Trump’s infrastructure plan raises concerns among trucking organizations

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Trump’s infrastructure plan raises concerns among trucking organizations

On Tuesday, the Trump administration had finally laid out its trillion-dollar infrastructure plan for fiscal year 2018. Though a number of motor carriers and trucking companies are looking forward to its implementation, not everyone from the trucking industry is excited about the proposed budget. They feel that the proposal will do more harm than good. It includes major cuts for the Department of Transportation (DOT) and comes with several spending issues.
The major areas of the plan include:

  • DOT budget cuts of nearly $17 billion annually by 2022
  • Encourage private investment in infrastructure by investing $200 billion over 10 years
  • States are allowed to assess transportation needs and increase tolls
  • $1 billion in cuts to an educational program to help train men and women for truck driving and other careers

Responses from few of the trucking and related organizations were as follows:

  • Don Lefeve, President & CEO, Commercial Vehicle Training Association, issued a statement expressing disappointment in the decision to cut Workforce Innovation and Opportunities (WIOA) Act grants. The cuts come near $1 billion. WIOA is a funding source that allows individuals to receive education and training in commercial truck and bus driving. Lefeve believes that cuts to this grant will once again create a shortage of drivers, an issue which is already rearing its head in the industry.
  • Lisa Mullings, President and CEO, National Association of Truckstop Operators issued a statement raising concerns at the decision to toll interstate rest areas as this threatens the businesses serving interstate highway travellers. The move could cost nearly 2 million American jobs and a loss of billions of dollars that these businesses contribute to state and local taxes.
  • Bill Sullivan, American Trucking Association (ATA) too issued a statement expressing concerns in loosening restrictions on interstate tolling. He said that not only has it been proven to be unsafe, but is widely unpopular in states like North Carolina and Virginia.

Uber Freight draws mixed opinions from truckers

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Uber Freight draws mixed opinions from truckers

Uber Freight, an app by Uber that connects truckers and shippers has been launched recently and has drawn both support and criticism from truckers. The app allows qualified truck drivers to connect with shippers to locate suitable loads and confirm their interest in transporting the call through a simple process. This replaces multiple phone calls and tedious hours of contacting freight brokers and looking up load boards. Uber also promises the drivers payments within a short period as compared to waiting for weeks, and sometimes even months to get paid.
But again, things are not as simple as it is for a normal Uber. In this case, a missed appointment would result in wasted trip, greater losses and delays. In addition, once the assignment is confirmed, it is up to the driver to optimize the trip in the best way possible. Also, companies that employ apps often levy cuts on all the deals arranged. For cabs, Uber takes 20% and it remains to be seen how it will differ for trucks.
Drivers also have mixed opinions. The prospect of timely payments, ease of independent operation, and elimination of the long drawn out process to make an appointment is good news to few. Others feel that though initially small businesses might depend on Uber freight to get up and running, later they will start relying heavily on load boards.

Size of tonnage index decline in April surprising: Bob Costello, Chief economist, ATA

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Size of tonnage index decline in April surprising: Bob Costello, Chief economist, ATA Image Source: ATA Media Link

The American Trucking Association presents a periodic For-hire monthly truck tonnage index which serves as an indicator of shipping activity in the US. The index is presented in two ways: an advanced seasonally adjusted index and a not seasonally adjusted index.
The advanced seasonally adjusted index showed a decline of 2.5% in April after a 1.1% decline in March. The index was reported to be at an all-time high of 142.7 in February, 2016. In March, 2017 the index was 137.4 while it dropped to 134 in April. The index dropped 1.8% compared to April, 2016. On a year-over-year basis, the month of March saw a rise of 0.6% while on a year-to-date basis, compared to the same four months in 2016, the index is off 0.3%.
The non-seasonally adjusted index which represents change in tonnage actually hauled before any seasonal adjustments dropped 7.8% from March.
The ATA is surprised at the decline observed in April. Chief economist, Bob Costello says that the decline can be attributed to the substantial fall in housing starts. Even with the drop in index, Costello remains positive about moderate growth with development in other sectors of the economy.

Trillion-dollar infrastructure plan laid out by Trump administration on Tuesday

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Trillion-dollar infrastructure plan laid out by Trump administration on Tuesday Image Source: CNN Money

With his entry as President of the US, Trump had promised a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan to rebuild roads and bridges, launch projects related to water and pipelines etc.
The Trump administration finally laid out the plan on Tuesday. The plan was presented as a 6-page fact sheet consisting of the President’s $4.1 trillion proposed 2018 budget. It specifies a $200 billion in direct federal spending on roads, bridges, tunnels, railroads and other needs over the next ten years. Transportation secretary, Elaine Chao said that a legislative package can be expected later this year. The plan laid out on Tuesday has all the key concepts.
Trump had prioritized the infrastructure plan in his election speech and addressed it further on February 28, 2017. He promised that it would bring in employment. He also promised that he would get past the regulatory roadblocks to the plan.
The trucking industry eagerly awaits the implementation of the infrastructure plan as it would mean a sizeable decrease in the additional operational costs resulting from poor roads and highways.

Uber trucking app to revolutionize the trucking industry

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Uber trucking app to revolutionize the trucking industry

Often, the process to connect truckers with shippers who want to move freight is quite tedious. The process involves multiple phone calls, long waiting hours, and issues like late payments. To address this, Uber, the widely used app for hailing rides instantly has launched the Uber freight, a network that connects drivers to shippers without any hassles and also ensures that drivers are paid within the shortest time possible. Uber freight provides a detailed list to drivers on the shippers requiring their service, the routes, the haul and the payment. The app is available on both android and iOS. This “Uber for trucking” service could revolutionize the trucking industry. It could prove useful to stakeholders in trucking companies. The app literally connects drivers with shippers in a very short time and sends the rate confirmation within seconds eliminating worry of whether the load is confirmed or not.
The use of the Uber freight app has advantages like lower operating costs, higher revenues and asset utilization. Smaller trucking businesses that contribute the major part of the US trucking companies can now level with larger companies. Trucks with extra space can be used for shipping loads, making trips more profitable and efficient for both suppliers and customers.
The app is beneficial for small trucking companies as they can increase their capacity and exercise better control on their prices while larger companies can manage their freights more effectively.
Truckers can easily access jobs available to them and even plan their trip efficiently. This eliminates the need to contact freight brokers or check load boards which is time consuming. This offers truckers independence in their careers.
Although the app has its positives; a major disadvantage is that since the app can be used by non-commercial drivers, and the aim of the app is to meet consumer demands immediately, it could create a demand for owners of vans and sedans who are not necessarily commercial drivers.
The shift to using the app as a major source for booking trips would happen very slowly. The app, its working and benefits have to be introduced to drivers. Changes would have to be made in the existing shipping infrastructure to accommodate the usage of the app.

FMCSA rule for CDL drivers stalled as Trump asks to reassess federal regulations

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FMCSA rule for CDL drivers stalled as Trump asks to reassess federal regulations

In order to promote safety on roads, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established a rule-Minimum Training Requirements for Entry-level Commercial Vehicle Operators. The rule sets a minimum classroom curriculum and a minimum number of hours of behind-the-wheel training for those who require their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). The rule is currently facing a roadblock in becoming effective. In January, President Trump issued a memo requiring federal agencies to reassess certain regulations, thus delaying the date by which the rule comes into effect.
The FMSA has scheduled a notice that will move the date of establishment of the rule to June 5 from February 6. This being said, the compliance date remains unchanged from February 7, 2020.

