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Newsletter
Volume 199
June 1, 2020

Executive Order on Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery

The President has issued an Executive Order to combat the economic consequences of COVID-19.  Federal agencies are called on to address the economic emergency by rescinding, modifying, waiving, or providing exemptions from regulations and other requirements that may inhibit economic recovery.  The heads of all agencies are directed to use any emergency authorities that the President has previously invoked to support the economic response to the COVID-19 outbreak.  The heads of all agencies are also being encouraged to promote economic recovery through non-regulatory actions.  The measures are designed to provide businesses, particularly small businesses, with the kind of certainty and support that they may need during this challenging time.

DOT Extends HOS Exemption

DOT has extended its emergency declaration again relaxing hours-of-service rules for motor carriers that are providing direct assistance in support of coronavirus-related relief efforts.  The declaration extends the exemption through June 14, 2020.  The list of commodities includes precursors to food production such as "fertilizer," "feed," "paper" and "livestock."  There is no specific documentation required for verification.  Retention of ordinary business records, such as the bill of lading, may be useful later for the convenience of the motor carrier and driver to document use of the exemption during a future inspection or enforcement action.

Leading by Example

A person who leads by example, communicating strong work ethic and accountability, is what comes to mind when talking about Brian Mason, Vice President and CFO of the Asmark Institute.  Brian has developed a keen sense of business over the years, especially as it relates to our core client base.  On a daily basis he proves that he is willing to get in the trenches and do what needs to be done, while demonstrating that he won't ask anything of anyone he isn't willing to do himself.

He has been an integral part of the Asmark family for over 11 years and has been involved in multiple roles within the company since his first day.  He jumped right in and first got his feet wet handling many of the company's financial responsibilities, which he still handles today.  He also began working on the Video Production Team, and learned from scratch how to create the best training videos possible.  Brian has undergone training in Hollywood and Las Vegas, working with some of the best people in the industry, learning new techniques with a small crew.  In 2019, he traveled across the country interviewing and filming for the new DOT Drug and Alcohol Supervisor training video, which was released in January 2020.

Brian also traveled thousands of miles this past year in an effort to meet up with clients to discuss our services, where he handled everything from onboarding new facilities to assisting clients desperate to raise their MyScore.  As a member of the Asmark Institute management team, Brian continues to help further the company's mission and build upon our existing services that were built over thirty years ago.  Every new situation that he encounters, he approaches with a new sense of excitement and as an opportunity for growth.  When in town, you might find him scouting out a new lawn service one day to adding a sleeper berth on a freightliner the next.  From handling licensing and registration of the Asmark fleet of vehicles and working with EH&S staff personnel, Brian wears many hats.

In his off time, Brian enjoys entertaining both friends and family.  He and his wife, Holly, have three children, Noah (9), Stella (8) and Jax (6).  Even when relaxing at home or on vacation, Brian is always focused on the clients' needs and available to ensure that all situations are handled.  As our country faces these uncertain times, Brian continues to help support our clients and his coworkers, continuing to lead by example.

Update! 2020 ERG Books

As previously announced, the DOT 2020 Emergency Response Guidebooks (ERGs) are being updated this year and will be shipped out as soon as available.  Due to the challenges encountered by COVID-19, the delivery of the books have been pushed back a bit, but are expected to be out by early summer.  The three North American countries - U.S., Canada and Mexico - rotate on a 4-year cycle for which agency is responsible for the new updated version.  Depending on the agency responsible, determines how quickly they are released.

Until the updated version is made available, you will want to continue using the 2016 books.  DOT requires hazardous materials shipments to be accompanied by emergency response information (49 CFR 172.602), and the ERG book can help you meet this requirement. A copy of the 2016 ERG should be placed in each vehicle that transports a DOT hazardous material until the new, updated version is released.

DOT Modernizes HOS Rules

DOT published a final rule updating the hours of service (HOS) rules for drivers of commercial motor vehicles.  The rulemaking was originally proposed in August 2019.  The key revisions extend the maximum duty period allowed under the short-haul exception to 14 hours and to 150 air miles.  The rule allows a driver to extend the maximum "driving window" by up to 2 hours during adverse driving conditions.  It requires a 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving time (instead of on-duty time) and allows on-duty/not driving periods to qualify as breaks.

The sleeper-berth exception was also modified to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods: an 8/2 split, and a 7/3 split—with neither period counting against the driver’s 14-hour driving window.  The new hours of service rule will have an implementation date of 120 days after publication in the Federal Register.

