Posts Tagged “Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration”

Des Moines Truck Brokers: It is Time Truckers are Treated as Partners

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DSCN3878+1As the federal government continues to pile rules and regulations on interstate trucking it is time shippers start treating truckers as partners.  Times are rapidly changing in a world of cyberspace.

Jimmy DeMatteis is president of Des Moines Truck Brokers, Inc. (DMTB) of Norwalk, IA, that bills itself as “Iowa’s first and most nationally recognized third party logistics company.”  Like it or not, DeMatteis says the day is coming when businesses are going to have to change the way they deal with the trucking industry or begin facing the consequences of government penalties.

“If you do anything to coerce these guys to go against the rules, hours of service, etc., they (the government) can issue severe penalties” that he notes can start at $2500 and go up to $25,000 for repeat offenders.

An example of these changing times comes with the implementation of e-logs.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued its final rule last December requiring the use of electronic logs in all 2000 and newer trucks in interstate commerce.  The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has filed a Petition for Review citing the rule as an intrusion into the rights of professional truckers and an invasion of a driver’s right to privacy.

DMTB arranges thousands of refrigerated produce and other fresh foods each year.

“There will be fines so you (shippers) have got to be careful telling motor carriers to get to their appointments, while the guy is still waiting to load at a dock.  If you do anything to coerce these guys to go against the rules, hours of service, etc, they (government) can issue severe penalties.  You can wait at a dock six to eight hours, and they tell the driver you have to have a load delivered in an unreasonable amount of time,” DeMatteis says.  “You can’t do that anymore.”

The DMTB executive notes a down side to e-logs are many truckers feel they will make less money because of running fewer miles.

“Shippers and brokers have to be educated it is not business as usual.  If you want good carriers it’s time to start treating them as partners.  Carriers have always been blamed for everything and it is really inefficient shipping,,” he states.

DeMatteis calls for government to spend more time making trucking more efficient.   “Instead, they too often take the adversarial route and treat everyone like an outlaw.  The outlaws aren’t out there anymore.”

Continuing, he adds, “I want the carriers to survive.  Shippers need to be more honest, efficient and accurate with shipping schedules and get the trucks out when they say they are going to get them out.”


James A. DeMatteis starting hauling produce in 1951.  As a small fleet owner in 1963 he became a broker of exempt commodities.  This eventually evolved in 1969 into DMTB.  The company was a one man operation until Jimmy DeMatteis joined in 1984.  The third party logistics provider operates in 48 states, Canada and Mexico.  It delivered over 10,000 loads last year, with over 98 percent of the deliveries being on time.

According to the DMTB website:  “Our reputation on paying carriers fast is second to none.  Its claims ratio is less than one half of one percent over the past five years.”

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Annual Roadcheck Inspection Blitz Starting June 2nd

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DSCN0161Here comes the Roadcheck, the annual inspection blitz.  It is a joint effort of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and others, is set to take place starting tomorrow June 2nd and continuing through June 4th.

About 10,000 inspectors from state, local and federal enforcement agencies will  perform nearly 70,000 inspections on trucks and buses over the 72-hour period.  They will be stationed at 1,500 inspection points around North America.

Cargo securement will be this year’s special emphasis, though inspectors will still be primarily performing the full 37-step Level I inspections — the most thorough inspection — throughout the week.

In early June of 2014, the Roadcheck resulted in a vehicle out-of-service rate of 18.7 percent and a driver out-of-service rate of 4.8 percent.   Also last year over 72,000 drivers and vehicles were inspected.

CVSA has on its site resources for owner operators and fleet drivers.  Here are  9 top things inspectors look for:  brakes, coupling devices, lighting, securement of cargo, steering, suspension, plus tires, wheels, rims and hubs.

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Obama Signs Bill Suspending Enforcement of HOS Rule

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DSCN4326President Barack Obama signed on December 16 the appropriations bill that halts enforcement of the requirement that a drivers’ 34-hour restart include two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods and the once-per-week limit of the restart.

Though the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is required by the law to produce a Federal Register notice to alert drivers, enforcers and other stakeholders of the change, the stay of enforcement is now legally in effect, meaning truck operators no longer have to abide by the restart provisions put in place in July 2013.

Aside from the suspension of the restart provisions, however, the law requires the FMCSA to study the rules’ impacts on drivers, carriers and safety. The agency must present a report to Congress concluding the rules boost safety before the restart provisions can go back into effect.

Hours of Service Study Required

Congress is requiring the report study provide data that determines whether or not the 2013 restart provisions can provide a greater net benefit for the operational, safety, health and fatigue impacts they cause.

To gain the necessary data, the FMCSA will have to study two groups of drivers that are “each large enough to produce statistically significant results, according to the bill. One group will operate under post-2013 restart provisions and the other under pre-2013 restart provisions. The study must be conducted for at least five months with the FMCSA comparing the two groups based on safety critical events — crashes and over fatigue levels of drivers.

The law orders that the drivers being studied, which will be derived from a range of applications and fleet sizes, will have their fatigue levels gauged by Psychomotor Vigilance Tests, actigraph watches and cameras and “other on-board monitoring systems that record or measure safety critical events and driver alertness.”

After complete data collection, the FMCSA must submit a final report that would be sent to a review panel consisting of “individuals with relevant medical and scientific expertise.”

Throughout the entire process, however, the Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General must keep tabs on the agency to ensure the methodology used in the data collection is appropriate and the panel to review the study is qualified.

Timeline of the Study

The FMCSA must initially submit a report to the DOT’s Office of the Inspector General within 60 days of the bill signing (December 16), outlining how it plans to execute the study. Within 30 days of receipt of the report, the OIG must report back to the agency and House and Senate committees with any changes.

After receiving the OIG’s recommendation, the FMCSA then has up to 210 days to produce its final report based on its research. The agency must also make its report available to House and Senate committees and post it online.

The OIG must review the report and within 60 days tell the FMCSA and Congressional committees if the agency complied with the requirements of the funding law.

Only after it addresses any concerns of the OIG — and if it concludes the restart provisions enhance safety — would the FMCSA be cleared to enforce the 2013 restart rules again.


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Is Mexican Truck Pilot Program Falling Apart?

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Is the Mexican truck border program falling apart?  If so, that would be music to the ears of many, if not the majority in the trucking industry.  On the other hand, produce shippers and others will not be too happy.

As reported here on August 23rd, a federal audit would be coming soon on the cross-border pilot program involving Mexican based trucking companies being allowed to operate in the USA.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimated that 46 Mexican carriers would participate in the three-year pilot program.  The feds were planning to conduct 4,100 inspections during this time.  However, only four Mexican trucking companies have participated, involving only four trucks and five drivers.  A total of 89 inspections have been conducted by the FMCSA.  Ouch!

The controverisal program has created some strange bedfellows in trucking.  For example the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters seldom agree on much of anything.  However, they’ve tightly held hands fighting this issue based around fears that a flood of Mexican trucks in the USA will drive down freight rates, many of which are not much different from 20 years ago.  There also are concerns by owner operators over safety issues with Mexican equipment and lack of training among Mexican drivers.

Meanwhile produce shippers and others favoring Mexican trucking access to USA markets like the idea of greater competition leading to lower freight rates.

If the pilot program falls apart, with few Mexican trucking companies interested in participating, some produce shippers are concerned the Mexican government will re-implement tariffs of everything from apples to pears and potatoes – with some tariffs being as high as 20 percent.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), under which this pilot program is operating, requires the USA to permit cross-border trucking.  However, legal challenges over the years by American carrier groups have prevented Mexican trucks from operating north of the border for over 10 years.



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