Category Archives: Industry News

Trucking Makes Montana Holidays Possible

d000426bb090c4b63f14b39c1e4288b2Written by: Barry Stang

Dining room tables set for a family feast. Storefront displays brimming with gifts to exchange with loved ones. Communities and friends joining together for holiday traditions. Bright lights on downtown trees and wreaths on doors.

These are just some of the images I think about when the holiday season is upon us. And no matter who you are, which holidays you celebrate, or where you’re from, all of these images share something in common – they’re all made possible by trucking.

The fact is, trucking touches every aspect of the holidays – and it goes beyond stocking grocery store shelves or delivering that perfect gift. In Montana, 65 percent of communities depend exclusively on trucks to move their goods. In addition to providing all those goods and cargo, trucking keeps your family members moving on the roads for that special time together by ensuring our gas stations are amply stocked with fuel.

The trucking industry is proud to deliver the holidays, and we recognize the enormous responsibility that comes with it. When more than 100 million drivers are on the road this season – as AAA forecasted for year-end holidays last year – they’ll be driving alongside nearly 3.5 million professional truck drivers, with 6,210 drivers in Montana alone. That’s why professional truck drivers are trained and dedicated to ensuring the safety of all motorists on the road, and why the industry as a whole invests $9.5 billion each year in safety. The investment spans all facets of trucking safety, including driver training, compliance with safety rules, on-board safety technology, and awards and bonus pay for improved safety performances.

There’s no doubt that the investment is paying off. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that trucks have a crash rate that is 28 percent lower than that of other vehicles. The fatal crash rate has fallen 74 percent since 1980, and that figure has dropped 17 percent in the last decade alone. Further, trucks are principally at fault in only 25 percent of fatal car-truck crashes. This improvement comes even as the trucking industry is expanding, by operating an additional 2.7 million trucks and driving billions of additional miles each year.

In addition to keeping our roads safe – during the holidays and throughout the year – trucking works to better our communities. Many families and organizations answer a call to service during the holiday season, and the trucking industry is no exception.

From safety to service, the trucking industry is dedicated to ensuring the holidays happen for all of us. It’s the only industry that can say it directly ships to every community in America, helping to make this time of the year brighter for all families – snow, sleet, rain or shine. Professional truck drivers sacrifice time with their own families to ensure our gifts are delivered, our tables are set, and our roads are safe – a true embodiment of the holiday spirit.

Barry “Spook” Stang is executive vice president of Motor Carriers of Montana.

CVSA Releases 2016 Brake Safety Week Results

brakeinspectionweekCommercial motor vehicle enforcement members of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducted 18,385 CMV and brake system inspections during Brake Safety Week, Sept. 11-17, 2016. Inspectors reported 13.2% of inspections with out-of-service brake violations and 14.8% of inspections with non-brake related out-of-service violations, each inclusive of some with violations in both categories.

During the week-long annual brake safety campaign, local, state, provincial, territorial and federal inspectors throughout the United States and Canada conducted inspections to identify out-of-adjustment brakes and brake systems violations. Roadside inspections included inspection of brake system components to identify loose or missing parts; air or hydraulic fluid leaks; cracked damaged or worn linings, pads, drums or rotors; and other faulty brake system components.

Inspectors also checked anti-lock braking system malfunction indicator lamps for compliance with jurisdictional regulations, an effort that was begun during CVSA’s unannounced Brake Check Day in May. Participating jurisdictions reported the number of trucks and buses with anti-lock braking systems as well as ABS violations observed.

The ABS survey for 2016 Brake Safety Week found the following:

Trucks

  • 93.2% of air-braked trucks (including tractors) inspected and 90.4% of hydraulic brakes trucks inspected required ABS, based on their date of manufacture.
  • 89.4% of air-braked trailers inspected required ABS, based on their date of manufacture.
  • 8.8% of ABS-required, air braked trucks and 8.8 percent ABS-required, hydraulic-braked trucks were found with ABS violations.

Trailers

  • 15.8% of trailers requiring ABS were found with ABS violations.
  • 7.6% of trailers inspected were not air- or hydraulic-braked and therefore not subject to ABS requirements.

