ATA Asks for Review of Trucking Rules
The American Trucking Associations (ATA), representing more than 37,000 trucking companies, wrote the U.S. Department of Transportation asking for reviews of several outdated, unworkable, or superceded requirements in the Code of Federal Regulations.
One of the obsolete requirements that affects all truck driving jobs is 49 CFR § 383.31, which requires a driver to notify, in writing, the state that issued his or her commercial driver license of any traffic violations, other than parking tickets. CDLIS, the nationwide computer information system, makes that regulation unnecessary. The ATA letter also notes that CDLIS provides law enforcement agencies more knowledge and better records about individual truckers than the trucking companies may have. It would be a safety and training advantage if the reporting requirement were reversed and information from the database was sent to the motor carriers.
Several of the issues raised by the ATA are related to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration rules that apply to motor carriers. An example of the regulations that don't quite work with all aspects of trucking is the placards required on bulk containers, defined as over 119 gallons capacity, when they are empty. With only residue in them, these items still must have a UN identifier on the outside of the truck hauling the empty container. It seems obvious that an empty return is far less hazardous than a full "non-bulk" container, of 54 gallons, that is not large enough to require the exterior placards. Many carriers may not have the proper UN placards available for the empty return, which results in turning down the shipment.
Another set of regulations about liquid fuel tank testing, such as the drop test or the fill pipe test, can only be done effectively by the equipment manufacturers. One section, 49 CFR § 393.67(e)(2), requires carriers to apply an enveloping flame around a three-quarters full, upside down fuel tank to test the safety venting system. It would certainly not be very safe!
There are several other similar procedures that the ATA describes in the letter. Such things as duplicated pre-trip vehicle inspection rules, an unworkable standard to control lubricant and fuel leaks, hazardous incident reporting requirements, etc., impose time and money costs on all trucking companies. These regulations affect truck driving jobs because they make motor carriers less efficient by generating unproductive busywork.
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