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Trucking's Monster Jam

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By Rich Duprey
Fools.com
September 11, 2010


If you've ever witnessed a traffic jam start as drivers slow down to look at an accident, you'll understand the wreck that's about to hit the trucking industry.

Complaints about aggressive truck drivers have led not only to a crackdown by state highway patrols, but also the implementation of a driver-safety measurement system intended to weed out drivers who are deemed unfit to sit behind the wheel of a big rig. Known as the Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010, it will instead cause the industry -- which had been on the road to recovery -- to crash. And there will be a big jam in every corner of the economy as a result.

You're doing a heckuva job ...
Like a lot of government programs, the regulations are well intentioned but will have dire consequences. Trucking companies are having trouble finding qualified drivers, and analysts estimate that the rules will reduce the driver pool by as much as 7%. And now, even though large trucks are involved in just 6% of all accidents nationwide, a rote, just-check-the-boxes rating mentality means that Werner Enterprises (Nasdaq: WERN) says it will have to let some drivers go even though they have unblemished accident histories.

Many drivers, for example, aren't allowed to supervise the loading of their trucks, but if a load shifts or spills, they're held accountable and will have points counted against them in the rating system. Same with companies that have their own maintenance and repair shops, where drivers are still responsible for any vehicle defects. And any warnings the police issue are held against drivers just as if they'd gotten a ticket.

... but don't come back!
The trucking industry has lost almost 150,000 jobs since 2008 (Continue to read more...)
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Trucker shortage creates openings for long-haul drivers

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By Dale Yurong
abclocal.go.com

Some worry a trucker shortage may delay the delivery of products around the country and raise the price of some items.

Despite the tight economy, the American Trucking Association says the industry is still short of long-haul drivers.

Big rigs on Highway 99 help transport many of your favorite foods, products and machinery. Moving freight up and down the state isn't a problem for trucking companies. But cross-country jobs are harder to fill.

Jose Sandoval is a truck driving instructor for Proteus. The program trains farm workers like Marco Garcia and helps them find work once they finish their training. Sandoval said, "A lot of them are over the road. We've been placing a lot of them local also, especially right now with the season, tomatoes and stuff like that. A lot of Ag work."

Sandoval says long haul jobs offer more opportunity. But the drivers he trains all want to stay local because they don't want to spend weeks away from their families. He explained, "Actually I tell them if they go on the road it's a better chance for them for experience and they come back after six months to a year, they're going to have a lot of doors open for local work."

Trucking company owner Jim Ganduglia said the trucker shortage does not apply to California. A line of idle rigs shows how many of his drivers are waiting for work. Ganduglia said, "They're not sitting there because I like to see green and yellow paint parked against my fence. It's because the economy stinks."

Ganduglia ships freight around the state. Everything from Ag fertilizer to chemicals. He said, "We've got customers where they were shipping 10 loads a day are now shipping maybe five. Most often none. It goes from feast to famine from one day to the next."

Ganduglia says he recently had to lay off four drivers -- A first since Jim's father started the company back in 1939.

(Copyright ©2010 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)


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CSA2010 Preparation Special: What Are The BASICs and How Do They Work?

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Week of August 23, 2010

Over the next few months, as implementation gets closer, Fast-Fax will explore various aspects of CSA2010 to help you prepare. This week: The BASICs.

The Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs)
are seven categories within the Safety Measurement System — each looking at drivers and carriers separately — that focus on an individual area of safety compliance. Those areas are:

  • Unsafe Driving
  • Driver Fatigue
  • Driver Fitness
  • Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use
  • Vehicle Maintenance
  • Cargo-Related
  • Crash Indicator
BASIC  Passenger
CMV
 Hazmat
CMV
 Other
CMV
Unsafe driving, fatigued driving, crash indicator 50% 67% 72%
Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances/Alcohol Use, Vehicle Maintenance, Cargo-Related 55% 72% >77%
 Once a BASIC Percentile Crosses These Thresholds an Intervention is Likely.

