On Friday, December 4th, President Obama signed the first long-term highway bill in over a decade into law. The FAST Act (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation), or HR 22, guarantees funding for five years at $305 billion for highway and transit programs. On December 3, the House voted in favor of the bill (359-65) followed by the Senate later in the evening (83-16). The President signed the bill into law on Friday hours before the latest highway bill extension was set to expire. The measure contained several provisions that will benefit the ready mixed concrete industry.
Highlighted below are sections that will affect the ready mix industry.
Section 5206 – makes permanent an exemption issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in April 2015 for the ready mixed concrete industry on the drivers’ HOS 30-minute break rule. This provision also includes reforms to the petitions’ process to apply for and receive exemptions from FMCSA, which will benefit all sectors of the construction and transportation industries. Most notably, this section also allows the Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary to issues exemptions up to five years instead of two years and also gives applicants the ability to address denials issued by the Secretary and resubmit applications.
Section 5521 (Ready Mix Concrete Delivery Vehicles) – creates a ready mixed concrete industry-specific logbook exemption that increases the 12-hour on-duty logging threshold contained in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 395.1(e)(1)(ii) and (e)(1)(iii)(A) to 14 hours in order to be consistent with the 14-hour driving window contained in the HOS regulations.
Section 5522 (Transportation of Construction Materials Equipment) – increases the air-miles radius from 50 to 75 air-miles for the transportation and delivery of construction materials and equipment in order to satisfy the current 24-hour restart provision.
Section 5221 (Compliance, Safety, Accountability Reform) – CSA program reforms that require the FMCSA Administrator to commission a study of its safety measurement system (SMS). Among other things, the accuracy of BASICS (the seven evaluation criteria used to determine safety) and the ability to predict crashed/high risk carriers must include an evaluation of the methodology used to calculate the percentiles and the weights assigned to the score, any data collection gaps, accuracy of safety data where driver determined not to be at fault, how members of the public rely on the scores, and how accidents are reported and the variances between reporting in different jurisdictions. The study must also consider better alternatives to the SMS system and must be completed with a report issued to Congress. Lastly, until the report findings are complete certain CSA scores must be removed from public view.
Section 5509 (Minimum Financial Responsibility) – contains a provision on minimum financial responsibility for commercial motor vehicles that requires the Transportation Secretary to consider cost-benefit criteria and conduct a study before issuing a final rulemaking to determine whether to increase the minimum level of financial responsibility. Those criteria include: the rulemaking’s potential impact on the safety of motor vehicle transportation, the motor carrier industry like the ready mixed concrete industry, the ability to maintain and cover insurance claims and the impact of increased levels on motor carrier safety and accident reduction.
FMSCA Finalizes Electronic Logging Requirement
Effective December 16, 2017, all drivers operating trucks made after 2000 must begin utilizing electronic logging equipment in lieu of the current hand log books. While some ready mix drivers forego logging requirements by operating under the air mile exemption, many ACIA members do log hours. Click here to read an article on the new change.