Public News


Marvin Garvey wasn’t about to ignore a distraught woman - Highway Angel

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Marvin Garvey wasn’t about to ignore a distraught woman who looked like she could use a Highway Angel

Alexandria, Virginia:

When no one else will stop, it is often a professional truck driver who saves the day. The Truckload Carriers Association honors these individuals as Highway Angels, and the latest one is Marvin Garvey of Hampstead, North Carolina. Garvey, who drives for Epes Transport System, Inc., of Greensboro, North Carolina, is being recognized for the compassion he showed to a stranded motorist.

On August 19, 2012, in the late morning, Garvey was driving along I-85/I-40 near Greensboro, North Carolina, on his way to make a delivery. Traffic was very heavy, and up ahead, he heard horns honking and saw vehicles maneuvering around something. It turned out to be a woman whose car engine had stalled and would not turn back on. The woman was quite upset – in tears because she was stuck in the middle of heavy traffic with horns blaring at her. No one was stopping to help.

After passing her, Garvey pulled over, walked back to the scene, and pushed the woman’s vehicle onto the shoulder. He then calmed her down, telling her which way she was headed, where the closest exit was, and other pertinent information. At one point, he even walked back to his truck to check the GPS, wanting to be certain he had provided the correct details. He stayed with the woman until she managed to reach her brother on a cell phone.

The next day, the woman wrote a letter to Epes Transport praising Garvey for his assistance during her stressful ordeal. “He was really like an angel,” she said. “He could have possibly saved my life. Who knows how long it would have taken for someone to run right into me? I offered to pay him for his trouble, but he politely refused. He was a gentleman who went out of his way to help me. It is a rare thing in this day and time for someone to get involved.”

Garvey, who retired from the U.S. Army two years ago after a 20-year career, says that helping people is the “military thing to do.”

“I can’t believe how cold-hearted some people are,” he said, referring to the many motorists who saw what happened but kept on driving. “She was clearly frustrated. I just couldn’t leave her stranded in that danger zone.”

For his efforts to help the woman, Garvey has received a Highway Angel lapel pin, certificate, and patch. Epes Transport System also received a certificate acknowledging that one of its drivers is a Highway Angel.

The Highway Angel program is sponsored for TCA by Internet Truckstop. Since the program’s inception in August 1997, hundreds of drivers have been recognized as Highway Angels for the unusual kindness, courtesy, and courage they have shown others while on the job. TCA has received letters and e-mails from people across North America nominating truck drivers for the program.



More Information in Regards to Sending Convictions on MX Drivers

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This announcement from FMCSA is to provide additional information and an update to the previous guidance and information provided regarding the Gateway Portal shut down on midnight Tuesday, Oct. 9th.
For your awareness: A State's ability to access CDLIS information on US and Canadian drivers continue without any interruption. The shutdown of the Gateway has no effect on State CDLIS transactions involving US and Canadian drivers.
A. For States that are sending convictions via CDLIS on MX drivers the CDL Division provides the following guidance:
Please re-send your convictions when the MX node is back up again. FMCSA will notify you when the MX node is back up. For more information about how to use UNI to re-drive your convictions automatically, please see the CDLIS System Specifications 5.2 document, page 10, Section 3.6 Message Retry.
B. For states that are sending convictions via paper on MX drivers:
Please send the paper convictions to the following new mailing address that has been provided by the new service provider:
8300 Boone Blvd, Ste 550
Vienna, VA 22182-2681
You may also contact the following phone number and email address for any questions about paper convictions on MX drivers:
Helpdesk email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Helpdesk Telephone: 1(855) 537-7517


DOT Inspector General Agrees to Audit CSA After Request From Congress

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By Eric Miller, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the Oct. 22 print edition of Transport Topics.

The Department of Transportation’s Inspector General has agreed to conduct an in-depth audit of the government’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program and to include a look at the relationship between carrier safety scores and crash risks.

The Oct. 12 audit request was made by Rep. John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.), chairman of the House Transportation Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, and the ranking Democratic member, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.)... Continue reading. (Log in to TTNEWS is Required.)



Mike Card Elected ATA Chairman

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LAS VEGAS — Mike Card, president of Combined Transport, Central Point, Ore., was elected American Trucking Associations’ 68th chairman at ATA’s annual Management Conference & Exhibition here Wednesday.

“It is a tremendous honor to be selected by one’s peers to represent them,” said Card, who succeeded Dan England, chairman of C.R. England Inc., Salt Lake City, in the one-year position.

“It is not secret that our nation and our industry are at a crossroads,” Card said in a statement, “with looming changes in hours-of-service, a steady, but still slow, economic recovery, a federal government threatening to impose even more onerous regulations on our industry — while all the while underinvesting in the highway system we depend on.”

Speaking at ATA’s annual MCE banquet Wednesday evening, Card said being named chairman was “the highlight of my life [and] I’m going to do everything I can to expand the influence of ATA’s voice.”

He also said he is planning a trip to Mexico City in a few weeks to talk with Mexican trucking industry officials, as well as ATA’s Canadian counterpart, to help with cross-border trade issues.

