A Quick Start on 2010
No industry is static. Trucking is no exception, though the issues percolating now, especially in the regulatory arena, promise to make 2010 a more tumultuous one than most.
The hot button of the day is the Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 program, which starts for carriers in July. Listening to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s webcast on it last month, I found the enforcement program even more ambitious than written reports had indicated.
Its brimming kettle of alphabet soup is one warning of the program’s complexity. The webcast treated listeners to BASIC, PSP, DIR, CSP, NOV, NOC, OOS, SEA, NAS, SMS, SFD, SaDIP, SSDQ and dataQ.
Then there’s the bureaucrat-speak – “meaningful action,” “new intervention toolbox,” “safety improvement resources” – for what boils down to expanded ways for officials to put drivers and carriers out of service. And where will the feds get enough hands to dig around in their toolbox to follow up on hundreds of thousands of computer-generated letters bearing veiled threats?
Well, it’s still early for judging this. Assuming the best, removal of carriers and drivers with poor standards should help the industry and take the edge off cutthroat rates offered by operators who bend the rules on safety.
Behind the CSA 2010 gorilla, other critters are stirring in Washington, D.C. FMCSA and its Medical Review Board are weighing CDL restrictions related to sleep apnea, obesity and other things. The agency’s new pre-employment driver screening will allow carriers to access inspection and crash records electronically. The hours of service rule is about to go through another painstaking revision.
Owner-operators getting their own authority face tougher scrutiny since FMCSA’s new-entrant regulations took effect Dec. 16. New heavy-duty engine technology debuts this month as much stricter federal emissions regulations kick in.
Overdrive also is starting the new year with changes in the works, some of which will help you stay on top of these government-driven developments:
• Monthly evening webinars, produced with our sister publication Truckers News, will address some of these topics. Our Jan. 21 webinar with consultant Mike Rone looks at how CSA 2010 will affect you (details on Page 4). Sleep apnea will be the topic of a Feb. 11 webinar.
• Overdrive has launched its own website, www.OverdriveOnline.com, apart from eTrucker.com. See Page 53 for details about the broad offerings you’ll find there.
• We’re expanding our fuel price coverage in Gauges (Page 18) with the addition of average prices on major lanes, calculated daily by the Fuel Surcharge Index service.
• We’ve started a Facebook fan page (search for “Overdrive magazine” at Facebook.com) that offers another avenue to keep up with owner-operator news and related matters.
• Overdrive will soon launch Truck Spotlight, a department detailing specs and special characteristics of leading owner-operator tractors.
These improvements can help you cope with this year’s developments. Let us know how you like the changes and what we can do better.