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2013 HOS restart rule projects increase in total truck crash stats

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As the Hours of Service (HOS) rule was published in the Federal Register on December 27, 2011, the trucking industry wasted no time in fighting back against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforcement.

With an effective date of February 27, 2012, and a complete provision compliance date of July 1, 2013, the primary concern of the industry focused on the requirements of the 34-hour restart  provision in the HOS rule. The new rule called for drivers to include two rest periods between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. during their 34-hour restart, and limited use of the restart to once a week. In addition, drivers were required to take a minimum 30 minute break before they could begin driving again if they had been on-duty for eight hours.

The reasoning behind the change was the belief by the FMCSA and various safety advocacy groups that this would allow drivers additional time to rest as the goal was to reduce the number of truck crashes along the nation’s highways. Those within the industry including both organizations and drivers to a large degree, believed this would send more drivers out on the road during the periods of higher congestion since a large majority of drivers perform their driving duties during night hours.

Controversies over the trucking industry’s HOS rules have been debated for nearly twenty years, with the most recent 2013 HOS restart provision at the top of the list. As the industry continued to argue their case against the provision, former FMCSA Administrator, Anne Ferro testified November 2013 before the House Small Business Subcommittee, providing additional information about the 2013 Restart Rule and the 2012 FMCSA Field Study. Concerning the impact of the HOS final rule, Ms. Ferro stated:

“We estimate the new requirements will prevent 1,400 crashes, 560 injuries, and save 19 lives each year.”

On June 3, 2014 FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro faced criticism over the agency’s hours of service (HOS) rules before a Senate Surface Transportation Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill. Ferro defended changes made last year to the “34-hour restart” provision of the HOS regulations. Also at the June 3 hearing, subcommittee members Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) challenged Ferro on the economic and safety impacts of the rule.

The Senators questioned Administrator Ferro on whether FMCSA had done adequate research to support FMCSA claimed benefits for their rule changes. It was also brought up during this hearing that many truckers complained the changes required them to drive more during highly congested morning hours.

The Senate Appropriations Committee on June 5 approved legislation rolling back a portion of controversial changes made in 2013. An amendment was attached to the committee’s FY 2015 DOT appropriations bill that would effectively stay for one year changes that limit use of the “34-hour restart” to once in a seven day period and require that it include two off-duty periods between 1:00 am and 5:00 am, essentially reverting back to pre-July 2013.

The amendment would also require additional study of the safety efficacy of the new rules.
The amendment, proposed by Senator Susan Collins (ME), received strong bipartisan support. While the amendment has always been supported by the trucking industry and much of the business community, the provision to roll back HOS changes, known as the “Collins Amendment” for its sponsor Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), has strongly been opposed by the Obama Administration, safety advocacy groups, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and state truck enforcement officials.

DOT Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx has expressed “strong objection” saying the rollback of the restart will “put lives at risk.” After long and much heated debates, the rest period requirements were suspended via The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015, enacted on December 16, 2014. All other hours-of-service rules, including the 30-minute rest break provision, remained unchanged with carriers and drivers maintaining compliance. This will remain until next fiscal year, Oct 1,2015.

FMCSA posted an Updated Notice: Hours of Service of Drivers.

The bill states: “Section 133 temporarily suspends enforcement of the hours-of-service regulation related to the restart provisions that went into effect on July 1, 2013 and directs the Secretary to conduct a study of the operational, safety, health and fatigue aspects of the restart provisions in effect before and after July 1, 2013. The Inspector General is directed to review the study plan and report to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations whether it meets the requirements under this provision.”

Since the Collins Amendment requires FMCSA to conduct a study to compare the safety experience of fleets under both sets of rules, many believe the study results will support the trucking industry position. However, if the data generated by the study indicates otherwise, the 2013 HOS restart rule could be a returning.

