Friday, April 05 2019
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.
Thursday, March 14 2019
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.
Tuesday, February 05 2019
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 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:
Friday, January 04 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.
Thursday, November 29 2018
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.”
Thursday, November 08 2018
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 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.
Sunday, September 23 2018
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.
Thursday, August 30 2018
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wednesday, July 25 2018
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.
If you have a change in your vehicle status you must :
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.
Sunday, June 24 2018
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”
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