“Mike is emblematic of what makes our industry great,” ATA President Bill Graves said in a statement. “The son of a driver-turned-entrepreneur and the leader of a family business, Mike will be a tremendous ambassador for ATA and for trucking,” Graves said.

By Transport Topics


Driver Shortage Requires Industry Action, Experts Say

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John Sommers II for Transport Topics

LAS VEGAS — The shortage of truck drivers will worsen as the economy recovers and as the federal government adds more regulations, so it is critical the industry retains current drivers and attracts younger ones to the profession, a panel of experts said here Tuesday.

Ensuring drivers have more time at home, providing reliable equipment to company drivers and offering pay incentives and bonuses are all important steps that fleets should take, according to the discussion at American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference & Exhibition.

Derek Leathers, president and chief operating officer of Werner Enterprises, said that through schedule adjustments, about 71% of his drivers get home at least once a week. That has helped lower turnover and attract more applicants.

Kevin Burch, president of Jet Express, said fleets need to set up mentoring programs so younger drivers gain valuable experience until they are old enough to drive trucks on their own.

Lou Spoonhour, president of Driveco Truck Driver Learning Center, urged ATA and fleets to join with training schools to tell lawmakers how important it is to increase funding for programs that can get new truck drivers on the road in as little as six weeks.

Kenny Veith, president of ACT Research, said the industry’s high turnover rates show that the problem is more about retention than an insufficient number of applicants. He was optimistic in saying that federal regulations will limit the total driving pool, thus tightening capacity and allowing for higher rates. As a result, he said fleets would more easily be able to boost driver pay and keep more of the existing driver workforce.

The session was moderated by Howard Abramson, publisher and editorial director of Transport Topics Publishing Group, and was sponsored by Freightliner Trucks.

Additional coverage of the discussion will appear in the Oct. 15 print edition of Transport Topics.

By Transport Topics


Graves on Challenges From Regulations, Sluggish Economy

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John Sommers II
for Transport Topics

LAS VEGAS – The trucking industry continues to face challenges, from federal regulations and a sluggish economy, to the threat of more tolling on the nation’s highways, said Bill Graves, president of American Trucking Associations.

“I honestly do believe that anyone who is operating in the trucking industry is at a crossroads – in fact you’re facing an entire series of crossroads – each one a decision point sending you in directions that will ultimately determine success or failure, profitability or loss, growth or stagnation,” Graves said Oct. 8 at the opening session of ATA’s Management Conference & Exhibition here.

The nation’s biggest problems are “the sluggish economy, a very dysfunctional federal government and the people of this nation who lack confidence that the economy will get better and that our government as its currently assembled in Washington isn’t capable of getting the job done,” he said.

Graves singled out the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program as a key example of how Washington is threatening trucking’s success.

He said the program will make the highways safer, but needs to be altered to ensure the data provides an accurate picture of carriers’ safety records.

Despite other challenges such as hours-of-service, more tolls and rising fuel prices, he said trucking was still well-positioned for the future.

“The essentiality of the industry and the demand for freight movement by truck – a growing demand for freight movement by truck – is unquestioned,” Graves said. “The long-term macro outlook for trucking has never been better, but the near-term micro view continues to be very challenging.”

By Transport Topics


APSCU Update - Sequestration

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The major issue in Congress for the remainder of the year is the looming deadline of January 1, 2013, when $1.2 trillion in cuts to defense and domestic spending begin to go into effect unless a deal is reached by Congress and the White House. The sequestration process seeks to curb $1.2 trillion in federal spending cuts over the next 10 years by enacting across the board cuts to most programs and is an "automatic" form of spending cutback. Generally, the law requires a cut somewhere between 7.8% to 8.4%, but it does exempt certain programs like Veterans Affairs programs, including VA benefits.

The law exempts Pell Grants from sequestration, but other student aid programs will be impacted. Specifically, Federal Work-Study, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), and Workforce Investment (WIA) state grants would be cut by a combined amount of $330 million. The table below reflects the CBO sequestration estimate of 7.8%:


FY 2012 Omnibus Estimated FY 2013 Funding Cuts Under Sequestration
SEOG $734,599,000 $734,599,000 $57,299,000
Federal Work Study $976,682,000 $976,682,000 $76,181,000
Career and Technical
Education State
Grants (Perkins)
$1,123,030,000 $1,123,030,000 $87,596,000
Adult Basic and
Literacy Education
$594,993,000 $594,993,000 $46,409,000
TRIO $839,932,000 $839,932,000 $65,515,000
GEAR UP $302,244,000 $302,244,000 $23,575,000
Title I Grants
to LEAs
$14,516,468,000 $14,516,468,000 $1,140,085,000
IDEA State Grants $11,577,855,000 $11,577,855,000 $903,073,000
WIA State Grants $2,603,300,000 $2,603,300,000 $203,057,000
Strengthening Institutions $80,623,000 $80,623,000 $6,289,000
Hispanic Serving Institutions $100,432,000 $100,432,000 $7,834,000
Asian American and
Native American Pacific
Islander Serving Institutions
$3,199,000 $3,199,000 $250,000
Tribally Controlled
Colleges and Universities
$25,713,000 $25,713,000 $2,006,000
Predominately Black
$9,262,000 $9,262,000 $722,000

Sequestration would also affect student loan origination fees. The Department of Education does not currently charge an origination fee on Consolidation Loans. Under sequestration, origination fees on Direct Loan program loans made during the sequestration period would be required to be increased by a uniform percentage amount. For instance, if the uniform percentage was 10%, it appears that origination fees would be increased from 1% to 1.1% on Subsidized Stafford Loans and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, and from 4% to 4.4% on PLUS Loans.

