Trucking News Roundup–December 2012
November saw several enhancements to existing policies for the trucking and transportation industries. Here are the highlights:
â€¢ The trucking industry added 2500 jobs.
â€¢ Marijuana use remains illegal for DOT employees and will still be tested for in Colorado and Washington.
â€¢ The Motorcoach Safety Action Plan is now more user-friendly for consumers and investigators.
Trucking Industry Adds 2500 Jobs in November
With the nationâ€™s unemployment rate dropping in November from 7.9 to 7.7 percent the trucking industry added 2500 payroll jobs last month. This is a 10.1 percent increase since March but still 6.5 percent under the high point of January 2007â€™s total. In addition to the increase of jobs net trailer orders for the month of October increased 30 percent from the previous month while orders for class 8 trucks declined 14 percent from October.
Marijuana Use Remains Illegal Within Transportation Industry
Despite the recent legalization of marijuana use in the states of Colorado and Washington the Department of Transportation maintains its policy of regulated drug testing and does not authorize the use of marijuana for any reason. Marijuana maintains its status as a drug listed in Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act.
Medical Review Officers will not verify a drug use test as negative regardless of what state the user is in or if it is used for recreational or medical purposes including physician recommendation. Director of the Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance for the USDOT Jim Swart said in a notice issued on December 3 â€œWe want to assure the traveling public that our transportation system is the safest it can possibly be.â€
This notice was released shortly before Representative Reid Ribble of Wisconsin proposed a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would require the USDOT to mandate hair testing in replace of the more common urine testing. Hair drug testing has been shown to detect drug use over the course of the past several months whereas urine testing only detects drug use over the past several days. Several companies such as Gordon Trucking Roehl Transport J.B.Hunt and Schneider already use hair testing for their employees.
DOT Enhances Motorcoach Safety Action Plan
The U.S. Department of Transportationâ€™s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration expanded the 2009 Motorcoach Safety Action Plan to make it easier for consumers to file complaints about unsafe companies and drivers. The new plan focuses on driver fatigue driver behavior vehicle maintenance operator oversight crash avoidance measures and occupant protection. Consumers are now allowed to include more detail in their safety reports and officials are now allowed to more efficiently investigate complaints regarding violations.