LAWS & REGULATIONS

DOT increases fines for federal trucking violations across the board

You’ll pay hundreds of dollars more for many common violations — effective immediately.

This week, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that they will be increasing fines for all commercial vehicle violations.

On Monday, November 26, DOT announced that they will be raising fines for all federal trucking related violations, effective immediately.

The fine increase is intended to keep up with inflation and is required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. The percent change of the fine increase is 1.02041, which means that truckers will be paying hundreds of dollars more for most violations than they paid last year.

You can take a look at the updated penalty schedule below.

Description Citation Existing penalty New penalty
Failure to obey Subpoena (minimum) $1,045 $1,066
Failure to obey Subpoena (maximum) 49 U.S.C. 525 10,450 10,663
Out-of-service order (operation of CMV by driver) 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(7) 1,811 1,848
Out-of-service order (requiring or permitting operation of CMV by driver) 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(7)) 18,107 18,477
Out-of-service order (operation by driver of CMV or intermodal equipment that was placed out of service) 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(7) 1,811 1,848
Out-of-service order (requiring or permitting operation of CMV or intermodal equipment that was placed out of service) 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(7) 18,107 18,477
Out-of-service order (failure to return written certification of correction) 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(2)(B) 906 924
Out-of-service order (failure to cease operations as ordered) 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(2)(F) 26,126 26,659
Out-of-service order (operating in violation of order) 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(7) 22,957 23,426
Out-of-service order (conducting operations during suspension or revocation for failure to pay penalties) 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(2)(A) and (b)(7)) 14,739 15,040
Conducting operations during suspension or revocation 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(7) 22,957 23,426
Recordkeeping—maximum penalty per day 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(2)(B)(i) 1,214 1,239
Recordkeeping—maximum total penalty 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(2)(B)(i) 12,135 12,383
Knowing falsification of records 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(2)(B)(ii) 12,135 12,383
Non-recordkeeping violations 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(2)(A) 14,739 15,040
Non-recordkeeping violations by drivers 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(2)(A) 3,685 3,760
Violation of 49 CFR 392.5 (first conviction) 49 U.S.C. 31310(i)(2)(A) 3,034 3,096
Violation of 49 CFR 392.5 (second or subsequent conviction) 49 U.S.C. 31310(i)(2)(A) 6,068 6,192
Commercial driver’s license (CDL) violations 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(2)(C) 5,479 5,591
Special penalties pertaining to violation of out-of-service orders (first conviction) 49 U.S.C. 31310(i)(2)(A) 3,034 3,096
Special penalties pertaining to violation of out-of-service orders (second or subsequent conviction) 49 U.S.C. 31310(i)(2)(A) 6,068 6,192
Employer violations pertaining to knowingly allowing, authorizing employee violations of out-of-service order (minimum penalty) 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(2)(C) 5,479 5,591
Employer violations pertaining to knowingly allowing, authorizing employee violations of out-of-service order (maximum penalty) 49 U.S.C. 31310(i)(2)(C) 30,337 30,956
Special penalties pertaining to railroad-highway grade crossing violations 49 U.S.C. 31310(j)(2)(B) 15,727 16,048
Financial responsibility violations 49 U.S.C. 31138(d)(1), 31139(g)(1) 16,169 16,499
Violations of Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs) and Safety Permitting Regulations (transportation or shipment of hazardous materials) 49 U.S.C. 5123(a)(1) 78,376 79,976
Violations of Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs) and Safety Permitting Regulations (training)—minimum penalty 49 U.S.C. 5123(a)(3) 471 481
Violations of Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs) and Safety Permitting Regulations (training)—maximum penalty 49 U.S.C. 5123(a)(1) 78,376 79,976
Violations of Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs) and Safety Permitting Regulations (packaging or container) 49 U.S.C. 5123(a)(1) 78,376 79,976
Violations of Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs) and Safety Permitting Regulations (compliance with FMCSRs) 49 U.S.C. 5123(a)(1) 78,376 79,976
Violations of Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs) and Safety Permitting Regulations (death, serious illness, severe injury to persons; destruction of property) 49 U.S.C. 5123(a)(2) 182,877 186,610