UCR Registration Open

FMCSA has announced the 2020 Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) period is now open. State enforcement of UCR requirements commonly begins January 1.  But since the opening of the 2020 registration period was delayed by several months due to a delay in the approval of fees, and with the more recent crisis brought on by the widespread outbreak of COVID-19, UCR is requesting that states delay enforcement until July 1, 2020.

For the third consecutive year, those businesses subject to UCR will see a reduction in fees. If you operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and if the vehicle, freight or passengers cross states lines, then UCR fees apply to you.  UCR requires registration and an annual fee based on fleet size.  A CMV is defined as a self-propelled vehicle used on highways in commerce to transport passengers or cargo, if the vehicle: a) has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more; b) is designed to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; c) is designed to transport more than 15 passengers (including the driver) not for compensation or d) is used to transport hazardous materials in quantities requiring placarding.

EPA Accepts Comments on Pethoxamid

EPA has opened the comment period on a proposed decision to register the new pesticide active ingredient, pethoxamid - a broad-spectrum herbicide that inhibits seedling shoot growth.  Pethoxamid provides a new active ingredient for the control of grasses and some broadleaf weeds.  Pethoxamid can provide a shorter plant-back interval than available alternatives, leading to enhanced crop rotation or cover-crop flexibility.  If used in conjunction with or in rotation with other mechanisms of action, pethoxamid could be an element of resistance management programs.

The Agency is proposing to register one technical product and two end-use products to control various types of annual grasses and broadleaf weeds in soybean, cotton, and corn.  EPA has evaluated the toxicity for pethoxamid and has not identified any human health or ecological risks that require additional mitigation beyond what is already included on the mandatory product label provided with pethoxamid.

The public comment period closes on June 17, 2020. To read more or to comment, click here.

DOT Starts Crash Preventability Determination Program

DOT announced the start of the Crash Preventability Determination Program to more accurately classify the data surrounding commercial vehicle crashes.  If a truck was involved in a crash deemed "not preventable" on or after Aug. 1, 2019, that incident may be reviewed and potentially removed from the carrier’s safety measurement profile.

Under the program, carriers with eligible crashes may submit a Request for Data Review with the required police accident report and other supporting documents, photos or videos through the agency’s DataQs website.  The final list of eligible crash types includes:
  • Struck in the rear
  • Wrong direction or illegal turns
  • Parked or legally stopped
  • Failure of the other vehicle to stop
  • Under the influence
  • Medical issues, falling asleep or distracted driving
  • Cargo/equipment/debris or infrastructure failure
  • Animal strike
  • Suicide
  • Rare or unusual type of crash

DOT Reviews Seizure Policy

DOT is reviewing the current seizure medical policy and could eliminate the requirement that drivers with the condition request a special exemption.  At a recent medical review board meeting it was stated that DOT will begin a review of the literature related to recurrence for commercial motor vehicle drivers who have experienced at least one seizure.  They will also contract outside research this fall on the condition.  The goal is to send a report to the medical review board in September 2021 for the board to consider any recommendations for an update to the policy.  The current seizure exemption standard requires an analysis of the driver’s history, the medication a driver has used, or is using, and a look at his or her driving history for the past three years.

Emergency Response Annual Refresher Training - Summer Courses Planned

Personalized invitations to attend the annual 8-hour Refresher Course have been mailed out to those who have already completed the 4-day Emergency Response to Agricultural Incidents Course.  At this time, plans are to offer the summer courses at 60 remote locations throughout the U.S. There are several location changes this year, so please review the location calendar to find the location most convenient.  Classes are limited to 30 participants and are filled on a first-come, first-served basis so register early to ensure you get the date and location you need.

As most states are beginning the re-opening phases from the shelter-in-place mandates due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are monitoring the various circumstances closely.  Our goal is to provide the required training, as long as we are able to do so safely, while following the guidelines of local, state and national agencies for classes with sufficient enrollment.  More information will be provided in the confirmation packet materials.  If you have questions or would like more information, please reach out to Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext. 234.

National Labor Law Poster Updates

Considering the magnitude of state and federal agencies in existence today, it’s no surprise that labor laws are constantly changing.  The Federal Wage and Labor Law Institute (FWLLI) tracks these updates for us and we provide results for you.  Wondering if you need a poster update?  Click here to check for the latest Federal and/or State updates to the labor law posters.

