Reminder - FMCSA Clearinghouse Mandatory Registration Deadline is January 6th

Posted by Matt Manoli on Nov 19, 2019 12:30:25 PM

Drug Testing

The FMCSA Clearinghouse deadline is January 6th, 2020, which believe it or not, is only a few weeks away. While CDL drivers do not technically need to register immediately, they will need to do so for mandatory employer pre-employment inquiries so it's better to just get it out of the way now.

The clearinghouse will be a comprehensive database with information on CDL holders' drug or alcohol violations, as well as information on whether that driver has completed required rehabilitation in order to return to work legally. The requirements are applied to ALL CDL drivers, from school bus drivers to interstate truckers. Violations will include any positive drug or alcohol test, DUI conviction, refusal to submit to testing, or acknowledgement of a substance abuse issue. 

Employers, medical review officers and third party administrators will be legally required to report drug or alcohol violations to the database. Employers will also be required to query the database to confirm new hires are eligible to work (no violations, or have completed required rehabilitation) and will also need to annually query to make sure current employees remain eligible to be a commercial driver. State licensing agencies (like the MA RMV) will also be required to query the system when reissuing CDL licenses. 

The goal of the database implementation is to ensure that CDL holders who have drug or alcohol violations are removed from the road until they have fulfilled steps to show they are a safe operator again.

This past summer the State of Massachusetts had an extremely tragic example of what can happen when CDL license holders are not properly vetted by licensing agencies and/or employers in regard to their drug or alcohol violations when a multiple violator killed 7 motorcyclists in New Hampshire while under the influence. Comprehensive, multi-agency efforts like the FMCSA Clearinghouse are put in place to make sure the proper checks are in place to get unsafe drivers off the road, and try to reduce the likelihood another incident like the one in New Hampshire happens again.     

 

The DOT has a great powerpoint presentation that runs through some of the major points regarding the Clearinghouse that you can access here: Final Rule: Commercial Driver's License Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse

You can also access the full rule text here: Commercial Driver's Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

 

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Topics: Safety, CDL Regulations Massachusetts, Driver Safety, fmcsa

Reminder: Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Deadline is December 16th

Posted by Matt Manoli on Nov 8, 2019 3:29:43 PM

ELog

Friendly reminder that December 16th 2019 is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) hard deadline for the Electronic Logging Device Mandate. There have been some "soft" deadlines and delays on this mandate over the last several years but there is no indication we will see another delay, so if your fleet is not fully converted to ELD, definitely get moving on that ASAP.  

We have personally been running E Logs for almost a decade, it made sense for our fleet and our footprint and we like the accuracy and uniformity of the data we get from our system. I will say there is definitely a learning curve involved in making a change over of any kind though, especially one involving software.  But this particular change actually does really make life easier in the big picture when it comes to making sure you are in HOS compliance, and in terms of pulling information for any kind of audit or certification, etc. 

Anyway - if you haven't moved your fleet to ELDs, the time is now. Don't wait til you are fined to get compliant. Good luck! 

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Topics: Safety, elogs, fmcsa

I'll take 'Best Safety Meeting Ever' for $400, Alex

Posted by Matt Manoli on Sep 11, 2019 12:44:25 PM

 

new haven group

This summer we had another successful round of our annual "Safety Jeopardy" game at Driver Safety meetings. We've discussed before how we try to cover as much relevant safety info and training as possible to all our drivers at our monthly meetings. Safety Jeopardy has the same goal, but even the Safety Department will admit it's more fun to review safety stats and info via Jeopardy. 

It's easy to lose sight of the truly monumental amount of information that drivers need to know and remember on multiple topics in order to do their jobs safely, and Jeopardy is a fun way to refresh everyone's memory with a little friendly competition. 

Looks like the team enjoyed it, based on those smiles (even Ed Burke and some Sales Reps got in on the action!)

 

seekonk group shotboston group shot

 

 

 group shotmaine group

taunton group

 

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Topics: Safety, hos waiver, elogs, Driver Safety, safety meeting

Weight Limit Compliance Across States

Posted by Matt Manoli on Jan 22, 2019 2:39:33 PM

Let's talk about something that seems easy but can easily trip up your operations if you miss something. Weight Limits.

Weight limits for trucks are governed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) to ensure safe weight limits for Interstate travel. In addition to this, individual States set limits for their roadways.

Compliance on these rules is pretty simple, IF you are running within a state or across a smaller group of states with similar limits. However, in regions like New England, its a lot less likely you're within one state (versus say, running trucks in Texas) and so it becomes very important to make sure you know what the rules are where, and which of your units need what permits to be in compliance. 

This is something that comes up for us a lot, as we are running trucks across several state lines, and it comes up a lot for our customers as well, partly because the states in the region are smaller, and they can have vastly different rules on weights and permitting.  So we thought it would be good to share a chart of the limits we see in the region for you to check against. There are also links to broader resources below if you are out of a different part of the country (or if youre just curious about how complicated it all gets nationwide :) )

This is the chart we use in our Safety Department. So basically if you are adding a unit in MA that will be running MA, NH, ME your process for permitting and the limits will be different than a unit running NY to CT. 

weight chart trucks

(Feel free to snag this chart for your own use, and don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions on it.)   

