In Brief

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Truckload Carriers Association is creating an Open Deck Division to serve member carriers that operate flatbed, gooseneck and other open specialized trailers. The division, which was approved by the TCA board in October was recommended by a task force led by Gary Salisbury, president of Fikes Truck Line. The task force is working with TCA staff to develop the division’s bylaws and set the official launch date. The division will maintain the same dues structure as TCA’s Refrigerated Division, which is based on a carrier’s truckload revenue.


Rhode Island became the 19th state, along with the District of Columbia, to pass a law making it illegal to text while driving. Gov. Donald L. Carcieri signed the anti-texting bill Nov. 9. The new law took effect immediately.


Freight Transportation Services Index fell 0.5 percent in September from its August level, declining after three consecutive monthly increases, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported. The 9.9 percent decline from September 2008 to September 2009 was the largest September-to- September decline on record.


Federal law preempts the City of Boston’s ban on hazardous materials hauling through the city during certain hours, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ruled. FMCSA published its finding in the Nov. 16 Federal Register in response to requests from the American Trucking Associations and the Massachusetts Department of Highways for a ruling. FMCSA’s preemption decision is effective May 17, 2010.


U.S. Department of Transportation has jumpstarted more than 10,000 transportation projects across America using Recovery Act dollars. As of Nov. 9, state agencies reported a total of 10,041 approved. The Federal Highway Administration crossed the $30 billion mark in approved obligations for highway, road and bridge projects, DOT said.


Federal Railroad Administration released a study showing that the fuel efficiency of freight rail transportation increased about 22 percent between 1990 and 2006. Factors contributing to the rise include the improvement in diesel-electric locomotives, the increased use of double-stack trains, track and signal improvements, and longer trains.


J.B. Hunt Transport Services announced an agreement with Norfolk Southern Corp. to develop a multiyear intermodal transportation contract to provide both parties a platform to accelerate the conversion of traditional truck traffic to intermodal transportation with service competitive with truckload moves. The companies say the agreement will further establish themselves as leading providers of transcontinental and local intermodal service in the Eastern United States.


UPS Freight announced improved transit times from western Canada to points across the United States. In all, UPS Freight says it is reducing transit times across 340 lanes from Calgary and Edmonton to points throughout the United States; the faster transit times include bringing Calgary to cities in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Kansas, Louisiana, South Carolina and New Mexico within four days. Similarly, one and two days have been shaved off transit times between Edmonton and U.S. cities along the East Coast from Connecticut to Georgia.