The American Transportation Research Institute released the findings of its 2019 update to “An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking.” Using detailed financial data provided directly by motor carriers of all sectors and fleet sizes, this “Ops Costs” research annually documents and analyzes trucking costs from 2008 through 2018. ATRI's analysis provides industry stakeholders with an essential benchmarking tool, and government agencies with input on industry finances necessary for comprehensive transportation planning and infrastructure improvement analyses.
ATRI’s newest 2019 Ops Costs report documents the extremely robust economic environment that carriers and drivers experienced in 2018, but these same economic conditions put considerable upward pressure on nearly every line-item cost center experienced by carriers.
The average marginal cost per mile incurred by motor carriers in 2018 increased 7.7 percent to $1.82. Costs rose in every cost center except tires, with fuel costs experiencing the highest year-over-year growth of 17.7 percent. Not surprisingly, insurance costs saw the second fastest year-over-year growth at 12 percent. As a strategic response to the severe driver shortage that existed in 2018, driver wages and benefits increased 7.0 and 4.7 percent, respectively – representing 43 percent of all marginal costs in 2018.
Repair & maintenance (R&M) costs, at 17.1 cents per mile in 2018, have increased 24 percent since 2012 – a counterintuitive increase given the record sales of new trucks and trailers. From 2012 to 2018, overall motor carrier operational costs have increased more than 11.6 percent – exceeding the 10.8 percent inflation rate for that same time period.
ATRI’s 2019 report again includes an “Industry Sector in Focus” analysis for tank fleet operators.
“ATRI’s 2019 Operational Costs research highlights the extent of the cost increases our industry experienced in 2018. Savvy carriers will continue to use this cost data as a benchmarking tool, and to better educate our customers on the financial and operating pressures our industry faces,” said Jerry Sigmon, Executive Vice President of Cargo Transporters, Inc. “The new 2019 report also gives us important explanations and hints on how to better manage the cost volatility we've been experiencing.”
Since its original publication in 2008, ATRI has received over 16,000 requests for the Operational Costs reports.
On Sept. 26, 2019, at the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) Annual Conference and Exhibition in Biloxi, Mississippi, the CVSA Board of Directors voted on and approved a new Inspection Bulletin which outlines tread depth measurement of evolving commercial motor vehicle tires.
The 2019-03 – Evolving Commercial Vehicle Tire Design Tread Depth Measurement Inspection Bulletin explains how to properly measure the tread depth of commercial motor vehicle tires with evolving treads. An evolving tread design is a tread pattern that experiences a significant and noticeable transition in appearance as the tire wears down from the new state to the worn state. As the tread wears, some features disappear, while new features are revealed. This evolution in the tread pattern allows for the balancing and optimization of multiple performance characteristics over the full life of the tire as well as maximum use of all available tread rubber. The bulletin is also available in French and Spanish.
An Inspection Bitz, a one-minute informational video explaining the inspection of an evolving commercial motor vehicle tire, is available online, and can also be accessed through the CVSA member portal and via the 2020 CVSA North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria app, which will be released in spring 2020.
CVSA reminds all certified roadside inspectors to visit the Inspection Bulletins section of the CVSA website to check that they have the latest versions of all Inspection Bulletins. We want to ensure all inspectors are conducting roadside inspections using the most up-to-date version of each bulletin. The CVSA website will always contain the current version of each Inspection Bulletin which should be used by CVSA-certified roadside enforcement personnel.
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Today is the start of Brake Safety Week, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's (CVSA) safety initiative focused on the roadside inspection and identification of commercial motor vehicles with critical brake violations. Vehicles found to have critical brake violations, or other critical vehicle inspection item conditions, will be removed from roadways until those violations are corrected.
On Sept. 15-21, CVSA-certified enforcement personnel will be conducting roadside inspections, which include thorough investigation of brake systems on commercial motor vehicles. Inspectors will also pay special attention to brake hoses/tubing, which must be properly attached, undamaged, without leaks and appropriately flexible.
CVSA's brake-focused safety initiatives, such as Brake Safety Week, aim to reduce the number of crashes involving commercial motor vehicles with brake system deficiencies by conducting roadside mechanical fitness inspections and removing commercial motor vehicles with dangerous brake conditions from our roadways. Brake Safety Week is part of the Operation Airbrake Program, sponsored by CVSA in partnership with the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
The American Transportation Research Institute today released the results of a new analysis on the safety and productivity impacts of truck driver detention at customer facilities. The analysis is based on over 1,900 truck driver and motor carrier surveys conducted in 2014 and 2018.
