Covenant Transport Wins Statewide Trucking Safety Awards

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The California Trucking Association Recognizes Covenant Transport  for Excellence in Safety


Sacramento, California - Covenant Transport, Inc. was honored for its outstanding safety record at the California Trucking Association's Fleet Safety Awards Banquet in Sacramento on Wednesday, April 7th, at the Sheraton Grand in Sacramento.  Covenant received first place in the General Commodity Truckload Over 7 Million Miles Division, and first place in the Local Under 4 Million Miles Division.


Covenant Transport is part of Covenant Transportation Group, Inc., 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 Company's Class A common stock is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol CVTI.

California Trucking Association's safety awards program judges companies on specific safety performance, including accident frequency, personnel and hiring systems, documented safety policies and procedures, driver-safety training, internal accident handling procedures, and participation in the association's safety activities.  Top contenders' safety programs are audited, and accident statistics are reviewed by the CTA Safety Staff.

CSA 2010 Data Preview Now Available for Motor Carriers!

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Motor Carriers can now view the inspection data the FMCSA will use to calculate CSA 2010 percentile rankings when the system comes on-line later this year. BASIC scores have not yet been assigned to the data in this preview system, but one can calculate potential inspection weights by viewing the current BASIC violation severity rankings here:

From the FMCSA: 

FMCSA is pleased to announce the Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) 2010 Data Preview, which will allow individual motor carriers to review their safety performance data by the CSA 2010 Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). The Data Preview begins on April 12, 2010 and ends on November 30, 2010, the national launch date for the CSA 2010 safety enforcement program.  
During the data preview period, motor carriers are encouraged to closely examine their performance data and immediately address any safety problems.  This is also an opportunity for motor carriers to update and verify their safety performance data online.
This important step is designed to focus motor carriers on identifying and addressing unsafe behaviors that can lead to crash risk. It also underscores FMCSA's commitment to data integrity and the motor carrier industry's responsibility for ensuring commercial vehicle safety.  
Complete details on the Data Preview and the CSA 2010 implementation schedule are published in the Federal Register. The CSA 2010 implementation schedule supports the critical importance of incorporating the findings from over 30 months of operational model testing in nine CSA 2010 pilot states.

Click the following link to view your company data: Data Preview


Remember that data from the last 24 months will be the first data on which your CSA 2010 percentiles will be based. This data preview allows carriers an opportunity to see where they currently stand and take pro-active measures over the next several months to clear up their records in anticipation of full CSA 2010 implementation.


Senator Lincoln Introduces Veterans Training Act in Senate

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Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) has introduced S. 3171, the Veterans Training Act, as a stand-alone piece of legislation.  Similar to Rep. Joe Sestak's H.R. 3813 the legislation would open up the benefits of the Post-9/11 GI Bill to veterans/students attending career colleges.   Senator James Risch (R-ID) is an original co-sponsor of the Lincoln bill.  
The Veterans Training Act would open up considerably more educational opportunities for our nation's recent veterans by enabling them to receive the benefits of the Post/911 Educational Assistance Program for all forms of higher education.  Specifically, H.R. 3813 would deem a program of education as ‘approved' under the Post 9/11 Educational Assistance Program if the program is provided by an institution offering:  
1.     Postsecondary instruction that leads to an associate or higher degree and the institution is an approved institution of higher learning; or  
2.     Instruction that does not lead to an associate or higher degree and the institution is an approved educational institution.
70% of all Montgomery GI Bill users received vocational training, not college degrees. Unfortunately, veterans attending vocational schools under the Post 9/11 GI Bill are specifically excluded from the benefits of the program.  Covering vocational programs only at colleges unfairly discriminates against veterans pursuing VA approved vocational training programs - including those at career colleges.  Post 9/11 GI Bill veterans should be free to pursue any program of education or training whether degree or non-degree granting.  On return to civilian life, many service members are interested in quickly hitting the ground running.  Short-term certificate and diploma programs can be a critical part of a successful transition.
CVTA members should be reaching out to their respective Senators and to request they become co-sponsors of the legislation.


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On Monday, April 5, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will publish a Final Rule in the Federal Register on the use of electronic logging devices for tracking hours-of-service compliance by the trucking industry. The Final Rule went on public display today.

(FMCSA refers to such devices as electronic on-board recording devices, or EOBRs. However, this term is commonly used to describe comprehensive fleet management systems that do far more than simply monitor hours of service compliance. To distinguish these more comprehensive systems from the ones that FMCSA addresses in this final rule, ATA uses the term electronic logging devices to describe devices that merely track hours of service compliance.)


FMCSA's final rule differs from the 2007 proposed rule in that it includes broader criteria for identifying non-compliant carriers that will be required to install such devices. With the use of broader criteria, more carriers will be required to install electronic logging devices. The Final Rule has three major components:

  1. Regulatory Incentives - to encourage greater voluntary adoption of devices;
  2. Mandatory Adoption - for those motor carriers with a pattern of hours-of-service violations found during a single compliance review;
  3. Device Specifications - that address how the devices must work and what data they must collect.

