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MassDOT & ThinkArgus conducts trucker roadway experience survey

Are there specific things you would change to make your experience on the roadways better as a truck driver? A survey is being conducted by the MassDOT Highway Division for commercial truck drivers.

Your answers will help MassDOT gain a better understanding of your needs and lived experience on Massachusetts roads. It should only take about 10 minutes to complete. The MassDOT values your feedback.

This survey will be live for the next two weeks, so please complete at your earliest convenience.

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Entry-level driver training standards effective Feb. 7

truck driver smiling in cabThe new entry-level driver training (ELDT) standards (49 CFR Part 380) set a national baseline for entry-level driver training to improve the safety of our roads and highways across the Commonwealth and our nation.

These new standards become effective Monday, Feb. 7 and impacts drivers applying to:

  • Obtain a Class A or Class B commercial driver’s license (CDL) for the first time
  • Upgrade to a Class B CDL or to a Class A CDL
  • Obtain a school bus (S), passenger (P), or hazardous materials (H) endorsement for the first time

Beginning Feb. 7,  the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) will verify completion of training for applicants that are subject to ELDT prior to scheduling a CDL skills test, or knowledge test for drivers applying for a hazmat endorsement for the first time.

Organizations planning to provide ELDT must be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Training Provider Registry (TPR). Training providers can register for the TPR online.

By registering, training providers will have the ability to enter training information for driver’s that successfully complete ELDT.

The RMV has hosted multiple webinars on the subject. Below are links to a list of questions and answers from the Jan. 12 webinar, plus the webinar’s presentation material.

snowplow truck winter storm

Winter Storm: Tractor trailer ban set for Saturday

Effective at 6 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 29 tractor trailers will be restricted from all state roads. The restriction is currently set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 29.

This post will be updated as new information becomes available, but we do suggest you refer to the Alerts section on the 511 website or mobile app to receive immediate notifications.


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Governor declares emergency related to hours of service regulations

On Jan. 13, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a Declaration of Emergency Notice providing relief from regulations pertaining to hours of service of motor carriers and drivers of commercial motor vehicles. This exemption is exclusive to those commercial drivers transporting and delivering fuels necessary for the continued heating of homes, businesses and other structures.

The exemption remains in effect through Feb. 6, 2022 unless rescinded sooner by appropriate order. It applies only to 49 CFR Part 395 and no other sections of the FMCSRs.

The full text of the declaration is available online, and a PDF is available for download.

(Title 49 CFR Part 390.23)

Pursuant to 49 CFR Section 390.23, I, Governor Charles D, Baker, declare that an emergency exists pertaining to the delivery of essential supplies, more specifically propane and heating and fuel oil to customers in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,

This emergency exemption is issued as a result of the confluence of below average cold temperatures that have caused on increased demand for fuel throughout the Commonwealth and workforce shortages, caused by the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

This emergency declaration provides regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicles operation while providing direct assistance supporting the delivery of propane and heating and fuel oil into the affected areas and to consumers during the emergency,

This emergency exemption is effective beginning 11:59 PM, EST, January 11, 2022 and will remain in effect until 11:59 P.M., EST, February 6, 2022 unless rescinded sooner by appropriate order.

The following ls ordered:

  1. An emergency exists that requires relief from regulations adopted in Massachusetts and Federal Statutes and Regulations pertaining to hours of service of motor carriers and drivers of commercial motor vehicles, while transporting and delivering fuels necessary for the continued heating of homes, businesses, and other structures,  (49 CFR Part 395).
  2. Nothing contained in this declaration shall be construed as an exemption from the Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing requirements (49 CFR Part 382), the Commercial Driver’s License requirements (49 CFR Part 383), the Financial Responsibility requirements (49 CFR Part 387), applicable Size and Weight requirements, or any other portion of the regulation not specifically authorized pursuant to Title 49 CFR Section 390.23.
  3. No motor carrier operating under the terms of this exemption shall require or allow a fatigued or ill driver to operate a motor vehicle.  A driver who informs a carrier that he or she needs immediate rest shall be given at least ten consecutive hams off-duty before the  driver is allowed to return to service.
  4. Motor carriers or drivers that have an Out of Service Order in effect may not take advantage of the relief from regulations that this declaration provides under Title 49 CFR 390.23.
  5. Drivers of motor carders that operate under this Declaration of Emergency Notice must have a copy of it in their possession.
  6. Consistent with Title 49 CFR Section 390.23, this emergency notice will remain in effect through 11:59 P.M., February 6,  EST or sooner if terminated by the Governor.