These BASICs are actually each a series of equations to weight the severity of a violation and the time since it occurred. In addition the equations all take into account the size of the motor carrier or the level of exposure to FMCSA enforcement that the carrier or driver has had.

Percentiles

So what does a BASIC get you? Essentially, the BASICs are calculated to create a percentile. This is a score, based on a specific equation for each BASIC which ranks a driver or motor carrier with its peers. As a rule of thumb, the lower the percentile, the better a carrier or driver does. Once a percentile crosses a certain threshold, (see the table above), FMCSA is alerted that there are compliance problems. FMCSA will take action based on the percentile. This action can include everything from letters of intervention to temporary or even permanent out-of-service orders.

Normalization

In an effort to create a fair measure of a carrier, FMCSA has introduced a number of processes that will affect the equations used to calculate BASIC measures. FMCSA calls this process ‘normalization’. This is designed to echo the differences in exposure to enforcement between different carriers and drivers.

For example, the Driver Fatigue and Driver Fitness BASICs are ‘normalized’ by the number of driver inspections but the Vehicle Maintenance and Loading and Cargo Securement BASICs are ‘normalized’ by the number of vehicle inspections.

Weighted Measures

The BASICs are judging the carrier on the number and severity of violations that the carrier or driver has committed. In order to judge a carrier or driver fairly, FMCSA weights these violations by severity and time. For example, a minor log book violation would be judged much less harshly than driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Time weighting rewards efforts by a motor carrier to improve safety. A violation that occurred in the past is weighted less harshly than one that occurred more recently.

Power Units and VMT

In some BASICs, FMCSA looks at the size of motor carrier’s operation. In these cases, FMCSA takes an average of the number of power units based on the number of power units currently owned, the number owned 6 months ago and the number owned 18 months ago. FMCSA also takes the number of Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT) into account compared to the average number of power units.

The average number of power units and the calculation of VMT becomes important later in the SMS process as a carrier is judged in relation to its peers.

Data Sufficiency

In circumstances where a carrier could face potential intervention because of a poor BASIC measurement, FMCSA employs what it calls ‘data sufficiency standards’ to ensure that there is enough reliable information to make a reasonable determination that intervention is necessary.

Editor: Donald E. Lewis, President • 1-800-253-5506 • www.FoleyServices.com • Vol. 110, No. 651 • © Foley Services, Inc. 2010

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Foley Services Fast Fax - Part 40 Changes Will Remove More Drug Using Drivers From the Road

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Final Rule introduces testing for ecstasy and mandatory initial testing for heroin, and lowers the cut-off levels for cocaine and amphetamines.

Week of August 16, 2010

At the end of last week — as Issue No. 649 of Fast-Fax was being put to bed — the Department of Transportation (DOT) released a highly anticipated Final Rule explaining the changes to its drug and alcohol testing program. There’s some good news for Fast-Fax readers with competent drug and alcohol testing program providers: the changes primarily impact procedures at the program management, laboratory and Medical Review Officer (MRO) level. If you’re a client of Foley Services, you have nothing to worry about. We are already working hard to ensure that all of the new procedures will be in place by October 1, 2010 — the effective date of the new rule.

This current round of Part 40 changes was designed to bring the DOT’s drug and alcohol testing requirements in line with recent Department of Health and Human Services’ changes to the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs. The DOT followed the HHS’s lead with one notable exception: All DOT initial and confirmatory testing must be completed at a full-service laboratory.The revised Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs allow for initial testing at an Instrumental Initial Test Facilities (IITFs) as long as a full-service laboratory is used for confirmatory testing.

The following changes — all effective October 1, 2010 — apply to both the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs and the DOT’s Part 40:

  • Adding MDMA, commonly referred to as ecstasy, to the list of amphetamines to be tested for;
  • Looking for common MDMA variants during confirmatory testing;
  • Conducting initial testing for 6-Acetymorphines, a common derivative of Heroin; and
  • Lowering the initial and confirmatory cut-off levels for amphetamines and cocaine.


