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New EPA Emission Proposal Seen Having Little Impact on Trucking

Jefferson County, Ala., home to Birmingham, is one of the areas the EPA projects will fail to meet the proposed standards.

By Oliver B. Patton, Washington Editor

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed new standard for fine particle pollution is not likely to have much impact on highway trucking, although it could lead to retrofit requirements and anti-idling regulations in a few places.

The EPA proposal would require states to reduce their fine-particle count from 15 to between 12 and 13 micrograms per cubic meter by 2020.

EPA, which was responding to a court order to issue the proposal, said that these microscopic particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and have been linked to numerous health problems, including heart attacks, strokes and bronchitis.

Glenn Kedzie, a vice president at American Trucking Associations, said he thinks the impact on trucking will be minimal.

EPA projects that just a half-dozen counties in the U.S. would fall short of the standard in 2020, Kedzie said. On the list: Riverside and San Bernandino, Calif.; Santa Cruz, Ariz.; Wayne County, Mich.; Jefferson County, Ala.; and Lincoln County, Mont.

Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, agreed.

“It’s speculative at this point to think that new standards would have an immediate effect on the industry,” he said.

Retrofits and idling restrictions would certainly be a way to bring older diesels into compliance, but regulators have other options because diesel emissions are a relatively small part of the particulate matter problem, he said.

“You have to look at this from a national perspective. All sources of diesel emission, locomotive, marine and on- and off-road, add up to less than 6% of pm emissions,” he said.

It is likely that the majority of the on-road diesel fleet will be compliant with EPA’s 2007 emission standards by 2020, Schaeffer said. These trucks would meet the 2020 particulate matter standard.

The story might be different for off-road diesels, Schaeffer said. That equipment tends to be in service longer and may not turn over as quickly as highway equipment.

EPA has not made any official statement about whether or not states could mandate diesel retrofits, he said. Certainly California’s retrofit program could be seen as a precedent for other states, but Schaeffer thinks legal decisions will have to be made before it’s clear what the policy will be.

The diesel engine manufacturers that Schaeffer’s group represents say the work they have done over the past decade puts the industry ahead of the curve should the EPA proposal go into effect.

“For the last decade, diesel technology has undergone a fundamental transformation to near zero emissions, based on ultra low sulfur diesel fuel, advanced clean-burning engines and new emissions control technology,” he said.

EPA said it is taking comments on the proposal for two months, and will publish final standards by December 14.

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Government: Related News

6/20/2012 – New EPA Emission Proposal Seen Having Little Impact on Trucking

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed new standard for fine particle pollution is not likely to have much impact on highway trucking, although it could lead to retrofit requirements and anti-idling regulations in a few places….

6/19/2012 – HOS Court Battle Starts Next Month

The court battle over the hours-of-service rule gets under way in July, according to a schedule posted last week by the appeals court.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has consolidated lawsuits by a number of trucking groups that believe the rule is too restrictive, and by several safety advocacy groups that believe the rule is too liberal….

6/18/2012 – FMCSA to Post CSA Study in Response to ATA Request
In response to prodding by American Trucking Associations, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said it will release a study of the links between violations and crash risk that it uses in the CSA safety enforcement system….

6/14/2012 – Survey: CSA Continued Concern for Carriers and Shippers
Carriers are concerned about CSA 2010 regulations, but they have found some of their shippers to be concerned about CSA scores as well, according to Transport Capital Partners’ Second Quarter 2012 Business Expectations Survey. …

6/14/2012 – OOIDA Says New Out-of-Service Criteria Unconstitutional
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has filed an Order to Show Cause in federal court against the Minnesota State Patrol and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance for the recently amended out-of-service criteria for fatigue….

6/14/2012 – FMCSA Lightens Paperwork Load for Intermodal Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has lightened the regulatory load for intermodal drivers and equipment providers.

In a final rule this week, the agency said it is no longer necessary for drivers to submit a vehicle inspection report if the intermodal chassis has no defects. Chassis providers will not have to keep those reports, either….

6/14/2012 – EPA Outlines SmartWay Verification Program for Retreaded Tires
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established a verification program for retreaded tires used on Class 8 line-haul trucks. Once a retreaded tire receives EPA certification, fleets using those tires will be compliant with CARB regulations for low-rolling-resistance tires….

6/14/2012 – Michigan Passes Bill to Dedicate Portion of Fuel Tax to Roads

Michigan has passed a bill to dedicate part of its 4-cent sales tax on motor fuel to road improvements, reports The Detroit News….

