In July, 2015, the data showed 75 percent of terminated drivers were not married; 17 percent were re-hires; and nearly 88 percent had gaps in their employment of six months, on average, during the past three years.
David Dallas, senior vice president of the 350-truck carrier based in Jackson, Tenn., shared these findings during a panel discussion on driver recruiting and retention at the McLeod Software user conference in Birmingham, Ala., on Oct. 6.
Milan Supply Chain Solutions has changed hiring practices with this analysis to reach its stated goal of 40 percent turnover or less, he said. Hiring drivers based on marital status would be discriminatory, but what the company can do is spend more time explaining its health care program and other benefits that are especially of interest to drivers with families, he said.
As for re-hires (drivers hired for a second time), Milan now funnels them through all departments — safety, operations and human resources — for additional screening to make hiring decisions.
The company is also more selective of drivers with employment gaps, particularly those who come in through its driving school. Enforcing this policy has been difficult, however.
“We all have the emotion of ‘how we are trying to help people?’” he says. When it has relaxed this policy, “the statistics showed us again that they didn’t last.”
Panelists shared other insights into what they are seeing in the driver market, which by all accounts is more difficult than ever.
Interstate Distributor Co., a large dry van and refrigerated truckload carrier with headquarters in Tacoma, Wash., has noticed that drivers who come in through referrals stay around longer, said Paul Simmons, chief operating officer.
Decker Truck Line, a 700-truck refrigerated and flatbed carrier based in Ft. Dodge, Iowa, sees higher turnover among drivers recruited from training schools. These new drivers also have more accidents, said Jennifer Brim, director of fleet management.
Decker has shifted away from recruiting drivers directly from schools but has since reversed due to the labor situation. The company now requires drivers to have at least one year of experience but offers training to bridge that gap.
Below is the panel’s take on other topics of interest
1. Setting expectations
The panel agreed that setting realistic expectations with drivers is critical during the recruiting process. All three spokespersons said they are better able to meet expectations by offering multiple career options that include over-the-road, dedicated and team operations. They also stressed the importance of developing personal relationships with drivers and keeping pay, mileage and home-time commitments.
“It really starts with the fleet manager and driver relationship,” said Simmons, going on to say driver retention is not just a fleet manager’s responsibility: every interaction is an opportunity to build trust with drivers from how the company sells capacity to how it plans loads and processes payroll. “This really becomes a one team event around driver retention.”2. Streamlining orientation
When drivers are scheduled to attend orientation meetings at Decker Truck Line, the company’s president gives them a welcome call, Brim said. A welcome kit awaits drivers in their hotel room when they arrive for orientation meetings by bus, rental car or airplane — all paid for by the company.
After orientation, drivers get another welcome kit for their new tractor assignments. Decker Truck Line has two full-time “driver services” staff members that drivers can call any time to get help resolving any issues they may be having, she added.
Milan Supply Chain Solutions has improved its orientation experience for drivers by reducing the time spent in meetings. When its meetings took 2.5 days, “drivers were relatively bored,” Dallas said. Drivers can now complete training online before they arrive and only spend one day at the office for orientation.
“This helps them earn money and get back on the road,” he said. All three panelists said their companies pay drivers about $400 for attending orientation training meetings.3. Keeping commitments
Every month, executives at Milan Supply Chain Solutions talk to drivers individually about their performance and ask what they could do better as a company. A recent issue that surfaced was detention at shippers’ docks. Many drivers, especially those who are new to the industry, are expecting to be loaded or unloaded within two hours of arrival, Dallas said.
Milan uses McLeod Software’s detention module to immediately notify customers when assets and drivers are delayed. The software enables management to notify drivers within 24 hours of a detention event if they will be compensated extra for that particular load.
“In the past it took a week or so before (detention pay) hit their check. There was a lot of discontent,” he said.
Another way Milan Supply Chain Solutions uses its McLeod LoadMaster system is to track drivers’ mileage every week versus its commitments. Tracking this data is helpful to coach drivers on what they themselves need to do to reach their goals by changing their schedules and more.
