FMCSA clarifies ag products that qualify for hours-of-service exemptions

From Heavy Duty Trucking online.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has published an interim final rule clarifying agricultural commodity and livestock definitions in hours-of-service regulations.

During harvesting and planting seasons as determined by each state, drivers transporting agricultural commodities, including livestock, are exempt from the HOS requirements from the source of the commodities to a location within a 150-air-mile radius from the source. In addition, the requirement for a 30-minute rest break does not apply to drivers transporting livestock in interstate commerce.

However, the agency found that the definition of those terms was not well-understood and enforced consistently when determining whether the HOS exemption applies.

The clarifications will primarily affect transporters of perishable horticultural commodities, non-processed food, and aquatic animals.

ATA reports FMCSA Emergency Declaration Expansion and Extension

FMCSA has announced that they have expanded and extended the Emergency Declaration that was set to expire on December 31st. A PDF of the declaration is available online here. This extension includes the same regulatory relief for motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in support of relief efforts related to COVID-19, as included in the September 11th modified and extended declaration. The primary change with this current declaration is the inclusion of vaccine transportation.

The expanded declaration published today is limited to the transportation of:

  • Livestock and livestock feed;
  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19;
  • Vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19;
  • 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;
  • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.

Please note, this expanded declaration became effective at 12:00 A.M. December 1st, and expires on February 28th, 2021.

As with previous declarations, emergency regulatory relief is provided from parts 390 through 399 of the FMCSRs, including the hours-of-service regulations. Emergency relief does not include certain FMCSR’s related to the safe operation of CMVs, such as controlled substance and alcohol testing, financial responsibility requirements, CDL requirements, operation of a CMV while ill or fatigued, size and weight requirements, and additional FMCSR’s which are outlined in the declaration.

We encourage everyone to review the applicability, restrictions, and limitations which are included in the exemption posted to the FMCSA’s website.

ABC series portrays trucking industry in negative light

TAM and the American Trucking Association (ATA) is requesting you sign the petition to tell the ABC network truckers deserve free airtime to tell our story.

From the ATA.

The [ABC] network plans to air a new series, “Big Sky,” portraying truck drivers as serial killers and truck stops as hubs of prostitution and human trafficking. This representation is offensive, inaccurate, tasteless, ill-timed, tone deaf and shameful. …

In addition to delivering the essential goods that Americans need in their everyday lives, professional truck drivers are the eyes and ears of our nation’s highways. Not only do they have zero resemblance to the portrayal in “Big Sky,” but they are leading the fight to eradicate human trafficking through organizations like Truckers Against Trafficking. Since 2007, more than 2,496 calls have been placed to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, reporting 663 cases of potential human trafficking involving 1,230 potential victims.

Truckers are not serial killers—they are highway heroes. We’re respectfully asking ABC give the trucking industry complimentary airtime to run advertisements that fairly represent truckers and educate viewers about what the industry is doing to combat human trafficking through Truckers Against Trafficking.

Please take a few moments out of your day to sign the petition at the ATA website.

Video from news anchor Alana Cerrone, ABC6

Massachusetts Strategic Highway Safety Plan

The traffic safety plans for Massachusetts are under large umbrella called the Massachusetts Highway Strategic Highway Safety Plan. TAM is excited to announce that we have been invited to participate. We look forward to becoming involved in the development of our States Highway safety plans.

From the plan’s website:

A Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) identifies key safety needs and helps direct funding to improvements that reduce highway fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads.

MassDOT developed the Massachusetts SHSP in a cooperative process with Federal, State, local, private, and public sector safety stakeholders. The SHSP is a data-driven, strategic plan that integrates the four E’s: engineering, education, enforcement and emergency medical services (EMS).

Massachusetts updated the Plan in 2013 and completed a second revision in December 2018 and is now actively implementing the various strategies. The status of implementation is being documented in annual Action Plan Update reports which represent a snapshot of progress at the time.

RMV Updates: Commercial credentials & renewal season

We have two updates from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles this week.

Commercial credential extensions continue

All commercial credentials (CDLs and CLPs) that expired or will expire between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020 have been extended and will remain valid until December 31, 2020.

Registration Renewals for Trailers and Commercial Vehicles

This year, due to the pandemic, all Trailer and Commercial registration renewals dropped off at a Registration Drop Off Center with Registration Renewal Applications (RMV-2s) will be sent to the RMV’s Headquarters for processing. These renewed registrations and decals will be mailed to the address on file with the RMV.The RMV-2 provides different options to renew your registration(s) – by mail, online, etc. In addition, the RMV has also implemented a quick and easy online renewal transaction at Mass.Gov/RMV which allows you to renew multiple vehicles at a time and submit your payment once.

If you choose to drop off your renewal transactions at an RMV Drop Off Center, follow the steps below to ensure your work is processed in a timely manner.

  1. Separate any RMV-2s from other registration drop off work and create 2 bundles with separate cover sheets
  2. Determine the amount for the renewals and place a completed check with totaled amount, made payable to MassDOT, in the bundle
  3. Registration renewals will be sent to the RMV’s Headquarters and prioritized based on expiration date rather than first in, first out
  4. The RMV will process your renewals and mail the renewed registrations and decals to the address on record
Please do not include any other transaction paperwork besides RMV-2 applications (registration renewals) in your bundle.

