January 11, 2016:  MCM Weekly Newsletter

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Jan 12             Board of Directors Meeting, Helena
                       Comfort Suites, 3180 N. Washington
                       Sleeping Giant Room                      
                       12:00 p.m. - lunch served

Jan 21             Missoula Chapter Safety Meeting
                       Perkins Restaurant, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
                       Speaker:  Paul Holmes, Kenworth
                       Topic:  Changes in the manufacturing of the newer KW trucks
                       coming down the pike. 

UPDATE for Carriers Going into Canada
Canada eManifest: Canada's eManifest system, similar to US CBP's ACE system, allows for the electronic transmission of pre-arrival information to Canada Border Services Agency.  Required use of eManifest has been in a voluntary compliance stage since July 10, 2015, in which the electronic system is technically required, but during which no fines are issued for failure to do so.  Beginning January 11, carriers will be required to transmit information electronically using the eManifest platform.  Official requirements are available at the CBSA website, which also offers a Help and Support page for setting up and using an eManifest account.  Information about the various ways you can open an account (EDI, web portal, etc.) is available here.  Carriers that already have accounts can sign in here.
CBP Suspends Hundreds of Customs Brokers' Licenses: Effective immediately, US CBP has suspended several hundred customs brokers' licenses for failure to file an annual report listing their contact information and pay a nominal fee.  CBP has suspended the licenses without prejudice, meaning that they will be reinstated as soon as the customs broker files the report and pays the required annual fee.  The suspended licenses are listed online.  Carriers should not attempt to bring shipments brokered by these licensees into the US until the broker can demonstrate that the license has been reinstated.  Carriers acting as their own broker and appearing on the list should file their status report and pay their fee at the port to which their license is linked.
Don't Crowd the Plow

