"Looks like we've got another scammer. I just got a call from someone claiming to be from Western Express looking for drivers. He said his name was Jody Vance and hung up on me when I asked for his job title. I called Western Express, and they said that they had no one by that name, and I was the second school that called about him."
Forwarded by Crissie Moffett, NAPFTDS
The U.S. State Department said it has delayed its decision on the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline and will examine alternate routes that would avoid environmentally sensistive areas in Nebraska, the Associated Press reported.
Calgary-based TransCanada seeks to build the 1,700-mile pipeline to connect oil sands in Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast. The pipeline would run from Canada through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
President Obama said the pipeline could affect the environment and the health and safety of the American people, AP said.
“We should take the time to ensure that all questions are properly addressed and all the potential impacts are properly understood,” Obama said in a statement, AP reported.
Last month, an American Trucking Associations official told the State Department the pipeline would provide a stable and secure source of energy for the U.S. and its trucking industry and its construction should be approved.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, led by senators Barbara Boxer and Jim Inhofe, took a significant step toward passing a bipartisan highway funding bill that will help manufacturers and farmers move their products to overseas markets and create thousands of American jobs.
Congress began consideration of the long overdue multi-year surface transportation reauthorization legislation known as Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, or MAP 21, a two-year bill which seeks to prevent a decrease in federal funding for America’s transportation infrastructure needs.
At the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing, Sen. Boxer specifically referenced the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) in her testimony, stating:
"To close, I want to read only one sentence from one letter, and this is from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and this is what they write us: ‘We believe there is no single piece of legislation that this Congress can consider that could do more to quickly create jobs and generate economic activity.’ "
AEM President Dennis Slater stated, "Road and bridge deterioration is one of the greatest barriers to global competitiveness. U.S. manufacturers and farmers alike say deteriorating roads, bridges and highways cost them time and money transporting their products to ports for export to overseas markets. For example, the recently passed export agreements with Columbia, South Korea and Panama have the potential to create thousands of new jobs, but if farmers and manufacturers can’t transport products at a competitive rate, they lose."
Slater added, "Global competitiveness and productivity require modernizing and rebuilding America’s transportation system. Bipartisan support in Congress for the transportation reauthorization bill is vital to U.S. manufacturers and farmers."
View Sen. Boxer’s remarks at minute 28 here.
By Jill Dunn
Truckers must keep paper copies of their medical examiner’s certificate with them while driving for another two years, according to a final rule to be published Nov. 15.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s upcoming final rule will extend that mandate for interstate CDL holders until Jan. 30, 2014. It also will continue requiring carriers keep paper copies of their drivers’ certificates until then.
This month’s final rule is a follow-up to the agency’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, issued last June, which proposed amending a 2008 final rule.
That 2008 final rule required CDL holders subject to federal physical qualification provide an original or copy of their medical examiner’s certificate to their state driver’s licensing agency. State agencies must post the medical certification information in the Commercial Driver’s License Information System, the federal electronic database.
After the 2008 final rule, several states told the FMCSA their offices lacked the capacity to comply by the rule’s Jan. 30, 2012, deadline. The agency extended the paper copy requirement for interstate CDL holders and carriers two years to provide sufficient overlap for state agencies.
However, the FMCSA did not extend the deadline for state agencies. Beginning Jan. 30, drivers applying for or renewing CDLs under the non-excepted interstate category will have to self-certify and provide the certificate or a copy to the state licensing agency. All drivers affected by the rule will have to comply by Jan. 30, 2014.
More information on the final rule, FMCSA-1997–2210, is available here.
Students Gain Experience While Helping Nonprofit Save Cash
By Aprille Hanson
LITTLE ROCK -- LITTLE ROCK; The students of Diesel Driving Academy in Little Rock are learning what it’s like to haul a load while helping feed the hungry in Arkansas.
This year, the driving school has partnered with the Arkansas Foodbank to transport food from the food bank’s Little Rock location, at 4301 W. 65th St. , to its branch in Warren , for free.
“It’s a win-win. It’s a natural partnership that’s providing them with something they really want — a live load and real-life training experience,” said Ray White, the food bank’s marketing and communications director. “And, of course, we’re getting free shipping. It just makes you feel good that things can come together in that way.”
Freddy Gregg, the academy’s director of training and placement, said the school’s other two locations in Louisiana often volunteer.
“I was aware of the service the food bank provided. I thought that would be a great opportunity for us to get some positive community involvement,” Gregg said.
The end result was a crew of about three student drivers and an instructor taking about 25,000 pounds of food three times a month to Warren . The drive is about 180 miles round trip.
The partnership, which began in the spring, has saved the food bank about $12,000 in transportation costs, White said.
“Obviously any savings we have gives us more money to go out and purchase food to have available to our agencies,” said T.J. Romine, the food bank’s chief operation officer.
The food bank still hires independent trucking agencies to pick up donations five days a week, which can average about $400 to $500 per load.
Other companies, including Stallion Transportation Group in Beebe, haul loads for the food bank, sometimes for free.
“[There are] associations that volunteer to take a load sometimes, but this is the first time we have a regular routine,” Romine said.
The Arkansas Foodbank is a nonprofit organization that serves 33 counties to help the half a million people in Arkansas suffering from hunger, White said. In 2010, the food bank distributed 13.2 million pounds of food to approximately 300 food agencies in the state.
White said with every dollar saved from partnering with the academy, “we have three meals available to people in Arkansas .”
Gregg said the academy has a little less than 70 students going for their commercial driver’s license through either the 20-week daytime course or the 25-week night course. The 460-hour courses are split between the classroom, studying the trucks and driving on interstates, two-lane roads and residential areas.
“We try to get them acclimated to as many different driving environments as we can,” Gregg said.
Gregg said the only real freight the students will haul is for the food bank.
“They kind of get a look that they might not ordinarily get through the training,” Gregg said.
By driving the route, students learn the importance of giving back to the community and the urgency of getting a product to its destination.
“I think it’s good to look out for the people who can’t feed themselves right now or just need assistance,” said student Hosea Harper, 42, of Little Rock .
“It’s part of the reality of the trucking industry because I got to drive over and back the truck into the dock and load the trailer. It was a good experience.”
The students drive the route near the end of their course, Gregg said.
White said the generosity of the academy has eased some of the burden.
“Our pantries are seeing longer lines and more need every weekend, we would love to have more support,” White said.
Read more articles at: ArkansasOnline.com
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