You May Need A Tanker Endorsemnet Now for IBC’s

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration FMCSA has expanded the  definition of “tank vehicle” that now applies to vehicles hauling an aggregate of 1,000 gallons in containers of 119 gallons or larger. This will now include the many petroleum and chemical distributors that haul 275 gallon and larger tote tanks. Your driver’s may need a TANK “N” endorsement if the combined gallons is 1,000 gallons or more.

Under a notice of guidance published Thursday, May 24, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says individual states must adopt the definitional change by 2014 at the latest.

The change originated in May 2011 when the FMCSA issued a final rule for CDL testing and learner’s permits. In that rule, the agency expanded the definition of tank vehicles to include haulers of 1,000 gallons aggregate in containers of 119 gallons or more.

In the guidance document issued this week, the agency says it absolutely intended to expand the definition of “tank vehicle” to flatbedders hauling intermediate bulk containers, or IBCs. That had been a point of contention for some because truckers hauling IBCs containing certain liquids or gaseous materials have not previously needed the tanker endorsement. Hazardous materials are covered under different rules.

The American Trucking Associations petitioned the agency earlier this year to change the definition back to the way it was prior to the CDL-testing rule. And while the FMCSA did grant the petition, the agency did so to study the matter further and to clarify its intentions through official guidance. The guidance states:

“The new definition is intended to cover (1) a vehicle transporting an IBC or other tank used for any liquid or gaseous materials, with an individual rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that is either permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or chassis; or (2) a vehicle used to transport multiple IBCs or other tanks having an individual rated capacity of more than 119 gallons and an aggregate rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more that are permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or the chassis.”

The agency has also clarified its intentions for empty bins and those with residue only.

“Furthermore, the definition of tank vehicle does not cover the transportation of empty storage tanks that are not designed for transportation and have a rated capacity of 1,000 gallons or more, that are temporarily attached to a flatbed vehicle,” the FMCSA stated.

Down the Road – Mike


Change? Hours of Service Rule

Since the FMCSA new Hours of Service regulation changes do no go into effect until June 2013 does that mean they are serious about change? It seems to me that 18 months is a long period for the changes that they claim will improve driver safety. If it truely is the right change to make why delay it 18 months from the rule’s published date?

The guts of the changes include a mandatory 30 minute break in an 8 hour period, before continuing to drive and a change in the 34 hour restart. In order to qualify for the restart you have to have 2 periods that include 1am to 5am in the 34 hour period.

The restart qualifier baffles me. Now drivers will be forced to start after traffic begins to build so they are out there with more opportunities to mix it up in heavily congested traffic.

What’s your take?

For the complete rule go here.

Down the Road – Mike


Mexican Border Concerns Getting Worse

This past week, we’ve read about the latest mass grave uncovered along the border. In this week’s Houston Chronicle story, as many as 122 of the 177 bodies found in the most recent mass grave discovery were believed to be passengers dragged off of buses at drug cartel roadblocks.

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Also in the last week, five beauty parlor workers were brutally murdered in Acapulco.

Sadly, every time we read about the U.S.-Mexico border, the news is getting worse.

News stories that once popped up once every few weeks are occurring daily. The news is getting worse, and more gruesome.

In the last week, the U.S. State Department has released yet another travel warning to U.S. citizens heading to or traveling throughout any part of Mexico. In short, the warning says to stay in tourist areas during daylight hours.

Yes, the same administration that wants U.S. trucks heading south of the border is asking its citizens to stay visible and travel there only in broad daylight.

“According to Government of Mexico figures, 34,612 people have been killed in narcotics-related violence in Mexico since December 2006,” the State Department warning reads. “More than 15,000 narcotics-related homicides occurred in 2010, an increase of almost two-thirds compared to 2009.”

Many of those murdered have worked with criminal organizations, but a growing number of victims are innocent bystanders, and even police officers, the State Department says.

Credit: Charlie Morasch

Down the Road – Mike


Hours of Service Proposals

Arlington, Members of the trucking industry had their first opportunity to make their case for preserving the current hours-of-service rules as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration conducted a listening session in Arlington, VA.

Max 11 hour drive time
The goal of the listening session was to gather a broad range of comments, ideas and relevant data as the agency analyzes responses to its HOS regulatory proposal, the agency said. The agency, on Dec. 23, proposed to add mandatory daily rest periods, tighten its requirements for a 34-hour restart period and said it was leaning toward cutting allowable driving hours from 11 to 10.

The primary areas addressed by industry representatives were related to their concern on how the proposed changes to the 34 hour restart, mandated breaks after 7.5 hours of being on-duty, and the reduction to 10 hours driving time would impact transportation and, ultimately, the consumer.

Industry representatives presented research that substantiated the negative impact they believe the new restrictions will have on overall road safety. This research indicates that crashes are not happening during the restricted hours, but during prime traffic hours. It is their belief that by implementing the new restrictions, it will force more trucks on the road during high traffic hours.

They also pointed to other issues this will create for industry as it relates to driver availability, fuel consumption, limited parking options, and delivery windows.

If you would like to view the archived video of the listening session, it is available on the FMCSA website. All comments on the Proposed HOS Rule must be submitted to FMCSA no later than March 4, 2011.

Down the Road – Mike


DOT May Have it’s Day

Did I hear President Obama right this week?

DOT Road

“Our infrastructure used to be the best, but our lead has slipped,” Obama said, referencing the infrastructure boom in Europe and parts of Asia including China. “Meanwhile, when our own engineers graded our nation’s infrastructure, they gave us a ‘D.’ We have to do better.”

Part of President Obama’s speech was dedicated to infrastructure and he also included a nod to roadway and bridge investments as way to improve the economy.

“We’ll put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges. We’ll make sure this is fully paid for, attract private investment, and pick projects based on what’s best for the economy, not politicians,” he said.

I am sure that Mr Lahood was standing up and gleeming with excitement over that speech.

Down the Road – Mike


Texas Trailer Registration Change

Token Trailer Plate

Effective December 10, 2010, Texas is no longer issuing updated license plate stickers with token trailer renewals. The registration renewal (RTS) receipt must be carried in the pulling unit or trailer for presentation to law enforcement as proof of valid registration.

Expired stickers may be removed from the plate. Counties in Texas will continue to issue plates that have a space for the sticker until supply is depleted, even though stickers are no long required to be displayed. The newly designed plates will have no space provided for a sticker.

Trailer Plate

This will make it more important for the drivers to check the documentation on the truck or trailer they are pulling to make sure the registration is current, as they will not be able to tell by simply looking at the trailer license plate.

Down the Road – Mike


December to Remember

Did you have a December to remember?

There was a lot of stuff going on in December of 2010. With the blast off of CSA2010 (now just CSA), the Hours of Service rule changes and the Christmas Holidays it may have been difficult to remember what the heck the new year means.

I was fortunate enough to be able to take some time off the last couple of weeks, but now it’s time to refocus and also catch up on the 2010 left overs.

Today might be a good time to look at your CSA scores on the FMCSA website, Vigillo or other source and pick one item to focus on in January. Write it down, along with a few action steps and you can get the new year off on the right foot.

My focus will be on Cargo Securement and I am going to blast out a reminder to our managers to do a 10 minute review of our last training with our drivers.

Down the Road – Mike

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