The DOT also revised several Part 40 definitions to mirror the definitions in HHS’ Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs.

Testing for Ecstasy

As part of the rule, MDMA and its variants MDA and MDEA are now included in the amphetamine panel. Employers and supervisors interested in learning more about the effects of ecstasy and common signs and symptoms of abuse are encouraged to attend our next “DOT Supervisor Training for Reasonable-Suspicion Drug and Alcohol Testing” on September 9. For more information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit FoleyServices.webex.com.

It’s interesting to note that some commenters were calling for the DOT to require testing for prescription medications and other synthetic opiates in addition to or instead of MDMA. The DOT said that abuse of such substances, though a concern, was a separate issue. The department then reminded DOT-regulated employers about a valuable tool in their safety arsenal — non-DOT testing.

Lower Cut-Off Levels

Lower cut-off levels for cocaine and amphetamines will translate into more positive test results. A positive side benefit for the transportation industry and the general public is that safety will increase as substance abusers are removed from the road. In fact, one report shows a 40% increase in screening and a 30% increase in confirmation rates for amphetamines. Cocaine positives are also expected to spike. We encourage you to share this information with your drivers during informal conversations and training sessions. The lower detection levels may help deter a driver from using a banned substance in the first place.

MRO Certification

In the Final Rule, the DOT also revised its training and certification requirements for Medical Review Officers (MROs). MROs now need to be re-qualified — including passing an examination by an MRO training organization — every five years. The DOT did, however, eliminate the requirement of 12 hours of continuing education every three years.

Questions?

If you have questions about the DOT’s new drug and alcohol testing program requirements, please contact a Foley Services’ compliance specialist at 1-800-253-5506, ext. 708.


Editor: Donald E. Lewis, President • 1-800-253-5506 • www.FoleyServices.com • Vol. 110, No. 650 • © Foley Services, Inc. 2010

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CSA2010 Status Update

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-FaxTM
Week of August 9, 2010


In this week’s Fast-Fax we take a look at the status of the CSA2010 program including what you can do to prepare for implementation and how you can fix any problems you might have.

As time goes by, the implementation of the new CSA2010 compliance monitoring system gets closer and closer. Currently scheduled to go into effect in November, CSA2010 has the potential of radically shaking up the industry. As such, this week’s Fast-Fax is dedicated to updating our readers to the status of CSA2010 and to explain what information is currently accessible to them.

Implementation Timeline

FMCSA has released an official timetable of implementation. While CSA2010 has already been delayed (the original implementation date was July 15, 2010) the good news is that, so far, FMCSA seems to have stuck to the new timeline.

Summer 2010
August – Motor carriers will be able to see an assessment of their violations based on the new Carrier Safety Measurement System (CSMS) which will replace SafeStat later in 2010.

Fall 2010
  • SafeStat will be replaced by the CSMS. It will be available to the public, including shippers and insurance companies.
  • FMCSA/States will prioritize enforcement using the CSMS.
  • FMCSA will begin to issue warning letters to carriers with deficient BASICs.
  • Roadside inspectors will use the CSMS results to identify carriers for inspection.


Winter 2010
Safety fitness determination notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) is scheduled to be released.

2011
Enforcement staff will be trained, and new interventions will be implemented state-by-state.

Reviewing Your Data Now

While CSA2010 is not active yet, motor carriers will soon be able to experience what life will be like under the new system. Starting August 16, motor carriers will be able to log into the CSA2010 website (csa2010.fmcsa.dot.gov) and view how CSA2010 is evaluating their compliance.

Some information is already available; many motor carriers have already logged into the site to view the list of violations that FMCSA has gathered for their DOT number.

On August 16, FMCSA will also add the BASIC scores and percentiles to the information already available so that motor carriers will have a complete picture of their compliance.

CSA2010 Website Troubleshooting

Since the first day that the CSA2010 website has been available, we have found that many users have been having issues using it. We’ve created the following troubleshooting guide to help you through the most common issues encountered.

