What's in a word?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has changed its definition of commercial vehicle to include interstate for-hire property and passenger carriers based on gross vehicle weight (GVW) or gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), whichever is greater. Currently, vehicles are considered commercial if they have a GVWR of 10,001 lb. or more. Under the new rule, a commercial vehicle is one

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has changed its definition of “commercial vehicle” to include interstate for-hire property and passenger carriers based on gross vehicle weight (GVW) or gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), whichever is greater. Currently, vehicles are considered commercial if they have a GVWR of 10,001 lb. or more.

Under the new rule, a commercial vehicle is one that has a GVWR or GVW of at least 10,001 lb. For example, a vehicle weighing 9,000 lb. but hauling 1,001 lb. would be considered a commercial vehicle by federal regulations.

FMCSA changed the regulations to target passenger-carrying vans, which it claims are involved in a high level of fatal crashes. Under the new rules, many of these vehicles would be subject to federal safety regulations, especially in the area of driver qualifications and performance, and vehicle inspections. If weight limits are exceeded, interstate for-hire operators of these vehicles must fill out the standard MCS-150 carrier identification report.

Wabash reorganizing

Trailer manufacturer Wabash National Corp. is discontinuing international sales efforts and reorganizing its domestic business in an effort to reduce its debt load and adapt to a slowing trucking economy.

Lafayette, Ind.-based Wabash said it will no longer build products for export outside the North American market. It is also abandoning international financing activities and will consolidate several domestic operations.

According to Wabash, the domestic businesses in question include its hardwood flooring facilities and certain under-performing retail and distribution locations. The company said it expects these actions will result in fourth quarter 2000 pre-tax charges of approximately $47 million.

“The restructuring initiative responds to the changes in the domestic and international markets we serve and the continued strength of the dollar in our international export markets, especially against the Euro,” stated Wabash president and CEO Jerry Ehrlich.

FYI

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Jim Hall stepped down from his position to allow President Bush to choose his own chairman. Under Hall's leadership, the agency expanded the scope of its recommendation powers. In addition, Hall used his position to advocate the mandatory installation of airplane-type black boxes in commercial motor vehicles.

The four finalists for the 2000 Goodyear North America Highway Hero Award are: David Zorn of Consolidated Freightways; Brent Shupe of Midwest Coast Transport; Edward Bowlin of Payne Trucking; and Carl Tafua of Viking Freight. The four were selected out of 22 drivers singled out for heroic actions on the state provincial level. The winner will be announced March 21 at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

Driver turnover will the topic of a two-day seminar this May sponsored by the Keller Technical Institute (KTI). The educational affiliate of publishing firm J. J. Keller & Assoc., KTI's “North American Driver Recruiting and Retention Summit” will combine how-to techniques, case studies and hands-on exercises to demonstrate effective methods of employee retention within the trucking industry. The meeting will be held May 10-11 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Schaumburg, Ill. For more information, go to www.jjkeller.com or call 800-642-2067.

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