By Timothy Cama, Staff Reporter
This story appears in the April 1 print edition of Transport Topics.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Truck drivers and instructors told Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration officials they should mandate far more training for new drivers than currently required.
Many of the two dozen or so speakers at a listening session here were in agreement that too many driver training programs teach only basic skills and put drivers out on the road too quickly, which is hurting the entire industry’s image.
There was, however, no exact consensus on what the proper number of training hours should be.
The March 22 session during the Mid-America Trucking Show stretched more than four hours, giving anyone who signed up the opportunity to interact directly with FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro and four other top agency officials.
As each person in attendance spoke, many of the people assembled in a conference room at the Kentucky Exposition Center nodded in support while the FMCSA officials took notes and asked follow-up questions.
The session was also webcast, allowing interested parties not able to attend in person to have their comments heard.
Several of the truckers who stepped to the microphone said their passion for the profession — combined with growing concern for what they are seeing on U.S. highways — outweighed any anxiety about public speaking.
One speaker who was anything but shy was Greg Petit, an owner-operator who drives for Landstar System Inc.
“Turning out truckers . . . in two to three weeks is a joke,” he said. “I don’t care how good you are. You can’t learn to drive a truck in two to three weeks.”
Petit, who got into a heated exchange with Ferro at last year’s MATS listening session about mandating electronic logging devices for hours-of-service compliance, said he had informally surveyed drivers and concluded that some are getting far less training than they need.
“In my opinion, truck-driving schools should be a minimum of four months,” he said.
He said he was told some training programs never have students drive at night or in bad weather, or they use smaller trailers on trucks without sleeper berths.
FMCSA held this year’s session to gather input on regulations it is developing to require behind-the-wheel training for entry-level drivers.
Currently, drivers only need to take 10 hours of classroom training that covers basic knowledge.
In 2007, FMCSA proposed requiring 120 hours of training, most of it driving a truck. However, facing concerns over requirements that schools be accredited and objections over a rigid time-based curriculum, FMCSA did not move forward on its proposal.
In last year’s MAP-21 highway funding law, however, Congress mandated that FMCSA finalize the standards.
Lee Strebel, an owner-operator who has driven trucks for almost four decades, urged FMCSA to require an even longer curriculum.
“A trainee ought to be with a trainer or mentor for a minimum of six months before you send them out on their own,” he said. “It really takes that much time to really get a good feel of what we do out there and to really get a good grasp of safety and compliance.”
FMCSA should ban the practice of allowing trainers and trainees to be used as team drivers, said Jeana Hysell, a former owner-operator who now consults for trucking companies as the director of safety at Safety Compliance Professionals LLC.
“Motor carriers need to eliminate — or at least regulate — the team concept from training,” she said. “There is no way a trainer can train an individual while they’re in the bunk.”
Representatives of truck-driving schools urged FMCSA not to require that schools be accredited by a body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or that the curriculum have a minimum number of hours, two provisions that were in the 2007 proposal.
“To be quite blunt, accreditation is very expensive,” said Tom Hruban, general manager of the Truck Driver Institute in Christiana, Tenn. “For over 40 years, the trucking industry has recruited qualified drivers from both accredited and nonaccredited schools, with absolutely no evidence that the accredited programs lead to a safer or more successful hire, nor can accredited schools confirm superior job placement success or superior wages earned upon graduation.”
Lou Spoonhour, speaking on behalf of the Commercial Vehicle Training Association, said performance measurements, such as audits or tests, should be used in place of an accreditation requirement.
“We think the answer to this whole entry-level driver training situation lies in performance,” he said.
Spoonhour, who owns DriveCo CDL Learning Center in Gary, Ind., said setting a minimum number of hours for instruction would be counterproductive.
“We know that each skill takes some amount of time. What we have a problem with is determining that ahead of time,” he said.
Kreigh Spahr, program manager for Cuyahoga Community College’s truck-driving school in Euclid, Ohio, disagreed with the other representatives of driving schools and advocated for an accreditation requirement.
