Truckers With Untreated OSA Have Higher Crash Risk reports MedPage Today.

Truck drivers with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) who were not adequately treated for the condition were five times more likely to be involved in preventable crashes than drivers without the sleep disorder, researchers reported.

Truck drivers who were non-adherent with positive airway pressure treatment had a crash rate for preventable U.S. Department of Transportation-reportable crashes of 0.070/100,000 miles that was nearly five-fold more that the rate of 0.014/100,000 miles for matched controls (without sleep apnea) and fully compliant drivers (incidence rate ratio 4.97, 95% CI, 2.09-10.63, P<0.001), according to…. – FULL STORY 

Of course you can see the full skinny on Sleep Apnea and BMI / Neck Size here….

What does the Department of Transportation say about “Medical Marijuana”?


“Medical Marijuana”?

Short answer – No such thing for CDL drivers….

Long answer —

DOT ‘Medical’ Marijuana Notice

DOT Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance Notice

Recently, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued guidelines for Federal prosecutors in states that have enacted laws authorizing the use of “medical marijuana.”

We have had several inquiries about whether the DOJ advice to Federal prosecutors regarding pursuing criminal cases will have an impact upon the Department of Transportation’s longstanding regulation about the use of marijuana by safety‐sensitive transportation employees – pilots, school bus drivers, truck drivers, train engineers, subway operators, aircraft maintenance personnel, transit fire‐armed security personnel, ship captains, and pipeline emergency response personnel, among others.

We want to make it perfectly clear that the DOJ guidelines will have no bearing on the Department of Transportation’s regulated drug testing program. We will not change our regulated drug testing program based upon these guidelines to Federal prosecutors.

The Department of Transportation’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation – 49 CFR Part 40, at 40.151(e) – does not authorize “medical marijuana” under a state law to be a valid medical explanation for a transportation employee’s positive drug test result.

That section states:

§ 40.151 What are MROs prohibited from doing as part of the verification process?
As an MRO, you are prohibited from doing the following as part of the verification process:
(e) You must not verify a test negative based on information that a physician recommended that the employee use a drug listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. (e.g., under a state law that purports to authorize such recommendations, such as the “medical marijuana” laws that some states have adopted.)

Therefore, Medical Review Officers will not verify a drug test as negative based upon information that a physician recommended that the employee use “medical marijuana.” Please note that marijuana remains a drug listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. It remains unacceptable for any safety‐sensitive employee subject to drug testing under the Department of Transportation’s drug testing regulations to use marijuana.

We want to assure the traveling public that our transportation system is the safest it can possibly be.

Jim L. Swart
Office of the Secretary of Transportation
Office of Drug and Alcohol
Policy and Compliance
Department of Transportation
October 22, 2009

Updated: Thursday, November 19, 2015

– See more at:


660 Minutes: How Improving Driver Efficiency Increases Capacity

What happens to those 660 minutes in a driver’s day?


J.B. Hunt recently released a report on the full extent of the wasted time drivers spend as a result of inefficient practices. Mitigating such inefficiencies, the report notes, can increase capacity.  The report is directed at educating shippers and receivers, but the data and lessons apply to any operation or fleet.

The Hourglass vs. the Stopwatch

In many ways, capacity shortage and driver inefficiency are a result of misinformation surrounding Hours of Service. Think of a driver’s time as that of an hourglass, a perishable commodity which is continually diminishing. Whereas in the past a driver could, much like a stopwatch, start or stop his or her clock depending on the activity, a driver today cannot log time waiting at a shipper location or making a delivery as “off duty.” Once a driver begins his or her safety check at the start of the workday, the clock is running down without pause…  READ THE FULL REPORT


See through Trucks from Samsung? Check it out.


Samsung has a new idea…

Here’s what they are saying;

Have you ever found yourself driving behind a semi-trailer truck? If you’re on a single-lane highway or road, it can be a nightmare. Even though the truck is driving relatively slowly, you cannot overtake it due to its size, and because you cannot see what is happening in front of the truck.

However, Samsung has developed a solution that may make this problem a thing of the past.