Nothing equitable about West Virginia bill promoting toll roads: OOIDA

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Nothing equitable about West Virginia bill promoting toll roads: OOIDA

Recently, the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has expressed concerns on a West Virginia bill regarding transportation funding and the state Parkways Authority. In order to improve site budget, lawmakers have introduced legislation leading to more toll roads.
The OOIDA says that the bill would adversely affect a number of truckers operating within the state as well as on state highways daily.
The sections in the senate bill SB1003 and house bill HB103 that have particularly concerned OOIDA are the following:

  • Parkways Authority is given authority to establish toll agreements with adjacent states that pursue reciprocal toll enforcement agreement.
  • Parkways Authority can set a single fee program for motorists, but exclude commercial vehicles.
  • Parkways Authority can issue parkway revenue bonds to fund public highways and bridges
  • Establish a State Road Construction account supported by parkway revenue.
  • Assign Parkways Authority permission to increase toll rates while removing local oversight and public input
  • Parkways Authority is required to establish a commuter pass system, but exclude participation of commercial vehicles

The OOIDA director feels that the legislation sends out the message to small business truckers that West Virginia is not open to business. The OOIDA feels that while transportation projects are necessary to improve congestion and other traffic related problems, the bill is not equitable.

Arkadelphia among costliest congested National Highway System segments: ATRI

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Arkadelphia among costliest congested National Highway System segments: ATRI

In its recent ‘Cost of congestion to the trucking industry report’, 2017, the American Transport Research Institute (ATRI), a research organization for the American Trucking Associations listed Arkadelphia as one of the costliest congested National Highway System segments in America for truck drivers. They reported the cost to be nearly $887,749 per mile. The truck traffic is apparently only to worsen with the opening of a Shandong Sun Paper Industry pulp mill worth $1.3 billion in a couple of years. The plant itself will contribute to the rising traffic congestion as it will process 400 truckloads of small timber daily.
In 2015, traffic congestion had trucking companies suffer losses of nearly $74 million which is $53 million more than that in 2014.
Arkadelphia is just one among many to be labelled the worst traffic bottlenecks. Costs due to traffic congestion in Ogden-Clearfield Utah totalled to more than $566 million since it has 619 miles of highway.
The American Trucking Association looks forward to Trump’s trillion-dollar infrastructure plan to save the nation from its traffic woes.

Rising traffic congestion causes heavy losses for trucking industry

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Rising traffic congestion causes heavy losses for trucking industry

Traffic congestion has always been the cause of major drawback to the economy. More people are working and traveling, causing traffic congestion to rise everyday. Most of the nation’s freight is transported by trucks and traffic delays are a huge setback to the trucking industry. It adversely affects the economy as well.
The American Transport Research Institute (ATRI), a research organization for the American Trucking Associations recently reported a loss of 996 million hours in delay experienced by the trucking industry on the National Highway System in 2015. This roughly translates into $63.4 billion as additional operational costs. The ATRI calculated that trucks travelled about 279,843,596,449 miles in the US in 2015. This means that traffic delays cost each truck an average of $.23 per mile as compared to $.18 in 2014.
As per the study conducted by the ATRI, a truck’s working year comprises of 55 hours per week, 50 weeks a year. Reports show that the effect of congestion was equal to about 3.2% of commercial trucks not operating for a year.
Spaghetti Junction, Atlanta was reported to be the worst traffic bottleneck of the nation. Catoosa County in Georgia faced the sixth largest county increase in congestion cost per mile in 2015.
Traffic congestion costs billions of dollars’ worth of losses and can be resolved only through proper transportation network and infrastructure development.

Uber launches Uber freight to aid truckers and shippers

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Uber launches Uber freight to aid truckers and shippers

Uber, the widely popular ride-hailing company has some exciting news for the trucking industry. On Thursday, Uber launched Uber Freight, its new network for helping truck drivers find loads easier and pay them faster. The Uber freight will connect professional truck drivers with shippers looking to transport goods over long distances. The app is available on both iOS and android. It was launched to reduce the hassles of making multiple phone calls in finding and booking freight. The app has details about the list of jobs available, routes and tells each driver what they will be hauling and how much they will be paid. In addition, Uber tries to pay the drivers within a short time frame, thus avoiding the long wait that drivers often face to receive the payment.
Another step by Uber in the trucking industry is its ongoing efforts in developing self-driving trucks since it acquired Otto. However, it is still at the center of a lawsuit filed by Waymo, the self-driving car division of Google’s parent company Alphabet.

Trump’s promise to increase fuel tax eagerly awaited

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Trump’s promise to increase fuel tax eagerly awaited

President Donald Trump suggested his willingness to consider increasing the fuel tax earlier this month. The move, if executed will help in increasing funds for road maintenance and transportation infrastructure. The federal fuel tax has not been increased since 1993, forcing states to be responsible for funding road repairs. As a result, some roads are in such disrepair that they are not fit to be used. The American Society of Civil Engineers reports a backlog of $836 billion of highway and bridge work nationally. This causes $1 billion in vehicle repairs, congestion delays and traffic accidents.
The Waldo-Hancock bridge crossing Penobscot river near Bucksport was closed due to deteriorating cables revealed during inspections. The transportation company has advanced several bills to increase funding for transportation work. One of these bills, LD1149 calls for a 7 cent per gallon fuel tax increase, a $200 surcharge on hybrid and electric vehicle registrations, a $3 increase in many motor vehicle- related charges at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and would devote 10 percent of the sales tax on transportation-related items to the Highway Fund. Although opposed by environmental groups, the bill is supported by the trucking industry.
Trump’s promise, if held would greatly help to continue with much needed road repairs in several parts of the country.

State lawmakers to pass bills improving road safety

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State lawmakers to pass bills improving road safety

One can often find that vehicles moving at a speed less than normal traffic stay to the left of the lane and refuse to move to the right. To address this problem, lawmakers from Virginia to Oregon are working through rule changes for left-lane use by trucks and other similar vehicles.
Virginia: Gov. Terry McAuliffe has approved a bill that disallows driving into the far-left lane into law. The bill was approved to address motorists who violate the lane-use rule. The bill, HB2201 (HB stands for House Bill) approved by state lawmakers imposes a $250 fine on those who move slowly along the left lane. The fine was lowered from $250 to $100 by the governor and the change was voted in by the General Assembly. The law becomes effective on July 1, 2017.
Pennsylvania: The bill will increase fines for failure to stay right on multi-lane highways.
North Carolina: An under-construction bill will fine violations of state laws requiring slow traffic to keep on right. According to the bill HB827, wrongdoers will be fined $200. The bill is currently awaiting approval in the House Judiciary 1 Committee. For the first year of its implementation, warnings and signage will be put out to alert drivers.
Michigan: The law already requires slow traffic to stay to the right. A House Bill requires motorists to move to the right if a fast-moving vehicle is approaching from behind, trying to pass. The bill would allow exceptions when preparing to take left, when construction vehicles are working on the roadway or when law enforcement requires the vehicle to exit the lane. The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and the National Motorists Association are in favor of the rule as keeping to the left could increase the chances of road accidents. The bill HB4062 follows a new law that increases car speeds from 70-75 mph and truck speeds from 60-65 mph on 600 miles of rural freeways.
Montana: The law signed by Gov. Steve Bullock will take effect on October 1, 2017 and is intended to reduce road rage. State lawmakers believe that road rage is potentially dangerous and could be reduced with a few clarifications in the law. Violators are not fined since the existing laws are not clearly worded. This will be rectified by the new law.
Oklahoma: HB2312, a new rule limits left lane use on highways with at least two lanes of traffic in the same direction. It becomes effective on November 1, 2017.
Nevada: The existing law limits traffic along the left lane and has set a minimum speed as well.
New York: The bill would subject violators of left-lane use to fines of $75
Oregon: The existing law imposes fines of $1000 on large vehicles moving along the far left of the lane. The Senate has approved changes that will include all vehicles in the rule and would apply to roadways with minimum speeds of 55 mph. Wrongdoers will have to pay $250 as fine. Failing to give way on left lanes can cause the drivers stuck behind to tailgate or pass on the right, creating dangerous driving conditions.

Right to oppose OOIDA’s ELD petition waived by DOT

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Right to oppose OOIDA’s ELD petition waived by DOT

The Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA) has been voicing their opposition to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposed electronic logging device (ELD) mandate and raising concerns about it being a breach on the privacy of truckers. The OOIDA filed an opposition to the US Supreme court asking to review the mandate. It involved a request to check if the mandate kept trucker’s right in sight or in other words to check if the data collected by the ELDs and used by federal and state law enforcement agencies are bounded by adequate restrictions.
According to latest reports, the US Department of Transportation has waived its right to file a brief in opposition to OOIDA’s petition.

