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TMC’s Kyle Lee named Trucking’s Top Rookie, wins $25k in prizes

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Source: overdriveonline.com/tmcs-kyle-lee-named-truckings-top-rookie-wins-25k-in-prizes/

TMC Transportation’s Kyle Lee was named the winner of the third annual Trucking’s Top Rookie contest and has won $25,000 in cash and prizes.

Lee was selected from 10 finalists in attendance, which was narrowed down from 46 original nominations.

As part of prize package, Lee was presented with a $10,000 check from Randall-Reilly (publisher of Overdrive) and will also receive a RoadPro Getting Started LIving On-the-Go Package; $1,000 cash and 100,000 from Pilot Flying J; a year’s supply of 5-Hour Energy; a GPS unit and CB radio from Cobra Electronics; an American Trucking Associations “Good Stuff Brings It” package and a Rand McNally Motor Carrier Road Atlas.

The other nine finalists will each receive $1,000 in cash and a variety of other prizes. Trucking’s Top Rookie is a partnership between Randall-Reilly, Truckload Carriers Association, Commercial Vehicle Training Association, Shell ROTELLA, Pilot Flying J, National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools, American Trucking Associations and the Red Eye Radio Network.

The contest is designed to promote professionalism among new drivers and a boost retention efforts of fleets.

Source: overdriveonline.com/tmcs-kyle-lee-named-truckings-top-rookie-wins-25k-in-prizes/

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The U.S. DOT Opens On-line Dialogue on our Next Strategic Plan

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The U.S. Department of Transportation has been working on our strategic plan for FY 2014 to FY 2018 since early this spring.  Developing and implementing our strategic plan is an important step in helping the Department address key priorities that represent the diverse interests of our stakeholders across the country.

Transportation is an engine for growing our economy and creating American jobs. Every day, people and businesses rely on a multi-modal transportation system to travel and to move goods to consumers at home and abroad. We know that wherever we invest in transportation infrastructure, opportunities for countless Americans follow. So we want to ensure that our strategic plan serves as a foundation for building, operating, and maintaining a safe and efficient transportation system. 

We also want to ensure that all of our stakeholders have an opportunity to read the plan and weigh in. And that means you.

For the next few weeks, you can review the plan and submit your ideas and comments at the DOT Strategic Plan Online Dialogue.  The dialogue also provides an opportunity to read and respond to what others are saying about the plan. Your participation will help us shape the future of transportation in America.

I appreciate any time you can offer to provide this important feedback, and I encourage you to give the Online Dialogue site a visit.  If you prefer, you can also email your comments directly to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you!

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Werner’s Leathers: Trucking’s Key Tools All under Attack

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Source: ccjdigital.com/werners-leathers-truckings-key-tools-all-under-attack/

derekleathers-werner.jpgThe cost of each of the four fundamental inputs in the business of trucking — trucks, trailers, drivers and fuel — have risen and likely will continue to rise in large part due to the policies of the Obama administration, says Derek Leathers, president of Werner Enterprises. Speaking at the Avondale Partners Trucking Forum in Dallas, Leathers said that the administration’s environmental policies have led to more expensive equipment. The Obama administration’s energy policies, which are driven by environmental policy, have meant more expensive fuel. And the administration’s pro-labor policies have increased and will continue to increase the overall cost of the driver work force, Leathers says.

The government’s damage to the industry doesn’t end there, Leathers argues. He cited the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance Safety Accountability program. He noted that Werner is under the intervention threshold in all of the BASICs, so to an extent CSA works to the company’s competitive advantage. “I could easily tell you that CSA is a great thing, but I am not going to do that because there are fundamental flaws.”

For starters, only 11 percent of carriers draw enough inspections to come under CSA scrutiny, Leathers said. And then among that 11 percent, shippers are encouraged at least implicitly to make go/no-go decisions on selecting carriers based on CSA scores that have all sorts of flaws and limitations, including inconsistent and incomplete data and the failure of CSA to consider crash preventability.

In other regulatory areas, FMCSA’s efforts are misguided or ineffective, Leathers says. For example, the recent changes in the hours-of-service rules will hurt the productivity of carriers that obey them, but they will be least effective among the very carriers that most need greater safety oversight. “We would have preferred to see mandatory electronic onboard recorders to a change in hours of service. That’s where our focus needs to be and should have been.”