 

If you need more states or more info, this is a great reference chart by State by CargoAgents. net: Road Weight & Size Limitations .. most states rules reference the Federal Bridge formula to some extent, a breakdown of that and the accompanying detail from the DOT & Congress  is available here: Federal Bridge Weight (<-- this is a very very detailed breakdown, more than you would ever want to know, but a lot of it is helpful) 

 

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Topics: Safety

Heavy Snow & Ice in the Forecast - Make Sure You're Ready

Posted by Matt Manoli on Jan 16, 2019 4:22:00 PM

This weekends forecast calls for snow and ice storms, particularly Saturday into Sunday for the entirety of New England. 

Because it is still early, there are HUGE variances in the amounts of snow and ice predicted, which is frustrating, but there is little doubt we will be getting hit head on by this winter's first major snow event. There is also pretty much consensus that the coast is likely to see flooding and severe icing, which is definitely something to be aware of if you are on the coast or have travel plans or work obligations in the metro Boston or Providence areas.  

We will try and keep you updated on expected impacts & developments on our social channels as the models become more predictive. 

If you're expecting a delivery, please make sure you are using fill ports that are properly coded, and make sure the pathway to the fill is cleared of snow and ice so your driver can make the delivery as quickly and safely as possible. (If you're at home, the same goes for making sure your fill pipe is accessible and there is a clear path to access).

The easier it is for your driver to deliver, the quicker he can get home and off the roads himself. 

If you run backup generators, we highly recommend ensuring they are operational and fueled up prior to the incoming storm. Several of the projected forecasts are prediction damaging ice accumulation and high winds, so it is entirely possible large numbers of New Englander's could lose power.

You definitely don't want to miss the Pats game, so make sure you and your generator are ready to go. 

In terms of general winter preparedness, ready.gov has a great overall guide, you can access it here: 

Ready.Gov - Snowstorms & Extreme Cold

Below is a refresher on the API fill port coding. 

Stay warm & safe out there & GO PATRIOTS!

 

API_fill_chart

 

 

 

 

 

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Topics: Safety, Generator Fuel, safe delivery, winter driving

Sharing Safety with Fire Departments

Posted by Matt Manoli on Dec 15, 2017 1:46:09 PM

IMG_0601.jpg

For several years, we have been offering free training for Firefighters on fuel trucks. This has been a great way for them to see and get familiar with current setups and the technology involved in today's fuel trailers & straight trucks in a non-emergency situation.

Usually the training involves a Safety Director and a veteran driver, who can talk about potential hazards, the day to day work of being safe with hazmat materials, and who can answer firefighter questions about different scenarios. The firefighters always end up asking questions that make us think about how we look at some day to day safety routines as well, I always say we learn just as much, if not more, from them. 

Ed wrote an article for the December issue of Oil & Energy Magazine that goes into what we typically do for firefighter training, and why we think its so important. You can read that article here: Sharing Safety with Local Fire Departments

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Topics: Safety, Firefighter Safety Training, Tank Truck Safety Training

DKB Hurricane Relief Team Heads Home from FL

Posted by Matt Manoli on Sep 26, 2017 9:00:00 AM

way to texas-1.jpg

BOSTON, MA, Sept. 26, 2017/PR Newswire/ -  Two weeks after Hurricane Irma hit Southern Florida, ten fuel trucks from New England are on their way home after working with FEMA in both the Texas and Florida restoration efforts.

When the trucks were requested to head to Florida, Massachusetts-based fuel distributor Dennis K. Burke, Inc. already had trucks working with FEMA in Texas. Diesel fuel and gasoline were needed for generators, first responder vehicles, and other needs on the ground.

Along the way, the drivers saw convoy after convoy of utility trucks and tree-cutting crews heading there too. At the peak of Hurricane Irma, 15 million people were without power. Fuel trucks were sent to help support the utility vehicles traveling to some of the worst hit areas of Florida.

One of the Burke trucks was assigned to meet up with utility trucks from Texas, and traveled with them through the night, fueling their trucks and equipment as they worked their way down to a staging area in the Orlando area. Support was pouring in from around the country, and their vehicles needed fueling too.

About 27,000 utility workers were working their way across Florida to restore power. That’s not including the tree-trimming crews that worked alongside the utility workers.

The utility crews and tree-cutting crews stayed overnight at 20 staging areas across the state. At these staging areas, trucks and equipment were fueled while they were parked and out-of-service. Each of these sites provided fuel, food, water, showers, and a place to sleep for about 1,000 workers.

Power has been restored in most areas, except in areas where there was extensive flooding or tornado damage. Clean up continues, and for many storm-ravaged neighborhoods, the long road to rebuilding has begun. 

“We’re so proud of our drivers helping with storm recovery,” said Dan Hill, director of operation for Dennis K. Burke, Inc. “They worked hard and under difficult conditions for many days. We look forward to welcoming them home.”

