Nearly 2.25 million vehicles are expected to be on the Pennsylvania Turnpike over the four-day Labor Day weekend. With that amount of traffic, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) wants to remind motorists to move over for emergency vehicles whenever possible. That means steering clear of any first responder vehicle with its lights activated in an emergency response area including maintenance vehicles, tow trucks, police, fire and/or ambulance vehicles.
“This Labor Day, we are urging travelers to heed the state law that requires motorists to move over or slow down when they see an emergency vehicle stopped on the shoulder,” says PTC Chief Executive Officer Mark Compton. “Emergency personnel are out there to keep us safe and help us when needed, so please give our responders and maintenance personnel the room they need to safely do their important work.”
The fine for not moving over or slowing down for an emergency response vehicle is $250 along with a possible 90-day license suspension if a driver causes bodily injury.
Compton says the PTC will have additional maintenance personnel on duty during the holiday weekend to patrol the road and assist motorists if they break down or have a problem. Pennsylvania State Police Troop T, the unit responsible for patrolling the Pennsylvania Turnpike, will also have additional patrols on duty for the holiday weekend to monitor the heavy traffic that is expected and to ensure safety.
“We need motorists to slow down, stay alert and avoid distractions,” states Captain Paul S. Gustaitis, Commanding Officer of Troop T. “Our patrols will also be on the look-out for aggressive drivers who speed, follow too closely and make unsafe lane changes – they will be cited.”
Traffic is expected to be the heaviest on Friday with 750,000 vehicles predicted to hit the roadway. The peak travel time that day will be from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Labor Day is also expected to be a heavy traffic day with peak travel time being from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
To prepare for this surge in travel, maintenance and construction activities will be suspended beginning Sept. 2 at 5 a.m. until Sept. 6 at 11 p.m. This will allow all travel lanes to be open to traffic except in the case of emergencies. Construction activity that does not impact travel lanes may continue behind concrete barriers in some areas, thereby reducing shoulder widths. However, at least two lanes in each direction will remain open except in the case of emergencies.
To report an accident or other emergency on the PA Turnpike, dial *11 via mobile phone. To learn more about PA Turnpike conditions or to contact us, use one of these resources:
ON THE PA TURNPIKE
· Variable & Digital Message Signs — nearly 100 signs along the Turnpike
· Highway Advisory Radio — 1640 AM (tune-in near interchanges)
· Turnpike Roadway Information Program (toll-free) — 866-976-TRIP (8747)
· Customer Assistance Center (toll-free) — 800-331-3414 (weekdays, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
ON THE WEB
· TRIPTalk — free, travel-alert smartphone app; download at https://www.paturnpike.com/travel/trip_talk.aspx
· Travel Conditions Map — live, inactive conditions map; view at https://www.paturnpike.com/webmap
Professional Truck Drivers Encourage Labor Day Travelers to Focus on Safety
Arlington, Va. – Today, American Trucking Associations and ATA’s Share the Road highway safety program are launching the Share the Road Instructional Video to demonstrate safe-driving techniques ahead of a busy Labor Day weekend.
“With one of the biggest travel weekends of the year coming up, professional truck drivers throughout the country are hoping that all motorists make safe-driving a priority,” said Share the Road professional truck driver Allen Boyd, of Walmart Transportation. “This video walks viewers through some of the most important elements of safety and explains how drivers can safely navigate around large trucks.”
Share the Road’s new instructional video addresses the 21st century’s most prevalent dangerous driving habit – distracted driving – and explains the various ways that drivers may become distracted while driving. According to Share the Road professional truck drivers, eating, drinking or watching videos are activities that can be just as hazardous as texting and are done by motorists of all ages.
“This video will be shown in schools and drivers’ education classes throughout the country. It’s one of the tools that ATA and ATA’s Share the Road program are using to save lives,” said ATA COO and Executive Vice President of Industry Affairs Elisabeth Barna. “The most highly-trained professionals on the road, truck drivers, have a lot of knowledge and experience with safety and they are all willing to share that advice if it means an accident can be prevented.”
The primary focus of Share the Road’s highway safety campaign is to share information about blind spots. The Share the Road Instructional Video takes viewers through each of the four truck blind spots, explaining what a truck driver can and cannot see from the cab of his or her truck. Incorporating seamless motion graphics and high-definition footage from various angles, the video aims to appeal to a younger, more technologically savvy audience; equipping future generations of drivers with strong safe-driving practices.