DATE:  January 13, 2022

Charles D. Baker

Last updated: Friday, January 14, 2022
snow traffic jam

Imagine an extensive traffic jam – with electric vehicles

snow traffic jamEarlier this month in Virginia, commercial and personal vehicle drivers along a 40-plus mile section of I-95 experienced significant weather delays. Snowfall and cold weather resulted in some drivers stuck in place for more than 20 hours. Many ran out of fuel or battery power waiting to get moving. No power means no heat in sub-freezing temperatures. This was not a pleasant or safe experience.

An editorial by Charles Lane from the Washington Post on Jan. 4 suggests the event would have been much worse if there were more electric vehicles on the road. Although both electric and internal combustion engine vehicles certainly will all eventually run out of power, getting them moving again is the problem.

It is much easier to rehabilitate a disabled [internal combustion engine] ICE vehicle. Rescuers can deliver gallons of gas in convenient jugs; gas stations are still far more numerous than EV charging stations; and ICE car batteries can be jump-started in minutes.

Lane notes outside of a breakthrough in fast, mobile charging, battery powered vehicles would have to be towed. This would have been a significant challenge for law enforcement and personnel charged with clearing the vehicles.

Read the full editorial at the Washington Post’s website.

Edward Rodricks

TAM chairman, trucking industry leader Ed Rodricks passes away

Edward RodricksWe are deeply saddened to announce the passing of longtime Board Member and TAM Chairman Ed Rodricks. Ed passed away Thursday, Dec. 30.

We are thankful for his outstanding leadership, friendship, guidance and wisdom. He will be greatly missed by the TAM family, the trucking industry and his community.

Ed’s contributions to TAM and the trucking industry are numerous. His positive impact throughout our region will be felt for many years to come. He was respected by everyone that worked for him and with him. He was a true leader and will be missed by many.

Our condolences to his wife Valerie and the entire Rodricks family at this most difficult time.

Services for Ed will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 8 at St. John’s Church in East Bridgewater, details can be found online here.

FMCSA emergency declaration

FMCSA extends Emergency Declaration 2020-002

This morning, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) extended Emergency Declaration 2020-002 to Feb. 28. 2022, subject to the restrictions and conditions set forth herein unless modified or terminated sooner.

From the FMCSA.

FMCSA is continuing the exemption and associated regulatory relief in accordance with 49 CFR § 390.25, because the presidentially declared emergency remains in place and because, although the number of COVID-19 cases began to decline in the U.S. following widespread introduction of vaccinations, persistent issues arising out of COVID-19 continue to affect the U.S. including impacts on supply chains and the need to ensure capacity to respond to variants and potential rises in infections. Therefore, a continued exemption is needed to support direct emergency assistance for some supply chains.

The American Trucking Associations sent out an email today with additional information. It included the following:

The declaration published today is limited to the transportation of:

  1. Livestock and livestock feed;
  2. Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19;
  3. Vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment, including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19;
  4. Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap, and disinfectants; and,
  5. Food, paper products, and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores;
  6. Gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and ethyl alcohol; and,
  7. Supplies to assist individuals impacted by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., building materials for individuals displaced or otherwise impacted as a result of the emergency).

This declaration applies only to 395.3 “Maximum Driving Time for Property-Carrying Vehicles”. This declaration becomes effective at 12:00 a.m. December 1, 2021 and expires February 28, 2022 unless modified or terminated sooner. Reporting requirements previously established remain in effect. To be eligible, the transportation must be both (1) of qualifying commodities and (2) incident to the immediate restoration of those essential supplies. We strongly encourage everyone to review the applicability, restrictions, and limitations listed within the waiver.

The FMCSA has also extended the CDL and CLP waivers under certain circumstances. Details can be found on the FMCSA website concerning the waiver and updated today.

Additionally, FMCSA has extended waivers related to third-party CDL skills test examiners, and CLP holders operating a CMV.

Rear impact guard inspection

FMCSA to require rear impact guard yearly inspection

Effective Dec. 9, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will add rear impact guards on the list of items that must be examined as part of the required annual inspection for each commercial motor vehicle. In addition, FMCSA amends the labeling requirements for rear impact guards, and excludes road construction controlled horizontal discharge trailers from the rear impact guard requirements.