Trucking industry takes a hard hit as traffic congestion rises

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Trucking industry takes a hard hit as traffic congestion rises

The trucking industry is taking a hard hit from the traffic congestion on the US National Highway System. In 2015, traffic congestion added over $63.4 million in operational costs, according to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). The ATRI calculated nearly 996 million hours of lost productivity. This means that about 362,243 commercial drivers were sitting idle. Research showed that trucks that travel 100,000 miles faced an average increase of $22,676 annually owing to traffic congestion. Congestion is reported to be the most severe in urban areas with 88 percent of the congestion costs concentrated on only 17 percent of the network mileage, and 91 percent of the total congestion cost occurring in metropolitan areas. The trucking industry contributes a major part to the economy of the nation and the additional costs are causing a drain on the economy. This issue can be addressed only through significant changes in the infrastructure development.

OOIDA strongly opposes medical regulations laid by FMCSA

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OOIDA strongly opposes medical regulations laid by FMCSA

Two years ago, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a rule that didn’t go through the proper rule making process. The law required that the medical examiners performing physicals on commercial drivers use a new medical form including a set of specific criteria that was not specified during the rulemaking process. The law is being met with strong opposition by the Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA). The association says that drivers are facing increased complications in the driver medical certification process as the FMCSA devises new rules and regulations and incorporates them into driver training and instruction. The new rule especially has affected many drivers. On the other hand, the FMCSA argues that the petition filed by the OOIDA has shown no instances of injury due to the said rule. In addition, the OOIDA argues that the medical examiners are obligated to follow the guidelines without questioning them fearing elimination from the registry for failure to do so. The association says that the new rule is burdensome, expensive and unnecessary.

Bills for snow-free vehicles being advanced in several states to promote safety.

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Bills for snow-free vehicles being advanced in several states to promote safety.

State officials from the central and eastern parts of the US are preparing for winter by the year end. They are addressing concerns regarding removal of snow and ice from the top of cars and trucks.
The police are permitted to pull over vehicles not cleared of ice and snow and the Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA) is against this since proper facilities are not available to help these drivers comply with rules that require trucks to be clear of ice and snow.
In states like Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, and Illinois, rules are in place regarding concerns on snow removal.

Pennsylvania

  • Rule permits imposing fines between $200 and $1,000 on drivers if wintry precipitation causes fatalities.
  • The Senate Transportation Committee believes the above bill is not preventive and has advanced a bill, SB435 that fines drivers for failure to clear trucks of snow and ice.
  • The bill is supposedly about raising awareness about the potential hazards of not clearing snow from vehicles. It requires snow and ice to be cleared from a vehicle within 24 hours of a weather event and violators will face fines of $1,500. The bill also allows police to ticket between $25 to $75 for the same.
  • Truckers will be exempted under following situations:
    1. Snow fell when vehicles were out on the road.
    2. The vehicle is on the way to a facility to get the snow cleared
    3. If compliance violates any federal or state law, workplace safety or if it imposes a health and safety threat.

Delaware

  • A bill, SB57 is being advanced that imposes fines between $25 and $75 for failure to remove ice or snow.
  • Truck drivers will face fines between $500 and $1500 for incidents that cause fatalities and motorists would be fined between $200 and $1000 for the same.
  • Drivers will be exempted if snow or ice fell while vehicle was in operation.

New York

  • The first bill, A2455 permits the police to issue fines of $75 to drivers who have not cleared snow and ice from their vehicles while travelling on roadways at speeds above 40 mph. The fine is valid if accumulated snow is 2 inches and ice is half inch.
  • Exceptions are made if the accumulations occurred while out on the road.
  • The second bill, S1591 imposed fines of $75 for not making “reasonable efforts” to remove accumulations.
  • Fatalities result in fines between $500 and $1250 for truck drivers and between $200 and $1000 for motorists.

Illinois

  • A bill, SB72 focuses on trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds in particular and drivers who do not remove accumulated snow and ice would be imposed with fines starting from $25.
  • Fatalities would have wrongdoers facing fines between $500 to $1500 in case of truck driver and between $200 and $1000 in case of motorists.

Regulations causing growing concern among truck drivers.

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Regulations causing growing concern among truck drivers.

Recently several regulations have been introduced into the trucking industry. These rules have been affecting motor carriers. For instance, the exhaust emission after treatment regulations increased equipment costs in the last 20 years. Drivers are having a hard time as they are surrounded by federal, state and district regulations combined with uncertainty. Employers are unsure about the Affordable Health Care Act (AHCA) as well as how the administrative policies should be altered to suit new regulations.

Some of the issues prevalent are:

  • Increase in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) workplace discrimination claims.
  • Challenges to employers regarding Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). It includes difficulty in managing intermittent FMLA leaves and those extending beyond FMLA requirements.
  • Information security breaches. Various companies are having their IT and HR departments working on security policies.
  • Global data privacy is a major concern in doing business outside the US.

ELDS to start marketing ELD solutions finalised in April.

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ELDS to start marketing ELD solutions finalised in April.

An electronic logging device (ELD) with subscription charges starting from $20 and varying according to bring your own device (BYOD) configuration and other features has been finalised by the ELDS, an ELD solutions company.
ELDS used feedbacks from drivers and carriers to develop the device and simplify the compliance. It meets the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requirements. ELDS offers packages ranging from simple Hours of Service (HoS) tracking to a full suite of telematic tools. The packages include a tablet and rigged case, trailer tracking and 24/7 live customer support.

Blue Ink introduces simple ELD for ease of compliance.

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Blue Ink introduces simple ELD for ease of compliance.

While manufacturers are trying to modify the electronic logging device (ELD) to incorporate more features, Blue Ink, a software company is offering a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) registered app. It will help users comply with the ELD mandate without any other auxiliary features. The company is trying to make the app easy to use as most drivers are between the ages of 50-60 years and are still using flip phones. The app is compatible with the user's smartphone or tablet and comes with a onetime fee. The company is currently trying to grow their user base and make the system as efficient as possible.

Switch to electric drive trains will not add heavily to vehicle weight according to analysts.

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Switch to electric drive trains will not add heavily to vehicle weight according to analysts.

Tesla’s new battery powered Semi is soon to hit the markets. It has met with speculations about its weight and functioning. Despite this, Alexander Potter, analyst at Piper Jaffray and Co., an investment bank and asset management firm, is confident that trucks can make the transition to an electric drivetrain with no more than 4000 pounds added to its gross weight. Potter says that instead of the weight, the range is the more challenging issue that needs to be addressed in this case. Tesla will address this problem by selling first to fixed route fleets that have charging infrastructure at their depots.
Most people believe that fleets are concerned about the weight of their trucks. Except for a few cases this is not true. Potter estimates that most of the class 8 vehicles haul less than 70,000 pounds, which according to him, leaves plenty of room to incorporate the battery components.
Tesla will unveil an electric truck in the heaviest class 8 weight segment. The reason for using a heavy duty truck before experimenting on a lightweight vehicle, according to Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, is that he wants to demonstrate that electric transport can work even as a heavy duty vehicle.

Garmin International Inc. to launch ELD device: Expected to be in markets by third quarter

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Garmin International Inc. to launch ELD device: Expected to be in markets by third quarter

Garmin International Inc., a company specializing in innovative GPS technology, has announced the launch of the Garmin eLog Compliant Electronic Logging Device (ELD) to help truck drivers comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ELD mandate. The device is user friendly, sleek and tracks the Hours of Service (HoS) data. It is versatile and comes with an adaptor that supports 9 pin and 6 pin diagnostic ports to fit any truck. Truckers can also download the Garmin eLog app into onto their smartphones devices, which then stores the HoS data securely and can be accessed easily if when need be. Drivers can view their duty status and remaining driving hours. USB port connections allow data to be transferred and retrieved. A navigation display screen will allow enable users to view the necessary details eliminating the need to glance frequently into one’s smartphone. It is expected to arrive in markets by the third quarter of this year at a suggested price of $250.