“Brakes must be routinely checked and properly maintained to ensure the safety of the commercial motor vehicle, the CMV driver and everyone else on the road,” said Julius Debuschewitz of Yukon Highways and Public Works, CVSA president. “Although brake inspections are a part of the Level I inspections conducted by our hard-working CMV inspectors every day, Brake Safety Week is an opportunity to remind motor carriers and drivers of the importance of brake health and safety, and it provides the opportunity for our inspectors to conduct targeted and focused inspections to identify and remove commercial motor vehicles that have brakes with critical violations from our roadways.”

Brake Safety Week is part of the Operation Airbrake Program sponsored by CVSA in partnership with FMCSA and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators. The Operation Airbrake Program is an international enforcement activity dedicated to preventing large truck and bus crashes, and saving lives throughout North America. The campaign seeks to highlight the importance of proper brake inspection and maintenance in an effort to reduce the number of brake-related violations discovered during a roadside inspection.

Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse Rule Leaves OMB

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) received its final rule for DOT Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse back from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on October 31, 2016. The rule, “Commercial Drivers’ License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (MAP-21).” Has been under OMB’s review since May 20,2016.

drug-test-ts-2

This rulemaking, according to the agency abstract, would create a central database for verified positive controlled substance and alcohol test results for CDL holders and refusals by such drivers to submit to testing. The clearinghouse would require carriers to submit positive tests and refusals to the database, and owner-operators must also report to FMCSA the consortium or third-party drug test administrator it uses and authorize it to submit information on any of its drivers, including themselves to the database.

The OMB gave the rule a “consistent with change” ruling, which means the rule is cleared to be published with changes recommended by OMB. Those recommendations were not published, and the final text of the rule won’t be known until it’s published in the Federal Register. FMCSA proposed the rule in February 2014, and it has been long sought after by many in trucking.

Speaking at the 2016 ATA Management Conference and Exhibition last month, Jack Van Steenburg, chief safety officer and assistant administrator for FMCSA, called the rule “a winner for the industry.”

“It really prevents job hopping,” he said. “It’s a tool for all of us.”

 

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

ELD Mandate Upheld

eld-by-james-2016-05-03-13-23-768x553After hearing oral arguments September 13, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals voted unanimously yesterday, October 31, to uphold the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) final rule mandating electronic logging devices or ELDs in commercial trucks. The rule will now go into effect on December 18, 2017. The decision does not change the rule’s exemption for pre-2000 year-model trucks, which are allowed to operate without an ELD. The mandate affects an estimated 3 million interstate drivers of vehicles manufactured after model year 2000.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) filed a lawsuit on behalf of two truckers in March in an attempt to have the mandate overturned. But OOIDA was unable to convince the court of its arguments that the rule violates truckers’ Fourth Amendment rights to privacy. OOIDA also claimed the rule didn’t meet standards set by Congress for an ELD mandate an argument the court also rejected.  OOIDA had hoped its legal challenge would result in the rule being vacated a second time.

The rule “is not arbitrary or capricious, nor does it violate the Fourth Amendment,” the 7th circuit judges wrote in their decision. The decision was issued by circuit judges William Bauer, Michael Kanne and David Hamilton. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is the same court that tossed out FMCSA’s 2010-publishes ELD mandate on the grounds that the rule didn’t do enough to protect truckers from harassment by carriers via the devices.

In response to the ruling, OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston said: “We are disappointed and strongly disagree with the court’s ruling. Because this issue is of vital importance to our members and all small business truckers, we are reviewing our next steps to continue our challenge against this regulation.” The American Trucking Associations, whose Deputy General Counsel Rich Pianka had been pretty confident that the judges wouldn’t overturn the rule, expressed pleasure at the outcome, saying through a spokesman: “ATA is pleased that the court has cleared the way for this important regulation and we look forward to its implementation.”

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is the highest court in the country next to the Supreme Court OOIDA still has the option to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

 

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

Autonomous Truck Makes First Commercial Delivery

uber-makes-first-autonomous-beer-run-with-self-driving-delivery-truckThe path toward a “driverless truck” is full of firsts many of which have yet to take place. But this week the movement cleared one of its most significant hurdles to date – actually making an autonomous delivery. If you’re in Colorado Springs, you might buy a can of beer that was shipped by a self-driving truck.

Otto, the self-driving truck company acquired by Uber, announced Tuesday, October 25, that one of its heavy-duty self-driving trucks completed a 120-mile delivery for Anheuser-Busch InBev. The Class 8 tractor and its trailer loaded with 51,744 cans of beer, traveled on Interstate 25 from Fort Collins through downtown Denver to Colorado Springs. There was a driver tucked in the sleeper berth who monitored the two-hour voyage.