“CDL training schools charge thousands of dollars for this training. This training is education. So it needs to be done in a way that the Department of Education can support this,” he said.
Accreditation would ensure that schools use a formal curriculum and could deter fraud, since accrediting bodies closely monitor the schools they certify, Spahr said.
“We believe that we should have the ability to arrange those hours for what is most beneficial for the student,” said Martin Garsee, the transportation director at Houston Community College. “Not every student learns at the same rate.”
By Timothy Cama, Staff Reporter
Arlington, VA – The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) today launched a survey to update the 2012 Operational Costs of Trucking report. The brief on-line survey seeks to capture basic cost information from for-hire carriers such as driver pay, fuel costs, insurance premiums and lease or purchase payments. Carriers are asked to provide full year 2012 cost per mile and/or cost per hour data.
The results of this survey, combined with the previous Operational Costs of Trucking reports, will yield five full years (2008 – 2012) of trucking cost information derived directly from fleet operations. This research provides carriers with an important high-level benchmarking tool and government agencies with real world data for future infrastructure improvement analyses.
The operational cost data that for-hire motor carriers provide will be kept strictly confidential. The survey is available online at www.atri-online.org and results will be available later this year.
By MATT KOESTERS
SELLERSBURG — It’s hard to find good help these days, and no one knows it better than Brandon Briscoe.
Briscoe is vice president of sales and operations at Talon Logistics, a Sellersburg-based trucking company. Talon first hit the road in 2003, and it now has about 120 employees. It could have a lot more, though.
Talon is just one of numerous area trucking companies with open positions it can’t fill because of a lack of willing, qualified candidates.
“We’re always having trouble finding quality drivers,” Briscoe said.
Across the state, 1,200 open trucking positions remain unfilled, while between 20,000 and 25,000 drivers are needed nationally, Barry Miller, director of safety for the Indiana Motor Truck Association, recently told the South Bend Tribune. An American Trucking Association study released this year claims that 90 percent of for-hire truckload carriers cannot find enough drivers who are capable of meeting Department of Transportation requirements.
And for companies like Talon, simply meeting DOT requirements isn’t enough, which further complicates the search.
“We’re pretty strict on our regulations on who we’re going to get — to get a guy who can really give the service you want to portray and represent your company out there,” Briscoe said. “It makes it kind of difficult right now, and it seems to get tougher and tougher each month to get that. I mean, capacity on the whole has really tightened up, especially in the last few weeks.”
Jeffersonville-based Mr. “P” Express is taking a proactive approach to finding drivers. It offers a 160-hour training course that prepares new drivers for entry-level trucking positions, and it’s not shy about trying to get the word out.
“We recruit drivers through television, through newsprint, through word of mouth — various means to get people who are unemployed, who are displaced through attrition or companies downsizing,” said Mr. “P” President Cindy Collier. “You’d be surprised at the people we have who come through the school that simply don’t have work and they decide, ‘You know what? I’m going to drive a truck.’
“We’ve worked with the folks at Fort Knox trying to get veterans in here. We’re interested in getting veterans in here, but we train our own drivers, and that’s our means of combating the shortage.”
WHY THE SHORTAGE?
The fact of the matter is that trucking isn’t a glamorous profession, Collier admits. Add that to the fact that a large number of drivers are approaching retirement age, and you’ve got a recipe for a shortage.
“We’ve got all of these thousands of drivers that are ready to retire, and then the younger generation is just not taking hold and deciding they want to be in the trucking industry. And it is a very hard life. It’s hard physically on drivers — the sleep patterns, the eating on the road.”
Briscoe agreed, adding that time away from friends and family can lead to burnout among younger drivers, which leads his company to lean more and more on partner carriers to pick up the slack. Combating turnover has been the key to minimizing the pain of the shortage, Briscoe said.
“Once a guy gets with us they typically stay because we have more of a family atmosphere and really try to appeal to their needs and the way they want to be treated,” he said. “So when you get a guy, you can’t lose guys. The best way to not [hurt] your business is keep who you hire and then when you add new people, make it an appealing opportunity for them to stay.”
