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HELP! I Can’t Find My CSA Information

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of January 17, 2011
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance

In this week’s issue, Fast-Fax will answer the most common questions we’ve received about the new CSA website, including how to log in.

As you may know, in December, FMCSA released (a limited amount of) CSA information to the general public. At the same time that the public information was released and CSA was formally ‘switched on’, FMCSA made a number of key changes to how the information is presented. (They also enacted some other changes to the system, such as, changing the name from CSA2010 to CSA). We’ve had a number of calls and emails from confused carriers trying to find their information.

New Website

The first change is that the web address of the CSA portal has changed. To view your information you now need to go to http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms/. (If you visit the old CSA page, look for a link for ‘SMS Data’ to find the new site).

Another change to the web interface is that, by and large, FMCSA is referring to the CSA data as SMS data. SMS — the Safety Measurement System — is the name of the CSA system that actually measures carrier compliance.

How To Find Your Information

When you arrive at the SMS page you will see, prominently placed at the top right hand side of the screen, a log-in box asking for your DOT Number or your Motor Carrier Number. This is actually the public log in. If you were to use this, you would only receive the limited information available to the public. To get the full CSA information available to motor carriers, you need to do the following:

Step One: Log into FMCSA’s Portal

  • Scroll down to where it says “Click Here To Log In With Your USDOT Number and Motor Carrier PIN Number.”
  • Where prompted, input your DOT number and then your PIN Number.

Step Two: Return to the CSA Page

  • To view your information you will actually need to log in again.
  • Go up to the main login, type in either your DOT number or MC number. Your DOT number may automatically appear in the box.
  • Click search.

This will open up the SMS data site. At first glance it will look identical to the public site however, on closer inspection, you should see that the Cargo-Related and Crash Indicator BASICs are viewable.

Problems With The Site

One criticism of the new site is that it is very graphics heavy. It may be slow to load on older computers. You should also be sure that your Flash and Java plug-ins are up-to-date. If you are having a problem, look for a message from your browser telling you you need to update (often found in a yellow drop-down bar at the top of the page).

Changes in Terminology

If you checked your information during the data preview this fall you may have seen the terms ‘Deficient’ and ‘Investigative Deficiencies’ being used to describe BASICs with percentiles above the threshold. You may also have seen a logo that looked like a red spray painted X.

Since the public launch, FMCSA has made the terminology and appearance of the CSA information less aggressive. If you are deficient in a BASIC you will now see a box that says ‘ALERT!’ We have had several questions on this matter. Please note that ‘ALERT!’ is the same as ‘Deficient’. Some carriers have been working under the assumption that ‘ALERT!’ was a more mild status message; again, it is not, ‘ALERT!’ is the same as ‘Deficient.’

The logo has also been removed (it just has a text ‘ALERT!’ now) and the colors have been changed from red to orange. This was an effort to allay concerns that outsiders to the industry would be unduly concerned by FMCSA’s previous choice of terminology.

Questions

If you have any questions about CSA, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 1-800-253- 5506 x 715 to speak with a customer service representative for any DOT Compliance issue.

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • www.FoleyServices.com • Vol. 111, No. 670 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 20110
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Best News for the Trucking Industry Has Nothing to Do With Trucking

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http://www.glgroup.com/News/Best-News-for-the-Trucking-Industry-Has-Nothing-to-Do-With-Trucking-52264.html
Analysis by: John Schulz
Analysis of: U.S. Factories Buck Decline
Published at: online.wsj.com

Summary

American manufacturing, long written off as a economic loser, is making a comeback. For the first time since 1997, the number of manufacturing jobs grew last year by 1.2 percent, of 136,000 new jobs. And it's not a one-shot deal. Economists are predicting a 2.5 percent gain, or 330,000 new manufacturing jobs, this year.

Analysis

This may be the best thing to happen to the trucking industry since economic deregulation in 1980. The number of net U.S. manufacturing jobs increased last year for the first time since 1997. Manufacturing jobs grew by 1.2 percent, of 136,000 jobs, and that growth is expected to more than double this year. As one who has never bought into the Great Globalization Theory, I welcome this news. And so should everyone connected with the trucking industry.

