The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is conducting a three-year commercial driver apprenticeship program, in accordance with Section 23022 of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
This program will allow qualified drivers ages 18-20, who hold intrastate commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs), to explore interstate trucking careers.
FMCSA will grant apprentice drivers approval to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce while they are under 21 years of age. During the pilot program’s probationary periods, apprentice drivers can operate in interstate commerce only when accompanied by a qualified, experienced driver in the passenger seat.
Apprentice and experienced drivers must meet all criteria specified in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Apprentice drivers must operate vehicles equipped with onboard monitoring systems (OBMS) that include forward-facing and in-cab driver-facing cameras, an automatic or automatic manual transmission, active braking collision mitigation system, and a governed speed of 65 miles per hours at the pedal and under adaptive cruise control. Apprentice drivers cannot transport passengers or hazardous materials or operate double- or triple-trailer combinations or cargo tank vehicles while participating in this program, regardless of any license endorsements they hold.
According to FMCSA, this program was created to also help trucking companies hire and train new drivers.
Participating motor carriers must:
To learn more visit: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safedriver
You can also contact FMCSA division administrator Chris Henry with any questions at: [email protected]
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enacted a new rule allowing exemptions of federal regulations in declared emergency situations.
Now, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations are revised to:
Additionally, the final rule eliminates the provision that provided automatic regulatory relief for other elements of 49 CFR parts 390 – 399 such as medical certification of drivers, vehicle inspection requirements, parts and accessories, transportation of hazardous materials.
FMCSA’s decision comes after thorough assessment of relevant data. The organization says public input was a critical part of the decision-making process. FMCSA spokesperson Chris Henry said FMCSA staff reviewed every comment provided in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking FMCSA issued in December 2022.
This action is a final rulemaking that allows for certain exemptions to regulations during declared emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and establishes a dedicated email inbox at FMCSA for the request of extensions or modifications.
The final rule allows for the automatic relief of Hours of Service (HOS) regulations during an emergency, while shortening the duration and scope of exemption (except in the case of a presidential declaration of federal emergency).
The Final Rule also eliminates the provision that provided automatic regulatory relief for other elements such as medical certification of drivers, vehicle inspection requirements, parts and accessories, and transportation of hazardous materials.
Federal Register: Public Inspection: Clarification to the Applicability of Emergency Exemptions
PDF Version of This Federal Register
PMTA members should be aware that the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB’s) Advanced Clean Fleets (ACF) rule, which requires truck owners to transition to zero-emissions trucks over the coming years, applies to fleets hauling in California, regardless of where their trucks are registered.
Two categories of truck/fleet are affected:
Class 7 and 8 drayage trucks that visit a seaport or intermodal railyard facility must be reported to the CARB online drayage database by December 31, 2023. In 2024, any diesel vehicle not registered will no longer be able to access a seaport of intermodal railyard.
Starting January 1, only zero-emission trucks can register in the CARB drayage database, and a diesel truck can only be replaced with a zero-emission truck. By 2035, all California drayage trucks must be zero-emission vehicles.
High-Priority Fleet requirements apply to fleets with 50 or more trucks (Class 2b to 8) or with annual revenue of $50 million or more. These fleets have two options to comply with ACF:
1. Model Year Schedule Option – Fleets must retire trucks at the end of their useful life, and only zero-emission trucks or near-zero emission alternatives until 2035 can be added to the fleet.
2. Milestone Phase-In Option – Fleets must turn over a percentage of their fleet by specific dates for each vehicle size, allowing them to add internal combustion engine trucks to their fleets as long as they meet required milestones for zero-emission percentages. For example, fleets must transition 10% of class 7 and 8 day cab tractors by 2025 and 10% of sleeper cab tractors to zero-emissions alternatives by 2030.
Useful Life Provision
Under this provision of the rule, regulators cannot force commercial vehicle retirement, replacement, or repower until the later of 13 years of 800,000 miles, with a maximum of 18 years from the model year the engine and emission control system is certified by CARB.
