The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission today announced that it will postpone the Cashless Tolling go-live date for the Findlay Connector — the six-mile segment of Southern Beltway (PA Turnpike 576) in Washington and Allegheny counties. Originally planned for April 29, the go-live date will be delayed to later this spring or summer.
The postponement provides additional time needed to continue testing of the tolling equipment at the highway speed (70-mph) electronic-tolling facility at milepost 2.6 on the Connector. This new Cashless Tolling zone, upon conversion, will replace six existing toll plazas located on the Connector’s on/off ramps.
A new go-live date for the Findlay Connector will be announced in the coming weeks.
“We want to be sure that each of the components of this complex system are functioning up to our standards prior to the go-live date,” said PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “Without a doubt, all-electronic tolling is one of the biggest changes our customers and our organization have seen in more than 77 years, so we have a duty to proceed deliberately and thoughtfully.”
The electronic-tolling technology being deployed on the Findlay Connector is installed on a gantry — a framework structure made of concrete columns supporting overhead steel beams. “Cashless tolling technology in general has been proven effective and is in fact successfully operating on dozens of toll facilities nationwide including two of our own pilot projects here in PA as well as in New York and Maryland, to name a few,” Compton added.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike converted the Beaver Valley Expressway (Toll 376) to Cashless Tolling in April 2017 and the Turnpike Bridge over the Delaware River in January 2016.
With Cashless Tolling, even drivers without E-ZPass no longer stop to pay; they proceed through the tolling location at the posted speed limit. As they do, cameras take a photo of the vehicle’s license plate, and a monthly PA Turnpike “TOLL BY PLATE” bill is mailed to the vehicle owner.
The postponement will have no impact to the customer’s driving experience on the Findlay Connector, as the systems and operations involved do not alter travel patterns or accessibility.
Conversion of the Keyser Avenue and Clarks Summit toll plazas on the Northeastern Extension (I-467) in Lackawanna County is still on target for an April 29 conversion.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is ensuring the stability of the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME) website, the security of the data, and the privacy of drivers and medical examiners. This is of paramount concern. There was an unsuccessful attempt by someone to compromise the NRCME website. It is conclusive that there was no personal information exposed.
Currently, there are several key features available on the National Registry. As of April 6, 2018, healthcare professionals wishing to become a certified medical examiner listed on the National Registry are able to register. FMCSA previously released a static look-up function allowing both State Driver’s Licensing Agencies (SDLA) and employers to check the validity of medical cards. Additionally, in February 2018, FCMSA corrected erroneous email notifications that were sent to certain medical examiners incorrectly stating that they would be removed based on out-of-date information.
There are more than 58,000 certified medical examiners on the National Registry that can continue to perform medical exams on commercial truck and bus drivers. These certified medical examiners can continue conducting physical qualification examinations and issue a paper Medical Examiner's Certificate (MEC), Form MCSA-5876 to qualified drivers. Medical examiners should segregate all examinations completed while the functionality was offline and be prepared to upload them to the National Registry system when it is fully available, without penalties.
FMCSA and UDDOT will continue to work to address these issues as the website is brought fully back online.
For updates and status, visit the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners website here.
Hercules welcomes Frank Conti as its new Chief Operating Officer with 25+ years of global manufacturing and commercial experience with middle market private companies and Fortune 500 public companies. “Hercules has a compelling tradition of providing creative engineering designs, delivering outstanding product quality, and building long term customer partnerships”, says Conti. In addition, “I am delighted to be a team member and build upon such a strong foundation of accomplishments.”
With the drayage industry suffering from a decade-long chassis shortage brought on by recessionary headwinds, the exit of ocean carriers from the business, and the enactment of the Roadability Rule in 2010, the opportunity exists for growth within the Industry regarding chassis and intermodal products. Conti understands these industry opportunities and is looking forward to expanding Hercules manufacturing platform within the drayage industry and other diversified industrial markets.
“We are very excited to have Frank Conti join the Hercules executive team,” said Matt Denegre, Director at Baymark Partners, which acquired Hercules Chassis in 2016. “Frank is a seasoned executive with a deep operational background in automotive and industrial parts manufacturing. Due to the increased demand for intermodal trailers, Frank will have an immediate impact as we expand our product line and broaden our customer base.”
Prior to joining Hercules Chassis, Conti was Vice President of Global Channel Sales with Belden Inc., a $2.4 billion revenue public company and global leader in network connectivity and cable solutions for various markets. Prior to BELDEN, Conti held operational leadership positions with several Private Equity owned manufacturing companies that support the Transportation, Vehicle, Aerospace, Military, & Data Communications markets. His early career leadership included Business Development activities with industry leading public companies including Corning and DuPont.