The truck, a Volvo VNL, used cameras, radar, and LIDAR sensors to see the road. Otto’s system controlled the trucks acceleration, braking and steering to carry the beer exit to exit with no human intervention. Otto co-founder Lior Ron says the truck’s driver was out of the driver’s seat for the entire 120 mile trek down interstate 25 and monitored the system from the sleeper. All the driver had to do was drive the truck onto the interstate and take over as it left the interstate to its final destination at the distributor about two hours later.

“This shipment is the next step towards our vision for a safe and productive future across our highways,” Otto executives wrote in a blog post. “With an Otto-equipped vehicle, truck drivers will have the opportunity to rest during long stretches of highway while the truck continues to drive and make money for them.”

Despite having less than 200 miles and only one delivery of feedback, James Sembrot, senior director of logistics strategy for Anheuser-Busch, says he was thrilled with the results and says he’s confident Otto’s autonomous retrofit will improve safety, will be sustainable and will increase operating efficiency. “We really see that as the model of the future,” he says. “The driver is still there, he’s just safer with those very long hours on the road and he can be more productive because you could [potentially] drive around the clock.” Hours of Service obstacles remain, as does the fact that Level 4 autonomy, the level at which once the system is enabled, driver attention is not required – is still not legal in most states, including Colorado.

In case you’re wondering, the historical significance of this week’s beer run didn’t come with a price premium. Sembrot says Anheuser-Busch paid “the market rate average of what we normally pay on that lane.” Autonomy’s impact on rates won’t be seen for quite some time but Ron says, rates aside, platforms like Otto’s create an environment where everyone can make more money.

“There is a very clear commercial value with the investment because you can drive more hours on the truck and be more cost effective with the assets on the truck because the truck behaves more predictably,” he says. “We think this creates a win-win for both shipper, the carrier and the driver. We are creating a bigger pie.”

“Carriers pass on to shippers the cost of fuel via a fuel surcharge,” Sembrot adds. “We know this technology is going to improve fuel consumption … and we expect to realize a benefit of reduced cost of fuel.”

“As a shipper, we are convinced this is the future,” he adds.

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

FMCSA Issues Safety Advisory For Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Phones.

23119The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a safety advisory this week regarding the recently –recalled Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smart phone and its lithium-ion batteries. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the lithium- ion battery in the Samsung Galaxy Note 7s can overheat and catch fire, posing a serious burn and fire hazard.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has been subject of two major recalls as a result of reports of the smartphone exploding and lighting on fire leading to injuries and damages. After an initial recall failed to solve the problem, Samsung has told retailers globally to stop selling and issuing replacement Galaxy Note 7 phones.  The recall affects nearly two million Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones.

Samsung has received 96 reports of batteries in Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones overheating in the United States, including 23 new reports since the original September 15, 2016, recall announcement. Samsung has received 13 reports of burns and 47 reports of property damage associated with Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones.

The FMCSA is following in the Federal Aviation Administration’s footsteps, which banned the phones from all commercial flights on Oct. 14. While the FMSCA does not have the authority to ban commercial drivers or passengers from carrying the phones they are recommending that all persons who wish to carry these devices on a CMV, including motor coaches, take the following precautions:

  • Turn off the device.
  • Disconnect the device from any charging equipment.
  • Disable all applications that could inadvertently activate the phone (e.g. alarm clock)
  • Protect the power switch to prevent its unintentional activation.
  • Keep the device in carry-on baggage or on your person. Do not store in an inaccessible baggage compartment.

FMCSA adds the phones are subject to the regulatory prohibition in the Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations, which states transporting electrical devices, such as batteries and battery-powered devices, likely to create sparks is prohibits, unless they are packaged to prevent sparking . The agency adds the phones can only be transported as cargo with a special permit or approval issued by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Click here to read the full advisory.

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

CVSA’s 2016 Roadcheck Results

roadcheck-2016-focus-tiresCommercial motor vehicle inspectors throughout North America conducted driver and vehicle safety inspections on large trucks and buses during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) 29th annual International Roadcheck, June 7-9, 2016. International Roadcheck is a three-day event when CVSA-certified inspectors conduct compliance, enforcement and educational initiatives targeted at various elements of motor carrier, vehicle and driver safety.