And that means working with the truckers. Mr. “P” Express and Talon offer home time to their drivers, and both give the option of working over-the-road hauls or staying close to home.
A truck driver can make anywhere from $35,000 to $80,000 a year, dependent on the driver’s willingness to take long hauls. But the money alone isn’t attracting drivers, and DOT regulations on operators is making the squeeze even more painful, Collier said.
“I have some of my customers that say to me, ‘You’ve been telling us the driver shortage was critical forever. Don’t you have a new song and dance?’” Collier said. “But the fact of the matter is, it really is critical, and the more and more stipulations that the government puts in place on us with the regulations, the hours and so forth, it just makes it that much harder, because we need more drivers than ever now because of the new regulations that are in place.”
And that hurts everyone in the end, she said.
“The shortage, people do not believe or understand that it is affecting everyone, because when you look around — when you walk into Walmart, everything that you see in there was trucked in there. That’s how it got there,” she said.
Neenah, WI – J. J. Keller & Associates Inc.® has launched three new interactive online training courses – Hazmat Endorsement Practice Test, Cargo Securement: Dry Vans and Hours of Service Canada. These self-paced training courses are available anytime and anywhere there is an internet connection, tailoring the training experience to the user’s availability.
The Hazmat Endorsement Practice Test helps drivers prepare for the Hazmat Endorsement CDL test. It includes questions that closely mimic the actual test and explanations for incorrect responses. It features randomized questions that eliminate memorization and enhance learning.
Cargo Securement Dry Van features up-to-date training for dry van cargo securement based on the regulations and industry best practices. The course covers the key concepts and regulations for the loading and securing of all types of cargo in dry vans. This course is also available on CD-ROM.
HOS Canada features up-to-date training that helps drivers operating in Canada comply with Canadian Hours of Service requirements. It covers key concepts and practices including the hows and whys of Canada’s HOS regulations, along with topics including daily maximums, off-duty requirements, and weekly cycles. The course also features practical exercises that outline the rules and procedures and animated logging examples and worksheets that take drivers through the completion process.
To enroll in these courses, visit jjkeller.com/102477.
About J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.®
Since its beginning as a one-man consulting firm in 1953, J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.® has grown to become the most respected name in safety and regulatory compliance. Now over 1,200 associates strong, J. J. Keller serves over 350,000 customers — including 90% of the Fortune 1000. The company's subject matter expertise spans nearly 1,500 topics and its diverse solutions include interactive and online training, online management tools, managed services, advisory services, publications, forms and supplies.
J. J. Keller helps transportation professionals build a smarter compliance program through its vast selection of transport-specific products and services, from E-logs and mobile technology to on-demand training and fleet management systems. For more information, visit visit jjkeller.com.
For more information, contact:
Corporate Marketing Communications Specialist
J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.®
1-800-843-3174, ext. 7050
Department of Transportation sent this bulletin at 03/27/2013 11:00 AM EDT
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Contact: Dave Smallen
BTS Releases North American Trade Numbers by Mode of Transportation for January
Releases now include air and vessel information in addition to surface transportation; trucks transported 59% of U.S.-NAFTA trade in January 2013
Trucks carried 59.3 percent of the $90.5 billion in trade in January 2013 between the United States and its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, Canada and Mexico, followed by rail at 14.3 percent, vessels at 9.8 percent, pipelines at 8.1 percent and air at 3.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 81.7 percent of the total NAFTA trade.
BTS, a part of the Department’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that in January 2013, for trade between the United States and Canada, trucks carried 53.1 percent of the $51.0 billion in trade, followed by rail at 16.2 percent, pipelines at 13.9 percent, vessels at 6.1 percent and air at 4.4 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 83.1 percent of the total U.S.-Canada trade.
In U.S. trade with Mexico in January 2013, trucks carried 67.4 percent of the $39.5 billion in trade, followed by vessels at 14.5 percent, rail at 11.8 percent, air at 3.1 percent and pipelines at 0.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 79.9 percent of the total U.S.-Mexico trade.