Truck Crash Extrapolation

Truck Crash Extrapolation — click to enlarge

With the recent release from the FMCSA Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCIMS) summarizing the crash record statistics beginning from 2010, the numbers include data up to August 31, 2014. By extrapolating the current information, it is possible to extend the application to cover the remaining four months of 2014. In doing so, one can reach a reasonable conclusion to what extent the change in HOS rules were successful in meeting the goals of reducing truck crash statistics in eight different categories:

  1. Number of vehicles involved in fatal and non-fatal crashes
  2. Number of vehicles in fatal crashes
  3. Number of vehicles in non-fatal crashes
  4. Number of fatal and non-fatal crashes
  5. Number of fatal crashes
  6. Number of non-fatal crashes
  7. Number of fatalities as a result of a crash
  8. Number of injuries as a result of a crash

As of August 31, 2014, the number of vehicles involved in fatal and non-fatal crashes (1) was 104,132. By extrapolating the figures to continue through the four months remaining, the final variable reached would come to 156,198. This number would exceed all previous years between 2010 and 2013:

  • 2010: 136,817
  • 2011: 138,567
  • 2012: 138,326
  • 2013: 149,367

As of August 31, 2014, the number of fatal and non-fatal crashes (4) was 97,501. Extending forward to the year’s end, the projected number would reach 146,251.  Again, this number would exceed all previous years:

  • 2010: 129,656
  • 2011: 130,890
  • 2012: 130,551
  • 2013: 140,928

Other factors that would conclude a rise in yearly percentage would include the number of vehicles in non-fatal crashes (3): 152,298:

  • 2010: 132,668
  • 2011: 134,459
  • 2012: 134,012
  • 2013: 145,055

And the number of non-fatal crashes (6): 142,764:

  • 2010: 125,821
  • 2011: 127,115
  • 2012: 126,643
  • 2013: 137,068

Decreasing Numbers

Factors concluding a decrease in annual percentage would show to be the number of vehicles in fatal crashes (2), the number of fatal crashes (5), number of fatalities as a result of a crash (7):

Analysis 1

The number of injuries as a result of a crash (8) for 2014 would appear to show a decrease in numbers from the previous year of 2013, but still higher than 2010 through 2012:

Analysis 2

So what conclusion can be drawn by the projected estimated statistics? Was the FMCSA’s 2013 HOS restart rule successful in reducing fatal crashes, and if so, what is the explanation to the increase in the overall total number of crashes?

It will be interesting to see the actual final numbers of 2014 for the FMCSA Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCIMS) crash record statistics, and even more so, the Field Study the FMCSA will be conducting, comparing the safety involvement of fleets under both sets of HOS rules required by the Collins Amendment.

© 2015, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: 34 hour restart, Collins amendment, drivers, drivers HOS, fatal non-fatal, FMCSA, hos, hours of service, MCIMS, regulations, statistics, truck crashes, Trucking

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Category : Ask The Trucker

Hope Rivenburg to speak on Jason’s Law at ITEA Conference

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Hope Rivenburg

Hope Rivenburg

Hope Rivenburg, crusader of Jason’s Law, will be one of the guest speakers at the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association (ITEA) Conference in Glen Ellyn, Illinois on Wednesday, January 7th, 2015.

The conference will be held at the College of DuPage, Suburban Law Enforcement Academy (SLEA) in the Homeland Education Center.

Via the ITEA, “the theme for the event this year revolves around the expression Protect The Industry, and is open to law enforcement and the trucking industry.”

Although 2014 was a “frustrating year” for Jason’s Law, Hope advises that the Jason’s Law non-profit 501(c)(3) foundation has some “great ideas we are working on to make Jason’s Law truly be implemented in 2015.”

The issue concerning the shortage of safe and secured parking areas for the nation’s three million plus truck drivers has been ongoing for decades. Signed into law by President Obama on July 6, 2012, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) is the most recent funding and authorization bill to govern United States federal surface transportation spending, with the bill going into effect on October 1, 2012.

Jason’s Law, a provision successfully incorporated into MAP-21, allows funding for additional safe truck parking. Jason’s Law also made state truck parking projects eligible for federal funding through the National Highway Performance Program (NHPP), Surface Transportation Program (STP), and Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP).

As part of the bill, the Department of Transportation (DOT) was directed by Congress to conduct their own study and assessment for the need of additional truck parking facilities within each state. The DOT study was to be completed by April 1, 2014, although verification of the completed study is currently unclear.

Ms. Rivenburg launched her own study via the National Truck Parking Survey which collected data directly from professional truck drivers regarding the availability of safe truck parking. The Federal Highway Administration welcomed the survey, urging professional truck drivers to participate in order to help identify areas across the country experiencing a critical shortage of truck parking areas.

