FMCSA Basics: Driver Regulations

 Written by: The Deerfield Team

DF-transportation-square-web Clipd pngThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates interstate trucking and bus transportation. The agency’s regulations and methodologies are ever always in flux, with changes proposed as recently as January 15, 2016. The medical qualifications and regulations for drivers are no exception, though general requirements have remained relatively consistent.

Here’s what you need to know about general requirements and recent changes in the regulations.

Driver Requirements:

For the legal, in-depth version of driver requirements, view Rule 391 on the FMCSA website. In short, CMV drivers are required to:

• Be at least 21 years old
• Be able to read and speak the English language well enough to dothe job
• Be able to safely operate the motor vehicle he/she will be driving
• Be physically qualified to operate the vehicle
• Have a currently valid commercial motor vehicle operator’s license issued by his/her state of residence
• Not be disqualified to operate a motor vehicle
• Have successfully completed a road test or its equivalent
• Follow the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations
• Have a Driver Qualification File w/Medical Certification

A Driver Qualification (DQ) file consists of:

• An application for employment
• A motor vehicle record (MVR) from states
• Previous employer information
• Road test form and certificate or license or certificate accepted in lieu of road test
• Medical exam certificate, original or a copy, plus any letter granting a waiver of a physical disqualification
• Annual motor vehicle record
• Annual review of driving record
• Annual list of violations
• Entry-level driver training certificate (if applicable)
• Longer combination vehicle driver training certificate (if applicable)

Physical Qualifications

To qualify physically, drivers must not have any the following conditions if it is likely to interfere with ability:

• A loss of foot, leg hand or arm
• An impairment of hand or finger which interferes with power grasping
• An impairment of arm, foot, leg
• A history or clinical diagnosis of diabetes that currently requires insulin for control
• A current diagnosis of myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, coronary insufficiency, or thrombosis
• A history or clinical diagnosis of respiratory dysfunction
• A current diagnosis of high blood pressure
• A history or clinical diagnosis of rheumatic, arthritic, orthopedic, muscular, neuromuscular, or vascular disease
• A history or clinical diagnosis of epilepsy or any other condition likely to cause loss of consciousness
• A mental, nervous, organic, or functional disease or psychiatric disorder
• Use of a Schedule I drug, amphetamine, narcotic, or any other habit-forming drug
• A current clinical diagnosis of alcoholism

Drivers must also:

• Have eyesight of at least 20/40 in each eye, or corrected to 20/40 or better
• Have a field of vision of at least 70 degrees horizontally
• Be able to perceive red, green and amber
• Be able to perceive a forced whisper in the better ear at no less than five feet (with or without the use of a hearing aid)

Recent Developments

Linking medical status to CDL status: By January 2014, drivers were required to have presented their medical certification status to their state’s DMV to bind their medical to CDL status.

Approved medical examiners: Starting May 21, 2014, drivers seeking new certification or certification renewal had to be medically certified by examiners approved by the agency.

Altered medical exams: In April, 2015, the FMCSA issued a final rule that changed driver medical exams from December on. The most significant change was an expansion of the medical history form truck drivers must fill out before the exam. In December 2015, the FMCSA granted a 120-day grace period on these medical examination rules.

Medical Exemptions:

In May 2015, the FMCSA proposed rules that would release truck drivers with controlled diabetes from having to seek and renew exemptions from the FMCSA.¹  The rule has not been passed yet. In January 2016, The FMCSA exempted 59 truck drivers (many blind in one eye) from the vision requirement and 36 drivers who have insulin-treated diabetes mellitus from the diabetes restriction. ² To apply for an exemption, visit the Driver Exemption Programs page of the FMCSA website or contact the Federal Diabetes and Vision Exemption Program at (703) 448-3094.

As always, we are here to help you any way we can. Please don’t hesitate to call or email if you need us.

