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Tuesday, November 05 2019
Started Driving a Commercial Truck Recently?

Orlando, Fla.— Many times we have spoken about the shortage of truck drivers in North America, and its potencial consequences. The introduction of autonomous trucks, as example, is one that may change the fabric of an entire industry, including its insurance options — but for now, we want to focus on those who aren’t so concerned about that and have recently joined the force of new commercial truck drivers, many of which are owner-operators of their own business.

When opportunity knocks, you may not know which door is the one to open. A truck driver shortage may mean great opportunities to start your own business, but all opportunities come with challenges, and truck drivers are not the exception.

Any person who just started driving a commercial truck, will face difficulties finding proper insurance options, since most insurance companies may require the driver to have at least 2 years of experience to qualify. An agency like Orlando Truck Insurance, specializes in insurance options for this segment of the market, and as an independent company, can help you find alternatives from different insurance providers to perfectly match your needs.

Among other things that new commercial truck drivers must keep in mind are the DOT regulations, especially those undergoing changes this year like the ELD (Electronic Logging Device,) which is an electronic hardware that is attached to a commercial motor vehicle engine to record driving hours as regulated.

The Hours Of Service (HOS) rules were easy to flout, but they've been more rigorously enforced by electronic-logging devices that became required in every truck driver's cabin. The devices are designed to ensure that truckers don't drive for more than 11 hours a day, that they work a maximum of 14 hours a day, and that they take regular breaks.

 The ELD Rule went into effect last December, but not every fleet had to start using the newly-mandated technology. Fleets that were already using automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) were given a window to make the transition to ELDs.


FACT: Fleets using AOBRDs now have until December 18, 2019, to make the transition to ELDs to remain compliant.


The measures that are part of the proposed change to the HOS rules, according to a FMCSA press release:

  • Truckers could use their 30-minute break when they are on duty but not driving — such as if they are waiting at warehouses for a shipment but still technically on duty. Previously, truckers would have to go "off duty." This would "increase safety and flexibility," the agency said.
  • Truck drivers would be allowed to split up their 10-hour off-duty time into at least seven consecutive hours in their sleeper berth and two consecutive hours off duty or in their sleeper berth, rather than having a full 10-hour break.
  • An off-duty break of 30 minutes to three hours would pause a truck driver's 14-hour driving window, as long as the trucker takes 10 full hours off duty at the end of their shift.
  • Under adverse driving conditions, the 14-hour window could be extended by two hours.
  • For short-haul truckers, the maximum on-duty period could be extended to 14 hours from 12 and the distance limit to 150 miles from 100.

Hours of service have been a long discussion for the past couple of years, and continues to be a concern for commercial truck drivers, in terms of its consequences to deliver their cargo “on-time”.

To stay attune to how this story continues to develop, follow us as we will keep bringing you up to date changes, or you can also connect to the FMCSA and the DOT.

For questions regarding insurance options or quotes, contact us at (407) 203-7085. 

Hector Perez

Producer

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Posted by: AT 02:22 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, September 16 2019
Semi Truck Insurance is a Complex Equation

Orlando, Fla.—Insurance is one of the largest fixed expenses that a trucker or trucking company needs to deal with. All individuals and companies need to revisit recurrently, at least annually, to make sure all business needs are being met.

There are various factors that may affect insurance costs. Among them, driving records, age of the driver, age of equipment, commodities hauled, radius, vehicle location, loss history, years in business and many others.

The term semi truck insurance is often called owner-operator truck insurance. It consists of a combination of policies for commercial truck drivers to cover their legal liabilities in different situations, such as hauling cargo or non-business driving.

FACT: Did you know the annual cost of truck insurance ranges between $8,000 and $12,500?

People who own and operate their own trucking businesses need truck insurance, but the way truck insurance policies work depends on whether they operate under their own authority or lease through a carrier. Some carriers may provide liability coverage for truckers working under permanent lease, but in the other hand,  truckers who work  who are self employed —need to get insurance coverage that is appropriate for their type of business. An owner operator under permanent lease with a motor carrier, typically has some insurance needs covered by the motor carrier. The insurance costs for this driver are usually lower compared to an owner operator working on their own.

The following are a few of the many carriers we represent at Orlando Truck Insurance.

PROGRESSIVE

Known as the #1 Truck Insurer in America, they offer specialized truck insurance coverages designed for professional truck drivers.

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOMESTATE COMPANIES

Whether you are a trucker transporting goods across the country, or a local plumber, electrician or handyman, their experience and knowledge about transportation coverages, auto liability filings and class-specific exposures allows them to offer exceptional service and products.

NORTHLAND INSURANCE

Northland Insurance is one of the longest tenured truck insurance carriers for commercial trucking and public transportation companies in business for 70+ years.

ALLIED (A Nationwide Company)

The #1 farm & ranch insurer with agricultural heritage. Also, a reputable Fortune 100 company with an A+ from A.M. Best, an A1 from Moody’s and an A+ from Standard & Poor’s.

FOREMOST INSURANCE GROUP

Foremost has more than 55 years of excellence in specialized insurance in Luxury Motor Coach insurance policies. Highly trained and knowledgeable product managers and specialty claims personnel.

Some of the factors that can affect your semi truck insurance cost:

Who Owns the Truck: As mentioned before, owner-operators on a permanent lease,  will get your public liability covered by the motor carrier, thus reducing your overall insurance costs.

Type of Cargo type: If you’re hauling hazardous materials like fuel you can expect higher insurance costos due to an increased risk.

Weight of freight: Heavier loads oftentimes translate into higher premiums.

Time on the road:  Driving more hours make you more vulnerable to accidents, and so the impact on your premium.

Vehicle value: Physical damage premiums are a percentage of the truck’s value, and it’s simple math.

Credit history: It is no secret that insurers in the state of Florida, legally check credit scores and history. Poor credit reports can be an indication that you may represent more risk.

Loss history: Insurance companies often decrease premiums for truckers who file few claims.

CDL experience: Being an experienced commercial vehicle driver may represent less risk to an insurance company, so your premium may cost less.

A balanced equation: Higher deductibles mean lower premiums. If you can pay more now on your premium, you pay less deductible then, at the time of filing a claim.

Coverage limits: Accuracy in estimating possible loss can really make or break your figures. High limits translates into higher premiums because the insurance company will want re-cover their potential loss.

If you have questions don’t hesitate to contact one of our truck insurance specialists at Orlando Truck Insurance.

Oscar Pacheco 
Licensed Agent
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Posted by: AT 01:34 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, August 29 2019
It's the peak of the Hurricane Season again!

Orlando, Fla.—If you are an owner-operator of a truck or fleet in Florida there are things inevitable like storms, hurricanes and tornadoes and you do, what we all do — Get Prepared. Being prepared means, having cash on hand, heading warnings, keeping fuel in your tanks in case there is a shortage, staying aware of your surroundings, and keeping food and supplies on your truck in case of an emergency. 

