September 21, 2015:  MCM Weekly Newsletter

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Sept 30         Driver of the Month Nominations due

Oct 14           Billings Chapter Safety Meeting
                      Location:  H.O.T. Express, 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
                      Speaker:  Jeff Steeger
                      Topic:  Load Securement

Oct 15           Missoula Chapter Safety Meeting
                      12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
                      Location, Speaker & Topic TBA
MCM Electronic Recorders
We have been asked by a number of members at the MCM Convention to clarify the requirements for onboard recorders.

We have attached those requirements for 49 CFR Part 395 for your convenience.
Hazardous Materials Update
As a service to MCM members, I answer questions from Association members regarding the Federal Motor Carrier Safety and Hazardous Material regulations and respond via telephone and/or e-mail.
Recently I received a question from a member regarding the notice, published in the Federal Register on August 21, 2015 by the FMCSA, regarding the hours of service and an application for an exemption from the required 30 minute rest break during the driver's work day.
The FMCSA granted an exemption from the requirement for a driver to take a 30 minute rest break during his work day for persons who transport hazardous materials that require a Security Plan, which also includes a provision for remaining in attendance of a vehicle that is used to transport hazardous materials. This exemption allows a driver to remain in an
on duty, not driving status while meeting the rest break requirement. However there are some stipulations that have to be met before a Company can utilize the exemption.
The stipulations include, the Motor Carrier must have a satisfactory safety rating or be unrated, drivers must have a copy of the exemption document in their possession while operating under the exemption and the Motor Carrier must notify FMCSA, within 5 days, of any accident that occurs while the driver is operating under the exemption.
Once a Motor Carrier and its driver meet all of the stipulations for the exemption, they may utilize a period of 30 minutes of on duty time when they are in attendance of their motor vehicle and cargo in lieu of taking 30 minutes off duty to meet the requirements of the hours of service regulations. However, the driver may not perform any other function other than being in attendance of the vehicle and cargo during the time used for the rest break and the driver must note in the remarks section of the record of duty status that the driver is using the exemption to comply with the requirements of the hours of service regulations.
Unless the Motor Carrier feels a need to require drivers remain in attendance of the vehicle and cargo during the rest break or the regulations require the driver remain in attendance at all times for a specific cargo, there is little or no advantage for the driver or motor carrier in using this exemption. The regulations for development of a Security Plan, unless there are additional requirements elsewhere in the regulations, do not require the Security Plan to include mandatory attendance at all times. Additionally, the hours of service regulations, allow, in the definition of on duty time, for "resting in a parked vehicle" as off duty time, as long as the driver is not performing any other function for the motor carrier. This allows the driver to remain with the vehicle during the required 30 minute rest break and still record the time in the record of duty status as off duty.
If you have questions concerning this or any other part the FMCSR, please contact the Motor Carriers of Montana at (406) 442-6600 or Albert Calkin, Transportation Safety Consultant at (406) 227-0745.
ATA Urges Focus on Critical Shortage of Truck Technicians
ATA President and CEO Bill Graves called upon the country's policymakers, schools and trucking industry to do more to address the nation's large and growing shortage of truck technicians.
"In our industry, we often talk about the impact of the shortage of truck drivers," said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves, "but we mustn't forget trucking's need to have many skilled technicians and mechanics to keep their rigs in working order and their wheels moving."
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, trucking will need to recruit 67,000 new technicians by 2022 due to growth or to replace men and women currently working in the industry. This does not include the more than 75,000 new diesel engine specialists BLS anticipates the country needing by 2022.
"Trucking moves America forward and technicians keeps those trucks moving," said Carl Kirk, ATA vice president of maintenance, information technology & logistics and executive director of ATA's Technology and Maintenance Council. "We're encouraged that ATA, as the industry leader, is urging people who can make a difference to focus on ways to address the looming technician shortage."
"ATA hopes that TMC's efforts, including events like TMCSuperTech and TMCFutureTech competitions, can highlight professional excellence and serve as a recruiting tool to bring more qualified individuals into this important career," Graves said.

