FMCSA safety campaign – Share the Road Safely

From Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) continues its efforts to raise public awareness so that all drivers know how to operate safely around large trucks and buses through a newly formed partnership under the Our Roads, Our Safety campaign.

“FMCSA is pleased to work with a group of partners that are dedicated to safety and share our agency’s goal of reducing crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses on the road,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Daphne Jefferson. “This important partnership amplifies the message that all drivers on the roadway must work together to ensure that everyone arrives safely at their destinations.”

The American Bus Association, AAA and the American Trucking Associations have joined with FMCSA to amplify the Our Roads, Our Safety effort to educate all pedestrians, bicyclists, passenger vehicle drivers and commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers on how to better share our roadways and improve safety for all.

There are several simple actions passenger vehicle drivers should take while sharing the road with large trucks and buses:

  • Stay out of the “No Zones” or blind spots at the front, back and sides of the vehicle
  • Make sure they can see the driver in the mirror before safely passing
  • Don’t cut in close while merging in front of a CMV
  • Stay back a safe distance to avoid being in the blind spot
  • Anticipate wide turns and consider larger vehicles may require extra turning room
  • Stay focused on the road and avoid distractions
  • Lastly, be patient driving around large trucks and buses

For more information, go to

Safety scoring system “Conceptually Sound,” but needs improvement, report says

From Transport Topics:

The federal Compliance, Safety, Accountability program’s controversial Safety Measurement System to identify motor carriers at high risk for future crashes is “conceptually sound” but several features need improvement, according to a new congressionally mandated report by a panel of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

“SMS is structured in a reasonable way, and its method of identifying motor carriers for alert status is defensible,” the study, made public June 27, concluded. “However, much of what is now done is ad hoc and based on subject-matter expertise that has not been sufficiently empirically validated.”

The 132-page study was conducted over the past 15 months by a 12-member elite panel of academics, several who specialize in statistics and transportation safety policy. It was funded by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and mandated by the FAST Act of 2015.

The approximate cost of the study is just under $1 million, said an academies spokeswoman.

The academies’ panel was charged with analyzing the ability of FMCSA’s SMS to discriminate between low- and high-risk carriers, assess the public usage of SMS, review the data and methodology used to calculate the measures and provide advice on additional data collection and safety assessment methodologies.

In March, FMCSA withdrew a January 2016 proposed motor carrier safety fitness rule saying it was awaiting the results of the study.

While the panel’s report was complimentary of the agency for many of its ideas and efforts, it recommended that over the next two years regulators develop a more “statistically principled approach” based on an “item response theory” — that is, a more detailed data-oriented approach that digs deeper and measures the performance of individual trucks and buses, not just at the motor carrier level.

See the full story from Transport Topics online.

House advances bills to help veterans access CDLs

From Transport Topics:

Legislation aimed at making it easier for veterans to access commercial driver licenses was passed by the U.S. House on June 26.

The Active Duty Voluntary Acquisition of Necessary Credentials for Employment, or ADVANCE, Act would improve access for military service members and reservists to the training and testing standards needed for commercial driver licenses under the 2015 FAST Act highway law.

“Today’s votes demonstrate the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s commitment to putting forward common-sense, good-government legislation for the nation,” committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) said shortly after the bill’s passage.

“The legislation passed today will help current and former service members to more easily obtain commercial driver licenses,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), the committee’s ranking member.

Sponsored by Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), the bill was advanced by the committee last month. A related provision in the FAST Act applied only to certain veterans.

“This is a common-sense measure that will help our brave men and women find work here,” Aguilar said May 24.

Industry executives have sought to incorporate the skills of military personnel when they step away from active duty. American Trucking Associations endorses Aguilar’s legislation.

See the full story from Transport Topics online.

State budget still uncertain with no votes planned amid fiscal gridlock

From the Hartford Courant.

With the state legislature postponing a vote on the new two-year budget amid fiscal gridlock, the chances increased sharply Tuesday that the state’s finances will be run by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy through an executive order when the new fiscal year starts Saturday.

At the same time, Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney, the highest-ranking senator, called for a vote on Malloy’s “mini-budget” that would keep the state running on a short-term basis as lawmakers continue battling over the two-year budget.