The sequestration will go into effect on January 2, 2013 unless Congress and the President address this issue in the lame duck Congress.


A New Experience

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Emailed from Department of Transportation:

As a subscriber to a DOT-related topic, we want to let you know that the website has changed. Our web team has redesigned the DOT gateway from the bottom up with you in mind, and we hope you enjoy the redesigned site.

The new has 3 main goals:

To help you find what you need as easily as possible. That’s why we’ve divided content along audience lines. So, whether you’re an individual seeking consumer information or one of our partners looking for guidance, we’ve got you covered.

To make the most popular resources more accessible. Along the left side of the new page, you’ll find “Top Requests,” a handy catalog of the website activities most often sought by visitors. If you’re a veteran seeking a transportation-related job, this is the place to find information. If you’re shopping for a car and are searching for vehicle safety ratings, look no further. And if you’re working in transportation planning and are curious about how the new transportation law will affect your projects, we’ve got the answers.

To arrange our resources in line with how you think about transportation. As you probably know, the work of DOT is performed by different Operating Administrations like the Federal Transit Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and others. But most people don’t think about operating administrations —they think about trucks, buses or airplanes. And that’s why we’ve added 10 different buttons corresponding to different modes of transportation. Interested in Waterways? There’s a button for that.

Here at DOT, we serve the American people, and the new page acknowledges that mission with a strengthened emphasis on customer service. Our team used direct public feedback and usability testing to build a site designed around what you want to do when you visit our page.

We hope this makes it easier for you to find what you seek--and make new discoveries along the way. We also hope you’ll continue to let us know how we can be more useful to you as a true transportation resource.



Inventor's system keeps drivers off cell phones

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As a safety supervisor for Verizon employees in New York state, Ron Pothul saw firsthand the problems caused when drivers were distracted by a cell phone.

Then it really hit home.

"My daughter was 17," Pothul said. "She ran into two cars doing about 45 miles an hour ... texting while driving."

Fortunately, he said, "her car did what it was supposed to, folded up right to the firewall" and the airbag spared his daughter from serious injuries.

But the accident renewed Pothul's passion for something he had been more casually pursuing in retirement -- a foolproof system to keep drivers from using cell phones.

"He had this idea and he was getting the patents written thinking he might sell it," said Pothul's son, Jeff. "But then the crash happened and he got very serious about following through with it himself."

So today Pothul, 67 and 4 1/2 years retired from Verizon, is chairman of a fledgling company in Charlotte, N.C., called Dock-N-Lock,, which next month will do the major launch of its Surge'ON system that prevents a car from starting unless the driver's cell phone is secured in a box that can't be opened while the engine is running.

The rollout will come at the American Trucking Association's annual convention in Las Vegas, with Pothul and his son, the company's chief information officer, hoping fleet operators will see the safety -- and savings -- in installing the system.

Last year, a federal rule was enacted banning commercial truckers and bus drivers from using cell phones while driving.

"We really hope to make a statement that if you have a phone-usage policy, this is the way to enforce it," Jeff Pothul said during a phone interview last week (he wasn't driving at the time.)

Ron Pothul said the system can be installed in about 15 minutes and takes five minutes to learn to use. It involves putting a chip on the driver's phone, or the use of a bypass card for the system if another driver with a phone takes the wheel. Pothul compared the pass-card to carrying a car key.

He said a driver will be able to hear an incoming call with the phone secured, but will have to pull over and stop the engine to answer it.

Michigan is among 39 states with a ban on texting while driving, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says was a factor in 3,000 traffic deaths in 2010.

And if a driver with the Dock-N-Lock device comes upon an accident?

"Pull over... Continue reading.



Truck Driving- Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

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America’s goods often move by truck.

But being a trucker is a tough job. As the BLS notes, driving a truck is “major lifestyle choice, because these drivers can be away from home for days or weeks at a time.”

Truckers are feeling pressured in other ways, too. Diesel fuel is expensive for the independents. There are limits on how long the driver can remain behind the wheel without rest. National fleets are trying to recruit drivers with clean records. As a result, the American Trucking Association says the turnover rate for drivers is now over 100 percent per year. The ATA estimates the industry needs 20,000 to 30,000 drivers.

In New York, Philip Wilson, a driver for Mom’s & Son Transport, says he likes driving a truck because he gets to meet different people and go to different places. The downside of his trade: traffic and tickets.

The BLS says the 771,000 short-haul drivers such as Mr. Wilson make a mean annual salary of $33,120. The 1.5 million long haul truckers make $39,830. Neither short haul or long haul truckers would owe any federal income tax if they make less than $46,400 a year.