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Since 1987, Mike Byrnes and Associates, Inc. has been helping to launch and grow successful commercial motor vehicle operator careers with outstanding training and reference tools that are enjoyable and easy to use. Like BUMPER TO BUMPER®, The Complete Guide to Tractor-Trailer Operations. Five stars, ranked in the Amazon Top Ten trucking books. You can’t go wrong.

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Stocking stuffers

Right about now most people are getting out last minute Christmas cards and polishing off their gift giving lists.

But truckers keep on trucking and those of us in the transport industry know that we’ll be out there making deliveries right along with Santa. It comes as no surprise that even this close to the holidays there have been developments in the regulatory arena.

On Dec. 16, President Barack Obama did sign an appropriate bill that among other things halts enforcement of the restrictions on using the 34-hour restart. The requirement that a drivers’ 34-hour restart include two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods and the once-per-week limit of the restart has been suspended. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will be studying the hours of service rules’ impact on drivers, carriers and safety. The FMCSA must present a report to Congress showing that the restriction increases safety before the restart provisions can go back into effect.

Published today in the Federal Register is final rule that FMCSA rescinds the requirement that commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers operating in interstate commerce, except drivers of passenger-carrying CMVs, submit, and motor carriers retain, DVIRs when the driver has neither found nor been made aware of any vehicle defects or deficiencies. For more information visit the FMCSA Web site.

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Fun with HOS

The restrictions on use of the 34-hour restart that were put into place in 2013 are likely to be suspended. This story in Transport Topics explains it nicely.

On Dec. 13, 2014, Congress passed a bill that includes the suspension. Stay tuned to learn if the bill get signed into law as expected.

 

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‘Tis the season…to scam :-(

Sandra McCoskey from Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona alerted us to the fact that Michael Hays is calling schools purportedly as a representative from US Trucks. Please read below message from Sandra and make sure not to provide him with any information.

“We want to alert you  to a telephone recruitment scam that came into our office on Monday. This same person has run this same scam randomly over the past two years. The caller identifies himself as Michael Hays, using US Trucks as his company (this latest call, has used Covenant also).  He asks our advisor to have students call him. When they call he tells them about the great opportunities and ask them to COD money as good faith deposit, and funds to travel (arrangements to be made by him). The latest phone number is 215-481-5382.”

Pass the word and don’t let your students fall for this trucking #job scam.

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Less paperwork

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a time-saver today in their Daily Digest Bulletin.

The new No-Defect DVIR Rule means that truck drivers whose pre-trip and post-trip inspections turn up no equipment issues or safety concerns no longer need to file a report. According to the FMCSA the new rule will result in $1.7 billion dollars annually in time saved.

Having cleared the White House’s Office of Management and Budget this week the rule will go into effect Dec. 18. Less paperwork!

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One bad apple

The Commercial Vehicle Training Association passes along this alert from Kendis Paris, Executive Director of Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT):

Bertram Doughtery is fraudulently selling t-shirts using TAT’s copyrighted material claiming he is representing TAT which he is not. He has created multiple FB profiles including one called Tat Tat in an effort to link himself to our organization. He is doing the same scam misrepresenting himself as a representative of Remembering Fallen Truckers. Do not be fooled by this. Any t-shirt we have available will be promoted through our website and social media outlets and NOT by a third party. We do not even know if he is sending the t-shirts out to customers after they have paid him. He has multiple sites up fundraising for himself personally. Our legal team is looking into this as we speak.

We appreciate our followers and our kind trucker friends for alerting us to this repeatedly over the last couple of days. We appreciate your desire to maintain the integrity of TAT’s name, reputation and mission.

It’s a shame that one bad apple can spoil the good that Truckers Against Trafficking is trying to do.

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Old Man Winter

Just in time as colder weather arrives in parts of the country, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has finalized changes to federal safety regulations that will allow certain state-issued emergency declarations to supersede federal hours of service regulations.

The idea is to enable motor carriers providing direct assistance in responding to an emergency declared by a governor to do so without having to comply with certain Federal safety regulations.

An example of such an emergency would be drivers hauling home heating fuels when states of emergency are issued during fuel shortages.

Governors who issue emergency declarations to lessen fuel shortages will be able to suspend federal HOS rules for fuel haulers in 30-day increments. If the shortage continues after one 30-day issuance, FMCSA’s amendment allows up to two additional 30-day periods of HOS exemption.

You’ll find details in Docket No. FMCSA-2014–0355. Visit the FMCSA Web site for more information.

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Please help one of our own

We learned this sad news from our friends at United Truck Driving School. Please help if you can.