A summary of each of these components follows:


  1. Regulatory Incentives to Encourage Greater Voluntary Adoption of Electronic Logging Devices


The rule does not mandate the use of devices by safe and compliant motor carriers, but instead attempts to encourage voluntary adoption. FMCSA has offered two primary incentives for motor carriers to voluntarily adopt electronic logging devices for HOS compliance.


a) Compliance Review Record Sampling - When conducting a Compliance Review on carriers that have voluntarily adopted electronic logging devices, FMCSA will permit its investigators to review a random sample of hours of service records after reviewing an initial, selective, sample of drivers' records. Under the current process, investigators deliberately choose a selective sample for review in an attempt to find violations. If 10 percent or more of the records examined show a pattern of violations of the same regulation (the 11 hours of driving rule, for instance) the carrier is found to have violated a "critical" regulation. Under the new rule, a motor carrier voluntarily using electronic logging devices could request that FMCSA examine a random sample of records that provides a representative picture of its entire operation, not just selected terminals, locations, or drivers.


b) Partial Relief from HOS Supporting Documents Requirements - Since electronic logging devices will capture sufficient data on vehicle movement required for verification of HOS compliance, some of the currently required, voluminous, supporting documents will be rendered redundant and unnecessary. Hence, FMCSA will relieve motor carriers voluntarily adopting the use of the devices from having to retain supporting documents that are retained to verify driving time. These carriers would still be required to retain supporting documents to verify non-driving time.


  1. Mandatory Adoption of Electronic Logging Devices for Motor Carriers with a Documented History of Severe Non-Compliance with Hours of Service Rules


While the new rule does not mandate electronic logging devices for all motor carriers, those who are found by FMCSA to have a pattern of non-compliance with a critical HOS regulation (10 percent or more of records checked reflect the same violation) during a single compliance review would be required by FMCSA to install and use electronic logging devices for two years. This requirement would also extend to owner-operators under lease to the non-compliant motor carrier. FMCSA's intent is to focus on carriers with severe problems, while at the same time encouraging others to adopt and use this new technology.



  1. Device Performance Specifications


The final rule includes technical specifications/performance standards setting forth what data the electronic logging devices need to capture, how frequently, with what degree of accuracy, and how the data will be available for law enforcement review. Under these standards, the devices must include Global Positioning System technology or other location tracking system technology to automatically identify the location of each truck and must be "integrally synchronized with the" CMVs in which they are installed in order to record engine use, road speed, and miles driven. As with the requirements for systems in use today, the new rules require that electronic logging devices record the basic information needed to document a driver and his or her workday, such as: the identity of the driver, duty status time data, location of the truck, distance traveled during operation, etc.


Current FMCSA regulations already allow the use of certain recording devices for HOS compliance. Under the new rule, existing devices can continue to be used for the life of the vehicles in which they are installed. However, new devices must meet updated technical specifications consistent with into today's electronic engine and digital/wireless communication systems.


The rule includes a few other matters that will be of particular interest to motor carriers:


  1. While this rule only mandates electronic logging devices for a relatively small number of motor carriers, FMCSA intends to initiate a rulemaking later this year that will consider a mandate for a broader population of motor carriers. In particular, FMCSA will likely propose a mandate for carriers it feels have "higher potential risks," such as passenger carriers, hazardous materials carriers, and new motor carriers initiating operations.


  1. Supporting Documents - In addition to including violations of the 11, 14, and 60/70 hour rule, the list of violations that could trigger a mandate also includes "failing to preserve driver's records of duty status supporting documents for six months." As a result, a carrier not found to have violated the driving and on-duty time regulations (e.g., 11 hour driving rule) could still be required to install electronic logging devices in its vehicles, merely for improper recordkeeping.


  1. Existing Fleet Management Devices - It is important to note that the final rule addresses the use of devices that can capture the data necessary for verification of HOS compliance. It does not speak to more comprehensive fleet management systems that also capture engine and driver performance data. However, motor carriers can use such devices to meet the requirements and conditions of the Final Rule if their devices also include a component that meets the specifications for capturing required HOS compliance information.


Compliance is mandated beginning on June 4th, 2012. The two-year phase-in period will allow motor carriers, manufacturers, and law enforcement groups time to make adjustments and conduct training before the final rule is enforced.



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Full implementation of CSA 2010 will be delayed to 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced. The agency's original plan was to begin implementing the program in July 2010 and to have all states fully functional by December of this year. It now appears that although certain phases of CSA 2010 will begin this fall, full implementation will not be completed until spring or perhaps summer of 2011. As announced on ATA's free member webinar on CSA 2010 earlier this week, FMCSA plans to provide motor carriers with a limited preview of their CSA 2010 data beginning on April 12. ATA will provide members with instructions on how to access their data as soon as these details become available. While this preview will include carriers' safety events (roadside inspections and crashes) and resulting violations, it will NOT reflect carriers' scores in each of the Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs).

