"There's only one thing certain in the trucking industry today," American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves said. "And that is that these are game-changing times." (The Trucker: KEVIN JONES)
By KEVIN JONES
The Trucker Staff
PHOENIX - Trucking is poised to rise from the ashes of recession, the industry's top booster told carrier executives, truck makers and vendors gathered Monday in the Valley of the Sun - although most of those in trucking shouldn't expect business to take off for at least another year.
"Here we are, looking to resurrect a trucking industry, not only from the economic ruins of the past two years, but also anticipating a rebirth influenced by a myriad complicated national and international factors," American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves said, opening the annual ATA Management Conference and Exhibition with his State of the Industry address. "But the timing of that rise back to profitability, back to robust freight volumes, back to the need for new trucks and trailers, back to having the headache over where to find drivers - the timing of that anticipated recovery keeps eluding us."
In addition to the stagnant economy, other factors include "political gridlock" and the "proposed activist policy and regulatory agenda in Washington," according to Graves.
Indeed, he said trucking still faces "the most significant changing times" since deregulation in the 1980s.
Among "the list of issues that we're expected to manage our way through," Graves pointed to CSA 2010, Hours of Service, electronic logging, fuel efficiency standards, finding a way to pay for infrastructure improvements, the shift to alternative fuels for trucks, an "assault" on the independent contractor model, driver pay, and adapting to the nation's need for additional freight capacity.
"There's only one thing certain in the trucking industry today," he said. "And that is that these are game-changing times."
The inability of policy makers to settle on a long-term transportation funding plan is the result of "both political parties pandering shamelessly to voters," touting "outside-the-box solutions" rather than tackling the tough - but most effective - solution: increasing fuel taxes. And so responsible governance has become secondary to "political cleverness" in Congress and the White House, Graves suggested.
"As a result, many of our critical issues will go unresolved, or will be resolved in a manner guided by political expediency rather that by what's good public policy for the nation," he said. "You can't build world class infrastructure without money. Roads aren't free and they're not cheap."
Other policy issues on ATA's watch list include the owner-operator ban by the Port of L.A. and a push to persuade fleets to convert to natural gas-powered trucks.
On a positive note, he credited fleets with a "safety first" culture for a 20 percent decline in fatality accidents - and the political goodwill that earns on Capitol Hill and in state capitols.
"Any time we can begin a conversation with a public official on a positive note about our safety performance will dramatically improve our chances of successfully gaining their support on whatever issue we are primarily there to discuss," Graves said.
By Gordon Dickson
FORT WORTH, Texas – Michael Brock is hitting the open road in search of job security. After two decades of construction jobs, he is tired of being laid off when times get tough. He enrolled at the C1 Truck Driver Training in Benbrook, Texas, and plans to become a long-distance driver. "Construction is not stable enough for me," Brock, 43, said during a recent class. "Driving a truck is a stable industry. As long as you keep your report clean, you've got a job."
Americans as a whole may be struggling to find work after a long recession, but there are jobs aplenty in the cab of an 18-wheeler. Trucking companies are reporting a shortage of drivers nationwide, which could delay shipments and ultimately raise... Continue to read more.
By John Nolan, Staff Writer
Updated 2:09 PM Saturday, October 9, 2010
DAYTON — Kevin Burch, president of Jet Express Inc., calls it the trucking industry’s perfect storm.
A combination of an aging work force, poor efforts to recruit new young drivers, an improving economy in which more drivers are needed, and tougher federal safety regulation that is prompting some veteran drivers to retire has created a shortage.
The Truckload Carriers Association, an industry trade organization, cancelled its recruitment and retention meetings the past two years for lack of company interest. But this year’s meeting in Nashville, Tenn., in early November has more than 300 industry people... continue to read more.
DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of October 4, 2010
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance
Throughout the fall we will be taking a detailed look at CSA2010 and what you need to do to prepare for the industry-changing new compliance monitoring system.
As fall continues to roll over the country it brings with it many changes. The weather is cooling, the leaves are turning, baseball is reaching its climax while football and hockey are just getting started. This fall, however, is bringing something new to the motor carrier industry: CSA2010.
With implementation scheduled for some time in early December, Fast-Fax, and Foley Services as a whole, will be focusing on getting our clients up to speed on the new compliance monitoring system. In the next few weeks, we will be having a number of articles to make sure that our readers are fully aware of what the new system is and how it works.
Compliance Monitoring for the Twenty-First Century
For the uninitiated, CSA2010 — which stands for the Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 — is a replacement for the SafeStat system. Rather than being a new set of regulations, it is an internal system used by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and other enforcement officials to monitor compliance.
CSA2010 is much more advanced than SafeStat: it relies on a complex network of computers, DOT officials, law enforcement agencies and state licensing bodies. In essence, the idea behind CSA2010 is that there is a constant stream of information flowing to FMCSA to monitor the regulatory compliance of motor carriers, individual drivers, and the industry as a whole.
What’s the Bottom Line?
The bottom line is that compliance with the regulations is more important than ever. CSA2010 is a scalpel compared to the hatchet that SafeStat was. FMCSA will be able to pinpoint those carriers who are not following the regulations instead of wasting time and money investigating carriers who are fully compliant. The best advice that we can offer is that you need to review every aspect of your DOT compliance and make sure that your have dotted every ‘i’ and crossed every ‘t’. If there is that one issue you’ve been meaning to fix for months, now is the time to make sure it is corrected.
