FMCSA fields truckers’ questions at GBATS
September 24, 2021
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s director of enforcement and compliance provided clarity on everything from positive drug tests to hours of service during an OOIDA Town Hall event on Friday, Sept. 24, at the Guilty By Association Truck Show in Joplin, Mo.
FMCSA’s Joe DeLorenzo joined OOIDA President Todd Spencer and Collin Long, OOIDA’s director of government affairs, during a two-hour panel discussion at the truck show.
DeLorenzo outlined some of the most common infractions he has encountered and took questions from the truck drivers in attendance.
“The goal is to have everyone as compliant as possible, make the roadside inspections go as quickly as possible, and to avoid some of those things,” DeLorenzo said.
Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse
DeLorenzo warned that marijuana is still prohibited for truck drivers even though many states have legalized the substance. In addition, he urged drivers to use caution before purchasing any CBD products.
“Be really careful if you choose to use any CBD products,” he said. “I get a lot of phone calls and a lot of drivers ending up positive because they are buying some sort of CBD oil at a truck stop, and they’re not really doing the research, and it ends up driving a marijuana positive … I’m seeing that as a trend.”
For truck drivers required to use ELDs, DeLorenzo stressed the importance of having the proper documentation ready when stopped for an inspection.
“The first thing the roadside officer is going to do is start talking to you about data transfer and if you have the user manual,” he said. “Make sure that you do. If you don’t, ask your ELD provider to give them to you. If not, it’s going to end up taking a lot more time. At least have some familiarity with how to do that electronic transfer, because the roadside officer are going to ask you for that and if you can do that quick and easy then it’s going to make the process go faster.”
Hours of service
Making annotations to either an ELD or paper log also is beneficial to the driver, DeLorenzo said.
Whether it’s because of personal conveyance or an adverse driving condition, he said drivers should add a note and provide the important details to explain any anomalies in the day.
“Make annotations when it’s not a normal day,” he said. “As a roadside officer or enforcement people, we’re trained to look for anomalies and things that don’t look right. And a lot of times, there may be something in your log that doesn’t look right, but there’s a reasonable explanation for it. Maybe it was an adverse weather condition so you drove more that day. Whatever the case may be … put a little note in there that explains what happened and why.”
The Association invited DeLorenzo to the Town Hall to answer truckers’ questions on various regulations.
Spencer said it is important for drivers to inform the agency what is happening on the road if we’re going to improve highway safety.
“OOIDA was founded back in 1973 by a bunch of truckers not unlike you guys,” Spencer said. “Not unlike you at all, they knew what they did was vital but the system they worked in didn’t always reflect the realities. The idea was that if lawmakers and the regulators were aware of some of the things we had to deal with, they might come up with some better ideas of how to do things.
“Our approach is that if it’s not good for the people behind the wheel, then it’s not going to be good for trucking.”
The Guilty By Association Truck Show started Thursday and will continue through Saturday, Sept. 25. LL