Bits & Pieces

Volume 15, Edition 12

I am not sure if anyone is out there this week as I hope that most of the industry is off celebrating the holidays.  This is the Bits ‘n Pieces that gets the most “out of office” responses each year! It has been an interesting year and I hear from more than one of you (myself included) that most of us will be happy to see 2012 slide in to the history books, especially as reports of the losses from Hurricane Sandy start to be released by insurers.  I hope that you took some time to enjoy the end of the year lull (although personally I don’t think there is a lull anymore).

This month we report:

CAB’s LAB – We’ve got a number of exciting new features that will be rolled out at the beginning of the new year. Stay tuned for more details and always remember to pick up the latest copy of our User Guide to learn about the latest enhancements.

CSA – The FMCSA announced 11 changes to CSA this month.  CAB has, of course, updated its reports to reflect the new changes.  The changes include replacing the Cargo-Related BASIC with the Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance BASIC, strengthening the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC by including cargo and load securement violations that were previously in the Cargo-Related BASIC, counting intermodal equipment violations found during drivers’ pre-trip inspections, aligning speeding violations to be consistent with current speedometer regulations that require speedometers to be accurate within 5 mph, changing the name of the Fatigued Driving BASIC to the Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance BASIC to more accurately reflect violations contained within the BASIC, and aligning the severity weight of paper and electronic logbook violations equally on the SMS for consistency purposes. The change applies to the prior 24 months of data used by the SMS and all SMS data moving forward.

CARRIER SERVICE ACTIONS – The FMCSA commenced a proceeding to revoke Peace of Mind Relocation, Inc.’s operating authority registration following a determination that Peace of Mind Relocation, Inc. held hostage household goods of individual shippers in violation of federal statutes.  The FMCSA has also ordered Trusted Moving and Storage d.b.a. Nationwide Top Movers (Trusted Moving and Storage) of Santa Clara, Calif., to return household goods to the original shippers. The order is the first time FMCSA has used new enforcement powers granted to the agency under the federal surface transportation reauthorization program known as MAP-21. FMCSA has also initiated a proceeding to suspend Trusted Moving and Storage’s authority to operate in interstate commerce as a household goods motor carrier.

In the general commodity arena, the FMCSA ordered Two Dayes Trucking and Two Dayes Transport, based in Murfreesboro, NC, and Ben Gordon Enterprises, LLC d/b/a Gordon’s Tree Service of Sidell, LA to immediately cease all transportation services due to a pattern of serious safety violations that pose an imminent hazard to public safety.

In a surprising move, the FMCSA also issued an “out of service” on a driver, Georgia-licensed truck driver Johnny Felton Jr., who was working for DOT Transportation, Inc. out of Mount Sterling, IL, declaring him an imminent hazard and ordering him to immediately cease all commercial vehicle driver operations because of his failure to exercise an appropriate duty of care to the motoring public regarding his medical conditions.  It was the first time in at least eight years the agency had released information about an individual driver put out-of-service.
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Volume 15, Edition 11

Have you finally finished the last of that turkey?  I gave up after day three.  I don’t think I want to see another turkey dinner for a while. I hope you all enjoyed the Thanksgiving repast.  It was especially thankful for many of us here in the Northeast as we continue the efforts to focus on recovery.  I am sure this month has been hard on underwriters and claims personnel throughout the country as everyone looks to see what accounts were impacted by the storm.  And in the middle of all this we re-elected President Obama and the national news has turned to how that will impact the coming years.  But we can save that for another day and limit this report to news in the transportation field.

OUT OF SERVICE ORDER – The FMCSA has declared Illinois-based C & D Transportation, Inc. (USDOT #2096634), an imminent hazard to public safety and ordered the motor carrier to immediately shut down its operations. The FMCSA reports that the carrier has willfully violated an out-of-service order and continued to operate by renting vehicles on the effective date of the out-of-service order, one of which crashed; has failed to ensure that its drivers comply with commercial driver’s license requirements, English proficiency requirements, and vehicle weight limits; and has committed records of duty status violations.

MEDICAL CERTIFICATES – The FMCSA has announced a new initiative in which inspectors will begin conducting random verifications of medical examiner certificates in mid-November during routine enforcement activities. Inspectors will contact the medical examiner’s office at the telephone number indicated on the certificate and seek confirmation that the doctor’s records conform to the medical certificate being presented by the driver. The effort is intended to crack down on the use of fraudulent medical certificates.  We will let you know the results of the initiative.

NTSB MOST WANTED LIST – The NTSB’s announced its top priorities for the coming year, which primarily focuses on addressing distracted driving at all levels of transportation.  The top priority of the NTSB is to mandate motor vehicle collision avoidance technologies, including lane-departure warning systems and forward collision warning systems that are available for cars, buses and big trucks, but only as optional add-ons. In addition to crash avoidance systems, the list includes improving safety of airport surface operations, preserving the integrity of transportation infrastructure; enhancing pipeline safety, implementing positive train control systems; eliminating substance-impaired driving; improving the safety of bus operations; eliminating distraction in transportation; improving fire safety in transportation; and finally improving general aviation safety.

APPEAL TIME LOST – The FMCSA announced that bus and truck companies can no longer seek a 10-day extension to resolve an appeal after they are ordered to cease operations for unsafe business practices. During fiscal 2011, 55 bus or truck carriers were ordered out of service, and eight 10-day extensions were granted.  FMCSA is required by law to review a motor carrier’s corrective actions within 30 days after the date the carrier makes a good faith request that its operating authority be reinstated. In the case of other truckers, the final order to cease operations would take effect on the 61st day.

ECONOMIC UPSWING FOR TRUCKING? – GE Capital’s sixth market survey of chief financial officers of 500 U.S. middle-market companies reports that 79% of transportation CFOs expect to increase staff in the next 12 months. Trucking CFOs saw the largest increase in credit availability across all industries – a 35 percent increase and up 12 points from the previous survey.  Transportation CFOs also indicate that 67% will increase equipment purchases.  The greatest business opportunities are expected to focus on increasing average revenue-per-loaded-mile and increasing tonnage volume from existing customers.

CHAMELEON® CARRIERS – The FMCSA has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that gives the agency the ability to more quickly shut down carriers.  The FMCSA will target carriers which have “egregious” disregard for safety compliance, and which permit persons who have shown egregious disregard for safety compliance to exercise controlling influence over their operations or which operate multiple entities under common control to conceal noncompliance with safety regulations.  Under the proposed rule, if the FMCSA suspects that an officer of a truck or bus company has demonstrated a pattern of avoiding regulatory compliance or ignoring civil penalties for safety violations the agency would investigate the carrier’s management structure and its operations to determine if it is deliberately concealing safety violations or a negative safety history. If a pattern of unsafe practices is found, FMCSA would suspend or revoke the company’s authority to operate.
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