Foley Services is Here to Help
Foley Services has good news for carriers looking for authoritative — and more importantly — practical training on CSA2010, FMCSA’s new safety measurement system scheduled to go live before the end of the year.
Foley Services offers a variety of training options to help motor carriers prepare for safety management in the CSA2010 era. These include:
Foley Services’ Compliance Specialists are another great resource for CSA2010 information. Call 1-800-253-5506, ext. 708 if you have any questions about CSA2010.
October 12, 2010
From the Spokesman - Review, Gordon Dickson McClatchy
Americans in general may be struggling to find work after a long recession, but there are jobs aplenty in the cab of an 18-wheeler. Trucking companies are reporting a shortage of drivers nationwide, which could delay shipments and ultimately raise the price of goods.
“During the recession, companies had to cut the work force, so now that freight volumes are picking back up they don’t have the work force to accommodate the demand,” said Brandon Borgna, spokesman for the American Trucking Association in Arlington, Va. “A lot of drivers are older. There isn’t that younger generation stepping in.” continue to read
(Central Valley Business Times © 10/05/2010 )
October 5, 2010 5:00 AM
More than 500 truck stops across the country, including the Central Valley, will offer natural gas filling stations for trucks thanks to a deal announced Tuesday between Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (NASDAQ: CLNE) of Seal Beach and Pilot Travel Centers LLC of Knoxville, Tenn., which runs Flying J truck stops.
Clean Energy will build, own and operate public access, compressed and liquefied natural gas (CNG/LNG) fueling facilities.
While Pilot Flying J operates over 550 truck travel centers in 43 states and six Canadian provinces, the initial rollout is expected to include only agreed-upon truck centers. The exact number and locations were not revealed by either firm.
“This is the critical link for Clean Energy to be able to roll out natural gas truck fueling services across the nation,” says Andrew Littlefair, Clean Energy president and CEO. “With the availability... Continue to read more.
(e-Trucker © 10/05/2010)
By Avery Vise
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has said it plans to issue a proposed rule by the end of this year on supporting documents for hours-of-service compliance, but now it has no choice.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Sept. 30 ordered FMCSA to issue the proposed rule by Dec. 30.
In January, the American Trucking Associations asked the appeals court to issue a “writ of mandamus” to order FMCSA to issue a supporting documents regulation that Congress mandated as part of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Authorization Act of 1994. The regulations were to have been issued by Feb. 26, 1996. FMCSA and ATA set the lawsuit aside this spring to settle their differences, but in July ATA said settlement talks had failed and asked the court to rule.For many years, FMCSA has used regulatory guidance and policies rather than formal regulations to govern motor carriers’ supporting documents requirements. This approach has been frustrating for many carriers and has led to several court ... Continue to read more.
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The service is available for free to advertisers and readers. The Microsoft Tag reader is compatible with Internet-capable mobile devices, including many based on the Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Java, Android, Symbian S60, iPhone and Java ME platforms. Try out the Microsoft Tag technology by simply downloading the software at http://gettag.mobi (or download the Tag app in the Apple store) and follow the directions to scan.
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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of September 20, 2010
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance
Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood personally announces the Final Rule banning texting while driving a CMV.
Banning texting while driving, an issue that has become a personal quest for Secretary of Tranportation Ray LaHood, reached another milestone on Tuesday as the Secretary personally announced the Final Rule banning texting while driving a Commercial
Motor Vehicle (CMV).
LaHood’s Pet Project
Preventing distracted driving incidents is quickly becoming the key issue that will define LaHood’s tenure at the Department of Transportation (DOT). LaHood has dedicated a great deal of his time to the issue, recruiting celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey to help drive home the message that texting behind the wheel is unsafe.
The new regulations were announced at this years National Distracted Driving Summit. LaHood announced the regulations while giving a speech explaining the effectiveness of the regulations and plans that had been enacted as a result of last year’s summit — the first of its kind.
“We are taking action on a number of fronts to address the epidemic of distracted driving in America,” said Secretary LaHood. “With the help of the experts, policy-makers, and safety advocates we’ve assembled here, we are going to do everything we can to put an end to distracted driving and save lives.”
Is This Really A Problem?
While some have questioned the need for regulations or for the level of attention that Secretary LaHood has given this issue, the statistics don’t lie. In 2009, nearly 5,500 people died and half a million were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research, distraction-related fatalities represented 16 percent of overall traffic fatalities in 2009.
What Exactly is Being Banned?
The Final Rule included a fairly broad definition of the term ‘texting’.
Texting means manually entering alphanumeric text, or reading text from an electronic device.
This action includes, but is not limited to, short message service, e-mailing, instant messaging, a command or request to access a World Wide Web page, or engaging in any other form of electronic text retrieval or electronic text entry for present or future communication.
The breadth of this definition should close any loopholes that the ticketed might attempt to exploit. Don’t — for example — tell a police officer you were emailing on a BlackBerry, not texting on a phone.
What About My Other Electronic Devices?
In a nod to practicality, the ban does have a number of exemptions. Essentially, the list of allowed devices and methods of communication are those that the trucking industry in particular rely on to perform its daily tasks. As such:
Texting does not include:
The DOT consulted with major industry players to craft these exemptions. Previous attempts at curbing distracted driving have descended into confusion. The most notable problem came in 2009, when the State of Arizona unilaterally declared that all laptops with access to the internet were technically televisions and were therefore banned. The Federal DOT was forced to step in in that case after an outcry from the industry.