Nearly 4,000 professional truckers shared their knowledge and expertise in the survey which was also provided to the DOT to assist in their assessment mandated by Congress.

In March of 2014, Hope spoke with Wendy Parker of The George and Wendy Show via teleconference, to provide an update on the progression of Jason’s Law:

In July of 2014, Hope was one of our special Guests on our Truth About Trucking “Live” broadcast: Truck Parking Shortage: Drivers at Risk, as the heated discussion of truck parking shortages, once again surfaced when OTR driver Michael Boeglin was fatally shot in Detroit, Michigan as he waited to load.

ITEA Conference

ITEA Conference

Hope made many points on the show as reported in Overdrive Magazine, including the fact that Jason’s Law and the funding it makes available for creating further parking alternatives for trucks at the state level, also competes with maintenance and upkeep of roads and bridges.

She also noted that making the parking safety issue a priority at state DOT levels, should now be the primary concern. Drivers can find a full listing of state DOT websites via the Federal Highway Administration’s: State Transportation Web Sites.

Invited to speak before the ITEA, Hope will be addressing the attending representatives of the law enforcement, motor carriers and professional driver’s community. For more information on the 4th Annual ITEA Conference, please visit their webpage: Illinois Truck Enforcement Association.

© 2015, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: DOT, Federal Highway Administration, FHA, hope rivenburg, illinois truck enforcement association, Jason’s law- H.R.2156 S971, MAP 21, overdrive magazine, state transportation

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Category : Ask The Trucker

NATA brings trucking issues to forefront in 2015

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North American Trucking Alerts

NATA- North American Trucking Alerts

Like any other industry, trucking has many issues. There are those who speak about them, write about them, give advice about them and analyzes them.

The list of trucking issues is a long one, but depending on who and what segment of the industry you speak to, the causes and solutions are often different. There’s often a lot of blaming, finger pointing, self interests, and many times just complaining going on, distracting many from focusing on the focal point of the problems at hand.

North American Trucking Alerts will be setting the stage to change all that in 2015, bringing the focus of trucking issues on professional drivers, as almost every trucking issue is centered around our nations drivers in one way or another such as:

Regulations, CDL Training, HOS, ELD’s, Detention time, Wages, Truck Parking, Driver Health, Industry Image, and the most discussed issue currently at hand, the perceived and anticipated Truck Driver Shortage.

We at NATA believe that by addressing and bringing awareness to these issues and by focusing on the professional driver, that real and viable solutions can be achieved. It will take a sincere level of concern however, addressing the issue for the good of the entire industry and not for individual gain. The 3 A’s of NATA are Awareness, Accountability, and Action.

We invite you to join North American Trucking Alerts and be a part of ideas, solutions, and accountability: everyone from individuals, drivers, organizations, groups, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers and all who have a vested interest in the trucking industry. The most concerned within the industry are coming together, putting aside their differences, and working together for the good of everyone affected. It is our goal to highlight those who step up and take action toward drivers and ultimately, industry concerns.

NATA has brought together many within the industry to contribute their thoughts and ideas through Articles and membership Forum Postings. Our contributors are among the finest and most concerned within the industry and more are being added on a regular basis.

So far NATA’s advisory committee includes Richard Wilson of TCRG Consulting, who has been recently nominated for membership and representation for the Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee (ELDTAC). The final date to submit an application or nomination is set for January 9, 2015.

Other areas for the advisory committee will include:  Health, Financial Guidance, Law and Trucking Employment, all of whom will be added to the NATA site as they are assigned.

Membership for CDL drivers and their families are free for the month of December. All members are automatically entered into the Cobra Prize giveaway. Winners will be announced on the New Years Eve broadcast on Truth About Trucking “Live”, Wednesday December 31st at 6PM ET.

Prizes include a CDR 840 DRIVE HD Dash Cam and the 29 LX BT CB Radio with Bluetooth. All who JOIN  North American Trucking Alerts in December will be part of Random Prize Drawing — Prizes donated by Cobra Electronics.

NATA is seeking all those within the industry who desire to be a part of unity, commitment, ideas and solutions for trucking’s most crucial concerns. Again: Awareness, Accountability and Action . . . we invite all those interested to join and be a part of NATA’s goal.

