FMCSA Will Miss Deadline for ELD Rule, Ferro Says

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By Timothy Cama, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the April 8 print edition of Transport Topics.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will miss an October deadline set by Congress to mandate electronic logging devices in all trucks, according to Administrator Anne Ferro.

Instead, the agency will publish a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking for the mandate in September, and the mandate itself will likely be finalized a year later, Ferro said during a chat at the Mid-America Trucking Show late last month. The requirement will probably be implemented in 2016.

That timeframe is later than what Congress asked for in MAP-21, last year’s transportation funding law, which called for the regulation to be finalized by Oct. 1 and to take effect two years later.

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Demand is High for Commercial Truck Drivers

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By Laura Raines

If you’ve ever felt the pull of the open road, this  is an excellent time to consider a truck-driving career. Trucking added the most jobs of any transportation sector in February 2013, increasing its employment by 5,600 positions, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

“There is no unemployment in truck driving. In fact, there’s a shortage of drivers,” said Ed Tanksley, general manager of  Katlaw Driving Schools in Austell. “Trucking slowed down at the start of the recession, but when factories start producing more goods, those goods have to be moved to consumers. Trucking usually leads a  recovery.”

The demand for commercial truck drivers is expected to grow by 21 percent through 2020,  according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Tanksley sees that demand from the 30 companies  that actively recruit his students.

“Most of our graduates have six to 10 job offers before they even finish their training,” he said. “Truck driving is one of the few careers that you can train for quickly and make $40,000 to $45,000 in the first year, with benefits.”

Metro Atlanta is a transportation hub and one of the nation’s top 10 areas  for truck-driving jobs , according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

To get started, you’ll need to meet the requirements and pass the test to obtain a commercial driving license permit from the Georgia Department of Driver Services . To earn a CDL permit, drivers must pass standard written and driving tests at a state examination site.

You can’t apply for a CDL if you’ve had your driving license revoked, suspended, canceled or been involved in a chargeable accident during the two-year period immediately prior to applying. Applicants  will be restricted to drive in Georgia only until they are 21.

“With a permit, you can enroll for training at a private school or one of Georgia’s technical colleges,” Tanksley said. “Most insurance companies and carriers won’t hire entry-level drivers unless they’ve taken a training course.”

You can find recommended schools on the GDDS website (

Approved by the Commercial Vehicle Transportation Association, Katlaw Driving Schools has been training drivers for 14 years. The most popular program is the 160-hour, three-week program in Class “A” Tractor Trailer Training. It’s also offered in an eight-weekend format. Tuition is $3,195 ($2,895, if paying in cash), and financing options are available.

The program has been approved for VA, GI Bill and Workplace Investment Act funding.

“Our classes typically take six to 12 students. We have trained a lot of career changers, retirees, former military people and business owners who want to start a second career,” Tanksley said. “About 5 (percent) to 8 percent are women. There are a lot more women in trucking these days and they do very well because they are safety-conscious and well-organized.”

Truck-driving students begin in the classroom where they learn federal regulations, record-keeping technologies, safety measures and time-management strategies. On the road, they learn how to operate 10-speed transmission vehicles; how to conduct a 96-item pre-trip checklist of a vehicle; and how to back up and park different types of trucks and trailers. They also practice driving safely at night and in inclement weather.

“Not everyone is cut out for truck driving. You need to be a self-starter and able to work with no supervision,” Tanksley said. “You also need to be comfortable being away from home and family for stretches at a time, although many regional and over-the-road companies now guarantee you’ll be home on the weekends.”

Working conditions for truckers have improved over the years, Tanksley said.

“People perceive it as a lonely, hard and dirty job,” he said.

But today’s trucks are much more comfortable and equipped with televisions and computers. Truck stops have clean showers, better restaurants and other amenities.

“You just aren’t as isolated as you used to be on the road, and more retired couples are choosing to travel together,” Tanksley said.

The industry offers opportunities for pay raises and advancement, Tanksley said.

“Salaries climb faster than in other careers,” he said. “By the third year, truck drivers should be making well into the $50,000s, and some couple teams are pulling down six figures. Some drivers choose to become owner/operators, or start their own trucking companies.”

In large, multinational transit corporations, drivers may move into warehousing, safety inspection, instruction, recruiting, or management positions.

“There’s no shortage of jobs or opportunities in transportation,” Tanksley said. “We put 375 to 400 Georgia residents to work every year.”


ACI TV segment: Growing Need for Truck Drivers

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Check out the TV segment that ACI was recently featured in about the growing need for truck drivers and how to take advantage of the employment opportunities available in the trucking industry.

FMCSA Urged to Lift Standards for Training of Novice Drivers

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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.

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For-Hire Motor Carriers Asked To Participate In Operational Costs Survey

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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 and results will be available later this year.

Carriers Struggle to Find, Hire Willing, Qualified Drivers

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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.”


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.

J. J. Keller announces three new online interactive training programs

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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

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
For more information, contact:
Mary Borsecnik
Corporate Marketing Communications Specialist
J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.®
1-800-843-3174, ext. 7050
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