There are several exemptions for specific fleets based on equipment availability, operational needs, and infrastructure delays. Please see the California Trucking Association’s ACF Resources page for details. PMTA’s sister organization, CTA, has challenged ACF in court.
Pennsylvania has not adopted CARB’s Advanced Clean Fleets Rule or its corollary, the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) Rules, which requires dealers to sell increasing percentages of no-emissions trucks in states that have adopted it. PMTA will oppose them if they are considered here.
Pennsylvania has, however adopted CARB’s Omnibus Low-NOx Rule, which dramatically reduces NOx emissions by overhauling emissions standards, testing procedures, and other emissions-related requirements for heavy-duty diesel engines starting in 2024. Earlier this year, PMTA and four of its members filed a lawsuit opposing Pennsylvania’s attempt to outsource regulations on truck sales to California regulators.
Each year, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission readies itself to confront the winter elements by properly preparing its entire fleet of trucks, plows and salt spreaders and training more than 425 licensed equipment operators so they are ready to activate 24/7 staffing this fall. Turnpike traffic and weather operations are also at the ready. The team's focus is to fully understand the conditions on the roadway and to keep the Turnpike system as free of snow and ice as possible.
"We've been preparing for this winter since the last one ended," said Secretary of Transportation Mike Carroll. "Across Pennsylvania, the team at PennDOT is hard at work fixing our roads, highways and bridges – making it easier and safer for Pennsylvania drivers while creating good paying jobs. Keeping our roads as safe as possible is a team effort, and we'd love to have people join our team."
The public can access travel information on nearly 40,000 state-maintained roadway miles year-round at www.511PA.com, and during the winter they can find plow-truck locations and details of when state-maintained roadways were last plowed. The information is made possible by PennDOT's Automated Vehicle Location technology, which uses units in the over 2,600 department-owned and rented plow trucks to send a cellular signal showing a truck's location.
For Winter 2023, PennDOT is adding 15 variable speed limit, or VSL, signs – which quickly reduce speed limits when visibility or roadway conditions call for lower speeds – bringing the statewide total to 78 locations:
36 locations along I-81 from I-78 to I-80 in Lebanon (five locations), Luzerne (seven locations), and Schuylkill (24 locations) counties.
Locations were chosen based on crash and weather data, such as frequency of wintry conditions that demand safer driving, and where crashes caused by whiteout conditions led to roadway closures of more than three hours.
VSL signs reduce speed limits when visibility or roadway conditions present the need for more cautious driving. Preliminary results show this solution effectively slowed traffic four to nine miles per hour during winter road conditions at the 63 locations last winter. Additionally, crashes decreased by an average of 22 percent on I-80 in Clearfield County last winter when compared to the previous five-year average.
While the VSLs are in place, permanent speed limit signs are covered, and the normal posted speed limit is displayed on the VSL unless visibility or winter weather conditions call for slower speeds. When speed limits are reduced, a yellow light at the top and bottom of the VSL will be flashing to ensure motorists are aware of the change.
With more than $197 million budgeted for this winter's statewide operations, PennDOT deploys about 4,700 on-the-road workers, has more than 700,000 tons of salt on hand across the state and will take salt deliveries throughout the winter.
PennDOT encourages motorists encountering snow or ice-covered roads to slow down, increase their following distance and avoid distractions. Last winter in Pennsylvania, preliminary data shows that there were 135 crashes resulting in one fatality and 61 injuries on snowy, slushy or ice-covered roadways where aggressive-driving behaviors such as speeding or making careless lane changes were factors.
The state agency also stresses the importance of knowing the difference between a weather watch and warning:
In addition, snow squalls can often produce dangerous and deadly travel hazards on otherwise clear winter days. The National Weather Service now issues "Snow Squall Warnings" which alert drivers of whiteout conditions and slippery roadways, so motorists can avoid traveling directly into these dangerous squalls.
Motorists should prepare for potential wintry weather by ensuring they have supplies in their cars before heading out: food, water, blankets, extra gloves and hats, cell phone charger, hand or foot warmers, windshield brush and scraper, and any specialized items like medications or baby and pet supplies.
