It’s a Driver’s Market: Fleets Offering Rewards to Improve Retention

Posted on September 17, 2015

American transportation organizations now face a widespread driver shortage. Motor carriers at every corner of the country are scrambling to find ways to retain their best and brightest. While the race has certainly begun to offer better total compensation through pay, benefits, and related structures, more and more carriers are realizing the personal element of the business – drivers stay where they feel appreciated. This seems especially appropriate as we celebrate national truck driver appreciation week.

Team building, positive reinforcement of healthy driving behaviors, and a personalized workplace environment centered on developing relationships and rewarding success are a few of the ways in which drivers bond with their team, making turnover far less likely. Some specific implementations of these strategies include:

  • Driver reward points redeemable towards non-cash itemsMan standing in front of truck
  • Driver feedback programs to understand individual driver accomplishments and challenges
  • Use of CRM software to ensure consistent and high-quality client interaction – drivers perform better when expectations are clear
  • Periodic awards for high performance in specific categories, with accolades and non-cash bonuses

In addition to workplace development and rewards programs, carriers are increasingly turning to predictive modeling to help assess where and when attrition might occur. Specific behaviors, language, and changes in performance can all indicate intent to depart.

To learn more about these and related strategies for motor carriers, contact us.

Rough Notes Features Two Articles by Trucking Experts IMCCA

Posted on September 02, 2015

September 2, 2015 – Freehold, NJ

Rourough notes 2gh Notes, the nation’s leading source of insurance innovations and trends for over 135 years, recently published two articles about the trucking experts at IMCCA. To read the articles, click on the thumbnails to the right.

The first article, published in the May 2015 edition of Rough Notes, is titled Expertise Key to Trucking and Specialty Trucking Success. The article explores the challenges that transportation businesses face in identifying, acquiring, and implementing new safety technologies. As a trucking specialist for many years, Gary Weindorf, President/CEO of IMCCA, points out those safety devices can increase motor carrier costs, but can lead to significant dividends in terms of reducing accident frequency, severity and ultimate liability, which can translate into lower insurance premiums. While safety regulations are set forth by the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) Program, he points out that the organizations which succeed are those that take a proactive approach to vehicle safety and driver security. A dedicated trucking insurance broker can be an asset in knowing the trucking insurance market and handling unique issues with claims and loss control.

rough notesThe second article, published in the August 2015 edition of Rough Notes, made the front cover of the magazine. An agency profile – Better to Be Lucky… and Good explores the unconventional path that has brought together the pieces that today comprise the highly successful IMCCA. Interstate started as a Trucking Agency in 1936 and merged with Capacity Coverage Corp in 2011. Capacity’s original partners, Robert Lull and Mark Weinraub, started the company in 1990 with a goal to create a motor carrier agency that emphasized professionalism and subject matter expertise. Interstate’s trucking expertise was a perfect fit for their vision and maintains their original offices in Freehold, along with a continuation of the same leadership and experienced employees that ensures their clients of market prowess, dedicated service, and the knowledge to assist with shipper/government regulations in this fast-paced industry.

To learn more about IMCCA, visit the Trucking Insurance Experts.

Federal Drug Advisory Board Issues Recommendations for Driver Drug Screening

Posted on August 17, 2015

Driver Drug ScreeningA federal drug advisory board recently issued a recommendation to their director that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) institute nationwide hair-testing protocols for truck driver drug screenings. While some organizations already leverage this technology, federal regulations currently identify urine analysis as the only authoritative testing methodology for drug screening.

These standards date back to the 1991 Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act, the first step taken in national testing regulations for transportation professionals. In the quarter-century since, science and technology have moved forward. Hair testing now provides a greater degree of accuracy and significantly longer window of testing history to get a better picture of usage. The results of over 1200 peer-reviewed papers were considered in the process of arriving at the advisory board’s recommendation.