International Roadcheck is the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial motor vehicles in the world, with around 15 trucks or buses inspected, on average, every minute across North America during the 72-hour period. A total of 62,796 inspections were conducted during this year’s International Roadcheck of that 21.5% of trucks inspected were placed out-of-service (OOS), along with 3.4% of drivers.

Each year, International Roadcheck places a special emphasis on a category of violations. The focus this year was tire safety. Tire/wheel violations accounted for 18.5% of the total OOS violations. In the U.S., tire violations represented 13.7% of OOS vehicle violations. As part of the inspection process and focus on tires inspectors measures tire tread depth, checked tire pressure, checked to ensure no solid objects were logged between dual tires, and examined the overall condition of the tire to make sure no deep cuts or bulges were found on tire sidewalls.

Of the 62,796 inspection performed across North America during the event, 42,236 were North American Standard Level I Inspections, the most comprehensive inspection level. CVSA says the number of total inspection and Level I were down in 2016, and the vehicle and driver OOS percentages are at a record low for the annul Roadcheck event.

Brake violations led the way in vehicle OOS orders, accounting for 45.7%, approximately 4,111 trucks, of all OOS orders issued during the three day event. Other vehicle-related violations included tires and wheels, 18.5% of OOS orders, lighting devices, 11.8%, and cargo securement, 6.1%. Suspensions, steering mechanisms, frames, driveshaft, coupling devices, fuel systems and exhaust systems each accounted for less 5% of OOS orders.

For drivers, hours-of-service and false logs accounted for 46.8% and 16.4% of OOS orders, respectively, for a total of approximately 908 drivers out of the 1,436 total drivers that were places OOS. Drivers shut down for drugs and alcohol were down from 2015’s Roadcheck numbers from 2.1% to 1% this year.  Other driver relates violations included improper endorsement, 7.7% of OOS orders, and disqualifies driver, 6.2%.

“International Roadcheck is an annual reminder of the diligence and dedication of law enforcement officials and commercial motor vehicle safety professionals,” said FMCSA Administrator T.F. Scott Darling, III. “While their tireless efforts every day greatly increase the level of safety on our roadways, it is critically important that everyone do their part to promote a national culture of roadway safety.”

For a complete breakdown of Roadcheck 2016 results, see the handy CVSA breakdown here.

 

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

Zombies And Trucking And a Video Game? Oh, My!

zombie-1Fleet management systems company Omnitracs unveiled a Halloween-timely PR effort in the form of an online game called Zombie Dispatch. And while it’s meant to be for fun, there are serious undertones. Sure, a zombie apocalypse is the stuff of popular fiction. But real emergencies such as the extensive flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew can reach a similar feel very quickly as you’re cut off from things you need, the powers out and you can’t get through on roadways.

“Whether it’s a natural disaster, day-to-day supplies or a zombie apocalypse, truck drivers are critically important,” said Jim Gardner, vice president of marketing at Omnitracs. “That’s exactly the message we wanted to get out with this game. The public needs to recognize not only the professionalism of the drivers, but the critical role they play in the economy in normal times, let alone during natural disasters and emergencies.”

The game touches on driver shortages and the difficulty many fleets have recruiting and retaining drivers as well. “There aren’t as many truck drivers on the road as there were just a few years ago, and the numbers of those still driving have been thinned by the virus,” the game explains as you get started.

The game also manages to fold in a message about the role of technology and fleet management systems, and how they keep trucks rolling and getting through post-disaster. Playing the game, the user gets an occasional humorous message like “Rest in peace, unsafe and inefficient fleets!”

Regarding the day-to-day importance of trucking, here’s the game’s message: “If trucks stopped rolling, in just 24 hours, gas prices would skyrocket and hospitals would exhaust basic supplies. In 2-3 days, supplies of bottled water and non-perishable goods would be exhausted. By the end of the week, hospitals would run out of critical supplies of oxygen and medicine.”

In short, the country would quickly grind to a halt without trucking.

To check out the game, go to http://playzombiedispatch.com.