ATRI’s analysis found that across the four-year period, detention frequency and length has increased, with negative impacts on driver productivity, regulatory compliance and compensation. Key findings include:
· Drivers reported a 27.4 percent increase in delays of six or more hours.
· Female drivers were 83.3 percent more likely than men to be delayed six or more hours.
· There was a nearly 40 percent increase in drivers who reported that the majority of their pick-ups and deliveries were delayed over the past 12 months due to customer actions.
· The average excessive detention fee per hour charged by fleets was $63.71, slightly less than the average per hour operating cost of $66.65 found in ATRI’s Operational Costs of Trucking.
· The negative impact of detention on carrier revenue and driver compensation may be greater among smaller fleets (<50 power units) with 20 percent reporting that they do not charge for excessive detention in order to stay competitive with larger fleets.
“ATRI's new detention research definitely helps us understand the full financial impact associated with detaining drivers," said Edgar R. McGonigal, chief financial officer of Bestway Express, Inc. “From a safety and economic perspective, this research gives the trucking industry new insight into how both carriers and drivers should implement driver detention strategies.”
The report also documents recommended practices that drivers and carriers believe will improve efficiency and reduce detention at customer facilities.
A copy of this report is available from ATRI at TruckingResearch.org.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on changes to hours of service (HOS) rules to increase safety on America’s roadways by updating existing regulations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers.
“This proposed rule seeks to enhance safety by giving America’s commercial drivers more flexibility while maintaining the safety limits on driving time,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
“FMCSA wants drivers and all CMV stakeholders to share their thoughts and opinions on the proposed changes to hours of service rules that we are putting forward today. We listened directly to the concerns of drivers for rules that are safer and have more flexibility—and we have acted. We encourage everyone to review and comment on this proposal,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez.
First adopted in 1937, FMCSA’s hours of service rules specify the permitted operating hours of commercial drivers. In 2018, FMCSA authored an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to receive public comment on portions of the HOS rules to alleviate unnecessary burdens placed on drivers while maintaining safety on our Nation’s highways and roads. In response, the Agency received more than 5,200 public comments.
Based on the detailed public comments, FMCSA’s proposed rule on hours of service offers five key revisions to the existing HOS rules:
FMCSA’s proposal is crafted to improve safety on the Nation’s roadways. The proposed rule would not increase driving time and would continue to prevent CMV operators from driving for more than eight consecutive hours without at least a 30-minute change in duty status.
In Addition, FMCSA’s proposed rule on hours of service regulations is estimated to provide $274 million in savings for the U.S. economy and American consumers. The trucking industry is a key component to the national economy—employing more than seven million people and moves 70 percent of the nation’s domestic freight.
The public comment period will be open for 45 days.
The Federal Register Notice, including how to submit comments, is available here: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/regulations/hours-service/474821/nprmfile08-08-2019-131534.pdf
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today proposed a permanent crash preventability determination program to gain additional data to recognize possible safety risks on our nation’s roads.
This crash preventability program examines the feasibility, costs, and benefits of determining and displaying the preventability of certain crash types. Starting in August 2017, FMCSA reviewed more than 5,600 crashes submitted by truck and bus companies to determine if a crash could have been prevented by the motor carrier. Approximately 94% have been found to be not preventable by the motor carrier or commercial driver.
Following the strong participation in the program from motor carriers, Secretary Chao announced the Department’s plan to make the current demonstration program permanent during a March 29th speech at the 2019 Mid-America Trucking show.
Today’s action proposes a transition to a long-term crash preventability determination program for FMCSA. In addition, the Agency is proposing the removal of not preventable crashes from the Safety Measurement System Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis Safety Improvement Category (BASIC), expanding the types of crashes that can be evaluated from eight to fifteen.
“Data drives our agency’s decisions, and the information we’ve received and analyzed during the demonstration project informed our action today to expand and improve the crash preventability program,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Marinez. “We’ve listened to carriers, drivers, and other commercial motor vehicle stakeholders throughout each step of this process, and strongly encourage all interested parties to submit comments on our proposed changes.”
FMCSA seeks public comments on the proposed changes to the program. The comment period will be open for 60 days.
For more information about the proposal, including how to submit comments to the Federal Register docket, click on the following link: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/crash-preventability-determination-program.
Learn more about FMCSA’s Crash Preventability Demonstration Program at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/crash-preventability-demonstration-program.
The Internal Revenue Service today issued a reminder for owners of most heavy highway vehicles that the time to file Form 2290, Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return, began July 1, 2019.