The board has received hundreds of comments in the past few months, overwhelmingly in support of hair tests for drug screening. Expect to hear from HHS and the Department of Transportation in the coming months on these and related drug screening issues.

To learn more about a wide variety of issues affecting the transportation industry, contact us.

Voluntary Customs Trade Inspection Certification Effective Terrorism Protection Strategy

Posted on July 27, 2015

1The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) is a certification in which commercial transportation companies can voluntarily participate. The program is managed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency. The purpose of the program is to ensure security measures are met in order to prevent terrorism in the U.S.

Criteria for C-TPAT Highway Carrier Security include business partner requirements, conveyance security, less-than truck load requirements, physical access controls, personnel security, procedural security, physical security, security training and threat awareness and information & technology security.

When the program launched in November 2001 seven private companies enrolled to improve the security of their supply chains. Today, over 10,854 members participate; 4,315 importers in the program account for 54% of the value of all merchandise brought into the U.S.

Motor carrier participants engage in a workshop designed to train drivers to recognize trucks and trailers that have been compromised for the purpose of smuggling terrorists, terrorist weapons and contraband.

The inspection workshop covers:

  • 17-point truck and trailer inspection process
  • Inspection documentation
  • Affixing seals

The regulations specify policies and procedures that relate to the locations at which the security inspections should be conducted. These locations include:

  • Container storage depot
  • Manufacturer
  • Service provider
  • Carrier
  • Third party warehouse
  • Distribution centers
  • Customer locations

Conveyance inspection procedures are clearly set out. Use of a checklist, systematic inspections and specific visual inspection criteria are all clearly detailed. The 17-point truck and trailer inspections are the focal point of the criteria. These include:

  • Bumper
  • Engine
  • Tires (truck & trailer)
  • Floor (inside truck)
  • Fuel tanks
  • Cab/storage compartments
  • Air tanks
  • Drive shafts
  • Fifth wheel
  • Outside/undercarriage
  • Outside/inside doors
  • Floor (inside trailer)
  • Side Walls
  • Front Walls
  • Ceiling/Roof
  • Refrigeration unit
  • Exhaust

Companies who achieve C-TPAT certification must have a documented process for determining and eliminating risk throughout their international supply chain. Companies that meet this criteria are considered “low risk”, which means they have to go through fewer inspections which saves time.

For more information about the C-TPAT certification and criteria, please visit the Customs Border Protection Agency’s C-TPAT Highway Carrier Security Criteria.

Highway Carriers Who Are Importing or Exporting Cargo To or From Canada Subject to eManifest Requirements

Posted on July 12, 2015

1The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has developed an improved risk management system for facilitating the import and export of freight across the American-Canadian border. The system, called the Advance Commercial Information (ACI) program, is equipping border officers with pre-arrival information that will facilitate health, safety and security threats before they get to the border. The eManifest program is an integral element of ACI.

There are certain measures that are now required of freight carriers who plan to cross the border. Here are useful resources for understanding and complying with the new regulations.

  • You must have a valid business number for your import-export account prior to importing goods into or exporting out of Canada. Follow this Step-By-Step Guide to Importing commercial goods into Canada or this Step-By-Step Guide to Exporting in conjunction with the checklist for exporting and be prepared ahead of time. You can apply online at cra-arc.gc.ca or you can call the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-959-5525.
  • Exporters also need to be aware of Customs Tariff and export documentation regulations.
  • eManifest is a new initiative that will modernize and improve cross-border commercial processes tremendously. All carriers, freight forwards and importers in all modes of transportation (air, marine, highway and rail) are required to electronically transmit advance commercial information to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA.)
  • Freight carriers must choose a transmission method. There are 3 options: Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) method, A tested service provider, or the eManifest Portal.
  • All freight carriers, regardless of how often they cross the Canadian border, are required to have a carrier code in order to transact business with the CBSA. Visit the CBSA’s commercial carrier section for more information.
  • Consult the Electronic Commerce Client Requirements Document for technical assistance.
  • Review the tools, resources and client support information provided on the eManifest pages of the CBSA website.
  • Stay up-to-date on new information related to eManifest by visiting the eManifest section of the CBSA website.