6/13/2012 – ATA Demands FMCSA Release Study Used to Develop CSA Scoring System

American Trucking Associations is calling on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to release a study of the links between violations and crash risk used to develop its methodology for assigning carriers’ scores in its monitoring and measurement system: Compliance, Safety, Accountability….

6/13/2012 – Court Rules for Navistar Competitors in Clean Air Case
In a victory for Navistar’s competitors, a federal court said that the Environmental Protection Agency should not have allowed Navistar to pay penalties on engines that don’t meet clean air standards….

6/12/2012 – Court Throws Out EPA Rule Allowing Navistar to Keep Making Engines
A federal appeals court has ruled that Navistar’s business plight was not a good enough reason for the Environmental Protection Agency to allow Navistar continue selling engines that don’t meet EPA’s 2010 emissions rules simply by paying fines….

6/6/2012 – FMCSA Extends Comment Period for SMS Preview
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is giving carriers more time to comment on the proposed changes to its Safety Measurement System. …

6/6/2012 – DOT: Trucks Hauling Sand, Water for Fracking Not Exempt from HOS Rules
Truck drivers hauling water and sand to U.S. oil and natural gas shale drilling sites don’t qualify for a special oil-field service equipment exemption to extend their daily driving hours. …

6/6/2012 – Massachusetts Right to Repair Surpasses Ballot Petition Goal
The Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition achieved its final goal of attaining 20,000 voter signatures in its ballot campaign, well above the 11,000 required. The final batch of certified signatures will be delivered to the state Secretary of State’s office ahead of the early-July deadline….

6/5/2012 – ATA Pushes for FMCSA Response on Crash Accountability

The American Trucking Associations continues to prod the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to change its approach to measuring crash accountability in its CSA safety enforcement program. Yesterday, the association challenged the agency to release a study it has done on the feasibility of using police reports to gauge crash accountability….

6/4/2012 – FMCSA Proposes HOS Guidance for Oilfield Haulers
Oil and gas drilling is booming these days, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing to revisit its hours-of-service guidance for carriers that serve the business….

6/1/2012 – ATA Tells Congress Security Efforts Must Be Risk Based

While testifying on the Transportation Security Administration’s Surface Transportation Inspection Program, Phil Byrd, president of Bulldog Hiway Express, Charleston, S.C., and vice chairman of American Trucking Associations, told the congressional subcommittee that efforts to secure the nation’s transportation system should be deployed based on specific and credible intelligence….

6/1/2012 – FMCSA Safety Crackdown Closes 26 Bus Operations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shut down 26 bus operations running passenger service on I-95 between New York City and Florida, the latest in a series of enforcement crackdowns on truck and bus companies….

5/30/2012 – FMCSA Extends Time for Comments on Proposed Safety Measurement System
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a 60-day extension of the time that motor carriers have to comment on proposed improvements to the agency’s proposed Safety Measurement System. The comment period now runs through July 30….

5/24/2012 – Associations Lobby Highway Bill Conferees to Address Trucking’s Needs

Leaders of American Trucking Associations asked members of the conference committee currently negotiating on the highway bill to address several critical issues for the trucking industry — one of them calling for electronic onboard recorders, which the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and a coalition of other groups are lobbying against. …

5/24/2012 – FMCSA Offers Consumers Moving Company Checklist

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced the launch of a new “Consumer Checklist” to assist consumers in choosing a responsible interstate moving company and protecting themselves from fraudulent or dishonest household goods movers….

5/24/2012 – Major Trucking Players React Positively to NHTSA’s Stability Control Proposal
The American Trucking Associations issued a statement praising the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s proposed requirement for electronic stability control on large trucks….

5/23/2012 – U.S. and Mexican Officials to Identify Needed Border-Crossing Projects
U.S. and Mexican officials are meeting today as a first effort to decide where new border crossings and connecting roads may be necessary,…

5/22/2012 – Mass. Right to Repair Bill Jumps First Hurdle

A little more than a month after consumers and neighborhood repairers packed a Massachusetts State House hearing room to urge passage of the Right to Repair legislation, the State Senate late Thursday evening strongly approved the measure….

5/21/2012 – Three more Mexican carriers in line for cross-border service
Three additional Mexican carriers have cleared a pre-authorization safety audit for long-distance service across the border and are waiting for authority to join the three carriers already operating….