Contact NATA for more information via:

  • 352-465-7476
  1. Follow North American Trucking Alerts on Twitter
  2. North Amercan Trucking Alerts on Facebook

© 2014, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: accountability, blog talk radio, cdl drivers, membership, NATA, North American Trucking Alerts, trucking industry, truth about trucking live

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Category : Ask The Trucker

Truckers Role in FMCSA Driver Training Advisory Committee

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Regulations.GovEstablishing a nationalized standard for entry-level driver training, which more specifically would include on-road training has been an ongoing issue within the trucking industry for nearly 30 years.

With the signing of MAP-21 in July of 2012, the highway bill required the Secretary of Transportation to finally issue regulations that would establish minimum requirements for entry-level training. The deadline to do so was October of 2013.

Most recently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced its intent to establish a negotiated rulemaking (RegNeg) committee to negotiate and develop proposed regulations to implement Section 32304 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act; the section which addresses establishing the minimum requirements standard.

The Proposed Rule document has been issued with the intent to establish an Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee (ELDTAC) and is calling for solicitation of applications and nominations for committee membership. The final date to submit an application or nomination is set for January 9, 2015.

As professional CDL drivers, the opportunity to play a major role in establishing such a committee is powerful, especially when one considers other FMCSA committees such as the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee, commonly known as MCSAC.

Established in 2006, the MCSAC committee is responsible for providing advice and recommendations to the FMCSA Administrator relating to motor carrier safety programs and regulations. The 20 member committee largely consists of individuals with backgrounds in motor carriers, law enforcement and safety advocacy groups:

MCSAC Committee Members:



Such committees are highly lacking in any representation for the rights and concerns of the professional truck driver. As the FMCSA calls for a process to begin the formation of its Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee, truck drivers can have a major role in nominating an FMCSA ELDTAC member who will represent and speak on their behalf regarding the rule-making process.

Such a role is in direct relationship to the founding principles of NATA: the North American Trucking Alerts. The goals of NATA are Awareness, Accountability and Action:

  1. Raise Awareness to the issues
  2. Bring Accountability to the industry
  3. Take Action toward the concerns

No longer can drivers and the industry continue to talk about the issues as they have done for decades. It is now time to implement solutions for the problems facing the professional driver, as well as the industry as a whole. As drivers are made aware of the issues and accountability to the problems are established, the final step is action.

Richard Wilson

Richard Wilson

In taking action toward having a driver representative as a member of the ELDTAC, NATA will be nominating Richard Wilson, President and CEO of TCRG Consulting and Regulation.

Mr. Wilson also serves on the NATA Advisory Council as the Regulation and Compliance Representative. He also regularly attends the FMCSA MCSAC meetings in Washington, D.C. and will continue to do so while representing NATA and its members.

Tune in to Truth About Trucking “LIVE” on Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 6:00 PM ET as Richard Wilson joins us as our guest to further discuss the need for nationalized entry-level driver training standards.

As drivers, your comments and nominations for the ELDTAC committee membership is the first step in taking a vital role in the regulatory process. Final date for submission is January 9, 2015 for Docket No. FMCSA-2007-27748 with ID No. FMCSA-2007-27748-0853.

To submit your comments and nomination connect directly to: RegulationsGov.

© 2014, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: eldtac, entry level driver training, FMCSA, FMCSA advisory, MAP 21, MCSAC, NATA, North American Trucking Alerts, regulations, Richard Wilson, TCRG Consulting, Trucking

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Category : Ask The Trucker

Will Trucks of the Future Revolutionize Freight Shipping?

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by  Lorenzo Estébanez

MAN’s Spacetruck (#4) on display in Hannover, Germany. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

MAN’s Spacetruck (#4) on display in Hannover, Germany. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Since the dawn of the space age, one of the biggest promises of the future was a driverless car. The future’s been a mixed bag—there aren’t any colonies in space, but the Internet is better than anyone could’ve imagined. However, the driverless car is a futuristic dream that’s closer than ever to reality.

