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Senate Bill Would Allow Heavier Trucks

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Measure Backed by ATA, Shippers’ Group

A trio of senators introduced a bill that would allow states to increase the maximum weight for trucks operating on their interstates beyond the federal limit of 80,000 pounds.

Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) said in introducing the Safe Efficient Transportation Act that states would be allowed to “opt in” and increase their weight limits to 97,000 pounds.

The legislation is identical to a bill introduced in the House last March by Reps. Michael Michaud (D-Maine) and Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) and would require the new, heavier trucks to have six axles in order to diffuse the added weight.

“This bipartisan legislation strikes the right balance between productivity and safety,” Kohl said in a statement.

The bill is backed by American Trucking Associations and the Coalition for Transportation Productivity, a shippers’ group, the two said in statements Thursday.

“ATA supports a number of reforms to federal truck size and weight regulations as part of our Sustainability Initiative,” said ATA President Bill Graves.

“More efficient trucks, like those allowed under this legislation, will significantly reduce the trucking industry’s carbon output,” he said in a statement.


http://www.ttnews.com/articles/basetemplate.aspx?storyid=24936
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Fleets Raising Driver Pay

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Recruiting Challenges Spur Sharp Increases

By Rip Watson, Senior Reporter

This story appears in the July 26 print edition of Transport Topics.

The number of fleets that raised driver pay in the second quarter increased sharply, and continuing difficulties in attracting new drivers could spark another round of increases in the third quarter, several industry experts have said.

About 20% of truckload fleets increased pay in the second quarter, compared with 1.7% in the first three months of 2010, said Gordon Klemp, principal of the National Transportation Institute, Kansas City, Mo.

More than a third of flatbed carriers raised pay in the second quarter, followed by 20% of refrigerated fleets and 11% of dry van operators, Klemp said. That trend was a sharp turnaround from June 2009, when at least one-third of fleets cut pay to stay afloat during the recession.

"Before the end of the third quarter, at least one major carrier will make a bold move to attract drivers with pay and kick off a significant round of pay increases," Klemp predicted, without identifying the fleet or fleets.

More increases are expected because the number of fleet requests for special pay studies rose 50% in the first half of this year, Klemp said. Based on past experience, at least 70% of the carriers that ask for those studies decide to raise wages.

Klemp, who publishes his report based on a survey of nearly 400 fleets, said pay rose an average of 4.5 cents a mile in the flatbed sector, more than twice the increase at dry van and refrigerated fleets.

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Fleets Pursue Qualified Drivers as Freight Grows, Rules Tighten

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From Transport Topics:

Seeking to capitalize on an ever-tighter market, many fleets are racing to sign up qualified drivers as freight demand rises and stiffer federal driver standards loom, experts said.

"We can still find drivers, but we have to search harder," Steve Brantley, manager of driver resources for USA Truck, Van Buren, Ark., told Transport Topics. "There are more loads to be moved."

"The market has become more competitive for both owner-operators and experienced drivers," said Brooke Willey, vice president for human resources at CRST International. The company seeks drivers for 700 new trucks it will add by the end of 2011.

"The ability to expand our driver recruiting efforts and identify ways to attract drivers will be the key to that ultimate growth," Willey said.

Bert Johnson, human resources director at Con-way Truckload, Joplin, Mo., agreed that it's more difficult to find drivers.

"Our emphasis has been on hiring to meet normal driver turnover," Johnson said.

So did Ron Massman, president of The Dependable Companies.

"Our biggest challenge these days is to find good, qualified drivers," Massman said, citing a "very, very positive upturn in business."

The recruiting drive embraces websites, video and newspaper advertising and also includes some other less-than-truckload fleets.

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CSA2010 Rollout - What is Happening and When?

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FMCSA has developed a revised schedule for the roll out of CSA 2010 in line with its commitment to launch this program in the most effective way possible.  The rollout schedule is designed to methodically step federal and state enforcement staff, as well as the motor carrier industry, into the program one stride at a time - increasing the safety benefits through better understanding and increased accountability for good safety performance.  The rollout timeline is outlined below:

  • Summer 2010
    • June 30th - The Operational Model (Op-Model) Test will end.
    • July - The four "50/50" Op-Model Test states, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri and New Jersey, will join the five 100% Op-Model Test states in implementing the program.
    • August - Motor carriers will be able to see an assessment of their violations based on the new Carrier Safety Measurement System (CSMS) which will replace SafeStat later in 2010.
  • Fall/Winter 2010
    • SafeStat will be replaced by the CSMS. CSMS will be available to the public, including shippers and insurance companies.
    • FMCSA/States will prioritize enforcement using the CSMS.
    • FMCSA will begin to issue Warning Letters to carriers with deficient BASICs.
    • Roadside inspectors will use the CSMS results to identify carriers for inspection.
  • Winter 2010 - Safety Fitness Determination Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is scheduled to be released.

