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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.

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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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Who needs a CDL?

Daimler Trucks North America has filed an application of exemption with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration asking it to waive the requirement that Wolfgang Bernhard, head of the Daimler Trucks and Bus Division, be required to obtain a U.S. commercial driver’s license to test drive the company’s trucks in the U.S.

You can comment on this until August 1, 2014, and you might indeed have something to say about it. If so, follow this link to the FMCSA Web site where you can also find more information about Docket FMCSA-2012-0032

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Speak now

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposes amendments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to establish:

  • minimum performance and design standards for hours-of-service (HOS) electronic logging devices (ELDs)
  • requirements for the mandatory use of these devices by drivers currently required to prepare HOS records of duty status (RODS)
  • requirements concerning HOS supporting documents
  • and measures to address concerns about harassment resulting from the mandatory use of ELDs.

This rulemaking supplements the Agency’s February 1, 2011, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and addresses issues raised by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in its 2011 decision vacating the Agency’s April 5, 2010, final rule concerning ELDs as well as subsequent statutory developments. The proposed requirements for ELDs would improve compliance with the HOS rules.

That’s a lot of alphabet soup but it’s a very important proposed rule and you should make your opinion known. The comment period closes Thursday, June 26, 2014. To comment, click here or go to  the FMCSA Web site and refer to Docket No. FMCSA-2010-0167.

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Look sharp

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) Roadcheck 2014 runs from June 3  to June 5.

Roadcheck, now in its 27th year, is the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial motor vehicles in the world, with nearly 17 trucks or buses inspected, on average, every minute from Canada to Mexico during a 72-hour period in early June.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) sponsors International Roadcheck with participation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Transport Canada and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (Mexico).

Approximately 10,000 CVSA-certified inspectors conduct compliance, enforcement and educational initiatives targeted at various elements of motor carrier, vehicle, driver and cargo safety and security.

Since its inception in 1988, roadside inspections conducted during Roadcheck have numbered over 1 million, resulting in more than 301 lives saved and 5,530 injuries avoided. It also provides an opportunity to educate industry and the general public about the importance of safe commercial vehicle operations and the roadside inspection program

International Roadcheck 2014 will include primarily North American Standard Level I Inspections, which is the most thorough roadside inspection. It is a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of both the driver and vehicle. Drivers will be asked to provide items such as their license, endorsements, medical card and hours-of-service documentation, and will be checked for seat belt usage and the use of alcohol and/or drugs. The vehicle inspection includes checking items such as the braking system, coupling devices, exhaust system, frame, fuel system, lights, safe loading, steering mechanism, suspension, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels and rims, windshield wipers, and emergency exits on buses.

In addition to the North American Standard Level I Inspections, the focus of International Roadcheck 2014 is on hazardous materials (also called dangerous goods) regulatory compliance. Any vehicle could be carrying hazardous materials cargo, whether placarded or not. Hazardous materials are transported routinely as cargo in commercial vehicle fleets. These shipments require special paperwork, driver credentials, vehicle safety, load securement, and hazard identification and communication, including placarding, to signify the added risks of exposure in the event of a crash, leak or fire. Hazmat-certified inspectors will be especially vigilant about potential hazardous materials/dangerous good compliance issues during International Roadcheck 2014.

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Medical examiner rule now effective

All commercial drivers whose current medical certificate expires on or after May 21, 2014, take note. When that certificate expires, your medical exam must be conducted by a medical professional listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

Only medical examiners that have completed training and successfully passed a test on Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) physical qualification standards will be listed on the National Registry.

For details or to find a registered examiner, visit the Registry Web site or the FMCSA Web site.

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