Winter driving can be full of inconveniences and frustrating delays. But it's important to remember that snow plow operators are working to make the roads safer and they deserve your courtesy and patience - even when you're running late. Here are some tips from the Montana DOT on how to share the road safely with snow plow trucks. You may want to pass this list along to fleet drivers as a friendly reminder. 
  • Stay back at least five car lengths behind the plow, far from the snow fog. Snow plow operators will pull over when it's safe to do so to allow traffic buildup to pass.
  • Stay alert since snow plows turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. They may also travel over centerlines or partially into traffic to further improve road conditions.
  • Slow down and drive according to the conditions. Most winter crashes are caused by driving too fast for conditions. Snow plows typically move at slower speeds.
  • Know where the snow plow is on multi-lane roadways. The snow plow could be in either lane or on the shoulder.
  • Be extremely cautious when passing a snow plow. They can be moved sideways by snow drifts and hard snow pack.
  • Never drive through "white-outs" or "snow fog" caused by cross winds or plowing snow. Wait until you can see.
  • Watch for plow trucks on interstate ramps and "authorized vehicle only" cross-overs.
  • Turn on your headlights because this will increase your visibility to other motorists and snow plow operators. Remove snow from your vehicle that could cover your taillights.
  • Be patient and remember that snow plows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.
  • Don't assume you will have good traction because the road looks sanded. The sand can sink into the snow pack, leaving a slick surface.
  • Never use cruise control on wet or icy roadways.
IRS Issues Mileage Rates for 2016
The federal Internal Revenue Service has published the standard mileage rates it will accept for business travel deductions during calendar 2016.  The rate for travel by car falls from the current 57.5 cents a mile to 54 cents.  The use of a car for charitable purposes remains at 14 cents a mile, and travel for medical care has fallen to 19 cents a mile.  IRS adds that these rates need not be used if a taxpayer maintains records that document a different amount.
DHS Delays Enforcement of REAL ID Law
The Department of Homeland Security has given states an additional two years to fully comply with a requirement that all drivers' licenses and other forms of identification have tamperproof provisions to board aircraft at U.S. airports. "Effective January 22, 2018, air travelers with a driver's license or identification card issued by a state that does not meet the requirements of the REAL ID Act (unless that state has been granted an extension to comply with the act) must present an alternative form of identification acceptable to TSA in order to board a commercial domestic flight," Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a Jan. 8 statement.
DOT Warns Shippers About Exploding Hoverboards
The U.S. Department of Transportation issued a safety alert for the transportation of hoverboards containing lithium batteries that are at risk to heat up, catch fire or explode if improperly handled.
In the safety alert, the DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration included shipping guidance after investigators intercepted 32 cargo containers filled with hoverboards with lithium batteries that were improperly prepared for shipment of a hazardous material.
The PHMSA's investigation of intercepted cargo determined that more than 80% of shippers were unable to produce valid test reports to prove that lithium batteries have been properly manufactured and packaged to maintain integrity during transport.
Cargo shipments of hoverboards containing lithium batteries should be identified on shipping papers, tested and prepared for shipment as required based on the mode of transportation. Failure to comply can carry large civil penalties and potential criminal liability.
UCRA Enforcement Postponed
The fees for 2016 payable by interstate motor carriers and other entities under the Unified Carrier Registration Agreement were due by the end of calendar 2015, and enforcement was due to begin, at least in many states, at the first of this year.  The UCR program, however, does not require those paying the fees to display any credential in or on motor vehicles; enforcement depends largely on the electronic records of carriers' payments shown in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's SAFER system.  SAFER, however, has recently had problems receiving state updates saying which carriers have paid UCR fees, so state enforcement personnel at roadside may find no record of payment for a carrier that has actually complied with its obligations.  Some carriers have received tickets for operating without having paid their UCR fees when in fact they have.  Earlier this week, the UCRA Board recommended to the states that they postpone UCR enforcement until February 1, 2016, to allow time for FMCSA to resolve its system problems, and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has also requested its member states' enforcement agencies to do likewise.  We assume most or all states will honor these requests.
CDLs From Four States No Longer Accepted at Federal Facilities
On Jan.10, driver's licenses - including commercial driver's licenses - from New Mexico, Missouri, Illinois and Washington state will no longer be compliant with the federal REAL ID Act and as a result can no longer be used to access federal facilities, nuclear facilities and airports.
Drivers with licenses from those states can continue to access these facilities.
Please see below for information about how drivers with licenses from those states can continue to access these facilities using alternate identification as detailed below: 
Department of Defense facilities: DoD's policy is to no longer accept state-issued forms of identification from states not in compliance with Real ID. Drivers without a Real ID compliant CDL seeking access to DoD facilities must present a federally-issued form of identification such as a TWIC, a FAST card or a passport. Individual facilities may have requirements above and beyond these requirements. 
Other Federal facilities: CDLs from non-compliant states will no longer be accepted at other federal government facilities. However, if the federal facility accepts CDLs in general, CDLs from REAL ID-compliant states will continue to be accepted. Some facilities may have processes for admitting visitors that lack a REAL ID-compliant license, but this is not required and should be expected to be the exception rather than the norm. Federally-issued forms of identification such as the TWIC, the FAST card and passports will be accepted at facilities. Carriers are encouraged to contact individual facilities to confirm identification requirements for access before dispatching a driver. 
Airports and Nuclear facilities: Because they lack any central, coordinating entity, there is no blanket policy for these facilities. Carriers are urged to contact any facility they must access in advance to learn about what specific requirements and processes are in place. 
For more information from ATA, contact Boyd Stephenson at bstephenson@trucking.org or Bill Wanamaker at bwanamaker@trucking.org 
Lower Random Testing Rates
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it will lower the random testing rate for controlled substances from the current 50 percent to 25 percent for the upcoming calendar year, effective January 1, 2016. FMCSA conducts a random survey to ensure compliance with the set testing rates, known as the Management Information System (MIS) or MIS survey. According to federal regulations, when the data received in the MIS for two consecutive calendar years indicate that the positive rate for controlled substances is less than one percent, the FMCSA Administrator has the discretion to lower the minimum annual testing rate. While the MIS survey resulted in a positive rate of less than one percent for the 2011 and 2012 testing years, the Acting Administrator chose to maintain the 50 percent rate for another year. The 2013 testing year also showed a positive rate of less than one percent, so after three years, the Acting Administrator approved a lower testing rate. If at any time the positive rate for controlled substances exceeds one percent, the testing rate will revert back to 50 percent.
For 2016, FMCSA field personnel should still verify compliance with the 2015 controlled substance testing rate of 50 percent. Verification of the new compliance rate of 25 percent will not occur until 2017. Random testing rates are the minimum required by regulations; employers have the discretion to test at higher rates. This change aligns FMCSA's controlled substances testing rate with the other DOT modes at 25 percent for controlled substances and 10 percent for alcohol.

Click here copy of the announcement.  Current random testing rates for FMCSA and other agencies within the Department of Transportation can be verified by visiting the Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance's (ODAPC) website 
More on GPS in the ELD Rule
Some weeks ago (see the SLN of 11/27/2015), we carried an article about the use of global positioning system records and the like for purposes of accounting for miles traveled under the International Fuel Tax Agreement and the International Registration Plan.  The gist of the piece was that carriers may use GPS-produced records for that purpose, but that there are pitfalls, and that the issue would become a large one when the U.S. federal government begins to require the use of GPS for purposes of carrier compliance with hours of service.  Subsequently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published its final rule requiring interstate carriers to adopt electronic logging within the next two years.  (See the Federal Register of 12/16/2015.)  As expected, the rule includes a requirement that ELDs record a vehicle's position through GPS data, and that, ostensibly to protect a driver's privacy, location data for purposes of HOS compliance may be no more precise than 1 mile when the vehicle is being used in the carrier's business and 10 miles when it is not.  However, pursuant to inquiries from ATA and others, FMCSA states in the rule's preface:  "FMCSA, however, did not propose, nor does it include in today's rule, any limitation on a motor carrier's use of technology to track its CMVs at a more precise level than that shared with authorized safety officials, including tracking of CMVs in real time for the purposes of the motor carrier's business. A motor carrier is free to use such data as long as it does not engage in harassment or otherwise violate the FMCSRs."   (Fed. Reg. 12/16/2015, p. 78323.)  The ELD rule may pose other types of problem with respect to using HOS documentation to evidence IRP or IFTA miles traveled, but on this point, at least, there should be no difficulty.  We'll have more on this topic soon.
DOT Yanks Tanker Wetlines Proposal
In compliance with a provision on the new highway act, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has withdrawn a notice of proposed rulemaking that would have amended haz-mat regulations on the transportation of "flammable liquid material in unprotected external product piping," a.k.a. wetlines, on DOT-spec tanker trucks.

