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On September 26, 2014, about 9:05 p.m., a 2013 Peterbilt truck-tractor in combination with a 2014 Great Dane semitrailer, operated by Quickway Transportation Inc., was traveling north in the left lane of Interstate 35 (I-35), near Davis, Oklahoma. About the same time, a 2008 Champion Defender 32-passenger medium-size bus—transporting 15 members of the North Central Texas College (NCTC) softball team—was traveling south in the right lane of I-35. The college owned and operated the bus. In the vicinity of milepost 47, after negotiating a slight rightward curve at a speed of about 72 mph, the truck-tractor departed the left lane and entered the 100-foot-wide depressed earthen median at an approximate 2 degree angle. The truck-tractor continued through the median, traveling over 1,100 feet without evidence of braking or steering. The combination vehicle then entered the southbound lanes of I-35 at an approximate 9 degree angle and collided with the bus.
TO THE FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ADMINISTRATION: Work with motor carrier industry stakeholders to develop a plan to aid motor carriers in addressing commercial motor vehicle driver use of impairing substances, particularly those not covered under current drug-testing regulations such as by promoting best practices by carriers, expanding impairment detection training and authority, and developing performance-based methods of evaluation.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Open - Unacceptable Response
Davis, OK, United States
Preliminary Report Highway HWY14MH014
Truck-Tractor Semitrailer Median Crossover Collision With Medium-Size Bus on Interstate 35, Davis, Oklahoma, September 26, 2014
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
FMCSA (Open - Unacceptable Response)
Safety Recommendation History
You indicate that several agencies are working to further define controlled substances and their testing protocols in established regulations. However, this recommendation was intended to encourage you to promote knowledge and detection of impairing substances that are not covered under current regulations, such as impairing over-the-counter and prescription medications. We are disappointed that the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee and the Medical Review Board were not able to provide the recommended best practices to help motor carriers educate their drivers about the dangers of impairing substance use, and we urge you to reconsider your position on providing guidance about impairing substances for motor carriers. Pending such action, Safety Recommendation H-15-39 is classified OPEN--UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.
-From Michael J. Jordon, Management and Program Analyst, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: On December 13, 2017, representatives from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) met to discuss the status of 7 safety recommendations. This memorandum communicates the status updates discussed. Requested Classification: Open - Acceptable Alternate Response • FMCSA’s Driver Wellness Subcommittee, a joint committee of the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) and Medical Review Board (MRB), has not met since August 2016, and its activities are currently on hold. It is unlikely that information about impairing substance issues, specifically the dangers of using synthetic cannabinoids, will be addressed by this panel given its current status. • The MRB had a discussion at its October 2016 meeting concerning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) warnings on narcotics and benzodiazepines and the incorporation of information into Certified Medical Examiner (CME) forms. The notes from that discussion are available at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/advisory-committees/mrb/mrb-discussion-notesrecommendations-re-fda-warnings. • During the MRB’s discussion of the FDA warnings and its recommendations made under in the Task 16-2 report where it reviewed and made recommendations to prioritize the Agency’s medical advisory criteria (see https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/advisory-committees/mrb/mrb-task-16-02-letter-report), the MRB recommended that the Agency update the CME form to include opioid medication prescribed to a CMV driver. • FMCSA is currently reviewing the MRB recommendations to determine what updates it will make to its medical advisory criteria. • On November 13, 2017, the Office of the Secretary’s Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC) published a final rule, Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs: Addition of Certain Schedule II Drugs to the Department of Transportation’s Drug-Testing Panel and Certain Minor Amendments (RIN 2105-AE58). The final rule is attached and also available online at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-11-13/pdf/2017-24397.pdf. • Beginning January 1, 2018, ODAPC added four semi-synthetic opioids (i.e., hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and oxymorphone) to DOT’s opiate category of the drug testing panel. DOT already tests for the marijuana metabolite THCA (?9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), as marijuana remains a schedule I, illegal drug according to the Controlled Substances Act. • For procedures associated with testing for controlled substances, in accordance with Section 12020 of the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 (Public Law 102-143; see Appendix A), DOT is required to incorporate Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) scientific and technical guidelines, including the mandatory guideline that establishes the minimum list of controlled substances for which individuals may be tested. • Currently, HHS has not authorized testing or promulgated scientific and technical guidance on testing for synthetic cannabinoids. • The DOT’s drug testing panel was incorporated with the December 2016 publication of FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse final rule, which establishes a national drug and alcohol clearinghouse for commercial truck and bus drivers. As previously communicated, the clearinghouse database will serve as a central repository containing records of violations of FMCSA’s drug and alcohol testing program by commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders. • FMCSA requests NTSB maintain its classification for safety recommendation H-15-039 as “Open - Acceptable Alternate Response.”