These are jobs that will directly affect freight volume, and thus rates and profitability, in the industry. As the offshoring craze begins to show cracks -- anybody else had an offshore call center experience worthy of "Saturday Night Live?" -- U.S. manufacturers are beginning to see value in keeping plants here.

Economists for Moody's Analytics and IHS Global Insight insist this is not a one-shot deal. They expect this trend to continue at least for the beginning of this decade.

Ford, Caterpillar,  and Whirlpool are some of the names taking advantage of tax breaks, excess capacity and infrastructure and other built-in advantages of employing a U.S.-based work force.

As trucking volume is roughly divided 50-50 by retail and industrial, any increase in industrial utilization in this country is good news for the big industrial truckload carriers such as Werner Enterprises, Schneider National, J.B. Hunt and many others. LTL firms such as beleaguered YRC Worldwide, Con-Way and FedEx Freight also figure to gain from this growth.

Of course, it will take more than a year or two of manufacturing increases to get the U.S. economy out of its doldrums. More than 144,000 factories -- that's factories, not jobs -- were lost during the George W. Bush administration. Manufacturing now accounts for merely 11 percent of U.S. total economic output, compared with 27 percent in 1950.

Entire domestic industries -- furniture and footwear come immediately to mind -- have been wiped out because of cheap labor and non-existent environmental regulations in places such as China.

With Chinese president  Hu Jintao in the Nation's Capital for talks with President Barack Obama, I would like to submit a question to his excellency: there will be no U.S. middle class to buy your cheap Chinese-made goods if you continue your mutually destructive economic path. There, I said it.

http://www.glgroup.com/News/Best-News-for-the-Trucking-Industry-Has-Nothing-to-Do-With-Trucking-52264.html

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From Trucking.Com - We've got trucking covered

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1/18/2011
Economy, Trucking Looking Up for 2011
By Deborah Lockridge, Editor

A string of economic experts and industry analysts offered a more optimistic look at the economic and trucking industry outlook for 2011 -- albeit with some downsides -- during the annual Heavy Duty Dialogue event put on Monday by the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association in Las Vegas.

The Great Recession officially ended in June 2009. "But a recession ending doesn't mean the economy is operating anywhere near a normal type of level," said Bill Strauss, chief economist with the Chicago Federal Reserve. "In a technical sense, the words we would use is the economy still stinks."

Actually, when measured by Gross Domestic Product, the economy has been growing at a pretty good clip -- 3.2 percent growth over the last four quarters which is above the trend growth of 2.5 to 2.75 percent. But "it doesn't FEEL like we're doing all that well," Strauss said. The main reason for that, he said, is that rebuilding of inventories accounted for 62 percent of that growth. "This is truly a story of the tail wagging the dog," he said, because inventories represent a fraction of 1 percent of GDP.

Inventories, he explained, are goods that are produced but not sold in the marketplace. If we remove the inventory number from GDP, that's called final sales. Final sales also normally trends to 2.5 to 2.75 percent, but it's only been growing at just over 1 percent. "Here you can see why it hasn't felt so good," he said. But he predicted that number will more closely match GDP growth in 2011 and 2012.

In 2011 and 2012, growth will accelerate somewhat, Strauss said. "But more importantly, it's going to feel better, for two key reasons." Number one, he said, the inventory bullwhip effect is probably coming to an end. Number two, he said, government stimulus is unlikely under the new Congress.

"But even with the pullback in inventory and government spend, we're going to be looking at growth that is going higher," Strauss said. "And that's why it will feel better."

The Fed's forecast is for GDP growth of 3.5 to 4 percent this year and close to 4 percent for the next couple of years. That is more optimistic than the Blue Chip Economic Indicators, a monthly survey of 50 forecasters. That consensus puts GDP growth at 3.3 percent through 2011 and about the same for 2012.

That's less than we've seen coming out of previous deep recessions, pointed out Eric Starks, president of FTR Associates, where 5 to 10 percent was more the norm. "We cannot completely discount history and say it won't be there," he said. "If that happens things get a little crazy."

