Archive for September, 2017

FMCSA Conducting Crash Preventability Demonstration Program

By: Paul Karolczyk

Commercial motor carriers can now challenge FMCSA crash preventability determinations through the agency’s new Crash Preventability Demonstration program. The FMCSA is conducting the program to improve how its Safety Measurement System identifies highest-risk commercial motor carriers for safety interventions. Initiated on August 1, the Crash Preventability Demonstration program will continue for at least 24 months.

Based on public feedback, the program gives carriers an opportunity to challenge crash preventability determinations by submitting requests for data review (RDR) through the FMCSA’s DataQs system. RDRs can create a more accurate impression of risk posed by a company by displaying successful preventability decision challenges on the public SMS website. The agency is currently accepting RDRs for eligible crashes that occurred on or after June 1, 2017. When submitting RDRs, carriers should include all available police reports, insurance documents, affidavits, videos, and any other relevant compelling information.

After review, FMCSA will provide a 30-day public input period through its DataQs website to refute any crashes it determines to be “Not Preventable.” The FMCSA will continue to display preventability decisions as “Not Preventable,” “Preventable,” and “Undecided,” with any changes posted to the SMS website within 60 days. Carriers logged into the SMS website will also be able to view their publicly hidden Crash Indicator BASIC percentiles with and without DOT recordable crashes determined to be “Not Preventable.” Preventability determinations made under the demonstration program will not affect safety ratings calculated under FMCSA’s data-driven Compliance, Safety, Accountability program.

More information on FMCSA’s Crash Preventability Demonstration Program:

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/07/27/2017-15833/crash-preventability-demonstration-program

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/crash-preventability-demonstration-program

Information on how to submit a crash preventability RDR through FMCSA’s DataQs system: https://dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov/Public/

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FMCSA seeks public comment on removing diabetes mellitus exemption requirement

By: Paul Karolczyk

On July 27, FMCSA began seeking public comment on a proposed medical assessment form as another step towards removing a medical exemption requirement for commercial truck drivers having insulin-treated diabetes mellitus.

In place since 2003, the exemption requirement compels medical examiners to automatically disqualify all drivers having diabetes mellitus. Consequently, even those drivers who are effectively treating their condition may still wait several months before receiving an exemption to work from FMCSA. If the exemption requirement is removed medical examiners will be permitted to issue medical cards to drivers who provide diabetes assessment information from treating health professionals showing their condition to be well controlled.

The proposed assessment form for the new process resulted from the agency’s review of public comments gathered during the original rulemaking on the exemption requirement’s removal. The form would include information about insulin use history and management, blood glucose monitoring, progressive eye diseases, and other areas. The current public comment period for the proposed form ends on September 25, 2017. FMCSA will use the comments to modify the form.

Trucking organizations are applauding FMCSA’s removal of the diabetes exemption for saving the industry time and money. Washington Trucking Associations, Washington State’s lead trucking group, supports the anticipated rule change, stating, “We are in favor of the diabetes exemption as long as the medication has the diabetes under control.”

What is diabetes mellitus?

Diabetes mellitus is a disease that impairs the body’s ability to produce or use insulin, a hormone it needs to absorb and utilize glucose. As a result of causing abnormal blood sugar levels, diabetes symptoms include hunger and thirst, fatigue, frequent urination, weight loss, blurred vision, slow healing cuts, and pain or numbness in the feet or legs. Long-term complications include eye problems, nerve damage, foot damage, hearing impairment, kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke. Risk factors include weight, family history, race, age, inactivity, and unhealthy diet. Treatment includes healthy diet, regular exercise, blood sugar monitoring, and possibly, medication or insulin therapy.

Sources:

FMCSA diabetes mellitus information collection notice and request for public comments:

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/07/27/2017-15835/agency-information-collection-activities-information-collection-revision-request-medical

American Diabetes Association FAQ for Commercial Driver’s Licenses:

http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/know-your-rights/discrimination/drivers-licenses/commercial-drivers-and-diabetes-discrimination/faqs-about-commercial-drivers-licenses.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

FMCSA Withdraws Sleep Apnea Rulemaking

By: Paul Karolczyk

On August 8, the FMCSA withdrew its rulemaking notice concerning moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The new rule was to formalize screening criteria and testing protocols to provide a consistent way to address OSA-related safety risks in the trucking industry.