How Do I Log In? — To log in to the site it requires BOTH your DOT number and your DOT number PIN.
What Is My DOT Number PIN? — You should have been issued your PIN when you registered your MCS150. If you don’t know it or cannot remember it you can request a new one via safer.fmcsa.dot.gov. Be sure to request a U.S. DOT Number PIN, NOT a Docket Number PIN. You can also call 1-800-832-5660 for assistance.
The Site Is Claiming I Have Violations That I Have Never Received. — Don’t panic! One of the reasons for this preview of the CSA2010 data is so that FMCSA could remove all spurious violations from its records before the system goes online. To correct a violation you can use the ‘dataqs’ site. This is the same site that is currently being used for the same purpose under the SafeStat system. Simply go to dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov and follow the instructions on screen. Note that there are also several prominently placed links to the dataqs site within the CSA2010 site.

Upcoming Changes

FMCSA has announced a number of changes to the CSA2010 compliance Safety Measurement System (SMS). Although, these changes were not officially published before Fast-Fax went to print, we have heard from several reliable sources about what those changes may entail. It seems that several of the BASICs have been given all-new equations and percentile calculations. We have also heard that the violation weight tables have undergone a substantial rewrite.

We will bring you more details about these changes and the changes to the DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing Program (see the Transportation Ticker sidebar) as soon as they are available.

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J. J. Keller Launches Redesigned Website

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News Release
August 10, 2010

Neenah, WI — After months of gathering feedback from customers and working with its design partners, J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.® has unveiled the new JJKeller.com. The company's website was rebuilt with more advanced features to make it easier for visitors to quickly find and order the products they need, as well as stay on top of breaking safety and regulatory news.

"After reaching out to our customers, we were able to plan a focused redesign that addressed their needs," said Adrienne Hartman, Corporate E-Commerce Manager.

To view entire release, click here.

For more information, contact:

J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. 
Marketing Communications
Thomas Hines
1-800-843-3174, ext. 7543
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To visit J. J. Keller's Press Room, click here.

jjkeller_logo

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Hartford Distributors Tragedy Shakes a Community and an Industry

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-FaxTM
Week of August 2, 2010

This week a Connecticut truck driver opened fire on his co-workers after a disciplinary hearing. In what has been called Connecticut’s worst workplace shooting ever, the gunman killed eight people and wounded two others before taking his own life.

A tragic shooting that occurred just 16 miles from our corporate headquarters has employers in the state of Connecticut and beyond seeking new and better ways to protect their companies and their employees from workplace violence. On Tuesday, a truck driver accused of stealing beer and selling it to third parties opened fire on his co-workers after a disciplinary hearing that ended with him signing a resignation letter. Before taking his own life, Omar S. Thornton killed 8 people and injured two others during a shooting rampage in the Hartford Distributors, Inc.’s sprawling Manchester, CT, warehouse.

We offer our sincerest sympathy to the friends, families and co-workers of those killed in what has been called Connecticut’s worst workplace shooting ever. Our thoughts will certainly be with Hartford Distributors and its 130 workers when the company resumes operation next week.

Workplace Violence Prevention Strategies

Instances of workplace violence are far too common in the United States. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), approximately 2 million American workers are victims of workplace violence every year. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that on average approximately 800 people are killed at work each year. It’s important to note that the majority of workplace homicide victims have high-risk jobs, such as law enforcement officers or taxi drivers, and are not victims of malicious co-workers.

The following are a few steps employers can take to help safeguard the workplace from violence:

  • Evaluate Your Risks — Identify common sources of aggression and/or violence in the workplace. Try to determine who is involved and why the incidents are occurring. Re-evaluate these risks regularly, especially if your company is going through any major changes.

  • Create a Violence Prevention Plan — Create standard procedures for reporting, responding to and following up on a threat. In your plan, consider the risks you identified during your evaluation.