It also means being a good citizen and help your neighbors, family and friends. Also hauling supplies or equipment for free during an emergency period. Yes, that too!


As a truck driver, there are a series of preventive measures you may need to follow in order to stay safe when hauling through hurricanes:

Conduct a Commercial Driver’s License Pre-Trip Inspection

High Winds Equal High Risk

Winds, tornadoes, hurricanes, and tropical storms can change the way you drive. If you’re caught in high winds, slow down or pull over when it’s safe to stop. Most times, you may encounter heavy rain and strong winds before a hurricane hits. As you probably know by now, strong winds can pull and even flip a tractor trailer. If your trailer happens to be parked it damaged too. If you pull dry vans or reefers, you are at a higher risk.

Watch the Weather

Hurricanes change course rapidly. Stay in touch with the U.S. Department of Transportation road conditions and closings alerts throughout the storm. If there’s a state of emergency within your route, you must consider choosing a different path or delaying your shipment. 

Driving Around Flooded Roads

Bear in mind that your trailer can be ripped apart by flooded roads just as small bridges and road pavement. Deep holes, live power lines and debris are also the cause of much damage. If you feel your route meets these hazardous conditions, or receive weather warnings from local authorities, consider to turn around or stop. 

Schedule Changes

Be prepared for schedule delays and changes, since a slight shift in the storm’s course could alter your route and most importantly, your safety. One a hurricane hits, we can’t tell how long it is going to last so you need to be patient, stay alert, and keep access to current weather information and warnings in the area where you are.

Heads Up

Be alert to the road ahead and your surroundings, for your safety and those around you. You're on the road days and weeks on end. During severe weather, the demands and conditions are only greater. It's important to get rest, take breaks and know when to pull over. 

Extra Care on the Speed

As a responsible truck driver, we know you will do almost the impossible to deliver your shipment on time, but remember that your first and foremost responsibility is safety. Reducing speed on ramps and corners not only help you prevent accidents, but you are also potentially saving the lives of others who could be involved. -

Stay safe out there during and off hurricane conditions.  If you have questions about truck insurance, please contact us at Orlando Truck Insurance: 

(407) 203-7085

 or visit: www.orlandotruckinsurance.com

Posted by: AT 07:47 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, August 07 2019
2019 Truck Driving Championships -Florida Largest Field in History

Orlando, Fla.— This year, in Daytona Beach the Florida Trucking Association hosted approximately 315 competing drivers, forming the largest field in Florida history, and approximately 1,250 people attended the awards banquet dinner at the Daytona Beach Hilton.

Our Florida Grand Champion, Rebecca “Becky” Nelson, of FedEx Express earned a score of 319 in the Straight Truck competition and advanced to the National Truck Driving Championships in Pittsburg.

Nelson moved to Florida about a year and half ago, and she said the competition is much steeper than it was in her home state, Alaska.

This year, the Florida Trucking Association gathered all the driving competitors for a group photo to celebrate the concept of “One Team Florida,” an effort they started last year in order to promote a message— “One Team Florida”—that FTA staff, member companies, and drivers should all prioritize safety and excellence in the profession, regardless of their affiliation.”

Now in August 14, it’s Pittsburg’s turn, with the 82nd annual National Truck Driving Championships— where around 427 are expected. Pittsburgh previously served as NTDC host in 2009 and 2014.

“That’s one of the greatest things about this program. It makes you sharper, it makes you more detail-oriented so that our trucks are safe.”

Scott Woodrome, 2018 NTDC Grand Champion

In order to earn the Grand Champion title, a participant must excel on a written exam based on the “Facts for Drivers” textbook, a pre-trip inspection and a driving course. That is probably why the event is known in the industry as the “Super Bowl of Safety.”

The driver from FedEx Freight whose friends and colleagues often refer to as “the LeBron James of Trucking” earned top honors at the 81st National Truck Driving Championships last year. “We all work together for safety. And it’s making a difference,” Woodrome told the audience at the awards ceremony.—“This truly breeds safety and makes each one of us better each day and every day when we’re on the highways.”— he concluded.

Joining Woodrome on the list of national champions are:

  • 3-Axle: Eric Courville, FedEx Freight, Louisiana
  • 4-Axle: Nick Arnold, FedEx Freight, Oklahoma
  • 5-Axle: Duane Staveness, FedEx Freight, Wisconsin
  • Flatbed: Steven Newsome, UPS Freight, South Carolina
  • Sleeper Berth: Artur Lesniowski, FedEx Ground, New Jersey
  • Straight Truck: Dale Brenaman, UPS, Kentucky
  • Tank Truck: Scott Woodrome, FedEx Freight, Ohio
  • Twins: Miguel Corral, FedEx Freight, Illinois
  • Step Van: Eric Damon, FedEx Express, Colorado 
  • Rookie of the Year: Ronald Zieser, FedEx Freight, Oregon
  • Team Champions: Nevada
  • Vehicle Condition: Michael Whitehead, FedEx Freight in the 3-Axle division
  • Highest Written Exam Award: Three perfect scores: Michael Flippin, FedEx Freight in the Twins division; Tony Spero, ABF Freight in the Tank Truck division; and Eric Courville, FedEx Freight in the 3-Axle division
  • Neill Darmstadter Professional Excellence: Neil P. Nogues, YRC Freight, New Hampshire in the Straight Truck division
  • Sam Gillette Volunteer of the Year Award: Jerry Waddell, Cargo Transporters
Posted by: AT 07:12 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, July 08 2019
Time to revive the 65 mph?

Orlando, Fla.—In one hand automation and driverless trucks, in the other speed limiters required on existing trucks.  The great majority of trucks on our roads have speed-limiting technology already, but a legislative agenda is being revived, after 10 years, to limit the speed of semi-trucks.

In 2016, the Department Of Transportation issued a proposal that would require speed limiters on any truck weighing more than 26,000 pounds. The U.S. Transportation Department’s rationale was that the move could save both lives and fuel.

At the time, the American Trucking Association, a trade group for the industry, praised the proposal, and noted that it had petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2006 to require speed limiting technology. The group has endorsed a national speed limit of 65 mph (105 kph) for trucks. In the other hand the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which represents independent truckers and small business operators, said back then that the proposed rules would prevent truck drivers from speeding up to avoid danger, and create unsafe disparities in the speed of vehicles on highways. The initiative was eventually withdrawn.

In recent days, two Senators introduced an initiative known as the Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act of 2019, created to limit the speed of large semi-trucks to 65 miles per hour nationwide. For that instance, trucks would be required to be equipped with speed-limiting devices. The maximum speed requirement would also be extended to existing trucks that already have the technology installed. However, trucks without speed limiters will not be forced to retroactively install the technology.