FMCSA initiated the rulemaking in March 2016 in response to concerns raised by trucking stakeholder groups about the agency’s plan to use regulatory guidance instead of the public notice-and-comment process before taking regulatory action. The rulemaking sought public comment on the prevalence of OSA, cost and benefits of regulatory action, screening procedures and diagnostics, medical personnel qualifications and restrictions, and treatment effectiveness.

FMCSA’s withdrawal of the rulemaking leaves the current system unchanged – which only provides advisory criteria, giving medical examiners full discretion over screening, testing, and treatment decisions in the medical certification process.

Washington Trucking Associations, the trucking industry’s leading voice in the state, disagrees with the FMCSA’s decision, stating, “The WTA is disappointed in the withdrawal of the sleep apnea rulemaking, we would like to see rules published instead of guidance, we feel that this would eliminate the many various interpretations of the guidance that we are experiencing now.”

What is OSA?

OSA is a common, but serious respiratory disorder. The affected person’s upper airway repeatedly collapses from involuntary relaxation of throat muscles during sleep. Recurrent pauses in breathing or shallow breathing interrupt sleep and cause drowsiness, fatigue, and decreased awareness during waking hours. Risk factors for OSA include obesity, male gender, advancing age, family history, large neck size, and a small oropharynx (throat). OSA is also associated with higher risk of heart disease and stroke.

Although loud frequent snoring can indicate sleep apnea, the disorder is often undiagnosed because affected people are unaware of their breathing problems during sleep. Testing consists of overnight sleep studies. A common treatment choice is use of a continuous positive airway pressure device, which gently feeds air through a mask over the nose and/or mouth to keep the airway open during sleep. Other treatment options include weight loss, dental appliances, and surgery.

Sources:

FMCSA Sleep Apnea Rulemaking Withdrawal:

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/08/08/2017-16451/evaluation-of-safety-sensitive-personnel-for-moderate-to-severe-obstructive-sleep-apnea

Current FMCSA Advisory Criteria to Medical Examiners for Obstructive Sleep Apnea:

https://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov/NRPublicUI/documents/OSA%20Bulletin%20to%20MEs%20and%20Training%20Organizations-01122015.pdf

A Day With The Winners

By Ace Guerra

FosterFarmsFleetotheYear2016

From left to right:Jim Tutton, Vice President, Washington State Trucking Associations, Chief John Batiste, Washington State Patrol, Phil Martin, Vehicle Safety, Foster Farms, Kevin Skow, VP Safety, Great West Casualty, Photo courtesy of the WTA

Every year Washington Trucking Associations (WTA) puts on an award ceremony to honor those companies with outstanding safety records. This is a fun family event that took place at the Tacoma Country Club. Plaques for winning fleets are provided by the Washington State Patrol in partnership with the Washington Trucking Associations and Great West Casualty in partnership with the American Trucking Associations. Along with awards, this event is filled with fun, great food and a clear message that safety is important in trucking.

Fleet

These awards are to recognize companies for their outstanding safety and for achieving excellence during a 12 month period of operating commercial vehicles.

The awards were presented as follows:

  • Common Carrier over 5 million miles – Oak Harbor Freight Lines
  • Common Carrier under 5 million miles – Ludtke Pacific Trucking Inc.
  • Private Carrier over 5 million miles- Foster Farms
  • Dump Truck conference– Central Washington Asphalt Inc.
  • Supplier Conference – Associated Petroleum
  • Intermodal Conference – Mitchell Bros Truck Lines

 

Drivers 

These drivers are being recognized for their outstanding safety record during their driving career. They are judged based on years in the industry, total number of miles driven, preventable accidents, moving violations, community involvement and other outstanding activities of the nominee.

The awards were presented as follows:

  • Private Carriers Conference – Max Davidson – Providence Health and Services
  • Common Carrier – Joe Brown – Dedicated Farms
  • Movers Conference – Vladimir Pavlovets – Lile International Co.
  • Suppliers Conference – Michael Jolly – Associated Petroleum.
  • Dump Truck Conference – Shanon Nelson– Central Washington Asphalt Inc.

 

Safety Professional of the Year 

  • 2016 Safety Professional of the Year is awarded to Michael Jason Thompson with Hermann Bros Logging and Construction Inc.

 

Grand Champion of the Year

  • A big shout out to Foster Farms for receiving the Grand Champion award for fleet of the year.

 

Congratulations to all individual drivers and companies for making safety a priority. Not only do they deliver all of our goods but they go above and beyond to make sure everyone is safe and that all drivers return home safe to their loved ones. Congratulations again!