Elite Professional Drivers Encourage Responsibility, Attentiveness this Winter
Arlington, Va. – Today, American Trucking Associations and America’s Road Team released winter driving tips for motorists taking to the nation’s highways this holiday season.
“Everyone is busy this holiday season running last minute errands for our family celebrations or driving to faraway states to visit grandparents or friends, but the trucking industry wants all motorists to make safety their number one priority,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit and forget to focus on safety, which is why we’re happy to provide these tips from professional truck drivers.”
More than 103 million Americans are expected to travel this holiday season, according to AAA. A higher volume of vehicles traveling side by side on roads in December and early January creates an increased need for adherence to safe-driving habits, especially when coupled with adverse driving conditions. Drivers should be well-aware of the uptick in congestion and plan trips accordingly.
“Have a plan before you pull out of the driveway,” said America’s Road Team Captain Eric Flick, professional truck driver for FedEx Freight. “Accidents happen when people try to rush places and become stressed about meeting deadlines or avoiding bad weather. If you have a plan and prepare for all scenarios, you will be much less likely to take costly risks, putting yourself and others in harm’s way.”
Highly trained professional truck drivers are equipped to navigate through poor driving conditions and make life-saving decisions. The 3.5 million men and women who drive trucks professionally compile hundreds of thousands of driving miles each year and understand the importance of safety. America’s Road Team, a group of elite professional truck drivers, developed the safety tips below in an effort to impart years of safe driving experience into an easy-to-read format for the general motoring public.
Snow and ice are common throughout many parts of North America during the winter months. Conditions are can change with little warning, and attentive drivers should be prepared to slow down and adapt to inclement weather. Additionally, the holidays are a time when friends and families gather together to celebrate with loved ones. Impaired driving is one of the leading causes of highway fatalities and should be avoided at all costs.
Dining room tables set for a family feast. Storefront displays brimming with gifts to exchange with loved ones. Communities and friends joining together for holiday traditions. Bright lights on downtown trees and wreaths on doors.
These are just some of the images we think about when the holiday season is upon us. And no matter who you are, which holidays you celebrate, or where you’re from, all of these images share something in common – they’re all made possible by trucking.
The fact is, trucking touches every aspect of the holidays – and it goes beyond stocking grocery store shelves or delivering that perfect gift. In New Jersey, 85 percent of communities depend exclusively on trucks to move their goods. In addition to providing all those goods and cargo, trucking keeps your family members moving on the roads for that special time together by ensuring our gas stations are amply stocked with fuel.
From safety to service, the trucking industry is dedicated to ensuring the holidays happen for all of us. It’s the only industry that can say it directly ships to every community in America, helping to make this time of the year brighter for all families – snow, sleet, rain or shine. Professional truck drivers sacrifice time with their own families to ensure our gifts are delivered, our tables are set, and our roads are safe – a true embodiment of the holiday spirit.
The New Jersey Motor Truck Association wishes you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!
To our truck drivers, many who may be on the road and away from home this holiday season, THANK YOU for all you do to keep America moving and please stay safe, warm and have a wonderful holiday season!
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced a Final Rule establishing comprehensive national minimum training standards for entry-level commercial truck and bus operators seeking to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or certain endorsements. The standards established in today’s rule address the knowledge and skills necessary for the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles and also establish minimum qualifications for entities and individuals who provide entry-level driver training. The entry-level driver training Final Rule retains many of the consensus recommendations of a negotiated rulemaking committee comprised of 25 stakeholders and FMCSA representatives.
“Ensuring that drivers are properly trained is a critical element in improving road safety for everyone,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The entry-level training standards for large truck and bus operators put forth today exemplify a commitment to safety from a broad coalition of commercial motor vehicle stakeholders.”
The comprehensive CDL training requirements, which emphasize safety and promote driving efficiency, will result in lives saved, reductions in fuel consumption and emissions, vehicle maintenance cost reductions, and industry-wide performance improvements. The rulemaking was mandated by Congress in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).
“This new rule represents the culmination of a sustained and coordinated effort to identify appropriate pre-licensing CDL standards that will enhance safety on our Nation’s roads,” said FMCSA Administrator T.F. Scott Darling, III. “Without the collective efforts of our stakeholders working closely with us, we could not have completed this important lifesaving rule. We especially appreciate the Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee for its tireless efforts and expertise to enhance roadway safety through the negotiated rulemaking process.”
Under the Final Rule announced today, applicants seeking a CDL would be required to demonstrate proficiency in knowledge training and behind-the-wheel training on a driving range and on a public road, with training obtained from an instructional program that meets FMCSA standards. There is no required minimum number of hours for the knowledge or behind-the-wheel portions of any of the individual training curricula, but training providers must determine that each CDL applicant demonstrates proficiency in all required elements of the training in order to successfully complete the program.