The force behind the speed limiter bill is among others: 

Road Safe America— A non-profit group that promotes highway safety, citing some statistics that indicate that speed limiter technology cut down on fatal crashes:

“Studies released by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation found that highway speed-related, at-fault truck crashes fell by 73% and fatalities in all crashes involving Big-Rigs dropped 24% after mandatory speed limiter technology took effect there in 2009.”

Other activists groups are Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) Foundation, Parents Against Tired Truckers, the Trucking Alliance, the Truckload Carriers Association and the Truck Safety Coalition.

According to the Federal Motors Carrier Safety Administration, whose most recent published data is from 2017—

  • In 2017, 4,889 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes, a 9-percent increase from 2016. Although the number of large trucks and buses in fatal crashes has increased by 42 percent from its low of 3,432 in 2009, the 2017 number is still 7 percent lower than the 21st-century peak of 5,231 in 2005. From 2016 to 2017, large truck and bus fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled by all motor vehicles increased by 6.8 percent, from 0.146 to 0.156. 
  • There was a 34-percent decrease in the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks or buses between 2005 and 2009, followed by an increase of 40 percent between 2009 and 2017. From 2016 to 2017, the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks or buses increased by 8 percent.
  • The number of injury crashes involving large trucks or buses decreased steadily from 102,000 in 2002 to 60,000 in 2009 (a decline of 41 percent). From 2009 to 2015, injury crashes increased 62 percent to 97,000 (based on GES data). From 2016 to 2017, according to NHTSA's CRSS data, large truck and bus injury crashes increased 4 percent (from 112,000 in 2016 to 116,000 in 2017).

From 2016 to 2017

  • The number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes increased 10 percent, from 4,251 to 4,657, and the large truck involvement rate (large trucks involved in fatal crashes per 100 million miles traveled by large trucks) increased 6 percent, from 1.48 to 1.56. 
  • The number of large trucks involved in injury crashes increased by 5 percent, from 102,000 to 107,000.
  • The number of large trucks involved in property damage only crashes increased by 3 percent, from 351,000 to 363,000.

Currently, according to truckercountry.com many sates already limit speeds on both, truck and passenger vehicles, to 65 mph.

Posted by: AT 06:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, May 28 2019
The Many Faces of Truck Driver Shortage

ORLANDO, Fla.—Trucking contributes enormously to our economy. Seventy percent of freight, over 10 billion tons annually, ships via trucks. Our modern economy could not exist without reliable truck transportation; any uncertainty would render just-in-time production impractical.

The truck driver shortage has been reported for years noting trucking companies’ struggles to hire drivers. Many immigrants have taken advantage of these available jobs, and to be honest, we need to thank them for their commitment and for helping our economy to continue to grow. 

Recently, a mechanical engineering student who supported himself by driving a truck faces deportation from Canada to India for working more hours than his study permit allowed.  The driver was pulled over during a routine traffic stop in 2017. The police officer, after reviewing his log book, discovered that he had worked more than 20 hours – above the weekly limit under his permit to study in Canada, and is required to leave by June 15. In light of that, the Ontario Trucking Association has called on Canada to bring in more foreign truckers to address a driver shortage. 

Truckers create tremendous value, but the demands of the job heavily burden people. Long hours and extensive travel constitute a more significant limit. Days on the road make having a life, and particularly a family, difficult. Truckers must be paid extra to accept these undesirable working conditions. Economists expect that prices or salaries will rise to quickly eliminate shortages and fall to eliminate surpluses.

Fast Facts About Truck Driving Careers

  • The trucking industry today employs 7.7 million people, which includes 3.5 million drivers.
  • Currently, it’s estimated that only 200,000 drivers are women, which accounts for only 5.8% of drivers.
  • The number of trucking jobs is expected to grow by 6% by 2026.
  • About 1.7 million truck drivers are heavy and tractor-trailer drivers.
  • Approximately 40.6% of drivers are minorities.
  • As of May 2017, the median pay for heavy and tractor-trailer drivers was $42,480 per year.
  • In 2019, truck driver wages are expected to rise by up to 10%.
  • Truck drivers can work up to 65 hours a week.

Although some economic experts predict that 2019 will see a decrease in general economic growth — and, by extension, a dip in the growth of the trucking industry — the sector still serves as a big source of revenue in the U.S. Furthermore, as e-commerce continues to grow, the demand for trucks continues to rise alongside it, although this will probably prove to be more of a boon to LTL trucking companies than any others.

On the other side, self-driving technology could be a boon to truckers. Experts suggest that the technology will be operational on rural interstates long before for urban driving. If so, trucks could drive autonomously between cities, with truckers driving across urban areas. A trucker driving rigs across Birmingham all day could go home every night. Autonomous trucks may not initially reduce the number of drivers, rather change driving arrangements.

According to a recent report from New York research firm CB Insights, investors have poured $2 billion into trucking tech startups through May 21. Hyeri Kim from CB noted that the $2 billion figure encompassed 27 deals. For all of 2018, investment in the sector reached $3.6 billion. Investment in trucking tech has been so strong that it is poised to begin setting records not by a little, but by a lot. 

According to CB Insights, funding activity for truck tech startups jumped from 34 deals resulting in $114 million in 2014 to 78 deals resulting in $3.6 billion in 2018.

Posted by: AT 08:39 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, May 06 2019
Truck Weights in Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Florida Forestry Association is an advocate of federal issues, and after the devastation created by Hurricane Michael, additional resources are needed to recover the Florida Panhandle forests. This vital resource provides healthy watersheds and is critically important in retaining jobs, especially in the hardest hit counties who rely heavily on this industry.

The Association supports legislation to allow trucks operating at the maximum allowable state road truck weight limit to travel at that weight on that state’s portion of the federal interstate highway system.  The bill, known as the Right To Haul Act, would apply only to trucks carrying agricultural commodities, including raw logs.—{The Right to Haul Act of 2014 exempts certain agricultural loads traveling on federal highways from federal vehicle weight limitations. Makes individual state weight limitations for agricultural commodities on state highways applicable to federal highways within the state's borders.} —This is a sensible approach to a problem that confronts loggers and farmers looking to trim delivery times and improve efficiency.

According to the Association, increasing allowable gross vehicle weights on the Federal Interstate Highway system will:

  • Conserve fuel.
  • Reduce total emissions, including carbon.
  • Increase the productivity of forest products transport and wood supply management.
  • Enhance safety and reduce traffic congestion by reducing the volume of trucks now forced to use state roads as primary hauling arteries, due to their exclusion from the interstate system.
  • Reduce congestion and accident-exposure on local roads.
  • Improve the U.S. forest industry’s global competitiveness.

“The current federal vehicle weight limit, according to them, is outdated and out of touch with today’s engineering advancements and consumer needs.”  

The 80,000-pound arbitrary truck weight restriction on Federal Interstate Highways has introduced unnecessary costs and inefficiencies to raw material suppliers and finished product shippers that depend on our roadways every day. In many states, the allowable weight limit for state roads is higher than the limit imposed on federal highways.  As a matter fact, this evident disparity has created a number of unforeseen issues, including forcing loggers to travel longer distances on state roads and through small towns instead of safer, more direct routes on the federal interstate.  