“Making our nation’s roads safer through targeted highway safety information is the reason Share the Road exists,” said John Walsh, vice president of global marketing and brand management for Mack Trucks. “We at Mack want every student in the U.S. to have the chance to see this video, and learn from it. If it helps save even one life, it will have done its job.”
The full Share the Road Instructional Video is available online. Tips from the video, provided by Share the Road professional truck drivers include:
Trucks parked in a rest parking lot. (Photo: Randy/Flickr)
A crucial shortage of parking for big trucks in the U.S. threatens the safety of truck drivers.
From 2010 through 2014, 40 big-rig drivers were slain while working, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics. The agency has not yet issued 2015 data. Trucking groups say a lack of safe parking puts drivers at risk.
Homicides are just part of the problem. Truck cargo thefts occur at the rate of at least twice daily, according toFreightWatch International, a logistics security services firm. Of those thefts, 86 percent happen in unsecured sites such as public parking and truck trailer drop lots.
There are more than 3 million truckers on U.S. roads but parking for approximately 300,000 trucks, according to the Federal Highway Administration, or FHWA. Many states are reporting acute parking needs, primarily along major transit corridors and in dense metropolitan areas.
“There is only so much water you can put in a glass, and we need more capacity,” said Darrin Roth, vice president of highway policy for the American Trucking Associations.
This leaves truckers like Tim Philmon, a 34-year trucking veteran, searching for scare parking spaces on a nightly basis. Although he has never been robbed of any personal belongings, he has had a load stolen off of his truck.
“Normally, I try to stay away from bad locations to park and rest, but sometimes it’s unavoidable,” Philmon said. “Also, I try to park in well-lit lots. Never do I bed down in rest areas, on ramps or weigh stations.”
More than 75 percent of truck drivers told an FHWA survey that they “regularly” experienced “problems with finding safe parking locations when rest was needed.” And 90 percent reported struggling to find safe parking at night.
At times, the dearth of spaces pushes tired truck drivers to continue driving, the FHWA said. A lack of spaces also creates traffic hazards when drivers choose to park at unsafe locations, such as on the shoulders of roads, on exit ramps or at vacant lots when they can’t locate legal parking spots, the government agency said.
In May, a trucker fell asleep at the wheel and overturned his rig, spilling 50,000 pounds of potatoes on Interstate 77 in North Carolina. The driver said he couldn’t find a legal place to park and didn’t want to be fined more than $200 by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, which ramped up enforcement efforts for truckers parking roadside along interstate highways in 2015.
The shortage is compounded by municipalities passing laws prohibiting truck parking and even banning truck stops from building in their communities. They cite traffic and environmental concerns for the regulations.
Council members in Mesquite, Nev., voted to block Pilot Flying J from buying a building and 21 acres for a truck stop and parking in December 2012. The truck stop company has made a second request this year, and a decision is pending.
Truckers are running up against cities such as North Bend, Wash., which last year banned new truck parking spots from being built in the community. That ordinance also prevented the only truck stop in town from expanding to accommodate the influx of truck traffic.
The TravelCenters of America truck stop in North Bend has spaces for about 140 trucks. A manager there said his lot is full every night. Unlucky drivers who arrive there after dark are often forced to drive another 70 miles to the nearest truck stop in Ellensburg, Wash., or take their chances and park on the shoulder or off a ramp.
Harlingen, Texas, last month enacted an ordinance that prohibits commercial vehicles from parking on streets for longer than 24 hours in a 14-day period, citing road maintenance and safety hazards. This is forcing some truckers without alternative parking options to park on city streets anyway, despite the fear of a fine.
Drivers in Faribault, Minn., are also struggling to park their rigs inside city limits after residents complained about trucks being parked along city streets. In July, a committee there voted to install “No Truck Parking” on some city streets there.
A canvas of major trucking industry trade groups and federal highway and traffic agencies by Trucks.com found that there are not statistics on how many municipalities prohibit big-rig parking.
But the federal government became interested in the truck parking shortage after the March 2009 murder of 35-year-old truck driver Jason Rivenburg. That homicide prompted Congress to pass legislation in July 2012 known as Jason’s Law ordering the FHWA to research the truck parking problem.
