FMCSA seeks feedback on potential ELD regs revisions

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Trucking news and briefs for Friday, Sept. 16, 2022:

FMCSA considering changes to certain ELD regs

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has signaled that it’s considering potential changes to the electronic logging device regulations as they pertain to pre-2000 engines, ELD malfunctions, ELD tech specs and more.

An advance notice of proposed rulemaking and request for comments published in the Federal Register Friday morning seek feedback from the trucking industry and others on whether revisions should be made to certain parts of the ELD regs.

On the issue of pre-2000 engines being exempt from ELD regs, the FMCSA posited that many trucks with pre-2000 engines do in fact have engine control modules that could accommodate an ELD. The agency initially created the pre-2000 engine exemption because some of those trucks did not have ECMs. "Should FMCSA re-evaluate or modify the applicability of the current ELD regulation for rebuilt or remanufactured CMV engines or glider kits?" the agency asks.

As part of the same question, FMCSA requested "data regarding the size of the glider kit population utilizing pre-2000 engines.”

Other questions the agency is asking in its Federal Register notice include generally those aimed at identifying "ways to improve the clarity of current regulations on the use" of ELDs, and how to address "certain concerns about the technical specifications" raised by the trucking industry. 

Specifically, in addition to the questions about the pre-2000 engine exemption, FMCSA also asks for comment on addressing ELD malfunctions; on the process for removing ELD products from FMCSA’s list of certified devices; on technical specifications; and on ELD certification by providers.

The question covering ELD malfunctions also takes a look at paper logs as a backup. Citing 49 CFR 395.34(a) as requiring drivers to switch to paper logs when an ELD malfunctions, but not to switch to paper logs if the ELD malfunctions but still accurately records hours, the FMCSA asks: "Should FMCSA amend carrier and driver responsibilities in 395.34 to clarify when a driver must switch to paper logs?"

This question comes just days after the FMCSA removed the ELDorado ELD from its registry due to issues with the device's display.

The remaining questions focus on removing ELDs from the FMCSA's registry of approved devices when the ELD provider goes out of business and fails to self-revoke, what technical specifications the ELD devices need, and whether or not the FMCSA should come up with a certification process for ELDs beyond the current provider self-certification process.

Among the questions, the FMCSA also asks if the temporary exception "that allowed all motor carriers to configure an ELD with a yard-move mode that does not require a driver to re-input yard-move status every time the tractor is powered off" should be amended or made permanent, and generally how it's worked out so far. 

Comments can be made here through Nov. 15.

DB Schenker completes USA Truck acquisition

DB Schenker, one of the largest logistics service providers in the world, announced Thursday the completion of its previously announced acquisition of USA Truck (CCJ Top 250, No. 62). The transaction was approved by USA Truck’s stockholders at a special meeting on Sept. 12.

Pursuant to the terms of the merger agreement entered into on June 23, 2022, USA Truck stockholders will receive $31.72 per share in cash for each share of USA Truck’s common stock that they hold. In connection with the completion of the transaction, USA Truck will operate within the network of DB Schenker and will no longer trade on the NASDAQ exchange.

“We are very excited to grow our North America operations in terms of both market share and geographical footprint,” said Jochen Thewes, Chief Executive Officer, DB Schenker. “This is part of a bold ambition that we will become – together – the premier North American transportation solutions provider.”

Joe Jaska, Executive Vice President Land Transport for the Americas Region, DB Schenker, will be taking immediate responsibility for the expanded Land Transport services offered by DB Schenker in the United States.

Goodyear Highway Hero nomination period opens

In celebration of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has announced the return of its annual Highway Hero Award, a program that celebrates professional truck drivers who act selflessly for the good of others on the highways across North America. 

Now through Dec. 31, the Goodyear Highway Hero Award program will recognize professional truck drivers through a call for online story submissions, asking the trucking community to nominate a driver in their life who demonstrated an extraordinary act of courage on the road.

“As routes take truck drivers to every corner of North America, many go above and beyond their regular duties, even serving as first responders to incidents that occur on our roads and highways,” said Gary Medalis, director of product development and marketing at Goodyear. “The Goodyear Highway Hero Award program is designed to express our gratitude for these hardworking truck drivers and to celebrate their incredible acts of bravery.”

Entries for the Goodyear Highway Hero Award program can be submitted here using the nomination form. Goodyear will determine an approved list of nominees from which a panel of judges will select the winner and two finalists.

Goodyear will announce the award winner in early 2023, honoring the driver with a cash prize, a Goodyear prize package and travel and hotel expense for a trip to Orlando for a winner announcement at the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition in March 2023. Two runners up will also receive a cash prize and Goodyear prize packages.

Earlier this year, Goodyear recognized Gerald “Andy” Wright – a truck driver from Jacksonville, Illinois who rescued and helped save the lives of motorists trapped in a burning vehicle – as its 37th annual Highway Hero Award winner.

Eligible nominees for the 38th annual Highway Hero Award must be a full-time truck driver, reside in the U.S. or Canada, and the individual’s truck at the time of the incident must feature 12 wheels or more. Additionally, the act of courage must have occurred between Jan. 1, 2022, and Dec. 31, 2022.