Inland port at Manitoba to make freight transport cost effective

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Inland port at Manitoba to make freight transport cost effective

A 250-acre site near Letellier, Manitoba, will soon be developed into an inland port and rail siding at the US-Canada border as announced by Mid Canada Transload services. It will be one of the largest privately owned inland ports and will be located along Highway 75 with access to CN and BNSF railways. The daily rail service will transport goods between US and Mexico. Products will be shipped by rails for cost effectiveness and will be transported to and from the rail by trucks. The development will have direct links to international markets and the new inland port will benefit producers, processors and shippers.

ATA commences search for winner of Mike Russell Trucking Image Award

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ATA commences search for winner of Mike Russell Trucking Image Award

In an effort to improve the image of the trucking industry throughout North America, the American Trucking Association (ATA) has announced the start of the hunt for the industry’s greatest advocates. These individuals will be honoured with the prestigious Mike Russell Trucking Image Award. The award is presented to those truckers whose efforts go into shaping and getting the best out of the trucking industry. The award is being sponsored by HireRight and the award will be presented to an individual, motor carrier, trucking organization and industry supplier who works tirelessly for the betterment of the industry.
Entries for the award are looked over by a panel of qualified judges. The entries are evaluated based on creativity, impact, execution and frequency.
The completed applications have to be submitted by August 18 to ATA’s Industry Affairs Department. The winners will be announced October 21-24 during the American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference and Exhibition in Orlando.

California to pass new bill regarding CDL

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California to pass new bill regarding CDL

The state of California is in the process of passing a bill regarding commercial driver’s license (CDL) for truck drivers. It requires the drivers applying for CDL to complete a certified course of instruction from a commercial driving institute before being issued a license. The bill was put forth to minimize the number of fatalities caused by drivers who do not have adequate training. The bill establishes a minimum number of behind-the- wheel training hours to provide the necessary experience to drive safely. The bill is supported by the Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA).

According to the bill

  • Class A license applicants need to complete 30 hours of behind-the- wheel training, of which 10 hours must be at an off-highway facility and 10 hours must be on public roads.
  • Class B license applicants need to complete 15 hours of driving, of which seven hours must be on public roads.
  • Every 50 minutes of driving would be deemed to be one hour of training.

Bill for intrastate ELD mandate initiated by Florida Legislature

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Bill for intrastate ELD mandate initiated by Florida Legislature

The law regarding intrastate drivers to implement the use of Electronic Logging Device (ELD) in the state of Florida is making its way through the legislature at a slow and relaxed pace. While the federal ELD mandate will become mandatory by December 18, 2017, many state governments are yet to specify a fixed timeline to comply with the state ELD mandate. Once the bill regarding the mandate becomes a law in Florida, the compliance date will be December 31, 2018. The state of Texas has set its deadline by December, 2019. Alaska and California are yet to set a deadline and they have also not made any regulatory changes to enable compatibility with the federal ELD.

3 differences between the US and Canadian ELD mandate that you should know

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3 differences between the US and Canadian ELD mandate that you should know

Trucks carrying over $650 million worth of goods cross the US-Canada border annually and drivers and fleets have to keep up with the regulations on both sides. The Canadian mandate has adapted much of the US regulations but there are differences in areas like personal conveyance, enforcement and data transfer.

Differences in personal conveyance

  • Driven to Distraction: Examine the impact of technology in the truck and how it affects driver distraction.
  • Canadian ELD mandate: The ELD supplier has to cover 75 kilometers within 24 hours. If 75 kilometers are exceeded within 24 hours, the system automatically changes status from personal conveyance to drive status.

Location and identity data sources

  • US ELD mandate: Requires location data. Suppliers need to use files of all locations and identities in the US.
  • Canadian mandate: Vendors will be supplied with the file to get distance and direction by the Canadian government itself thus making it easier for the vendor.

Enforcement and transfer

  • US ELD mandate: Fleets need to send detailed files of eight-day log data to enforcement. Rule sets within the ELD need not be measured.
  • Canadian mandate: Detailed files need not be sent to the enforcement, instead PDF images of the 14-day log data in non-editable files are required. Canadian mandate requires rule sets within the ELD be measured in cycles.

Alert Gps Inc. launches Alert ELD as compliance date approaches

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Alert Gps Inc. launches Alert ELD as compliance date approaches

Alert Gps Inc., a fleet and vehicle tracking solutions provider has announced the launch of their new Electronic Logging Device (ELD) compliance solution – Alert ELD system. The Alert ELD automatically records Hours of Service (HoS) data and is registered & certified with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The system comes equipped with features to improve safety, security, costs and helps fleet managers to increase productivity and save fuel and time. Users can login from any device and view the location of their vehicles. Alert Gps Inc. partnered with Master Safety Inc. to provide free training for authorized personnel. Despite all the buzz about ELDs and the market being flooded with different sorts of ELDs, the OOIDA continues with its protest against the mandate. Their argument being that it doesn’t promote safety and pays no heed to professional truck driver’s privacy.

Houchebang, China to compete in market for efficient trucking logistics.

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Houchebang, China to compete in market for efficient trucking logistics.

Huochebang, otherwise known as Truck Alliance, a Unicorn private company in China is trying to match the country’s trucks with commodities in need of transport, vacant parking lots and service centers it operates. This is necessary as most of China’s road haulers are owned by individuals. Cargo haulers stand empty for about 40% of the time and Houchebang is competing with a number of rival applications to lower this. Though most of the goods are transported by trucks in China, the industry is inefficient. It’s logistics sector alone was worth $1.6 trillion in 2013, as estimated by Deloitte. Houchebang is valued at $1 billion and received funds worth $156 million in a round led by Baidu, a web services company in China. Houchebang has connected with nearly 400,000 logistics company in China and is expected to deliver profits by 2017.

Trucking industry picks up on employment despite slight fall back in April

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Trucking industry picks up on employment despite slight fall back in April

Even after the loss of 100 jobs in April, the trucking transportation sector has created nearly 13, 800 jobs this year. The transport sector alone created a total of 3500 jobs in the economy. Couriers and messengers gained an increase of 3200 jobs with warehousing and storage just behind at 2500 jobs. Average hourly earnings for warehousing and transportation increased to $23.68 in April which is a 2 cent increase from March and 60 cents from April, 2016.
The unemployment rate in transportation has lowered this month as compared to April, 2016 and March 2017. The overall unemployment rate in the country this month has been the lowest since May 2007.

ELD mandate- cause for growing concern among truck drivers.

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ELD mandate- cause for growing concern among truck drivers.

The approaching ELD mandate and other regulations are raising concerns among truck drivers. Recently, a truck driver, Clifford Petersen wrote an open letter to President Trump highlighting the difficulties faced by drivers due to parking shortages. He said that this interferes with their ability to meet the 14- hour rule and requested that changes be made in the ELD mandate to accommodate the time taken to resolve it.
The major concern is that if any error occurs when installing the technology, it can stall several vehicles leading to fewer trucks, slowed deliveries and a fallback in the supply chain.
Drivers feel that the cost of installation of the ELD isn't justified, while the FMCSA argues that the rule will save $1.6 billion annually due to a reduction in paperwork, and $395 million in lower crash spending.
The main issue is when the ELD mandate is coupled with outdated regulations. As said in the letter, the device does not account for the time lost in parking a truck. The 14-hour rule says that the truck driver must complete their haul within a 14-hour uninterrupted window, but the time lost in parking will be tracked by the ELD as a violation of this rule since this time is not accounted for. This results in fines and even termination for the driver.
These reasons may cause a rate rise of 10-20% once the mandate comes into effect, spiking shipping prices in 2018.

ATRI approves 2017 top research priorities

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ATRI approves 2017 top research priorities

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), an organization dedicated to conducting research on freight transportation and the transportation system, approved the 2017 top research priorities earlier developed by the advisory committee of the ATRI in March. Among the top research priorities are topics related to Hours of Service, distracted driving and traffic bottlenecks. It will also include studies on the impacts of various technologies on the industry.

