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Enrollment is up at trucking schools

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By Gordon Dickson, 817-390-7796
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Michael Brock is hitting the open road in search of job security.

After two decades working construction jobs, he is tired of being laid off when times get tough. He enrolled at the C1 Truck Driving School in Benbrook and plans to become a long-distance driver.

"Construction is not stable enough for me," Brock, 43, said last week during a class. "Driving a truck is a stable industry. As long as you keep your report clean, you've got a job."

Americans as a whole may be struggling to find work after a long recession, but there are jobs aplenty in the cab of an 18-wheeler. Trucking companies are reporting a shortage of drivers nationwide, which could delay shipments and ultimately raise the price of goods.

"During the recession, companies had to cut the work force, so now that freight volumes are picking back up they don't have the work force to accommodate the demand," said Brandon Borgna, spokesman for the American Trucking Associations in Arlington, Va. "A lot of drivers are older. There isn't that younger generation stepping in."

Read more at Star-Telegram

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Covenant Transport Celebrates Driver Appreciation Week

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PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 22, 201
0

Covenant Transport honored its fleet during the American Trucking Associations’ National Driver Appreciation Week by providing lunch and homemade goodies to all the drivers at Covenant terminals nationwide Tuesday, September 21st. The theme of the celebration at Covenant was Snow White and the Seven Basics of CSA2010.

“Professional truck drivers deliver our nation’s essential freight safely everyday,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “As a result of this commitment, our nation’s highways are the safest they have ever been and our grocery shelves are stocked. We as a nation owe a great deal to the truck drivers out on our nation’s roads everyday.”




Photo caption: Front row (left to right): Michael Smith (Safety Dir.), Robert Graham, Kim Perry (Admin.), Marilyn Smith (Compliance), Jack Beeman and Michael Miskell. Back row: Tony Viney, Tim Clark (Operations Dir.), Doug Cook (VP Safety) and Jim Lyon (VP Operations).

 

Covenant Transportation Group, Inc. is the holding company for several transportation providers that offer premium transportation services for customers throughout the United States. The consolidated group includes operations from Covenant Transport and Covenant Transport Solutions of Chattanooga, Tennessee; Southern Refrigerated Transport of Texarkana, Arkansas; and Star Transportation of Nashville, Tennessee. The group operates one of the ten largest fleets in North America as measured by revenue. The Company's Class A common stock is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol "CVTI".

For further information, please contact:
Michael W. Smith
Director of Safety
Covenant Transport

Phone: 800-721-5202 x3501
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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Covenant Transport Receives State Safety Award

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PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 21, 2010

Covenant Transport has received a Fleet Safety Award for being one of the top three carriers for highway safety in the state of Tennessee for 2009 in the *Truckload Over 7 Million Miles” category according to the Tennessee Trucking Association. The award was presented to Covenant by the TTA at its Annual Convention in Destin, FL. September 14.

“Receiving this award in our home state of operations is a testament of the commitment to Safety on the highways from our employees”, says Michael Smith, Safety Director.

Pictured above, Michael Smith Safety Director on the left and Doug Cook VP of Safety on the right.

Joey Hogan, president of Covenant stated, "Our leadership, training and goal setting are all focused on sustaining a high level of performance in keeping our fleet, cargo and the motoring public safe on every highway in every state."

Covenant Transportation Group, Inc. is the holding company for several transportation providers that offer premium transportation services for customers throughout the United States. The consolidated group includes operations from Covenant Transport and Covenant Transport Solutions of Chattanooga, Tennessee; Southern Refrigerated Transport of Texarkana, Arkansas; and Star Transportation of Nashville, Tennessee. The group operates one of the ten largest fleets in North America as measured by revenue. The Company's Class A common stock is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol, "CVTI".

For further information, please contact:
Michael W. Smith

Director of Safety

Covenant Transport

Phone: 800-721-5202 x3501

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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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