Operating after being declared unfit by assignment of a final “unsatisfactory” safety rating (generally) 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(2)(F) 26,126 26,659
Operating after being declared unfit by assignment of a final “unsatisfactory” safety rating (hazardous materials)—maximum penalty 49 U.S.C. 5123(a)(1) 78,376 79,976
Operating after being declared unfit by assignment of a final “unsatisfactory” safety rating (hazardous materials)—maximum penalty if death, serious illness, severe injury to persons; destruction of property 49 U.S.C. 5123(a)(2) 182,877 186,610
Violations of the commercial regulations (CR) (property carriers) 49 U.S.C. 14901(a) 10,450 10,663
Violations of the CRs (brokers) 49 U.S.C. 14916(c) 10,450 10,663
Violations of the CRs (passenger carriers) 49 U.S.C. 14901(a) 26,126 26,659
Violations of the CRs (foreign motor carriers, foreign motor private carriers) 49 U.S.C. 14901(a) 10,450 10,663
Violations of the CRs (foreign motor carriers, foreign motor private carriers before implementation of North American Free Trade Agreement land transportation provisions)—maximum penalty for intentional violation 49 U.S.C. 14901note 14,371 14,664
Violations of the CRs (foreign motor carriers, foreign motor private carriers before implementation of North American Free Trade Agreement land transportation provisions)—maximum penalty for a pattern of intentional violations 49 U.S.C. 14901note 35,929 36,662
Violations of the CRs (motor carrier or broker for transportation of hazardous wastes)—minimum penalty 49 U.S.C. 14901(b) 20,900 21,327
Violations of the CRs (motor carrier or broker for transportation of hazardous wastes)—maximum penalty 49 U.S.C. 14901(b) 41,801 42,654
Violations of the CRs (HHG carrier or freight forwarder, or their receiver or trustee) I49 U.S.C. 14901(d)(1) 1,572 1,604
Violation of the CRs (weight of HHG shipment, charging for services)—minimum penalty for first violation 49 U.S.C. 14901(e) 3,146 3,210
Violation of the CRs (weight of HHG shipment, charging for services) subsequent violation 49 U.S.C. 14901(e) 7,864 8,025
Tariff violations 49 U.S.C. 13702, 14903 157,274 160,484
Additional tariff violations (rebates or concessions)—first violation 49 U.S.C. 14904(a) 314 320
Additional tariff violations (rebates or concessions)—subsequent violations 49 U.S.C. 14904(a) 393 401
Tariff violations (freight forwarders)—maximum penalty for first violation 49 U.S.C. 14904(b)(1) 787 803
Tariff violations (freight forwarders)—maximum penalty for subsequent violations 49 U.S.C. 14904(b)(1) 3,146 3,210
Service from freight forwarder at less than rate in effect—maximum penalty for first violation 49 U.S.C. 14904(b)(2) 787 803
Service from freight forwarder at less than rate in effect—maximum penalty for subsequent violation(s) 49 U.S.C. 14904(b)(2) 3,146 3,210
Violations related to loading and unloading motor vehicles 49 U.S.C. 14905 15,727 16,048
Reporting and recordkeeping under 49 U.S.C. subtitle IV, part B (except 13901 and 13902(c)—minimum penalty 49 U.S.C. 14901 1,045 1,066
Reporting and recordkeeping under 49 U.S.C. subtitle IV, part B—maximum penalty 49 U.S.C. 14907 7,864 8,025
Unauthorized disclosure of information 49 U.S.C. 14908 3,146 3,210
Violation of 49 U.S.C. subtitle IV, part B, or condition of registration 49 U.S.C. 14910 787 803
Knowingly and willfully fails to deliver or unload HHG at destination 49 U.S.C. 14905 15,727 16,048
HHG broker estimate before entering into an agreement with a motor carrier 49 U.S.C. 14901(d)(2) 12,135 12,383
HHG transportation or broker services—registration requirement 49 U.S.C. 14901(d)(3) 30,337 30,956
Copying of records and access to equipment, lands, and buildings—maximum penalty per day 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(2)(E) 1,214 1,239
Copying of records and access to equipment, lands, and buildings—maximum total penalty 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(2)(E) 12,135 12,383
Evasion of regulations under 49 U.S.C. ch. 5, 51, subchapter III of 311 (except 31138 and 31139), 31302-31304, 31305(b), 31310(g)(1)(A), 31502—minimum penalty for first violation 49 U.S.C. 524 2,090 2,133
Evasion of regulations under 49 U.S.C. ch. 5, 51, subchapter III of 311 (except 31138 and 31139), 31302-31304, 31305(b), 31310(g)(1)(A), 31502—maximum penalty for first violation 49 U.S.C. 524 5,225 5,332
Evasion of regulations under 49 U.S.C. ch. 5, 51, subchapter III of 311 (except 31138 and 31139), 31302-31304, 31305(b), 31310(g)(1)(A), 31502—minimum penalty for subsequent violation(s) 49 U.S.C. 524 2,612 2,665
Evasion of regulations under 49 U.S.C. ch. 5, 51, subchapter III of 311 (except 31138 and 31139), 31302-31304, 31305(b), 31310(g)(1)(A), 31502—maximum penalty for subsequent violation(s) 49 U.S.C. 524 7,837 7,997
Evasion of regulations under 49 U.S.C. subtitle IV, part B—minimum penalty for first violation 49 U.S.C. 14906 2,090 2,133
Evasion of regulations under 49 U.S.C. subtitle IV, part B—minimum penalty for subsequent violation(s) 49 U.S.C. 14906 5,225 5,332

