CDL Regulations Waived for C.R. England
The FMCSA is renewing an exemption for one of the largest refrigerated fleets in the United States, C.R. England. The exemption is for a federal rule requiring a CDL holder to be in the front seat of a truck with a student driver at all times. With the rule exemption, commercial learner’s permit holders that have passed the CDL skills test will be allowed to operate in a team with a licensed driver. There still has to be a CDL holder in the truck, just not necessarily in the front seat, which C. R. England says will allow them to operate more efficiently until they get back to their home state and the permit holder can obtain their CDL card. The exemption was first granted to the company in June of 2015, and ran through June of this year. This renewal will last until June 2022.
C.R. England stated in their renewal application that 3,046 drivers had utilized the exemption since it was granted, and their data showed better safety outcomes than non-exempt drivers. The FMCSA reported 11 accidents involving drivers using the exemption, none of which resulted in a fatality. England said that changes to the CDL issuance rules make it more difficult for drivers to physically get to their home state to receive their actual CDL card. They said that while the intentions of the FMCSA were good (reducing fraud), they did not grant states the power to issue temporary CDLs in order to allow drivers to return to their home state with the legal paperwork. The FMCSA has granted similar exemptions to other companies recently, and allowed the public to give their input before they allowed the renewals. The majority of comments against the exemption stated that the permit holders were too inexperienced and were safer with a CDL holder in the front seat. The FMCSA rebutted, saying that drivers that have passed the CDL skills test would already have their license had they been in their home state and therefore have the necessary skills to drive legally.
For more information about the exemption, checkout www.overdriveonline.com or www.truckersnews.com.
Written By: Shayla Powers
FMCSA Awards More That $70 Million in Grants
At the end of last month, the FMCSA announced that it has awarded over $70 million in grants for both states and educational institutions. These grants are another attempt to increase highway and motor vehicle safety. Of the funds $41.5 million is reserved for High Priority grants meant to enhance commercial motor vehicle safety efforts and advance technological capabilities at the state level.
The other significant portion of the grants is going toward Commercial Driver’s License Program Implementation. The FMCSA has awarded $30.7 million to the states to achieve compliance with regulations and license standards and programs. The CDLPI grant program also provides financial assistance to entities capable of executing national projects that aid states in compliance programs. The goal of these programs is to reduce the number of severity of commercial vehicle crashes by requiring states to conduct knowledge and skill testing before issuing a CDL. It will also require states to maintain an accurate and complete history record for each driver that obtains a CDL and impose disqualifications against any driver that violates certain offenses. This is directly linked to the Crash Preventability Demonstration Program that the FMCSA announced earlier this year.
The final allocation is set to be given to nine educational institutions that provide commercial and bus driving training. These institutions include public and private colleges, vocational schools, truck driver training schools, state and local governments, and recognized Native American tribal governments. Also included in the nine grants for educational institutions are provisions for training U.S. Veterans:
Primary funding priority is given to regional or multi-State educational or not-for-profit associations that recruit and train current and former members of the United States Armed Forces (including National Guard members and Reservists) and their spouses to receive training to transition to the CMV operation industry.
This grant program was established in 2005 as a safety-improvement measure and was amended in 2015 to included the provisions of the FAST act.
For more information on the details of the grants and their recipients, visit:
Written by: Shayla Powers
Driver Shortages and Pay Gap
In the United States, the average age of truck drivers is 52, a number that increases every year, and efforts to recruit and retain younger employees have been largely unsuccessful. Some think that the shortage in younger drivers is due to a industry-wide bad image and reputation, and other think that it has to do with a combination of long hours and low pay. However, an increasing majority thinks it’s both. Low fuel prices, a steady economy, and consumer demand for online products has skyrocketed the demand for industry, but the wages are not worth the long hours away from home like they used to be. The younger generation is also passing up the trucking industry for jobs that are less physically demanding and less regulated.
Although the millennial generation has overtaken the baby boomers as the largest group in the workforce, the number of 25- 34 year-olds in the trucking industry has dropped by 50 percent. Issuance of CDLs is up by 10 percent in 38 states, but the retention rate is less than half, with a third leaving in the first 90 days. Licensing fees add up, tickets can be fatal, and for most, the pay just isn’t worth the money that they need to shell out before they can even operate.
This labor shortage is no new complication– the industry has essentially been short of drivers since the 80s, when deregulation caused a jump in the number of trucking companies and therefore the need for drivers. It doesn’t seem likely that this shortage will end anytime soon, either. The American Trucking Association estimates that the industry will need around 890,000 new drivers by 2025 to meet the rising demand for online goods. Along with lower pay, drivers feel an increasing disconnect with their companies, stating that they feel like “throwaways,” although the shortage of drivers suggest otherwise. So while the solution seems simple (i.e. higher pay) there’s more to the issue than what meets the eye.
Written By: Shayla Powers
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