These changes are consistent with those made by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to the corresponding Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. This final rule responds to rulemaking petitions, as well as a recommendation from the Government Accountability Office.

The vehicles subject to this additional inspection item are trailers and semitrailers with a GVWR of 4,536 kg (10,001 lbs.) or more that were manufactured on or after January 26, 1998.

The published document as released by the FMCSA has been posted here in the National Archive. The Executive Summary includes…

Section 393.86 of the FMCSRs, “Rear impact guards and rear end protection,” requires rear impact guards to be installed on most CMVs to reduce the incidence of passenger compartment intrusion during underride crashes in which a passenger vehicle strikes the rear of the CMV. Regulations requiring rear impact guards have been in the FMCSRs since 1952. The FMCSRs require that all CMVs be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained to ensure that all required parts and accessories—including rear impact guards—are in safe and proper operating condition at all times (§ 396.3(a)(1)). Operation of a CMV with a missing or noncompliant rear impact guard is a violation of the FMCSRs.

Every CMV must be inspected at least once every 12 months. 49 CFR 396.17. A motor carrier may not use a CMV unless each component identified in Appendix A to Part 396, Code of Federal Regulations, “Minimum Periodic Inspection Standards,” has passed the required annual inspection. While the FMCSRs have required rear impact guards for more than 65 years, they have not been included on the list of components in Appendix G that must be inspected during the annual CMV inspection. This means that a vehicle can pass an annual inspection with a missing or damaged rear impact guard.



US DOT logo

Federal infrastructure legislation includes benefits for Massachusetts

US DOT logoThe historic bipartisan infrastructure legislation will deliver for Massachusetts by repairing roads and bridges, improving transportation options, building a national network of chargers to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, upgrading our nation’s airports and ports, and much more.

A PDF document with some information concerning the Massachusetts benefits – and all other states – has been posted on the US Department of Transportation website.

In Massachusetts there are 472 bridges and over 1,194 miles of highway in poor condition. Since 2011, commute times have increased by 10.9% in Massachusetts, and on average, each driver pays $620 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system.

Based on formula funding alone, Massachusetts would expect to receive approximately $5.3 billion over five years in Federal highway formula funding for highways and bridges. On an average annual basis, this is about 48.4% more than the State’s Federal-aid highway formula funding under current law.

Read the complete Massachusetts-related PDF.

American Trucking Association logo

Trucking industry associations file lawsuit over vaccine mandate

A press release from the American Trucking Association.

Suit Filed in Fifth Circuit, Which Has Preliminarily Stayed Mandate

Arlington, Virginia – Today, the American Trucking Associations, along with the Louisiana Motor Truck Association, the Mississippi Trucking Association and the Texas Trucking Association led a number of groups representing various facets of the supply chain in suing the Biden Administration over its employer-based COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

“To be very clear, ATA and its member companies support efforts to encourage all Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 – our trucks and drivers have been on the front line in fighting this pandemic since the beginning, moving personal protective equipment, test kits, the vaccine itself and much more as the country locked down, but we believe that the Biden Administration has overstepped its statutory authority in issuing this Emergency Temporary Standard,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “This standard arbitrarily picks winners and losers, and puts employers in an untenable position of forcing workers to choose between working and their private medical decisions, which is something that cannot be allowed.

“We told the administration that this mandate, given the nature of our industry and makeup of our workforce, could have devastating impacts on the supply chain and the economy and they have, unfortunately, chosen to move forward despite those warnings,” he said. “So we are now, regrettably, forced to seek to have this mandate overturned in court.”

ATA and its state partners filed their challenge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and they were joined in the suit by the Food Marketing Institute, the International Warehouse Logistics Association, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Retail Federation, the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors and the National Federation of Independent Business.

“We are asking the court to stay implementation of the mandate because we believe the Occupational Safety and Health Administration did not satisfy the statutory requirements for issuing this Emergency Temporary Standard instead of going through the proper rulemaking process,” said Nicholas Geale, ATA vice president of workforce policy. “A stay pending full review is essential to ensure our members can continue to keep the supply chain moving without the enormous disruptions this unlawful ETS will cause the trucking industry and our nation’s consumers – including the 80% percent of American communities that depend exclusively on trucks for their needs.”