Motor Carriers Improving Safety

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of November 14, 2011
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has released figures that show that the number of fatal crashes decreased by almost a third between 2007 and 2009.

Fatality ChartThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has released a remarkable spread of data showing a dramatic increase in safety for CMV operators that has occurred over the last decade.

A Decade of Improvements

Between 2007 and 2009, the number of crashes that involved a CMV and resulted in a fatality declined from 5,099 to 3,619; an incredible improvement over just a couple of years. In addition, the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes decrease from 1.32 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled to 1.12. That is a decline of more than 25%.

From 2000 to 2009 there was a significant improvement in safety. The fatal crash rate for large trucks has fallen 54.5%. Simply put, there are less than half the fatal crashes today than there were a decade ago.

What Has Caused This?

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what has caused this increase in safety and it is more than likely that, if you ask two different people in the industry you will get two different answers.

Certainly, there has been a substantial improvement in the quality and safety of trucks in the last decade. A fair amount of praise for the decrease in fatalities may belong with the truck manufacturers.

In addition, the focus towards a ‘safety culture’ among motor carriers has been prodigious. More and more carriers are simply not accepting drivers cutting corners or disobeying regulations. For a variety of reasons including CSA, the threat of lawsuits and, by no means last, the overall professionalism of motor carriers of all sizes, there has been a drive towards safety and compliance.

FMCSA would probably also point to new regulations that have been put in place over the last decade. There have been substantial rewrites of a number of major regulations including drug and alcohol testing and hours of service. The agency was founded in 2000 with the expressed intent to increase safety for motor carriers through regulation and enforcement.

Areas for Improvement

The picture wasn’t all rosy however; certain areas of the industry have some catching up to do. In the same time period, the rate of passenger carriers involved in fatal crashes only fell by 25%. Anyone who has been paying attention to the huge campaign against problematic bus companies that FMCSA has been running this year will probably not be surprised by this.

2010 and 2011

The 2010 figures will be published in March of 2012 and the 2011 figures in March of 2013. Fast-Fax will keep you up-to-date with this information when it becomes available.

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • • Vol. 111, No. 714 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011

Thanksgiving Travel Safety Tips

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It Doesn't Matter If You Travel by Plane or Car Here Are Some Important Tips
CJMathis, Yahoo! Contributor Network

Traveling during the holiday seasons can be a bit touchy. Here are 5 tips to keep travelers safe this Thanksgiving when traveling by car and 5 tips to keep travelers safe when traveling by air. My family travels all year around and finds these tips are always helpful to keep our family safe.

Thanksgiving Driving Safety Tip 1 - Plan to leave a day early this year and beat the traffic. Thanksgiving is the start of the largest holiday travel season. Beat those others who are on the road by planning ahead a bit on the time guideline. Same with your return trip this year plan to stay one extra day before the return drive.

Thanksgiving Driving Safety Tip 2 - Check that automobile and make sure it is sound, enough air in the tires, oil change on time before you leave, water in the windshield wipers, seatbelts are strong and safe, engine is running good no strange noises and be sure to check the brakes.

Thanksgiving Driving Safety Tip 3 - Pack some snacks and drinks (water preferably), these snacks will help you to keep that blood sugar levels even while driving for a few hours behind the wheel of the car.

Thanksgiving Driving Safety Tip 4 - Stop along the way. It is a good idea to stop every 2 or 3 hours and get out of the car. Let the kids run around for about 15 minutes. Don't be in a hurry to reach your destination. It may even be nice to plan a couple of side trips at interesting areas for keeping your brain working strong. Continue Reading.


FMSCA Figures Show Improved Trucking Safety Record

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By Eric Miller, Staff Reporter

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.


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

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...


Comprehensive Truck Safety Data Shows Trucking as Safe as Ever

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By Lyndon Finney
The Trucker Staff

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...