Argentina’s statistics on traffic accidents are among the highest in the world, with most of these accidents occurring on two-lane roads and particularly in situations of overtaking. With this in mind, Samsung developed a technology for trucks that seeks to enrich the lives of people through innovation. But more than that, this time the goal is more ambitious: to save lives.

How Does it Work?

The Safety Truck consists of a wireless camera attached to the front of the truck, which is connected to a video wall made out of four exterior monitors located on the back of the truck. The monitors give drivers behind the truck a view of what is going on ahead, even in the dark of night.

This allows drivers to have a better view when deciding whether it is safe to overtake. Another advantage of the Safety Truck is that it may reduce the risk of accidents caused by sudden braking or animals crossing the road.

Samsung led the prototype development by providing large format display samples, and conducted a test with a local B2B client

Next Steps

Currently, the prototype truck built is no longer operational. So far Samsung has been able to confirm that the technology works and that this idea can definitely save the lives of many people.

The next step is to perform the corresponding tests in order to comply with the existing national protocols and obtain the necessary permits and approvals. For this, Samsung is working together with safe driving NGOs and the government.


Now that’s something to see (through)…..

Getting ahead of the Problem(s) – Trucking Wisdom


There is no magic wand to make all of life’s issues disappear.  And between career, family, and self, there is always too much to get done. But one thing a professional driver doesn’t have to do is reinvent the wheel.  (See what I did there?)  We can learn from others, and borrow their experience to make the road a little a smoother for ourselves. (Did it again…)

We have found a few web sites that are both informative and entertaining with information valuable to CDL drivers of all stripes.  So we wanted to share them with you.

Freightliner for instance has a great web site called – Team Run Smart, where drivers can find practicle articles like “Laundry Tips for Truckers” and “Dealing with a Debt Collector While You’re on the Road“.  They also have health tips, business tips, and general trucking know how, from a panel of experts.  Sure it’s a bit of an infomercial, but the practical information available is helpful.

A few other destinations with similar resources include:

Road King –

Healthy Trucker –

The Trucking Truth (Forums) –


Hope this was helpful.  Feel free to suggest any sites you like as well, so we can collect them.  – You can suggest them on our FACEBOOK PAGE HERE


Driverless Truck Actually Driving in Nevada

Self driving trucks.
Self driving trucks.


We have written about this before.  But back then it was just a concept, not actually operating on US roads.  Well Nevada just green lighted the first driverless truck.

The world’s first autonomous 18-wheeler is getting down to business. At a ceremony at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Tuesday, Gov. Brian Sandoval handed over an official Nevada license plate for use by a new Freightliner Inspiration Truck on public roads.

Though a human “driver” will need to sit behind the wheel in case of an emergency, the new system is intended to usher in an era that could very well lead to fleets of trucks that have no humans on board at all, said Wolfgang Bernhard, the board member overseeing truck operations at Freightliner’s parent, Daimler AG.

Even in its current, more limited form, the technology offers a number of advantages, Bernhard said, noting that 90 percent of truck crashes involve human error, according to government data, much of that due to fatigue.

 It doesn’t look like robot competition will over take human drivers just yet, the truck needs a driver still, and can’t go where there aren’t white lines…. but we expect this technology to move very quickly.

HOS Provision Suspension; Obama Signs into Law – Effective Now

Good News for Drivers?

The Collins Amendment language suspends the restriction on the use of the so-called 34-hour restart that requires drivers to take two consecutive periods of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. off during the restart, thus lifting the restriction on using the restart more than once every 168 hours, or one week.


The bill language says that within 90 days of the enactment of the act, “the Secretary (of transportation) shall initiate a naturalistic study of the operational, safety, health and fatigue impacts of the restart provisions.” It would suspend the current restart provisions through Sept. 30, 2015, “and the restart rule (previously) in effect on June 30, 2013, shall immediately be in effect.”


Keep in mind – The 2015 appropriations bill suspended two provisions of the 2013 HOS rule: (1) The requirement that drivers’ 34-hour restarts include two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods and (2) the provision that limits the use of the restart to once per 168 hours (a week). BUT Not the 30 minute break requirement…

Legal Trends in Staffing and Leased Labor – ACA, Unemployment, WC and More.