As the saying goes, there simply is no substitute for experience! And, the Hercules team is positioned for continuous organic growth, developing new business opportunities and expanding their market reach.
The Vermont Truck & Bus Association reminds carriers traveling on U.S. Route 4 in the state from the New Hampshire line to Vermont Route 100 that a state permit is required for combinations between 68 and 75 feet in length. The permit is free from the state department of motor vehicles, but being caught without one will be expensive. VTBA warns that Woodstock, Vermont, is particularly aggressive about enforcing this requirement. See here: http://dmv.vermont.gov/sites/dmv/files/documents/OSD-01-Excess_Length_App.pdf.
Source: The State Laws Newsletter
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) granted an application submitted by the National Tank Truck Carriers, Inc. (NTTC) and the Massachusetts Motor Transport Association, Inc. (MMTA) on behalf of the transportation of specific petroleum-based fuel in interstate commerce. The two associations asked for an exemption from the 30-minute rest break requirement in the federal hours-of-service (HOS) regulations.
Federal HOS requirements
According to federal regulations, interstate drivers — who are required to maintain a record of duty status, or log, on board the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) — are subject to the 30-minute rest break provision. However, those drivers who meet the criteria to claim the “100 air-mile radius exception” do not have to maintain a log and are not subject to the 30-minute rest break requirement.
NTTC and MMTA’s concerns
The tank trucks are normally loaded with products in the morning, and deliver the products to three or more service stations during the remainder of the duty day. Most of the estimated 38,000 vehicles engaged in such transportation each day qualify for the 100 air-mile radius exception. However, on rare occasions, they unexpectedly exceed the criteria to complete the day within 12 hours, and are required to log the day.
NTTC and MMTA outlined the concerns they have with interrupting delivery of hazardous materials in order for the driver to take the required 30-minute rest break. For instance, as a security measure, a motor carrier may require that a tank truck transporting certain fuels be attended by the driver when the vehicle is stopped, and a driver attending a CMV is not considered off duty as required by the rest-break rule. Attendance is not required by regulation except for transporters of certain explosives.
FMCSA granted this exemption because it found that the level of safety achieved by this industry operating under the terms and conditions of the exemption, would be equal to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be achieved if the drivers were required to take the rest break.
These drivers receive several short “breaks” each day when they unload product at service stations. While the exemption will allow these drivers to operate beyond the 12th hour, they will still have to complete their duty day before the 14-hour limit by which most CMV drivers are governed. In addition, these drivers will be required to maintain an HOS log in accordance with Part 395, as required of all CMV drivers who find during a duty day that they are not qualified for the 100 air-mile radius exception.
The exemption is effective April 9, 2018, and expires on April 10, 2023.
J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.® All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.
The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) Board of Directors has approved the 2018 Top Research Priorities as identified by ATRI's Research Advisory Committee (RAC). ATRI's RAC developed the list of recommended research topics at its meeting held in Dallas in March and the ATRI Board vetted and approved that list at its meeting last week.
The research topics cover a wide array of critical industry issues including the impact that urban planning and "smart city" design have on truck operations, inconsistencies in CDL testing, and continuing research on the impact of autonomous technologies on the trucking industry.
The 2018 ATRI top research priorities are:
ATRI is the trucking industry's 501(c)(3) not-for-profit research organization. It is engaged in critical research relating to freight transportation's essential role in maintaining a safe, secure and efficient transportation system.
Dear Representative Sires and Representative Payne,
RE: Port Drayage Trucks Serving Port Elizabeth and Newark
This is in response to your recent letter to Governor Murphy suggesting that port drayage trucks 2006 and older be banned from Port Newark and Elizabeth. We as a group represent the port community including the drayage trucking industry, owner-operators, terminal operators, labor and shippers - all of whom depend on the success of the ports in Newark and Elizabeth.
Over the past several years, there has been a substantial amount of misinformation regarding port drayage trucks and their emissions in the port region. Facts matter.
We are not diminishing the impact that emissions have on the port region; however, focusing only on one source--which in comparison to others is the smallest contributor--is unfair. A significant amount of effort has been and continues to be done to reduce emissions from all sources at the port, including port drayage trucks. Please consider the following:
n Port drayage trucks make up less than 4% of all trucks and 1% of all vehicles on the regional roadways.
n In 2017 there were 12,845 trucks registered with the PANYNJ serving the ports. Of those trucks, 46% (5,908) were already "clean trucks" (2007 engine model or newer).
n Since March 2016, only trucks with engine model years 2007 or newer can register to work in the ports.
n In 2018, the 1994 & 1995 engine models were banned from serving the Port of NY & NJ, further reducing the number of older trucks, increasing the percentage of clean trucks to 47%. The number of older trucks will continue to shrink due to natural attrition, drivers retiring, relocating, and voluntary utilization of truck replacement programs.