Unemployment is expected to keep edging down, with the Blue Chip forecast projected for 9.1 percent by the fourth quarter of 2011 and 8.4 percent by the end of 2012.

The Manufacturing-Led Recovery

The one sector of the economy that has been the true growth sector is manufacturing, Strauss said. Manufacturing has been expanding for 18 months - and it has not been slightly above trend, it has been well above trend, growing at a 7.8 percent annual rate. The sector has recovered 56.6 percent of what it lost during the recession, and by second quarter of 2012 should have recovered all of that and will again be looking at record numbers.

Looking at industrial output numbers from December 2007 to June 2009, Strauss noted that the two that fell the most were motor vehicle/parts and primary metals, which kind of go hand in hand. "But much like a tennis ball, the industries that fell the worst are the two sectors that are leading the way" in the recovery. "You're seeing spectacular increases."

The relatively better performance of manufacturing is expected to persist over the next couple of years, Strauss said, although perhaps not quite so drastically. The Blue Chip forecast puts industrial production rising 4.1 percent through 011 and 3.8 percent in 2012. Strauss said he's optimistic it will be even higher.

And, of course, manufacturing is an important figure for trucks, as the services portion of the economy can't exactly be transported on a truck.

Manufacturing was also cited as a strong economic figure by Donald Broughton, partner with Avondale Partners, citing the Institute for Supply Managements's Manufacturing Business Survey, ISM's Purchasing Managers Index was at 57 percent for December. (A PMI reading above 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding.)

"I generally don't like confidence indexes because they tend to be squishy," Broughton said. "It's all about feelings. Except purchasing managers. When I ask them how they feel and they say they feel good, it means they're signing POs. So there's a strong correlation with truck tonnage." However, he notes, it's only good for short-term predictions. After a month or two the accuracy drops off.

The capacity question

Much has been made of the issue of capacity coming out of the industry thanks to trucking bankruptcies, truck exports and other factors.

Broughton pointed out that during the previous recession, 11 percent of gross capacity was taken off the road by bankruptcies. But the remaining players added trucks, bringing the next capacity reduction to only 7 percent. By contrast, in this cycle, trucking failures took 12 percent of gross capacity off the road - and the remaining players cut the size of their fleets, bringing the net capacity reduction to 15 percent.

Equipment is not the only factor in capacity, however. Those truck must have drivers in order to haul freight. As Starks said, "the looming driver shortage keeps getting delayed, but it is only a matter of when." The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's new CSA enforcement program and proposed changes to hours of service will have a negative impact on the number of available drivers.

"The most important thing is fleets are not looking to add capacity," Starks said. "They are using current units and searching for more 'desirable' freight." While truck orders are picking up, he said, they are to replace aging equipment, not to enlarge the fleet.

FTR measures "active capacity" - the number of trucks out there actually looking for a load, not the trucks parked against a fleet's fence or on a used truck lot. "We're sitting at about 95 percent utilization of active capacity right now," Starks said. "And as we get into the middle of the year, the system is going to hit 100 percent capacity."

Fleets will be less likely that in the past to just go out and add equipment to expand the fleet, Starks said. Those turcks are just more that can be penalized by CSA. And if you don't have a driver for that truck, you're not going to buy a new truck.

However, Broughton said he doesn't believe that pricing will improve as much as some analysts have predicted as a result of this tightening capacity. Yes, rates will go up, he said, but he thinks predictions of 15 percent or more by the second quarter of 2011 are unrealistic.

And margins will be flat despite higher rates, Broughton said, because utilization is going down thanks to the government's new CSA program and proposed changes in hours of service, but costs are going up for fuel, labor, equipment and more.

Starks responded in a later presentation to Broughton's comment, saying FTR expcts to see a 10 to 15 percent increase in rates. "Does that mean that's all profit? No! We're going to see costs go up 10 percent or more, so their profit margins are going to continue to get squeezed."