For more information on PennDOT's winter preparations and additional winter-driving resources for motorists, visit the department's winter website.
Motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles, by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and access to more than 1,000 traffic cameras.
511PA is also available through a free smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following local alerts on X.
Dear PMTA Members,
Election Day is just around the corner. It is crucial that every eligible voter exercises their right to cast a ballot.
Voting is the cornerstone of any thriving democracy. Our state and local governments are responsible for making decisions that undoubtedly impact our daily lives, from education and healthcare to transportation and infrastructure. Importantly this year, Pennsylvania’s ballot contains several judicial elections that are critical to ensuring that trucking is treated fairly by the courts in our state. By voting in the November election, you have the power to influence these decisions and choose people who will work towards the betterment of our industry and our communities.
If you aren’t already registered to vote, the deadline to register in Pennsylvania is fifteen days before an election. To vote on November 7, you must be registered by October 23, 2023.
In Pennsylvania there are four ways to register to vote:
1. Mail-in and Absentee Ballot Request Deadline: If you plan to vote by mail, the deadline to request a mail-in or absentee ballot is October 31, 2023. To ensure you have enough time to receive and return your ballot before the deadline, request this as early as possible.
2. Mail-in and Absentee Ballot Submission Deadline: If you choose to vote by mail, your completed ballot must be received by your county election office no later than 8:00 PM on Election Day, which is November 7, 2023. If you are voting by mail-in ballot, plan to return it as soon as possible.
How to Vote by Mail:
3. Sign and Return Your Ballot: Be sure to sign the declaration on the outside of the return envelope. You can return your completed ballot by mailing it or by dropping it off at your county election office.
If you are planning to vote in person, here are some key details:
Other Voting Requirements:
Remember, your voice matters. We have an opportunity to make a difference. By participating in the upcoming election, you will help shape the future of our industry. Please make sure to mark your calendars, stay informed and cast your vote on November 7, 2023.
If you have any questions or need further assistance, please don't hesitate to reach out to your local county election office or visit www.votespa.com for more information.
Thank you for being an engaged and responsible citizen and member of our state trucking community.
Part of I-83 and the Queen Street Bridge in York County will be shut down for repairs this weekend.
Queen Street will be closed starting Friday around 6:00 p.m.
I-83 will close around 9:00 p.m. Friday.
According to PennDOT both roads are expected to reopen Monday at 6:00 a.m.
The following detours will be in place through the weekend:
Last year, a dump truck hit the overpass and got stuck under the bridge. Crews implemented a temporary repair to stabilize two cracked beams and reopen I-83 as soon as possible.
Now, PennDOT is working to permanently fix the bridge.
PennDOT also says new beams are "tentatively expected" to be set on the bridge Friday, Oct. 20.
As the countdown to membership renewal for 2024 continues, this week we're sharing the best tips to take full advantage of your membership.
Tip #1: PMTA membership allows you to attend events at a discounted rate.
What are you coming to this fall? Legislative events? Clay Shoot? John's hours of service seminar? PMTA members always get a discount.
One of the most inexpensive events is right around the corner... Safety Day! Tickets for members are only $25. Here's the link to register: https://pmta.org/event-5015110?CalendarViewType=1&SelectedDate=10/10/2023
Tip #2: Receiving members-only communication.
While our newsletter, PennTrux, Reference Guide, and email alerts are available to members-only, we wanted to add something to allow members communicate together more efficiently.
Today we've launched our new, members-only Facebook group, called PMTA Members. We hope you use this tool to share information with trucking professionals across the state. Happy Facebooking!
Plus, the October issue of PennTrux will be in your mailboxes soon. Enjoy!
Link to Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pmtamembersonly
Tip #3: Industry Discounts!
When you're looking for a company to do business with, support the companies supporting you.
Check out the PMTA Buyer's Guide: https://www.patruckingbuyersguide.com/
And PMTA affinity partners: https://www.pmta.org/Benefits-of-Membership/
Or if you want to do your own search, check out the online member directory: https://pmta.org/Members-Directory
Any questions? Call us. 717-761-7122.