Executive Order on Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery

The President has issued an Executive Order to combat the economic consequences of COVID-19.  Federal agencies are called on to address the economic emergency by rescinding, modifying, waiving, or providing exemptions from regulations and other requirements that may inhibit economic recovery.  The heads of all agencies are directed to use any emergency authorities that the President has previously invoked to support the economic response to the COVID-19 outbreak.  The heads of all agencies are also being encouraged to promote economic recovery through non-regulatory actions.  The measures are designed to provide businesses, particularly small businesses, with the kind of certainty and support that they may need during this challenging time.

DOT Extends HOS Exemption

DOT has extended its emergency declaration again relaxing hours-of-service rules for motor carriers that are providing direct assistance in support of coronavirus-related relief efforts.  The declaration extends the exemption through June 14, 2020.  The list of commodities includes precursors to food production such as "fertilizer," "feed," "paper" and "livestock."  There is no specific documentation required for verification.  Retention of ordinary business records, such as the bill of lading, may be useful later for the convenience of the motor carrier and driver to document use of the exemption during a future inspection or enforcement action.

Leading by Example

A person who leads by example, communicating strong work ethic and accountability, is what comes to mind when talking about Brian Mason, Vice President and CFO of the Asmark Institute.  Brian has developed a keen sense of business over the years, especially as it relates to our core client base.  On a daily basis he proves that he is willing to get in the trenches and do what needs to be done, while demonstrating that he won't ask anything of anyone he isn't willing to do himself.

He has been an integral part of the Asmark family for over 11 years and has been involved in multiple roles within the company since his first day.  He jumped right in and first got his feet wet handling many of the company's financial responsibilities, which he still handles today.  He also began working on the Video Production Team, and learned from scratch how to create the best training videos possible.  Brian has undergone training in Hollywood and Las Vegas, working with some of the best people in the industry, learning new techniques with a small crew.  In 2019, he traveled across the country interviewing and filming for the new DOT Drug and Alcohol Supervisor training video, which was released in January 2020.

Brian also traveled thousands of miles this past year in an effort to meet up with clients to discuss our services, where he handled everything from onboarding new facilities to assisting clients desperate to raise their MyScore.  As a member of the Asmark Institute management team, Brian continues to help further the company's mission and build upon our existing services that were built over thirty years ago.  Every new situation that he encounters, he approaches with a new sense of excitement and as an opportunity for growth.  When in town, you might find him scouting out a new lawn service one day to adding a sleeper berth on a freightliner the next.  From handling licensing and registration of the Asmark fleet of vehicles and working with EH&S staff personnel, Brian wears many hats.

In his off time, Brian enjoys entertaining both friends and family.  He and his wife, Holly, have three children, Noah (9), Stella (8) and Jax (6).  Even when relaxing at home or on vacation, Brian is always focused on the clients' needs and available to ensure that all situations are handled.  As our country faces these uncertain times, Brian continues to help support our clients and his coworkers, continuing to lead by example.

Update! 2020 ERG Books

As previously announced, the DOT 2020 Emergency Response Guidebooks (ERGs) are being updated this year and will be shipped out as soon as available.  Due to the challenges encountered by COVID-19, the delivery of the books have been pushed back a bit, but are expected to be out by early summer.  The three North American countries - U.S., Canada and Mexico - rotate on a 4-year cycle for which agency is responsible for the new updated version.  Depending on the agency responsible, determines how quickly they are released.

Until the updated version is made available, you will want to continue using the 2016 books.  DOT requires hazardous materials shipments to be accompanied by emergency response information (49 CFR 172.602), and the ERG book can help you meet this requirement. A copy of the 2016 ERG should be placed in each vehicle that transports a DOT hazardous material until the new, updated version is released.

DOT Modernizes HOS Rules

DOT published a final rule updating the hours of service (HOS) rules for drivers of commercial motor vehicles.  The rulemaking was originally proposed in August 2019.  The key revisions extend the maximum duty period allowed under the short-haul exception to 14 hours and to 150 air miles.  The rule allows a driver to extend the maximum "driving window" by up to 2 hours during adverse driving conditions.  It requires a 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving time (instead of on-duty time) and allows on-duty/not driving periods to qualify as breaks.

The sleeper-berth exception was also modified to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods: an 8/2 split, and a 7/3 split—with neither period counting against the driver’s 14-hour driving window.  The new hours of service rule will have an implementation date of 120 days after publication in the Federal Register.