Sweeping $136 billion North Texas transportation plan gets go-ahead

The U.S. Department of Transportation has ruled that a sweeping, $136 billion transportation plan for North Texas complies with federal air quality regulations, allowing current and future transportation projects to proceed.

State Highway 199, LBJ East, Interstate Highway 20/IH 820/US Highway 287 (the Southeast Connector) and transit on the Cotton Belt rail corridor are a few examples of projects where development and implementation may continue, providing needed congestion relief and associated air quality benefits in the rapidly growing region. The US Highway 380 corridor will also be studied to determine the best way to accommodate east-west travel in fast-growing Collin and Denton counties.

Mobility 2045: The Metropolitan Transportation Plan for North Central Texas contains $136.4 billion in transportation improvements to be made over the next 20-plus years. The Regional Transportation Council (RTC) approved the plan in June 2018. The plan allocates $17.5 billion more expenditures than Mobility 2040, which the new plan replaces.

The 2019-2022 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) may also proceed, according to the Department of Transportation. The TIP is a multiyear list of projects in the Dallas-Fort Worth area approved for federal, State and local funding. The program identifies roadway and transit projects programmed for construction within the next four years.

As the metropolitan planning organization for the 12-county Dallas-Fort Worth area, the RTC develops and implements transportation policies, projects, and programs designed to improve mobility and air quality.

The region’s long- and short-range transportation plans must comply with federal air quality regulations as 10 Dallas-Fort Worth area counties – Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant, and Wise – are in nonattainment for ozone pollution.

RTC efforts have helped the Dallas-Fort Worth area improve air quality by reducing nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds.

Mobility 2045 not only uses a multimodal approach; it provides a substantial investment in the maintenance of existing infrastructure to serve the growing population.

Planned Improvements:

• Freeways, tollways, arterials and HOV/managed lanes: $53.6 billion

• Infrastructure maintenance: $36.8 billion

• Rail and bus: $33.3 billion

• Management and operations: $9.5 billion

• Growth, development and land-use strategies: $3.2 billion

For more information on Mobility 2045, visit www.nctcog.org/mobility2045.

Delaware DOT rewrites rules after residents complain about semi trucks

The Delaware Department of Transportation has made an unusual decision in response to years of complaints from locals about noisy truck traffic on a small street.

The Delaware Department of Transportation has made an unusual decision in response to years of complaints from locals about noisy truck traffic on a small street.

Neighbors who live on Pyles Lane near the Port of Wilmington in Delaware have numerous complaints about the constant commercial vehicle traffic on the two-lane roadway near their homes.

Some residents have complained that the truck emissions “stink.” Others say the vibrations from the truck traffic are damaging their homes.

One resident even stated that she couldn’t open her windows anymore because of the constant stream of “noisy” semi-trucks passing by.

Local resident Edwina Richards  stated, “I had had truck drivers pull down their pants and shake their genitals and their backsides at me.”

Many of the residents have accused the truck drivers of breaking the law when they travel on Pyles Lane.

The trucks in question are using Pyles Lane to travel to and from the Port-to-Port International Corp. facility, which ships used and wrecked cars to Central America.

A 1971 rule put in place by DelDOT said that trucks over 5,000 lbs. were forbidden on Pyles Lane from Del. 9 to a point about 200 feet from the entrance of the Port-To-Port facility — except local service vehicles making local delivery.

