Driver action on sleep apnea, CSA, EOBRs, cross-border trucking

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Regular readers will recall my post from last month following the first annual Truck Driver Social Media Convention, which spurred on driver advocate Frederick Schaffner to be a presence in D.C. at the November meeting of the FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committtee. There, a large part of the discussion was devoted to standards for electronic onboard recorders for hours-of-service compliance.

Schaffner has annotated MCSAC’s task report emerging from that meeting with his own series of recommendations for the committee in advance of their next meeting, Dec. 5-8 in Alexandria, Va. Schaffner’s report is available here on Facebook (friend him there and you ought to be able to get to it).

Ultimately, FMCSA seems determined to work from language in the last EOBR final rule that emerged — allowing for the requirement of EOBRs for some hours-of-service-noncompliant carriers — last year and was vacated by a court earlier this year. You can read their task report from the last meeting, with committee recommendations following problem language, here.

All told, the goals of continued discussion of EOBR standards, regardless of the court’s vacating the previous rule, is evidence that the agency is moving ahead with establishment of robust technical specifications for electronic logging devices with intent to implement an even broader EOBR final rule in future, as they proposed in January. While Schaffner in his comments notes that working from already-extant 395.16 language is problematic given the court’s vacating the rule, it’s clear at least that the committee is taking that route.

The entirety of the next meeting will occur at the Hilton Alexandria Old Town, 1767 King Street, Alexandria, Va., in the Washington and Jefferson rooms on the second floor. Meetings will be held Mon.-Wed., Dec. 5-7, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. EST and Thurs., Dec. 8, 8:30 a.m.-noon.

If you can be there for it, by all means study up on the issue and make your voice heard. In addition to the EOBR report linked above, find current working documents from MCSAC on their page here for all other areas of safety discussion, which include CSA severity weights, cross-border trucking, and sleep apnea (the last on Wednesday in conjunction with the FMCSA Medical Review Board). And as Schaffner noted last time around, if you have particular thoughts on any of the issues to be covered, send them his way for relay. He’s on Facebook here.

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Dsc 0117On the sleep apnea issue, regular readers will recall my reporting on the case of Indiana-based driver Ed Webb (pictured) in Truckers News’ June 2011 issue. Some believe definitive federal guidance on sleep apnea is long overdue to rein in the controversial auditing practices of some states on the condition, such as those of Indiana. For further primer on those practices, read that story here, or listen to Webb tell his story in the video below, if you missed it in June.

Bob Stanton of A.W.A.K.E. noted to me that he shared Webb’s story with regulators in attendance at the second annual Sleep Apnea & Multi Modal Transportation conference earlier this month. It “may have some impacts,” he said, with a big theme of his discussions also being the potential importance of the upcoming MCSAC meeting with the Medical Review Board on Dec. 7. Watch for news emerging from it.

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