In the forest products sector, moving harvested trees from the forest to facility may comprise 30% of a product’s delivered cost, despite the fact that the entire forest product supply chain has worked tirelessly to wring every cent out of the system through innovation and technology.

With respect to trucks operating on the NHS in Florida, several provisions in State law allow trucks to exceed some elements of Federal limits:

State law allows up to 40,000 lbs on a tandem axle.

State law includes a 10 percent weight allowance for axle weight limits.

Summary of Florida Truck Weight Limits for Vehicles in Regular Operations

Single Axle

20,000 lbs. (22,000 lbs. with 10 percent tolerance)

Tandem Axle

40,000 lbs. (44,000 lbs. with 10 percent tolerance)

Tridem Axle

Per FBF

Gross Weight

80,000 lbs.

Other

10 percent scale tolerance*

Regarding perishable food crops: The Governor may declare an emergency when there is a breakdown in the normal public transportation facilities necessary in moving perishable food crops grown in Florida. 

During such emergency, the Department of Transportation is authorized to set new weight limits and designate routes, excluding Interstate highways, to facilitate the transportation of perishable food crops (Fla. Stat. Ann. §316.565).

Posted by: AT 12:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, April 05 2019
When a DOT Inspector Examines Your Truck

A good way to prepare for inspection is to do a walk-around inspection before and after every trip in that same vehicle. Including tire checks, lights testing and checking for cracks in the windows which even when too small, can cause trouble later on during the trip.

Posted by: AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, March 14 2019
Women are joining the world of truck driving despite its challenges

ORLANDO, Fla. — In recognition of Women’s History Month in America, this story is dedicated to some who have confronted sexism and long workdays, along with the hazards of truck driving go beyond personal safety. Big-rig driving is listed among the most dangerous occupations in 2017 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some 840 truckers died that year, the highest number for the category since the BLS started keeping track in 2003. 

Trucking companies have made training programs more appealing to women in the hopes it will help the carriers expand their driver applicant pool and allow them to attract more female truck drivers. It’s only taken a labor shortage, lawsuits and the rise of gender-specific driver support groups for trucking carriers to change their training programs to be more welcoming to women.

The risk to truckers, both male and female, is not just crashes, it's also their lifestyle. A 2015 study published by the Centers for Disease Control found more than two-thirds were obese. About half were smokers, more than twice what's found in the general population. And although they face mandated rest periods, about one in four were averaging less than six hours of sleep a night.

Data shows women truck drivers are generally safer than men. Experts think it's because they are less likely to take risks. Women new to the trucking world, particularly younger ones, say they want to help change long-haul trucking and in the process, improve its image.

Biology and Psychology

A female trucker’s reticence to exhibit risky behavior is partly biological, according to  Ellen Voie, chief executive and founder of Women in Trucking Association.

Crashes involving women typically occur at slower speeds and result in less damage to the truck, she said. Psychology also plays a role, said Laura McMillan, vice president of Training Program Development at Instructional Technologies Inc.

Women are more willing to admit what they don’t know, ask for help, and listen and learn, especially from others who are competent and display safe behaviors, McMillan said.

“Women seem to connect the dots that they are driving large equipment in high-speed environments and modify their behavior,” said McMillan, who has trained women seeking commercial driver’s licenses.

Motivated by Safety

Female truckers will quit over poorly maintained equipment or the lack of a safety culture. They care about things such as whether a dispatcher considers the safety of locations to which they are sent and factors like bad weather conditions, according to Stay Metrics, which counsels carriers and shippers on driver retention.

Collecting data about how female drivers perceive safety is new for the industry, said Voie, who managed recruitment and retention programs for Schneider National, a large carrier and logistics supplier.

By the Numbers

Women accounted for 7.89 percent of truck drivers in 2017, up from 7.13 percent in 2016, according to the National Transportation Institute, a research organization that collects data regarding driver wages, benefits and retirement plans from hundreds of trucking firms.

Posted by: AT 01:57 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, February 05 2019
NEW REGULATIONS IN THE 2019 AGENDA

ORLANDO, Fla.—The ELD (Electronic Logging Devices) mandate transformed the trucking industry last year. The congressionally mandated rule, as a part of MAP-21 – is intended to help create a safer work environment for drivers, and make it easier and faster to accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status (RODS) data. An ELD synchronizes with a vehicle engine to automatically record driving time, for easier, more accurate hours of service (HOS) recording. 

Excluded from the mandate were trucks using Automatic On-Board Recording Devices, or AOBRDs. However, fleets using AOBRDs are required to switch to ELDs by Dec. 17 of this year. Many large fleets have been using AOBRDs for years and have yet to make the switch. Just as many small carriers saw productivity drop as they got used to ELDs, large carriers could experience similar problems when moving from  AOBRDs to ELDs.

Hours of service reform efforts

As many drivers pointed out last year, their issues with ELDs are actually issues with Hours of Service (HOS). FMCSA began listening sessions in March 2018 to hear directly from drivers, and in August the agency asked for input on changes to certain HOS regulations such as rest breaks and split sleeper berths.

New minimum wage rules

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) recently reminded its members to be aware of the new minimum wage requirements in several states in 2019. 

Drug testing for drivers

Full compliance with the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is required by January 2020. This regulation requires employers to search the clearinghouse database for drug and alcohol violations when conducting pre-employment screenings and annual verification. The current transportation funding bill calls on the FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER ADMINISTRATION (FMCSA) to issue a rulemaking to permit hair follicle testing as an acceptable alternative to urine testing after the Department of Health and Human Services issues guidelines. Currently, drivers are screened for drug use by analyzing urine samples, which can detect drug use in the past few days. Hair follicle testing can detect drugs for longer periods, up to 2-3 months.

  • The Clearinghouse will also require the following:
  • Employers will be required to query the Clearinghouse for current and prospective employees' drug and alcohol violations before permitting those employees to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) on public roads.
  • Employers will be required to annually query the Clearinghouse for each driver they currently employ.
  • State Driver Licensing Agencies will be required to query the Clearinghouse whenever a CDL is issued, renewed, transferred, or upgraded.

The Clearinghouse will provide FMCSA and employers the necessary tools to identify drivers who are prohibited from operating a CMV based on DOT drug and alcohol program violations and ensure that such drivers receive the required evaluation and treatment before operating a CMV on public roads.

On the other side of the aisle, an online trucking group with more than 4,000 members is plotting a nationwide truck driver shutdown in order to raise awareness about various trucking regulation and policy concerns. The group’s website outlines the changes that they are protesting in order to see, which include:

  • Hours of Service reform
  • Updated truck driver training and safety standards
  • A change to ELD regulations so that they are only required for companies with more than 10 trucks or trucking companies that have a poor safety rating.
  • Standardization of inspections and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulation enforcement
  • More involvement from truck drivers in the creation of new FMCSA trucking regulations.
Posted by: AT 02:16 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, January 04 2019
ATTENDING ATA'S IMPORTANT EVENTS IN 2019

ORLANDO, Fla.—In March of this year, the American Trucking Associations are having two of their most important events of the year. 

