August 15, 2018 Safety and Compliance

PHMSA Hazmat Incident Reporting Back Online

HAZMATICS, the Hazardous Materials Incident Communication System of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), is now back online after a system outage. According to the agency, HAZMATICS is now available for electronic submission of the DOT 5800.1F incident report form. To access HAZMATICS through the PHMSA portal, click here.

HAZMATICS Video Tutorials

PHMSA has created HAZMATICS video tutorials to provide step-by-step instructions on using the HAZMATICS website. Click below to learn how to use the various features.

  • HAZMATICS Features and Benefits – Click here for a general overview of HAZMATICS.
  • Creating a Workgroup – Click here for information on creating and using workgroups to allow multiple people to access and manage the same incident reports.
  • Accessing and Creating a Routine Incident – Click here for information on creating and editing an incident report.
  • Creating an Incident with Multiple Commodities/Shippers – Click here for information on creating and editing an incident report that contains more than one shipper, more than one commodity and/or more than one packaging type.

FMCSA Withdraws Proposed Enhancements to Safety Measurement System

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is withdrawing enhancements to the agency’s Safety Measurement System that were proposed on June 29, 2015 and October 5, 2016. 83 Fed. Reg. 32949 (July 16, 2018). Congress in the FAST Act required the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study of FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program and the SMS. NAS published their report titled, ‘‘Improving Motor Carrier Safety Measurement’’ on June 27, 2017. The FMCSA accepted the NAS report’s recommendations, including the recommendation to develop a new statistical model to support the SMS and states it is working to implement the recommended changes.

The FMCSA is now asserting that it will not complete the SMS enhancements previously proposed.

The proposed changes included:

  1. Changing some of the SMS Intervention Thresholds to better reflect the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories’ (BASICs) correlation to crash risk.
  2. Two changes to the Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance BASIC: a. Segmenting the HM Compliance BASIC by Cargo Tank (CT) and non-CT carriers; and b. Releasing motor carrier percentile rankings under the HM Compliance BASIC to the public.
  3. Reclassifying violations for operating while Out of Service under the Unsafe Driving BASIC rather than the BASIC of the underlying OOS violation.
  4. Increasing the maximum Vehicle Miles Traveled used in the Utilization Factor to more accurately reflect the operations of high-utilization carriers.

There were also a number of potential changes to the SMS methodology for calculating carrier ranking percentiles.

FMCSA Issues SMS Corrective Action Plan

In response to a 2017 report from the National Academy of Sciences with recommendations on how to improve the Safety Measurement System, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has published a Corrective Action Plan to address those recommendations and provide analysis on how the agency plans to improve its system for identifying at-risk motor carriers.

The plan includes the following items:

  • The FMCSA has contracted with NAS for a new standing committee to provide expertise, guidance and oversight to the agency while developing an Item Response Theory model to identify at-risk carriers. This committee will also gather input from stakeholders moving forward, including holding public meetings during implementation of the IRT model.
  • FMCSA is using its existing Interagency Agreement with the Volpe Transportation Center for the resources needed to develop, test and implement an IRT model. In addition, the Agency is establishing a no-cost agreement with university-based expertise in IRT modeling.
  • Before starting the IRT modeling, FMCSA will review the MCMIS database to make all possible corrections to the data prior to constructing the initial models. This may include identifying existing violation codes that should be removed or consolidated for modeling purposes.
  • After data is reviewed for short-term improvements, the first step of the modeling process will begin with an exploratory data analysis to identify the appropriate correlation structure for the violations.

In addition, the plan addressed the motor carrier data shortcomings of the existing FMCSA model. The FMCSA is identifying ways to improve data currently collected during the registration and biennial update processes. The agency will also reconsider how it might access data from the International Registration Plan and the International Fuel Tax Agreement.

The FMCSA is also implementing a recommendation to encourage the states to use the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria so that reports from law enforcement agencies will produce uniform crash data.

The FMCSA will develop and run a small-scale IRT model by September of 2018; after evaluating the results, the agency will run a full-scale IRT model by April of 2019. If the new IRT model performs well, it will replace the existing SMS.

DOT to Launch Pilot Program to Allow Ex-Military to Drive CMVs

The Department of Transportation will launch a pilot program to permit individuals aged 18 – 20 who possess the U.S. Military equivalent of a commercial driver’s license to operate large trucks in interstate commerce. 83 Fed. Reg. 31633 (July 5, 2018).

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) announced the three-year pilot program and noted that drivers must be sponsored by a participating trucking company.

The program will compare the safety record of these drivers to the records of a control group of drivers aged 21 – 24 who possess a CDL and operate a CMV for a motor carrier.

House Members Introduce Driver Hours of Service Relief Bill

Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR), Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA) and Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR) have introduced the Honest Operators Undertake Road Safety Act, or HOURS Act, H.R, 6178, which would provide hours of service relief in four different areas.

First, the bill would allow drivers engaged in the transportation of livestock or agricultural product to be exempt from hours of service regulations while operating within 150 air-miles of the source, regardless of the state-designated planting and harvesting season. Currently, some 17 states limit the extent of the exemption to certain planting and harvesting seasons, which creates a patchwork of regulations and leads to uncertainty about which rules apply.

Second, the bill would provide one set of HOS rules for short-haul operations, wherein a CDL driver would be exempt from the log book, 30-minute rest break and Electronic Logging Device requirements if the driver operates within 150 air-miles of the normal work reporting location and is relieved from duty within 14 hours. This would grant additional flexibility to virtually every GAWDA member company.

Third, H.R. 6178 would reduce the current supporting documents requirement to only supporting documents to verify the start and end time of a driver’s daily on-duty period, since ELDs automatically track location and time data based on engine and GPS data.

Finally, it would allow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to forgo an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking in the rulemaking process with respect to split sleeper berth flexibility.

The bill is supported by the American Trucking Associations and many other transportation groups.




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