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FMCSA clarifying accident-register guidance | Penn. weather closures, construction in Ariz.

Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022:

FMCSA clarifies ‘medical treatment’ in relation to carriers’ accident registers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is updating its guidance, effective Friday, Feb. 25, to reflect that an x-ray exam is a diagnostic procedure and should no longer be considered a “medical treatment” in determining whether a crash should be included in a motor carrier’s accident register.

Current FMCSA guidance — which the agency notes lacks the force and effect of law and is just intended to clarify existing regulations — considers an x-ray exam and other imaging as medical treatment.

Federal regulations require that motor carriers keep an accident register for three years after the date of a recordable accident — one involving a commercial vehicle and resulting in a fatality, bodily injury to a person who receives medical treatment away from the scene of the accident, or one or more motor vehicles being towed from the scene.

FMCSA received a petition requesting revision to Question 27 of its guidance related to 49 CFR Part 390, stating that an x-ray is a diagnostic test that may find no injury and should not be considered a form of medical treatment. The petitioner suggested that FMCSA mirror the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s definition of medical treatment that excludes diagnostic procedures, such as x-rays and blood tests. FMCSA says it agrees with the revision.

The new guidance regarding x-rays and accident registers will read as follows:

Question 27: A person is transported to a hospital from the scene of a commercial motor vehicle traffic accident. In one situation, the person undergoes observation or a checkup. Is this considered “medical treatment,” making the CMV occurrence an “accident” for purposes of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations? In another situation, the person undergoes x-ray examination or is given a prescription but is released from the facility without being admitted as an inpatient. Is the x-ray or prescription considered “medical treatment,” making the CMV occurrence an “accident” for purposes of the FMCSRs?

Guidance:  In the first situation, no. A person who does not receive treatment for diagnosed injuries or other medical intervention directly related to the accident, has not received “medical treatment” as that term is used in 49 CFR 390.5 or 390.5T. In the second situation, a person who undergoes an x-ray examination (or other imaging, such as computed tomography or CT) has not received “medical treatment.” The x-ray examination is a diagnostic procedure but is not considered “medical treatment.” However, a person who is given prescription medication (or the prescription itself) has received “medical treatment.”

Pennsylvania restricting certain truck travel for winter storm

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is implementing vehicle restrictions on several roadways starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, and advises against unnecessary travel in affected areas during a winter storm forecast for Thursday and Friday in much of the Northeast.

Restrictions will be communicated via variable message boards, the 511PA traveler information website and smartphone apps.

PennDOT plans to start restricting travel on certain roadways at 7 p.m., with others following at 10 p.m. and more at 12 a.m. Friday. Vehicle restrictions are planned for the following roadways at Tier 1 of the commonwealth’s weather event vehicle restriction plan:

  • I-99: PA Turnpike to I-80 (7 p.m.)
  • I-76 PA Turnpike: New Stanton to Breezewood (7 p.m.)
  • I-80: OH Line to I-99 (10 p.m.)
  • I-79: I-80 to End of I-79 (10 p.m.)
  • PA 33: I-78 to I-80 (12 a.m.)
  • I-78: I-81 to NJ Line (12 a.m.)
  • US 22: I-78 to New Jersey State Line (12 a.m.)
  • I-80: I-99 to NJ Line (12 a.m.)
  • I-81: I-78 to NY Line (12 a.m.)
  • I-180: US 15 to I-80 (12 a.m.)
  • I-84: I-81 to NY Line (12 a.m.)
  • I-380: I-80 to I-81 (12 a.m.)

Restrictions will remain in place until conditions have improved enough to warrant their removal.

Under Tier 1 restrictions, the following vehicles are not permitted on affected roadways:

  • Tractors without trailers
  • Tractors towing empty or lightly loaded enclosed trailers, open trailers or tank trailers
  • Tractors towing empty or lightly loaded tandem trailers
  • Enclosed cargo delivery trucks that meet the definition of a CMV
  • Passenger vehicles (cars, SUV’s, pickup trucks, etc.) towing trailers
  • Recreational vehicles/motorhomes
  • School buses, commercial buses and motor coaches not carrying chains or Alternate Traction Devices (ATD’s) and
  • Motorcycles

PennDOT urges motorists to avoid travel if possible.

I-10 closure planned this weekend in Arizona

The Arizona Department of Transportation plans to close the westbound lanes of I-10 this weekend between the I-17 “Stack” interchange and 43rd Avenue west of the downtown Phoenix area. The closure is due to an ongoing pavement improvement project in the area.

The closure will be in place from 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, through 5 a.m. Monday, Feb. 28.

Both I-17 ramps to westbound I-10 at the Stack will be closed. Westbound I-10 on-ramps at 27th and 35th avenues will also be closed.

ADOT recommends drivers use other freeway routes to avoid the closure, including westbound/southbound Loop 202 to reach westbound I-10 west of the closure.

[Related: Roads 511: Highway information in real time]

TCA college-scholarship fund's application open early 

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) Scholarship Fund has launched its online application significantly earlier than in years past. This change gives the Fund the opportunity to be featured at high school award presentations, which are typically held in late spring. For almost 50 years, the fund has helped students with connections to the truckload industry.

It awards up to $6,250 per year per full-time college student. In the 2021-22 school year, the TCA fund’s Board of Trustees awarded more than 55 students scholarships totaling more than $163,000.

Much of the program’s support comes from within the truckload family — companies and individuals who are committed to the community’s future. 

Any student in good standing (minimum grade point average of 3.0) who will be attending an accredited, four-year college or university as a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior, and who is either the child, grandchild or spouse of an employee of or independent contractor affiliated with a TCA member company is encouraged to apply. Employees of/independent contractors currently with TCA companies are likewise eligible themselves. 

“I could not be more grateful for the opportunities the TCA has provided me through their scholarships,” said Blake Quinn, the 2018-19 recipient of the National Association of Independent Truckers (NAIT) Scholarship. “Because of the TCA, I’ve been able to put a lot more focus into my degree; I can’t begin to explain how much that has paid off.” Quinn, whose father works for Prime Inc. based in Springfield, Missouri, received $6,250. Those interested can access the application at this link. 

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