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FMSCA Figures Show Improved Trucking Safety Record

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By Eric Miller, Staff Reporter
Source: ttnews.com/articles/basetemplate.aspx?storyid=28090

The number of large truck-involved fatal crashes declined by nearly one-third from 2007-2009, according to a new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration statistical report.

The most recent fatality rates and numbers — which were quietly posted on FMCSA’s website last month — showed that crashes declined to 3,215, from 4,633.

It also said that number of large trucks in fatal crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled dropped in those same years from 1.32 to 1.12 — a downturn of 26%.

Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled declined to 1.17 in 2009, from 1.59 in 2007.

Since 2000, the fatal crash rate for large trucks has fallen 54.5% - more than twice as much as the passenger vehicle fatal crash rate, which dropped just 25% in the same time period...
Continue reading.

Source: ttnews.com/articles/basetemplate.aspx?storyid=28090

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Driver Shortage, Tight Fleet Capacity Fuel Growth of Intermodal Shipping

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By Rip Watson, Senior Reporter
This story appears in the Nov. 14 print edition of Transport Topics.

The truck driver shortage and related fleet capacity constraints are driving strong growth in domestic intermodal hauling as carriers and shippers try to ensure they have freight-moving options in the months ahead, industry experts said.

Intermodal’s rising profile is spotlighted in railroad reports of double-digit volume growth, comments from trucking executives and a comparison of truckload and intermodal loads.

Largest intermodal rail carrier BNSF Railway boosted domestic intermodal shipments 11% in the first 10 months of this year, while Norfolk Southern Corp. and CSX Corp. also reported double-digit domestic volume growth.

“Almost every shipper I’ve talked to is looking at how they can increase intermodal,” said trucker Ike Brown, vice chairman of NFI Industries, Vineland, N.J., which ranks No. 24 on Transport Topics Top 100 for-hire carriers in the United States and Canada. “That is being driven mostly by the demographics of the driver situation,” Brown said, referring to the aging of the commercial truck-driver corps.

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Senate Committee OKs Highway Bill

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By Michele Fuetsch, Staff Reporter
This story appears in the Nov. 14 print edition of Transport Topics.


The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last week approved a transportation bill that would authorize $84 billion in highway spending over two years, the first such measure to move in Congress since the previous funding legislation expired in 2009.

Sponsored by two Republicans and two Democrats, the measure was sent to the full Senate on Nov. 9, although identified revenue sources to fund it fell $12 billion short.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the panel’s highest-ranking Republican, said the vote was “predicated” on finding additional revenue to fully fund the measure. “It’s not going to go anywhere outside of this committee until we find that funding,” he said.

Introduced Nov. 4, the bill contains several proposals that would affect trucking, including creation of a national program designed to speed freight along the nation’s highways

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Team truck drivers becoming scarcer than solos, brokerage exec says

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By Mark B. Solomon
DC Velocity
Source: dcvelocity.com/articles/20111116_team_truck_drivers_becoming_scarce/

Team drivers "are like gold," says head of Con-way Multimodal.

The president of the brokerage division of transport logistics giant Con-way Inc. said it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract and retain two-person team drivers, an important factor in carriers' ability to execute long-haul deliveries of high-value, time-sensitive shipments such as perishables.

C. Thomas Barnes, president of Aurora, Ill.-based Con-way Multimodal, said that while the brokerage is not having much trouble locating solo drivers to move his customers' loads, procuring team drivers is another story. Finding teams is a "much bigger issue" than obtaining the services of solo drivers, Barnes said, adding that "teams are like gold."

In an interview with DC Velocity on Monday at the National Industrial Transportation League's annual meeting in Atlanta, Barnes said team drivers are in short supply for the same reasons that plague companies seeking qualified long-haul truckload drivers, namely a difficult work-life balance and relatively low pay for long hours on the road. In addition, team drivers are often asked to handle specialized freight such as perishables and hazardous materials because those commodities often require fast deliveries—usually in less than three days—over long distances.

Finding team drivers certified to transport hazardous materials is probably the most formidable of the recruitment challenges, said Barnes, who estimated that "specialized" commodities account for about 35 percent of Con-way Multimodal's traffic mix... Continue reading...

Source: dcvelocity.com/articles/20111116_team_truck_drivers_becoming_scarce/

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Comprehensive Truck Safety Data Shows Trucking as Safe as Ever

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By Lyndon Finney
The Trucker Staff
Source: thetrucker.com/News/Stories/2011/11/16/Comprehensivetrucksafetydatashowstruckingassafeasever.aspx

WASHINGTON — The Analysis Division of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has published its comprehensive safety report on large trucks for 2009, and while the information about the total number of truck-related fatalities was not new (3,380 in 2009 versus 4,245 as reported in 2008), the report delivered additional, in-depth data that shows the trucking industry is as safe as it ever has been.

Meanwhile, the fact that the FMCSA did not publicize the report has become a story in itself.

“Based on the report, fatal crashes involving a large truck have fallen 31 percent from 2007 to 2009 and crashes resulting in injury have fallen 30 percent,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. He praised the efforts of the nation’s truck drivers, safety directors and law enforcement officers for their contributions to the continued progress in the industry’s safety record.

The report shows that the large truck fatal crash rate fell to 1.04 crashes per 100 million miles in 2009, down from 1.21 in 2008, and that since 2000, the fatal crash rate for large trucks has declined 54.5 percent, more than twice the passenger vehicle crash rate.

“These safety gains,” Graves said, “are the result of many things — sensible regulation, improvements in technology, slower more fuel efficient driving, the dedication of professional drivers and safety directors — as well as more effective enforcement techniques that look at all the factors involved in crashes, not just a select few.”

Graves was quick to chide FMCSA for not doing more to share this good news about trucking’s safety progress.

“These results deserve to be heralded as tremendous progress and very good news for American motorists, our industry and our industry’s regulators,” Graves said. “However, FMCSA has chosen not to highlight these important results. By not celebrating this success, the agency is doing itself a disservice. These results are as much an achievement for FMCSA as they are for the nation’s trucking industry. We are at a loss on why FMCSA chose not to communicate this final data indicating great safety progress.”

A spokesperson for the FMCSA said the agency published the information last year when it was first published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and that the only thing new in the report was the data about vehicle miles traveled... Continue reading...

Source: thetrucker.com/News/Stories/2011/11/16/Comprehensivetrucksafetydatashowstruckingassafeasever.aspx

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SCAM ALERT - Nov 16, 2011

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From: Christopher G Antonik 

"Looks like we've got another scammer.  I just got a call from someone claiming to be from Western Express looking for drivers. He said his name was Jody Vance and hung up on me when I asked for his job title. I called
Western Express, and they said that they had no one by that name, and I was the second school that called about him."

Forwarded by Crissie Moffett, NAPFTDS