FMCSA also announced that beginning November 30, 2010, motor carriers and the general public will be able to view more complete CSA 2010 Carrier Safety Measurement System (CSMS) data, including scores in each of the BASICs. However, as previously indicated, the public will not be able to view the Crash Indicator scores, because of concerns about the quality of the underlying crash data. On Nov. 30, FMCSA will also begin issuing warning letters to deficient carriers, but will not utilize the full range of CSA 2010 interventions. Instead, FMCSA will use the CSMS (instead of Safestat) to prioritize motor carriers for standard on-site compliance reviews.


U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Proposes Rule to Ban Texting for Truck and Bus Drivers

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DOT 55-10
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Contact:  Olivia Alair
Tel:  202-366-4570

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Proposes Rule to Ban Texting for Truck and Bus Drivers
Department Announces Unprecedented Partnership with Cornell University

to Engage Public in Rulemaking Process

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced a federal rule that proposes to specifically prohibit texting by interstate commercial truck and bus drivers. The proposed rule would make permanent an interim ban announced in January 2010 that applied existing safety rules to the specific issue of texting.  

The Department also announced an unprecedented partnership with Cornell University to increase public involvement and collaboration in the rulemaking process.  The Cornell e-Rulemaking Initiative (CeRI) partnership will make the federal regulatory process more accessible to the public through Regulation Room, an online public participation environment where people can learn about and discuss proposed federal regulations and provide effective feedback to the Department. 

"This is good news on two fronts," said Secretary LaHood.  "This rulemaking keeps our commitment to making our roads safer by reducing the threat of distracted driving. And our partnership with Cornell on the e-Rulemaking Initiative is an important step toward keeping President Obama's promise of opening government to more effective citizen participation." 

Today's proposed rule to ban texting by drivers of commercial vehicles and bus drivers is the first effort in this innovative partnership.  Citizens can find more information on the Cornell online effort and provide comments on the proposed rule at over the next 30 days.  The Department of Transportation encourages participation in this rulemaking through Regulation Room, but the public may also submit comments to the DOT docket at

FMCSA research shows that drivers who send and receive text messages take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds while texting.  At 55 miles per hour, this means that the driver is traveling the length of a football field, including the end zones, without looking at the road. 

Drivers who text while driving are more than 20 times more likely to get in an accident than non-distracted drivers.  Because of the safety risks associated with the use of electronic devices while driving, FMCSA is also working on additional regulatory measures that will be announced in the coming months.

"We are committed to using every resource available to eliminate the dangers of distracted driving," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro.  "This rulemaking to prohibit texting by interstate commercial truck and bus drivers, along with the Cornell E-Rulemaking Initiative, reinforces our unwavering commitment and provides the public with a unique opportunity to share their ideas and comments on how together we can make our roads safer."  

The proposed rule will be on public display in the Federal Register March 31 and will appear in print in the Federal Register on April 1.

During the September 2009 Distracted Driving Summit, the Secretary announced the Department's plan to pursue this regulatory action, as well as rulemakings to reduce the other  risks posed by distracted driving.

President Obama also signed an Executive Order directing federal employees not to engage in text messaging while driving government-owned vehicles or with government-owned equipment.  Federal employees were required to comply with the ban starting on December 30, 2009. 

The public can follow the progress of the U.S. Department of Transportation in working to combat distracted driving at


J. J. Keller to Sponsor Seavey’s Iditarod® Racing Team in 2010

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Neenah, WI – James and Rosanne Keller, representing J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc., announced their sponsorship of Seavey’s Iditarod Racing Team for the fourth consecutive year. They will be the exclusive sponsor for musher Dallas Seavey, who in 2005 became the youngest musher ever to finish the Iditarod and was the sixth-place finisher in the 2009 race. They will also be a major sponsor for Dallas’ father, Mitch, who was the 2004 Iditarod champion and fourth-place finisher in the 2009 race.

According to J. J. Keller President & COO James J. Keller, “We are honored to support the Seaveys. Calling this a sponsorship doesn’t do it justice. This is more of a partnership with mutual respect between both families, with the ultimate goal being to win the Championship.” Keller added that if either musher wins, a 2010 J. J. Keller Iditarod Championship Celebration will be held at J. J. Keller headquarters.

The Iditarod, Alaska’s best-known sporting event, begins on Saturday, March 6, 2010, in Anchorage and will end in Nome 10 to 13 days later after a 1,149-mile trek through harsh terrain and unbelievable obstacles. It is often called "The Last Great Race on Earth," and to date 75 mushers have registered for this year’s event.

To view entire release, click here.

For more information, contact: 
Marketing Communications
Tom 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 full Press Room, click here.