“This helps the relationship with drivers not be antagonistic,” Dallas said.
Decker Truck Line has drivers fill out an expectation sheet during orientation meetings. Drivers discuss home time, mileage and other expectations with operations and fleet managers before the first dispatch, Brim said. The company keeps a scorecard on driver managers and drivers for key areas of performance and driver retention, she said.4. Career path
The panel also discussed career options for drivers that suit individual needs. Interstate Distributor has a career progression program that includes an opportunity for drivers to earn extra money by recruiting and training drivers themselves, such as a family member or friend, to earn more money as a team operation.
All three panelists said that growing dedicated operations is a focus for their companies to offer better driving jobs. Milan has also been successful this year by using slip-seat operations in its traditional over-the-road business to create more consistent routes for drivers, Dallas said.
The panel did not delve into driver pay, though Dallas did mention a significant change. Drivers have the same number of paid vacation days that office staff have which increase with tenure. The company has also removed its cap on drivers’ mileage pay.
“Every year that a driver stays, he can earn more and more money for as long as he wishes to stay with us,” he said.]]>
A new analysis from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reiterates the agency’s position that its Safety Measurement System utilizes enough data to issue rankings (also known as “CSA scores”) to prioritize carriers for intervention.
The report comes amid increasing calls from industry, law enforcement and some members of Congress for FMCSA to remove from public view the rankings generated by the SMS, part of the agency’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability system.
The agency uses those measurements to prioritize carriers for intervention in an effort to improve regulatory compliance and, the agency contends, highway safety. Carriers are ranked according to their violations in seven “BASIC” categories.FMCSA says the SMS contains sufficient data to produce a BASIC score for “approximately 200,000 of the 525,000 active motor carriers.” Those 200,000 carriers under the oversight umbrella of the SMS, the agency notes, are involved in the vast majority (more than 90 percent) of all heavy truck and bus recordable crashes. FMCSA believes that high level of oversight of the industry is crucial to its mission to reduce crashes and improve highway safety.
The report comes to light following Congress’s most recent attempt to include language in a long-term highway bill that would pull the CSA SMS BASIC rankings from public view. This most recent attempt fell apart with the highway bill itself and the current short-term funding extension.
The agency in part addresses public-view concerns with a small section on a goal of “transparency” in offering public inspection and violation data on a central website. “Open and transparent reporting of safety data encourages a culture of commercial motor vehicle safety and creates incentives for motor carriers to improve their safety performance,” the report notes.The agency appears to have fully embraced third-party use of the SMS with this report as well. It says that “transparency also allows members of the public to make informed business decisions based on all available sources of FMCSA data, including FMCSA safety ratings, licensing and insurance information, and SMS data.”
Such public, commercial third-party use of the system (such as by shippers, brokers and insurance companies), given volatility in the rankings at the small-carrier level, has been a principle concern of that population of carriers through much of the system’s history.
As part of its analysis, FMCSA compared the crash rates of carriers with sufficient and insufficient data in the system to produce a score. Carriers with the highest scores, those above intervention thresholds, had the highest average crash rates overall, the agency notes. Further, FMCSA looked at the crash rates of groups of carriers with scores above the intervention thresholds in BASICs other than the Crash Indicator, separating those populations by the number of inspections recorded by the system. Though the agency states in a press release that comparison of crash rates by carrier size showed “no significant difference … between small carriers and those with 20 or more roadside inspections,” the study points out that the highest crash rates were shown for carriers with 11-20 inspections in the system.
From that analysis, the report contends that increasing the data sufficiency standards as high as 20 inspections, a level utilized by the Government Accountability Office in an alternative methodology analyzed in 2014, would make it more difficult for the agency to appropriately intervene with the group showing that highest average crash rate.