Citing this law, locals say that truckers who use the road are breaking the law, even though the law made it nearly impossible for trucks to legally enter the facility.

DelDOT Takes A Stand — For The Truckers

After hearing complaints about “illegal” truck traffic on Pyles Lane for several years, DelDOT did indeed decide to do something — but it wasn’t what the neighbors expected.

Not only did DelDOT confirm that trucks traveling to and from the facility fit under the “local service vehicles making local delivery” exemption, they also moved the line that trucks were restricted from passing by about 200 feet — meaning that truck drivers could now freely drive into the Port-To-Port facility without any worry that they were violating the law.

DelDOT spokesperson C.R. McLeod said, “If we ban trucks from Port-to-Port on this road it would likely put them out of business. Our position is we are not going to do that.

The Port-To-Port facility owners have received a request from DelDOT to consider moving the truck entrance, but the road that this would move truck traffic onto is in poor condition and is too narrow to safely accommodate trucks, in addition to the ownership of the road being in question.

Tight trucking capacity, high fuel prices driving intermodal demand

Rising fuel prices and tightening capacity in the trucking industry have some shippers transporting more freight via rail as carriers feel the effects of high fuel prices, which are expected to remain elevated through 2018.

In May, intermodal freight costs rose 9.1%, from the same month in 2017, according to the Cass Intermodal Price Index. The index rose to 141.1, about two points less than the record high of 143.2 in March. Between March and May, average intermodal freight costs were up 7.1%.

 

“Tight truckload capacity and higher diesel prices are creating incremental demand and pricing power for domestic intermodal,” said Donald Broughton, analyst for Broughton Capital LLC and commentator for the Cass indexes. “Longer term, we continue to foresee oil trading in the $45 to $65 range and diesel in the $2.50 to $3.25 range throughout 2018 (without any refining interruption pressure produced by hurricanes or other catastrophic events.)”

In the first quarter of 2018, intermodal freight volume rose 7.2%, from the same period in 2017, according to the Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics report, which is released by trade organization Intermodal Association of North America (IANA).

“Drivers for first quarter growth were an overall strong economy, the continued growth of imports, higher fuel prices, tight over-the-road capacity and weak comparisons to lower 2017 volumes in some markets,” said Joni Casey, president and CEO of IANA.

Volumes in the Northeast-Midwest trade corridor rose 12.3%, followed by an 8% rise in the South Central-Southwest corridor. The only corridor to experience a decline was the Midwest-Northwest lane, with a 4.8% decrease, the fourth consecutive quarterly loss.

In mid-May, the average price for a gallon of diesel rose to $3.28, its highest level of the year and up about 75 cents from a year ago, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The price has since fallen 4 cents to $3.24 per gallon, as of June 18, but the price is still up about 75 cents from the same time in 2017.

“We definitely feel the impact of increasing fuel prices,” said Stephen Ferguson, president and chief operating officer for Tontitown-based carrier Comstar Enterprises. “Fortunately, we have the best customers on the planet that make up 85% of our business. They all pay a fair fuel surcharge. However, there is a lag.”

The surcharge allows carriers to recoup the cost of rising fuel prices based on the existing price. For Comstar, the lag time is about one week between the time it takes customers to adjust the fuel surcharge to the increasing costs. The remaining 15% of the carrier’s business is with third-party logistics and brokerage companies, and they are more reluctant to pass on fuel surcharges, said Ferguson, adding that this has impacted the carrier’s income more than the lag time experienced with its other customers.

“All that to say this: I was taught by my grandfather to never base your income off fuel,” he said. “So we are fairly aggressive with our line-haul rates. This eliminates several variables and makes it much easier to manage our business.”

The higher fuel costs have led spot rates to rise, and dry-van and refrigerated spot rates were up 28% and 25%, respectively, in May, from the same month in 2017, according to DAT Solutions. As of June 16, dry-van rates rose to $2.30 per mile, matching the record high set in early January, and refrigerated rates increased to $2.70 per mile, a penny less than the January peak.

Russellville-based brokerage Little John Transportation Services operates in the spot market, and its revenue has risen 28% so far this year and is up 38% in the second quarter, said Chris Dale, president and CEO. For 2018, sales are projected to rise to $190 million, from $145 million in 2017, a 31% year-over-year rise.

