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Regal Cinemas and Outcast's PumpTop TV Join Safety Campaign

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Source: fastlane.dot.gov/2011/11/omg.html

“One Text or Call Could Wreck It All” campaign; both to feature new “OMG” PSA

With the holiday season upon us, newer drivers--whether home on college break or out of high school for winter vacation--will be taking to our roadways in greater number.  And at DOT, we’re trying to reach them wherever we can with two new distracted driving awareness ads.

This week, that means we'll see them in the movies...and at the gas pumps.

Thanks to the generosity of our newest safety partners, Regal Entertainment Group and Outcast's PumpTop TV, we're bringing the “One Text or Call” campaign to what may be our largest audience ever through our new “OMG” Public Service Announcements (PSAs).

All this week, a version of the new “OMG” ad geared towards teens will run exclusively on 6,589 movie screens in 526 cinemas owned and operated by Regal Entertainment Group across the country.  And throughout December, a different version will air on the 12,000 screens operated by Outcast’s PumpTop TV at high-traffic gas stations across the United States.

“It’s so important that we educate young drivers of the dangers of distracted driving and help them make smart decisions that will keep them safe during the holiday season and beyond,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland... Continue reading.

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DOT Sets Final Rule Banning Truck Drivers’ Use of Hand-Held Phones

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Source: ttnews.com/articles/basetemplate.aspx?storyid=28156&utm_source=express&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=newsletter

The Department of Transportation announced a final rule that will ban interstate truck and bus drivers from using hand-held cellphones while operating their vehicles.

The rule, issued by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, is the latest move by DOT Secretary Ray LaHood to end distracted driving.

The rule prohibits commercial drivers from using hand-held phones while driving a truck or bus, sets federal civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense and disqualifies drivers from operating a commercial motor vehicle after multiple offenses.

Commercial truck and bus companies that allow drivers to use hand-held cell phones while driving will face a penalty of up to $11,000. The rule will affect about four million commercial drivers, DOT said.

FMCSA issued a regulation banning truck drivers from texting while operating in September 2010. PHMSA followed with a companion regulation in February 2011, banning texting by intrastate hazardous materials drivers... Continue reading

Source: ttnews.com/articles/basetemplate.aspx?storyid=28156&utm_source=express&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=newsletter

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Campaign Educates on Sharing the Road with Big Rigs

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WASHINGTON - In Alexandria's Del Ray neighborhood Saturday, both kids and adults got to hop up and sit in the cab of a tractor trailer.

Five year- old R.J. Davis couldn't wait for his turn. His reaction: "It's cool."

The truck is part of the "Share the Road" campaign, a highway safety community outreach program, says Elisabeth Barna, vice president of strategic planning for the American Trucking Associations.

The aim is "to try and educate the public about sharing the road with large trucks," she says.

Besides the truck's major blind spots, Barna says it takes a tractor-trailer that is carrying a full-load the entire length of a football field plus the end zones to stop... Continue reading

Source: wtop.com/?nid=41&sid=2647769

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DOT to Warn Teens About the Dangers of Distracted Driving

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DOTRegal Cinemas and Outcast’s PumpTop TV to Air PSAs Across the Country

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Transportation today unveiled “OMG,” a new public service announcement (PSA) to warn teenagers against the dangers of distracted driving. The PSA is available on the newly redesigned Distraction.gov website, along with new materials designed especially for young drivers. The PSA will air nationwide on Regal Cinema theater screens this week and on gas station pump-top screens owned by Outcast’s PumpTop TV throughout the month of December.

“Teen drivers are particularly vulnerable to distracted driving which is why we are making an extra effort to ensure they understand the dangers,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Thanks to the help of Regal Cinemas and Outcast’s PumpTop TV, we’re reaching teens directly – whether they’re at the movies or filling up their tanks – to emphasize the importance of keeping their eyes on the road, their hands on the wheel, and their focus on driving at all times.”

With the holiday driving season under way and young drivers preparing to take to the roadways during their winter vacations, the new PSA is designed to reach teenagers using imagery that relates to popular shorthand text messages such as “L8R” for “later” or “LOL” for “laugh out loud.” 