ATA's mission is to "effectively advocate and communicate efforts designed to improve safety and profitability for our members," in accordance with the organization's strategic plan and vision. The vision is to set ATA as "the recognized leader in transportation advocacy representing the safest, most responsible and financially successful motor carriers."

In order to achieve that mission and realize that vision, ATA has set forth five core objectives: 

To position trucking as a recognized safety-first industry.

To increase the industry's efficiency and productivity

To brand ATA as "The Voice of the Trucking Industry."

To provide thought leadership that engages and educates the trucking industry and the public

To responsibly grow financial and human resources to fulfill our mission.

ATA’s professional staff works to educate policymakers and the general public about the essential role trucking plays in the economy, promote responsible policies to improve highway safety and advance the industry’s environmental goals.

On March 20-22, 2019 — at the Hilton Old Town, Alexandria VA— there is the Safety Management Council and the Transportation Security Council at which provides networking opportunities for both councils. Throughout the conference, attendees will discuss the latest issues on safety, security, and human resource related topics that play a significant role in the trucking industry.

On March 18-21, 2019 — at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta— they will have the Technology & Maintenance Council Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition. This is an event that is highly recommended to attend in order to stay current on industry practices and learn about the industry’s most innovative educational sessions covering all aspects of vehicle maintenance and design. Planned by fleets, for fleets. 

Featuring the TMC of Tomorrow, which is a program open to “up-and-coming” fleet maintenance professionals in their early 40s or younger and/ or who have a minimum of five years’ experience working in the trucking industry. Candidates must be nominated by a direct supervisor or company executive who completes a TMC of Tomorrow Nomination Form that can be found on TMC’s website tmc.trucking.org. A nominee’s professional resume and letter of recommendation must be included with the completed Nomination Form and submitted to TMC staff. TMC’s 2019 Annual Meeting will celebrate the graduation of their first TMC of Tomorrow class at our Monday evening Town Meeting. Two other classes in training will also meet during TMC’s 2019 Annual Meeting.

Another interesting section is the ability to participate in TMC’s Future Truck Initiative — to create industry standards for future truck technology and equipment to ensure the truck of the future is one that is the most efficient to operate and maintain.

An extensive list of Technical Sessions and Study Groups like electrical, tire & wheel, engine, cab & controls, fleet maintenance management, trailer bodies and material handling and light/medium-duty and specialty trucks are among the most important.

Posted by: AT 07:11 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, November 29 2018
In Trucking, a Quieter Evolution is Underway

ORLANDO, Fla.—Some of the newer technology is helping safety professionals get inside a vehicle to spot maintenance issues before they become hazards or driver behavior that could lead to crashes.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute has been tracking deaths involving large trucks since 1975 when 4,834 people were reportedly killed in accidents involving large trucks. The number of deaths peaked in the late 1980s. In 1988 and 1989 there were about 5,300 truck-related deaths. The number of deaths has gone up and down from year to year, but since 2009 the number has been consistently below the 4,000. Factors – such as road conditions and regulation of such issues as how many hours a driver can be at the wheel – could impact that number, it also coincides with the trucking industry stepping up its use of technology to improve driver safety.

Mack installs wiring and camera brackets to fit a video and software system called Drive Cam from a company called Lytx, so those who buy Mack trucks can also use video to track and improve drivers’ responses in risky situations. The truck’s buyer would contract through Lytx to purchase and operate the system. The benefit: The driver can see what happened during a close call. 

Mack Connect integrates software, predictive analytics and driver-assist technologies to let a driver know if service may be needed soon or immediately because of pending vehicle trouble. When a safety issue is diagnosed, it could be as serious as the uptime center contacting a driver immediately and asking him or her to stop driving.

New York City, for example, announced its Vision Zero initiative in 2014, collisions per mile have dropped across the city’s fleet, the fleet has seen a reduction in red light and speeding violations and traffic fatalities have declined by 26 percent, while they have increased by 13 percent nationally. The city has trained nearly 50,000 employees on safe driving practices since Vision Zero went into effect. And Kerman noted that safety starts with a focus on the driver. As part of the initiative, the city adopted a Vision Zero Safe Fleet Transition Plan (SFTP), which was first published in May 2017 and outlines a series of safety investments that DCAS will require of fleet vehicles. In less than two years, the SFTP has resulted in the implementation of nearly 20,000 safety upgrades, including expanded use of automatic braking, backup cameras, driver alert systems, blind spot alerts, heated mirrors, truck side guards and vehicle telematics. The SFTP is a partnership between DCAS and the Volpe Center at the U.S. DOT.

The National Truck Equipment Association also known as the Association for the Work Truck Industry, which acts as a bridge between all segments of trucking—for manufacturers, fleets, drivers, upfitters, etc., noted three essential pieces that make fleet operations safe: the operator, environmental factors and the equipment itself. The organization also works extensively with federal and state regulatory bodies. Although many see regulations as a costly burden, Survant pointed out how important regulations are, especially in trucking operations.

George Survant, senior director of fleet relations for NETEA stated during the stated that “Technology has evolved, and regulations have followed right along behind that. You can get a Class 8 truck with all the safety features on a passenger car today, and that is a remarkable change. Technology creeps up on us because it’s really easy to depend on it.”

Posted by: AT 06:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, November 08 2018
Trucks Move America Forward

ORLANDO, Fla.—We understand the challenges of an industry with a tarnished reputation because of the risks that appear on a daily basis on the roads. Most Americans don’t realize the importance of truck driving in our lives until major disasters or weather events occur and suddenly we can’t receive essential foods, medicines and many other indispensables required on our day-to-day.

Trucks are of significant importance both globally and nationally. This is an industry that carries our families and our businesses when trucks don’t move — the whole country stops moving.

Every day, millions of truck and professional truck drivers take charge to move America forward.

Now, according to the American Trucking Associations President and CEO, Mr. Chris Spear—the United States is witnessing the fastest growth the trucking industry has experienced in 20 years. “Trucking is the driving force  behind the world’s #1 economy, and we want to keep it that way.” Spear said. For the last two years, ATA has been educating negotiators on how 76% of NAFTA freight relies on trucking, supporting more than 47,000 US trucking employees, including more than 31,000 dedicated U.S. truck drivers.

In his remarks at the annual Management Conference and Exhibition in Austin, Texas—he mentioned that in construction and factory activity for-hire truck tonnage is up nearly 8% year-to-date. American Trucking Trends shows the U.S. trucking industry generated more than $700 billion in economic activity last year, a 3.5% increase year over year. That accounts for an impressive 79% of the nation’s freight bill.