The top research priorities for 2017 are listed below:

  • Driven to Distraction- Examine the impact of technology in the truck and how it affects driver distraction.
  • Cumulative Economic Impact of Trucking Regulations- Research the potential of developing a standardized methodology for conducting studies on the impact of trucking regulations and then using it to understand industry costs.
  • HOS Flexibility- Address the congestion choke points by making the HoS rules flexible so that drivers need not travel during the most congested periods of the day.
  • Impact of e-commerce on trucking- Study how e-commerce can address trucking industry issues.
  • Truck bottleneck trends-Identify specific infrastructure improvements that can have a positive impact on the industry.
  • Autonomous Truck Impacts on the Truck Driver- Study the impact of autonomous technology on driver requirements and their operational environment.

Industries pledge to stay course on alternative technologies at ACT Expo

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Industries pledge to stay course on alternative technologies at ACT Expo

At the largest clean fleet event, the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo at the Long Beach, California, industries have pledged to stay the course on advancements in fuel economy and alternative technologies despite uncertain regulations. They believe that irrespective of legislations, manufacturers will pursue technology that improves fuel economy in order to gain an advantage in the economy.
The event had panelists from Daimler, Kenworth, Mack and Peterbilt covering a number of issues like viability of natural gas and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, acclimating drivers to technological changes, competing with foreign manufacturers and more. The speakers addressed the fact that the industry will have to surmount varying fuel economy rules in federal and state government agencies as well as in international markets.
During the event, it was said that the California Air resources board are enacting stringent environmental regulations, which will have to be met by manufacturers. California will continue to adhere to Phase 2 regulations even as the Trump administration plans to review fuel economy standards and modify the rules. Phase 2 regulations require heavy-duty trucks to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 9 percent by 2027 and abide by strict design standards.
As of now, several policies are being discussed to include in Trump's infrastructure plan. Manufacturers are waiting amidst these discussions to gain clarity to better plan their futures.

Who is responsible in a Truck accident?

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Who is responsible in a Truck accident?

One of the most confusing questions that arise after a truck accident is who is responsible. The driver or the trucking company? If it is not correctly identified, a lawsuit against the wrong party can cause one to lose compensation for injuries and other damages. Take a look at the list below to get an idea of who is responsible in what situation.
The law of respondeat superior - According to this, it is the trucking company that is held responsible for the driver's action when the driver is on-the-clock.
Situations where truck driver is liable

  • Independent contractors
  • Deliberate actions like crashing into another vehicle out of anger. Even in such cases, if the trucking company knew or suspected of such actions, they will be held responsible.
  • In accidents that happen when employees act out of the scope of employment.

Situations where trucking company is liable

  • In accidents that happen due to the malfunctioning of the truck, since this happens due to poor maintenance of trucks. Every trucking company is required to keep their fleet well maintained and conduct regular inspections. Negligence causes trucks to malfunction.
  • Trucking companies that impose working hours exceeding the maximum hour limit. Drivers will be overworked and fatigued and this can lead to accidents.
  • Trucking companies that hire employees without commercial driver's license (CDL) or those without proper training are responsible for accidents caused by them.

BYOD units allow feasible compliance with ELD mandate

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BYOD units allow feasible compliance with ELD mandate

As the date of compliance for the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate draws closer, several manufacturers have been encouraged to enter the market with various features that can be incorporated into the ELD. Even if there is a large number of dedicated units, most of the development is in the 'Bring Your Own Devices' (BYOD) units that can be paired with the operator's smartphone or tablet. The reason for BYOD units is the ease of bringing software for mobile platforms compared to the cost of development of both software and hardware. These units bring down the cost of implementing an ELD, since only the software needs to be incorporated into the devices. Most BYOD units maintain a connection to the driver's smartphone interface either through Bluetooth or by Wi-Fi. Companies offer their ELDs as softwares that allow users to get full functionality and charge them on a monthly basis. Some of these companies even offer a dedicated data plan with a cellular service provider. Drivers have to be careful while selecting software though, since not all softwares will be compliant with the smartphone's operating system
Even as various companies offer different functionalities for ELDs, experts say that only a few will survive the competition since the market cannot accommodate 40-50 companies at once.

NPTC run down on 2017 trucking regulations at annual conference

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NPTC run down on 2017 trucking regulations at annual conference

At an annual conference held by the National Private Truck Council (NPTC) motor carriers were updated about upcoming regulations on things like carrier safety fitness determination, driver training standards, proposed speed limiters for heavy trucks and about the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate. A brief of the discussion is given below:
The 34-hour restart rule regarding the Hours of Service (HoS), which determines work and rest periods for truckers will remain unchanged.
Safety fitness determination- The National Academy of Sciences has been instructed to study the safety methodology that determines the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) scores. The CSA is part of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) safety compliance and enforcement program. The academy will conduct a thorough research and bring up any corrections that need to be made.
Entry level training standards- By February 2020, it will be compulsory for any institute or individual to fulfill some minimum requirements to be eligible for obtaining a commercial driver's license (CDL). This includes completing a specified number of hours in behind the wheel training from a program that complies with FMCSA standards.
ELD mandate- With a few exceptions, all motor carriers and truck drivers are expected to comply with the ELD mandate by December 17, 2017.
In case of short term rentals, the FMCSA has been requested to allow the use of log books as the ELD software used by a company and the one that has been rented will be different making it difficult for drivers to operate it.
Speed limiters for class 7 and class 8 vehicles- Instead of imposing a maximum speed limit that would be impractical considering that traffic varies on different roads at different times, a practical way would be for carriers to limit themselves.

Tesla Semi to change trucking industry: Elon Musk

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Tesla Semi to change trucking industry: Elon Musk

Earlier in April, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, had announced his plans to reveal the Tesla Semi, a battery powered truck. The truck is said to be unveiled by September 2017. While Musk assures the public that the prototype is already functioning and that he has even tried it out himself, there are others who highly doubt the success of the Tesla Semi with concerns being raised about the truck's weight, the cost and size of the battery packs. In response, Electrek, a news site tracking the transition from fossil fuel transportation to electric, claims that the Semi will eliminate the need for a driver and fuel will be replaced by an all electric powertrain thus significantly reducing major costs.
An analyst at Morgan Stanley says that if Tesla manages to win even a small percentage of the trucking industry, it will rake in billions of dollars for Tesla Inc.
Speculations are present around the Tesla Semi and it remains to be seen whether the new release is everything that it promises to be.

Embark's autonomous truck technology to be a game changer for Insurance Companies

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Embark's autonomous truck technology to be a game changer for Insurance Companies

Self driving trucks are the new buzz in the trucking industry. A large number of manufacturers are announcing different aspects of this technology. But standing out from all of them was the announcement by Embark, a start up in San Mateo, California. The concept is that the technology will not merely assist drivers. Instead, it will allow unmanned trucks to travel on highways right from the entrance till the exit. City driving, which is much more complex and involves navigation in and around streets, will be handled by drivers.
Michael Macauley, CEO of Quadrant Information Services (QIS), a company offering qualitative and quantitative solutions to insurance carriers calls the technology a game changer as it will boost productivity and allow faster delivery of goods and services. Once the trucks start with the haul, they won't stop till they reach the destination. The economic impact from such a technology is estimated to reach as much as $1.9 trillion annually by 2052.
Macauley points out that the insurance industry that is going to be most impacted by this technology. He believes that due to complex technology and liability issues, ownership of such trucks will belong to manufacturers. These manufacturers will then lease them out on a long-term basis to transportation companies. Thus, insurance companies will soon go from insuring consumers to insuring the manufacturers of these trucks.

OOIDA voices opposition against ELD mandate in letter to transportation secretary

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OOIDA voices opposition against ELD mandate in letter to transportation secretary

As the compliance date for the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate approaches, the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) voiced their opposition yet again in a letter to transportation secretary, Elaine Chao. The letter requested Chao to prioritize the elimination of the ELD mandate saying its cost of implementation outweighs the benefits. They termed the mandate as costly and burdensome.
On the other hand, the Trucking Alliance, a group of large carriers promoting safety of truckers, sent a letter to Chao negating what the OOIDA said. They strongly believe that the safety and economic benefits of the mandate are worth the cost.