We note that you plan to include the recommended action in the development of your Driver Health and Wellness Program. We understand that a Wellness Subcommittee was formed at a recent joint meeting of your Medical Review Board and your Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee, and that this subcommittee will provide recommendations about how your agency and stakeholders can improve the health and wellness of commercial motor vehicle drivers. Although this approach could lead to an acceptable alternate method of addressing the intent of this recommendation, we are concerned that the impairment message may be lost in the larger goal of the program. To avoid such a loss, we encourage you to draw on the discussion in our Davis, Oklahoma, report and to use resources, such as motor carriers that have adopted more expansive drug testing policies, to enhance your discussions and resulting products. We further urge you to ensure that the subcommittee’s plan to address the impairing substance issue goes beyond simply informing drivers about the dangers of using synthetic cannabinoids. Pending completion of your alternate approach to the recommended actions and our review of the final product, Safety Recommendation H-15-39 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE ALTERNATE RESPONSE.
-From T.F. Scott Darling, III, Acting Administrator: FMCSA concurs with safety recommendation H-1 5-039 and will address the recommended action through the implementation of the Driver Health and Wellness Program. Due to the prevalence of CMV drivers with disqualifying health conditions that may potentially limit or curtail their ability to drive a CMV safely in interstate commerce, FMCSA approached its stakeholders to see if together, a voluntary, non-regulatory approach could be established to help drivers enter the industry safely and maintain or improve their health outcomes so they can enjoy long, healthy, and productive careers. Following receipt of stakeholder input, it was decided that the next step should be to involve the Agency's Medical Review Board (MRB) and Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) in the process. To that end, FMCSA tasked the MRB and MCSAC to establish a subcommittee to provide recommendations on how the Agency and its stakeholders can improve the health outcomes of interstate CMV drivers. At a joint meeting of the MRB and MCSAC on September 21-22, 20 15, FMC SA asked the subcommittee to center its efforts around the types of behaviors and activities that drivers can do before work, during work, and after work to make lasting improvements in the following 5 areas: work conditions; diet and exercise; sleep and fatigue; personal injury; and, lifestyle choices. FMCSA asked that the subcommittee consider the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) study results, which were presented at the 2014 Transportation Research Board's annual meeting, and any other peer-reviewed data to arrive at a recommendation to implement a holistic plan to assist truck and motorcoach drivers in achieving these goals. FMCSA also asked the subcommittee to include a multi-dimensional plan that can involve the development of tools such as a website or mobile application, health expos at well-attended driver events such as motorcoach rodeos and the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS), and an evaluation segment of the plan to track its success. In light of receiving safety recommendation H-1 5-039, FMCSA will communicate with the subcommittee and request that it consider addressing the issue of CMV drivers' use of synthetic cannabinoids in the lifestyle choices segment of the Driver Health and Well ness Program. A meeting of the subcommittee is planned for late spring 201 6, with a recommended deadline of late fa11 201 6 for delivery of the plan. FMCSA anticipates the MRB and MCSAC will submit a letter report with recommendations following their spring 2016 meeting. Once the subcommittee concludes its deliberations, the MRB and MCSAC will review and approve the plan at a joint meeting in fall 2016. FMCSA requests the NTSB classify safety recommendation H-15-039 as "Open - Acceptable Response."
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