The SMS “ensures that there is oversight on the largest population possible—including both small and large carriers,” the report’s summary states. “Since introducing the use of the system, violation rates have dropped by 14 percent. Motor carriers are paying attention to their safety data more than ever before, which improves safety.”The analysis was requested as part of a March House appropriations bill and follows concerns with data sufficiency identified by the Congressional GAO’s February 2014 report. GAO took issue with the number of inspections FMCSA requires before assessing a carrier in any of the BASICs, in some instances as few as three inspections with an associated violation. In essence, GAO suggested a higher volume of data — whether number of inspections, past crashes or other metrics — would make the measurement system a much better mousetrap.
In FMCSA’s new report, the agency once again takes issue with “GAO’s alternative approach” for its stated focus “on those carriers that have already had a crash” rather than crash risk. The agency goes so far as to call the approach “incorrect and irresponsible.” FMCSA “believes that motor carriers that commit patterns of violations that have been shown to have a strong correlation to crash risk should be identified and appropriately prioritized for intervention,” such as a warning letter about rising rankings/scores or an on-site investigation.
Also, FMCSA is currently at work on a rule designed to revamp the safety rating process to primarily utilize violation data procured at roadside and during carrier investigations. Known as the Carrier Safety Fitness Determination rulemaking, a DOT significant-rulemakings calendar projection of a September 30 date for release passed without incident. The October significant-rulemakings report has not yet been published.]]>
Shell Rotella, www.rotella.com/filters]]>
Rear View Safety, www.rearviewsafety.com]]>
The states where van loads are outpacing available van capacity, the latest numbers on Class 8 orders and the DOE's prediction for where diesel's headed. ...
Indiana alone has seen a 8.2-cent increase since Wednesday, and Ohio has seen a 7-cent jump in its average fuel price in the last 24 hours, Lee says. Twelve refineries in the Midwest region are undergoing work, Lee says, and it could last “several weeks or longer,” he said Wednesday.
Other notable upticks in the region include a 6.9-cent increase in Illinois, a 6.5-cent increase in West Virginia, a 5-cent increase in Michigan and a 5-cent increase in Nebraska.
Here are all of the states in the Midwest (PADD 2) region:
The proposed amendments are for various provisions in the “Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation,” and the “Inspection, Repair and Maintenance” parts of the FMCSRs. The amendments come after the agency received several petitions for rulemaking from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and the American Trucking Associations, along with two safety recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board.
The amendments “generally do not involve the establishment of new or more stringent requirements, but instead clarify existing requirements to increase consistency of enforcement activities,” according to the notice of proposed rulemaking.
The proposed amendments that are more likely to affect drivers and carriers include:
Other proposed amendments mainly just clarify the regulations for enforcement officials for use during inspections. These include:
FMCSA said it believes the “potential economic impact of these changes is negligible.”
FMCSA is seeking public comment on the proposed amendments to regulations. To comment, search Docket No. FMCSA-2015-0176 at www.regulations.gov, or click here. The comment period is open through Dec. 7.]]>
The money will be used to help repair roads and bridges damaged by the flooding throughout the state as a result of Hurricane Joaquin, specifically infrastructure repairs to restore essential traffic. Torrential rains began in the state Oct. 2 and continued for several days, resulting in more than 20 inches of rain in some areas. Portions of I-26 and I-95 have been closed from the flooding since Sunday.
Tank truck carriers are needed to transport drinking and non-potable water to areas of North Carolina inundated by recent flooding caused by Hurricane Joaquin.
“Emergency relief funding will help the state begin immediately to recover from record breaking flooding,” Foxx said. “We want South Carolina to know this funding is only a down payment on our commitment to ensuring all highways and bridges are repaired in the state. More resources will become available as estimates for the cost of repairs become clear.”
The money is from the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief program.
“The damage is of historic proportion and the state is hurting,” said FWHA Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “We know that the losses are great throughout the state, but getting roads and bridges back up and running again is the first step to restoring communities again.”
Four models are available, ranging from 30-gallon to 120-gallon tanks. Also available is a dual tank setup designed to handle both new and used fluids.
Hennessy Industries, www.ammcoats.com]]>