Futuristic cars are going to revolutionize the road, and no one has more to look forward to than truckers. Not only are autonomously driven trucks on the horizon, but there are countless new technologies that are going to change trucking. The next generation of vehicles is going to make hauling freight in the 21st century easier than ever. Even better, they look incredibly cool. These trucks are going to be loaded with the sort of science fiction technology that will have drivers feeling like Batman. Here are some future trucks that American commercial drivers can look forward to:

1. Mercedes Benz Future Truck 2025

The camera system and radar sensors of the Mercedes Benz Future Truck 2025 work “like the autopilot on a plane,” according to the Daimler company. This system is entirely onboard, meaning that the truck is truly autonomous. It doesn’t have to rely on control from a different source, or a complicated infrastructure. The truck’s onboard computer system brings 100% focus to long-hauls that could otherwise lead to driver distraction or boredom.

The truck also has a next-generation headlight system. Rather than two or four headlights, the Future Truck 2025 has a wide panel of LED lights. This means that the truck will be safer for other drivers on the road without sacrificing visibility. Not only is it safer, though, but the distinctive clean design makes it look like the helmet on a Star Wars villain.

2. Walmart Advance Vehicle Experience Concept Truck

As the world’s biggest retailer, no company has more skin in the shipping game than Walmart. With hundreds of billions of dollars in annual revenues, it makes sense that Walmart would be at the forefront of developing some amazing future trucks.

In keeping with Walmart’s renewable energy vows, the Walmart Advance Vehicle Experience Concept Truck is electric. It may not be autonomous, but the cab offers driver visibility like no other truck on the road. The driver won’t just be comfortable while driving—the truck offers a full-size sleeper. The vehicle is made exclusively from carbon fiber, making it 4,000 lbs. lighter than comparably sized trucks, which frees up and extra 2 tons for freight. Additionally, its engine and aerodynamics give it great fuel economy for a truck of its size.

3. Mercedes Benz Aerodynamics Truck and Trailer

The name says it all: this is the truck for optimal aerodynamics. Mercedes invested 2,600 hours of wind tunnel testing into the Aerodynamics Truck and Trailer to reduce drag. As a result of all that work, every part of the truck is optimized against wind resistance. Mercedes’s innovations are so cutting edge that the shape of the trailer exceeds regulations, and legislation is going to have to change in order to keep up. According to GizMag, though, “The reported benefits are so significant, however, that this may be achieved in due course.” Where other trucks force their way through the air, Mercedes’s Aerodynamics Truck and Trailer will slice through it.

4. MAN Spacetruck

Given its name and the way the Spacetruck looks, someone could understandably think that German automaker MAN’s latest concept truck is intended for use outside Earth’s atmosphere. Seeing it unveiled caused Trucks and Trailers Magazine to declare that “the designers at MAN have made perhaps the most beautiful trucks ever built.”

In addition to its striking design, the MAN Spacetruck is built to be aerodynamic, as well, so those who want to stare at it will have to look fast.

5. The Innotruck

Every industry has its visionary, genius designers. In the world of future trucks, that man is Luigi Colani, a Swiss-German engineer who’s become famous in automotive design circles. The Innotruck, developed by the Technical University Munich, might be Colani’s most striking design.

The Innotruck’s cab looks less like a traditional truck and more like the dearly departed Concorde supersonic jet. It moves like no other truck, too, with the front tires turning on a pivot connected with the cab. The Innotruck is designed to be “both a testbed and a demonstration vehicle for a number of emerging technologies,” meaning that anything that ends up on future trucks may be tested on the Innotruck first.

6. Colani’s Biodynamic Trucks

Luigi Colani didn’t become a visionary engineer by only designing one truck—he’s got a whole fleet of next-generation trucks in the works. Built by Mercedes, what he calls his “Biodynamic trucks” are the ultimate in green design. The trucks are memorable for their pod-like cabs, with three windshield wipers that keep the windscreen dry and recall Mercedes Benz’s distinctive logo.

However, what’s truly remarkable will be the fuel efficiency. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Colani is working with the Siemens Corporation to improve fuel efficiency for trucks by 25% or more. Whatever the future holds for trucking, it’s a sure thing that there will be Colani designs on the road.

These are just a few of the future trucks that drivers can expect to see on the road the next 10 years. There are even more trucks, currently in the concept stage, that will integrate the most advanced technology of the 21st century to make trucker’s lives easier. When those vehicles come out, Bryant Surety Bonds will be pleased to work with the truckers of the future to help them get bonded and get on the road. Let us know in the comments what next-generation developments in trucking you’re looking forward to.

