Do Your Drivers Need More CSA Training?

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Week of August 15, 2011
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ATRI report reveals that many drivers simply don’t understand FMCSA’s CSA safety measurement system. Here are some of the biggest CSA myths out on the road today.

FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety Accountability (CSA) safety measurement system was a source of driver concern and confusion even before it went live last December. Months later a new report from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) reveals that many drivers believe and are circulating myths about CSA.

Some Common CSA Myths

ATRI surveyed more than 4,500 truck drivers and uncovered several common CSA myths and misconceptions. Here are a few highlights:

  • 78% of drivers incorrectly believe that a trucking company inherits past violations from new hires. Under CSA, only the violations and accidents that occur while the driver is operating under a carrier’s authority affect the employer’s SMS ratings. Therefore, newly hired drivers do not bring their past violations with them, and carriers can not eliminate inspections and crashes from their record by terminating a driver.
  • 72% falsely believe that FMCSA can revoke a commercial driver’s license (CDL) as a result of CSA. Only state agencies responsible for issuing licenses have the authority to suspend them. The introduction of CSA did not give FMCSA the authority to remove drivers from their jobs or take away their CDLs.
  • 68.6% of drivers falsely believe that CSA takes into account a driver’s personal vehicle driving record. A ticket or warning received while operating a personal vehicle does not count in the SMS.
  • 58.5% of drivers falsely believe that the federal motor carrier safety regulations have changed as a result of CSA. Contrary to what many believe, CSA did not usher in a whole new set of regulations. CSA is simply a new system that prioritizes carriers for enforcement action. Carriers are still subject to all of the same regulatory requirements, including Drug and Alcohol, Hours-of-Service, Driver Qualifications, and more. The FMCSA is currently working on CSA-related changes to the Safety Fitness Determination process, but a final rule is months, if not years, away.

Other Driver Concerns

The ATRI survey also revealed that drivers are surprisingly uninformed about CSA BASICs. According to the report, 99% of drivers could not correctly identify which five carrier BASICs scores are publicly available. Meanwhile, 98% did not know that official driver scores are only available to FMCSA enforcement officials.

Is It Time for CSA Refresher Training?

There may not be a mandatory CSA training requirement, but it is still important for both carriers and drivers to understand the system.
Carriers may want to take a few minutes during their next safety meeting to clarify the CSA myths highlighted in this issue and to answer any driver questions about the CSA system. If your drivers pose questions that you need help answering, please do not hesitate to call a Foley Compliance Specialist at 800-253-5506. Our regulatory experts have been following and reporting on the roll-out of CSA for a few years, and will be happy to help you find answers to drivers’ toughest CSA questions.

CSA Resources

Foley has a number of resources to help motor carriers and drivers operating under the CSA system. Click on the CSA2010 tab in the top menu of our homepage at There you will find a variety of CSA-compliant products and services, including the top-selling The Motor Carrier’s Guide to CSA: Understanding Compliance, Safety, Accountability.

Transportation Ticker

Guidance, But No New Rules, for Farmers. Late last week you could practically hear the agricultural community breathing a collective sigh of relief as FMCSA announced that it was not planning to introduce new regulations for agricultural transport. Many farmers and others who earn a living from the agricultural industry were concerned that FMCSA was considering new rules when the agency issued a May 31, 2011 public notice requesting public input on the current safety rules and exemptions for farmers.

The agency did issue new guidance to help ensure that states are applying agricultural exceptions in a fair and consistent manner. For more information, visit

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • • Vol. 111, No. 700 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011

CVTA Fall Conference 2011 Takes Shape

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Press Release
For Further Information Please Contact:
Cindy Atwood
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Commercial Vehicle Training Association, Inc. will host its Fall Conference 2011 at the Hyatt Regency, Arlington, VA September  15 – 17, 2011.  The conference will be the largest gathering of commercial driver training organizations in the country. CVTA member operate approximately 200 training locations, and train more than 50,000 entry-level drivers per year.