Two versions of the PSA will air. A version geared towards a teenage audience will run exclusively on 6,589 movie screens in 526 cinemas across the country that are owned and operated by Regal Entertainment Group. A more somber version will air on the 12,000 screens that top pumps at high traffic gas stations across the United States operated by Outcast’s PumpTop TV. Both versions of the PSA are available for viewing on DOT’s redesigned website, www.Distraction.gov.

“Regal Entertainment Group is pleased to support the Department of Transportation’s public service campaign to create awareness of many driver distractions and to encourage safe driving habits,” stated Greg Dunn President and COO of Regal Entertainment Group. “We hope that together we can make a difference by programming the 'Distracted Driving' PSA in our theaters across the country during this busy holiday season.”

“We are proud to work with Secretary LaHood and DOT to help raise awareness for this lifesaving campaign by reaching drivers with a relevant reminder about texting and talking while driving,” said Nathan Gill at Outcast’s PumpTopTV. “We want to ensure that our busy, on-the-go audience has access to important information that can help save lives, and there is no better time to be reminded of this vital message than during those five minutes our viewers are stopped at the pump.”

“Today’s teenagers make no secret about the fact that they want to stay connected to their social networks and enjoy text messaging. That’s why it’s so important that we educate young drivers of the dangers of distracted driving and help them make smart decisions that will keep them safe during the holiday season and beyond,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.

In 2009, Secretary LaHood launched a national anti-distracted driving campaign to combat the growing trend toward this dangerous behavior, including a dedicated website to provide the public with a comprehensive source of information on the issue. Since then, DOT has also hosted two national summits devoted to reducing distracted driving, crafted sample legislation which states can use to adopt distracted driving laws, and initiated pilot law enforcement programs in Hartford, Conn., and Syracuse, N.Y., modeled after the Department’s successful efforts to increase seatbelt use and curb drunk driving.

Currently 35 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam have banned text messaging by all drivers. Nine states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands have prohibited all hand-held cell phone use while driving.

To view the new ads click here.

To learn more about DOT’s campaign against distracted driving, visit www.Distraction.gov.

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Laser-guided Trucks to Beat Driver Shortages

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Source: SupplyChainReview.com.au/news/articleid/77189.aspx

Laser-guided Truck
Picture Source: Mail Online

Remote trucks and forklifts are the answer to resolving driver shortages in the transport industry, according to corporate advisory insolvency firm Ferrier Hodgson.

Laser-guided driverless vehicles are starting to appear on mining sites, which are programmed and controlled by an operator at a computer.

Rio Tinto’s recent decision to buy 150 driverless Komatsu trucks is a sign of different things to come, a partner at Ferrier-Hodgson, Brendan Richards, says.

“They are expanding on a trial of five trucks which has been operating since 2008 at its West Angelas iron ore mine in the East Pilbara region,” he says.

“Fortescue Metals is also looking to have a dozen Caterpillar autonomous trucks in operation by the end of the year, with another 33 to follow.”

Rio Tinto plans to have up to 40 percent of its fleet driverless by 2015 and controlled by a state-of-the-art operations centre in Perth, Richards adds.

“Whilst this represents a massive investment, costing about 30 percent more than conventional vehicles, in the context of an industry-wide labour shortage, transport operators have to increasingly think outside the box,” he says.

“This technology has enormous potential to boost productivity and reduce costs for operators in the resources sector. In the meantime, it is giving the rest of the trucking industry... Continue reading

Source: SupplyChainReview.com.au/news/articleid/77189.aspx

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President Obama Signs Veterans Tax Credit Bill

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by Jim Dao
Source: atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/21/president-obama-signs-veterans-tax-credit-bill

If anyone doubted that veterans remain potent political symbols, they need look no further than Congress’s ability to set aside partisan gridlock last week and overwhelmingly enact legislation providing tax credits to businesses that hire veterans. Flanked by veterans advocates, President Obama signed the bill into law this morning.

