Journal

Updated Apr 23, 2012

5 trucking companies back EOBR bill

Industry coalition asks all haulers to support effort


Five trucking companies announced their support for legislation introduced by U.S. Sens. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) that would require trucking companies engaged in interstate commerce to install electronic onboard recorders in all trucks in order to verify the duty status of their truck drivers. The five companies – J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Knight Transportation, Maverick USA, Schneider National and U.S. Xpress Enterprises – formed an industry coalition, The Alliance for Driver Safety & Security, to urge Congress to pass the legislation and also to advance other measures that can improve highway safety within the trucking industry and benefit the motoring public. Executives for the companies have asked all transportation firms that embrace the legislation to join the coalition and support the effort.

The Commercial Driver Compliance Improvement Act would require commercial motor vehicles used in interstate commerce to install the electronic devices within three years after passage. The legislation will require companies to install an electronic device that is engaged to the truck engine that will identify the driver operating the truck, record a driver’s duty status and monitor the location and movement of the vehicle. The legislation calls for using technology and devices that are currently in the marketplace.

Passing the bill “will improve safety on our nation’s highways by applying technology to document driver compliance,” says Craig Harper, chief operating officer of Lowell, Ark.-based J.B. Hunt. Kevin Knight, chairman and chief executive officer of Phoenix-based Knight, says the legislation “is a sensible initiative to improve working conditions for commercial drivers and to promote highway safety. … Under a uniform standard, the public will be able to rely on the hours in service of all drivers rather than just some drivers.”

Mandating EOBR use “commits the entire supply chain to meeting the challenges that face this generation in surface transportation,” says Steve Williams, chairman and CEO of Little Rock, Ark.-based Maverick. Williams, former chairman of the American Trucking Associations, says that installing these devices will help assure the public that commercial vehicle drivers are “well-trained, drug- and alcohol-free, and sufficiently rested.”

Donald Osterberg, senior vice president of safety for Green Bay, Wis.-based Schneider National, says that while the current federal hours-of-service rules are “science-based, reasonable and effective,” the problem under the status quo is that there is a “lack of compliance with the rules. … Fatigue is underreported and thus underestimated as a causal factor in truck-involved crashes. Electronic logs take the noncompliance issues off the table.”



Adjustments to L.A. port concession schedule OK’d

The Los Angeles Harbor Commission approved an adjusted implementation schedule for provisions of the Port of Los Angeles Clean Truck Program Concession Agreement that previously were enjoined by the federal court. The commission approved an adjustment of the dates for Licensed Motor Carriers to comply with the employee driver requirement, job referral services requirement and the off-street parking requirement. The board’s action will allow time to develop compliance systems and provide LMCs more time to begin compliance.

“We’re pleased to make these changes, which allow us to implement the full Concession Agreement as soon as it’s practical,” says Harbor Commission President Cindy Miscikowski. “Our full Concession Agreement ensures that we will continue to reduce emissions and provide the port with LMC accountability for meeting safety and security requirements.”

The board’s action was in response to a judgment that may have placed many port concessionaires out of compliance. The adjustments to the transition toward using only employee drivers for L.A. marine terminal calls were adjusted over the next two years as follows:

• 0 percent gate moves by employee drivers by Dec. 31, 2010;

• 20 percent gate moves by employee drivers by Dec. 31, 2011;

• 66 percent gate moves by employee drivers by Dec. 31, 2012; and

• 100 percent gate moves by employee drivers by Dec. 31, 2013.

Other adjustments include compliance with some requirements only on a going-forward basis, such as financial capability information submitted with concession applications and ongoing recordkeeping by the LMCs enrolled in the Los Angeles Clean Truck Program.



Economy, CSA 2010 top trucking’s list of concerns

The American Transportation Research Institute, the trucking industry’s not-for-profit research institute, unveiled its list of the top 10 critical issues facing the North American trucking industry. The state of the economy topped the list in ATRI’s survey of more than 4,000 trucking industry executives. The complete results were released at the 2010 Management Conference and Exhibition of the American Trucking Associations meeting in Phoenix. Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s new regulatory framework for evaluating carrier and driver safety, debuted on the list in a close second.

Government regulation, which was the second most pressing issue last year, remained near the top of the list (No. 3). The driver shortage returned to the top 10 list this year (No. 5), a sign that carriers have a growing concern over finding enough drivers to meet increased freight demand as the economy rebounds. Also making the list of top 10 concerns were hours of service (No. 4), fuel issues (No. 6), transportation funding/infrastructure (No. 7), onboard truck technology (No. 8), environmental issues (No. 9) and truck size and weight (No. 10).

The ATA will use the survey results and proposed strategies to focus its advocacy role on behalf of the U.S. trucking industry and ATA stakeholders. “ATRI’s annual survey gives us a clear roadmap of the strategies we collectively need to pursue as an industry,” says past ATA Chairman Tommy Hodges of Titan Transfer, based in Shelbyville, Tenn.

“Not only must we be prepared to support initiatives that are based on well-founded research and thought, but we must also be ready to vigorously debate initiatives which lack research and practicality,” says Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer.

In other news from ATA’s MC&E:

• Barbara Windsor, president and CEO of Hahn Transportation, was sworn in as ATA’s first female chairman. New Market, Md.-based Hahn is a specialized regional trucking firm that hauls refined petroleum and construction materials throughout the Mid-Atlantic corridor.

• Larry Davis, president of the Ohio Trucking Association, was awarded the ninth annual ATA President’s Annual TAEC Leadership Award, which recognizes the state trucking association that has gone above and beyond in its support of ATA, its members and the industry at large.

• Three recipients were named for the fourth annual Mike Russell “Good stuff” Trucking Image Award, with UPS winning the motor carrier award, Michelin North America winning the industry supplier award, and the Florida Trucking Association winning the state association award. n



IN BRIEF

* The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to adopt more stringent endurance test requirements and a new high speed test for several heavy load range tires for vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds, and to require the tire sidewall be labeled with the tire’s maximum speed rating. To submit comments, go to www.regulations.gov; the docket number is NHTSA-2010-0132.

* The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a two-year limited exemption from the federal hours-of-service regulations for the transportation of anhydrous ammonia from any distribution point to a local farm retailer or to the ultimate consumer as long as the transportation takes place within a 100-airmile radius.

*  PAM Transportation Services sold its East Coast Transport & Logistics brokerage operation in Paulsboro, N.J., the final step to consolidating its operations into one operating entity, PAM Transport Inc.

* Truckload Carriers Association members now have exclusive access to data tailored specifically for the truckload segment. Online freight matching provider Internet Truckstop will compile the statistics, which will be called “Truckload Trends” and distributed biweekly along with TCA’s newsletter, The Truckload Carrier Report.

* The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics released a technical report, “Factors Involved in Fatal Vehicle Crashes,” examining the numerous factors that contribute to the severity of fatal motor vehicle crashes. The report can be found at www.bts.gov/publications/bts_technical_report/.