For the brokerage firm, rates are up 25% and more than 50% in the spot markets, said Dale, adding that fuel costs aren’t a factor. The tight capacity and the enforcement of electronic logging devices have led to the price increases.

“Trucks are making so much money that they are working short weeks, and that makes the problems even worse,” Dale said. “No one I know is thinking one second about fuel cost. It might be a red herring, but to me and my customers, the issues are the prices that the trucks are charging.”

According to American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the research arm of trade organization American Trucking Associations, U.S. diesel fuel prices peaked at nearly $4.80 per gallon in summer 2008 before falling to about $2 per gallon in March 2009. After the Great Recession, prices increased to between $3.75 and $4.15 per gallon from 2011 to mid-2014. As U.S. shale oil production contributed to a global oil supply increase, the prices fell over the next two years to $1.98 per gallon in February 2016. Between 2008 and 2016, fuel costs declined 46.9% to about 33 cents per mile.

Historically, fuel expenses accounted for about 30% to 40% of a carrier’s cost per mile, according to ATRI, and until 2015, they were the top line-item expense for carriers. It’s since been eclipsed by driver pay, which has been rising for more than four consecutive years as a result of the driver shortage and the difficulty with recruiting and retaining qualified drivers. Between 2008 and 2016, driver pay costs rose 22.2% to 52 cents per mile.

As driver labor costs rise, carriers can expect freight demand to be strong and capacity to be tight through the third quarter and into 2019, according to FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index. The tight labor market, including the driver shortage, has kept carriers for taking full advantage of the higher rates.

“The latest jobs report suggests that carriers’ aggressive driver recruiting efforts are paying off but additional growth in freight volumes, continued impact from electronic logging devices implementation and extreme tightness in the overall labor market should keep conditions highly favorable for carriers,” said Avery Vise, vice president of trucking research.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Source: Jeff Della Rosa

New bill to delay ELD enforcement, reform HOS and ELD regulations

Yesterday two lawmakers introduced new legislation that would put the brakes on Electronic Logging Device (ELD) enforcement while reforms are made to both Hours of Service (HOS) regulations and ELD regulations, particularly for agricultural haulers.

The Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act was introduced on June 12 by Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to reform HOS and ELD regulations, according to a news release from the office of Senator Hoeven. The bill would also prevent the enforcement of ELD regulations until “until the reforms required under the bill are formally proposed by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation.”

The release details how the bill would require the DOT to reexamine and change current regulations:

“Specifically, the Hoeven-Bennet bill would establish a working group at DOT to identify obstacles to the safe, humane and market-efficient transport of livestock and, within one year of the group’s establishment, develop guidelines for regulatory or legislative action to improve the transportation of these commodities. The working group will be comprised of representatives from the transportation and agriculture industries, as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and is required to consider:

  • The impact, incompatibilities and other challenges and concerns of existing HOS rules and ELD rules under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on the commercial transport of livestock, insects and agricultural commodities.
  • Initiatives and regulatory changes that maintain and protect highway safety and allow for the safe, efficient and productive marketplace transport of livestock, insects and agricultural commodities.
  • Other related issues that the Transportation Secretary considers appropriate.

Within 120 days of receiving the working group’s report, the Transportation Secretary must propose regulatory changes to the HOS and ELD regulations, taking into account the findings and recommendations of the working group.”

Several Bills Already In The Pipeline To Reform ELD And HOS Regulations

Lawmakers have recently introduced several other bills intended to give drivers relief from ELD regulations. In late May, the Small Carrier Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act of 2018 was introduced by Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte and Representative Collin Peterson (D-Minn.). This bill would “completely exempt businesses which operate ten or fewer trucks from the requirements of the ELD mandate.” Gianforte and Peterson introduced a second bill at the same time called the Agricultural Business Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act of 2018 that would give drivers who haul agricultural products complete exemption from ELD regulations.

Also in late May, Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) introduce the Transporting Livestock Across America Safety Act, which would ease ELD requirements for livestock and insect haulers.

And in April, Tennessee passed a law forbidding the use of state funds for the use of ELD enforcement against certain agricultural haulers.

Numerous trade groups have endorsed the “Hoeven-Bennet bill”, including, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA), Livestock Marketing Association (LMA), American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), the American Honey Producers Association (AHPA) and the Rocky Mountain Farmer’s Union (RMFU).