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An Update On ‘Driver Mode’ And New Out-Of-Service Criteria

With the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) setting new guidance standards on a slew of issues, the new one on the docket is a proposed guideline aimed at cutting down on incidents of distracted driving.

The idea is to compel cell phone manufacturers to include device pairing and ‘driver mode’ into their handsets, two moves that would essentially block the phone’s functions when the truck driver is operating the vehicle.

What is Paring and ‘Driver Mode?’

Pairing refers to the act of linking a smartphone to some type of in-vehicle software system. When the mobile device is paired with the system, NHTSA recommends that the device’s visual interface be inaccessible, although emergency services, calls and notifications would be allowed.

For devices that cannot be paired, the agency recommends that the ‘driver mode’ be installed. This mode would essentially block any functions from being used when the vehicle is operating. The functions being recommended for lockout include:

  • Anything not related to operating the vehicle
  • Sending SMS messages
  • Watching video (with a maps exception)
  • Scrolling through photos or viewing a photo gallery (with a maps exception)
  • Watching automatic scrolling text
  • Reading digital books, magazines, news articles, Facebook or other social media

Of course, current technology limits the detection between truck driver and passenger, which is why a manual function works best. The NHTSA says they are making this push in the effort to encourage drivers to “put down their phones and other devices, and just drive.”

To put your voice in for public comment on the rule, follow this link.

For more information on the full list of recommendations, follow this link.

Changes to Out-Of-Service Criteria

Have you heard? The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has changed their Out-of-Service criteria. Here’s how their handbook breaks down, for those looking on additional information before investing in the manual:

  • Covers violations that would place a truck driver out-of-service
  • Shines a spotlight on critical vehicle inspection points and offers direction resolving them
  • Outlines when a commercial motor vehicle should be considered unsafe due to risk of an accident or breakdown
  • Provides specific guidance on the transportation of hazardous materials, including hazard communication and type
  • Explains the criteria that might put a motor carrier out-of-service

Here is a breakdown of the recent changes:

  • Tires: Language was added to the rule that established a direct connection and modifier for finding and explaining debris lodged between a dual set up.
  • Lights: Outlined situations where a pigtail may have been left unplugged or had become unplugged during transit. Covers defects in the cord or connector. In these situations, a reasonable violation would be classified under section 393.23 of the FMCSRs, under the heading for lamps and power supplies.
  • Steering: New language has been added to cover situations where there is a missing power assist cylinder in the vehicle. The criteria was also refined to cover just how loose a cylinder had to be in order for a vehicle to be put out of service; all necessary clarifications to prevent needless out-of-service issues.
  • Driveline: Where it comes to the driveline and driveshaft, language was added to cover situations where there is a missing bearing cap or retainer clip. The group also covered “imminent hazard” situations. These include the U-joint bearing cap retainer clip coming unseated from the grove.”

The fact is the trucking industry is going through near-constant change. With new regulations on the horizon and changes to the way we do business, there’s pride to be taken in keeping the nation’s supply-chain rolling. And you can be assured that when these changes roll down the pipe, we’ll be right here reporting on them at the Quick Transport Solutions Blog.

 

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