The chronic driver and technician shortage, and what he calls “erroneous claims” that trucks will soon become driverless has taken prominence in negotiating tables. Both ATA and FMCSA are working together to further develop the Department of Transportation’s 3.0 Automated Vehicle guidance, released earlier this month. Commercial vehicles do have a say in this debate, where improvements in safety, efficiency, and productivity can accelerate the voluntary adoption of driver-assist technologies.

Other industry challenges continue to grow such as:

  • the above-average retirement age 
  • onerous and duplicative meal-and-rest break rule.
  • driver hours-of-service reform. 
  • infrastructure investment and trade/workforce development.

The Drive-Safe Act allows drivers in all 48 states in the Continental U.S., under the age of 21 to operate within state lines, but not cross state borders, and that the bipartisan legislative proposal would allow those same young people to drive across state lines provided they receive comprehensive additional training. This federal legislation would require 400 hours of on-duty, apprenticeship-based training, including 240 hours of drive-time with an accompanying experienced driver in the cabin order for an 18 to 21-year-old to operate across state lines. “Beyond the goodwill that comes from engaging our nation’s youth, the fact is, we also need to attract the next generation of drivers and technicians.”— he added.

This initiative has been backed by the American Trucking Associations, according to its President and CEO. 

Posted by: AT 08:33 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Sunday, September 23 2018
Hand in Hand Towards North Carolina's Recovery

ORLANDO, Fla.— Long before a storm made landfall, supply chains were already bracing for impact. Once Hurricane Florence hit the east coast, all supply chain activity in the hardest hit areas came to a complete halt. Roads were flooded or impassible due to debris, airports will be shut down, and transportation workers had to evacuate with their families. Many trucks got stranded before arriving at their destinations and communication was critical. Companies transporting goods leveraged technology to retain visibility to shipments, find the best carriers and manage an increased number of orders due to a spike in demand.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, North Carolina is arranging for a large transport ship to ferry trucks and supplies into the Port of Wilmington to relieve shortages in the city caused by flooding.

The Cape Ray, part of the Ready Reserve Force used to deliver military equipment around the world, happened to be in Jacksonville, Fla., where it was just completing a mission for the Department of Defense.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard had helped make sure that the ports of Morehead City and Wilmington are capable of handling the MV Cape Ray, a 648-foot-long “roll-on, roll-off” ship, which was expected to arrive at the state port in Morehead City last week and be available to take on trucks full of food, fuel, construction materials, and other supplies.

There are also many requests to haul relief products ranging from food and water cleaning supplies to affected areas.

The spot market experienced increased demand as a result of shipments from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on their way to the Mid-Atlantic coast ahead of Hurricane Florence, according to DAT Solutions (also known as Dial-a-truck,) a US-based freight exchange service and provider of transportation information serving North America. Average rates for dry van and reefer shipments rose 6 cents and 8 cents, respectively, compared to the August average. Meanwhile, the average flatbed rate declined 2 cents per mile. The expected trading catalyst comes after spot market activity moderated in August following record second-quarter conditions, according to Hartford and Reed. Far East Asia had four typhoons in July and five in August and have disrupted ocean freight, but as Asian port operations return to normal, it’s expected to improve U.S. freight activity. Along the South Carolina and North Carolina coasts, embargoes were expected for affected areas and resources were staged to help with recovery efforts.

The damage to homes, businesses and public infrastructure is expected to total $16 billion to $20 billion, Moody's estimates. Such estimates are still in flux because of severe flooding that could last for days. Florence has killed at least 32 people and disrupted the lives of millions.

The regions of the Carolinas affected by Florence make up about 1.1 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product according to Moody’s. Gasoline and diesel terminal racks in the Wilmington, North Carolina area could feel some effects, but they’re likely to be limited. Still, the two states, once centered on agriculture and textiles, have become bustling advanced manufacturing hubs. North Carolina is home to the nation's second-fastest growing aerospace sector and a cluster of biotech, information technology, and energy companies. The storm is likely to trim industrial production, but the effect on the nation’s economic growth should be well under a tenth of a percentage point.

Posted by: Annie Rodriguez AT 06:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, August 30 2018
TRUCKING IS BOOMING!

ORLANDO, Fla. —This month of September we close the 3rd quarter of the year and it’s that time of the year when the industry analyzes current trends and challenges to identify areas of opportunity as well as a course of action to be proposed for the following year.

Many of these issues and challenges have been previously discussed in our blog. On a recent interview, Chris Spear, chief executive of the American Trucking Associations, reiterated his aggressive agenda that includes recruiting teenage truck drivers, a gas tax increase to fix roads and safety technology for greater trucking industry productivity.

Four topics, aside from the driver shortage issue, are taking most of the attention in terms of priorities for the next year: Productivity, infrastructure, safety technology and tariffs.

PRODUCTIVITY

Trucking is booming. But a shortage of trucks and technicians to fix them is as chronic as the lack of drivers. The capacity crunch is raising load prices. That’s good in the short term. But unless the industry can become more efficient, it risks losing business to other transportation modes. According to Spear, there are many laws that haven’t been modified for the last 35 years, included are the productivity laws that haven’t been changed since 1982. One example he emphasized on are regulations like the hours-of-service rule that restricts drivers to 11 hours behind the wheel in a 14-hour period need to be modified because some shippers are considering it an inefficient practice not up to speed with the economy growth.

Also, truckers could drive less and earn the same pay if regulations allowed more flexible sleep breaks to avoid traffic bottlenecks, according to a study by the American Transportation Research Institute. Replicating flexible hours-of-service rest breaks across the industry could save drivers 2.3 million hours and $150 million in annual operating expenses, according to ATRI.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration began studying alternatives to the 10-hour sleep mandate in 2015. The agency on Aug. 21 announced a 30-day comment period for an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking to changes in the hours-of-service rules.

SAFETY TECHNOLOGY

Automated driving assist and autonomous driving technologies could help drivers be safer, more efficient, more productive and less fatigued. The chief executive of the American Trucking Association believes there is no reason for truck drivers to feel threatened by it. He compared its implementation to that of airplanes that could take off and land on their own but still, pilots are the ones in control.

INFRASTRUCTURE

The trucking industry pays half of the federal Highway Trust Fund. According to the association’s top executive, without new money or continued diversion of funds from other areas, the trust fund will go broke in 2020. He believes a 20-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax increase over four years that would raise $340 billion will be included and defends higher fuel taxes as the most efficient way to pay for road and bridge upkeep.

TARIFFS

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an important discussion because trucks account for most of the border crossings into Mexico and Canada. Right now, truck and trailer makers are building in surcharges to offset tariffs on imported aluminum and steel. 

Although some tensions were present at the beginning of the process the recent deal with Mexico came quickly enough to bring back hope to members of this important industry for our country.