5/17/2012 – NHTSA Proposes Stability Control Mandate
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed a first-ever federal motor vehicle safety standard to require electronic stability control (ESC) systems on large commercial trucks and buses….

5/16/2012 – ND DOT Adopts Federal Guidelines for Former Military Drivers

The North Dakota Department of Transportation is now allowing members of the military to apply commercial driving experience obtained while in the military to acquire a North Dakota CDL….

5/16/2012 – FMCSA Posts 2012-2016 Strategic Plan

The core of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s strategic plan for the next five years is to press ahead with rules and reforms it already has under way….

5/15/2012 – Virginia DMV “Troops to Trucks” Program Puts Veterans to Work
Through the new Troops to Trucks program, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles is joining forces with the military and transportation-related businesses to put former servicemen and women and National Guard and Reserves members to work in the transportation industry….

5/14/2012 – Highway Bill Conferees Face Daunting Schedule
House and Senate conferees last week began work on the highway bill under considerable pressure of time and necessity.

Counting today, the conferees have 19 working days left before the current extension expires June 30. Their staffs, who do much of the detail work in the conference process, probably will be working close to 24-7….

5/11/2012 – CARB Urges Tractor-Trailer Owners to Register Early for Flexibility
The California Air Resources Board is encouraging small fleet owners of 2010 and older model year 53-foot or longer box-type trailers that operate on California highways to report vehicle information now to gain additional time to comply with the Tractor-Trailer Greenhouse Gas regulation….

5/11/2012 – DOT Simplifies Stop Sign Regs

The Obama Administration is eliminating 46 regulations on traffic signs to provide more flexibility for state and local governments, including allowing communities to replace traffic signs when they are worn out rather than requiring signs to be replaced by a specific date….

5/11/2012 – Carriers Can Preview Proposed CSA Safety Measurement System Changes

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has updated the CSA Safety Measurement System website and the SMS Preview website. Carriers can log in to to CSA’s Safety Measurement System site to preview the first package of proposed changes through two websites:…

5/9/2012 – Teamsters Endorse Obama in 2012

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa announced the union’s endorsement of President Barack Obama for re-election in 2012. Hoffa made the official announcement to more than 1,500 Teamster members attending the union’s annual conference in Las Vegas this week….

5/9/2012 – ATA’s Graves Not Optimistic about Highway Bill
The country has a lot on the line in the current negotiations over the highway bill, but Bill Graves, president and CEO of American Trucking Associations, is not optimistic that Congress will do what needs to be done….

5/8/2012 – Motor Carriers Asked to Weigh in on CSA
This week, the American Transportation Research Institute launched its second annual motor carrier survey to identify CSA impacts on trucking operations, as well as carrier perceptions and attitudes toward FMCSA’s maturing regulatory program….

5/8/2012 – Stability Control Proposal Nearing Publication

A proposal to require stability control systems on heavy-duty tractors is nearing publication. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposal has been cleared by the White House Office of Management and Budget, the last step in the review process….

5/8/2012 – Industry and Safety Groups Press for Recorder Mandate
Trucking and safety interests are pressing congressional negotiators to include an electronic onboard recorder mandate in the highway bill they are drafting. In a letter to leaders of the House-Senate conference committee, industry interest groups strongly urged that the mandate be kept in the bill….

5/5/2012 – CSA Data May Indicate Move by Drivers to Independent Owner-Operators
Federal safety data indicate that carrier registrations have jumped by 7.5% over the past 14 months, possibly reflecting a move by drivers to go into business for themselves, according to an analysis by QualifiedCarriers, a risk management services provider to shippers….

5/4/2012 – Fuel Economy Standards Could Reduce Transportation Funds by $57 Billion
Proposed fuel economy standards could result in a $57 billion drop in tax revenue that goes to federal transportation funds, says the Congressional Budget Office.

New CAFE standards (or corporate average fuel economy standards), proposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency in 2011, would tighten fuel economy standards for light-duty vehicles manufactured from 2017 to 2025….

4/30/2012 – FMCSA Cracks Down on Reincarnated Carriers
A new rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration makes it tougher for carriers that have been sanctioned to reincarnate themselves under a new identity.

The agency last week posted a final rule that changes its procedures in several areas affecting truck lines, intermodal equipment providers, brokers, freight forwards and hazmat proceedings….

4/30/2012 – New Jersey Congressmen Call for Suspension in Toll Hikes
Several New Jersey Congressmen asked the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to delay a second round of toll hikes scheduled for December until the agency can prove it has its finances in order, reports New Jersey’s Star-Ledger.