ELD solution DIRECTOR by Teletrac Navman to make jobs easier for truckers.

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ELD solution DIRECTOR by Teletrac Navman to make jobs easier for truckers.

Teletrac Navman, provider of GPS tracking and fleet management solutions, have announced a new solution, DIRECTOR@ELD. This is in line with complying with the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate. DIRECTOR meets all the technical requirements of the mandate and is equipped to update its software with new changes that might be added.
The DIRECTOR offers different advantages for dispatchers, managers and drivers. Dispatchers and managers can view Hours of Service (HoS) statuses and potential violations. They can access vehicle analytics and view aspects of fleet on their mobile devices. This will reduce expenses, improve efficiency and safety.
Drivers will find their jobs easier as they have a number of easy to use applications to help them keep track of driving hours and breaks. This is done through alerts and feedback reports. The solution will make navigation easier with truck routing and other advanced in-vehicle navigation systems.

First quarter sees dip in sales and production for class 8 trucks while lower classes remain steady

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First quarter sees dip in sales and production for class 8 trucks while lower classes remain steady

In the first quarter of this year, class 8 trucks faced a decline in production and sales. The manufacture of class 8 trucks declined by 20% and sales of class 8 trucks declined by 29% in the first quarter of 2017 as compared to the previous year. This is a result of having a higher truck inventory as compared to the freight. Truck manufacturers and dealers fear they might have to sit idle until there is an increase in demand for freight. An improvement in the manufacturing and energy markets would increase freight and lower the surplus trucks.
However, this is not the case for class 5 to 7 trucks. Medium duty trucks have had a continuous and steady growth. This is because they are not dependant on just freight but also in services like electrical work, plumbing, construction and telecom. This will continue for the rest of the year and 2017 expects more or less the same growth as seen in 2016.
In addition to this, commercial growth is also affected by customer usage and preferences. Some customers prefer lower classes of trucks to avoid paying premiums for vehicle weight. Other customers who look for environment-friendly alternatives to their diesel driven engines. In short, customers move trucks according to certain specifics and this can affect sales and production as well.

J.B Hunt to invest $500 million to embrace new trucking technology

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J.B Hunt to invest $500 million to embrace new trucking technology

Trucking and transportation company, J.B. Hunt, has announced that it will be dedicating nearly $500 million over the next 5 years towards enhancing, developing and creating new and existing technologies. To enable this, J.B. Hunt has increased its number of engineering and technology staff. Moreover, the company will soon launch Marketplace for the J.B. Hunt 360, which will be a sophisticated system connecting shippers and carriers, and making use of artificial intelligence in order to increase efficiency and optimize cost. The technology is being developed as a result of customers' demand for transparency into the supply chain. It enables shippers to receive true market prices, and automated carrier selection based on a number of factors such as preferences, rating and reviews. In addition, all the data provided will be in real time.

Samsung-Magellan solutions to speed up compliance with ELD mandate

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Samsung-Magellan solutions to speed up compliance with ELD mandate

With the ELD mandate compliance date approaching, Magellan, a GPS service provider has partnered with Samsung electronics to provide tracking solutions for the Hours of Service (HoS) compliance and truck navigation systems. Magellan will be demonstrating its solutions on Samsung devices at the NAFA 2017 Fleet Management Institute and Expo in Tampa, Florida April 25 to 28. The partnership is committed to helping the trucking industry in complying with the ELD mandate by the end of this year. It will optimize performance and increase efficiency.
The Samsung-Magellan solutions have three key features:

  • Track the HoS
  • Fleet navigation
  • Business and personal use

OOIDA launches online training to meet training requirements of new FDA rule

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OOIDA launches online training to meet training requirements of new FDA rule

The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is offering an online course to help truckers and carriers comply with the new requirements put forward by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The rules apply to shippers, loaders, carriers and receivers involved with transporting of human and animal food. The course was launched on Wednesday, April 26, and consists of a training module, a test, certificates, templates of the written procedures and checklists. It is available to both members and non-members of the OOIDA and comes at a cost of $100.

Ohio legislature to approve bills boosting employment in trucking

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Ohio legislature to approve bills boosting employment in trucking

The Ohio legislature has put forward four bills to boost employment in the trucking industry. These bills will provide scholarships and funds to help student drivers, support truck companies that provide job training, make it easier for drivers between the ages of 18 to 24 to get insured and speed up the process for military veterans to obtain Commercial Drivers Licenses. Half of the cost for CDL training would be covered by scholarships and the other half through a loan. Trucking companies will be given tax credits to give them resources for training and recruitment. While the bills regarding student loans and tax credits for trucking companies have been passed, the bills for insurance and CDLs for military veterans are pending. Once all the bills have been passed, employment in the trucking industry in Ohio is said to increase by around 8000 people.

Penske develops mobile app to improve customer experience.

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Penske develops mobile app to improve customer experience.

Penske Truck leasing has developed a new app called the Penske Fleet to help lease and contract maintenance customers. The mobile app allows customers to search for services offered by Penske at various locations. In addition, customers can view real time fuel prices in local markets as well as in third party locations across the US. Customers can view 90-day history of the services performed and request for roadside services. The app is free and is available on both Apple App store and for Android on Google Play. It helps customers to conveniently manage their vehicles and makes everyday services easily accessible.

Trucking Alliances urges industry-wide adoption of trucking safety regulations.

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Trucking Alliances urges industry-wide adoption of trucking safety regulations.

In a letter to the Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, the Trucking Alliance, a group of freight transportation carriers stresses the importance of trucking safety regulations. The letter expressed concern over the large number of accidents and injuries involving commercial motor vehicles (CMV). In order to reduce the number of fatalities, the alliance has asked for support and adoption of five safety regulations proposed by the FMCSA.

  • Comply with the ELD mandate imposed by the FMCSA. ELDs record data that earlier used to be manually entered in logbooks.
  • Hair testing in place of urine testing for commercial drug testing.
  • CMVs should be equipped with technology that limits speed to a maximum of 65 mph, the speed limit proposed by the Trucking Alliance.
  • FMCSA should lower the fee for pre-employment screening from $10.
  • The Trucking Alliance feels that the minimum insurance requirement of $75,000 for motor carriers as set by the Congress in 1980 should be increased.

The Trucking Alliance supports the Road to Zero initiative, which was announced by the partnership of the National Safety council and other road authorities. Its goal is to eliminate road fatalities within 30 years.

Texas makes implementation of ELDs mandatory for intrastate truckers.

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Texas makes implementation of ELDs mandatory for intrastate truckers.

The State of Texas has passed a bill that requires intrastate truck operators to implement ELDs by December 19, 2019. This is in line with the ELD mandate imposed by the FMCSA. The compliance date imposed by the federal government is December 18, 2017. With this announcement, Texas has become the first state to issue the mandate for intrastate truckers. Joe Rajkovacz, head of regulatory affairs for the Western States Trucking Associations promised that other states will follow suit soon, although he expects some resistance. Exemptions, however, are made. Truckers hauling agricultural products within a 150-air-mile radius are exempted from the rule. The regulations specified by the state point to the mandate as set by the US Department of Transportation with the deadline specified by the state government. The device specifications for the ELD are the same as those established by the federal government.
The ELD mandate has been met with some opposition, with truckers claiming that the ELD is a breach on operator privacy. Others feel that the mandate is a step closer to safety

Reduce impact of fleets on environment with 3 eco-friendly tips.

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Reduce impact of fleets on environment with 3 eco-friendly tips.

Omnitracs, a fleet management software company had shared a few tips to reduce the impact of fleets on the environment in celebration of Earth day on April 22. Take a look at some of these simple yet effective ideas that could go a long way.

  • Make use of a tire pressure monitoring system to keep your tires consistently inflated. This will not only help to maintain the trucks but also help in a fleet's fuel economy.
  • Use an advanced routing system. This reduces the number of miles traveled and in turn reduces the fuel used.
  • Embrace new technology such as platooning as they could have positive impacts on fuel economy, and other environmental benefits.

ATA remains positive about growth despite drop in truck tonnage index.

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ATA remains positive about growth despite drop in truck tonnage index.