There is a growing trend amongst regulators and taxing authorities at the federal and state levels to attempt to recapture what they believe is lost revenue from the manipulation of leased labor scenarios.  Regulators are increasingly trying to look past contracts and business structures, looking to foil employer dodges that minimize exposure to employment liabilities including Unemployment Compensation, Workers Compensation and Healthcare Benefits.

In this short article we will give you a few examples of where things seem to be headed.  Keep in mind every jurisdiction (you’re always in at least two) is different, and that you must use a layered analysis to determine what the best course of action is. (see our previous article on overtime and truck driver pay for an example of the Federal – State interplay)  The layers here just become multidimensional with all the separate payroll taxes and employer liabilities.

Your company should have in place and regularly update strong contract language to decisively handle and parse the issues.  Strong contracts require the input of legal, financial, and human resource specialists, and should be re-evaluated from the ground up at each renewal.  Further your staffing firm should be knowledgeable and agile as well, bringing their knowledge of best practices and battle tested language to the table.  Neither party wants to discover their contracted agreement isn’t enforceable and that they inadvertently accepted a cost or liability.

Unfortunately the playing field is forever changing, both through court decisions and legislation.  So contracts might not be honored on a given point.  One example of such legislation comes from California, where a bill passed in September puts employers directly on the hook for employee wages and workers compensation premiums unpaid by the staffing firm who provided the labor.

Assembly Bill No. 1897
…..(b) A client employer shall share with a labor contractor all civil legal responsibility and civil liability for all workers supplied by that labor contractor for both of the following:
(1) The payment of wages.
(2) Failure to secure valid workers’ compensation coverage as required by Section 3700.
(c) A client employer shall not shift to the labor contractor any legal duties or liabilities under the provisions of Division 5 (commencing with Section 6300) with respect to workers supplied by the labor contractor….

Or, as the California Legislative Counsel Digest summarizes;

painknee“This bill would require a client employer to share with a labor contractor all civil legal responsibility and civil liability for all workers supplied by that labor contractor for the payment of wages and the failure to obtain valid workers’ compensation coverage. The bill would prohibit a client employer from shifting to the labor contractor legal duties or liabilities under workplace safety provisions with respect to workers provided by the labor contractor.”

One might argue that this type of “interference with contract” may ultimately run afoul of the Constitutional Right of Contract, but given the freedom states have to regulate these matters, we shouldn’t hold our collective breaths.  Indeed, there is plenty of precedent for this type of statutory co-employment scenarios.

Many states are adopting Unemployment Compensation rating structures that use the higher experience modification of either the staffing firm or the employer.  Thus an employer cannot escape a high unemployment tax rate by out sourcing the payroll, and conversely an employer’s bad ratings can eat into the staffing agencies margin on markup.  For instance North Dakota says;

Long-term staffing services are required to report workers (on their quarterly
unemployment insurance tax reports) assigned to a client company using the client company’s unemployment insurance tax account number and, with certain exceptions, will pay taxes using the client company’s unemployment insurance tax rate. – North Dakota Employer’s Handbook

Then there is the overlay of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and staffing scenarios.  Take this excerpt below (we won’t hate you if you just skim it, we bolded the best part, where they tell you to operate with no guidance for the moment);

Shared Responsibility for Employers Regarding Health Coverage

7. Temporary Staffing Firms

The preamble to the proposed regulations notes that the application of section 4980H may be particularly challenging for temporary staffing firms and requested comments on certain specific areas relevant to temporary staffing firms, including whether new employees of a temporary staffing firm should be deemed or presumed to be variable hour employees for purposes of the look-back measurement method as well as whether special rules should apply to temporary staffing firms for purposes of determining when an employee has separated from service and the application of the rehire rules when an employee returns after a break in service. See section VII.E of the preamble for a discussion of the rehire rules.

Some commenters requested that new employees of a temporary staffing firm be deemed, or alternatively presumed, to be variable hour employees rather than full-time employees for purposes of the look-back measurement method. Other commenters opposed the use of any presumption that employees of temporary staffing firms are variable hour employees, arguing that some of these employees will work predictable schedules averaging at least 30 hours of service per week. Temporary staffing firms vary widely in the types of assignments they fill for their clients and in the anticipated assignments that a new employee will be offered. Accordingly, the final regulations do not adopt a generally applicable presumption…..