After arriving early with a load of milk at a Food Lion distribution center, Rivenburg was turned away. Forced to find a spot for the night, he parked at an abandoned gas station in St. Matthews, S.C., and was fatally shot and robbed of $7. Willie Pelzer, his killer, was sentenced to life in prison. Rivenburg was survived by his wife, Hope, and a 2-year-old son, and she delivered twins less than two weeks after his death.
Jason’s Law was intended to provide federal money to help construct, improve or reopen commercial parking facilities along the National Highway System.
But so far, of $231 million in parking project requests submitted to the FHWA, only $34 million has been allocated. Most of that — $20 million — was awarded to pay for so-called intelligent transportation systems technology that outfits parking areas to alert drivers when parking spaces are available through in-cab messaging and other notification systems.
Jason’s Law also directed the FHWA to survey the ability of states to provide truck parking. It ordered an assessment of truck volumes in each state and worked to develop a measurement system to help states evaluate truck parking.
The legislation sparked the establishment by the FHWA of the National Coalition on Truck Parking.
“Obviously, truck parking is mainly about long-haul trucking because it’s spanning multiple states, so we are bringing several states together at these regional meetings to look at truck parking needs,” said Caitlin Rayman, director of the FHWA’s Office of Freight Management and Operations.
Major trucking organizations, including the American Trucking Associations and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association have joined the coalition.
But the truck parking shortage remains a recalcitrant issue for the freight industry.
Solving the problem may require cities to change zoning laws to allow for more truck parking, said Roth of the American Trucking Associations.
“In some cases it may mean giving truck stops financial incentives to build more truck parking to meet the demand,” Roth said. “And I think it’s up to the shippers to take on some responsibility, because if they have secure lots, they should allow truckers to park for the night.”
Article By: Clarissa Hawes, originally posted:
ATA is set to welcome more than 400 of the trucking industry's top professional truck drivers to Indianapolis for the 79th annual "Super Bowl of Safety," the 2016 National Truck Driving Championships and National Step Van Championships.
"The safest and most accomplished truck drivers in the country are converging on Indianapolis for what we expect to be a competitive, fun event and one that will showcase the trucking industry's number one priority - safety," said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. "Drivers train year round to further improve their strong safety skills in hopes of taking home top honors at the National Truck Driving Championships."
American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation's freight.Trucking Moves America Forward.
The National Truck Driving Championships open Aug. 10 with competitors registering and taking a walk-through of the driving course. From there, competitors will go on to compete in three phases of competition: a written examination testing background knowledge of rules and procedures pertinent to the trucking industry, a vehicle inspection to test competitors' ability to detect vehicle malfunctions and a driving skills test where competitors are graded on their ability to operate a truck through a series of obstacles.
Over three days, 430 competitors from all 50 states, including 34 first-time participants, representing 74 different companies will vie for honors in one of eight different classes and the title of Bendix National Truck Driving Championships Grand Champion.
"These Championships are truly a win-win for both truck drivers and the motoring public," said ATA Chairman Pat Thomas, senior vice president of state government affairs with UPS Inc. "Truck drivers get a chance to demonstrate their safe-driving skills and knowledge of the industry's best practices, which they, in turn, take back to their daily work of delivering the nation's goods and safely sharing the highway with other motorists."
The competition concludes on Aug. 13 with the announcement of the Bendix National Truck Driving Championships Grand Champion, along with the winners of each vehicle class and an award for the top performing state delegation.
The Allied Committee for the Trucking Industry is premiere sponsor of the 2016 National Truck Driving Championships and National Step Van Driving Championships, taking place Aug. 10-13 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.
Competitors representing the state of New Jersey include:
Four-Axle: Leszek Beben
Straight Truck: Jorge Cardoza
Tank Truck: Carlos Chavarriaga
Sleeper Berth: Mark Gibson
Five-Axle: Edries Gonzalez
Flatbed: Artur Lesniowski
Step Van: Elvin Ortiz
Three-Axle: Wilbert Vano
Twins: Joseph White
Record numbers of automobile safety recalls, parts shortages, and inaction on the part of the owners of recalled vehicles have created a serious challenge for auto manufacturers and dealers. According to NHTSA data analyzed by J.D. Power through its SafetyIQ, there are over 45 million vehicles that were the subject of safety recalls issued between 2013 and 2015 that are still un-remedied.