The American Trucking Association (ATA) reported a decrease of 1% in for-hire truck tonnage in March from February due to winter storms. The ATA keeps track of tonnage hauled with two indices. A seasonally adjusted index that represents tonnage hauled after seasonal adjustments and an index that shows tonnage hauled before seasonal adjustments. The seasonally adjusted index shows a considerable gain compared to the previous year. ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello expects a moderate growth in truck tonnage for the rest of the year. The research firm ACT has reported the for-hire index in March, 2017 to be at the highest since March, 2014.
Fleet management companies such as J.B. Hunt Transport Services have reported an increase in loads and a steady load demand. They hope that this remains constant in the coming quarter.

Tesla to launch Electric Semi Truck in September

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Tesla to launch Electric Semi Truck in September

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla announced his plans to unveil a battery-powered truck in September. The truck is a part of his plan in working towards sustainable energy. The said truck would be completely driven by batteries. Semi-trucks can support the large batteries that are needed for this owing to their huge size and strong structure. These trucks would have several advantages. The internal combustion engine would no longer be required. This creates space and enables the use of small motors. Electric cars provide large torque and can improve acceleration. Other advantages include easier handling and increased aerodynamic efficiency. Despite these advantages, the truck would require higher energy batteries to cover the typical distance covered by a long-haul truck, which is a major drawback. Also, since these trucks are battery driven, they would need charging stations throughout its journey. There are several challenges that need to be addressed before the truck can be sold in numbers. Even so, the arrival of this truck is eagerly awaited since it can also reduce air and noise pollution among other advantages.

The launch of driverless trucks to create more jobs in the industry

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The launch of driverless trucks to create more jobs in the industry.

Automation is slowly changing our lives as we know it. It has revolutionized a number of industries and the trucking industry is on the verge of being one among them. The first and major development will be the completion of driverless trucks. It's exactly what it sounds like. Fully, or at least semi-automated trucks that do not need to be manually driven. In order to ease the transition to such a phase, many trucking companies are experimenting with different strategies, one of which is robotics controlled trucks. However, many fear that this technology can put truckers out of their jobs. The reality will prove different though. Such a development will, in fact, create more jobs. This is because trucking is a lot more than just the transport of goods. Automated trucks will require two kinds of labor: firstly, Semi-skilled labor at warehouses and retailers to facilitate processes like loading and unloading, and secondly, highly technological labor to monitor and repair vehicles. Implementation of driverless trucks would require new and sophisticated systems and software, which would create the need for well-trained, skilled workers. The trucking industry will not just begin and end with the driver, rather, trucking companies will begin to define new roles and organizational structures. The need for workers in the industry will increase exponentially. The actual process is going to take some time to be fully functional owing to the new regulations and changes that the industry needs to make. Still, the future of trucking is closer than we think.

4 ways to pass your time on those long rides

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4 ways to pass your time on those long rides

For truckers, spending long hours on the road in their 18 wheelers is a way of life. While being your own boss has its appeal, it can get boring sometimes. There are plenty of things to do to keep yourself entertained and here are some of our suggestions.

Music for your ears Listening to music is a great way to pass time and these days, you can get themed play lists suiting your mood, and even your profession. Truckers, there are even truck-themed play lists. Download them into your smartphones and tablets and sway to the music (but, keep your eyes on the road!).

  • Connect with other truckers on the road iTrucking is an app that helps you to chat with truckers in real time. In addition, you can get the latest news and information on trucking. Interesting right?
  • Work your mind on the go If you are in the mood to stimulate your mind and learn something new, there are a number of audio courses that can serve the purpose.
  • Care for a four-legged companion?Pets are a great company and can keep you entertained on those long rides.

These are just some ways to pass your time, there are plenty more you can come up with. Enjoy your ride and stay connected for more.

TRUMP'S INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN

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President Trump has geared up to fulfil his pledge of investing $1 trillion in infrastructure over the next 10 years. Calling a meeting of 52 business leaders, Trump said that he will remove nearly 90% of the regulations, but promises that safety won’t be compromised. The policy is aimed at boosting the economy and improving the network of roads, bridges and airports. In addition to this, it will oversee energy, water, and veteran hospitals. While the plan is still taking form, Transportation Secretary, Elaine Chao, says it will come into effect later this year. Despite Trump's confidence, administration officials are concerned about the execution of the policy expecting a space of almost 8 years between the funding and initiation of the project.

Regardless of the speculations, the trucking industry eagerly awaits the unfolding of the plan. For the American trucking industry, poor infrastructure means an increase in added costs. Congested roads add a cost of around $100 billion dollars, which will have a crippling effect on not just the trucking industry but also the overall economy. It is precisely the reason why representatives from FedEx and Werner enterprises emphasized the need to upgrade the infrastructure. Such a move will give a sizeable boost to the US economy, as the trucking industry contributes to nearly 56% of the GDP.

DOT meeting with ELD manufacturers.

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With the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate becoming compulsory by December 18, 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has scheduled a meeting with ELD manufacturers next month. The FMCSA will provide specifications for the manufacturing of the ELDs so that they meet the requirements of the mandate. The meeting will address queries by manufacturers and a detailed and precise list of technical specifications will be provided to optimize performance and obtain consistent and accurate data in standardized formats.

The meeting will be held on May 9, 2017 at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Those interested can register online. You can find the details of the location and the agenda for the meeting at the link as well.

OOIDA: Ohio truck bills intended to 'churn out' new drivers

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The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has voiced opposition against lawmakers in Ohio towards legislation that would bring more drivers to the trucking industry. Of the two bills proposed, the OOIDA has opposed both. The first is a student aid program approximated at $5 million under which financial aid will be provided in the form of grants or loans to eligible students at CDL schools or career colleges. Ryan Smith, R-Bidwell, and Nathan Manning, R-North Ridgeville, the representatives sponsoring the bill, stated that the legislation is directed towards increasing the number of truck drivers in the industry, which has fallen over the years. The OOIDA has expressed concern over the fact that while such a bill increases the number of drivers, it does not necessarily increase the number of qualified drivers. This, they fear will compromise safety.

The second bill sponsored by Sen. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay provides tax credit to motor carriers to meet expenses incurred during the training of prospective truck drivers. A total of $ 3 million is to be allotted to the said bill. Though such a bill would produce more drivers, it would lower freight rates to such an extent that the retaining of experienced drivers would become difficult. The OOIDA feels that since experienced drivers are the essential to safe driving, passing such a bill would compromise safety.

CTA welcomes Canadian Free Trade Agreement with concern.

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The Canadian government, known for their strict regulations, is set to welcome the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CTFA) to promote economic growth. The agreement will become functional from July 1, 2017. It will bring down regulations on various aspects such as movement of goods, trade, and investment. In addition to this, the agreement aims to improve the choice of goods available to buyers. On the other hand, it will be easier and less expensive for sellers to sell goods. Sellers will also get to expose their goods to new markets and improve business prospects within the country, thus opening more jobs locally. This will help them to compete internationally. The CFTA will replace the 1995 Agreement on Internal Trade and form a new body, the Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table, which will supervise the process at the federal, provincial and territorial levels.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has welcomed the agreement, though with a little apprehension. David Bradley, CEO of CTA has said that only time can prove the effectiveness of the agreement. Bradley has voiced concerns of governments opting out of the agreement if they feel it does not suit the jurisdiction. Ministers feel that the agreement is just a beginning and there is a long way to go. All this said, truckers have decided to welcome the agreement and stay positive.

Bad Regulations to be kicked out: OOIDA to Trump

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For some time now, the trucking industry has been under some tight rules and regulations. The latest one requires all commercial motor vehicle drivers to use an ELD or electronic logging device which tracks and stores duty status records, HoS etc. These regulations are being met by opposition. The Owner Operator Independent Driver's Association (OOIDA), an organization formed for protecting the rights of truckers, in particular, is encouraging its members to protest against what they call 'excessive trucking regulations'. The OOIDA is of the opinion that the trucking industry has been imposed with all the necessary regulations and that the Congress should work towards removing other costly regulations such as ELDs instead of heaping more of them on the industry. OOIDA has been seeking the help of the Trump administration to eliminate unnecessary regulations.