…Section II.D.3 of the preamble to the proposed regulations addresses two arrangements under which a client employer may use a temporary staffing firm to attempt to evade application of section 4980H. In one arrangement, the client employer purports to employ an employee for only part of a week, such as 20 hours, and to hire that same individual through a temporary staffing firm for the remaining hours of the week, and then claim that the individual was not a full-time employee of either the client employer or the temporary staffing firm. In the other arrangement, one temporary staffing firm purports to supply a client an individual as a worker for only part of a week, such as 20 hours, while a second temporary staffing firm purports to supply the same client the same individual for the remainder of the week, and then claim that the individual was not a full-time employee of the client or either of the temporary staffing firms. For these reasons and the reasons set forth in section II.D.3 of the preamble to the proposed regulations, the Treasury Department and the IRS continue to be concerned about these arrangements and anticipate that future guidance of general applicability, published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin (see § 601.601(d)(2)(ii)(b)), will address them.


Further the IRS has said (this actually sounds like guidance, and spells out a safe harbor);ggg

 “the final rules provide that if an employer pays an additional amount to a staffing agency under its staffing agency contract to ensure that the staffing agency is providing the individual with qualifying health insurance coverage, then this will qualify as the employer’s offer of coverage to meet the ACA’s requirements (e.g., if the individual is the employer’s common law employee under IRS standards)”. , Treas. Reg. § 54.4980H-4(b)(2)

So, now you have to worry about everyone’s healthcare?  Maybe.  We’ll wait and see.

What does this all mean?

So the bottom line is using leased labor to game unemployment rates, and dodge benefits packages is, if it ever was, not really a great reason to structure such an arrangement.  However, there are still several major advantages which can create win-win scenarios for employers and staffing companies.

One is the “Try Before You Buy” factor. Leasing to hire gives the business a chance to try out an employee before making a permanent offer of employment. In some cases, a person may have the experience and education for a job but simply does not mesh well with the work environment. Having the opportunity to have the person work on a temporary basis first gives you a chance to evaluate how the person will fit in with the operation and other employees. It also provides time to identify any weaknesses that would not typically be evident in the interview and hire process.  And in many instances and jurisdictions you can still be protected from unemployment compensation issues and liabilities.

Further we know that many accidents occur in the first 90 days of employment, so (thus far) your staffing company can absorb those workers compensation experience history and resulting modification rates.  With trucking base rates being some of the highest, a small favorable bump downwards has a huge effect on the bottom line.

Leased labor also provides a crucial Recruiting Benefit especially in tight labor markets.  If you had not noticed truck drivers are in short supply.

Truck drivers — the lack of them and the number of hours they can work — remain the top concern of trucking executives, the American Transportation Research Institute says.

Using one or more leased labor providers allows you to magnify your recruiting efforts, and satisfy business needs faster.  Professional staffing agencies can expertly market jobs to passive prospects, who might not otherwise respond to or even look at job advertisements.  Most companies do not have the time or expertise to tap this source of employees.  Generating leads and finding drivers is something most operation managers can’t spend large amounts of time on.guy

So in closing, while using a staffing agency implicates more than a few legal and financial issues, and requires sophisticated planning by both parties, an agency is still a valuable resource for recruiting and hiring drivers.  You just have to make sure that your agency is working with you to create solid contractual understandings and staying abreast of the evolving regulatory landscape.

Medical Self-Certification Deadline Confusion

In the course of helping hundreds of CDL drivers find jobs throughout the United States, we are frequently finding a surprising number of drivers who have failed to self-certify with their state’s DMV.  This means they are not employable until this is fixed.


This requirement was to be fully in place by January 30, 2014, but was subsequently delayed in part to allow state DMVs to finish implementation.  Many drivers mistakenly believe their duty to self-certify was delayed, it was not.

self certification / med card enforcement
Not being self-certied can make you out of service.

Drivers were not exempted from meeting the deadline, instead the FMCSA simply has allowed carriers to accept a medical card, if the self-certification is not showing due to a state’s failure to implement the system in a timely fashion.  Further, drivers are now also mandated to carry their medical card through January 2015, even if they are self-certified and that shows on their DMV report.