  • Emergency Action Plan — Your company has a fire evacuation plan and participates in fire drills, right? You should also develop an emergency action plan and provide employees with strategies for protecting themselves during a workplace violence incident.

  • Distribute a Violence Prevention Policy — This brief document should clearly establish that your company has zero-tolerance for aggressive and violent behavior, and that employees and management are responsible for maintaining a safe work environment. With a zero-tolerance policy in place, it is up to management to ensure that all incidents are dealt with quickly and appropriately.

  • Educate Employees — Make sure all employees understand the Violence Prevention Policy. Have them sign an acknowledgement that they have read the policy and recognize the consequences for non-compliance.

  • Offer an Employee Assistance Program — An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides employees with a free and confidential way to seek help with a variety of issues before they impact workplace safety or productivity.

Workplace Safety and Background Screening

Safe hiring practices also play a key role in workplace safety and security. The hiring process for safety-sensitive employees, such as truck drivers, is very stringent. When done properly, it includes no less than 18 sets of forms and prior employer, drug and alcohol violation history and motor vehicle report check.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s required checks offer a snapshot of a driver’s performance at the wheel, but they don’t provide the full picture. Many employers augment their mandated checks with a detailed screening package that includes a social security validation, criminal record checks, a national crime database search, nationwide sex offender check and Patriot Act search. Thorough background checks can help keep dangerous individuals out of your company, providing a safer environment for your customers, business associate and your employees.

www.FoleyServices.com • Vol. 110, No. 648 • © Foley Services, Inc. 2010

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Senate Bill Would Allow Heavier Trucks

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Measure Backed by ATA, Shippers’ Group

A trio of senators introduced a bill that would allow states to increase the maximum weight for trucks operating on their interstates beyond the federal limit of 80,000 pounds.

Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) said in introducing the Safe Efficient Transportation Act that states would be allowed to “opt in” and increase their weight limits to 97,000 pounds.

The legislation is identical to a bill introduced in the House last March by Reps. Michael Michaud (D-Maine) and Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) and would require the new, heavier trucks to have six axles in order to diffuse the added weight.

“This bipartisan legislation strikes the right balance between productivity and safety,” Kohl said in a statement.

The bill is backed by American Trucking Associations and the Coalition for Transportation Productivity, a shippers’ group, the two said in statements Thursday.

“ATA supports a number of reforms to federal truck size and weight regulations as part of our Sustainability Initiative,” said ATA President Bill Graves.

“More efficient trucks, like those allowed under this legislation, will significantly reduce the trucking industry’s carbon output,” he said in a statement.


http://www.ttnews.com/articles/basetemplate.aspx?storyid=24936
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Fleets Raising Driver Pay

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Recruiting Challenges Spur Sharp Increases

By Rip Watson, Senior Reporter

This story appears in the July 26 print edition of Transport Topics.

The number of fleets that raised driver pay in the second quarter increased sharply, and continuing difficulties in attracting new drivers could spark another round of increases in the third quarter, several industry experts have said.

About 20% of truckload fleets increased pay in the second quarter, compared with 1.7% in the first three months of 2010, said Gordon Klemp, principal of the National Transportation Institute, Kansas City, Mo.

More than a third of flatbed carriers raised pay in the second quarter, followed by 20% of refrigerated fleets and 11% of dry van operators, Klemp said. That trend was a sharp turnaround from June 2009, when at least one-third of fleets cut pay to stay afloat during the recession.

"Before the end of the third quarter, at least one major carrier will make a bold move to attract drivers with pay and kick off a significant round of pay increases," Klemp predicted, without identifying the fleet or fleets.

More increases are expected because the number of fleet requests for special pay studies rose 50% in the first half of this year, Klemp said. Based on past experience, at least 70% of the carriers that ask for those studies decide to raise wages.

Klemp, who publishes his report based on a survey of nearly 400 fleets, said pay rose an average of 4.5 cents a mile in the flatbed sector, more than twice the increase at dry van and refrigerated fleets.