Posted by: Annie Rodriguez AT 03:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, July 25 2018
A Reminder from the IRS to Truck Drivers

If you are an independent truck driver and don't hire the services of a professional accountant important to know that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is reminding owners of most heavy highway vehicles that the time to file Form 2290, Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return, began July 1, 2018. 

You may now use a credit card or debit card to pay the Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax. 

The highway use tax applies to highway motor vehicles with a taxable gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more. This generally includes large trucks, truck tractors, and buses. The tax is based on the weight of the vehicle and a variety of special rules apply. These special rules are explained in the instructions to Form 2290.

Important Reminders:

  • File Form 2290 for any taxable vehicles first used on a public highway during or after July 2018 by the last day of the month following the month of first use. See When to File Form 2290 for more details.
  • Everyone must complete the first and second pages of Form 2290 along with both pages of Schedule 1. You only need to complete the “Consent to Disclosure of Tax Information” and “Form 2290-V, Payment Voucher” pages when applicable.
  • You must have an established employer identification number (EIN) to file Form 2290. Apply online now if you don’t already have an EIN; it takes us about two weeks to establish new EINs.  

If you have a change in your vehicle status you must :

  • Claim a suspension for vehicles you expect to use 5,000 miles or less (7,500 for agricultural vehicles) during the reporting period. If the suspended vehicle exceeds the mileage use limit during the reporting period, the tax becomes due.
  • Claim a credit for tax paid on a vehicle that is destroyed, stolen or sold or one that is used 5,000 miles or less (7,500 for agricultural vehicles). You may need to wait until the tax period has ended, to make your claim.
  • If e-filing, you can only change the weight and mileage of vehicles included on the originally filed Form 2290. You must file a paper form to report other changes.
  • If you need to change your vehicle’s VIN as reported on Form 2290 for any reason, include a written statement telling us why.

In 2018, the IRS expects to receive almost 800,000 Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Returns. Though some taxpayers have the option of filing Form 2290 on paper, taxpayers with 25 or more taxed vehicles must e-file Form 2290. Returns must be filed and tax payments made by Aug. 31, 2018, for vehicles used on the road during July.

The IRS encourages all owners to take advantage of the speed and convenience of e-file and paying any tax due. There is no need to visit an IRS office because the form can be filed and any required tax payment can be made online. Visit IRS.gov for a list of IRS-approved e-file providers and to find an approved provider for Form 2290 on the 2290 e-file partner’s page.

Generally, e-filers receive their IRS-stamped Schedule 1 electronically minutes after filing. They can then print the Schedule 1 and provide it to their state department of motor vehicles, without visiting an IRS office.

For those who want face-to-face service, all IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers now operate by appointment and taxpayers can call 844-545-5640 to schedule one. See the Taxpayer Assistance Center page on IRS.gov for details.

Posted by: AT 03:38 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, June 24 2018
Are Trade Wars Good or Bad for the Trucking Industry?

ORLANDO, Fla.— Global trade has taken off with the rise of outsourcing, the opening of emerging markets and technological advances. For 2018, the World Trade Organization projects a 4.4 percent world merchandise trade volume growth rate following a 4.7 percent rate in 2017, the strongest rate since 2011. However, new tariffs could threaten port trucking just as the industry is dealing with dramatically rising costs for fuel, driver pay and maintenance of increasingly more complicated vehicles.

New tariffs put up to 7 percent of Asia-to-U.S. shipping at risk and impact 1 percent of total global shipping. The trucking industry, already beset with such problems as declining drivers and regulatory requirements, including electronic logging of driving hours and limits on how long truckers can drive daily and in a week, will also feel the pain. Cross-border trade with Canada and Mexico is at risk. With NAFTA already in a questionable state, tariffs could financially impact revenues of leading U.S. trucking firms. 

There’s much speculation concerning what tariffs and a potential trade war could mean for the U.S. Based on basic economic theory and past history, the result could mean more regional versus global trade with supply chains focusing on domestic transportation and warehousing.

According to industry experts, if tariffs are imposed on steel, aluminum, and other relatively low value/ high-density items, unless it sets off a trade war (which is always possible) there shouldn’t be much of a change on the other end of the tangible goods spectrum. The currently proposed tariffs are centered upon goods that are relatively low value / high density in their nature, but tariffs on steel would make us less competitive in the world market for the manufacture of autos, so we will make fewer of them. That is important to understand because there is a big difference between the freight flow of an imported car and a domestically produced or exported car. Moving a car produced with steel that is cheaper overseas results in one freight move, from the port to the dealership. The freight moves for making a car here or making a car here and exporting it are multifold. You move the iron ore and metallurgical coal from the mine to the steel plant, steel from the steel plant to the auto parts or engine plant, auto parts and engines from the plant where they are produced to the car assembly plant, and from the car assembly plant to the dealership or to the port to be exported to another country. 

It has been the opening of markets and the deregulation of transportation in the late 70s and early 80s first in airfreight and then in railroads and trucking that helped create an environment in which the world’s largest and most competitive transportation companies (and national transportation infrastructure) were built. 

Regarding the negotiations with NAFTA, the American Trucking Association’s—Chief Economist, Bob Costello, noted in a recent series of industry presentations that “NAFTA is critical to trucking,” with cross-border NAFTA freight representing $6.5 billion in revenues annually for trucking firms, with 31,000 truck driver jobs “completely dependent” on hauling cross-border goods.

“Suffice to say that NAFTA is a really big deal to the trucking industry”

Posted by: Annie Rodriguez AT 07:32 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, May 19 2018
America needs more truck drivers

Orlando, Fla.— According to the American Truck Association, the industry has been struggling with driver shortages for the past 15 years. During the Great Recession, freight volumes dropped, allowing the industry to meet demand with fewer drivers. But when volumes recovered in 2011, the driver shortage became a problem again.

Currently, more than 70 percent of goods consumed in the US are moved by truck, but the industry needs to hire almost 900,000 more drivers to meet rising demand. There are many reasons for the driver shortage, but one of the largest factors is the relatively high average age of the existing workforce. 

According to surveys by ATA, the average driver age in the for-hire over-the-road truckload industry is 49. Other trucking sectors have an even higher average age, like less-than-truckload and private carriers. While the driver shortage is not as acute in these sectors as it is in the over-the-road truckload sector, the high average age still affects the overall shortage. As these two groups see drivers retire, they often go into the truckload labor pool to recruit drivers.

Motor carriers struggle to find enough qualified drivers. Many carriers, despite being short drivers, are highly selective in hiring drivers because they have made safety and professionalism high priorities.

If the trend continues, there could be severe supply chain disruptions which may cause significant shipping delays, higher inventory carrying costs, and perhaps shortages at stores. Because trucks account for 70.6% of all tonnage moved in the U.S., it is highly unlikely that the driver shortage could be reduced in any significant manner through the modal shift (i.e., shifting a large amount of freight from the highway to the rails).