“The planned toll hikes should be suspended until an external audit determines that the audit recommendations have been addressed,” wrote U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg in a letter…

4/27/2012 – Highway Bill Conferees Face Tough Funding Issues but Share Some Common Ground on Policy

The House and Senate have chosen their conferees for negotiations on the highway bill. They have until June 30 to work out a deal or pass another extension.

The conferees’ toughest challenge will be to agree on the duration and funding of the bill, but their portfolio includes numerous important policy issues, including truck safety and program reforms at the Department of Transportation….

4/26/2012 – ATA, OOIDA Square Off on EOBR Debate
In advance of the upcoming conference committee meetings on the surface transportation bill, the American Trucking Associations and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association are urging passage or rejection (respectively) of the Senate’s EOBR requirement….

4/25/2012 – Transport Experts Say Public Must Push Congress to Act on Highways
Congress can’t do its job on the highway bill, so the public is going to have to take the lead, says a group of infrastructure experts including five former secretaries of transportation.

The federal highway program is now running on its ninth temporary extension because Congress will not compromise on how to pay for it, said the 60 experts brought together by the University Virginia’s Miller Center….

4/23/2012 – FMCSA Withdraws Sleep Apnea Proposal
FMCSA apparently jumped the gun with its Friday announcement that it proposed to adopt the recommendations of two advisory panels for tougher sleep apnea guidelines….

4/20/2012 – No Clear Answers on Highway Bill
House passage of another 90-day extension of the highway program sets the stage for another nail-biter.

Including today, there are 31 working days left before the current extension expires. The extension the House passed on Wednesday would give the House and Senate until the end of the fiscal year in September to negotiate the details of a highway bill that lasts longer than 90 days….

4/20/2012 – FMCSA Proposes Guidance for Sleep Apnea
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing tougher standards for sleep apnea evaluation. The agency is adopting the recommendations of two advisory panels, one from the medical community and one representing industry, enforcement, labor and safety advocacy interests, for how medical examiners should evaluate the condition….

4/20/2012 – Employee Misclassification Report No Good, Says New York State Motor Truck Association

A new report published by the Drum Major Institute claims to illustrate widespread abuse through the misclassification of employees in the truck transportation industry. The New York Motor Truck Association, however, says this report is just a tool the Teamsters Union is using…

4/19/2012 – N.J. Trucking Executive Warns Senate on the True Cost of Tolls
In testimony before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, NFI Chief Financial Officer Steve Grabell warned that rapidly increasing toll rates, as well as the spread of tolls across the country, are a threat to consumers and to the trucking industry….

4/19/2012 – New Rule Will Create Registry of Certified Medical Examiners
Truck safety regulators are about to post a new, long-awaited rule aimed at shoring up driver medical standards.

The rule will require those who perform medical exams for drivers to be trained, tested and certified to a national standard. It also will create a national online registry of examiners who have met the certification requirement….

4/19/2012 – House Passes Another Highway Bill Extension, Heads to Conference Committee
Once again, the U.S. House of Representatives has kicked the can down the road on highway funding. Despite a presidential veto threat, the Republican legislation extended transportation funding through September — the 10th such extension — and mandates construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline….

4/17/2012 – Canada Aligns GHG Emissions Regs with U.S.
Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent announced Canada’s alignment with the U.S. regulations for heavy-duty vehicle and engine greenhouse gas emissions for 2014 and later….

4/17/2012 – N.J. Owner-Operators Need IRS Determination for Non-Employee Status

UPDATED — A number of New Jersey fleets have discovered the hard way — with fines to the tune of $800,000 — that the New Jersey Department of Labor now requires owner-operators to first prove that the Internal Revenue Service already deemed them independent contractors before the state will allow an employee exemption….

4/16/2012 – California Court Says Employers Must Offer 30-Minute Meal Breaks

California trucking companies will be required to give drivers a 30-minute meal period within the first five hours of driving, according to the California Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Brinker v. Superior Court. …

4/13/2012 – Truck Dealer of the Year Nominee Educates Nebraska Rep. on Natural Gas
U.S. Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., visited Omaha Truck Centers, owned by dealer Trey Mytty, to learn more about natural gas in the commercial vehicle industry….

4/13/2012 – FMCSA Wants to Study Overweight Trucks’ Connection to Safety
The DOT wants to better understand the safety performance of overweight vehicles — both permitted and illegally overloaded — so it is looking for state agencies to work with in a study of the issue….

