FMCSA updating certain hazmat regs to reflect latest CVSA handbook

Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021:

FMCSA updates hazmat regs to reflect updated CVSA OOS criteria

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is amending its Hazardous Materials Safety Permits regulations to reflect changes in the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Out-of-Service criteria for inspections of shipments of transuranic waste and highway route-controlled quantities of radioactive material. The update to the regulations will take effect Feb. 21.

Currently, FMCSA regulations reference the April 1, 2019, edition of the CVSA handbook regarding transuranic waste and highway route-controlled quantities of radioactive material. The update will reflect changes published on April 1, 2021, by CVSA.

FMCSA says there are 21 updates that distinguish the 2021 edition from the 2019 edition of the handbook, and each of the changes generally serve to clarify or provide additional guidance to inspectors regarding uniform implementation and application of the out-of-service criteria, and none is expected to affect the number of out-of-service violations cited during Level VI inspections.

Additionally, the incorporation of the 2021 edition does not change what constitutes a violation of FMCSA regulations, the agency says.

[Related: Out-of-service brake adjustment: More detail on how violations work at roadside]

Two drivers posthumously honored for stopping to help at accident scene

The Truckload Carriers Association has posthumously recognized Adam “Troy” Miller, 53, of Hagerstown, Maryland, and Ashish Patel, 46, of Ontario, Canada, as Highway Angels for stopping to help at the scene of a serious accident.

The fatal accident occurred on July 1 along I-81 in West Virginia. A police report states there were two crashes near the entrance ramp to the interstate, and there had been heavy rain earlier in the morning.

The first crash occurred when two passenger cars lost control, hydroplaned, and drove through the grassy median, striking a parked tractor-trailer and getting wedged underneath the trailer. Several motorists, including Patel and Miller, stopped to help. As they did so, a third vehicle, an SUV, also lost control in the same area, struck the rear of the parked tractor-trailer, and then hit Patel and Miller. Both men died at the scene. 

Miller was a truck driver with Portner Trucking based in Thurmont, Maryland, and Patel drove for Bison Transport based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.   

Miller’s widow, Julie, shared with TCA that her husband had a 28-year career as a truck driver and was on his way to work that morning. She wasn’t surprised that he had stopped to help.

“He was an excellent driver,” she said. “He could put a big rig in the smallest space I’ve ever seen in my life. He took his job very seriously. And he always pulled over to help someone.”

Miller left behind children Kristina N. Judkins (Miller), Joshua A. Miller, Brandon C. Miller; stepson, Joshua A. Mills; and grandson, Maveric M. Miller. He loved fishing, working on muscle cars, and playing 8-ball and 9-ball pool.

“He was a diehard, fall-over Pittsburgh Steelers fan,” Julie Miller added. “The only one in the family. He was easy to smile, easy to laugh. He would do anything for anybody.”  

Patel’s widow, Shilpa, shared that her husband enjoyed being a truck driver and always accepted challenges that came his way. He didn’t speak English when he moved to Canada from India in 2010. He drove for Bison Transport for four years. In 2019, he received a Safe Driver Award for 250,000 miles of safe driving.

“He helped others get their licenses and learn about the job,” she said. “He always encouraged people. He always shared the good points about the driving life. If someone was looking for a job, they would ask Ashish. He said if you are young, drive a truck, it will help you have a long road for your life.”

Patel left behind his 7-year-old daughter, Vishwa.                                              

TCA presented both families a certificate, patch, lapel pin, and truck decals. Both employers also received a letter acknowledging Miller and Patel as Highway Angels.

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