The Deerfield Team
800.233.6428
info@deerfieldadvisors.com


References:

  1. http://www.ttnews.com/articles/basetemplate.aspx?storyid=38159
  2. http://thehill.com/regulation/265194-new-regs-for-monday-truck-drivers-beer-guns

SOURCES:

Chiro Stop. “FMCSA Rules and Regulations.” http://dotphysicalutah.com/faq/fmcsa-rules-and-regulations/

Devaney, Tim. “New regs for Monday: Truck drivers, beer, guns,” The Hill. Jan 8 2016. http://thehill.com/regulation/265194-new-regs-for-monday-truck-drivers-beer-guns

Dills, Todd. “Eric Toms’ cancelled CDL privileges,” Overdrive Online. Jan 1 2016
http://www.overdriveonline.com/another-medical-certification-cautionary-tale-eric-toms-cancelledcdl-privileges/ Another medical certification cautionary tale:

Driver Exemption Programs. FMCSA. September 22, 2015.
https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/medical/driver-medical-requirements/driver-exemption-programs

Fuetsch, Michele. “FMCSA Mulling Over Whether Exemption Process Is Necessary for Diabetic Drivers,” Transport Topics. May 5 2015.
http://www.ttnews.com/articles/basetemplate.aspx?storyid=38159

 

DISCLAIMER

This article is intended only as a general discussion of these issues & we cannot guarantee the accuracy thereof. It does not purport to provide legal, accounting, or other professional advice. If such advice is needed, please consult with your attorney, accountant, or other qualified adviser. The Views expressed here do not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein is for general guidance of matter only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Accordingly, the information provided herein is provided with the understanding that Deerfield Advisors is not engaged in rendering legal advice. Deerfield Advisors strongly advises that clients and/or the reader of this publication contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem discussed here. Also, please know that discussions of insurance policy language is descriptive only. We strongly advise that one’s individual policy & one’s advisor be consulted regarding this subject matter before any action is taken in any way. Coverage afforded under any insurance policy issued is subject to individual policy terms and conditions. The Deerfield Advisor White Paper Series is a registered trademark of Deerfield Asset Management Inc. DBA, Deerfield Advisors and is produced by Deerfield Advisors for the benefit of its clients, and any other use is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2016

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FMCSA Overview

Written by: The Deerfield Team

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the safety of Commercial Motor Vehicles, or CMVs. It is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Transportation whose primary mission is “to prevent crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses,” according to its Facebook page.

What is a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV)?

A CMV is a vehicle used on highways in interstate commerce that either:

  • Weighs more than 10,000 lbs. (26,000 lbs. in Texas)
  • Transports or is designed to transport 16 or more people (including the driver), or -more than 8 people for compensations
  • Transports hazardous materials in quantities requiring placarding

What does the FMCSA do?

The agency’s mission is to “reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving commercial motor vehicle (CMV) transportation through education, innovation, regulation, enforcement, financial assistance, partnerships, and full accountability.”¹ Its three core principles involve raising the bar to entry for the industry, hold carriers and drivers to high safety standards, and remove the highest risk drivers, vehicles, and carriers (truck and bus companies) from the roads.

The FMCSA enforces safety regulations, improves information systems and CMV technologies, keeps operating and equipment standards high, and generally promotes safety awareness. It works closely with Federal, State, and local enforcement agencies, as well as the motor carrier industry and organized labor groups. While the FMCSA’s work targets CMV drivers and carriers, the agency also promotes safety awareness to the public through various programs and resources, such as Look Before You Book and Protect Your Move.

History and success

Formerly a part of the Federal Highway Administration, the FMCSA was established in 2000 in accordance with the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 (49 U.S.C. 113). Its current chief counsel is T.F. Scott Darling III. The FMCSA is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and employs over 1,000 people in all 50 states. A Division Administrator, who works with a Federal Program Manager, Border Supervisor, Safety Investigators, Auditors, and Inspectors to carry out the agency’s programs and regulations, oversees each state Division office.

The FMCSA has been largely successful in its efforts. Between 2000-2011, the fatality rate of large truck and bus crashes dropped 33.7%. The FMCSA continues to push to lower that number. It publishes Motor Carrier Safety Progress Reports several times per year, a pocket guide to relevant statistics (March 2013), and an annual report about Large Truck and Bus Crash Statistics (2013).

Budget & programs

In 2015 the FMCSA requested an annual budget of approximately $668 million to support the FMCSA 2012-2016 Strategic Plan, which aligns with the United States Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Strategic Framework and Roadway Safety Plan (RSP). Of the $668 million requested, 94% was allocated to safety programs, with over 50% of those funds for grants to State organizations.

