Congressmen Introduce Legislation Calling for Hair Testing Pilot Program
Congressmen Ribble (R-WI) and Fleischmann (R-TN) introduced a bill, HR 6641, directing the DOT Secretary to establish a pilot program to investigate the benefits and feasibility of using hair specimens for CMV driver testing. A 2007 GAO investigation indicated that there are a number of fraud challenges with the current system. Because the 112th Congress ends at the end of this year, the bill will have to be reintroduced in the next Congress, should the Congressmen wish to pursue the pilot program.
Update on Relevant Regulations:
FMCSA to Survey Drivers and Carriers on EOBR Harassment
On December 13th, FMCSA issued a Notice and Request for Information announcing the agency’s intention to survey drivers and carriers to gather information on how to prevent driver harassment, as part of the ongoing EOBR rulemaking. Comments are due by February 13th, 2013.
December Rulemaking Schedule Updates Deadlines
In its December Report on Significant Rulemakings, FMCSA updates a number of rulemaking schedules of interest to CVSA. According to the report, the Safety Fitness Determination rule is now slated for publication in November of 2013. The EOBR rule has been moved to June of 2013. Publication of the rule addressing the agricultural exemptions included in MAP-21 is scheduled for September of next year.
Other Items of Interest:
On December 10th, NHTSA released an analysis that shows that overall highway deaths in 2011 fell nearly 2 percent from 2010 numbers, and 26 percent since 2005. The analysis also indicates that Americans drove fewer miles (1.2 percent) in 2011 than in 2010. However, there was a 1.9 percent increase in the number of people killed in crashes involving large trucks and a 20 percent increase in the number of large truck occupant fatalities. The 2011 FARS data can be viewed here.
ATRI Studies Impact of CSA on Driver Availability
According to a recent study by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), implementation of FMCSA’s CSA program has not impacted the availability of professional truck drivers as expected. The report, “Compliance, Safety, Accountability: Evaluating a New Safety Measurement System and Its Implications,” was published December 4, examines two years’ worth of data collection from motor carriers, commercial drivers, freight shippers and motor carrier safety enforcement personnel.
GAO Report on Driver Medical Information
In November, the Government Accountability Office released its report on the mechanisms FMCSA has in place to prevent medically unfit drivers from operating commercial motor vehicles. A previous review conducted by GAO found that these measures were vulnerable to abuse and manipulation. In this report, GAO finds that poor communication between federal and state information databases results in medically unfit drivers operating CMVs. However, GAO also indicated in the study that the new requirement for states to keep driver medical information electronically should help prevent abuse.
U.S.–Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council Meeting in January
On December 5th, NHTSA announced that the U.S.–Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council’s Motor Vehicles Working Group will be meeting January 15, 2013 in Detroit, MI.