BTS monthly TransBorder press releases, beginning with January 2013 data, now contain data for air and vessel. Previous press releases defined surface modes as: truck, rail, pipeline, and other and unknown modes. Beginning with this press release, “other and unknown” modes are not being grouped with surface transportation. Data on surface modes can be found in the press release in Figure 3 and in Tables 2, 4 and 7.
The value of U.S. trade with its NAFTA partners by all modes of transportation in January rose 66.6 percent from January 2009, during the last recession. From January 2004, the first month that TransBorder freight data included air and vessel modes, the value of U.S. trade by all modes of transportation with its NAFTA partners increased by 76.5 percent to January 2013. Imports in January 2013 were up 66.5 percent since January 2004, while exports were up 90.3 percent.
The Safety Management Cycle (SMC) is a resource for carriers and drivers as well as enforcement to help identify and address the root cause for safety and compliance issues. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently released a series of SMCs tailored to each Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC), with the end goal of helping carriers find ways to reduce or eliminate violations by establishing and improving their safety management controls.
The SMC for the Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance BASIC provides potential actions carriers can take to improve their HOS compliance. These actions are divided into six key process areas: roles and responsibilities, policies and procedures, qualification and hiring, training and communication, monitoring and tracking, and meaningful action. For example, during the hiring process, a carrier should make sure a driver has the necessary skills for the job, including sufficient planning skills to know when to drive and when to stop, basic mathematical skills to calculate their hours and miles, and good organizational skills to keep each Record of Duty Status up-to-date.
Explore these and other important tips in the SMC for the HOS Compliance BASIC available from the CSA Website’s SMC webpage. Also, make sure you review the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to ensure you operate in full compliance of all current safety standards.
The Government Relations Firm, Webster Chamberlain and Bean, representing CVTA, is initiating a grassroots lobbying effort. The goal is to encourage the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ("FMCSA") in the Department of Transportation to modify the proposed rule for Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-Level Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators.
CVTA must now demonstrate to regulators that individuals knowledgeable of commercial motor vehicle training are genuinely concerned about this issue. Our ultimate success depends on members who are educated on the issue and will contact the FMCSA.
Here is how you can help:
Start by composing a letter to Anne Ferro. Webster Chamberlain and Bean has developed a template for these communications. Please personalize this correspondence, and ask your colleagues to do the same. If you choose to compose your own correspondence, please remember that CVTA's position focuses on: (1) Performance testing in lieu of proposed minimum hours; (2) the pitfalls of minimum hours including elimination of major access to federal and state funds for students, the minimum hours base will become the maximum amount of training hours, and the fact that training hours have not been proven to produce better drivers; and (3) the accreditation process is flawed and will prohibit many schools from providing students training.
Send Your Correspondence
Comments are to be submitted electronically through www.regulations.gov. The docket number is FMCSA-2007-27748.
By Jonathan S. Reiskin, Associate News Editor
This story appears in the March. 18 print edition of Transport Topics.
Trucking and transportation stock indexes have increased more rapidly over the past six months than those for the broad market, with most of the growth coming since the start of 2013.
While the Dow Jones industrial average has gained 9% in value to reach a record high in the six months ended March 11 and the Standard & Poor’s 500 has grown 8.9%, the transportation average has rallied 20.6% and the S&P trucking roster surged 24.3%.
Within the transportation average, UPS Inc. and FedEx Corp. contributed to the increase, as did four freight railroads and four trucking companies.
C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. and Expeditors International of Washington Inc. — the two non-asset-based logistics companies on the transportation average — posted some recent declines, however, after earlier gains.
Company executives and analysts offered no consensus on the meaning behind the gains. Optimists said the increases demonstrate a judgment by investors that trucking earnings will improve this year. Skeptics said trucking stocks are rising off a very low base period, and that well-run companies are benefiting from tight freight-hauling supply rather than a boom in demand for services.