THE PROPOSED POSSIBLE SOLUTION

Fleets with self-driving long-haul trucks and traditional human-driven regional routes could help the trucking industry address the problem of an aging driver workforce.

Uber, has been tackling this issue investing in both self-driving trucks and Uber Freight, a free app that matches carriers and their drivers with loads to haul.   The biggest technical known hurdles for self-driving trucks are driving on tight and crowded city streets, backing into complex loading docks, and navigating through busy facilities. This is an area that is not expected to be solved by robots, it requires the human capability to maneuver and it won’t change at least for the near future until the so-called “smart cities” are built in a very long term.

Understanding that truck drivers have a very tough job on the roads, on which the number of driving hours can be grueling to the point that may become dangerous, the long haul portion of driving, self-driving trucks can ease some of the burdens of increasing demand. This could also create an opportunity for drivers to shift into local haul jobs so they can stay closer to home.

Uber argued that rather than a future of autonomous trucks replacing the humans in the trucking workforce with robots, the technology could be used to both alleviate the driver shortage and help make the existing driving jobs more appealing to younger prospective drivers.

The company began a research project into the potential impact of self-driving trucks on the trucking industry. Working with an estimate of 1 million self-driving trucks on the road by the year 2028, Uber found that the number of truck driving jobs would still increase overall in the same period. While the autonomous vehicles would reduce the number of long-haul trucking jobs, it would create far more short-haul driving opportunities.

Posted by: AT 08:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 19 2018
ATRI releases its Top Priority List 2018

Orlando, Fla. —  The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the trucking industry’s not-for-profit research organization, has recently released the topics for the 2018 industry research.

The Board approved priorities do cover a wide array of critical industry issues including the impact that urban planning and “smart city” design have on truck operations, inconsistencies in CDL testing, and continuing research on the impact of autonomous technologies on the trucking industry .

2018 ATRI Top Research Priorities

  • Urban Planning and Smart City Design for Trucks – examining how and where truck freight delivery can be effectively incorporated into urban planning and smart city design approaches. Urban freight is expected to increase 40% by 2050, going hand-in-hand with the slew of retail stores closing due to e-commerce growth. Urban planning is essential to a smoother infrastructure for everyone on the road, and everyone receiving deliveries. While trucks were only 7% of urban travel in 2015, they accounted for 18% of the congestion, according to the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard. That doesn’t include other delivery vehicles, like vans or those delivering in personal cars.
  • Assessing the Consistency and Accuracy of CMV Crash Data – will identify ways to improve commercial motor vehicle crash data collection, quality review, data management and data submission at the local and state levels.
  • Role and Impact of Government Regulations on Autonomous Vehicles – research will assess the positive and negative impact of regulations being promulgated at the state-level for identification of model legislation on how autonomous technologies and vehicles should be deployed.
  • Inconsistencies in CDL Testing – will review the range of requirements for CDL testing across states and identify best practices to develop an effective set of testing requirements.
  • Autonomous Impacts on the Truck Driver – a detailed analysis of how autonomous truck technologies will change the operational environment and driving requirements for commercial drivers. For drivers, the potential of job-changing impacts from greater deployment of autonomous technologies is creating concern. ATRI’s autonomous technologies research documented potential impacts on a number of industry issues, including what truck drivers might expect from increased deployment of driver-assistive technologies. While ATRI’s study highlights that drivers will have a critical role in the trucking industry, this issue nonetheless generates some level of uncertainty among drivers.
  • Best Practices for Cannabis Intoxication Testing – exploring best practices in the U.S. and abroad, the research will benchmark recommended maximum intoxication levels and identify recommendations for driver sobriety testing. The prevalence of both cannabis as well as alcohol use and the high morbidity associated with motor vehicle crashes has lead to a plethora of research on the link between the two. The detrimental effects of cannabis use vary in a dose-related fashion, and are more pronounced with highly automatic driving functions than with more complex tasks that require conscious control, whereas with alcohol produces an opposite pattern of impairment. 

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) and its Federation partners in the State Trucking Associations (STA) continually seek opportunities to identify and prioritize the industry’s most pressing concerns. For the past 13 years, the industry has relied on the American Transportation Research Institute’s (ATRI’s) annual industry survey to better understand trucking’s most critical issues as well as to identify preferred strategies to address them.

Posted by: Annie Rodriguez AT 09:37 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, March 26 2018
Phase two of the ELD mandate is underway

Orlando, Fla.— The Electronic Logging Devices Mandate (a.k.a. ELD) began its second phase on December 19th, 2017. For those in the trucking industry, it meant changing completely the way work hours are logged.

The ELD mandate is a rule that will enforce commercial motor vehicle drivers, who are currently required to record their hours of service, to record them using ELDs. More specifically, the mandate is targeting drivers with trucks model year 2000 or newer. Both Canada and Mexico-domiciled drivers are included in the mandate, as well.

There are a few exceptions that won’t require the use of ELDs:

• Drivers who use paper logs no more than 8 days during any 30-day period.

• Driveaway-towaway drivers (were the vehicle driven is the commodity) or the vehicle being transported is a motor home or a recreation vehicle trailer (at least one set of wheels of the vehicle being transported must be on the surface while being transported)

• Drivers of vehicles manufactured before model year 2000.

The mandate has been divided into three phases and its phase one went into effect in December 2015, giving carriers about two years to prepare to comply with the new regulation.

During phase two, in effect now, which is focused on compliancy, the enforcement and penalty phases are actually postponed until April 1, 2018. In other words, drivers will not receive points against their compliance, safety, and accountability score if they fail to meet the ELD requirements until April 1st, but drivers can still be given warnings (or possibly a fine) if they don’t have an ELD or grandfathered Automatic On-Board Recording Device when pulled over between now and the first of April.

In phase three, which is the final, carriers and drivers must be prepared to fully comply to the mandate and is predicted to take place after December 16, 2019. From then onward, all drivers and carriers will be held responsible for complying to the official ELD mandate — overruling any current exceptions to the rule.

Despite the inconvenience of installing new systems and the amount of training and familiarization it may bring at the beginning, there are a few benefits that we most focus on:

• ELDs make it easier, simpler, and quicker to keep driver logs.

• ELDs limit mistakes and reduce form and manner errors.

• ELDs provide information to drivers and motor carriers so that drivers can better manage fatigue and schedule issues.

• ELDs correctly record location and accurate information to easily track duty status.

• ELDs are a good management tool and back office asset to improve productivity and enhance compliance.

• With ELDs, there is less paperwork, and driver logs are orderly, clear, and accurate.

While the interstate Hours Of Service rules remain you will now be able to download a driver’s report within 30 seconds during an inspection.

Always remember that education is your best ally when it comes to new industry-wide rules and changes. The better informed you are about these current phases and exceptions, the better prepared you will be to avoid fines and other unnecessary complications.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has extraordinary educational resources on this topic if you have further questions.

Posted by: Annie Rodriguez AT 03:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
 

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