Starks also pointed out that freight is the most important indicator to be watching in order to understand the recovery. "What we've seen is that freight had flattened out over the last six to nine months, but we see things are going to start picking back up." In fact, Starks predicts a 3.5 to 5 percent growth in freight over the next several years, which is significantly higher than the usual rate of around 2 percent. However, it will still take a lot of growth after such a large downturn to get us back to the peak freight levels we saw in 2006, he said.

Finding Drivers

One of the most critical factors for trucking companies in 2011 and 2012 will be the ability to find drivers and owner-operators, Broughton said. "That will be the single biggest differentiating factor between trucking company A and trucking company B," he said.

Starks said the hours of service changes could result in a productivity drop of as much as 6 percent. "That means we would need another 150,000 trucks on the road overnight to move the same amount of freight."

Between the new regulations and a pipeline issue - the ability for trucking companies to actually bring people in, hire them and put them in a truck - the industry could be facing a peak shortage of 600,000 drivers.

"Let's say fleets increase their productivity, so the driver shortage gets down to 400,000 - that's twice as bad as what we saw in 2004."
In order to deal with it, Starks predicts we could see more drop and hook freight and increase in demand for trailers as trucking companies try to keep their tractors as productive as possible despite reduced driver hours and drivers available.

Broughton said he likes to follow over-the-road truck driver pay as a predictor of unemployment. That's because there is a part of the economy that views driving a truck as a last resort. "So when I talk to trucking companies and they say their recruiting department is finding plenty of great drivers, I sell all my truck stock and get into a fetal position in the corner of the room, because that the plant went from three shifts to two, or it means the construction job finished and there wasn't another one to go to."

On the other hand, he said, when you have to start paying more for drivers, it means unemployment is going to start coming down. "As long as truck driver pay is going up, I'm confident unemployment will keep going down."

Buying Trucks

"Things are definitely turning around in the Class 8 market," Starks said. FTR predicts 201,000 in truck production for 2011 and 258,000 for 2012. Trailer orders are accelerating, as well, and FTR has upped its forecast over the last several months to reflect higher order activity they're seeing. Their current forecast is 170,000 trailers this year and 220,000 for 2012.



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U.S. Xpress places order for 1,000 Peterbilt Model 587 tractors

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http://www.ccjdigital.com/u-s-xpress-places-order-for-1000-peterbilt-model-587-tractors/
By CCJ Staff
Published January, 18 2011

Peterbilt Motors Co. announced it has received an order for 1,000 Model 587 SmartWay-certified trucks from truckload carrier U.S. Xpress Enterprises. Peterbilt says the new Model 587 features a number of aerodynamic enhancements, technological and safety innovations and serviceability improvements for maximum performance.

Headquartered in Chattanooga, Tenn., U.S. Xpress Enterprises provides a wide variety of transportation solutions throughout North America and is committed to minimizing its environmental impact by being a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency SmartWay Transport Partner. The company says it also is dedicated to being at the forefront of safety compliance, using comprehensive training for its staff and drivers and ensuring its trucks feature the latest safety innovations.

The new Model 587 has earned the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) SmartWay certification... Continue to read more.

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Annual Fast-Fax Year in Review: Part Two

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of January 3, 2011
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance

This special issue of Fast-Fax continues our annual recap of the regulatory changes issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 2010.

After December’s excitement and FMCSA’s sudden burst of activity (CSA, hours-of-service) Fast-Fax will resume its annual recap of the regulatory changes issued in 2010. This week’s is­sue covers the industry changes published between July and De­cember 2010.

July

FMCSA Takes Aim at the State Drivers’ Licensing Agencies With Two New Notices

FMCSA issued a notice in the Federal Register stating that they were working on a unified security system. The second no­tice gave guidance to the SDLAs to help them report convic­tions for driving offenses and CDL disqualifications that occur in states other than the state where the CDL was issued. The guidance covered a huge num­ber of topics and programs.

2010 Roadcheck Results; Enforcement and Compliance Continues Despite Weakened Economy

CVSA released the results of the 2010 Roadcheck event. The press release praised the con­tinued enthusiasm for the event despite the economic hardships facing states and provincial partners.