Diesel price see hike in April.

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After three straight weeks of price drops, diesel price has increased as per the figures from energy department.

  • The average price of on-highway diesel fuel rose by 2.4 cents last -week, making $2.556 per gallon at the pump.
  • Current price* is 44.1 cents more than it was in the same week last year.
  • Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC) commitment to reduce production is the reason for price being low till now.
Courtesy - www.eia.gov

OOIDA member get better of their competitors at MATS

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Ever since its creation in 1972, the Mid America Trucking Show (MATS) has plenty of people attending it every year. It showcases a variety of noteworthy events and championships, one of which is the Paul K Young (PKY) Memorial Truck Beauty Championships. Named after the founder of MATS it is the star attraction of the event. Why won't it be, when a group of sophisticated, custom made show trucks are pitted against each other.
This year's championship saw Jay Holsomback, an OOIDA member taking home two trophies for his customized and revamped 1996 Kenworth W900. Charlene Testerman, who returned after almost a decade bagged two first places for Working Bobtail and Aftermarket Interior. There are still others who earned a number of accolades under various categories for their beauties. Though everyone might not have won an award, it was significant in that it marked the celebration of hours of hard work and brought in the appreciation of the spectators.

FMCSA covers ELD Malfunctions

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During the seminar at MATS, FMCSA representatives provided elaborate instructions to truckers on what to do if their ELD malfunctions. Ms. Danielle Smith, Transportation Specialist at the FMCSA said that like any computer, the ELD is bound to malfunction. A trucker whose ELD has malfunctioned is required to submit a written notice to the motor carrier within 24 hours. From then, drivers are required to keep consolidating their record of duty status until their ELDs are working. Motor carriers are responsible for taking the necessary steps once they receive information about a malfunctioning ELD. The ELD mandate will come into full effect on December 18, 2017. It is meant to resolve issues regarding driver fatigue and reduce the complexities that come with manual data entry.

Truckers Against Trafficking: Driver's Story

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Two years back, in January, a truck driver Kevin Kimmel got suspicious of a recreational vehicle parked at a distance. Kimmel decided to move forward and take action. A couple of days later, he received a call from a 20 year old girl who thanked him profusely for saving her life. Human trafficking is a grave issue. In recent years several non profit organizations have been formed to prevent cases of human trafficking as well as to lend a hand to its victims. One such organization is the Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT). It was established in 2009. Its mission is to take the aid of truckers to fight this crime. The TAT tries to incorporate its materials within the trucking industry. The organization establishes connections with law enforcement agencies to investigate such crimes and use the resources of the trucking industry to battle them.

Mid American Trucking Show 2017

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The Mid American Trucking Show (MATS) is the largest annual heavy-duty trucking industry event. Every year over 70,000 people attend the event. The show hosts a wide variety of activities directed towards various aspects of the trucking industry. The event serves as a platform for over 1000 companies to showcase their latest products, technologies and services. There are a number of exhibits, hands on demonstrations, seminars and special activities conducted for the benefit of those in the trucking industry.
This year the MATS is returning yet again on March 23 and will draw to a close on March 25. The event will be taking place at Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. The two days are going to be packed with activities and special events including a MATS concert. There will be educational sessions on driver safety and the upcoming ELD mandate by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) .The ATA will be giving an update on current trucking issues. In addition to this, there will be talks on various relevant topics and a forum for discussion. It is an opportunity to interact, network and build connections. As for aspiring business minds, the event is a tremendous learning opportunity to develop and grow their business.

ELD Device from ONE20 - FELD

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  • ONE20 to launch new ELD named F-ELD with easy to use driver app.
  • Fully compliant, functional platform with intuitive interface, 100% driver controlled, accessed through free app.
  • Fleets to implement ELDs by December 2017 to record Hours of Service Features and Benefits
  • Simple setup and installation
  • Device connects via Bluetooth to most Android/iOS devices to ONE20’s application
  • Device records, tracks and alerts driver’s HOS
  • Allows drivers to control log sharing with carriers
  • Gives the option to record and track daily inspections
  • Synchronizes vehicle events to driver’s logs
  • Includes standard 9-Pin Y cable (other configurations available), and
  • Fully compliant and subscription free.
  • ONE20 F-ELD available to ship in July.
  • Professional drivers may pre-order at www.ONE20.com/ELD.
  • ONE20 is the first free membership community built for professional truck drivers.
  • The ONE20 app is free and available on Android and iOS devices.
  • The ONE20 ELD app will be available on Android and iOS later this year.

Courtesy -ONE20.com

Annual National Truck Driving Championship is back!

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  • National Truck Driving Championships back
  • FedEx Corp. to participate in state-level competitions starting March 24
  • Drivers rated via written examination, personal interview, pre-trip inspection test and skills test.
  • Drivers to be accident-free for minimum of one year prior to competition.
  • Competition categories include straight truck, three-axle tractor-semitrailer, four-axle tractor-semitrailer, five-axle tractor-semitrailer (tank), five-axle tractor-semitrailer (van), five-axle tractor-semitrailer (flatbed), five-axle-tractor (sleeper cab)-semitrailer (van), and twin trailers.
  • Professional Excellence Award, Vehicle Condition Award, Rookie of the Year Award and The Grand Champion Award to be awarded along with first, second and third place titles.
  • State championships get underway with the Louisiana Motor Transport Association Truck Driving Championships March 24-25.
  • State events will run through July leading up to the national competitions in August.

Courtesy - ATA

TRUCKING CONDITIONS POINT TO BETTER YEAR AHEAD

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  • 2017-Better year for trucking industry with improved Truck Tonnage Index.
  • Market conditions improved due to increasing use of ELDs.
  • Expecting productivity and capacity hit to industry.
  • Companies can face issue as number of drivers hired fail to meet overall demand, leading to raised prices.
  • Trump policies can have drastic effects on freight transportation if at all they spark a trade war. for data

Courtesy - bls.gov

ATA National Trucking Award nominations begin.

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  • Nominations are now open for the ATA 2017 National Trucking Industry Awards.
  • Nominees are individuals or business that have positively impacted the industry.
  • Categories include, Outstanding Contribution to the Trucking Industry, National Trucking Industry Woman of the Year, National Professional Driver of the Year and National Training Excellence Award.
  • Awards to be presented at Trucking Australia 2017.
  • Ceremony to take place at Darwin Convention Center on 23 June 2017, the ATA Foundation Sponsors Day
  • The Don Watson Memorial Award and the TruckSafe John Kelly Memorial Award, to be presented on the night.
  • Nominations close 21 April 2017.

Courtesy - ATA

Mid-America Trucking Show

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  • Started this week March 23-25 in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • The largest annual heavy-duty trucking industry event.
  • Event witnesses more than 70,000 attendees and over 1000 exhibitors.
  • Educational sessions by FMCSA covering Driver Training and ELD mandate.
  • ATA to give on update on current trucking issues during the educational session.

Courtesy - MATS

DOT Hours-of-service Restart Report Released.

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U.S Department of Transportation report found no safety value in the currently suspended provisions of the 34-hour restart rule.

American Trucking Association and OOIDA have similar opinions about the Inspector General report. Earlier provisions required two nighttime rest periods from 1-5 a.m. during restart breaks and limited the use of restart to once every 168 hours.

Flexibility in the hours-of-service regulations can allow the driver to be well rested before driving and even adjust drive time as per road conditions or bad weather or congestion. Today trucking needs more drivers than ever, so regulations and guidelines should be aligned to attain more drivers to the industry.

Trucking Industry loses 1400 jobs at the start of the year-Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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As per Bureau of Labor Statistics

After adding more than 3000, 1100 and 1400 for-hire jobs in October, November and December respectively, trucking industry lost 1400 jobs in January. For the year 2016, industry faced a net loss of 2500 jobs. Employment trend in other major industries including mining and logging, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information and government showed slight change over the month. Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 227,000 in January. Jobs trended in retail trade, construction and financial activities. Significant growth is expected for the Trucking Industry as we move ahead in the year.