4/13/2012 – Study Finds Few Effects from Diesel Exhaust from EPA-07 Engines
The first results of what is said to be the most comprehensive study ever undertaken of the health effects of exposure to new technology diesel engines has found no evidence of gene-damaging effects in the animals studied, and only a few mild effects on the lungs, according to a report issued by the Health Effects Institute….

4/10/2012 – FMCSA Shuts Down JA Transportation
The U.S. DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration declared New Jersey-based JA Transportation Inc. an imminent hazard to public safety, and ordered the trucking company to shut down its operations….

4/9/2012 – New Rule for Medical Examiners Nearing Publication
A final rule to establish a National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners is close to publication.

The rule was cleared last week by the White House Office of Management and Budget, the last stage before publication in the Federal Register….

4/5/2012 – Three Oregon Ports of Entry to Switch to Phone-based Services
The Oregon Motor Carrier Transportation Division is closing its registration offices at three ports of entry and replacing over-the-counter services with phones and fax machines truck drivers can use for registration and over-dimension permit services….

3/30/2012 – No Highway Bill, So Congress Extends Program for 90 Days

Congress yesterday passed a 90-day extension of the federal highway program, the ninth extension since the program formally expired in October 2009….

3/30/2012 – Nasstrac Joins HOS Legal Battle
Nasstrac, the National Shippers Strategic Transportation Council, has joined in the legal efforts to challenge a lawsuit regarding reduced daily driving hours for truckers, reports the Journal of Commerce….

3/28/2012 – CSA Changes Available for Review
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is previewing a half-dozen important changes it plans to make in the CSA safety enforcement system.

In the announcement in yesterday’s Federal Register, the agency also discussed a controversial decision it recently made to back away from plans to clarify crash accountability data in CSA….

3/27/2012 – FMCSA Urged to Step Up Effort Against Reincarnated Carriers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration could step up its effort to catch reincarnated carriers by making better use of the data it has, according to the Government Accountability Office….

3/26/2012 – FMCSA Officials Get Input on EOBRs at Mid-America Trucking Show
LOUISVILLE, KY — Officials with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration got an earful Friday about a number of issues relating to hours of service, electronic onboard recorders, and how trucking companies use EOBRs and other in-cab technologies to harass drivers….

3/22/2012 – House Will Push Highway Extension
The House, unable to resolve internal differences regarding its five-year, $260 billion highway bill and opposed to the Senate’s two-year, $109 billion measure, is going to push for a three-month extension of the current program….

3/22/2012 – Cummins to Have 2014-compliant Engines in Service by 2013
LOUISVILLE, KY — Cummins Inc. says it will be ready to ship its full line-up 2014-compliant heavy-duty diesel and natural gas engines a full year ahead of deadline, and they’ll feature improved reliability and fuel economy….

3/21/2012 – ATA: Common Sense Must Govern CSA Crash Accountability Decisions
American Trucking Associations‘ leaders expressed serious concern over the recent decision by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to continue to count every truck-involved crash in CSA scores, including those the truck driver could not have prevented….

3/16/2012 – ATA, TCA File Issue Statements with Court in HOS Challenge
The American Trucking Associations and the Truckload Carriers Association each filed motions to intervene with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in litigation challenging the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s recently published hours-of-service regulations….

3/15/2012 – Dealer Plans to Participate in New Wisconsin Job-Training Program
Peterbilt dealer JX Enterprises hosted Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as he signed Assembly Bill 450, popularly known as Wisconsin Wins, into law this week….

3/15/2012 – Senate Passes Highway Bill, 74-22
In an unusual display of bipartisanship, the Senate passed a two-year, $109 billion highway bill by a vote of 74 to 22.

All of the Senate’s Democrats and half of its Republicans voted for the bill….

3/14/2012 – Senate Close to Passing Highway Bill

The Senate is close to passing a two-year, $109 billion highway bill that could become a model for what the House will do with its transportation legislation.

The bill, called Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), would streamline the federal transportation program, accelerate project delivery, eliminate earmarks, increase financing resources and fund improvements in freight distribution….

3/12/2012 – FMCSA Stops Plan to Determine Accountability in CSA Crash Data
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration last week reversed course on a long-planned correction in its CSA safety enforcement system.

The agency was close to proposing a way for carriers to get an assessment of fault in the crashes used to determine their safety rating, but on Thursday Anne Ferro told industry representatives that the agency will not go ahead after all….

