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  •   Ol' Blue, USA NEWS for December, 2007

    Internet Press Release from Ol’ Blue, USA

    Faxed: 3 pages to list below

    December 17, 2007

    Honorable Frank R. Lautenberg, Chair
    Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation
    and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security
    324 Hart Senate Office Building
    Washington, DC 20510

    Re:       Hearing on Federal Truck Driver Hours-of-Service Rule

    Dear Senator Lautenberg:

    In light of rescheduling of the previous two hearing dates, which I had made arrangements to attend, I am communicating my concerns via this document.

    The purpose of this letter is to provide you with some information regarding the lack of education by the FMCSA of commercial truck drivers concerning the various versions of the hours-of-service (HOS) regulation in effect since January 2004.  This information was obtained through a survey conducted by the United Safety Alliance, Inc., d.b.a. Ol' Blue, USA , and an organization that is trusted by thousands of truckers throughout the nation.

    1.                Background.

    United Safety Alliance, Inc. is a non-profit charitable organization transacting business under the name "Ol' Blue, USA ."  Ol' Blue, USA , was founded in 1986 and is dedicated toward educating the public on highway safety and improving relations between commercial drivers, law enforcement and the public.  Ol' Blue, USA , conducts various educational programs including radio programs, Internet programs, a monthly magazine column, simulated truck inspections and logbook seminars at trucking trade shows.  Our school program "Big Wheels, Little Kids" involves educating children about safety around large vehicles.

    The affairs of Ol' Blue, USA , are managed by our volunteer Board of Directors.  Our seven (7) directors are individuals from the trucking industry, retired law enforcement, trucking media and education.  I serve as a president of the organization at the pleasure of our Board of Directors of which I am also a member.

    2.         Sources of Funds.

    Ol' Blue, USA , is funded through cash and in-kind donations from the public.  Receiving no federal, or state funding.

    3.         Survey Background.

    Beginning on August 15, 2006 and terminating on October 31, 2006, Ol' Blue, USA began conducting an on-line survey of 1,094 CDL drivers.  This survey was designed by Crump and Associates as a public service for Ol' Blue, USA , who states that sampling of more than 1,000 drivers, provides a more than adequate sampling to quantify the survey as valid.  The identities of the survey participants were anonymous.   Ol' Blue, USA conducted the survey because of the feedback we were receiving from listeners on our radio program and from Internet correspondence indicating that there was widespread misunderstanding of the hours-of-service rule, not only among drivers, but also among management.  We wanted to confirm this information through our survey and concentrate on what was lacking in the way of HOS education. 

    This survey was used as source material for many trucking publications, and was never challenged as to the results, not even by FMCSA, who responded to a publication that the data was being evaluated.

    4.         Summary of Survey Results.

    The results of the HOS survey conducted by Ol' Blue, USA indicated the following:

    • 67.5 percent of participants said the Hours-of-Service regulations were difficult to understand and easy to violate accidentally.

    • 48.7 percent of participants said that they needed more training about Hours of Service regulations in plain language.

    • 54.9 percent of participants said they thought they understood the Hours of Service regulations, but still have some difficulties.

    • 62.7 percent of participants said they needed to know where to find honest answers about Hours of Service regulations.

    • 51.1 percent of participants said that the people they work for expect them to violate Hours-of-Service regulations as part of their job.

    The Ol' Blue, USA 2006 HOS driver Survey can be found at http://www.olblueusa.org/survey/

    5.         Commercial Vehicle Safety Association (CVSA) Roadcheck 2007.

    The CVSA is an organization consisting of representatives from commercial vehicle enforcement and the trucking industry.  Law enforcement members of CVSA conduct an annual "Roadcheck" in June, the purpose of which is to inspect commercial vehicles and commercial vehicle operators to determine compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

    From June 5-7, 2007, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) found that for the second straight year, the number of drivers placed out of service increased from 5.6 percent in 2006 to 6.2 percent in 2007. This is the highest Roadcheck driver out of service rate since 1999.  The bulk of the drivers placed out of service (65.9 percent of the total) were done so for hours-of-service violations. This compares with 57.1 percent in 2006. Falsification of records of duty status was second in line, comprising 11.4 percent of the total – 12.4 percent was the 2006 number.

    Hours-of-Service out of service violations continues its upward trend, with 4.9 percent of all inspections resulting in a driver being placed out of service for hours-of-service, up from 4.5 percent last year, 3.5 percent in 2005 and 3.4 percent in 2004.

    Roadcheck 2007 results can be found at http://www.cvsa.org/latestnews/cvsa_latestnews.cfm#jun29

     

    6.         Oregon’s DOT Inspections in July 2007 Put Nearly 300 Drivers Out of Service.

    In July 2007, ODOT inspectors checked driver’s logbooks and qualifications to make sure they were complying with federal and state regulations.  Preliminary results indicated that more than 1,200 inspections were completed at seven sites. About one quarter (25%) of the inspections resulted in a driver being placed out of service.  The national driver out-of-service rate is 7 percent. Final results will be posted on the agency’s Web site, www.oregon.gov/ODOT/MCT/ .

    See also the article in The Trucker that can be found at The Trucker

    7.         FMCSA’s Hours-of-Service of Drivers Interim Final Rule.

    Ol' Blue, USA takes no position on what the interim or final hours-of-service regulation should be.  However, it is our organization's position that education of drivers by the FMCSA and by the motor carrier industry is woefully lacking.  This is evidenced by the results of our HOS survey.  I urge you to support measures that would provide for greater education of truck drivers on the hours-of-service regulation.  As the FMCSA noted in its decision promulgating of the Interim Final Rule "Uncertainty is the enemy of enforcement and compliance; it can only impair highway safety."  See page 8, Notice of Interim Final Rule.

    Very truly yours,

    Ol' Blue, USA

    RJ Taylor

    President

    cc:  Subcommittee Members

    Democrats

    mFrank R. Lautenberg
      (Chairman)
    Fax: (202) 228-4054

    mJohn D. Rockefeller, IV
    Fax (202) 224-7665

    mJohn F. Kerry
    Fax (202) 224-8525

    mByron L. Dorgan
    Fax (202) 224-1193

    mMaria Cantwell
    Fax 202-228-0514

    mMark Pryor
    Fax: (202) 228-0908

    mThomas Carper
    Fax: 202-228-2190

    mClaire McCaskill
    E-mail:  mccaskilltransition@mccaskill.senate.gov

    mAmy Klobuchar
    E-mail: senator@klobuchar.senate.gov

    mmDaniel K. Inouye
      (Ex-Officio)
     Fax:  (202) 224-6747

    Republicans

    mGordon H. Smith
      (Ranking Member)
    Fax: 202.228.3997

    mJohn McCain
    Fax: 202-228-2862

    mTrent Lott
    Fax: (202) 224-2262

    mKay Bailey Hutchison
    Fax 202-224-0776

    mOlympia J. Snowe
    Fax 202-224-1946

    mJim DeMint
    Fax 202-228-5143

    mDavid Vitter
    Fax 202-228-5061

    mJohn Thune
    Fax: (202) 228-5429

    mTed Stevens
      (Ex-Officio)
    Fax: (202) 224-2354

     

     

    -  end  -

     

     


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