The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) yesterday published proposed rulemaking to the hours of service rules in an effort to increase safety by providing drivers additional flexibility.
We provide important legal developments, summaries and analyses impacting those involved in the trucking industry and the defense of trucking-related claims and lawsuits.
A controversial topic at many industry functions I have attended is whether trucking companies should ban or limit cellphone use by their drivers while behind the wheel of a commercial motor vehicle. This controversy was further illustrated in a recent article by David Wren entitled Lawsuit Settlement Could Lead to More Cellphone Bans by Trucking Firms. The article discusses a settlement agreement reached in a personal injury lawsuit, where the personal injury plaintiffs alleged the commercial vehicle operator was distracted because he was using a hands-free device to talk on his phone at the time of the crash.
Under current commercial trucking industry procedures, the only permitted method of drug and alcohol testing is a urinalysis. Some employers are performing hair testing for their own use, but must also conduct a duplicative urinalysis to satisfy federal requirements. This could soon be changing.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations require that fleets check their drivers’ commercial license status at least annually to verify the driver has not been convicted of any serious traffic violation or the license disqualified. In 2003, FMCSA stated in a guidance announcement that it was okay for motor carriers to use a third-party notification provider such as New York City-based License Monitor Inc. to satisfy such regulatory requirement.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (49 CFR 391.11) requires that in order to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License, an applicant must be able to “read and speak the English language sufficiently to converse with the general public, to understand highway traffic signs and signals in the English language, to respond to official inquiries, and to make entries on reports and records.”