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

FMSCA Eases Requirments On Military Personnel Looking To Obtain A CDL

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announces a final rule (Docket No. FMCSA-2016-0051) on Oct. 12 that simplifies the process of obtaining a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) or Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) for current and former military personnel. 23085Military members who drove commercial vehicles (CMV) in the service will now have a full year to apply for a skills test waiver instead of just 90 days after they leave the service.  The rule also allows a state to accept applications from active-duty military personnel who are stationed in that state and to administer the written and skills test for a CLP or CDL. FMCSA had been granting states temporary exemptions that extended the time of the waiver since 2014. This action would make the waiver extension permanent. FMCSA said the proposed rule will accomplish the following:

  • Demonstrate FMCSA’s commitment to serving veterans and assist in efforts to attract and retain skilled CMV drivers.
  • Provide military personnel with a time extension to apply for a skills test waiver and also permit active duty military personnel to apply and be tested for their CLP and CDL in the state where they are stationed.
  • Establish a process that allows veteran operators to obtain their DOT medical certification exams from their Department of Veterans Affairs physician.
  • Provide CMV Operator Safety Training grant program that will provide grant funds to commercial driver training schools that train veterans to transition into civilian motor carrier careers.
  • Enable a federal military pilot program that will allow select military personnel between 18-21 years of age to operate a CMV in interstate commerce.

“FMCSA believes that this would give former military personnel a better opportunity to obtain a CDL in a way that will not negatively affect safety,” the agency stated in its proposal. The agency also said it is has concluded that lengthening the waiver period permanently “would ease the transition of service members and veterans to civilian life.” Making CDLs more accessible for veterans has been a priority by many industry trade organizations and is seen as a promising way to recruit more drivers into the industry who can help alleviate the ongoing driver shortage. The FMSCA estimates this change could result in up to $7.7 million in new benefits over the next 10 years.

Additionally, the FAST Act, passed in December, requires FMCSA to (1) exempt certain ex-military form the CDL skills test if they had CMV driving experience in the military, (2) extend the skills test waiver to one year and (3) credit the CMV training military drivers receive in the military toward applicable CDL training and knowledge requirements. This rule would take care of the first two of the three requirements. FMSCA has said the third requirement will need additional rulemaking.

According to the agency, more than 10,000 separated military personnel have taken advantage of the skills-test waiver.

 

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

Operation Safe Driver Week Oct 16-22

osd-sm-1The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Safe Driver week will begin this Sunday on October 16 and run through Saturday, October 22. Law enforcement agencies throughout North America will engage in heightened traffic safety enforcement and education aimed at combating unsafe driving behaviors by commercial and passenger vehicles.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s “Large Truck Crash Causation Study” cites driver behavior as the critical reason for more than 88% of large truck crashes and 93% of passenger vehicle crashes. CVSA’s operation Safe Driver program was created to help to reduce the number of crashes, deaths and injuries involving large truck, busses, and cars caused by such behaviors.

Law enforcement will be on the lookout for speeding, failure to use a seat belt while operating a commercial vehicle, distracted driving, failure to obey traffic  control devices, traveling too closely, improper lane change, and other unsafe driving conduct.  Last year’s Operation Safe Driver Week pulled over 21,000 commercial and passenger vehicles and conducted 19,480 roadside inspections.  The good news: Last year’s effort resulted in passenger vehicle drivers being cited at a 3 to 1 rate compared to commercial vehicles.  Ultimately, 3,929 warnings were given out to commercial drivers along with 4,062 citations. The top five warnings and citations issued to commercial drivers in 2015 were:

  1. Size and weight
  2. Speeding
  3. Failure to use a seat belt while operating vehicle
  4. Failure to obey traffic control device
  5. Using a hand-held phone

Now is the time to make sure that you’re ready for Operation Safe Driver Week.  A lot of the top warnings and citations are easy things that you can fix yourself. Here are some tips to make sure you’re prepared:

  • Be Ready For a Level 1 Inspection. Ensure that all your paperwork is valid and accessible. One of the most effective ways to stay compliant and to protect yourself from violations is to do a pre-trip inspection.
  • Practice Safe Driving Habits. Always use your seatbelt when operating your vehicle, follow posted speed limits, and drive for the conditions.
  • Avoid Distracted Driving. Answering your phone, sending a quick text message, playing with the radio, eating while driving, etc. are all examples of distracted driving and things you should avoid. Pull over, do what you need to do, and then get back on the road. It might add a couple more minutes to your trip but it could save a life.
  • Obey Hours-of-Service Regulations. HOS violations accounted for nearly half of all driver related violations in 2015. Always ensure that you’re running in compliance with the rules and regulations required for the industry.

 

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.