Mandatory, comprehensive training in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories would apply to the following individuals under the Final Rule:
First-time CDL applicants, including:
“Class A” CDLs
“Class B” CDLs
Current CDL holders seeking a license upgrade (e.g., a Class B CDL holder seeking a Class A CDL) or an additional endorsement necessary to transport hazardous materials, or to operate a motorcoach or school bus.
All of these individuals are subject to the entry-level driver training requirements and must complete a course of instruction provided by an entity that meets the qualification standards set forth in the Final Rule. FMCSA anticipates that many entities currently providing entry-level driver training, including motor carriers, school districts, independent training schools, and individuals will be eligible to provide training that complies with the new requirements.
Drivers who are not subject to or are excepted or exempted from federal CDL requirements are not subject to this Final Rule. For example, military drivers, farmers, and firefighters who are excepted from federal CDL requirements are not subject to this Final Rule.
The entry-level driver training Final Rule goes into effect on February 6, 2017, with a compliance date of February 2020.
Click here to view the entry-level driver training Final Rule.
Click here to learn more about Entry-Level Driver Training.
Click here to view the list of Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee members.
The American Trucking Associations thanked Congress for enacting a fix to the hours-of-service restart that will restore the regulation to the pre-July 2013 version and reduce crash risk on our nation’s highways.
“ ATA thanks Congress for passing this Continuing Resolution, which includes language to permanently fix the hours-of-service restart, and that the President is expected to sign into law shortly. It is now our hope that as an industry, we can put this issue firmly in the rearview mirror,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “Thanks to hard work by Congressional leaders of both parties and in both chambers, we are one step closer to having an hours-of-service restart rule that makes sense and puts safety first”
The language in the C.R. should, pending the results of a Department of Transportation study, restore the restart rules to what they were before July 2013 when two unjustified restrictions were imposed on 3.5 million professional truck drivers.
“The changes to the restart could have been devastating to my fleet and thousands of other trucking companies across the country,” said ATA Chairman Kevin Burch, president of Jet Express Inc., Dayton, Ohio. “By including this language, Congress has done a tremendous service for highway safety, the trucking industry, its millions of professional drivers and Congress should be thanked.”
In July 2013, the Obama Administration restricted the use of the restart – an extended off-duty period drivers use to reset their workweeks – to only once every 168 hours and required that the restart period include two overnight stretches between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. The impact of these changes – until they were suspended in 2014 – was an uptick in early daytime driving by trucks and an increase in crashes due to the resulting congestion.
“These rules, put forward based on a very limited laboratory sleep study, could have had serious negative safety impacts,” Spear said. “The restart is an important tool for drivers, not to maximize driving time, but to have the flexibility to maximize off-duty time and time at home, and we are pleased that drivers will continue to have unrestricted access to it.”
Today, American Trucking Associations said the turnover rate at truckload fleets with more than $30 million in annual revenue dropped two points to 81%, the third decline in 2016, in the third quarter – the lowest point since the second quarter of 2011.
“Ongoing softness in the freight economy has contributed to an easing of the market for drivers and a reduced turnover rate,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Since the end of the third quarter, we have seen signs that we may be reaching the end of the poor inventory cycle that has driven a lot of the weakness in the freight economy, so we may see turnover rates rebound in the months to come.”
The turnover rate at smaller truckload fleets rose one point to 80% and turnover at less-than-truckload carriers fell three points to 9%.
“Despite the falling turnover rate, carriers continue to report difficulty finding well-qualified drivers, a problem that will not only persist, but which will get worse as the freight economy improves,” Costello said.
In an effort to help reduce the number crashes, fatalities and injuries attributed to unsafe driving behaviors, law enforcement agencies throughout North America increased traffic safety enforcement of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers and private passenger-vehicle (car) drivers during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Safe Driver Week, Oct. 16-22, 2016.
CMV safety enforcement officials issued warnings or citations to 20,648 CMV drivers and private passenger-vehicle drivers for unsafe driving behaviors. Examples of unsafe driving behaviors include speeding, failure to use a seatbelt, distracted driving, failure to obey traffic control devices, traveling too closely, improper lane change, etc.
During this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, data was collected by nearly 3,000 law enforcement officials at locations across the United States and Canada.
The top five warnings and citations issued to CMV drivers (as a percentage of total CMV warnings and citations) were:
The top five warnings and citations issued to private passenger-vehicle drivers (as a percentage of total passenger vehicle warnings and citations) were:
“This year, the Operation Safe Driver Week campaign specifically targeted the unsafe driving behaviors that are more often the cause of crashes,” said CVSA President Julius Debuschewitz of Yukon Highways and Public Works. “Through a variety of high-visibility and covert driver traffic enforcement initiatives, in addition to driver education and outreach activities, law enforcement agencies capitalized on the opportunity the weeklong campaign provided to continue their work toward making sure the drivers on our nations’ roadways are sharing and navigating those roadways safely.”