According to the FMCSA  to self-certify here is what you must do:

What are CDL holders required to do?

You must determine whether you operate in interstate or intrastate commerce, and are excepted or non-excepted from either the Federal or State requirements. You must certify to your SDLA that you fall into one of the four operation categories listed below:

  • Interstate non-excepted: You are an Interstate non-excepted driver and must meet the Federal DOT medical card requirements (e.g. – you are “not excepted”).
  • Interstate excepted: You are an Interstate excepted driver and do not have to meet the Federal DOT medical card requirements.
  • Intrastate non-excepted: You are an Intrastate non-excepted driver and are required to meet the medical requirements for your State.
  • Intrastate excepted: You are an Intrastate excepted driver and do not have to meet the medical requirements for your State.

For the definition of interstate and intrastate please see the FAQ section.

If you are subject to the USDOT medical examiner certification requirement, provide a copy of each new USDOT medical examiner certificate to your SDLA prior to the expiration of your current medical examiner certificate. The medical examiner certificate is often referred to as your “medical card.”


The good news is this mistake is easily fixed with a trip to the DMV with your current medical card.  So if you haven’t self-certified already, go do it.  And if you have, spread the word, because the percentage of noncompliant drivers is high. Being removed from service under load, or missing a great job opportunity is bad for drivers and carriers alike.  Certainly the confusing rule changes haven’t helped, but by spreading the word we can help each other out.

DOT Sued to Set Driver Instruction Standards

Congress initially told the agency to finish a rulemaking process on driver training by 1993, but the agency still has not done so, stated a press release from the

So – what’s going on? 

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH), and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters filed the suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia against the DOT and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)  The suit was filed Sept. 18 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  DOT had already announced it was beginning the process.

DOT sued to set Commerical Driver Instruction Standards.
DOT sued to set Commerical Driver Instruction Standards.


Plaintiff attorney Adina Rosenbaum explained the rationale for the lawsuit.

“Although the agency has announced that it has begun to look into the negotiated rulemaking process, it certainly hasn’t given any sort of timeframe of when it expects that to be completed and when it expects to have a final rule on the issue,” Rosenbaum told Land Line. –

What does this mean? Uniform standards for CDL training and instructor certification.  Something the  OOIDA has been supporting.

A safe, experienced, and professional driver behind the wheel of a tractor trailer forms the foundation of motor carrier safety. However, unlike airline pilots, railroad engineers, and tugboat captains, there has never been a requirement that tractor-trailer drivers complete a basic training regimen that ensures they know how to operate the vehicle safely in real-world conditions. This is the case, despite the fact that the general public is in constant contact with trucks and that approximately 80 percent of all truck-involved accidents are the result of a “human factor.” A good portion of the “truck driver training” programs available are focused on making sure that the individual passes the CDL road test and not on giving the new driver the skills and knowledge to control their 80,000 pound tractor trailer.

Around the country, there are what can only be deemed “CDL mills” offering folks hungry for a job a “guarantee” that they will pass the CDL written and road tests. A quick Internet search shows websites offering CDL training on DVD, test answers with a “guarantee that you will pass,” and schools that are proud to tout their “100% pass rating” – despite the fact that the new drivers may only receive less than a day’s worth of instruction on what they will be tested on, not what they will need to know as a truck driver. One school was even offering a coupon deal.

Not only are there no requirements that these schools actually provide their students any real training beyond how to pass the CDL test, there is not a requirement that instructors meet a basic level of qualification. Although many schools and training programs see that new drivers are taught by safe, experienced current or former truck drivers who have been themselves taught basic instructional techniques, too many programs rely on individuals who themselves are new to the trucking industry. It is hard to learn the safe way to operate a truck when your teacher is still learning the basics. – an OOIDA website.

One has to wonder how it takes over 20 years to get around to making such a rule, when DOT has had plenty of time to create the CSA, the PSP, and BASIC.  Further, there is the projected professional CDL-A driver shortage for the industry to deal with, and making it harder to train drivers might enhance this deficit.