Twin 33 Provision in Senate Transportation Bill a Win for the Trucking Industry

Posted on June 26, 2015

1Despite strong democratic opposition, the United States Senate passed a provision to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies bill that allows the nationwide use of twin 33-foot motor carrier trailers.

The provision passed on June 25, 2015 by a 16-14 vote that drew strong party lines. Republican Senator Richard Shelby, sponsor of the bill, argued the law would improve safety on the nation’s highways. Democratic opponents, including Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif), urged the panel to reject the bill due to safety concerns.

The bill was approved by the House of Representatives June 9, 2015. The bill was strongly supported by the American Trucking Association, whose representative made a statement that the provisions of the bill “are critical for improving the safety and efficiency of the trucking industry.”

The provision was introduced as an amendment to the transportation bill and would allow state governors and state departments to request an exemption if they are not able to meet the safety requirements for accommodating a commercial truck with twin 33-foot trailers.

The provision includes evaluation measures as well. After 3 years the Secretary of Transportation is required to update Congress with a crash analysis that compares twin 28-foot trailers and twin 33-foot trailers. The report is required to include technological recommendations for collision avoidance and stability control in order to improve safety of the vehicles.

The $55.6 billion draft funding measure would provide $572 million for the Federal Carrier Safety Administration and $500 million for a high-profile infrastructure grants program.

Canada’s New eManifest Regulation Amendments – Are You Prepared?

Posted on June 15, 2015

Truck Insurance NJU.S. goods and private services trade with Canada totaled $707 billion in 2012, making Canada the single largest export market for the U.S. The North American Free Trade Agreement and Canada’s close proximity to the U.S. have made trade with Canada relatively uncomplicated. Whether you currently export to Canada or are new to exporting, amendments to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) eManifest for highway and rail carriers make it imperative that carriers understand their responsibilities and develop a strategic approach to this market. The new regulatory amendments were first published May 6, 2015 in the Canada Gazette, Part II.

The U.S. Commercial Service will be conducting a webinar on this topic Wednesday, July 8, 2015 from 1:00 – 2:00 pm (EDT.) There is no charge for the training. The webinar will provide an overview of the changes along with explanations of the new regulations that will help highway carriers prepare for the changes. An implementation timeline of the regulatory amendments will be explored.

This webinar is one in a series being presented to help businesses strengthen their ability to effectively trade and offer business services in Canada. There will be a question and answer period at the end of the webinar. Representatives from the CBSA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will respond to the questions.

The U.S. Commercial Service has offices throughout the United States and in U.S. Embassies and Consulates in over 70 countries. Their vision is to help U.S. businesses succeed in markets around the world. For more information about the U.S. Commercial Service and the National Export Initiative, visit their website at:  www.export.gov/canada.

CVSA Annual Roadcheck International Inspection Program Scheduled for June 2-4, 2015

Posted on May 26, 2015

1The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will hold their 28th annual International Roadcheck inspection program June 2-4, 2015. Every year, CVSA-certified inspectors perform truck and bus inspections across North America for a 72-hour period. There are approximately 10,000 CVSA-certified inspectors across local, state, provincial and federal jurisdictions.

The International Roadcheck event is the largest inspection enforcement program focused on commercial motor vehicles. On average 17 trucks or buses are inspected every minute throughout Canada, the United States and Mexico during the three-day event. Inspectors conduct compliance, enforcement and educational initiatives targeted at various elements of motor carrier, vehicle, driver and cargo safety and security.