The Conference will feature an outstanding line up of speakers, including: Bill Bronrott, Deputy Administrator, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Robert Dumas, Education Liaison Representative , U. S. Veterans Administration  Education Services;  Bob Costello, Chief Economist and Vice President, American Trucking Associations; Gary Petty, President and CEO, National Private Truck Council and  John Hazard Jr., Partner, Webster Chamberlin and Bean, LLP.

Attendees will also hear a presentation by Kendis Paris, National Director, Truckers Against Trafficking on the important work of that organization.

The Conference is open to all that are interested in quality training for entry-level commercial drivers.

Scammer Alert -August 19, 2011

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From Chuck Wirth:

A man posing to be with USA Truck using the name James Hayes, phone number - 615-975-9326 is requesting students money-gram $250 to a Don Hopper in Huntsville AL. We verified with Steve Brantley at USA Truck this individual does not work for or with USA Truck.


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Published August 16, 2011
Source:  CCJ Digital

Over the next 12 months, company driver pay will rise 3 to 5 cents a mile and owner-operator pay 4 to 6 cents a mile as carriers compete for a diminished supply of quality candidates, a forecast pay specialist predicted. The lower end of those ranges will occur even if the national economy continues in the doldrums, while the higher numbers will be achieved if manufacturing improves, said Gordon Klemp, president of National Transportation Institute.

Klemp – participating in a Monday, Aug. 15 webinar produced by Overdrive and Truckers News magazines and sponsored by Freightliner Trucks – said sign-on bonuses, which have re-emerged in the past couple years, will continue. He also forecast increased use of productivity pay programs.

Based on a second-quarter survey of 350 carriers, Klemp offered the following observations:
  • Quality of available driver candidates is “marginal at best”;
  • Driver demand and supply is out of balance; and
  • Wages have moved up in the last year and should go higher.

Factors such as the underground economy, part-time jobs and regulatory hurdles such as Compliance Safety Accountability and potential hours-of-service changes are reducing the pool of qualified drivers.

Klemp said he’s seen innovative pay programs emerge in the last six to nine months, and all revolve around five key components: regionalization, equipment utilization, fuel, customer service and safety. “We’ve seen a number of programs that carriers think are working really well,” he said. “All of those put money in the carriers’ pockets, so they’ve got dollars to spend on the driver side.”

In the last 12 months, 48 percent more carriers have begun offering regional pay packages to meet demands for higher pay in some markets, Klemp said; the spread now averages 11 cents a mile. Klemp said one carrier he monitors offered no regional pay differences in 1995; today that carrier offers 17 different regional pay packages for owner-operators based on type of hauling and road time, and seven packages for drivers.

Higher compensation also accrues to drivers willing to forego home time and stay on the road longer in time increments that range from six days up to 45 days and longer. Teams will continue to attract higher bonuses, with several carriers offering $6,000, Klemp said. In the last year, the top bonus hit $10,000. Continue Reading...

Source: CCJ Digital

A shortage of drivers has trucking companies offering to pay recruits...

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A shortage of drivers has trucking companies offering to pay recruits while they're training

By Mark Puente, Times Staff Writer
In Print Saturday, August 13, 2011

Gary Jones lost his job in December after working in construction for nearly 30 years. At 55 and retirement still years away, he needed a new career and a steady paycheck. He got his wish.

Jones recently juggled six job offers and expects to earn $40,000 over the next year by joining the ranks of the 3.5 million truckers who shuttle freight on American roads. The transportation industry needs a lot more people like Jones to fill a nationwide shortage of truckers that may hit 300,000 next year.

"People can't find jobs in Florida," said Jones of Wesley Chapel. "This is an avenue to pursue."

It sure is, although it seems odd there would be a shortage of truck drivers with a national unemployment rate of 9.1 per cent (10.6 percent in Florida) and the economy just stumbling along.

New standards enacted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration forced carriers to scrutinize the employment, driving and criminal histories of applicants — weeding out many problem drivers. That, coupled with carriers gutting recruiting departments and downsizing fleets during the Great Recession, triggered the shortage.

The new rules have caused an operational hardship, although safer drivers on the road are better for the public, said Bob Costello, chief economist at the American Trucking Association.

He calls the shortage "a quality issue, not a quantity issue." On the flip side, "drivers who have good records are in high demand," he said. The shortage has prompted the group to launch a nationwide recruiting campaign.