Over the past 20 years, more than 437 million vehicles have been affected by safety recall decisions in the U.S. In 2015 alone over 51 million vehicles were the subject of safety recalls, more than in any previous year. By analyzing National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and proprietary J.D.
Power benchmarking data using its SafetyIQ platform, J.D. Power has identified that primary factors impacting completion rates for those recalls are vehicle age, vehicle type, overall population of recall, and type of recall.
"The steady surge in recalls, combined with NHTSA's stated goal of 100% recall completion rates have made the number of un-remedied recalls still on the road a critical statistic for automakers and dealers," said Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive at J.D. Power. "By understanding the behavioral trends of vehicle owners, as well as recall completion rates among different vehicle and recall types, as an industry we can better tailor communications to improve those completion rates."
Following are the key findings in the J.D. Power SafetyIQ analysis (all data is based on recall decisions made from 2013-2015, as reported through 6 quarters of completion information):
· Un-Remedied Vehicles More Common in Older Models: The total recall completion rate for vehicles with model years between 2013 and 2017 is 73%. This compared with a completion rate of just 44% for vehicles manufactured between 2003 and 2007.
· Vehicle Type Plays a Big Role in Recall Completion: Among vehicle segments, large/work vans have the highest overall recall completion rate at 86%, followed closely by compact premium SUV's at 85%. This contrasts with the mid-premium sports car segment, which has a completion rate of just 31%, and with large SUV's which have a completion rate of 33%.
· Larger Populations Present Bigger Completion Challenges: The completion rate for individual recalls affecting more than 1 million vehicles is 49%. This compares with a 67% completion rate for individual recalls affecting less than 10,000 vehicles. It is sometimes difficult to obtain parts to launch large campaigns. In addition, customers can more easily receive a targeted communication method, such as a phone call, with a smaller population of vehicles.
· Powertrain and Electrical System Recalls Most Likely to Get Fixed: Of the major safety components, the groups with the highest recall completion rates are powertrain (71%), electrical (62%) and hydraulic brakes (66%). Airbags and suspension issues have the lowest completion rates at 47% and 48% respectively.
"By better understanding the specific factors driving recall compliance among vehicle owners, manufacturers and dealers can better tailor their communications and manage the recall process much more efficiently," said Stephens. "This is a critical level of intelligence for the industry, which we believe will ultimately help reduce the number of un-remedied vehicles still on the road."
For more information on J.D. Power SafetyIQ, please visit www.jdpower.com/safetyiq
Form I-9 Webinar On-Demand: This free self-service tool reviews Form I-9 and imparts best practices at the viewers’ convenience. Viewers can choose the chapters of their choice or watch the entire 22 minute video in one sitting.
E-Verify Webinar On-Demand: This free self-service tool reviews Form I-9 and E-Verify, enrollment, how to run a case and more. It’s another good training tool to help your business. Viewers can choose the chapters of their choice or watch the entire 14 minute video in one sitting.
Want to learn more about E-Verify, but short on time? We’ve got just the answer for you. Mark your calendars and attend a brand new webinar designed with busy employers and HR professionals like you in mind.
Law enforcement agencies throughout North America will engage in heightened traffic safety enforcement and education aimed at combating unsafe driving behaviors by commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers and passenger-vehicle (car) drivers as part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Safe Driver Week, Oct. 16-22, 2016.
Unsafe driver behaviors by CMV drivers and passenger-vehicle drivers continue to be the leading cause of crashes. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (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 passenger-vehicle crashes. CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver program was created to help to reduce the number of crashes, deaths and injuries involving large trucks, buses and cars due to unsafe driving behaviors. During Operation Safe Driver Week, there will be increased CMV and passenger vehicle traffic enforcement.icle traffic enforcement.
Examples of unsafe driver behaviors that enforcement will be tracking throughout Operation Safe Driver Week are speeding, failure to use a seatbelt while operating a CMV or in a passenger vehicle, distracted driving, failure to obey traffic control devices, traveling too closely, improper lane change, etc.
Operation Safe Driver Week is sponsored by CVSA, in partnership with FMCSA and with support from industry and transportation safety organizations, and aims to help improve the behavior of all drivers operating in an unsafe manner – either by or around commercial motor vehicles – and to initiate educational and traffic enforcement strategies to address those exhibiting high-risk behaviors.
