FMCSA evaluating driver vision standard at upcoming meeting

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Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, May 5, 2021:

FMCSA medical board discussing driver vision qualifications at May meeting
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Medical Review Board will evaluate the vision standard for truck drivers at its next meeting, which will be held May 19-20. The virtual meeting is open to the public.

According to an agenda for the meeting published Tuesday in the Federal Register, the MRB will evaluate comments and the vision assessment form from a proposed rulemaking from January.

The January proposal, if finalized, would allow drivers who cannot meet either the current distant visual acuity or field of vision standard, or both, in one eye to be physically qualified to operate a commercial vehicle. Currently, these drivers are prohibited from operating in interstate commerce without an exemption from FMCSA.

The board will also conduct a review of the medical assessment form for CMV drivers with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and finalize the recommendations from the MRB’s April 2020 meeting on updates to the Medical Examiner Handbook.

Those interested in participating in the virtual meeting are encouraged, but not required, to register in advance. Registration will be available here in the coming days.

Tech firm launches app-based driver risk-management system
Supply chain tech firm Overhaul has launched TruckShield, a risk-management technology system for carriers that helps identify dangerous or illegal driving practices in real time and implements corrective actions to avoid costly situations that can develop due to accidents.

In addition to identifying and correcting costly behavior, Overhaul says TruckShield also defends against predatory legal practices in the event of an accident, digitizes and centralizes insurance, maintenance and safety management, and builds a data profile to showcase safety culture to insurers.

“As an owner of a trucking company, I can uniquely relate to the frustration of rising premiums, year-over-year, and the constant threat of a catastrophic verdict that can wipe out a business,” said Barry Conlon, CEO and founder of Overhaul. “TruckShield is going to be a game-changer for North American motor carriers because it can provide unparalleled vulnerability protection, as well as quick insurance claims and cost savings. Within minutes, trucking-company management can monitor who is and who isn’t driving safely.”

With a simple app download, carriers gain full visibility into what’s happening across their fleet without having to install any hardware, while identifying and correcting safety risks like hazardous driving and theft. The app uses existing hardware to identify and correct risky driver behaviors.

Michigan lifts seasonal weight restrictions
As of Monday, May 3, the Michigan Department of Transportation has lifted the remaining spring weight restrictions on all state trunkline highways in the entire state. State routes typically carry M, I, or U.S. designations.

County road commissions and city public works departments put in place their own seasonal weight restrictions, which usually, but not always, coincide with state highway weight restrictions. Signs are generally posted to indicate which routes have weight restrictions in effect.

Weight restrictions on state highways are implemented during the spring frost-thaw period and are now completed for the 2021 season, according to MDOT. A typical timeframe for these restrictions is from February to May, with specific dates determined by weather and road conditions. They will be posted again when the 2022 season starts.

NACV Show postponed
The 2021 iteration of the North American Commercial Vehicle Show, originally scheduled for Sept. 28-30 in Atlanta, is being postponed, event organizers announced Tuesday.

The decision was made after discussion with both manufacturers and fleets, who cited the lingering effects of COVID-19 on willingness to travel and attend large gatherings. Additionally, the growing number of events competing with one another in the fall of 2021 also factored into the decision.

Organizers say the show will be rescheduled and plan to share more information on future plans in July.