ATG acquires Freightliner franchise & dealerships

Shrewsbury, MA (Nov. 4, 2020)Advantage Truck Group (ATG), the largest Daimler Trucks North America dealer network in New England, announces it has completed the acquisition of the Freightliner Trucks franchise of Freightliner of New Hampshire and its full-service dealerships in Lebanon and Londonderry.

The Lebanon operation will continue in place on Heater Road, Lebanon, and the Londonderry operation has been moved to 222 Frontage Road, Manchester.

This acquisition allows ATG and its partner, McDevitt Trucks Inc., to provide fully authorized service to Freightliner and Western Star owners throughout the entire state of New Hampshire from its four strategic locations in Manchester, Lancaster, Seabrook, and Lebanon. This consolidation brings customers over seventy-five years of business experience within the heavy-duty truck market.

“We are excited to add two, dedicated Freightliner service locations in New Hampshire as part of our ongoing commitment to provide exceptional support for our customers,” said Kevin Holmes, President and CEO of ATG. “We welcome Freightliner of New Hampshire employees to our dealer network and know that together we will work tirelessly to deliver a consistent service experience throughout the region.”

The ATG service and support network includes a program that brings factory-authorized technicians to customer sites to perform warrantied repair work, on-call emergency roadside assistance 24/7/365 and access to the largest parts network in New England supported by a fleet of 30 vehicles that provide daily delivery service.

Freightliner Trucks customers will benefit from the same professional and consistent care that New Hampshire’s Western Star owners have enjoyed since 1995, all delivered by certified technicians, parts professionals and trained sales teams. ATG will provide seamless billing services to enhance support for customers that travel within its dealer network. The acquisition also expands access to service, parts and support for customers traveling across New Hampshire, and furthers ATG’s vision to establish a service network to support heavy-duty truck customers on every major route in New England.

Both facilities in Manchester and Lebanon are fully operational and customers are welcome to call or visit for immediate service in all departments.

About Advantage Truck Group

Advantage Truck Group (ATG) is the largest Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) dealer network in New England, focused on providing a superior customer support and service experience. Headquartered in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, the comprehensive sales and service network supports a wide range of commercial and municipal vehicle applications, fleets and owner-operators, and offers the largest on-highway truck parts network in New England. ATG has eight locations, with dealers that specialize in both Western Star and Freightliner Trucks operating in Shrewsbury and Westfield Massachusetts, Lebanon, Seabrook and Manchester New Hampshire, and Westminster, Vermont, and dealers that focus on Western Star at the McDevitt Trucks Inc. locations in Lancaster and Manchester New Hampshire. For more information about Advantage Truck Group, go to

Legislation promotes transportation technologies

From Transport Topics.

Legislation that aims to promote the adoption of new technologies throughout the country’s transportation networks recently was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Strengthening Methods to Advance Research and Technology, or SMART, Act, introduced by Rep. Troy Balderson (R-Ohio), would aim to advance innovation, efficiency and new safety programs across transportation corridors.

Read the full article on the Transport Topics website.

Waiver extends the expiration date of CDL Medical Certificates

From the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued an additional waiver for Commercial Driver License (CDL) Medical Certificates (also known as a medical card). This waiver extends the expiration date of CDL Medical Certificates as follows:

  • Certificates that expired between March 1, 2020 and May 31, 2020 will expire on October 31, 2020
  • Certificates that expire or are expiring between June 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020 will expire on December 31, 2020

Affected customers will receive an email from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) informing them of the extension. These customers must self-certify, which can be done through the RMV’s Online Service Center, prior to the expiration dates listed above or their CDL will be downgraded to a Class D license.

Additional RMV Information

The RMV has updated their COVID-19 Information website. This includes temporary Greenfield Service Center changes and additional drop-off centers.

FMCSA updates Safety Measurement System website

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has updated the Safety Measurement System (SMS) website. The revised data is current as of Sept. 25. With this snapshot, FMCSA has aligned the violations used in SMS to reflect the latest changes to violations recorded as part of the roadside inspection program. A summary of the violation changes is available in the SMS Appendix A spreadsheet. (This link will download a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet).

Complete SMS results are available to enforcement users and motor carriers that are logged into the SMS website.

Three months left to meet Clearinghouse annual query requirements

If an employer has not yet conducted queries in the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse on any CDL drivers they currently employ, time is running out. The deadline to meet the annual query requirement (per § 382.701) is Jan. 5, 2021.

This annual query requirement is tracked on a rolling 12-month basis. For instance, if an employer conducts a query of a CDL driver on Oct. 9, the employer will not need to query that driver again until Oct. 9, 2021.

Employers must purchase a query plan to ensure they, and their designated consortia/third-party administrators (C/TPAs), can conduct queries on prospective and current drivers. Learn more about query plans.

Be sure to register for the Clearinghouse and conduct your annual queries today. To learn more, download the queries and consent requests factsheet.

ATA & RITA fights truck-only tolls in Rhode Island

If you are not aware of the high-stakes litigation that involves the trucking industry in Rhode Island, you need to be. The American Trucking Associations (ATA), which TAM is a member, is spearheading an effort to overturn this unfair situation. They are asking for our help so they, along with the Rhode Island Trucking Association (RITA), can continue the fight against truck-only tolling in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island ATA State Vice President Mike Collins, president of M&D Transportation from North Kingstown, created a video to show why this is important to all of us.

Watch and share this short video and consider making a contribution to this effort. Contributions help to ensure the ATA and RITA can continue to aggressively fight these unfair tolls in the courts. Your donation may be a small fraction of what your company stands to lose.