Posted on March 16, 2016
Several potentially significant transportation regulatory items have recently surfaced in the news causing much discussion and preparation for motor carriers across the country. These include:
- CSA raw data once again available to public
- Highway safety improvement reporting requirement for states removed
- High risk rural roads provision removed
- Greenhouse gas regulatory documents released
- EPA & NHTSA legal policy memo & engine test results
CSA raw data was originally legislated to exist in the public eye, but was pulled from view almost immediately after being signed into law. FMCSA claims that their analytics represent a fair, accurate, and important picture of safety culture and records throughout the transportation industry.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has released revisions to its Highway Safety Improvement Program, which could have numerous effects on transportation professionals across the country. These revisions stem from MAP-21 and the FAST Act, and include a removal of reporting requirements as well as the high risk rural roads provision. This reduced transparency could alter the efficacy of the program.
Private meetings with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have resulted in the release of a variety of documents by federal regulators regarding greenhouse gas emissions. These include memos on the legality of the greenhouse gas policy, selective enforcement and inspection of aerodynamic compliance among transportation power units, effects of tire rolling resistance on stopping distance for Class 8 vehicles, and more.
Is your transportation business prepared for these and other regulatory changes? Do you know the potential cost savings or increase associated with each policy change? To learn more about the impact these and other regulatory changes could have on your business, contact us.
Posted on October 21, 2015
Could a national “SmartPark” initiative for the trucking industry become a reality soon?
Pilot programs that give truckers real-time information about parking availability are well underway in Tennessee and Michigan. The goals of the projects are to reduce driver fatigue, better adhere to hours of service requirements, and improve drivers’ work conditions. Commercial truck drivers typically spend 30 minutes or more searching for a place to park their rigs.
Expansion of these “SmartPark” projects into a ubiquitous, multi-state, corridor-focused network is a dream of many in the industry. They hope Congress will make the necessary funding available when it confronts reauthorization of the current surface transportation law, which expires October 29.
The National Transportation Safety Board recommended 15 years ago that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) take steps to provide truckers with real-time information on the location and availability of parking spaces. But it was just two years ago that federal officials felt they had found a workable technology a system that identifies vacant spaces through a combination of Doppler radar and laser scanning and disseminates that information via dynamic electronic message signs, smartphone apps, websites and in-cab messaging.
The FMCSA has been testing the system on northbound Interstate 75 in eastern Tennessee. The Federal Highway Administration is funding a similar system along a 129-mile stretch of southwest Michigan’s I-94 corridor that’s used by 10,000 trucks daily but offers only 158 spaces in its five public rest areas. The corridor’s commercial truck traffic accounts for 23 to 30 percent of all its traffic and represents some of the highest commercial volumes in the Midwest.
The projects are working well, making it easier for drivers to avoid going over hours and saving carriers money because drivers can spend more time driving and less time searching for parking. Truck Smart Parking Services, one of the partners working with FMCSA, estimates that national deployment of the system could save industry $4.4 billion annually. Each driver could save two gallons of diesel and reduce greenhouse emissions by nearly 45 pounds per parking search, more than 3.3 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.
Interstate Motor Carriers has consistently provided creative solutions and specialized insurance programs to the trucking industry since 1936. Contact us for a fresh look at your insurance options.
Posted on October 19, 2015
Today, there are too many driver positions open within the trucking industry. In fact, the Driver Shortage category rose to second place in the American Transportation Research Institute’s (ATRI) annual “Top Industry Issues” research, and it is estimated that by 2017 there will be a driver shortfall of close to 400,000.
One of the primary issues facing the trucking industry is filling open positions with younger candidates. As of 2014, there are more truck drivers age 65 or older (6.1%) than there are drivers in the 20 to 24 year old range (4.9%). This trend, alarmingly, is not present in other workforce categories.
Age restrictions are partially to blame. For instance, an individual must be 21 years or older to obtain a commercial driver’s license, which results in a three-year post-high school gap. Therefore, those choosing to not obtain a higher education are oftentimes recruited by other industries, thus made unavailable to the trucking industry once they are of age to obtain the appropriate license.
Now the trucking industry is left wondering, will there be enough experienced 25-34 year olds to take the place of the larger 45-54 age cohort retirement rolls around in 10 to 20 years?