“2013 is poised to be the ‘Year of Transports,’ ” analyst Peter Nesvold wrote to clients of Jefferies & Co. His confidence in the industry’s outlook has firmed as the year has progressed.
Three recent data points suggesting improvement, Nesvold said, are the jump up in January truck tonnage to a record high, the year-over-year gain in diesel consumption and the increase in airfreight for FedEx and UPS.
Nesvold told investors that rallies in freight-transportation stocks usually start in trucking.
“As go trucks, so go transports,” he said.
Tom Kretsinger Jr., president of American Central Transport, said he is optimistic based on the results of his privately held business based in Liberty, Mo., and conversations at the recent Truckload Carriers Association meeting where he was elected chairman... Continue reading (Transport Topics Account Required)
Unsafe driving includes risky behavior such as speeding, improper lane change, aggressive driving, and other types of dangerous activity. Safe driving starts with a safe driver. The Safety Management Cycle (SMC) for the Unsafe Driving Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) helps carriers and drivers evaluate existing processes—including policies and procedures, training and communication, and meaningful action, among others—to determine where gaps may exist that either encourage unsafe driving behavior or leave this behavior unaddressed.
For example, does the company have a policy that prohibits dispatchers from assigning drivers a load that cannot be completed without speeding? Take a look at the SMC for the Unsafe Driving BASIC today and make sure all necessary processes, management, and controls are in place to prevent and address unsafe driving practices. Also, make sure you review the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to ensure you operate in full compliance of all current safety standards.
Over the past 90 days, more than 230,000 jobs were advertised online for truck drivers in the United States, according to Wanted Analytics, a source of real-time business intelligence for the talent marketplace. As demand for goods increases, more truck drivers will be needed to keep freight and the supply chain moving. Hiring for this occupation has increased more than 20% compared to the same 90-day period in 2012.
The metropolitan areas with the most demand for Truck Drivers during the past 90 days were New York, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Houston.
Employers in the New York metro area not only placed the most job ads of any U.S. area, but also saw one of the highest year-over-year increases in demand. More than 6,600 ads were available online in the past 90 days, representing a 41% growth compared to the same time period last year. Of these five metro areas, Dallas had the second highest growth, up 34% from 2012.
As hiring demand for truck drivers continues, it is likely to become increasingly difficult to source enough potential candidates. However, conditions will depend on each position and the specific skills required in the job.
According to the Hiring Scale, Drivers are likely to be the most difficult-to-recruit in Bismarck, N.D., Hinesville, Ga., and Bowling Green, Ky.
The Hiring Scale scores truck drivers as a 93 (out of a possible 99, where 99 would represent the most difficult situation). With increased competition from employers to attract candidates, recruiters and hiring managers are likely to also experience a longer time-to-fill. For example, the average posting period for a truck driver ad in Bowling Green, Ky., is more than 8 weeks. The national average is about 6.5 weeks.
On the other hand, the Hiring Scale also shows that truck drivers are likely to be the least difficult to recruit in Salisbury, Md., Morristown, Tenn. , and Sebastian-Vero Beach, Fla. These three cities score a 5 on the Hiring Scale and average a 4.5 week posting period, meaning that employers are likely to fill jobs faster and with less difficulty.
The Hiring Scale measures conditions in local job markets by comparing hiring demand and labor supply. The Hiring Scale is part of the Wanted Analytics platform that offers business intelligence for the talent marketplace.
- Unemployment Drops to Four-Year Low, Trucking Adds Jobs
- Drop in Driver Applications, But Positive Signs on Economy, Freight, Rates
- CDL Train the Trainer Class Announcement
- FMCSA Announces MCSAC Appointments
- Where Are the Truck Drivers?
- CSA Update: Improve Your Vehicle Maintenance Today with the Safety Management Cycle!
- Help Needed: Art Contest Extended through March 15, 2013
- CVTA Members Participated in a Panel Entitled From Text Book to Log Book
- AAMVA Publishes CDLIS and ACD Manual
- DOT Seeks Stakeholder Input on the Next ITS Strategic Research Plan, 2015-2019