The following is a closer look at this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week traffic enforcement results:
CVSA holds this weeklong campaign every year because unsafe driver behaviors continue to be the leading cause of roadway crashes. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) “Large Truck Crash Causation Study” cites driver behavior as the critical reason for more than 88 percent of large truck crashes and 93 percent of private passenger-vehicle crashes.
The Operation Safe Driver Program was launched in 2007 by CVSA, in partnership with FMCSA and with support from industry and transportation safety organizations, to combat the number of deaths and injuries resulting from crashes involving large trucks, buses and private passenger vehicles by improving the behavior of all drivers operating in an unsafe manner – either in or around commercial motor vehicles – and initiating educational and enforcement strategies to address individuals exhibiting high-risk driving behaviors.
Click here to download a chart detailing the 2016 Operation Safe Driver Week results.
Click here more information on the Operation Safe Driver Program.
Been out on the road with no time for holiday shopping?
Not to worry. You can take care of all your gift needs the next time you fill up on diesel at your local truck stop. Holiday shopping at the truck stop might sound like the title of a country song, but it’s actually good advice. You don’t want to go anyway near a mall or big box store this time of year. And shopping online runs the risk of having the gifts delivered (and opened) at home while you’re on the road.
Truck stops are open 24 hours so you can avoid the crowds and shop on your schedule. You’re going to stop at one, anyway, with time to kill. And there’s plenty of parking, too. And, since most truck stop chains offer some sort of rewards program, you can earn points for your generosity.
Here’s a quick gift guide:
Entertainment – Truck stops carry enough games, DVDs, CDs, magazines, music and books to satisfy everyone on your list. They’re also great places to find items you won’t see at Barnes & Noble, such as DVD collections of NYPD Blue and Jean-Claude Van Damme movies. And there is no better place to shop for truck driving music.
Electronics – DVD players, cameras, phones, headphones, chargers, TV sets and GPS navigation systems – your average truck stop stacks up pretty well against Best Buy and without the long lines.
Toys – You can find something for any young child or grandchild at a truck stop: stuffed animals, games, drones, remote control helicopters and cars, dolls and action figures and, of course, toy trucks.
Tools – Have you ever given your significant other a new toaster as a present? Then you are a practical gifter, someone disinclined to waste money on the frivolous and unnecessary. You’re OK with your presents not being loved, so long as they’re used. Consider jumper cables, heavy-duty ice scrapers or coolers.
Clothing – No haute couture here, but you will find plenty of insulated hoodies, graphic tees, hats, socks and gloves, as well as gear celebrating various sports teams. Most truck stops also sell jewelry and figurines.
Stocking Stuffers – Sometimes the little gifts are harder to choose than the big ones. You don’t want to waste too much time thinking about them or too much money buying them. Luckily, truck stops are full of inexpensive knickknacks; just grab a handful of whatever is at the counter.
So let everyone else fight for parking and elbow room at the mall. Find a truck stop and do your holiday shopping the smart way.
By RoadPro Family of Brands
This morning, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued its final rule creating a first-ever federal clearinghouse for driver drug and alcohol test results.
According to an FMCSA press release, motor carriers, medical review officers, third-party administrators and substance abuse professionals will be required to report information about drivers who test positive for drugs or alcohol, refuse required drug and alcohol tests or who have undergone return-to-duty drug and alcohol rehabilitation process.
ATA staff are reviewing the full details of the final rule, but for more than two decades, ATA has pressed for the creation of a clearinghouse in order to close the job-hopping loophole and to help prevent drivers who use drugs or alcohol from getting behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle.
September 2016 North American Freight Numbers
Motorists traveling on Interstate 81 north or south are advised to be alert for significant traffic delays over the Thanksgiving Day holiday weekend between Exit 90 (PA 72) and Exit 104 (PA 125) due to a highway construction project in Pine Grove and Tremont townships in Schuylkill County. I-81 north and south is reduced to a single lane in this area.
Motorists should stay alert, anticipate slow-moving or stopped traffic and if possible seek alternate routes.
A project began in March 2015 to rehabilitate I-81 between the Lebanon County line and Exit 104 (PA 125). Work includes placing an unbonded concrete overlay, interchange improvements at Exits 100 (PA 443) and 104 (PA 125), guiderail updates, signage updates, new pavement markings, brush/tree cutting, and other miscellaneous construction.
All lanes will be open for the winter in this area of I-81 north and south on or before December 22. After the winter there will be daytime lane restrictions weekdays until the project is complete in May.
An unbonded concrete overlay is a roadway resurfacing process in which a new layer of concrete is poured over an existing layer of pavement with an interlayer between them to break the bond between the two layers. The interlayer allows the layers to expand and contract independently of each other. By allowing the layers to move freely the new concrete surface is less prone to cracking and pavement deterioration.
Hi-Way Paving, Inc. of Hilliard, OH is the general contractor on the $43,894,275 project. Work is expected to be complete in May 2017.
Motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 770 traffic cameras. 511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.
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