The withdrawal notice was published in the Federal Register for Dec. 30.
The proposal, which dates back to 2011, would have limited the amount of flammable liquid that could be carried in the unprotected loading/unloading wetlines of tankers.

PHMSA had contended there was a risk that fuel held in wetlines could spill and ignite in an accident.
However, tank carriers argued that the expense of installing pumps to empty the wetlines would far outweigh the benefits, especially given the added risk of explosion from welding retrofit pumps onto tank trailers.

According to Gordon Delcambre, Jr., PHMSA public affairs specialist, the notice's withdrawal was mandated by Congress in the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act highway bill that was signed into law by President Obama earlier this month.

"Although PHMSA is withdrawing its rulemaking proposal, the agency will continue to consider methods to improve the safety of transporting flammable liquid by cargo tank motor vehicle," stated the notice.

PHMSA added that it will "continue to analyze current incident data and improve the collection of future incident data to assist in making an informed decision on methods to address this issue further, if warranted."
Federal Spending Bill Includes Increase to Idaho Truck Weight Limit
Idaho will be allowed to increase its truck weight limit on interstate highways to as a result of a provision attached to the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill passed earlier this month, according to a report in Capital Press.

The omnibus legislation determines the yearly budget for the federal government and is prone to riders being attached to its more than 2,000 pages to ensure that they will be passed.
A provision in the bill allows Idaho to increase its truck weight limit to 129,000 pounds on Interstate highways.

Truck weights had been limited to 105,500 pounds in Idaho since 1991, and the move is seen as a way to gain parity with surrounding states that have higher weight limits. Aspects of transportation like shipping costs and agricultural commodities are expected to be positively impacted by raising the weight limit.

The rider was attached to the bill by Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson and Sen. Mike Crapo, according to Capital Press.

"By ensuring that Idaho's vehicle laws match those of its neighboring states, Idaho can more efficiently play a larger role in transferring goods without impacting road safety," Simpson said in a statement.
"A higher weight limit means trucks will have more axles than traditional trucks," he noted, "distributing the weight in such a way that there is less weight on each axle than a standard truck. It also will reduce the number of trucks on the road."
FMCSA Truck-Label Rulemaking Doesn't Stick
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has dropped its plans to require interstate carriers to display a label to document a vehicle's compliance with all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSSs) in effect as of the date of manufacture. In a notice published [on December 30] in the Federal Register, FMCSA says it has withdrawn the June 17 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) because subsequently filed comments "raised substantive issues" that led the agency to conclude "it would be inappropriate to move forward" with a final rule based on the proposal.
Source: Fleet Owner

Editor's note: 
The FMCSA cited the potential cost burden on truck dealers, which was highlighted in ATD's comments as one of its reasons for withdrawing the rule. ATD's comments are cited in the Federal Register 
notice withdrawing the rule. 
January Driver of the Month Nominations
We are now accepting driver of the month applications for January 2016. An application is attached, and you may also download an application from our webpage at www.mttrucking.org on our Home Page under the Driver of the Month tab.
All applications must be in by Friday, January 29 at 8:00 a.m.
2016 Annual Inspections Now Available
                                                                                        Call MCM office 406- 442-6600.
Annual Inspection Decals Quantity BreakdownMember Price
1 - 50$1.70
51 - 100$1.60
101 - 150$1.50
151 - 200$1.40
201 - 300$1.30
301 - Up$1.20
SafetyFestMT: Missoula 2016
February 8 - 12 2016
Hilton Garden Inn Missoula

3720 North Reserve St.
Missoula, MT 59808

Don't miss this opportunity to take advantage of the fantastic line up of FREE classes available at the Missoula 2016 SafetyFestMT.
To register as an exhibitor please use the contact information below.  Spaces are limited so don't wait!
Please contact:
Casey Kyler-West at 406.444.5267 or ckylerwest@mt.gov 
Thank you for your support of SafetyFestMT!