A kickoff event will be held June 2, 2015 near the Washington-Idaho state border at 10:00 am. The opening will include speakers from several transportation entities, including:

  • CVSA
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
  • Idaho State Police
  • Washington State Patrol
  • Florida Highway Patrol
  • Washington Trucking Association

The Roadcheck is placing special emphasis on cargo securement this year. CVSA is highlighting the importance of cargo safety as a reminder to drivers and carriers that securing cargo properly and following inspection regulations is a matter of public safety.

Since its inception in 1988, over 1.4 million inspections have been completed through the Roadcheck International inspection program. It is estimated that 318 lives have been saved through the program and 5,840 injuries avoided.

Self-Driving Big Rig Revealed

Posted on May 18, 2015

Cutting-edge technology for big rigs was disclosed this week. The exciting news making headlines is the unveiling of the Inspiration Truck by Freightliner. The Inspiration Truck is a big rig that is partially autonomous; that’s right – a big rig that drives itself (to a certain degree).

This is good news for everyone. A self-driving big rig could save lives, mitigate driver fatigue and stress, and reduce CO2 emissions by 5 percent. The company that produced the vehicle has completed more than 10,000 miles of testing on the truck. The State of Nevada has officially granted the vehicle an “autonomous vehicle” license plate – the first ever for a commercial truck.

The automation technology, called “Highway Pilot” technology, isn’t designed to replace truck drivers. The idea is to solve the industry-plague of over-fatigued drivers. According to Daimler (who owns Freightliner), 90% of truck crashes are a result of driver error, and fatigue plays a role in at least one out of every eight of those cases.

The Inspiration Truck is rated a “level 3” on the NHTSA’s automation scale, the same as Google’s self-driving cars are currently rated. The rating means that the vehicle is capable of taking full control of the vehicle in certain traffic or environmental conditions. The driver can always take control back but the vehicle will “allow a reasonable transition time.”

The Inspiration Truck is raising some important issues about liability as well as performance during inclement weather conditions. The company stated it needs to perform more testing to see how the Inspiration Truck performs in the rain, the heat, or icy road conditions. Another major hurdle the industry will have to overcome is to institute “self-driving-friendly-regulations” that already exist in the State of Nevada. Since many truck routes cross state lines, the entire nation will need to be on board with automated big rigs such as the Inspiration Truck before they become commonplace.

Photo Credit: The Verge

NTSB Recommends Commercial Vehicle Onboard Video Systems

Posted on May 04, 2015

truckThe National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a recommendation that drivers of heavy trucks and buses use video system recorder technology to monitor their driving. The recommendation was issued on April 29th, 2015 and included a statement that “these video systems serve as a proactive tool to identify and reduce risky behavior, such as speeding, distracted driving or drowsy driving.” Read the NTSB Press Release here.

The NTSB also indicated that video systems are useful for providing valuable information in post-crash investigations.

In an investigation of two severe commercial vehicle crashes, the NTSB concluded that onboard video systems can provide valuable information about circumstances that lead up to the crash as well as critical “vehicle dynamics and occupant kinematics for assessing crash survivability.”

NTSB further reported that video recording systems, in conjunction with driver behavior modification systems, has been shown to reduce fatal and injury crashes by 20% and 35% respectively.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the American Trucking Association (ATA) were alerted to the recommendation.

The NTSB further recommended that the ATA encourage its members to ensure that any video recording system that is installed in their vehicles meet the following requirements:

  • visibility of the driver
  • visibility of all occupant seating locations
  • visibility forward of the vehicle
  • optimized frame rate (camera speed), and
  • low-light recording capability.

During a House Transportation subcommittee hearing on April 29th, the CEO of American Central Transport, Tom Kretsinger Jr., said that video system recorders are becoming more popular in the trucking industry.

“Originally, these devices were perceived primarily as a post-crash exoneration tool,” said Kretsinger, who also testified on behalf of ATA. “However, fleets quickly began to realize the benefits of being alerted to risky driving behaviors and the opportunity to provide subsequent driver coaching to prevent future crashes.”