August

Part 40 Changes Introduce Test­ing For Ecstasyand Mandatory Initial Testing For Heroin, and Lowers the Cut-Off Levels For Cocaine and Amphetamines

The DOT released a highly antic­ipated Final Rule explaining the changes to its drug and alcohol testing program.

Alabama Carrier Ordered to Cease Operations Two Months After Fatal Crash

A March 2010 accident trig­gered a FMCSA investigation that uncoved a variety of serious safety violations at the 26-driver company. A shutdown order fol­lowed on June 5.


September

FMCSA Makes Several Requests to Change On-Going Informa­tion Collection Activities

Information collection activities ranging from training certificates to hazmat safety permits may be changed following FMCSA’s re­quests.

DOT Finalizes Ban on Texting While Driving a Commercial Mo­tor Vehicle

Banning texting while driving, an issue that became a personal quest for Secretary of Transpor­tation Ray LaHood, reached an­other milestone as the Secretary personally announced the Final Rule banning texting while driv­ing a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV).


October

NTSB Concludes That Driver Fatigue Turned a Minor Incident Into a Horrific Crash

NTSB is calling for FMCSA and NHTSA to develop standards and rules for collision warning systems on new commercial vehicles to reduce fatigue-related accidents and other recommendations.

FMCSA Delays CSA2010 Implementation, Offers Motor Carriers a Preview of the New System

FMCSA was forced to delay im­plementation of CSA2010. Carri­ers were forced to wait until late December before the compli­ance monitoring system (later renamed CSA) was rolled out.


November

Last-Minute Changes to CSA2010 Announced

FMCSA Recalibrated the Cargo- Related BASIC by adjusting the cargo securement violation se­verity weightings based on in­put from subject matter experts. It also modified the public dis­play to show the SMS Cargo-Re­lated BASIC violations only. The percentiles and intervention status are not on public display.


December

CSA Makes Its Public Debut

After countless stumbles and delays, FMCSA opened its CSA2010 (now known as CSA) database to the public on De­cember 12. The general public was given access to carrier in­formation in five of the seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Im­provement Categories (BASICs) through FMCSA’s CSA portal at http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms/.

HOS Proposal Finally Hits the Federal Register

FMCSA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) hit the Fed­eral Register in late December and for 60 days (until February 28, 2011) the agency is accept­ing comments that could help shape the Final Rule.

Please send an email request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like us to send you a PDF copy of the proposed rule.


Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • www.FoleyServices.com • Vol. 111, No. 668 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2010

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We've Got Stars in Our Eyes!

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Yes, we've got stars in our eyes: four and five stars. That's the kind of reviews that we're getting for our latest release, BUMPER TO BUMPER ® Easy CDL, an app for the iPhone.

Easy CDL recaps all the topics that applicants must study to pass the Commercial Driver's License Test, including the Endorsements, and offers 430 practice multiple-choice test questions. The answers to the test questions are included in the app as are explanations as to why those answers are correct. According to reviewers, the audio "lecture" that accompanies each of the 13 units makes prepping for the CDL tests more enjoyable. It's a great supplement to a formal training program. Students at even the best truck driving schools might appreciate a little extra review and opportunities to practice with the sample test questions  so we've attached a poster about it. Download the poster and hang it in the classroom to let your students know about this resource. And it's a great tool for CDL holders who want to add Endorsements to their license.

BUMPER TO BUMPER ® Easy CDL is for the iPhone, the iPod and the iPad. Look for BUMPER TO BUMPER ® Easy CDL in the iTunes store or go to Study By App on the Internet. We'd love to hear your reactions and, like others who have downloaded the app, you can also leave your comments right on the iTunes Easy CDL page.

We also wrote another short "how to" story about testing trailer brakes for www.ehow.com. We'll be doing more stories like this in the future.

If you have any questions or would like more information about any of the above, don't hesitate to call us at 361-749-4007 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Check our Web site www.bumper2bumpertruckbook.com, or our blog at www.cdlbookblog.com. Just go to the Free Stuff page and click on the orange-and-white RSS Feed logo to subscribe. You can leave comments or suggestions there, too. And, follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/redwritertx for updates.