Trucking News: For the Record

Truckers News Staff | January 01, 2010

“The primary concerns are the driver’s physical ability to function while operating a commercial vehicle,” said Papp in response to a question about a potential federal cap on the age of commercial drivers. “Medical requirements should be performance-based and not linked to age. We’re not looking at making any changes based on age at this point.”

Similarly, regarding the subject of Body Mass Index, a measurement which expresses the ratio of fat to muscle in an individual — a BMI number above 30 is considered to indicate obesity — FMCSA medical programs director Mary Gunnels said BMI would not be a factor by itself in any testing mandate for conditions associated with obesity, such as sleep apnea. She, Lester and Papp all stressed it was just “one among many measurements associated with determining obesity.”

FMCSA’s Medical CDL program, set for full implementation in January 2012, feeds medical certification data directly to the CDL Information System database. Combined with a reporting requirement for approved examiners linked to the medical CDL, it will be much harder for drivers whose certifications have been disqualified or lapsed to slip through the regulatory cracks.

Disclosure requirements placed on drivers upon any change in health that could affect medical certification (for instance, deteriorating vision), also will be more easily enforced by FMCSA the more information is gained from medical examiners.


Oregon Tops Driver OOS List

Oregon leads the nation for the highest driver out-of-service rates, while Nebraska is top nationally for truck out-of-service rates, according to industry publisher J.J. Keller.

The Washington-based safety and compliance company ranked the categories for interstate trucks and drivers for 2008.

California, which Overdrive magazine readers have ranked annually as the strictest for inspections, did not make the top 10.

The top states for driver out-of-service rates are:

1. Oregon — 15.92%

2. Connecticut — 13.74%

3. Arizona — 13.58%

4. Wyoming — 12.02%

5. Utah — 10.95%

6. Minnesota — 10.86%

7. Idaho — 10.76%

8. Georgia — 10.04%

9. Maine — 9.81%

10. Arkansas — 9.56%

States with the highest out-of-service rates for interstate trucks:

1. Nebraska — 36.71%

2. Connecticut — 36.06%

3. Utah — 35.18%

4. Colorado — 34.82%

5. Missouri — 31.32%

6. Arizona — 31.23%

7. Idaho — 29.47%

8. Delaware — 29.04%

9. Louisiana — 28.95%

10. Wyoming — 28.87%


DOT and FCC Teams to Target Distracted Driving

The U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Communications Commission announced Nov. 4 they are launching a joint effort to evaluate technologies that may help curb distracted driving.

The DOT-FCC partnership will also include outreach efforts to educate the public about the dangers of texting while driving, talking on cell phones while driving and other distracting behavior that can lead to accidents.

“We must put an end to distracted driving, which is costing lives and inflicting injuries across the nation’s roads and railways,” DOT Secretary Ray LaHood told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said, “I welcome this collaborative effort to eliminate the increasingly deadly practice of distracted driving. Changing this ingrained behavior will require us to develop creative solutions using both technology and education.”

Officials from the DOT and FCC will establish a working group to evaluate technology-based solutions to the problem of distracted driving and will coordinate consumer outreach and education.

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