 About the Author- Lorenzo Estébanez writes about surety bonds, with a focus on the freight and trucking industry. He is a regular contributor for the Bryant Surety Bonds blog.


© 2014, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: Bryant Surety Bonds, driverless trucks, freight shpping, Trucking, trucks

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Category : Ask The Trucker

Is Truck Driver Pay the Answer to all Issues?

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Truck Driver Pay

Truck Driver Pay

Professional CDL truck drivers have seen many changes over the past several years which have had a direct effect on their job abilities. From seemingly small changes such as the abolished use of cell phones ruling in 2011 to the larger Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) program, extensive regulatory implementations continue to drive a large number of skilled, experienced truck drivers away from the vocation.

Many veteran drivers are ready to explain that the main reason they have chosen to leave their trucking career is due to the restrictions that these regulations place on them, preventing the opportunity to earn a livable wage. Industry professionals also voice their discernment over the effect that these growing regulations continue to stifle the industry as a whole, leading to the ever-continual truck driver shortage.

A large majority of professional truck drivers will agree that a simple solution to any such driver shortage would be to: “Focus on increasing driver pay, develop and implement cdl training standards for new driver entrants, either through federal or a state-to-state action, and to stop pushing drivers to violate federal regulations.”

However, problems faced by drivers on a regular basis, far exceed the three issues stated above:

  • Beyond the CSA and training standards, drivers are pushed to their limits via the Hours of Service (HOS) rules
  • In particular areas across the country, the ability to find a safe and secure place to park is not only problematic, but often life threatening
  • The soon-to-be ruling on the Electronic Logging Device (ELD’s) mandate which many drivers consider an invasive and harassing tool
  • The lifestyle which for many, result in poor driver health issues
  • The fight against the truck driver DAC report, used by many companies as a retaliation tool against drivers
  • The treatment of drivers by the shippers and receivers
  • The long periods of time away from home and family
  • The unethical recruiting tactics by many motor carriers

A list pertaining to the struggles and sacrifices faced by the professional truck driver is seemingly endless. While the idea is raised that increasing driver pay is certainly one avenue in maintaining an interest in the vocation, is it the only answer? As a driver facing all of the problems and issues within the industry, and looking down the road to the future of trucking, would receiving a good and decent pay raise be enough for you to remain in the career?

Is the amount of pay the complete answer to all truck driver issues? Would you as a driver, gladly continue receiving poor treatment from those shippers and receivers who hold no moral or ethical standards toward drivers, if your paycheck was big enough? Would you still be willing to face the health issues and being away from home for months at a time, if your paycheck was substantial?

Are you content in being forced to violate HOS and to accept forced dispatching and future regulatory restrictions, if your paycheck was big enough? Are you saying that you are more than willing in continuing to be spoken down to by dispatchers, shippers, receivers, law enforcement, the media and the general public, if only your paycheck was big enough?

The industry maintains its concern over a driver shortage and a possible solution to retaining drivers. Are drivers really saying that the amount of their paycheck is the only aspect preventing them from entering or remaining within the vocation?

If so, then the industry now has its answer in regards to all of these issues. If not, the industry needs to listen to the drivers’ greater concerns and reasons and come to address all of the issues at hand.

© 2014, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: cdl training, CSA, dac, driver recruiting, ELD’s, FMCSA, hos, Receivers, shippers, truck driver pay, truck drivers, Trucking

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Category : Ask The Trucker

Industry holds solutions to trucking safety

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Regardless of consistent evidence that continually shows that the highest percentage of auto-truck crashes are caused by the driver of the auto, the debate between the trucking industry and regulators rages on as implementing additional regulations upon the industry is still the answer in improving safety among the highways.

The auto-fault percentage changes year to year, but the result is always the same, regardless of who instigates the study. The 2013 study by the American Trucking Association (ATA) placed the fault at 80%; a study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute resulted in an 81% fault rate and a 2009 study by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) show auto drivers were to blame 81% of the time.