On balance, the hours-of-service changes are bad, but they are constraining capacity, Leathers says. “Customers we haven’t heard from in a while are talking to us.” He predicts that shippers’ capacity concerns will grow in the coming months, and even the calendar plays into this. There is one fewer week between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year than last year, “and that may compress the emotional urgency shippers feel.”

Nor does Leathers see a change in the trend toward tighter capacity anytime soon, and he cites aging equipment as one of the principal factors. The industry’s average fleet age is now 6.6 years, and to bring that down to the long-run average of 5.5 years would require an estimated investment of $54 billion over 24 months, he says. Maintenance costs are beginning to force the retirement of aging equipment, but the capital isn’t there to replace it.

When truck buying does take off, Leathers doesn’t think it will be with a new source of fuel. Werner has looked at natural gas-powered trucks, but the numbers don’t work, he says. They are more expensive to buy, 15 percent less fuel efficient, 5 percent more expensive to maintain and will have a residual value that’s 50 percent less than comparable diesel-powered trucks, Leathers says.

As is the case with most of the industry’s leaders, Werner’s business is changing. “Werner is one of the fastest growing logistics companies,” Leathers says. For many years, the business was all about hauling freight from Point A to Point B. “Today, it’s much more about how we manage the freight.”

But this mindset has limits, he argues. “At the end of the day, the bucks are in the trucks. And we think that’s increasingly so as we see capacity constraints….Spreadsheets don’t move freight; trailers and trucks do.”

Source: ccjdigital.com/werners-leathers-truckings-key-tools-all-under-attack/

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U.S. Bridge Spending Lags as Repair Needs Dwarf Funds

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Source: ttnews.com/articles/petemplate.aspx?storyid=32732

By Michele Fuetsch, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the Aug. 19 print edition of Transport Topics.

Despite the nation’s efforts to upgrade its bridges in recent years, a staggering 151,500 are still labeled as deficient, the cure for which is to spend $20.5 billion every year between now and 2028.

That estimate comes from the Federal Highway Administration, which oversees the health of the nation’s bridges and which says that current spending on the spans is $12.8 billion annually.

Continue reading at: ttnews.com/articles/petemplate.aspx?storyid=32732

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CSA Data Could Be Used Against Fleets in Court Cases, Defense Lawyer Warns

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Source: ttnews.com/articles/petemplate.aspx?storyid=32737

By Eric Miller, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the Aug. 19 print edition of Transport Topics.

A trucking industry defense attorney warned that plaintiffs’ attorneys will attempt to get Compliance, Safety, Accountability data into evidence to bolster accident claims that a carrier is unsafe.

“If CSA evidence makes its way into the courtroom, in my opinion, it could very well tip the scales in given cases,” Ted Perryman, a lawyer with the St. Louis law firm of Roberts Perryman, said during an American Trucking Associations webinar earlier this month.

Continue reading at: ttnews.com/articles/petemplate.aspx?storyid=32737

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HOS Combatants Agree Court Ruling Marks End of 17-Year Regulatory Fight

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Source: ttnews.com/articles/petemplate.aspx?storyid=32741

By Timothy Cama, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the Aug. 19 print edition of Transport Topics.

The chief adversaries in the nearly 17-year battle over federal work rules for commercial drivers agreed that the recent appeals court decision upholding most of the government’s latest regulation closes the book on the overhaul of the so-called hours-of-service rule, which had not changed significantly in 57 years.

But while the trucking industry says it wants to move beyond the issue of truck-driver fatigue, groups that have filed numerous lawsuits aimed at pushing regulators, lawmakers and courts to restrict truckers’ driving hours said they want to make sure the government does not forget about the issue.

Continue reading at: http://www.ttnews.com/articles/petemplate.aspx?storyid=32741

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FMCSA Says HOS Exception Doesn’t Apply to Oil-Field Drivers Hauling Sand, Water

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Source: ttnews.com/articles/petemplate.aspx?storyid=32735

By Timothy Cama, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the Aug. 19 print edition of Transport Topics.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration refused last week to make changes to a regulatory guidance document it published last year allowing some specialty truck drivers at oil and gas exploration sites to extend their workdays.

FMCSA said the hours-of-service exception cannot be used by drivers hauling sand and water.

In the Aug. 12 notice published in the Federal Register, FMCSA said that after opening the issue to public comment and holding hearings, it will not change its interpretation that the waiting-time exception for oil-field workers can apply only to specially trained drivers with specially constructed equipment.

Continue reading at: ttnews.com/articles/petemplate.aspx?storyid=32735