On Thursday, August 21st at 10 pm, United Truck Driving School lost a much loved member of this staff.  Ron Urieff, who had been an instructor with us for 6 years, was in a tragic accident while out running errands on his motorcycle after work on August 12th. While traveling just a few blocks from his home, Ron was hit by a driver making an illegal U-turn. 
The officer who was investigating the accident came to the hospital and said that although most accidents involving motorcycles show a skid pattern that results from the forward momentum of the bike after it is suddenly stopped, Ron was traveling at such a slow speed that those didn’t exist.  Ron was always concerned with safe driving whether on or off the job.   I’m not surprised at all that the report showed that he was a conscientious rider.
Ron was trapped under the car for at least 10 minutes.  He was without oxygen for much of that time because it took several first responders to lift the car and free him.  Although his heart was restarted in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, he never regained consciousness. 
For 9 days his family and friends kept vigil at his bedside and Ron’s family was with him at the end.  We are so sadden by the loss of this fine man.   Words simply cannot convey the depth of our sorrow.
Ron was able to connect with a great variety of students in his class.  He had the ability to reach each of his students regardless of their learning style and his ability seemed to come naturally.  Not only was he an excellent teacher, he also was always eager to lend a hand whenever he could at things outside his classroom.  He was just a great guy and I will miss him terribly.   The posts on Facebook and other social media make it obvious that he touched lives both in and out of the classroom.
Our hearts break for his family.  This is not just emotionally hard for them, it will also be financially hard and it is also for this reason that I’m reaching out to you. Medical bills alone will be overwhelming.  If you can help by donating to his fund please do so.  Regardless of your ability to donate financially please pray for his family. 
If you want to read more or donate to this family please visit www.gofundme.com/ronurieff .  Any donations go directly to his widow.  Thanks in advance for any help that you can give.
Sincerely and with thanks,
UNITED TRUCK DRIVING SCHOOL San Diego & Riverside Counties 800-764-2020
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Here we go again?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced it is exploring the feasibility of conducting a negotiated rulemaking (Reg Neg) concerning entry-level training for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).

A “reg neg” allows interested parties to participate in the rulemaking process as a way of expediting the creation of the rule. Participants in the “reg neg” could include “driver organizations, driver training organizations, [carriers], industry associations, state licensing agencies, state enforcement agencies, labor unions, safety advocacy groups and insurance companies.”

This is an effort to implement the entry-level driver training (ELDT) provisions in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The FMCSA has hired a convener to speak with interested parties about the feasibility of conducting of an ELDT Reg Neg.

You are invited to comment. (“Here we go again” is a comment that we’ve already heard but the Agency is looking for something a little more helpful than that.) Reference Docket Number FMCSA-2007-27748 and submit your comments no later than September 18, 2014. You may use any one of the following methods:

  • online at Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
  • by fax to 202-493-2251.
  • by mail to Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
  • hand deliver comments to the same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202-366-9329

If you have questions on this document, call or email Mr. Richard Clemente, Transportation Specialist, FMCSA, Office of Bus and Truck Standards and Operations, 202-366-4325, mcpsd@dot.gov.

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Local boy makes good

We are so proud to announce that John Spofford, a driver for Premier Crude of Corpus Christi, Texas, is a finalist in the Randall-Reilly 2014 Mike O’Connell Memorial Trucking’s Top Rookie program.

John trained at Corpus Christi’s Del Mar College Transportation Training Services and used BUMPER TO BUMPER, The Complete Guide to Tractor-Trailer Operations,  in his program so we’re going to take all the credit for his success.

Seriously, John Spofford’s achievement is worth crowing about. The program, which received 55 nominations this year, is designed to increase pride and professionalism among new drivers, and to promote truck driving as a career choice during a severe driver shortage. An expert panel of judges, which included representatives from training schools (both public and private), suppliers and trade associations, named 10 finalists.

More than $25,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded to these deserving drivers at a ceremony on Friday, August 22 during the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas. The Mike O’Connell Memorial Trucking’s Top Rookie will be chosen from these 10 finalists. Eric Harley of the Red Eye Radio Network will interview the winner, who will receive a variety of prizes including: a $10,000 check; a custom plaque from Award Company of America, a division of Randall-Reilly; a RoadPro Getting Started Living On-The- Go Package; $1,000 cash and 100,000 MyRewards points from Pilot Flying J; a GPS unit and Motor Carrier Road Atlas from Rand McNally; a dash camera from Cobra Electronics and an American Trucking Asso­ciations “Trucking Moves America Forward” gift pack­.

The other nine finalists will each receive $1,000 in cash and a variety of other prizes. The Mike O’Connell Memorial Trucking’s Top Rookie contest is a partnership between Randall-Reilly, Truckload Carriers Association, Commercial Vehicle Training Association, Rand McNally, Shell ROTELLA, Pilot Flying J, Progressive Commercial Insurance, National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools, American Trucking Associations and the Red Eye Radio Network.

All the finalists deserve a big hoo-rah and we wish them all the best.

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Good news for CMV drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has been busy.

The agency has issued guidelines for the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs). Drivers may be able to use smartphones, tablets and computers to keep their hours of service records.

Regulations that require this particular type of record to be in the driver’s own handwriting would seem to prohibit keeping digital records. Guidance released today has clarification about records of duty status that are generated by logging software and that are signed digitally.

There are conditions to be aware of, for example the driver must:

  1. Be capable of printing the record of duty status for the current 24-hour period at the request of an enforcement officer.
  2. Print the record of duty status at the end of each 24-hour period, and sign it in his or her handwriting to certify that all entries required by this section are true and correct.
  3. Maintain a copy of printed and signed records of duty status for the previous 7 consecutive days and make it available for inspection atthe request of an enforcement officer.

Review the guidelines for all the details.

The agency has also extended the amount to time veterans have to take their commercial driver license test. Previously, veterans had only 90 days after leaving the service to take only the written portion of the CDL test and not have to take the skills portion. Now they have up to a year. Initially, this exemption was considered in response to a request from the Commonwealth of Viriginia, but it has been extended to all state driver  licensing agencies. Note that this is an exemption to a rule, not a permanent regulatory change. Follow the link to the notice for details.

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