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November 2011


FMCSA: Final Rule Updates Commercial Driver's License Manual for States
Effective December 5, 2011, all state driver licensing agencies will be required to develop new processes for managing the Commercial Driver's License Information System (CDLIS) driver record and qualifications clearinghouse.
The new final rule published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration (FMCSA) incorporates the most recent edition of the CDLIS State Procedures Manual, Release 5.2.0. By Jan. 30, 2012, state licensing agencies must comply with the new manual requirements for transmitting, receiving, recording and updating the physical descriptions of each CDL holder, commercial and non-commercial driving status, medical certification status, convictions, disqualifications, and crash history. Click here for more information.

Safety Issues in Growing Motorcoach Industry
The results from a six-month study conducted the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) on curbside motorcoach safety were recently released. The study is the first comprehensive evaluation of the motorcoach industry, with an emphasis on what are commonly known as curbside carriers. The study analyzed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's data and conducted field work, which included interviews, focus groups and observations of compliance reviews and inspections.

Although accidents among all types of interstate motorcoach carriers (including those applying the curbside business model) are infrequent, curbside carriers have higher fatal accident and death rates and higher out-of-service rates resulting from driver violations (specifically, fatigued driving and driver fitness violations) compared with conventional carriers. Curbside carriers also have higher driver fitness violation rates and out-of-service rates, and they are overrepresented in driver logbook violations. The safety record of individual curbside carriers varies, with some carriers having very good safety records and others having worse safety records. Click here for more information.


EPA Awards Clean Diesel Funds to
New England States
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced it is awarding more than $1.3 million in Clean Diesel funds for projects in all six New England states to reduce emissions and improve air quality. The money will enable all six states to launch retrofit or replacement projects that cover all transportation categories, including school bus replacements.

These grants bring a total of almost $6.2 million in federal funds and $2.3 million in state funds for State Clean Diesel funding to New England since the program's inception four years ago. The funding is part of $12.6 million made available this year for State Clean Diesel programs nationwide, and is on top of prior Recovery Act funding of diesel projects.
Golf Joke


Bus Briefs

Ford Plans Transition from E-Series to T-Series

The Ford Econoline's days are numbered. The E-Series vans we've all ridden in to and from the airport, on church outings or driven as a chassis cab for a motorhome are soon to be replaced. The E-Series as we know it has roots that go all the way back to 1975. The design while refreshed here and there over the decades has changed little and most agree is well out-dated. In fact, the chassis still uses the heavy "Twin-I-Beam" front suspension that dates back to the 1965! The cockpit is still cramped and uncomfortable due to the large engine hump smack in the middle of it.

Ford has now announced that it will bring the European Transit van to the United States, with production to begin in 2013 at Kansas City, MO. The Transit is a full sized van series that offers a full range of short and long wheel-base models. The Transit van is available in passenger bus versions, cargo and trade models, as well as chassis cabs for the RV and commercial truck builders. In Europe, the Transit is available in both front-wheel drive for light duty applications and rear-wheel drive for heavier duty uses. Whether Ford will offer the front-wheel drive version in the United States is unknown, has applied for trademarks for T-250, T-450 and T-550, signaling they will be calling it the T-Series. []


Cummins Develops New Urea System

Cummins Emission Solutions, a division of Cummins Inc., said it was in the advanced development stages of a new urea dosing system for the selective catalytic reduction systems used on most new heavy truck engines. Cummins named the new technology EcoFit Urea Dosing System and said it will manufacture the system at its facility in Beijing.


Haldex Unveils New Brake Lining
Haldex recently introduced TransitmaX brake lining, specially developed for superior performance in demanding transit and coach applications. The friction material is FMVSS-121 certified for both 26,000 lb. and 29,000 lb. GVWR applications. TransitmaX benefits include excellent braking performance and extended service life in transit and coach applications, organic fiber based formulation provides outstanding thermal stability and enhanced drum life, quiet operation, and minimal growth and swell that makes TransitmaX an excellent choice to be combined with automatic brake adjusters and ABS systems.

Scissor lift
New Rotary Heavy-Duty
Bus Lifts

Rotary Lift recently announced its full line of new and updated heavy-duty vehicle service lifts, including the Rotary Lift EFX60 inground scissor lift, Wireless Mach 4 mobile column lift, and updated MOD30 modular environmentally friendly inground lift. All of these lifts are made in the U.S. More Information

smart fare
New Smart Fare

GFI Genfare recently introduced GFI ePay, a Web-based smart-card solution that enables riders to purchase, upgrade and manage their smart fare media from their personal computer via the Internet. Designed to blend with the agency's existing website, ePay also lets riders register their cards online. The new system has several features, including enabling passengers to sign up for auto-replenishment, which automatically adds money to the card whenever it dips below a pre-determined amount and charges their bank account or credit card. It can also be set up by the passenger to automatically renew their monthly pass. Registered card holders can also obtain a replacement card of equal value if the original is lost or stolen.

Little Known Fact

Emerging Technology

Night-Vision System

Autoliv is preparing to roll out an upgraded night-vision system next year that can identify large animals such as deer, cattle, or horses in the road. The Sweden-based safety equipment supplier has production contracts for its third-generation night-vision unit. Automotive night vision has been on the market for a decade, but has yet to break out of its niche. Part of the reason is cost. Autoliv's current system, introduced in 2008, costs automakers less than $1,000 per unit. But a big improvement in sales could come when Autoliv develops a less costly version of its far-infrared night-vision camera. According to Autoliv, if a fourth-generation version is approved, it could be available in about five years at a cost to automakers of about $300.

Autoliv's system is considered to be passive because it does not emit a beam of infrared light. A camera mounted in the grille detects tiny temperature differences among objects in the road, and the driver sees the thermal image on the navigation screen. A pedestrian or animal appears as a yellow image on the vehicle's navigation screen, and the motorist gets a warning 2 to 4 seconds in advance if the vehicle appears likely to hit it. The active and passive infrared systems have strengths and weaknesses.

The passive system, with its 328-yard range, has twice the range of an active system, and it does a better job detecting pedestrians and animals. Unlike an active system, it is not affected by foul weather, and it isn't hampered by the dazzle of oncoming vehicle headlights. The developers shrank the size of the camera, reduced its cost, and improved the quality of the image. The new unit also required a major software upgrade to enable the computer to identify animals. Autoliv engineers spent a year driving vehicles at night in Scandinavia, North America, and Asia.


Upcoming Events

APTA Committee Meetings
December 1-2, 2011 • Washington, DC

2012 American Bus Association Marketplace

January 6-10, 2012 • Grapevine, Texas

United Motorcoach Expo
February 8-12, 2012 • Long Beach, California


Jack Santa
Transportation Doctor
Voice: 440-543-4123, Ext. 224
Fax: 440-543-4131
Email Jack Santa

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