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Topics: Safety, FEMA, texas, Florida, hurricane irma

Final Version of E-Log Regulation to be Released This Month

Posted by Matt Manoli on Nov 19, 2015 10:39:08 AM

ELog

This week the White House signed off on a final version of the proposed regulation to require e-logs to be used across the trucking industry in order to more efficiently track driver hours for both employers and, more importantly, to ensure DOT hours of service compliance.

The DOT has announced that the final language of the regulation and its effective dates will be published by the end of this month.

E-logs have been a contentious issue in the trucking industry for the past several years - So much so, in fact, that the proposed regulations have been pushed off and delayed several times.

There’s some consensus that e-logs are a good thing, a lot of the issue is a feeling that implementation costs etc.  affect smaller fleets and owner operators much more severely than say larger, or national fleets. That’s very true. There’s also concern about yet another mandate.

A pretty good summary on what the for and against arguments are that I read was recently published on a CCJ Point-Counterpoint Recap and you can read the whole thing here:( Point-Counterpoint: Truckers Square off in Debate)   (As an aside, CCJ is an excellent news source on all things trucking)

For our part, we have been using e-logs for quite some time and would never go back. It definitely simplifies tracking compliance for the DOT, and even more importantly it saves our drivers from the time and aggravation paper logs can be the source of.  However, we’re a pretty large fleet, so it made sense for us and our drivers, that may not be the case for everyone.

It will be interesting to see what the final ruling looks like and how long fleets will have to implement, and if there will be any exceptions for smaller operators.

What are your thoughts on the e-log mandate?

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Topics: Safety, elogs

New Hampshire goes 100% Hands-Free Driving July 1

Posted by Matt Manoli on Jun 25, 2015 1:32:19 PM

Road sign reading, Don't text and drive, arrive alive. 

In case you missed it - the State of New Hampshire is going Hands Free. The new law, effective July 1 2015 bans the use of any hand held electronic devices including cell phones, tablets, or any other electronic device requiring user input. 

The use of handsfree and bluetooth communication devices will be allowed. 

You will still be able to use one-hand, non cell phone radios as well. 

Emergency calls to 911 or public safety agencies are exempt from the ban. 

So what happens if you break the law? Some pretty steep fines, from $100 dollars for the first offense, up to $500 for the third offense within two years - not including possible additional penalty assessments. 

Why is NH going hands free? Distracted driving is a serious issue, and the State reports that 116 fatal crashes occured in the last 4 years as a direct result of distracted driving. 

I think this is a positive safety move for the State - we adopted a company wide hands free policy in 2010 (you can read the policy here: Distracted Driving Policy

If you are concerned about employee or driver compliance with hands free or no cell phone policies, there are several apps on the market to ensure compliance - you can read about the one we use here: Want Safer Drivers? There's an App for That )

Any thoughts or questions about the rule, feel free to give us a shout.

Thanks for reading! 

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Topics: Safety, Safe Driving Policy

Get Your Trucks Ready - Road Check is June 2-4!

Posted by Matt Manoli on May 12, 2015 11:56:13 AM

Woman performing a truck safety inspection

The Annual Road Check 72 hour inspection blitz on Commercial Vehicles is set to take place this year from June 2-4. 

The CVSA inspects an average of 17-18 Commercial Vehicles PER MINUTE during the 3 day period, so it's important to make sure you and your truck are prepared. The purpose of the annual blitz is to ensure the safety of the public traveling on highways, but it also serves to protect drivers themselves by reminding us to be vigilant checking on all possible safety issues on our vehicles and stick with best practices to ensure everyone is as safe as reasonably possible. 

The top categories for violations are: Brakes, Lights, Tires, and Cargo Securement. 

Quick steps to make sure you pass:

  • Make sure youre wearing your seatbelt! It sounds silly but this is actually the most commonly cited violation on inspection, and its the easiest one to correct.
  • Make sure your brakes are working properly and dont show excessive wear, corrosion, or air leakage
  • Make sure coupling devices are present in proper number and are in acceptable condition - no excessive wear, missing parts, or cracks. 
  • Make sure all your lights are working properly
  • Make sure your tires are in proper condition - acceptable tread depth, proper inflation, no obvious visible damage
  • Make sure your cargo is secured properly! This is the 4th most common reason for being put out of service, and really should be something we are all on top of every day. 

The above points are critical for the annual inspection, but they're also things you should really be checking in your pre and post trip vehicle inspections daily as well. It takes very little time to give your truck a once over and make sure everything is as it should be, and the payoff for doing so is enormous. 

We pulled the information for the above points from the CVSA's published "The Inspectors Seat" chart, which you can read in full here: The Inspector's Seat . There is also a lot of excellent information about the Road Check program, prior year results, and general safety info at the CVSA's website, which is www.cvsa.org 

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us in the comments section. Good luck everyone!!

 

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Topics: Safety, Safe Driving Policy, Roadcheck, Hazmat