Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Labor and Industry
Safety and Health Codes Board
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2/18/22  2:52 pm
Commenter: Macon Powers, President of Atlantic Fence Supply

Elimination of the Virginia Permanent Standard for Infectious Disease, CDL Testing, Driving w/ Phone

I have at least two employees who are at very high risk for severe disease or death  from Covid. As long as they are part of our team, we will continue to go above and beyond OSHA rules to protect them. I would like to see the standard go away at some point, especially the liability on employers. I believe it would be fairly difficult to be 100% sure of when and where an infection occurs. While it may seem to have spread in the work place and had been preventable, it is nearly impossible to know for sure and therefore I find it difficult to hold employers responsible. Employers cannot control people's behaviors outside of the workplace and it is reasonable to assume that no employer can fully control employees within the workplace, no matter the amount and frequency of training nor through the threat of disciplinary measures. Some employees will cut corners sometimes. While I would like to see the standard removed eventually, I believe it was very beneficial to the safety of employees, employers and communities in Virginia. In my opinion, the standard should remain in place until early spring of 2023 to make sure we do not make safety changes too hastily. We could have another bad winter and with these safety measures in place, hardly anyone catches the common cold anymore. That being said, I will move my business out of Virginia if this Standard is not removed within 18 months. If the Commonwealth is actually concerned for the safety from infectious disease, it should be doing everything within its power to limit population density. It is with increased population density that these infectious diseases present themselves. I prefer to live in a place with less people, free space to roam and a higher quality of life. I realize our economic models rely upon continuous and uninterrupted growth until the system implodes upon itself from a lack of space and resources. Virginia could hold off and not overpopulate with its neighbors and create a very desirable way of life, which would be quite valuable.

Off this subject, but the federal government's idea to allow third party FOR PROFIT testing for the knowledge portion of the CDL test is probably THE WORST IDEA I HAVE HEARD IN MY LIFE. Running a fleet of trucks myself and having taken online classes/test, I understand first hand how private companies operating testing for profit will not produce the results we need and our roads will become very unsafe. How many will have someone complete this for them? Stop third party CDL knowledge testing at all costs.

What we need more than anything at the moment, is for our representatives to force mobile phone carriers to quickly develop ways to block phones from being used while driving. Give them a deadline that if they do not reach will result in any and all phones travelling over 10mph(?) from being functional. They can come up with a way to triangulate the driver's phone within a vehicle and blocking it alone or they can come up with a way to block them all, by your deadline. I cannot believe this is not already happening. It is absolutely insane that people cannot put their phones away long enough to drive and the problem is still getting worse. Over time, as younger generations replace older ones on the roads, it will be far worse.

Stop the political divisions and do your jobs before it is too late.

CommentID: 119597