3/9/2012 – House May Default to Senate’s Highway Bill
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) yesterday gave the clearest indication yet that Congress will go with a short-term highway bill like the one the Senate is close to passing.

“The current plan is to see what the Senate can produce…

3/9/2012 – ATD Study: EPA Grossly Underestimated Emissions Systems Costs
A report released yesterday by The National Automobile Dealers Association and American Truck Dealers questions the Environmental Protection Agency’s cost analysis of 2004-2010 emissions control mandates. Data collected by ATD shows EPA’s cost estimates were off by a factor of between two and five….

3/8/2012 – Obama Visits DTNA Truck Plant, Addresses Energy Issues
President Barack Obama toured Daimler Trucks North America‘s Mount Holly, N.C., manufacturing plant Wednesday and spoke on alternative fuel technologies while praising DTNA’s commitment to natural gas….

3/8/2012 – Volvo Trucks First U.S. Manufacturer to Achieve Dual Energy Certifications
Volvo TrucksNew River Valley assembly plant in Dublin, Va., is the first U.S. facility to be certified to the ISO 50001 standards under a pilot program supported by the U.S. Department of Energy….

3/7/2012 – Obama to Visit North Carolina Daimler Trucks Plant
President Obama will visit a Daimler Trucks North America plant in North Carolina today, where he’s expected to tout the economy, job growth and fuel-efficiency standards….

3/2/2012 – New Jersey Bill Would Make Owner-Operators Employees
A proposed New Jersey bill, A1578/S1450, dubbed the “Truck Operator Independent Contractor Act,” seeks to define drayage and parcel delivery owner-operators as employees of the companies they provide services for, rather than independent contractors….

3/2/2012 – Movement but Not Much Progress on Highway Bill
As the Senate lumbers through debate on its highway bill, and the House considers changes to its approach, the outcome may be a short-term surface transportation program that preserves funding near current levels. …

2/29/2012 – ATA Files Brief in Support of FMCSA on EOBR Challenge
American Trucking Associations filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief on Feb. 24 with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in support of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration‘s defense of electronic logging devices….

2/27/2012 – Safety Groups Go to Court Over New HOS Rule
The federal rule for truck driver hours of service still fails to make needed improvements regarding tired truckers…

2/27/2012 – New York Motor Truck Says ‘Fair Play Act’ Anything But
Legislation has been introduced in both the New York State Senate and the Assembly to address the “misclassification” of truck drivers as independent contractors. However, the legislation would be so far-reaching, it would “effectively eliminate the owner-operator business model the trucking industry has been using for over 70 years,” according to the New York State Motor Truck Association….

2/24/2012 – ATA Seeks Change in New Tank Vehicle Definition
American Trucking Associations says the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s new definition of a “tank vehicle” is too expansive and needs to be changed….

2/23/2012 – EOBR Listening Session Set for Mid-America Trucking Show
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will host a listening session at the Mid-America Trucking Show on how electronic onboard recorders might be used to harass drivers. The session, scheduled for 10 a.m. March 23 at the show site in Louisville, Ky., is part of the agency’s revised approach to writing a new EOBR rule….

2/23/2012 – New Definition of Tank Vehicle Will Affect CDL Endorsement Requirement

A change in the official definition of a “tank vehicle” has led to confusion about who needs a tank truck endorsement on a commercial driver’s license….

2/17/2012 – DOT Proposes ‘Distraction’ Guidelines for Automakers
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the first-ever federally proposed guidelines to encourage automobile manufacturers to limit the distraction risk for in-vehicle electronic devices….

2/17/2012 – EPA Challenges Navistar Engine Claims

The Environmental Protection Agency believes that Navistar violated engine certification requirements and may file a complaint that could lead to a fine. The agency signaled its intent in a certified letter to Navistar Jan. 30,…

2/16/2012 – Truckstops Fight Amendment in Highway Bill
(UPDATED) Truckstop and convenience store interests are opposed to a provision of the House transportation bill that would allow states to privatize interstate rest areas….

2/15/2012 – Nearly 70 Transportation Associations Sign Letter Opposing Tolls
Sixty-eight transportation associations signed a letter to the Senate opposing the use of tolls on the U.S. Interstate Highway System in the Senate’s version of the Surface Transportation Bill (S. 1813)….

2/15/2012 – Highway Bills Face Uphill Climb in Congress
The Senate and House are taking their highway bills to the floor this week in the face of daunting odds. Passage of this key infrastructure legislation, which sets policy and funding levels, is going to be a near thing at best, given the politics of the bills and considering the March 31 deadline. …

2/15/2012 – ATA Suing to Overturn Hours of Service Rule

American Trucking Associations is suing to overturn the new hours of service rule. ATA is asking the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to set aside the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rule as arbitrary and capricious….