The “VOW to Hire Heroes Act” will provide tax credits of up to $2,400 for employers who hire veterans who have been unemployed at least 4 weeks; up to $5,600 for hiring veterans who have been unemployed longer than 6 months; and up to $9,600 for businesses that hire veterans who have service-connected disabilities and have been unemployed longer than 6 months.

Though the unemployment rate among veterans of all ages is actually lower than the overall population, the rate is high among veterans of the current wars, standing at 12 percent, compared with about 9 percent for the population at large. The higher rate is driven largely by widespread joblessness among veterans under 25 years old, whose unemployment rate was 30 percent last month.

There has long been debate among economists over whether tax credits actually create jobs, or simply reward businesses for hiring people that they would have hired anyway. In theAtlantic.com, Daniel Indiviglio wrote recently that the tax credits might create at most a few new jobs, but that they were mainly likely to encourage the hiring of veterans over nonveterans when their qualifications are similar.

“Few employers will create new jobs from scratch just to try to bring on more veterans and obtain the credit,” Mr. Indiviglio wrote.

But Mr. Indiviglio also asserted that shifting the proportion of new hires toward veterans would be a good thing by helping to correct what he called “a grave injustice.”

“If these brave men and women chose not to fight for their country but merely remained civilians instead years ago, then many would more likely be employed today,” he said.

That sentiment seems to be shared across ideological lines on Capitol Hill and in many business circles right now.

An editorial on Bloomberg.com last week, for instance, made the case that even if the tax credits do not stimulate the economy or create new jobs, they are morally the right thing to do.

“We have no illusion that these credits are going to create lots of new jobs,” the editorial said. “But they will encourage employers to favor veterans when hiring. In a robust, growing economy, that might be an unnecessary accommodation to returning military personnel. However, after a decade of brutal warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan, where fighting men and women have served grueling multiple deployments, it seems a small and entirely just recompense.”

On a White House blog, a Marine Corps veteran, Justin Constantine, wrote on Monday that the tax credits were not “an overall panacea to our veterans’ unemployment problems,” but when combined... Continue reading

Source: atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/21/president-obama-signs-veterans-tax-credit-bill

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Interstate Truck, Bus Drivers Banned from Using Handheld Phones

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handheld.jpgThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration on Wednesday, Nov. 23, issued their long-awaited joint final rule specifically prohibiting interstate commercial truck and bus drivers from using handheld cell phones while operating their vehicles.

Drivers who violate the restriction will face federal civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense and disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle for multiple offenses. Additionally, states will suspend a driver’s commercial driver’s license after two or more serious traffic violations. Commercial truck and bus companies that allow their drivers to use handheld cell phones while driving will face a maximum penalty of $11,000.

“When drivers of large trucks, buses and hazardous materials take their eyes off the road for even a few seconds, the outcome can be deadly,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “I hope that this rule will save lives by helping commercial drivers stay laser-focused on safety at all times while behind the wheel.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that about four million commercial drivers will be affected by the final rule. “It’s just too dangerous for drivers to use a handheld cell phone while operating a commercial vehicle,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro. “Drivers must keep their eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and head in the game when operating on our roads. Lives are at stake.”

FMCSA said that while driver distraction studies have produced mixed results, its own research has shown that using a handheld cell phone while driving requires a commercial driver to take several steps beyond what is required for using a hands-free mobile phone, including searching and reaching for the phone. Commercial drivers reaching for an object, such as a cell phone, are three times more likely to be involved in a crash or other safety-critical event, according to FMCSA, and dialing a hand-held cell phone makes it six times more likely that commercial drivers will be involved in a crash or other safety-critical event.

In September 2010, FMCSA issued a regulation banning text messaging while operating a commercial truck or bus, and PHMSA followed with a companion regulation in February 2011, banning texting by intrastate hazardous materials drivers. “Needless injuries and deaths happen when people are distracted behind the wheel,” said PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman. “Our final rule would improve safety and reduce risks of hazmat in transportation.”

To view the final rule, go to www.regulations.gov; the docket numbers are FMCSA–2010-0096 and PHMSA-2010-0227.