One solution is already being utilized by many companies. Trucking companies see females as a large untapped labor pool that may help ease the expected driver shortfall in 2017.
According to a Bloomberg Business article, Derek Leathers, CEO of Werner Enterprises, Inc., expects female drivers to make up about 10 percent of his company’s 9,000 drivers by the end of 2015—almost twice the national average. Not only has bringing more females on as drivers relieved some of the shortage stress on the company, but Werner Enterprises is also seeing benefits in terms of performance. According to Leathers, female drivers are actually outperforming the males.
However, convincing a female to join an industry that has been catered almost solely to males in the past is not easy. The first couple of steps have been take though as the industry as a whole is working on improving the cleanliness of terminals, promoting schedules that guarantee home time, promoting the automatic transmission of today’s freight haulers and ensuring safer truck stops.
To learn more about hiring practices and other trucking-related business strategies, contact us.
Posted on September 02, 2015
September 2, 2015 – Freehold, NJ
Rough 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.
The 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.
Posted on June 26, 2015
Despite 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.
Posted on March 23, 2015
On Thursday March 19th, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced how the new 34-hour restart study will be conducted. The goal of this study is to compare driver safety and fatigue levels of the following two groups:
- Commercial drivers who take at least two nighttime rest periods during the 34-hour restart break
- Commercial drivers who take one nighttime rest period during the restart break
The study will be conducted over a five month period and will measure numerous factors related to driver safety. This include accidents, near accidents, fatigue, alertness and more. Drivers will be selected to participate from motor carrier fleets of all sizes and from a wide variety of operations.
Metrics will be monitored and evaluated using several devices and tests: Electronic Logging Devices to measure time on duty, actigraph watches to measure sleep, psychomotor vigilance tests to monitor alertness, and onboard cameras.
After the five month data collection is completed, a review board will assess the data and advise the Department of Transportation of their findings.
Here is a link to the March 19, 2015 FMCSA announcement: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/commercial-motor-vehicle-driver-restart-study
Posted on August 11, 2014
You are finally off the traffic-congested roadway and safely parked at a truck stop. But you may not be as safe as you think. A large percentage of truck-trailer accidents occur at truck stops which should be the safest place to park. Drivers can never let their guard down when behind the wheel. Trucking accidents are expensive to both the employer and to the driver. Below are a few tips to help reduce a trucking accident/incident at a truck stop:
- Pre-plan your route so you know you will be stopping at a location with plenty of room and that is well lit. Choose your stops, don’t let them choose you.
- Plan to take care of everything you need at a truck stop when you are there the first time. Stopping to fuel, refill your coffee, and eat is better than stopping five times.
- Never underestimate the usefulness of a rest area. Not only do rest areas offer easy access, but they are set up to allow trucks to pull through a parking spot versus the higher risk of backing into a spot. Statistics don’t lie….more accidents happen in truck stops than rest areas.
- Avoid parking on the end of a row. Not only is there traffic crossing next to you but most people park on the end because they are tired and after a long day the end is the closest spot. Avoiding the end of a parking lot helps you avoid drivers who are parking when they are tired. Removing yourself from high traffic areas can only help.
- Avoid a spot that will force you to back out when you leave. Choose a spot you can either pull through (the best option) or back into (second best option).
- Avoiding parking in a location where the trucks across from you will be required to back out of their spots. Being behind a vehicle that will be blindly backing toward you is a recipe for disaster.
- If the truck next to you looks close, is over the line, or parked odd (for example the cab is angled to the trailer for some reason) then move on to a new spot. If you have to take that spot don’t be afraid to write down the name and DOT number on the truck. You may be glad you did when you wake up in the morning.
- Park with your tractor and trailer straight. It reduces the area others have to hit while backing.
- Park where there is space around you. The back of the lot will usually have more room than the front so let other drivers take the risk of all that traffic coming and going. No need to be a super Trucker when a safe and easy place is available. Think safe, not convenience.
- Use your four-ways when pulling through the lot and backing up. People in truck stops, or even other parking lots, are usually tired or distracted. Four-ways activate peripheral vision and increase the chance of someone seeing you. And if required use your horn gently when needed to tell someone “Hey, I’m here”.