agency undertook a new HOS rulemaking to replace the 2008 HOS rule that prompted the lawsuit.
— Jill Dunn
FLORIDA. Two I-75 rest areas near Tampa-St. Petersburg that were torn down have been rebuilt. The new rest area on northbound I-75 north of State Road 56 (Exit 275) has 58 truck parking spaces, while the rest area on the southbound freeway south of County Road 54 (Exit 279) has 53 truck parking spaces.
ILLINOIS. Truck speed limits on non-interstate highways in the state increased Jan. 1. Big rig speeds on various four-lane roads rose to 65 mph from 55 mph on more rural roads outside of Chicago, matching the passenger car speed limit.
KENTUCKY. The U.S. 60 Ledbetter Bridge across the Kentucky River is closed to heavy trucks until 2014 as the state builds a new bridge nearby. Truckers face a 120-mile detour on U.S. 60 to U.S. 641.
MARYLAND. A state pilot program provides truck parking in select park and ride lots during snowstorms of six inches or more. A new smartphone application also is available to locate parking at 45 locations statewide where park and ride lot snow removal also is provided.
NEVADA. The state banned all drivers from texting and using hand-held cell phones while driving. Hands-free cell phone use is allowed if the device is used throughout the call. The law is a primary offense, meaning law enforcement can stop and cite drivers solely for that offense.
NEW HAMPSHIRE. A new law increases the maximum weight limit by up to 400 pounds for trucks equipped with auxiliary power units. A 2005 federal law allows states to permit trucks to exceed the 80,000-pound limit to encourage use of idling-reduction technology.
OHIO. Construction on I-75 in Dayton will continue until 2017. The first phase involved adding a third I-75 lane in the area of Ohio Route 4, while removing a sharp curve and other work to relieve congestion. Work is ongoing to add lanes in the area of U.S. 35, with the last phase of the project ahead to improve the interstate through downtown Dayton.