Considering the thousands of cars and non-port trucks that pass through the port region, along with other emission generating factors (power plants, oil boilers, garbage incinerators, refineries, airport, NJ Turnpike), it is difficult to believe that the current older trucks serving the port are having the such an impact that they should be banned while other emission generators can reduce their emissions via voluntary programs.
We all want to have clean air. The question is … is it fair to make a handful of port drayage truck owners lose their businesses and income when they represent a mere fraction of the actual emissions that exist? No other entity is being asked to make such a sacrifice, and being made to suffer so disproportionately.
Your proposal to ban all 2006 and older trucks from the port would do irreparable harm, not only to the port drayage truck owners, but to the viability of Port Newark and Elizabeth. We are all committed to working with you and other interested parties to find sensible, voluntary solutions to continue to mitigate emissions in and around the port.
New Jersey Motor Truck Association
Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers
New York Shipping Association, Inc.
Port Drivers Association
New Jersey Retail Merchants Association
Maritime Association of the Port of New York/New Jersey
Governor Murphy has declared a State of Emergency, State offices are closed on Wednesday, March 21, and starting at 8 pm, tonight, Tuesday, March 20 the NJ State Police have issued a commercial vehicle travel ban on for the entire length of the following highways:
The commercial vehicle travel ban applies to:
• All tractor trailers
• Empty straight CDL-weighted trucks
• Passenger vehicles pulling trailers
• Recreational vehicles
• All tractor trailers
• Empty straight CDL-weighted trucks
• Passenger vehicles pulling trailers
• Recreational vehicles
Trucks that are already in New Jersey are encouraged to pull off in truck stops to wait out the storm – DO NOT PARK ON SHOULDERS.
NJDOT’s first priority is ensuring public safety. The storm is expected to intensify overnight and during the morning, making it challenging for plow crews to keep pace with the storm. The Department is fully activated with more than 2,750 plows and salt spreaders ready to clear state highways.
NJDOT is coordinating with all state transportation agencies to ensure the most effective response to the impending weather. NJDOT and other plow crews are the first, first responders. In the case of emergencies, emergency teams cannot respond unless the roads are passable.
Residents and motorists should avoid driving unless you are an essential employee needed for emergency response. If you do not have to be on the roads during the storm, stay home. Safety of motorists and work crews is the Department’s top priority. If you must drive, do so carefully and plan your trips accordingly, road conditions can change in an instant.
If you see crews on the roads, please stay back and do not pass them. They are clearing the roadways for your safety. If you have to drive, NJDOT advises motorists to:
NJDOT will provide appropriate winter driving alerts through Variable Message Signs, www.511nj.org and Twitter - @NJDOT_Info.
PA Turnpike to Impose Systemwide Truck/Trailer Ban Tonight
Restrictions on certain trucks, trailers and other vehicles start at 8 p.m.
MIDDLETOWN, PA (MARCH 20, 2018) — Due to the incoming winter storm, the PA Turnpike will impose a ban of certain types of trucks, RV and trailers today starting at 8 p.m. Vehicle types covered by the restriction are:
The above-listed vehicles will be prohibited from traveling on the PA Turnpike’s east-west mainline from Ohio to New Jersey (I-76, 70/76 and 276) and on the entire Northeastern Extension (I-476) beginning at 8 p.m. Restrictions will remain in place through the storm.
As storm conditions develop, a comprehensive commercial-vehicle ban and/or speed restrictions could be imposed across significant portions of the PA Turnpike system.
While driving in severe weather, motorists should follow these protocols:
In case of an accident, breakdown or other emergency, PA Turnpike motorists should dial *11 on a mobile phone. Be prepared to give the milepost location and direction of travel and move vehicles out of active travel lanes if possible.
While the PA Turnpike discourages travel during winter storms, motorists can check PA Turnpike conditions before heading out at www.paturnpike.com; look at the “Current Alerts” ticker at the top for restrictions. Travelers can also call the toll-free TRIP line at 866-976-TRIP (8747) for the latest travel information.
The PA Turnpike reminds motorists to pack a winter emergency kit. A basic kit includes non-perishable food, water, blanket, small shovel and warm clothes. When preparing an emergency kit, motorists should consider passenger necessities like baby food, pet supplies or medications.
Follow the PA Turnpike on Twitter at: @PATurnpikeAlert.
2017 North American Freight Numbers
New Jersey Motor Truck Association | 160 Tices Lane, East Brunswick, NJ 08816 | 732-254-5000