The FMCSA publishes develops programs and publishes legislation for CMV carriers and drivers. These fall under three basic categories: regulations, registration, and safety. Regulations are published in the Federal Register and compiled in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

The cornerstone of FMCSA’s compliance and enforcement program is Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA), which identifies noncompliance with safety regulations largely through its data analysis technology, the Safety Measurement System (SAS). The FMCSA is in the process of studying and updating its Hours of Service (HOS) regulation, which tries to minimize CMV driver fatigue on the job. The agency also implemented the National Registry rule in 2014, which raised the standards for all Medical Examiners (MEs) issuing medical certifications for interstate CMV drivers. A planned extension of this rule would make it even more difficult for drivers to falsify medical cards.

As always, we are here to help you any way we can. Please don’t hesitate to call or email if you need us.

The Deerfield Team
800.233.6428
info@deerfieldadvisors.com

 


FMCSA Contact Information:

You can contact the FMCSA directly or its State field office via phone or email.

FEDERAL HEADQUARTERS :

Phone: +1 800-832-5660 Email: fmcsasocialmedia@dot.gov  |   Website: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov

TEXAS DIVISION FIELD OFFICE: 903 San Jacinto Blvd, Suite 101 Austin, TX 78701   |   Phone: (512) 916-5440 Fax: (512) 916-5482

References:

  1. https://www.facebook.com/FMCSA/info/?tab=page_info

SOURCES:

DISCLAIMER

This article is intended only as a general discussion of these issues & we cannot guarantee the accuracy thereof. It does not purport to provide legal, accounting, or other professional advice. If such advice is needed, please consult with your attorney, accountant, or other qualified adviser. The Views expressed here do not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein is for general guidance of matter only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Accordingly, the information provided herein is provided with the understanding that Deerfield Advisors is not engaged in rendering legal advice. Deerfield Advisors strongly advises that clients and/or the reader of this publication contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem discussed here. Also, please know that discussions of insurance policy language is descriptive only. We strongly advise that one’s individual policy & one’s advisor be consulted regarding this subject matter before any action is taken in any way. Coverage afforded under any insurance policy issued is subject to individual policy terms and conditions. The Deerfield Advisor White Paper Series is a registered trademark of Deerfield Asset Management Inc. DBA, Deerfield Advisors and is produced by Deerfield Advisors for the benefit of its clients, and any other use is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2016

How Important Is Cargo Securement?

Written by: The Deerfield Team

How many times have you witnessed a truck/trailer (small or large), with loose or improperly secured cargo? A piece of loose cargo can easily bounce off the vehicle and present a hazard to other motorists or pedestrians. As truck operators, you are expected to safeguard the product transported.

The motoring public expects a company or organization to protect it against the risk of becoming involved in a crash caused by shifting or falling cargo. Safe cargo handling minimizes company liability exposure and helps project a safety-conscious corporate image.

Also, cargo securement expect fleet managers to protect the company from expensive claims whether those claims are cargo or tool/material losses or third-party liability claims.

In addition to strictly monetary costs, other potential costs may arise:

  • The impact of an injury or fatality.
  • The effect on customers if the cargo or service is not delivered.
  • The impact on a company’s third-party insurance rates.
  • The consequences of a vehicle loss on business operations.

To proactively deal with these cost and liability issues, a company must develop and implement a cargo securement process. Ensure all drivers are adequately trained for the specific class of vehicle they operate. As the old adage advises, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Cover the Basics of Cargo Securement

Good housekeeping practices for all fleet and non fleet vehicles are important. A clean, tidy vehicle is the first step in projecting a positive corporate image to customers and the motoring public.

  • Complete a thorough pre-trip vehicle inspection, including all components and accessories.
  • Remove all debris from the vehicle bed or trailer deck. These areas can sustain a certain amount of damage from normal use; make sure they are in good repair.
  • A critical precaution is securing a vehicle from movement while it is loaded. The parking brake may be adequate on smaller vehicles, while larger vehicles may require parking chalks.
  • Ensure the vehicle is correctly sized if it hauls large or bulky items.
  • Cargo Inspection, Securement Devices & Systems As transporters under FMCSR regulation 392.9, companies and drivers are required to: Properly distribute and secure cargo.
  • Secure all vehicle load securement devices (chains, straps, and tarps) and cargo.
  • Ensure drivers have clear visibility on all sides of the vehicle.
  • Ensure drivers have free movement of their arms and legs.
  • Provide driver access to emergency equipment and easy vehicle exit.
  • Inspect the load and devices to secure the load prior to beginning trip.
  • Inspect the load within the first 50 miles and adjust securement devices as needed.
  • Re-examine the load and securement devices during the trip, adjusting as needed.
  • Re-examination intervals must occur whenever a change-of-duty status occurs and when the vehicle has been in operation more than three hours or driven 150 miles (whichever occurs first).