To find out about Operation Safe Driver Week enforcement events going on in your area, contact the agency/department responsible for overseeing commercial motor vehicle safety within your jurisdiction.
View the results from last year’s Operation Safe Driver Week.
For more information about the Operation Safe Driver Program and this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, visit CVSA’s website.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) held its annual, unannounced brake check day on May 4, 2016, as part of its Operation Airbrake program. CVSA-certified inspectors in 31 participating U.S. states and Canadian provinces and territories checked brakes on 6,128 commercial motor vehicles.
Brake-related violations are typically the largest category of out-of-service items (representing 43 percent during Operation Airbrake’s companion International Roadcheck campaign in 2015). Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce the braking capacity and increase stopping distances of trucks and buses, which poses a serious risk to driver and public safety.
Most participating jurisdictions also reported the number of trucks with anti-lock braking systems (ABS) as well as ABS violations observed (out of 5,991 inspections). Our members found that most vehicles were equipped with ABS but some exhibited fault codes (lamp stayed on) or non-functioning ABS lamps. Trailers requiring ABS were twice as likely to exhibit ABS violations as straight trucks or tractors requiring ABS.
Why Check ABS?
Anti-lock braking systems help vehicles remain in control in most cases where there is the possibility of wheel slip when braking. ABS reduces the chance of jackknifing and increases control in braking situations. ABS also provides a platform for stability control systems that help prevent loss of control or rollover crashes. Furthermore, newly available and future safety systems all rely on functional brakes, tires and ABS. Just as foundation brakes must be well maintained and tires must be properly inflated, ABS and safety systems that rely on ABS cannot help keep the vehicle in control, even prevent crashes, when they are disconnected or poorly maintained.
Operation Airbrake is a CVSA program dedicated to improving commercial motor vehicle safety through brake system safety, awareness and compliance throughout North America. The campaign's aim is to help educate drivers and technicians, encourage regulatory compliance and enforce the regulations designed to ensure safe vehicle operation.
CVSA's next Operation Airbrake event is Brake Safety Week, Sept. 11-17, 2016, which is a week-long brake safety campaign aimed at improving commercial motor vehicle brake safety through education and enforcement.
Learn more about Operation Airbrake.
In a report released today on corrosion inside diesel fuel underground storage tanks (USTs), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found moderate or severe corrosion that could affect metal components inside both steel and fiberglass underground tank systems. Corrosion inside USTs can cause equipment failure by preventing proper operation of release detection and prevention equipment. If left unchecked, corrosion could cause UST system failures and releases, which could lead to groundwater contamination.
Underground tank releases have historically been a leading cause of groundwater contamination. Groundwater is a source of drinking water for almost half of the people in the U.S.
EPA’s report shows that 35 of 42 – or 83 percent – of the USTs studied exhibited moderate or severe corrosion, but less than 25 percent of owners were aware of corrosion prior to the internal inspection.
Although EPA cannot project the actual percentage of USTs storing diesel that are affected by corrosion nationwide, the Agency is alerting owners of USTs storing diesel fuel about risks from corrosion. EPA’s notification recommends owners check inside their tank systems and further investigate the condition of their diesel fuel tanks. Owners’ awareness and early actions could help protect them from higher repair costs and help protect the environment from contamination from releases. EPA’s UST website (https://www.epa.gov/ust) provides information on actions tank owners can take to minimize corrosion and associated risks.
As part of EPA’s ongoing collaboration with the UST community, the Agency responded to concerns about reports of severe corrosion in USTs storing diesel fuel by working with industry and scientific experts to develop this research. The results are leading to a fuller understanding of the issue and possible causes, as well as laying the groundwork for future research efforts for identifying a solution.
Scientific evidence has not identified a specific cause of corrosion in diesel tanks, although microbiologically-influenced corrosion is suspected to be involved. EPA is continuing to work collaboratively with partners in the UST community, industry, and scientific experts on additional laboratory research about the cause of corrosion.
More information on underground storage tanks (USTs) and today’s report: https://www.epa.gov/ust
More information on corrosion in USTs storing diesel fuel: https://www.epa.gov/ust/alternative-fuels-and-underground-storage-tanks-usts#tab-5
New Jersey Motor Truck Association | 160 Tices Lane, East Brunswick, NJ 08816 | 732-254-5000