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.
Thanksgiving Day Parade Street Closures - Thursday, November 24
The following streets will be closed from 9 am to noon:
* 6th Avenue between 59th Street and 34th Street
* 7th Avenue between 33rd Street and 40th Street
* Columbus Avenue between 81st Street and 77th Street
* Central Park West between 86th Street and east side of Columbus Circle/59th Street
* 81st Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue
* 76th Street and 77th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue
* 71st Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue
* 68th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue
* 62nd Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue
* 59th Street between Columbus Circle and 6th Avenue
* Broadway between 59th Street and 58th Street
* 40th Street between 7th Avenue and 8th Avenue
* 36th Street to 39th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue
* 35th Street between 6th Avenue and 8th Avenue
* 34th Street between 5th Avenue and 8th Avenue
* 33rd Street between 6th Avenue and 8th Avenue
Disclaimer: All event dates, times and routes are subject to change at any time. Additional events are scheduled under the direction of the Mayor’s Office and the NYPD and may not appear in this advisory. Street closures are implemented and enforced solely by the NYPD. NYC DOT does not approve nor institute street closures for events.
Detailed information on weekend street closures will be available on the DOT web site at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/motorist/wkndtraf.shtml.
ATA’s Share the Road Highway Safety Program Offers Tips, Video Demo to Motorists
Arlington, Va. – Today, American Trucking Associations and ATA’s Share the Road highway safety program released life-saving driving tips to motorists ahead of what is being billed as one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.
“With more families out on the road this week, we all need to take a few extra precautions in order to make sure we all get to the Thanksgiving dinner table safely,” said Share the Road professional truck driver Scott Woodrome, of FedEx Freight. “Many of the truck drivers you see on the highway this week are making last minute deliveries to grocery stores, giving folks one more chance to pick up everything they need to have an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday.”
More than 48 million Americans will travel this Thanksgiving weekend, according to AAA, making it one of the most heavily traveled weeks of the year. Added traffic volume can contribute to more risky driving conditions and motorists should be fully prepared for congestion and reduced speeds. Share the Road recently released the Share the Road Instructional Video in order to spread truck safety messages to the millions of motorists who will be driving alongside large trucks this week. The video, featuring professional truck drivers, gives an 8-minute recap of critical safe-driving habits and has already been viewed by thousands of motorists – including truck drivers and the general motoring public.
“The professional truck drivers in the Share the Road Instructional Video are highly-trained drivers who have accrued millions of accident-free miles. Based on overwhelming industry feedback, it’s evident to ATA that this video is already saving lives and we want to get the Share the Road message out to as many people as possible,” said ATA COO and Executive Vice President of Industry Affairs Elisabeth Barna. “Taking a few minutes to refresh your memory on important driving skills or sharing this video with a friend or colleague can make a major impact on safety this week.”
Deer hunting season is now in full swing throughout many parts of North America and deer are most active during the fall and winter seasons. Motorists must be fully aware when traveling on rural – and urban – roadways, especially during nighttime hours. Eliminating distractions gives drivers a better chance of making split-second decisions that could prove to be life-saving. Remember, when one deer is visible, there are oftentimes others nearby.
Winter driving presents many different challenges for motorists. High wind and blowing snow contribute to reduced visibility in many stretches of the Midwest. Similarly, freezing temperatures can have a profound impact on vehicles and the roadways. A thorough pre-trip inspection and understanding of driving conditions can play a significant role in driving success this holiday season.
“Colder weather settled in this week and I expect it’s here to stay for the next few months,” said Share the Road professional truck driver John McKown, of UPS Freight. “In wintery conditions, it’s important to make sure your vehicle is prepared for extended trips. Check your wiper fluids, antifreeze, and pack a few extra blankets before you pull out of the driveway.”
Share the Road professional drivers recommend these safety tips to drivers, and would like to remind motorists about some key elements of safe driving, including how to operate small passenger vehicles near large tractor-trailers.
Michelin North America, Inc. (“Michelin”) is entering a second consecutive holiday season to launch the transportation appreciation campaign, #KeepThanksMoving. The social and digital media initiative celebrates millions of transportation industry heroes who work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep the holidays moving forward.
As part of the campaign, Michelin encourages people everywhere to share their appreciation either by Twitter via the hashtag #KeepThanksMoving and or by posting on the MichelinUSA Facebook page, in order to recognize an outstanding individual’s service and dedication to delivering holiday happiness.
“Michelin applauds the commitment of individuals in the transportation industry in the air, on our roads, and across the farms and fields of America who deliver when it matters most,” said Ralph Dimenna, chief operating officer of Michelin Americas Truck Tires, Inc. “These unsung heroes enable us to travel home, transport our food and gifts, and keep our economy moving, not to mention the millions of miles driven by shoppers and travelers during the holidays and throughout the year.”
Not all heroes wear capes – heroes in the transportation industry include:
- Airport workers, who will enable more than 27 million people to fly on U.S. airlines over a 12-day period around Thanksgiving 2016 alone.
- Truck drivers, numbering more than 3.6 million, who will transport nearly 70 percent of all the freight tonnage in the U.S. this holiday season.
- Farmers, each of whom supplies food for 144 people in the U.S. and abroad each year.
- Miners who extract nearly 100 different kinds of minerals from the earth and provide the raw materials for heat, electricity, roads and bridges, and countless consumer products.
- Parcel delivery workers, who will deliver nearly 20 billion of packages, letters and gifts during the 2016 holiday season.
- Snow plow drivers who enable drivers to get to their destinations safely during inclement weather events.
