Recent Legislation on Federal Funding for Training

on .

Recent legislation changed the ability of students that do not have a high school diploma or GED to access federal funding for training. These students were previously permitted to take an “ability to benefit” test and still receive funding, however this exception was eliminated. At the request of several accredited schools, this week CVTA Executive Director Mike O’Connell will be meeting with the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities to discuss the substantial impact of this provision on students that wish to train as truck drivers and how this restriction might be addressed legislatively. Mike will also be discussing the impact of the proposed FMCSA rule which specifies accreditation and establishes a specific number of hours of training. The Proposed Rule will also have a major impact on both accredited and non-accredited schools.

Penske Plans to Hire 3,500 This Year

on .

PenskePenske Truck Leasing and Penske Logistics plan to hire 3,500 employees in the United States and Canada this year.

Increased demand for Penske’s truck leasing and logistics services are the main reason for the hiring, said Ron Schwartz, staffing director at the Reading, Pa.-based company.

“We definitely have seen an increase in logistics [demand] as more product moves and the economy makes a slow turnaround,” Schwartz said, adding that Penske “will hire everyone from diesel technicians to drivers, to people in our warehouses [and] sales and customer service at our rental counters.”

About 3,300 hires will be in the United States, with another 200 in Canada. Hiring will include metropolitan areas such as Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, New York, Detroit and Chicago, Schwartz said... Continue reading...

J. J. Keller's Transportation SafetyClicks: February 2012

on .

1. FMCSA to revise violation list for CSA Methodology
The FMCSA has enhanced the Safety Measurement System (SMS) Methodology so that it includes violations based on new cell phone use regulations. Click to continue.

2. The hours-of-service changes are here, but don’t panic
On December 27, 2011, the FMCSA published the final rule changing the hours-of-service regulations. There are a few significant dates involved, as well as some vital changes. Click to continue.

3. List of state requirements for med card/CDL merger rule posted by AAMVA
Starting January 30, 2012, and no later than January 30, 2014, all CDL holders must provide information to their state driver licensing agencies (SDLAs) regarding the type of CMV operation they drive in or expect to drive in with their CDL.
Click to continue.

4. New FAQ on cell phone ban posted by FMCSA
The FMCSA updated its list of Cell Phone Ban Frequently Asked Questions appearing on its website. Click to continue.

5. CVSA releases results of 'Operation Safe Driver'
Targeting enforcement and education efforts at both passenger as well as commercial vehicle drivers is starting to pay off, according to recently released results. Click to continue.

6. Do you operate interstate or intrastate?
It seems like a fairly straightforward issue. Interstate transportation involves a vehicle crossing borders and operating in two or more jurisdictions; if a truck never leaves a state, it must be performing intrastate motor carriage. Surprisingly, this is not always true. Click to continue.

7. Are your placards clean and visible?
It is important to keep placards visible, clean, and displayed as specified in the Hazardous Materials Regulations. Click to continue.

SafetyClicks articles are published by J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. You may post SafetyClicks content to your intranet provided you include the copyright notice. If you would like to use the content in whole or in part on an internet site or elsewhere, please contact J. J. Keller for a license.

America's Commercial Vehicles Help Deliver Distracted Driving Message

on .

{vsig}fmcsaphoto{/vsig} {vsig_c}0|_JFK7267.jpg|Smith & Solomon:|Bill Applegate - Lead Instructor, John Diab - COO, Michael Baker{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|_JFK7269.jpg|Smith & Solomon and CVTA:|Bill Applegate, John Diab, Mike O'Connell - CVTA Executive Director, Michael Baker{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|_JFK7273.jpg|ATA, Smith & Solomon and CVTA:|Bill Applegate, John Diab, Rob Abbott - VP of Safety Policy, ATA, Mike O'Connell, Michael Baker{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|_JFK7275.jpg|CVTA:|Mike O'Connell, John Diab - Vice Chairman, Cindy Atwood - Deputy Director, Charlie Kim{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|_JFK7277.jpg|CVTA: Mike O'Connell - Executive Director, John Diab - Vice Chairman{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|_JFK7289.jpg|John Diab - Vice Chairman, CVTA, Anne Ferro - Administrator, FMCSA{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|_JFK7310.jpg|Bill Applegate, Michael Baker, and Administrator Anne Ferro{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|_JFK7340.jpg|ATA, CVTA and FMCSA with Smith & Solomon|From left: Jack Van Steenburg, FMCSA, Deputy Administrator Bill Bronrott, FMCSA{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|_JFK7342.jpg|CVTA and FMCSA with Smith & Solomon{/vsig_c} {vsig_c}0|_JFK7346.jpg|ATA, CVTA and FMCSA with Smith & Solomon{/vsig_c}
The Official Blog of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation

DOTsecretaryLaHood.jpgIt's no secret that I am serious about our fight to end distracted driving.  For three years, DOT has been actively working to make our roads safer by getting drivers to focus on one task and one task only: driving.

Throughout that time, we've been fortunate to have terrific safety partners to help us deliver the message that one text or call could wreck it all.  And I'm happy to add the Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA) to the roster of organizations and companies supporting our work.

Last month, a semi from Smith & Solomon, a commercial driving school, pulled up in front of DOT headquarters here in Washington, DC.  Driver John Diab, the CVTA Vice Chair and Smith & Solomon's Chief Operating Officer, was greeted by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne Ferro, Deputy Administrator Bill Bronrott, and CVTA Executive Director Mike O'Connell.

An hour later, Diab's truck was festooned with large decals  bearing our signature message.

The "One Text or Call Could Wreck it All" decals were designed to be large so they would be easy to see wherever the truck goes.  And, with the support of the CVTA, we hope trucks all over America will soon be carrying this important safety message.

As Administrator Ferro said, "It is powerful to have the trucking industry behind us, enhancing our campaign against distracted driving, because as traveling billboards, those trucks are so visible to other drivers across the country."

DOT has taken several regulatory steps to ensure that commercial drivers don't text or use handheld phones behind the wheel.  But we've had to leave passenger vehicle laws to the States or to Congress.  Now, with this campaign, truck drivers and commercial driving instructors are helping us educate non-commercial drivers about the dangers of distracted driving.

Said driver John Diab, “We are honored to represent CVTA and our industry’s commitment to eliminating distracted driving. We believe strongly in DOT’s campaign because it reinforces our commitment - instituted throughout our training programs - to ensure our drivers are aware of the dangers of distracted driving.”

Well, John, to see the nation's commercial drivers take up the banner in this important safety mission is really something, so I think the
honor is all ours.

The Official Blog of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation

smith and solomon back of the trailer

Second Round of Funding to Improve Veterans Access to Transportation

on .

U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces Second Round of Funding to Improve Veterans’ Access to Transportation

Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative Funds Innovative “One-Call, One-Click” Transportation Resource Centers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced the availability of approximately $30 million to create or increase access to local and regional transportation resources that veterans and military families depend on to get to work, school and other destinations. The transit funding would boost access to jobs and training that America’s service members need and deserve.

"In his State of the Union address, President Obama rightfully noted that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world,” said Secretary LaHood. "As tens of thousands of our military personnel return home, we must reward their sacrifices and those of their families with the services they need to more seamlessly reintegrate into their communities as quickly as possible.  This investment helps to do that, and it serves as one small thank-you for their honorable service.”

The previous round of Veterans Transportation and Community Living grants, announced in November 2011, provided $34.6 million for 55 projects in 32 states and Guam. Demand for the program was strong, with the Department receiving 70 eligible proposals seeking $52 million in funding requests to create “one-call, one-click” transportation resource centers around the United States last year.

The second round of Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative grants, funded by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), will continue to help states and communities build or expand “one-click, one-call” centers that offer comprehensive information on local transportation options and other community services, with just a single phone call or click of the mouse.

“The President asked that we do all that we can to support those who have served our country, and we are answering his challenge,” said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff. “We must ensure that our nation’s veterans and their families are able to connect to jobs, school, work and medical appointments wherever they live—and improving access to reliable, affordable transportation is key to helping them do so.”

The notice of funding availability for the program’s second round of grants is published today in the Federal Register ( Proposals are due on April 19, 2012. A list of the projects that have already been funded under the previous round is available here.

The Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative is led by the federal Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility, a permanent partnership of federal departments working together to better coordinate federal programs on behalf of people with disabilities, the elderly and low-income individuals. The Council is chaired by Secretary LaHood.

Additional information on the Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative is available at

Coping with CSA: Love it, hate it, or ignore it

on .

By Mark B. Solomon - DC Velocity

The government safety initiative isn't going away, so those affected by the program need to make their peace with it.

CSA 2010, the federal government's far-reaching initiative to remove unsafe commercial drivers from the nation's roads, has rolled into its second full year of operation generating as much controversy, frustration, and hope as it did in its first.

Implemented by the Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), CSA uses a complex methodology to rate the nation's motor carriers on safety. Short for "Compliance, Safety and Accountability," CSA incorporates a "Safety Measurement System," or SMS, that assesses a trucker's on-road performance over the most recent two-year period and indicates whether the assessment should prompt the agency to dig deeper into the carrier's operational fitness.

The SMS includes seven "Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories" known as "BASICs." Embedded in the seven categories are more than 640 infractions that a driver and vehicle can be cited for. CSA replaces SafeStat, the government's prior safety measurement system.

The SMS database is populated by data generated from roadside inspections triggered by infractions such as speeding on an interstate or state highway. A speeding violation gives law enforcement "probable cause" to pull a truck over and conduct what is known as a walk-around inspection of the vehicle and driver. Any infractions that are then found will accumulate as points on a company's safety "scorecard," which is updated monthly.

Should the point total exceed the FMCSA's threshold for safety compliance, government inspectors will conduct an in-house audit of the company's operations. From there, a determination will be made if the driver is fit to continue behind the wheel... Continue reading...

Smith & Solomon Joins with CVTA to Support DOT's Commitment

on .

Contact: Tom Cosentino
iMedia Public Relations
609-514-2643 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Smith and Solomon Truck Represents Trucking Industry at Department of Transportation Photo Opportunity in Washington D.C.

New Jersey, January 30, 2012  - Smith and Solomon, a leading commercial driving school with nine schools located in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, has joined with other members of the Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA), comprised of truck driving schools across the country, to participate in the Department of Transportation’s campaign to eliminate Distracted Driving.

On Thursday, January 27 in Washington D.C., a Smith and Solomon truck was parked in front of the Department of Transportation (DOT) for a special photo opportunity involving representatives of leading trucking organizations, such as CVTA and ATA, Smith and Solomon executives and Anne S.  Ferro, Administrator, U.S.  DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Deputy Administrator, William A. Bronrott.

At the event, Administrator Ferro praised the trucking industry for joining the campaign and agreeing to place “One Text or Call Could Wreck It All” decals on trucks that will serve as billboards for the campaign across the country.

The Administrator then placed the decal (size 18.25”x28”) on the Smith and Solomon truck, representing what ultimately will be thousands of trucks to showcase the decal and bring national attention to the distracted driving campaign.

“We were so honored to be asked by the DOT to bring a truck to their headquarters in  our nation’s capital and represent CVTA and  our industry’s commitment to eliminating distracted driving,” said John Diab, Chief Operating Officer of Smith and Solomon. “We believe strongly in the Department of Transportation’s campaign as it reinforces the commitment we have already instituted throughout our training programs, to ensure our drivers are aware of the dangers of distracted driving.”

The US Department of Transportation is taking the lead in eliminating distracted driving nationwide. As part of this effort, FMCSA is working closely with other modes on a “One Text or Call Could Wreck It All” consumer campaign. This campaign is targeted to the driving public and is designed to increase awareness about the dangers of using a mobile device while driving. FMCSA is asking the Commercial Motor Vehicle industry to embrace the effort to reduce distracted driving by displaying these decals on commercial vehicles.

Smith and Solomon operates nine training centers, including five in New Jersey: Bordentown, Cherry Hill, Edison, Linden and Lakewood, one school in New Castle, Delaware and three in Pennsylvania in Dupont, Norristown and Philadelphia.

For more information on Smith and Solomon, visit:
To learn more about the Department of Transportation’s efforts to eliminate distracted driving, visit

no texting