Small fleet asks for expansion of coil securement waiver | Threat ongoing: Fake safety audit scam

Trucking news and briefs for Friday, April 12, 2024:

Fleet seeks expansion of waiver for alternative steel coil securement method

Delta, Ohio-based K&L Trucking is petitioning the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to expand an existing exemption that allows the company to use an alternative steel coil securement method in its operations.

In December 2020, FMCSA granted a five-year waiver to the 15-truck fleet that allows its trucks to transport coils from North Star Blue Scope Steel to Fulton County Processing -- which are less than two miles apart -- using the alternative securement method. Now, the fleet has applied to expand the exemption to transportation to and from other points within a few miles of each other.

The exemption would allow the use of a specialized metal coil carrier permanently attached to the flatbed trailer using sixteen 5/8-inch Grade 8 bolts, each rated to hold 27,611 pounds. The coil carrier serves to distribute the coil’s weight while securing the coil and preventing rolling during transport. 

Rather than using the four chains required by federal regulations to prevent the coil from moving forward or backward, K&L uses a large single 2-ply synthetic strap with Kevlar protective coating rated with a working load limit of 44,800 pounds routed through the eye of the coil and securing each coil to the coil carrier.

The exemption would apply to all K&L employees driving trucks utilizing this specialized cargo securement technique transporting metal coils less than 4 miles to and from North Star Blue Scope Steel, Fulton County Processing, Worthington Industries, Nova Tube and Steel, and BlueScope Recycling and Materials -- all located in Delta, Ohio.

FMCSA will accept public comments on the request for 30 days beginning Monday, April 15. Comments can be filed at www.regulations.gov by searching Docket No. FMCSA-2024-0101.

[Related: Load securement, strap work fails: Accidents waiting to happen]

Beware phishing attempt purporting to be New Entrant audit request

Trucking company Truelove Family Trucking owner Norman Truelove reached out in efforts to warn other carriers about a phishing attempt his company received from a person effectively posing as a representative of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

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"We received two emails" purportedly from a person with the @safer-gov.com domain (not the FMCSA's actual Safer web address), "with the same word for word context about a safety audit for our business," Truelove noted.

The first red flag was that the fake audit was purportedly for a new business. "The business we have has been going for years," Truelove said. As with phishing efforts FMCSA has previously, quite recently warned about, the emails Truelove received contained links taking the company to a webpage that requested information. "I am bringing this to you so another company does not fall for this trap as well." 

[Related: FMCSA issues active phishing alert: Scammers faking audit claims]

In contacting the FMCSA directly, Truelove was assured the audit request was a fake, he said.

In prior reporting, the agency noted official safety-audit communications will "typically come directly from an FMCSA dedicated mailbox, or from the entity within the State that has been assigned the responsibility to conduct the safety audit," often state Department of Transportation or Public Safety.

FMCSA added, "While these emails typically end in a .gov extension, we encourage our stakeholders and customers to verify any email or communication they feel to be suspicious with the appropriate agency or contact your FMCSA Division Office directly to clarify." Find all division offices at this link. 

Intermittent I-475 overnight closures planned

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is investing approximately $141 million to rebuild more than 3 miles of I-475 from the Flint River to Carpenter Road in Flint.

As a part of this project, southbound I-475 will be closed intermittently while crews remove overhead signs starting late on April 15 and continuing into the early morning hours on April 16.

The work is expected to last from about 11 p.m. April 15 through 4 a.m. April 16. The Michigan State Police will assist with closing the roadway. Each closure is expected to last approximately 15 minutes.

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

Michigan ending remaining spring weight restrictions

The Michigan Department of Transportation is lifting the last remaining “frost law” spring weight restrictions, effective at 6 a.m. Monday, April 15.

Weight restrictions are implemented during the spring frost thaw period to help protect the roads and are now completed for the 2024 season.

County road commissions and city public works departments put in place their own seasonal weight restrictions, which usually, but not always, coincide with state highway weight restrictions. Signs are generally posted to indicate which routes have weight restrictions in effect.

[Related: How to navigate 'frost laws' in northern states]

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