Cargo Theft on the Rise Again, and...

New Rules For Medical Cards

MEDICAL CARDS

The regulations for commercial vehicle drivers are changing in regards to Federal Medical Certificates (medical cards). The changes affect various kinds of drivers differently. The rules remain the same as to which drivers need a medical card while operating a CMV, but drivers will now have to provide an up-to-date copy of this card to the DMV when they obtain it. As part of this process, all CDL holders will now also have to self-certify their classification in which they operate (which will determine their requirements for filing their medical card with the state) by 2014, and some may have to do so earlier than that.

There are also some changes in regards to who tracks drivers with medical cards. Currently, all trucking outfits are responsible for tracking the expiration of medical cards for their drivers. By January 2014, the states will be required to begin tracking the drivers who are maintaining a valid medical card. If the state’s DMV doesn’t have a card on file for a driver, they’ll suspend their license. Most states are starting this process now to ensure compliance by 2014, beginning with those who are receiving Federal Medical Certificates and CDLs for the first time or renewing them.

Drivers in all states, who are required to file a Federal Medical Certificate, will have to comply with these new requirements by January 30, 2014. In most states, you are now required to show your medical card when renewing a CDL license for interstate commerce. If you renew your CDL but don’t show your medical card, you may be restricted to intrastate-only travel as a result. A number of our clients have reported that their drivers have visited the DMV, renewed their license without showing their medical card (since they haven’t had to in the past), and then later realized that the license they got was restricted to intrastate commerce. Make sure your drivers are aware of this requirement when they renew their CDL. From now on, any time a driver gets a new medical card (good for two years), they will need to notify the DMV when it expires.

Another new requirement is that all CDL holders will have to self-certify their type of vehicle operation, which will determine if they need to submit a Federal Medical Certificate to the DMV or not. The new regulations do not change who is required to maintain a medical card, but they do require drivers to report their exemption, if they have one. CDL holders who do not file a medical card with the DMV or report an exemption will be assumed to be non-compliant, and their licenses will be suspended on January 30, 2014. With that said, let’s look at who needs a Federal Medical Certificate.

To determine whether a driver needs to file a Federal Medical Certificate with the state, you need to know two things: are they an interstate or intrastate driver, and are they in an excepted industry? If a driver crosses a state line at any point during a normal trip, they are an interstate driver. If a driver conducts all of their business within one state, they are an intrastate driver. Exceptions are a little more difficult to determine, but some of the DOT’s exceptions include school bus operations, operation of fire trucks or other rescue vehicles, farming operations (transportation of machinery and/or crops), operation of a private carrier of passengers, and transportation of personal property not for compensation or commercial enterprise. These are just a few of the many DOT exceptions, and each state has a list of their own, as well. Be sure to check if there are special exceptions in your state.

There are four options (Tiers) to choose from when determining your classification. Tier 1: Non-Excepted Interstate. You need to provide a valid medical card to the DMV and maintain that the card is up-to-date and on record when you renew or get a new one. Tier 2: Excepted Interstate. No medical card is needed. Tier 3: Non-Excepted Intrastate. You need a valid medical card and you must provide it to the DMV only when a license is issued. Tier 4: Excepted Intrastate. No medical card is needed. Make sure that you are compliant with the requirements for your tier, making note of any additional state or employer exceptions.

CARGO THEFT ON THE RISE – AGAIN

In the third quarter of 2012, FreightWatch recorded a total of 225 cargo thefts in the United States, with an average loss per incident of $172,403 – a 23% increase from the previous three months of the year. Food/Drinks was the product type most often stolen in the third quarter, with 35 thefts, or 16% of all thefts in the quarter. Products targeted in this category included soft drinks, coffee and various meats and produce. The Electronics category saw 30 thefts (13%), mainly of computers, TVs and cell phones, and there were 26 thefts (12%) in the Auto/Parts category, which included items like tires, motor oil and batteries.

Despite the increase in overall cargo thefts in the third quarter, most product types saw a decrease in the volume of thefts from the second quarter of 2012. The Food/Drinks, Miscellaneous and Home/Garden types of cargo are the exceptions, as thefts in those categories increased for the quarter. From July 2012 to September 2012, California saw the most thefts. The 45 incidents of cargo theft in that state accounted for 20% of all incidents of cargo theft across the country. Florida, another hot spot for cargo theft, experienced 37 thefts (16%) and Texas had 30 (13%), making them the second and third most popular states in the US for cargo theft in the third quarter of 2012.

Unsecured parking was the location targeted most often by cargo thieves when a location was recorded. With that in mind, I always recommend finding a secure place to park your trailer. Sangar Cargo Security is a specialized transportation security company that provides a safe haven for motor carriers to store loaded and unloaded assets in a highly-protected environment. The company offers high-security drop yards, customized security consulting, and long-term equipment storage. They have locations in AR, CA, FL, GA, IN, MS, NJ, PA, TN and TX. They can be found online (www.sangarcargosecurity.com) or reached by phone at (800) 216-4152. Be sure to tell them you read about them in 10-4 Magazine! Now, more than ever, it is crucial to protect your valuable cargo.

About Wayne Schooling

Wayne Schooling has been in the transportation business since 1962. Starting out as a driver, Wayne later made the switch to management. Over the years, he has accumulated 22 various awards and honors, been involved with 6 professional affiliations, has spoken at several lectures, and earned 3 professional diplomas. Wayne, who has written for 10-4 Magazine since 1994, is currently President Emeritus of the NorthAmerican Transportation Association (NTA).