To learn more about TMC, technician issues and TMCSuperTech and TMCFutureTech, visit: 
ATRI Research Examines Commercial Driver Views on Critical Truck Parking Issues
The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) today released the results of its Commercial Driver Perspectives on Truck Parking survey, the first in a series of technical memoranda focused on critical truck parking issues.  The survey collected information from truck drivers on the use of private versus public rest stops, preferred locations for reserved parking, and the value of reserved truck parking.  More than 1,400 surveys were collected by ATRI.
ATRI's analysis of the survey data revealed several findings, including:
  • Nearly half of commercial vehicle drivers surveyed would refuse to pay for reserved parking;  
  • Reservation parking systems near large metropolitan areas would have the highest utility; and
  • A disconnect exists between drivers' interest in parking reservation systems and their willingness to pay for parking reservations.
"Understanding the expectations of trucking companies and professional drivers is of critical importance to truck stop operators," said Lisa Mullings, President & CEO of NATSO, the association representing truck stops.  "ATRI's analysis will provide important guidance to truck stops as they work to meet their customers' operational and safety needs."
ATRI's Managing Critical Truck Parking initiative was driven by the selection of truck parking as one of the top priority research topics for 2015 by ATRI's Research Advisory Committee.  Subsequent tasks in the Managing Critical Truck Parking initiative include:  synthesizing ATRI survey data with FHWA's newly released Jason's Law report; assessing truck parking supply and demand utilizing ATRI's extensive truck GPS database; and analyzing the impact of non-commercial vehicle use of truck parking spaces.
A copy of the Tech Memo is available from ATRI at
Check Your VINS for Kentucky
Kentucky is one of the four remaining states that impose a weight-distance tax.  In Kentucky's case, the tax applies only to commercial vehicles weighing 60,000 pounds or more.  The state keeps track of vehicles subject to the tax by their vehicle identification numbers.  This fall, Kentucky will transfer its weight-distance tax data to a new computer system, and will be cleaning its files of bad VINs.  For this reason, Kentucky is asking all motor carriers subject to the tax to verify the VINs they have on file with the state before October 1, 2015.  The state will begin to review its information after that, and following the purge of bad data, vehicles whose VINs do not appear on the state's cleaned-up lists are liable to be held at Kentucky ports of entry until the problem is fixed.  If you're subject to the Kentucky weight-distance tax, you can check on-line here:, for the VINs that the state has on file for your fleet, and make any corrections you need to.  If you have questions, call the state at 502.564.1257, and ask for the Motor Carrier Credentials Section.
Trucking Moves America Forward Trailer Wraps
ATA will be raffling off TWO of the new TMAF full trailer decal wraps during the ATA MC&E in Philadelphia. The trailer wraps highlight Trucking Moves America Forward's pro-trucking message and remind America's public how the more than 7 million trucking industry professionals keep our country moving in a safe and efficient way. TMAF has set a goal of getting 100 of these unique trailer wraps on the road by the end of the year. Raffle tickets can be purchased by contacting Join the trailer movement early and purchase your own full wrap now and get a free raffle ticket to decal a second wrap!  Be an industry champion and support Trucking Moves America Forward! For more information, contact Elisabeth Barna at  You do not have to be an ATA member to win and they are a greaty way to promote the industry.
Good Luck to Montana's Curtis Madsen of Mergenthaler's Transfer & Storage
Today, 145 truck technicians began their quest to be named Grand Champion at the 11th annual TMCSuperTech, held here at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.
The National Technician Skills Competition is being held this week in conjunction with American Trucking Associations' Technology & Maintenance Council 2015 Fall Meeting.
"We started TMCSuperTech more than a decade ago to highlight the skills of this too often underappreciated group of individuals," said Carl Kirk, vice president of maintenance, information technology & logistics of American Trucking Associations. "This year, we're excited not just to honor the many experienced technicians in the competition, but to look to the future with our second-ever student challenge."
The TMCSuperTech 2015 competition will take place over two days - with technicians qualifying on 12 stations today and then dealing with 14 hands-on challenges. This year, the competition also features a student challenge, letting aspiring truck technicians still in school test their mettle alongside some of the country's most experienced and skilled individuals in the field.
"During the competition, these technicians will be displaying the skills they use every day at their jobs," said George Arrants, chairman of TMC's technician competition task force. "Since we began this program, fleets have reported to us that maintenance costs have dropped, overtime costs have dropped and on-road breakdowns have dropped."

TMCSuperTech 2015 began this morning with written tests and qualifying tasks, before moving to tomorrow's full battery of hands-on challenges. The student competition, TMCFutureTech, sponsored by Velociti, featuring 38 students from around the country, will take place exclusively on Tuesday. Top competitors at each skill station and a grand champion will be announced Wednesday. 
Registration for TMCs 2015 Fall Meeting is available on site and online at
TMC is America's premier technical society for truck equipment technology and maintenance professionals. TMC features a diverse membership of equipment managers, service-dealers, owner-operators, industry suppliers and manufacturers, educators, academia and others that support the trucking industry. TMC member fleets represent the broad range of industry vocations, including truckload, less-than-truckload, municipal, private, on/off-highway, construction and other operations. Find out more about TMC online at

American Trucking Associations 
is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation's freight. Follow ATA on Twitter or on Facebook. Trucking Moves America Forward 
September Driver of the Month Nominations
We are now accepting driver of the month applications for September 2015. You may download an application from our webpage at on our Home Page under the Driver of the Month tab.
All applications must be in by Wednesday, September 30 at 8:00 a.m.