DOT Publishes Drug Testing Rule

“Yesterday, November 13, 2017, the Department of Transportation (DOT) published a final rule that, among other items, expands the Department’s current drug testing panel to include certain semi-synthetic opioids (i.e., hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone).

“The opioid crisis is a threat to public safety when it involves safety-sensitive employees involved in the operation of any kind of vehicle or transport,” said Secretary Elaine L. Chao. “The ability to test for a broader range of opioids will advance transportation safety significantly and provide another deterrence to opioid abuse, which will better protect the public and ultimately save lives.”

To learn more about this final rule, visit our web page at https://www.transportation.gov/odapc/Part_40_Final_Rule_Summary_of_Changes or view the rule at https://www.transportation.gov/odapc/frpubs .”

DOT Reports on Rulemakings’ Status


“The U.S. Department of Transportation has resumed its monthly public Significant Rulemaking Report, saying it demonstrates a commitment to transparency in DOT’s rulemaking process. The new report for August 2017 is available here.

It lists the status of dozens of pending rulemakings, including some the agency has halted and many others it has delayed during the Trump administration’s initial months.”
Click here to read more!

DOT Proposes $12.9 Billion Hudson Tunnel Plan

“The Federal Railroad Administration published the Draft Environmental Impact Statement review for the Hudson Tunnel Project on July 6. Completed in 14 months, it identifies the project’s preferred alternative — a new tunnel under the Hudson River and refurbishing the existing North River Tunnel, in order to preserve the current functionality of the Amtrak Northeast Corridor’s rail crossing between New Jersey and New York. Together, they are estimated to cost $12.9 billion. FRA said the final EIS is expected to be issued in March 2018.
 
NJ Transit also uses the North River Tunnel for commuter rail service.
 
Construction of two new rail tubes in a single tunnel beneath the Hudson River could maintain the existing level of train service while the North River Tunnel tubes are taken out of service, one at a time, for rehabilitation. “Once the North River Tunnel restoration is complete, both old and new tunnels will be in service, providing redundant capability and increased operational flexibility,” according DOT.”
View this news article here!

DOT Cautions Travelers Regarding Super Bowl Tickets

“As a precaution, the U.S. Department of Transportation is warning travelers headed to Houston for Super Bowl LI that not all travel packages include tickets. Under the agency’s consumer protection rules, anyone marketing an air package that includes game tickets must have the tickets in hand or a written contract for the tickets at the time of sale.

If solicitation material does not specifically mention tickets, it is likely they are not included. If a tour says it includes tickets and a consumer doesn’t receive one, they are entitled to a full refund even if they have traveled to Houston.”

https://ohsonline.com/articles/2017/01/31/dot-cautions-travelers-regarding-super-bowl-tickets.aspx?m=2

DOT Designates 10 Automated Vehicle Proving Grounds


“The U.S. Department of Transportation last week selected 10 proving ground pilot sites to encourage testing and information sharing concerning automated vehicle technologies, with the agency saying the sites will develop “innovations that can safely transform personal and commercial mobility, expand capacity, and open new doors to disadvantaged people and communities.”

“The designated proving grounds will collectively form a Community of Practice around safe testing and deployment,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who left his post with the arrival of the new Trump administration. “This group will openly share best practices for the safe conduct of testing and operations as they are developed, enabling the participants and the general public to learn at a faster rate and accelerating the pace of safe deployment.”

https://ohsonline.com/articles/2017/01/23/dot-designates-10-automated-vehicle-proving-grounds.aspx?m=2

DOT Publishes Notice of Proposed Rulemaking


“Published in today’s Federal Register is a DOT Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). The Federal Register NPRM is available at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-01-23/pdf/2017-01131.pdf and in the attachment (https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/USDOT/2017/01/23/file_attachments/748866/FR_20170123_NPRM_Opioids.pdf). Today we will post it on the ODAPC website https://www.transportation.gov/odapc/frpubs.

The NPRM proposes to:

Align our regulated-industry drug testing with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) laboratory drug testing requirements,
Add clarification to certain existing drug-testing provisions,
Remove outdated information from our current regulation, and
Remove the requirement for employers and C/TPAs to submit blind specimens.

DOT is required by the Omnibus Transportation Employees Testing Act to follow the HHS requirements for the testing procedures/protocols and drugs for which we test.
Primary laboratory proposals include:
Testing for four semi-synthetic opioids: hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone;
Add methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) as an initial test analyte;
Remove testing for methylenedioxyethylamphetaime (MDEA);
Other proposals:
Remove, modify, and add specific definitions and to make certain definitions consistent with those of HHS;
Remove blind specimen testing;
Modify several provisions related to urine specimens;
Add emphasis to an existing Part 40 provision that prohibits DNA testing of urine specimens;
Add clarification to the term “prescription”;
Modify sections related to how MROs verify test results related to semi-synthetic opioids;
Require collector, alcohol testing technicians, and substance abuse professionals to subscribe to ODAPC’s list serve;
Remove a list of Substance Abuse Professional certification organizations from rule text and instead maintain the list on ODAPC’s web site;
Include a provision to prohibit program participants from using DOT-branded items on their websites, publications, etc.;
Remove outdated compliance dates;
Make various technical amendments.”

DOT Starts New Rail Crossing Warning Campaign


“DOT has begun an educational campaign named “Stop! Trains Can’t” to help young male motorists make the right choices at railroad crossings by understanding the consequences of making bad choices. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration partnered on the $7 million digital, radio, and video campaign, which is supported by a video showing a train hitting an SUV.

Rail incidents have declined in the past decade, although railroad crossing fatalities spiked in 2014. Last year alone, 232 people died in railroad crossing accidents. Approximately every three hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train in the United States.”
Read more!

FMCSA Issues Guidance to Organizations and Businesses Transporting Passengers

fmcsalogo
“According to a news release, the FMCSA has issued guidance to organizations and businesses that transport passengers in interstate commerce. The guidance clarifies existing regulations and requirements that have been changed over the years.

“Passengers traveling by motorcoaches, buses, and vans have every right to expect that the vehicle is safe and that their driver is fully qualified, without exception,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Motor carriers that are hired and that receive payment to transport passengers must thoroughly understand and fully comply with safety regulations that exist to protect everyone traveling on our nation’s roadways.”

The agency also developed an online resource to help give advice on hotel-related shuttle bus or van operations, employer-related services, educated-related institutions and more.

“Travel by motorcoach, bus, van, or shuttle is among the safest forms of transportation in the country,” said FMCSA Administrator T.F. Scott Darling, III. “This guidance will help improve safety by clarifying which federal safety rules apply to certain passenger carrier operations.”
Click here to read more!

National Outreach to Find Solutions to Truck Parking Shortages Continues

trucksontheroad
“Did you know that truck drivers are a very necessary part of the holidays? They are the folks who make sure your grocery shelves are stocked with holiday necessities, like cookies, cakes, turkeys and potatoes. At this very moment, thousands of truckers are on the roads delivering toys, food, clothing and other essentials for our families and friends. These drivers work hard, and they need a safe place to rest as they travel. Sadly, there isn’t always enough room for them.

Last year, USDOT released Jason’s Law Truck Parking Survey results, which confirmed a nationwide shortage of safe truck parking. We called for transportation stakeholders to come together and find solutions, convening the first National Truck Parking Coalition in November 2015. Since then, we’ve held coalition meetings in Utah, Texas, Missouri and Maryland. Last week, we held our second national meeting.”
Click here to read more!