GAWDA President Craig Wood and his convention planning committee have assembled a group of speakers that will inspire, educate and awe. If you have not made plans yet for GAWDA's Annual Convention to be held September 15-18 in Orlando, FL, don't wait any longer. More information about the convention and registration can be found online. Meet the presenters here.
FMCSA Revises Guidance for On-Duty Time
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has revised its prior guidance, issued in 1997, on the conditions that must be met in order for a commercial motor vehicle driver to record meal and other routine stops made during a work shift as off-duty time. 78 Federal Register 41852 (July 12, 2013). The FMCSA determined that the 1997 guidance is overly restrictive and inconsistent with the hours-of-service regulations, and thus has the effect of discouraging drivers from taking breaks during the work day or documenting such breaks in their logbooks. The new guidance, effective immediately, can be read here.
DOT Inspector General Audits Special Permits and Approvals Program
The U. S. Department of Transportation Office of the Inspector General has begun an audit of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's Special Permits and Approvals Program. In 2009 and 2010, the Office of the Inspector General reported and testified on what it termed "serious weaknesses in the program." These weaknesses included how the agency: 1) assessed applicants' fitness or ability to comply with special permit or approval conditions; 2) evaluated applicants' proposed safety measures; and 3) coordinated applications with other operating administrations, like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The OIG has initiated this audit to determine how PHMSA is addressing the program's identified weaknesses, including PHMSA's plans for implementing standard operating procedures for processing special permits and approvals, focusing on fitness, safety, and inter-agency coordination.
PHMSA Seeks Volunteers for Paperless Hazard Communications Pilot Program
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is seeking companies to volunteer for a pilot program to evaluate the feasibility of using paperless hazard communications (i.e., electronic shipping papers) for hazmat shipments. 78 Federal Register 43263 (July 19, 2013). Last year, Congress authorized PHMSA to conduct a pilot program to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of using paperless hazard communications systems, and to report back by October 2014 on regulatory changes that would be necessary to permanently authorize the use of paperless hazard communications. In conducting the pilot project, PHMSA may not waive the current shipping paper requirements.
Court Rules Lifetime Ban for Alcoholism Violates ADA
A federal court judge in Arkansas has ruled that a trucking company's policy banning a driver for life after the driver reported he thought he was an alcoholic violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Old Dominion Freight Lines, Inc., Civil Case No. 11-2153, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, decision dated June 26, 2013. In the case, the driver had worked for the company for five years without incident. Read more.