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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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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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Topical Tuesday: All roads lead to Rome

Topical Tuesday: All roads lead to Rome

Topical Tuesday: thoughts on trucking-related subjects by contributing writers

Mike Green in his dad's truckby Mike Green

My dad and I had different ways of getting directions to pick-up or delivery destinations.

We would stop at a truck stop near the destination and he would go to the fuel desk and ask for directions while I would go to the big map of the city on the wall and find it that way.

Hard to say which way was better as they usually turned out the same. For me, however, I needed the overview that the map gave me. Directions from someone in a strange place were more difficult for me to follow.

Today there are many gadgets and programs that help you find your way on the road. When I drove over-the-road I would have been happy with Google Earth alone. With its street view it’s like déjà vu when you actually get there.

dash camDash cameras are becoming more popular and there are plenty of videos on the internet. In some of them you can “experience” driving somewhere before you actually do – or instead of, perhaps.

There are many new ways we are communicating with one another these days, this blog included. The EasyCDL iPhone apps that are available from Mike Byrnes and Associates are another example.

Maps on apps and phones that talk to us, there is something for everyone.

Today I could find my way to my destination without even pulling into that truck stop. I’ll bet my dad still would though. I guess the bottom line is all roads still lead to Rome.

Rome, Georgia that is, right? Recalibrating …

A driver for many years (that’s Mike in the photo as a youngster in his dad’s truck), Mike Green went on to direct truck driver training programs and served as a Third Party tester from the beginning of the program in Arizona. He is now “semi”-retired (and if you know him, you know the pun is intended) from HDS Truck Driving Institute in Tucson, Arizona. As a freelance writer and editor, he has been a regular contributor to Bumper to Bumper, The Complete Guide to Tractor-Trailer Operations. He says that although he enjoyed all those years of teaching, he loves retirement.

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Medical exams

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has sent out this reminder: “As of 5/21 all CMV drivers we regulate will be required to use a certified medical examiner for their physicals.”

Follow these links for more information:

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Scam alert

The American Trucking Associations passes along this scam alert:

For the past two weeks an individual identifying himself as Larry Davis is calling Truck Driving schools representing that he is a recruiter for Knight Transportation, gleaning names of students from the school and then promising them a trainer if the student will wire him $200 dollars.  Several individuals have been scammed.

At least one of the students in Florida has filed a police report.  We wanted to get the word out to all to be aware!  There is no Mr. Davis at Knight and they do not charge students.

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Medical certificate update

Did you know an important law affecting commercial motor vehicle drivers goes into effect May 21, 2014?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reminds interstate CMV drivers that they will soon be required to have their medical examinations performed by a Certified Medical Examiner listed on the FMCSA’s National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

If you’re an interstate CMV driver, you already need a valid medical certificate signed by a medical examiner. The only change is that after May 21, 2014, you’ll need to go to a certified medical examiner for your medical certificate. If you’ve already had an exam and have a current certificate that certificate will be valid until its regular expiration date.

You can find certified medical examiners in your area, or anywhere in the country, by following these steps:

  1. Visit the National Registry Web site and search by Zip Code, State, or examiner name.
  2. Choose a certified medical examiner from the list and call to make an appointment.
  3. If your preferred health care professional isn’t on the list, simply refer him or her to the Certified Medical Examiners page to learn more about getting certified.

Be sure to find a Certified Medical Examiner by May 21st. Find more information in the Fact Sheet for Drivers or by going to the National Registry Web site.

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