Through the years, not much has changed. In 1998 for example, an examination issued by the Highway Safety Information System resulted in the same conclusion: ” the car driver’s behavior was more than three times as likely to contribute to the fatal crash than was the truck driver’s behavior. In addition, the car driver was solely responsible for 70 percent of the fatal crashes, compared to 16 percent for the truck driver. “

As it may seem that these confirmed statistics are used to cast blame, this should be further from the truth. As we can all agree that each fatal crash is a tragedy, one cannot continue compounding regulations upon regulations in the hope of ensuring a 100% safe driving environment because reality shows that driving has never been totally “safe.”

In 1899, the U.S. Government began keeping data records on motor-vehicle deaths. In that same year, there were 26 and by 1950 the number reached 33,186 and for 2012 there were 33,561. Between 1963 and 2007, numbers increased, ranging from the low 40’s to as high as 54,589 in 1972. Since 2007, where records show a number of 41,259 deaths across the United States, the numbers have declined.

In fact, as the number of motor-vehicle deaths remained within the range of the low 30’s and low 50’s between 1950 and the most current year data of 2012, records by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System show that traffic fatalities have been the lowest they have ever been within the past 65 years, with the number of 32,479 in 2011 being the lowest in 62 years.

Still, recent reports remain focused on stating that while overall fatalities have continued on a downward trend, accidents involving commercial trucks increased by 8.7% between 2009 and 2010. However, when one looks at the overall data for the period between 2008 and 2011, the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes actually declined by 12%.

Commercial Truck Fatalities: 2001-2011

Commercial Truck Fatalities: 2001-2011

By focusing on only one area of overall statistical reporting such as this results in the call for more regulations to be placed on the CMV driver and the industry, i.e. Electronic Onboard Recorders (EOBRs) and changes in the Hours of Service (HOS) rules. Adding regulations on top of regulations will not help the industry become safer, and most often will have the opposite effect as carriers and drivers are pushed to further limits in meeting the demands of the consumer, business incentives and their own personal welfare.

The FMCSA can continue to implement as many regulations that they wish upon drivers and the industry, yet none will ever have a direct effect on the millions of auto drivers and their driving habits or on their way of thinking. It is impossible for any government regulator to devise a rule which will prevent the driver of an auto to not pass a CMV and then immediately swerve back in front of it to take the next exit. It is impossible for any government regulator to devise a rule which will prevent the driver of an auto from pulling out in front of an oncoming CMV in hopes of beating a few seconds of extra waiting time and it is impossible for any government regulator to devise a rule which will prevent the driver of an auto from driving while fatigued.

Further regulations are nothing more than compounding a problem with more problems. The trucking industry itself can be the one to ensure safer highways and further correct many of the issues faced within the industry, without governmental action to impose additional regulations:

  • Develop and implement their own Entry Level Driver Training AND Hiring Standards
  • Increase driver wages which have remained stagnant for the past 25 years which add to drivers pushing for more miles in anticipation for a livable pay check
  • Develop a professional treatment toward their drivers, respecting the current rules in place as they relate to HOS rules, driver fatigue and drivers’ lawful rights
  • Stop the intimidation, harassment and retaliatory behavior against drivers to work toward ending the industry’s “Us against them” mentality
  • To further campaign and promote highway safety by providing educational resources directed at the general public in order to cultivate a deeper understanding and awareness for autos as it relates to sharing the road with the big rigs

As safety groups continue to play a major role in the addition of regulations placed on the industry, often these groups display a supportive approach for the drivers. Safety groups have called for better pay for drivers; they have voiced their concerns for the need of safer parking areas and appropriate rest time for drivers; they have expressed interest in the need to stop forced dispatching, causing the driver to be pushed beyond the boundaries of safety.

By all ways and means, the industry itself has been its own worst enemy. If the industry would step up and implement the solutions to the problems, would the government then have any reason to intervene on behalf of safety groups and attorneys? If the industry is so fearful of the CSA, safety ratings and interventions from the FMCSA, and is truly concerned about a driver shortage, why is it not possible for one of the world’s largest industries to create the solutions to the problems that they have allowed to continue for decades?

This industry must stop casting blame in all directions toward the FMCSA, professional drivers and even the general public, all for the sake of corporate greed. They must finally face these issues which they have generated over the years which in return, have forced the government into the equation with such actions as HOS, speed limiters and ELD’s.

© 2014, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: driver fatigue, FMCSA, highway fatalities, Safety, solutions, truck crashes, Trucking

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Category : Ask The Trucker
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