2011 - Enforcement staff will be trained, and new interventions will be implemented State-by-State

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CSA 2010 Rollout: What is Happening When?

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From the FMCSA...

CSA 2010 Rollout: What is Happening When?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has developed a revised schedule for the roll out of CSA 2010 in line with its commitment to launch this program in the most effective way possible. The rollout schedule is designed to methodically step federal and state enforcement staff, as well as the motor carrier industry, into the program one stride at a time - increasing the safety benefits through better understanding and increased accountability for good safety performance.  The rollout timeline is outlined below:

  • April 12 - November 30, 2010 - Motor carriers can preview their own data by seeing their roadside inspections/violations and crash events organized by Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC).
  • Summer 2010
    • June 30th - The Operational Model (Op-Model) Test will end.
    • July - The four "50/50" Op-Model Test states, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri and New Jersey, will join the five 100% Op-Model Test states in implementing the program.
    • August - Motor carriers will be able to see an assessment of their violations based on the new Carrier Safety Measurement System (CSMS) which will replace SafeStat later in 2010.
  • Fall/Winter 2010
    • SafeStat will be replaced by the CSMS. CSMS will be available to the public, including shippers and insurance companies.
    • FMCSA/States will prioritize enforcement using the CSMS.
    • FMCSA will begin to issue Warning Letters to carriers with deficient BASICs.
    • Roadside inspectors will use the CSMS results to identify carriers for inspection.
  • Winter 2010 - Safety Fitness Determination Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is scheduled to be released.
  • 2011 - Enforcement staff will be trained, and new interventions will be implemented State-by-State
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CSA 2010 Data Preview Now Available for Motor Carriers!

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Motor Carriers can now view the inspection data the FMCSA will use to calculate CSA 2010 percentile rankings when the system comes on-line later this year. BASIC scores have not yet been assigned to the data in this preview system, but one can calculate potential inspection weights by viewing the current BASIC violation severity rankings here: https://csa2010.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/SMS_AppendixA_ViolationsList.xls

From the FMCSA: 

FMCSA is pleased to announce the Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) 2010 Data Preview, which will allow individual motor carriers to review their safety performance data by the CSA 2010 Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). The Data Preview begins on April 12, 2010 and ends on November 30, 2010, the national launch date for the CSA 2010 safety enforcement program.  
 
During the data preview period, motor carriers are encouraged to closely examine their performance data and immediately address any safety problems.  This is also an opportunity for motor carriers to update and verify their safety performance data online.
 
This important step is designed to focus motor carriers on identifying and addressing unsafe behaviors that can lead to crash risk. It also underscores FMCSA's commitment to data integrity and the motor carrier industry's responsibility for ensuring commercial vehicle safety.  
 
Complete details on the Data Preview and the CSA 2010 implementation schedule are published in the Federal Register. The CSA 2010 implementation schedule supports the critical importance of incorporating the findings from over 30 months of operational model testing in nine CSA 2010 pilot states.

Click the following link to view your company data: Data Preview

 

Remember that data from the last 24 months will be the first data on which your CSA 2010 percentiles will be based. This data preview allows carriers an opportunity to see where they currently stand and take pro-active measures over the next several months to clear up their records in anticipation of full CSA 2010 implementation.

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Senator Lincoln Introduces Veterans Training Act in Senate

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Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) has introduced S. 3171, the Veterans Training Act, as a stand-alone piece of legislation.  Similar to Rep. Joe Sestak's H.R. 3813 the legislation would open up the benefits of the Post-9/11 GI Bill to veterans/students attending career colleges.   Senator James Risch (R-ID) is an original co-sponsor of the Lincoln bill.  
 
The Veterans Training Act would open up considerably more educational opportunities for our nation's recent veterans by enabling them to receive the benefits of the Post/911 Educational Assistance Program for all forms of higher education.  Specifically, H.R. 3813 would deem a program of education as ‘approved' under the Post 9/11 Educational Assistance Program if the program is provided by an institution offering:  
 
1.     Postsecondary instruction that leads to an associate or higher degree and the institution is an approved institution of higher learning; or  
2.     Instruction that does not lead to an associate or higher degree and the institution is an approved educational institution.
 
70% of all Montgomery GI Bill users received vocational training, not college degrees. Unfortunately, veterans attending vocational schools under the Post 9/11 GI Bill are specifically excluded from the benefits of the program.  Covering vocational programs only at colleges unfairly discriminates against veterans pursuing VA approved vocational training programs - including those at career colleges.  Post 9/11 GI Bill veterans should be free to pursue any program of education or training whether degree or non-degree granting.  On return to civilian life, many service members are interested in quickly hitting the ground running.  Short-term certificate and diploma programs can be a critical part of a successful transition.
 
CVTA members should be reaching out to their respective Senators and to request they become co-sponsors of the legislation.