UCR Registration Open

FMCSA has announced the 2020 Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) period is now open. State enforcement of UCR requirements commonly begins January 1.  But since the opening of the 2020 registration period was delayed by several months due to a delay in the approval of fees, and with the more recent crisis brought on by the widespread outbreak of COVID-19, UCR is requesting that states delay enforcement until July 1, 2020.

For the third consecutive year, those businesses subject to UCR will see a reduction in fees. If you operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and if the vehicle, freight or passengers cross states lines, then UCR fees apply to you.  UCR requires registration and an annual fee based on fleet size.  A CMV is defined as a self-propelled vehicle used on highways in commerce to transport passengers or cargo, if the vehicle: a) has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more; b) is designed to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; c) is designed to transport more than 15 passengers (including the driver) not for compensation or d) is used to transport hazardous materials in quantities requiring placarding.

EPA Accepts Comments on Pethoxamid

EPA has opened the comment period on a proposed decision to register the new pesticide active ingredient, pethoxamid - a broad-spectrum herbicide that inhibits seedling shoot growth.  Pethoxamid provides a new active ingredient for the control of grasses and some broadleaf weeds.  Pethoxamid can provide a shorter plant-back interval than available alternatives, leading to enhanced crop rotation or cover-crop flexibility.  If used in conjunction with or in rotation with other mechanisms of action, pethoxamid could be an element of resistance management programs.

The Agency is proposing to register one technical product and two end-use products to control various types of annual grasses and broadleaf weeds in soybean, cotton, and corn.  EPA has evaluated the toxicity for pethoxamid and has not identified any human health or ecological risks that require additional mitigation beyond what is already included on the mandatory product label provided with pethoxamid.

The public comment period closes on June 17, 2020. To read more or to comment, click here.

DOT Starts Crash Preventability Determination Program

DOT announced the start of the Crash Preventability Determination Program to more accurately classify the data surrounding commercial vehicle crashes.  If a truck was involved in a crash deemed "not preventable" on or after Aug. 1, 2019, that incident may be reviewed and potentially removed from the carrier’s safety measurement profile.

Under the program, carriers with eligible crashes may submit a Request for Data Review with the required police accident report and other supporting documents, photos or videos through the agency’s DataQs website.  The final list of eligible crash types includes:
  • Struck in the rear
  • Wrong direction or illegal turns
  • Parked or legally stopped
  • Failure of the other vehicle to stop
  • Under the influence
  • Medical issues, falling asleep or distracted driving
  • Cargo/equipment/debris or infrastructure failure
  • Animal strike
  • Suicide
  • Rare or unusual type of crash

DOT Reviews Seizure Policy

DOT is reviewing the current seizure medical policy and could eliminate the requirement that drivers with the condition request a special exemption.  At a recent medical review board meeting it was stated that DOT will begin a review of the literature related to recurrence for commercial motor vehicle drivers who have experienced at least one seizure.  They will also contract outside research this fall on the condition.  The goal is to send a report to the medical review board in September 2021 for the board to consider any recommendations for an update to the policy.  The current seizure exemption standard requires an analysis of the driver’s history, the medication a driver has used, or is using, and a look at his or her driving history for the past three years.

Emergency Response Annual Refresher Training - Summer Courses Planned

Personalized invitations to attend the annual 8-hour Refresher Course have been mailed out to those who have already completed the 4-day Emergency Response to Agricultural Incidents Course.  At this time, plans are to offer the summer courses at 60 remote locations throughout the U.S. There are several location changes this year, so please review the location calendar to find the location most convenient.  Classes are limited to 30 participants and are filled on a first-come, first-served basis so register early to ensure you get the date and location you need.

As most states are beginning the re-opening phases from the shelter-in-place mandates due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are monitoring the various circumstances closely.  Our goal is to provide the required training, as long as we are able to do so safely, while following the guidelines of local, state and national agencies for classes with sufficient enrollment.  More information will be provided in the confirmation packet materials.  If you have questions or would like more information, please reach out to Patricia at patricia@asmark.org or 270-926-4600 Ext. 234.

National Labor Law Poster Updates

Considering the magnitude of state and federal agencies in existence today, it’s no surprise that labor laws are constantly changing.  The Federal Wage and Labor Law Institute (FWLLI) tracks these updates for us and we provide results for you.  Wondering if you need a poster update?  Click here to check for the latest Federal and/or State updates to the labor law posters.
Asmark Institute, Inc. This information is believed to be reliable by the Asmark Institute, however, because of constantly changing government regulations, interpretations and applicability or the possibility of human, mechanical or computer error, the Asmark Institute does not guarantee the information as suitable for any particular purpose.