Tip #4: Get involved with your local chapter.
Each PMTA Chapter has unique connections and events in their area. It's a great way to network!
The Board of Directors just approved a chapter merger to help to facilitate more activities and increase opportunities for networking. We're hoping this brings members closer together while increasing PMTA's reach.
Are you involved and want to get familiar with your chapter? Thinking about joining and aren't sure how we can help? Contact Director of Chapter Relations Kelly Hawthorne at 717-970-3227.
Tip #5: Full pmta.org website access.
Did you know there is content on the PMTA website restricted to members only?
When you log into your account, tabs appear that are restricted to members-only.
A catalogue of webinars PMTA has hosted in the past, talking points on issues in the trucking industry, digital copies of PennTrux and loads of other treasures are all right there at your fingertips.
If you haven't checked it out yet, www.pmta.org is recently redesigned to provide a better user experience. Enjoy!
Senate Bill 473 which would go after drivers with unpaid tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike unanimously passed the state Senate.
Senator Lisa M. Boscola (D-18) sponsored the bill. SB 473 proposes the garnishment of Pennsylvania Lottery winnings and state income tax returns from people with unpaid tolls.
"Law-abiding Pennsylvanians have consistently paid their fair share," said Senator Boscola. "However, repeated toll offenders are escaping accountability. Without more effective measures, we risk the erosion of the entire system as more individuals seek to evade payment."
Initially introduced in 2022, SB473 was prompted by a report from the Pennsylvania Turnpike, revealing a concerning projected loss of $155 million in unpaid tolls from April 2021 to March 2022—a 49% increase from the prior year's $105 million. The Turnpike's 2023 report indicates a further rise in unpaid tolls, reaching $170 million, up by an additional $15 million from the previous year.
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission spokesperson Carl DeFebo told CBS 21 News the Commission has to recoup that money elsewhere, and it's currently being passed to Turnpike drivers who do pay in the form of toll increases and additional fees.
"It's going to affect the people who are paying. One of the reasons our tolls keep going up is because the people who are paying have to pay for the people who aren’t," said Pennsylvania Senator Greg Rothman.
With the Senate's approval, SB 473 heads to the House Transportation Committee for further consideration.
Senate Bill 799 allowing county bridge funding to supplement municipal bridge maintenance passes the state Senate.
This bill would amend Title 75 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for supplemental funding for municipal highway maintenance.
SB 799 was sponsored by Senator Greg Rothman (R-34) to ensure funding flexibility for county and municipal bridges.
The goal of this legislation is to expand how counties can use transportation funds for the benefit of their residents.
Act 89 of 2013 amended Act 44 of 2007 by appropriating $5 million annually out of the Motor License Fund for county bridges. Current guidance for how this money is spent specifically references “public bridges for which the county is legally responsible.” While the funds are being used to repair county-owned bridges, current spending guidance fails to note how the funds could be used for bridges owned by the municipalities within said counties. As a result, municipal bridges suffer and go without repair.
SB 799 would amend the current law to explicitly allow the Act 44/89 funds to be used for both county and municipal bridges to better increase driver safety and roadway quality.
The bill passed the Senate unanimously and now moves to the House Transportation Committee.
The 2024 UCR filing period is now open.
The Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) is an annual fee/registration required by all interstate carriers, broker, freight forwarders and leasing agents.
UCR fees are used by participating states to help train DOT officers and enforce DOT safety regulations.
Registration is due by December 31, 2023.
The UCR Board has indicated enforcement will begin on time this year on January 1, 2024.
Wondering if you need to file? Complete the quiz here.
Have questions or need help? Wendy Palermo is here anytime. Call 717-970-3226 or email [email protected].
Wendy is here to help and ensure you are in compliance.
© 2021 Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association 910 Linda Lane • Camp Hill, PA 17011 • United States of AmericaPhone: 717-761-7122 • Fax: 717-761-8434