Many jobs have starting wages higher than $35,000. Advertisements litter billboards, the Internet and print publications. Still, to the bafflement of the trucking industry, the calls go unanswered.

"The pool of applicants just isn't there to fill these jobs," said Mary Lou Rajchel, president of the Florida Trucking Association. "The doors are open to hire professional truckers."

The days of people wanting to grab a CB radio while steering 80,000-pound rigs across the freeways are waning as baby boomers approach the twilight of their careers.

"The younger generation is not willing to do this work," said Doc Hyder, president of Rowland Transportation in Dade City.

Hyder is seeing more turnover among his 91 drivers as they test the waters at other firms. Shipping costs will rise as carriers battle for drivers, he said.

"It will lead to higher wages for drivers," he said. "It's what they deserve."

For years, the industry battled negative stereotypes made famous by movies like Smokey and the Bandit and news stories about problem drivers moving between carriers in the same week... Continue Reading...


CAFE Standards Applied to Trucks for First Time

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Week of August 8, 2011
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Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards have been applied to heavy-duty vehicles for the first time. Starting in 2014 new trucks will have to be much more fuel efficient.

The Obama Administration announced this week that, for the first time, the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards would apply to heavy-duty vehicles. This would stretch from large pick-up trucks all the way up to the big rigs and would make the same demands of truck manufacturers that car manufacturers have had since the 1970’s.
Increased Efficiency Standards: The following increases in fuel efficiency are being applied:

  • Combination Tractors: Up to 20%
  • Heavy-Duty Trucks and Vans: Up to 15%
  • Work Vehicles (e.g., transit buses and garbage trucks): 10%

According to the Department of Transportation: “Long haul trucks will save an average of 4 gallons for fuel for every 100 miles traveled. Heavy-duty pickups and vehicles like buses, delivery trucks, or vans would save one gallon for every 100 miles traveled.”

The fuel savings are also expected to have a significant effect on reducing the emission of greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide.

Current Trucks Will Remain On the Road

The new standards, which are effective for the 2014 to 2018 model years, will not affect current trucks. You will not be required to update your current vehicle. The Obama Administration, however, is citing a number of reasons as to why you might want to buy a new vehicle once the new rules are in place.

Lifetime Cost Savings

The White House is, of course, worried about our reliance on foreign oil and, in particular, the vulnerability of our goods transportation system. Currently, 95% or more of all purchased items in the United States have spent some time on a diesel truck. By reducing the amount of fuel that we use, we reduce the need for oil from volatile areas such as the Middle-East. It is estimated that by adopting these new standards, the nation would use 530 million less barrels of oil.

From the owner-operator and the fleet owner’s perspective, though, the best incentive is savings. A semi-truck driver would see, on average, $73,000 in lifetime savings when compared to a current vehicle. The DOT estimates that for most trucks the additional cost caused by the new technology would be off-set within the first year of ownership.

Is Hybrid Technology The Answer?

In order for these new standards to be reached truck manufacturers will have to follow the lead of car makers and invest in new technology. The most likely candidate for achieving these new standards is hybrid-electric.

In fact, many of the manufacturers have already started to develop hybrid solutions, principally for the military. Obviously, when driving through the Afghan desert, soldiers don’t have the option of stopping for gas and the hybrid solutions have worked well at extending range. It should be noted, however, that most of the hybrid trucks used by the military are on the lighter end of the weight scale.

Perhaps indicating that this is the route that they intend to follow, the major truck manufacturers have all at least demonstrated hybrid technology although there is not much that is actually available to purchase today — these solutions will have to be made available before the standards come into effect.

Streamlining a Solution

Beyond the power train, the industry has other optimization solutions to utilize. The current trend towards streamlining will have to continue. Most modern trucks — most dramatically, the International Lonestar — present a much more streamlined profile than the traditional “two boxes” design. Streamlining has been shown to be as, if not more, effective at saving fuel as hybrid engines.

As it did with cars, it is expected the new CAFE rules will kick-start a revolution in vehicle design.

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • • Vol. 111, No. 699 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011