The highway use tax applies to highway motor vehicles with a taxable gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more. This generally includes large trucks, truck tractors and buses. The tax is based on the weight of the vehicle and a variety of special rules apply. These special rules are explained in the instructions to Form 2290.
In 2019, the IRS expects to receive almost 900,000 Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Returns. Though some taxpayers have the option of filing Form 2290 on paper, taxpayers with 25 or more taxed vehicles must e-file Form 2290.
The deadline to file Form 2290 and pay the tax is Sept. 3, 2019, for vehicles used on the road during July. Truckers have the additional time since the normal deadline of Aug. 31 falls on a Saturday this year and Monday, Sept. 2, is a federal holiday.
The IRS encourages all owners to take advantage of the speed and convenience of e-file and paying any tax due. There is no need to visit an IRS office because the form can be filed and any required tax payment can be made online. Filers can use a credit or debit card to pay the Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax. Visit IRS.gov for a list of IRS-approved e-file providers and to find an approved provider for Form 2290 on the 2290 e-file partner’s page.
Generally, e-filers receive their IRS-stamped Schedule 1 electronically minutes after filing. They can then print the Schedule 1 and provide it to their state department of motor vehicles, without visiting an IRS office.
For those who want face-to-face service, all IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers now operate by appointment and taxpayers can call 844-545-5640 to schedule one. See the Taxpayer Assistance Center page on IRS.gov for details.
The IRS will host a webinar, “Understanding Form 2290-Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax,” Aug. 15 at 2 p.m. Eastern time. Pre-register for this free 60-minute webinar. Closed captioning is available. Tax professionals can earn one continuing professional education credit for attending.
For more information about the highway use tax, visit the Trucking Tax Center at IRS.gov/trucker.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced a proposed rule to reduce burdens and costs for commercial driver’s license (CDL) applicants by allowing applicants to take general and specialized knowledge tests in a state other than the applicant’s state of residence. This proposal will increase flexibility for driver applicants by reducing time and travel expenditures, while having no detrimental impact on safety.
To promote further flexibility in the CDL issuance processes, FMCSA proposes to allow driver applicants to take the CDL knowledge tests in states other than applicant’s state of domicile. Under this proposed rule, a state would not be required to offer the knowledge tests to out-of-state applicants. However, if the testing state elects to offer the knowledge tests to these applicants, it would transmit the results to the state of domicile, which would be required to accept the results.
“Reducing burdens and expenses on CDL applicants has the potential to increase the number of available drivers. With the American economy continuing to grow at record pace, the need for more commercial drivers is critical. This proposal offers commonsense regulatory changes that will help CDL applicants, without compromising safety,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez.
FMCSA has been focused on reducing regulatory barriers for CDL applicants. In March 2019, the agency authored a final rule streamlining the process and reducing costs to upgrade from a Class B to Class A CDL— a deregulatory action that will save eligible driver trainees and motor carriers $18 million annually.
Additionally, in June 2019, the Agency published a deregulatory proposal to streamline and simplify the process by which states are currently required to conduct skill tests for individuals seeking to obtain a CDL. With the goal of reducing administrative costs and helping to alleviate testing delays, this proposal will elminate needless inconvenience and expense to CDL applicants.
The proposed rule will have a 60-day public comment period. A copy of the proposal, which includes information on submitting comments to the Federal Register Docket, is available at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/07/29/2019-15963/commercial-drivers-license-out-of-state-knowledge-test.
The New York State Department of Transportation announced today that bridge work will resume on Interstate 86 over County Route 333 on Sunday August 4, 2019. The bridge is located at exit 41 in the town of Campbell, Steuben County. Work will consist of replacing the joints on the bridge deck and will take place at night between the hours of 7:00pm and 6:00am. Interstate traffic will be detoured around the work area using the exit and entrance ramps of the interchange. Flag persons will be stationed to control the cross traffic on County Route 333. During the day when no work is taking place, Interstate 86 will be open to a single lane for traffic and County Route 333 will have both lanes open. Work is anticipated to last approximately 5 nights, weather permitting.
Motorists may encounter flaggers, and lane closures and could experience travel delays. It is imperative that motorists remember this season to drive carefully through the many highway and bridge construction zones they will encounter.
Motorists are urged to slow down and safely move over when approaching roadside vehicles displaying red, white, blue, amber or green lights, including maintenance and construction vehicles in work zones. To learn more about the Move Over law and what we’re doing to keep workers and motorists safe in highway construction zones, visit www.ny.gov/workzonesafety.
Motorists are reminded that fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone. In accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual’s driver license.
For real-time travel information, call 511 or visit www.511NY.org. You can also follow us on Twitter @NYSDOTHornell.
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