Protect Against Shifting and Falling Cargo

Under Part FMCRS 393.100, the company and driver must ensure cargo transported on a public road is loaded in a manner that prevents the cargo from leaking, spilling, blowing, or falling from the vehicle. In addition, the load or vehicle contents must be secured to prevent shifting. Further, any load shifting may not negatively affect vehicle stability or maneuverability.

States Regulate Vehicle and Axle Weights

Individual states may have both gross vehicle and per-axle weight restrictions. Furthermore, some states may also have cargo covering requirements. Fleet managers and drivers must be knowledgeable about the regulations and restrictions in each state company vehicles travel.

In summary, a poorly or overloaded loaded vehicle is difficult to operate and can contribute to excessive wear and poor fuel economy. Everyone benefits from a sound cargo securement policy: companies, drivers, customers, and the motoring public.

As always, we are here to help you any way we can. Please don’t hesitate to call or email if you need us.

The Deerfield Team
800.233.6428
info@deerfieldadvisors.com


SOURCES:

Article found in Work Truck Magazine. About the Author – Mike Butsch is North America/fleet alliance manager for Joy Global, a worldwide machinery and services company.

 

DISCLAIMER

This article is intended only as a general discussion of these issues & we cannot guarantee the accuracy thereof. It does not purport to provide legal, accounting, or other professional advice. If such advice is needed, please consult with your attorney, accountant, or other qualified adviser. The Views expressed here do not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein is for general guidance of matter only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Accordingly, the information provided herein is provided with the understanding that Deerfield Advisors is not engaged in rendering legal advice. Deerfield Advisors strongly advises that clients and/or the reader of this publication contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem discussed here. Also, please know that discussions of insurance policy language is descriptive only. We strongly advise that one’s individual policy & one’s advisor be consulted regarding this subject matter before any action is taken in any way. Coverage afforded under any insurance policy issued is subject to individual policy terms and conditions. The Deerfield Advisor White Paper Series is a registered trademark of Deerfield Asset Management Inc. DBA, Deerfield Advisors and is produced by Deerfield Advisors for the benefit of its clients, and any other use is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2016

 

 

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“Lets Talk About Driving”

Written by: The Deerfield Team

Are you a good driver? Do you know that the Safety Measurement System Results from the FMCSA website could affect your insurance rating? The SMS is a recompilation of public information of your trucking business to evaluate your safety compliance with regulation. SMS_graphic3

This information includes driving violations, crash history, fatigue, driver fitness, drugs and alcohol Cargo and maintenance. You can also find your OOS ( out of service).  It is important to know that Insurance Company underwriters have the capability and duty to check these results to get to know their risks. They could base part of their insurance rating from the information obtained not only from the MVR (Motor Vehicle Record), but also from the SMS. 10steps

TIPS :

  • Deerfield Advisors advises you follow the “10 steps for good driving” featured, to get on the road in perfect alignment with regulation.
  • The FMCSA encourages you to check your SMS results periodically. You can also correct any erroneous data by request to the FMCSA.

Our commitment to you is to inform you of the benefits of having a good driving record and an excellent maintenance program for your trucks  to be able to get a great insurance coverage at as low a cost as possible.

As always, we are here to help you any way we can. Please don’t hesitate to call or email if you need us.

The Deerfield Team

800.233.6428

info@deerfieldadvisors.com

 

 


DISCLAIMER

This article is intended only as a general discussion of these issues & we cannot guarantee the accuracy thereof. It does not purport to provide legal, accounting, or other professional advice. If such advice is needed, please consult with your attorney, accountant, or other qualified adviser. The Views expressed here do not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein is for general guidance of matter only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Accordingly, the information provided herein is provided with the understanding that Deerfield Advisors is not engaged in rendering legal advice. Deerfield Advisors strongly advises that clients and/or the reader of this publication contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem discussed here. Also, please know that discussions of insurance policy language is descriptive only. We strongly advise that one’s individual policy & one’s advisor be consulted regarding this subject matter before any action is taken in any way. Coverage afforded under any insurance policy issued is subject to individual policy terms and conditions. The Deerfield Advisor White Paper Series is a registered trademark of Deerfield Asset Management Inc. DBA, Deerfield Advisors and is produced by Deerfield Advisors for the benefit of its clients, and any other use is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2016

 

 

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