- Construction workers who provide our buildings, roads and infrastructure
Each week, beginning Nov. 17 through Dec. 31, 2016, Michelin will recognize individuals in the transportation and travel industries, who demonstrate outstanding commitment to keep the holidays moving by the posts received on its social media channels mentioned above. Michelin will randomly select seven individuals, who are honored as holiday heroes via social media posts. Each person will receive a limited edition Michelin themed gourmet gift box from Try the World, an online gourmet store.
The Michelin themed Try the World gift box features a selection of eight culinary delights from across the globe selected by Thomas Raquel, pastry chef at the world-famous Michelin three-star restaurant, Le Bernadin in New York.
Participants can also download a “Thank-you” card from Michelinmedia.com to demonstrate gratitude toward community heroes, who keep the holidays moving forward. Official contest rules are posted on Michelinmedia.com.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced a 30-day extension of the public comment period for a September 7, 2016 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which would require all newly manufactured U.S. trucks, buses, and multipurpose passenger vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating more than 26,000 pounds to be equipped with speed limiting devices.
The new public comment deadline of December 7, 2016, will provide all interested parties sufficient opportunity to fully develop and submit comments and evidentiary materials to the agencies via www.regulations.gov.
Requiring speed limiting devices on heavy vehicles could save lives, as well as an estimated $1 billion in fuel costs each year.
Contacts: NHTSA: Bryan Thomas: (202) 366-9550; FMCSA: Duane DeBruyne: (202) 366-9999.
The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced that the last of the nearly 16,000 U.S. heavy trucks voluntarily recalled earlier this year by Volvo Trucks North America for a serious steering defect have been identified and repaired, achieving an extraordinary 100 percent vehicle safety recall completion in a very short period of time. The recall was overseen by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in collaboration with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
“Over the last nine months, our USDOT team and Volvo Trucks have been laser-focused on protecting the motoring public by ensuring that every one of these recalled heavy trucks was identified and removed from our roadways until they were repaired,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This extraordinary effort, covering such a large number of vehicles, now with a confirmed 100 percent achievement of the safety recall, averted the risk of injury or death to not only the truck drivers, but also to everyone sharing the road.”
On February 17, 2016, Volvo Trucks North America proactively announced the recall of certain model year 2016-2017 VNL, VNX, and VNM heavy trucks due to a steering shaft defect that potentially could have caused the truck driver to unexpectedly and suddenly experience a complete loss of steering.
Acting immediately, NHTSA took the unprecedented step of reaching out to its sister agency and requested FMCSA to assist in getting the recalled commercial vehicles brought to a stop. NHTSA and FMCSA working in partnership with Volvo Trucks, implemented a nationwide information campaign to alert trucking companies and their drivers as well as federal and state roadside inspectors of the urgent recall notification. FMCSA also issued an immediate out-of-service order for the trucks.
Volvo Trucks also took unprecedented steps and used new and innovative methods to alert owners and drivers to the potential risk. While Volvo Trucks worked to directly contact truck owners, FMCSA and NHTSA posted recall announcements on social media platforms and issued multiple press notifications to trucking trade news outlets, including special appearances by federal officials on satellite radio programs geared to long-haul truck drivers.
“The successful conclusion of this large-scale national recall is a testament to the vital importance of everyone working together,” said FMCSA Administrator Scott Darling. “Many people were called upon to play a role in alerting carriers and drivers of the recall – from the trucking trade media to roadside safety inspectors. I am confident that all of our safety goals can likewise be achieved through this model of collaboration and partnership.”
One hundred percent recall completions historically have been rare. But in January, Secretary Foxx joined 18 automakers to commit to Proactive Safety Principles which included a focus on maximizing safety recall rates by “working toward the aspirational goal of 100 percent participation.”
“We applaud Volvo Trucks’ commitment to addressing every one of these trucks,” said NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind. “Not only has every truck been found, they were repaired or taken out of service before there was any serious crash tied to this dangerous defect. This is exactly what proactive safety is all about.”
August 2016 North American Freight Numbers
American vehicles consumed 71.8 billion gallons of gasoline in the first half of the year, an increase of 3 percent over the same period a year earlier. It is the highest amount on record and the sixth consecutive increase in national gasoline consumption for the six-month period ending June 30, 2016.
The data, reported in the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) “Monthly Motor Fuel Reported By States,” show the South Gulf – a region of eight states stretching from Texas to West Virginia – had a 4.1 percent increase, the largest percentage increase of any region in the country.
California led the nation in gasoline consumption with 7.65 billion gallons, followed by Texas at 7.1 billion gallons and Florida at 4.57 billion gallons.
Oklahoma consumed 8.2 percent more gasoline in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2015, topping the list for the state with largest percent increase. Delaware and Utah followed closely with 7.9 percent and 7.2 percent increases, respectively. North Dakota’s fuel consumption decreased by 5.9 percent, the largest decrease among the states in that period.
The FHWA analyzes fuel consumption information from the states each month to better understand the changing needs of the American drive. Gasoline and diesel consumption data are of significant interest to analysts, given the role they play as contributors to the Highway Trust Fund which provides funding for highways and interstates nationwide. The data is also indicative of the level of resource consumption and pollution emissions by the transportation sector which, in recent reviews, has been the leading source of greenhouse gasses among all sectors in the United States.
The federal tax rate for gasoline sales is 18.4 cents per gallon and, for diesel, 24.4 cents per gallon. All states levy additional taxes on gasoline and diesel. The gasoline rates vary from a low of 8.0 cents per gallon to 50.3 cents, while diesel fuel rates vary from 8 cents to 64 cents per gallon.
The entire 18-year collection of “Monthly Motor Fuel Reported by States” can be found on the FHWA’s website at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/motorfuelhwy_trustfund.cfm.
New Jersey Motor Truck Association | 160 Tices Lane, East Brunswick, NJ 08816 | 732-254-5000