Posts Tagged ‘CDL


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


Texting Ban Started October 27, 2010

Today texting while driving for CMV operators becomes part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s list of serious violations that count against a driver’s CDL. In addition, texting while driving carries a 10-point severity weight rating and is a driver responsible offense in CSA 2010.

Fines range from $2,750 for drivers to $11,000 for carriers.

Additional regulatory actions are being sought to restrict the use of cell phones while driving commercial motor vehicles.

Down the Road – Mike


Is a Warning a Violation?

The fast answer is YES. If your commercial vehicle is inspected by the Department of Transportation and the officer writes you a warning, he maybe saving you some money, but any violations (or warnings) listed on the inspection report will appear on your driving record under the new CSA2010. In this case the warning is just an un-cited violation, yet still a violation.

Do yourself a favor, perform a thorough pre-trip and post-trip inspection, and have any deficiencies repaired before you hit the road. Keep some tools, fuses and spare bulbs in your vehicle at all times so you do not give enforcement agencies an obvious reason to pull you over. Expect to be inspected.

Down the Road – Mike


CSA 2010 Driver Fitness

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration FMCSA’s new Carrier Safety Analysis 2010 has seven behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories or BASIC’s.

One important BASIC is Driver Fitness, which actually has little to do with the health or well being of a driver. Instead, it focuses on what we know as Driver Qualifications DQ. This includes all of the documents necessary to hire a driver and perform back ground checks. Including annual updates to make sure a driver’s commercial license, medical card and training are all current.

The CSA 2010  BASIC Driver Fitness relates to a carrier’s behavior expected under Part 391 of the FMCSA regulations called Qualification of Drivers. For an outline of what is required in a DQ file click here.

Down the Road – Mike


On the Road to Exercise

Health is important to all of us and when we are sick or just do not feel good it can affect every part of our lives. Whether we take action to live healthy lives is up to each individual’s commitment level. The number one suggestion made by health professionals on the path to good health, or to lose weight, is to exercise. Here are some simple suggestions for getting some exercise while on the road.

Commit to exercising 5 to 6 days a week for 20 minutes a day. Pick a time each day that works for you, but be a little flexible. I like to exercise when I get home from work, but sometimes I have to alter this and that may mean a 9:00pm jog. Are you committed?
If you travel be sure to pack your tennis shoes, shorts/sweats, Versastick and of course your MP3 player. Stay hydrated by drinking 2 to 3 8oz cups of water during the course of the day. Take a few minutes to stretch before and after you exercise. This can eliminate possible injury or soreness the next day.
If you are staying in a hotel that has a fitness center and you like to treadmill, great. I normally ask the hotel clerk at check-in if there are any parks or jogging trails in the area. Plan on exercising for at least 20 minutes.

I found this neat, easy to pack, strength exercise kit this week called Versastick.  It only weighs three pounds and looks like it can provide a nice strength or cardio workout. It’s not practical to carry dumbbells around when I travel and this looks like it might be a good alternative. If you have tried this out please let me know what you think of it.

Here is an in-room workout you can do in 20 minutes that uses a good combination of muscles.
Do 3 sets of 10 each Squats/Push Ups/Knee Raises.
To get the most out of this I recommend doing 10 squats, then 10 push up and then 10 knee raises one right after the other. Rest for one minute, then repeat the cycle 2 more times. You are not going to make any big gains with this workout, but it could be a good alternative to missing your commitment.

All you need is 20 minutes a day and a commitment. If you have not exercised for a while or have not had an annual physical please consult your doctor and let them know you are committing to an exercise program.
Down the Road – Mike


Off the Road Testing

A commercial driver has to maintain a medical card and pass a complete pyhsical at least every two years. I can see where it might be a challenge for drivers on the road to maintain good cadio health. One way that doctors use to test your heart health is by administering a stress test.


Yesterday I participated in my first Stress Test on a treadmill (or dreadmill as my wife calls it). This is a test used to examine how your heart responds exercise (stress).

I checked into North Cypress Medical Center at 12:10pm and the fun was over by 1:45pm. Not bad considering that nurse Paula had me all wired and ready to go, when, she got a call that a patient who had refused the test 20 minutes earlier, but had a change of heart (pun intended), decided to go ahead with the test and so she would get to go before me since her doctor was waiting. It was about 12:50pm when Paula apologitically started unhooking me and asked me to go sit in the waiting room.

Luckily the wait was only about 15 minutes. Paula hooked me up again and Dr. Wynn came in just in time to start the test. Starting BP was 108/70 and heart rate 54. Oh, and the reason that I’m here, my family physician had concerns on my EKG last month about my resting heart rate of 52 to 54.  Which I didn’t completely understand since Lance Armstrong’s resting rate is 34. Although,  for most people the 60 to 70 range is considered average.

Where were we? Oh yeh, so the treadmill starts on about a 3% incline at a walking pace, maybe a level 3.5 to 4 speed. Then every three minutes it increases the speed up a notch. The Doctor’s goal was for me to reach 85% of my maximum heart rate. The maximum heart rate is calculated as 220 minus my age. So I need to reach a heart rate of 142. Do the math.

On my third 3-minute cycle I was at a nice jogging speed. About the middle of my fifth cycle I reached 145 and the doctor said that if I felt comfortable he’d like me to continue. So I did. The cycle ended with my heart rate at 158. Enough.

The final outcome was that Dr. Wynn said that my heart responded perfectly normal. This is what I had expected since I typically workout three to four times a week. Though my routine sometimes lapses depending on my schedule, the past few months have been pretty consistent.

If you have a hectic schedule, children at home, travel a lot or just cannot find time to exercise I will have some tips for you in my next post that might help you.

Down the Road – Mike


Commercial (for) Drivers

In my driver training session last week in Alabama I discussed some current driver issues with fifteen commercial drivers. These were all professional drivers who take their job very seriously. It’s their livelihood. Not to say that they don’t like to poke fun at each other on a regular basis, but these are very hard working individuals. Some were heavy haul drivers that carry huge construction machinery, some drive fuel tankers and some operated float tractor trailers and smaller type trucks. They spend many days and nights on the road to support their families.

 The training topic that I was presenting was on Speed and Space Management.  But, as happens many times, the participants brought up some important topics of their own. One of those topics was a recent roadside inspection where the driver came out smelling like a rose and had no violations (our company pays a $200 incentive for this), and another was the fact that this group of drivers had one of the best accident-free records in our company.

 It is always important to acknowledge the good things that go on in your organization and to do it frequently. Drivers that pass a commercial driving certification and carry a CDL are hard working professionals that provide vital services to us all.

 STATS – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that large truck crash fatalities declined 9.7 percent in the U.S. from 2007 to 2008. The overall number fell by 593 to 4229 traffic fatalities related to large trucks. This compared to 37,261 fatalities for all vehicles in 2008.

Down the Road – Mike

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