Posted August 10, 2017 by Administrator
Many fleets are busy ensuring their trucks are compliant with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) new electronic logging device (ELD) regulation. However, one sector of the trucking industry is at an impasse. Truckers that transport livestock or agricultural goods are under different time constraints than those who transport non-perishable cargo. It is not a simple matter of delivering goods on a certain timetable; the animals’ welfare and produces’ spoilage rate affect delivery as well.
Agricultural Exemption Specifications
To address these issues, the FMCSA granted certain exemptions to these truckers for one year. The FMCSA granted this extension in order to collaborate with producers to find a workable solution. The primary exemption is for truckers transporting livestock. They do not need to track their Hours of Service (HOS) with an ELD for the duration of the one-year delay. Current FMCSA HOS regulations encompass an 11-hour driving limit, a 14-hour on duty limit, and a 60-hour limit for the entire workweek.
The FMCSA granted drivers delivering agricultural commodities an exemption as well. If the trucker can conduct his or her hauls within 150 air miles, he or she does not need to log their driving time or mileage. However, once the driver goes beyond the 150 air mile zone, he or she must use their ELD and follow all HOS rules.
The FMCSA allowed these exemptions and one-year delay to avoid crippling the agriculture industry. The U.S. DOT agency plans to work with truckers transporting agricultural goods to draft new regulations tailored to their needs. Managing an agribusiness is difficult under the best of circumstances. This delay can help agricultural transporters stay in business while developing safety improvements. To stay up to date with the latest regulations affecting agribusinesses, contact the experts at Cline Wood.
Posted August 10, 2016 by Administrator
The debate about rulemaking and who pays in the screening and treatment for truck drivers with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) continues as the FMCSA holds late August meetings for recommendations. The public meetings will be held Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 22-23, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern at the FMCSA National Training Center in Arlington, Va.
Drivers are raising concerns about lost time and money after being referred for a sleep test by a medical examiner. The guidelines for referring a driver for a test are also in question regarding the neck circumference and body mass index (BMI) ratios that can trigger the testing.
Although the rulemaking process has not reached the stage of whether the FMCSA will issue a regulation or just guidance truckers are attempting to get out ahead of any final rulings regarding both testing criteria and cost burden. Many have suggested the agency pursue a pilot program to help determine what the practical costs and implications of such a rule would be.
What is clear at this point is that not all insurance providers cover screenings, equipment and everything that goes along with OSA. The American Transportation Research Institute has also released its findings of a study on sleep apnea conducted this year. ATRI found that costs to truckers can exceed $1,000 in out-of-pocket expenses when referred for sleep apnea screening and much higher costs for treatment if it is not fully covered under their insurance. To learn more about FMCSA regulations and trucking news, visit our blog regularly or view our webinars.
Posted December 2, 2015 by Administrator
In a previous post, we discussed the issues transportation companies have when the lines are blurred between owner-operators and employees. We also discussed warning signs that you may be treating your owner operators like employees. In this post, we will help you learn how to educate owner operators so that they are effective contractors for your organization.
Training for Policies and Regulations
Companies can’t require that independent contractors attend training. It is up to the owner-operators to understand federal regulations and maintain the proper licensing. Any company policies contractors need to understand should be outlined in the lease agreement.
Your organization can create remedial training for employees and owner-operators who are found in violation of federal policies. Let the contractors know that they can have the option of attending this remedial training or the company will terminate the relationship with the contractor.
Let owner-operators know about special permits they will need to deliver to your customers, such as cards needed to enter ports or military facilities. However, you can’t force the independent contractor to obtain the card in order to work with your organization. You also can’t pay for the testing or application process unless you deduct it from the contractor’s compensation.
Make sure that independent contractors understand they need to maintain separate insurance policies that will protect them and their cargo. Your company will also need to maintain insurance policies such as Occupational Accident coverage and non-trucking liability coverage.
Explicit Lease Agreements
Create detailed owner-operator lease agreements that explain the independent contractor relationship, company policies and charges. This way the independent contractor will understand company expectations, compensation and deductions.
Owner-operators can be an effective way to manage your business while cutting expenses. If you want to learn more about transportation safety, risk reduction and best practices, contact us.