2/14/2012 – FMCSA Plans a Third Proposal to Answer EOBR Questions

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration decided to take a step back from its pending electronic onboard recorder rules and begin a supplemental process to resolve legal and technical problems….

2/14/2012 – Obama’s 2013 Budget Calls for Major Transportation Funding
The White House budget for the fiscal 2013 includes a $476 billion surface transportation reauthorization bill to invest in highway, bridge and mass transit projects through 2018….

2/13/2012 – New York DMV to Waive Road Tests for Veterans Applying for CDLs
As part of his “Experience Counts” campaign to help returning veterans get jobs in New York State, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo implemented two initiatives, one of which waives commercial driver’s license road tests for veterans with qualifying driving experience….

2/9/2012 – Senate Committee Clears Highway Funding Measure
The Senate Finance Committee Tuesday evening passed a bill to provide funding for a two-year highway program.

The measure is a $9.6 billion bundle of transfers and revenue offsets that no one on the committee particularly liked as a solution to the highway funding shortfall but a majority accepted because failure to act would doom the highway bill….

2/7/2012 – Senate to Vote on Highway Funding Proposal
Today the Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to vote on revenue provisions to supplement the Highway Trust Fund and pay for the Senate’s proposed highway bill.

Passage of the measure will put in place a key provision for the Senate’s plan to reauthorize the federal highway program with a $109 billion, two-year bill. The House, meanwhile, is working on a $260 billion, five-year bill. …

2/6/2012 – House Highway Bill Clears Committee on Party-Line Vote
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee did its job last week, reporting out a bill that would reauthorize the federal transportation program for five years at current funding levels. It was a squeaker, though, and the outlook for Congress finishing the job before the current program expires on March 31 is not rosy….

2/3/2012 – House Panel Kills Truck Weight Increase

An increase in federal truck size and weight limits did not survive a House committee vote yesterday. Members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted 33 to 22
to study the increased limit, rather than actually increasing it….

2/2/2012 – House Highway Bill Challenges Hours of Service Restart Provision
In the House highway bill unveiled yesterday, Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., finally revealed what he meant when he said he will challenge the new hours of service rule. The bill could force the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to rewrite the 34-hour restart provision of the rule, which limits the restart to once a week with two sleep periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m….

2/1/2012 – House Highway Bill Would Allow Heavier Trucks

The House of Representatives yesterday unveiled its version of a new highway program that would spend $260 billion over five years. The bill trims the Department of Transportation by consolidating or eliminating programs, gives states a greater say in how they spend federal money and speeds up the project approval process….

1/31/2012 – EPA Sets Penalties for Emissions Non-Compliance
Navistar Inc. may have to pay penalties of up to $1,900 per engine if it cannot meet heavy diesel emission standards, according to a new Environmental Protection Agency rule….

1/30/2012 – BTS Releases Interactive State Transportation Facts and Figures
The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics released State Transportation Facts and Figures, an interactive web transportation mapping application that allows customers to find and download state-by-state transportation data, comparisons and rankings….

1/30/2012 – Hours of Service: Did FMCSA Find a Sweet Spot?
Almost no one is happy about the new hours of service rule. Maybe that means the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration made the moves that will lead to stability, at long last.

Or maybe not….

1/26/2012 – Carriers Responding to New Health Care Costs
More than 80% of carriers report that recent health care changes will adversely affect them, according to the recent fourth quarter national Business Expectations Survey by Transport Capital Partners….

1/26/2012 – FMCSA Clarifies Push-to-Talk Guidance
FMCSA released updated FAQs on its new handheld mobile telephone ban to clarify that the use of the push-to-talk function on mobile phones is permitted, under certain limited conditions….

1/26/2012 – House Readies Highway Bill
House Republicans will introduce a highway bill next week, said Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Mica’s announcement followed President Obama’s call in his State of the Union address for funding the highway program with money not spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan….

1/23/2012 – Judge Rejects Navistar Bid for SCR Engine Recall

A federal judge rejected Navistar’s bid to have the Environmental Protection Agency recall 2010 engines that use selective catalytic reduction to meet emission standards.

The judge, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, said Navistar’s arguments for the recall are not persuasive and dismissed the case….

1/19/2012 – Measure Would Allow Truckers to Go 75 mph in Idaho
A senator in northern Idaho wants to allow truckers to drive 75 mph in the state. The current speed limit for semis in Idaho is 65 mph while cars are allowed to drive 75 mph….

1/19/2012 – Booz Allen: America Needs to ‘Reimagine’ Infrastructure
As the nation prepares for Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address, Booz Allen Hamilton, a strategy and technology consulting firm, outlined items it says should be included in any discussion about the country’s aging infrastructure….

1/19/2012 – Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline Proposal
President Obama announced that his administration is rejecting the controversial proposal for the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, which would have transported 700,000 barrels of oil daily from Canada, Montana and the Dakotas to U.S. refineries in Houston….

1/18/2012 – ATRI Updates Online Idling Regulations Compendium
The American Transportation Research Institute has updated the list of idling regulations, both state and local, on its website,….

1/18/2012 – CSA BASIC Fact Sheets Available on the Web
The Compliance, Safety, Accountability(CSA) program released a new Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) fact sheet series on its website….

1/16/2012 – Minnesota Governor Addresses Infrastructure Problems With New Task Force
The day after announcing a $775 million jobs plan for Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton announced plans to establish the Commissioner’s Transportation Finance Advisory Group, a task force that will be responsible for recommending new ways to finance a better state infrastructure….

1/16/2012 – NC Opens More Roads to Doubles
The North Carolina Department of Transportation will now allow the operation of double-trailer combinations on several freeway routes in the eastern part of the state plus the Triangle area….

1/12/2012 – TRALA-Supported Virginia Legislation Addresses Motor Vehicle Rental Tax
Delegate James Massie (R-Henrico) has introduced Virginia legislation, sponsored by the Truck Renting and Leasing Association, that would limit the types of revenue taxed under the commonwealth’s 10% motor vehicle rental tax….

1/11/2012 – New Jersey Assemblyman Alex DeCroce dies at 75
New Jersey Assembly Majority Leader Alex DeCroce, 75, died suddenly late Monday night at the Statehouse, just after the 214th Legislature held its final voting session….

1/9/2012 – FMCSA Reminds Carriers to Update VMT, Power Unit Data
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is reminding commercial motor carriers they they need to update their Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT) and Power Unit (PU) data on their Motor Carrier Registration form, known as the MCS-150….

1/6/2012 – NY Crossover Mirror Law Effective Friday, Jan. 13
A New York law requiring trucks to have crossover mirrors will go into effect next Friday, Jan. 13….

1/6/2012 – In State of the State, Cuomo Reveals Plans to Better NY Roads and Bridges
In Gov. Cuomo’s state of the state address yesterday, he introduced a plan for the New York Works Fund and Task Force, an entity that would make all the funding decisions for roads, bridges, parks, flood control and municipal water systems….

1/3/2012 – Former FMCSA Supervisor Jailed for Accepting Bribes
A DOT official in New York State was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to felony bribe-taking….

1/3/2012 – Cell Phone Restrictions Now in Effect
Interstate truck and bus drivers are prohibited from using handheld cell phones while driving as of today, Jan. 3, under a final rule posted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration….

12/29/2011 – Poll Finds Tolls More Popular Than Higher Fuel Taxes
In a Reason-Rupe poll of 1,200 adults, 58% of respondents said they would rather pay tolls if and when they use a particular lane or highway, rather than paying higher fuel taxes….

12/28/2011 – Motorcoach Drivers May be Next to Get New HOS Rules
First, airline pilots were handed a new set of HOS rules. Then trucking got new marching orders from FMCSA. Bus drivers may be next. FMCSA has published a public listening session notice for motorcoach HOS….

12/28/2011 – New HOS Rule Will Cause Delays for Manufacturers and Cost the Economy
National Association of Manufacturers has come out against trucking’s new hours-of-service rule, saying the rule will have a negative impact on manufacturers’ supply chains, distribution operations and productivity….

12/27/2011 – California Reminds Truck Owners of Jan. 1 Clean Air Deadline
The California Air Resources Board is reminding owners of heavier diesel trucks and buses that new emission reducing regulations go into effect Jan. 1, 2012, and many businesses may need to report compliance online….

12/23/2011 – New Hours Rule Likely Headed Back to Court
There’s a good chance the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s new hours of service rule is going back to court.

Just hours after the new rule was released, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety indicated that it may resume its challenge of the 11-hour limit on driving….

Emil Estafanous, CPA, CFF, CGMA