On a chaotic day of fast-changing developments, both Looney and Malloy called upon House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz to reconsider his position and allow a vote on the mini-budget in order to avoid even deeper spending cuts for hospitals, municipalities and social services.

Insiders said the House Democratic majority did not have the votes to pass any budget due to disagreements on the merits and vacations of members who are out of town.

“I believe my members are less than likely to hop on planes, leave their families at vacation places all over this country and other countries to come in and do a temporary fix,” Aresimowicz told reporters. “I believe my members would do exactly that if we have a budget that moves the state of Connecticut forward … but not for a temporary fix.”

See the full story from the Hartford Courant online.

CVSA’s Brake Safety Day is Sept. 7

From Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance release.

Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, is Brake Safety Day, an enforcement and compliance campaign where law enforcement agencies across North America will conduct inspections on large trucks and buses to identify out-of-adjustment brakes, and brake-system and anti-lock braking system (ABS) violations as part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Airbrake Program.

The goal of Brake Safety Day is to reduce the number of crashes caused by poorly maintained braking systems on commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) by conducting roadside mechanical fitness inspections, and identifying and removing vehicles with critical brake violations from our roadways.

In addition, outreach and educational efforts by CMV inspectors, motor carriers and others are integral to the success of the campaign. Brake Safety Day activities seek to educate drivers, mechanics, owner-operators and others on the importance of proper brake maintenance, operation and performance.

Properly functioning brake systems are crucial to safe CMV operation. CMV brakes are designed to hold up under tough conditions, but they must be routinely inspected and maintained carefully and consistently so they operate and perform properly throughout the vehicle’s life. Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce braking efficiency and increase the stopping distance of trucks and buses, posing serious risks to all highway users and public safety. Anti-lock braking systems help the vehicle, and thus the driver, maintain control in certain situations, which reduces the risk of some types of crashes.

See the full release from CVSA online.

Note from MTAC: To get prepared, attend the July 11 ABS brake training class at MTAC. Register online for the class.

Truck tonnage rises in May

From Transport Topics.

Truck tonnage rose 4.8% year-over-year in May, according to the monthly American Trucking Associations Tonnage Index, the largest gain since November 2016, echoing sentiments from analysts and trucking executives that the freight market has tightened in recent weeks as people spend more time outdoors.

On a sequential basis, the seasonally adjusted index grew 6.5% in May, reversing three consecutive monthly declines. The preliminary seasonally adjusted index was 144.1 in May, up from 135.3 in April. The all-time high in February 2016 was 142.7. The index uses a base level of 100 for freight activity in the year 2000.

“After three straight declines totaling 2.6%, truck tonnage snapped back in May,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “One month does not make a trend, but the nice gain last month fits more with the anecdotal reports I’ve been hearing from fleets, at least more so than three straight months of decreases. Despite the robust jump in May, I still expect moderate growth going forward as key sectors of the economy continue to improve slowly.”

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets, was 145.3 in May, which was 8.5% higher than the April level.

See the full story from Transport Topics online.

ELD data: Take control of yours to avoid IFTA, IRP audit fines

From Overdrive Online.

If you’re in the situation of many owner-operators and small fleets and trying to squeeze a little return-on-investment out of an ELD, tread carefully with players new to the trucking industry getting into the partial automation of International Fuel Tax Agreement and International Registration Plan data collection for tax-reporting purposes. Buyer beware, say reps of the National American Transportation Services Association, whose member companies collectively work with more than 75,000 carriers who operate more than a million trucks.

Current NATSA President Dave Gray, also president of compliance services provider Glostone Trucking Solutions, emphasizes different standards for ELDs’ hours-of-service compliance support functions and IFTA data’s needs, particularly in the realm of long-term record-keeping.

State IFTA and International Registration Plan auditors, should you be audited by either, will want records going back four to nearly seven years, respectively, far and away beyond what’s needed for hours of service. If you end up utilizing an ELD service provider for IFTA/IRP data collection, don’t purge mileage and/or trip data you download from the ELD provider yourself, and make sure your agreement with the provider gives you ready access to that data years down the line if it’s stored primarily in a cloud account.

Read the full article online.

Save the dates: Call on Washington & MTAC Annual Meeting

Mark your calendars for upcoming MTAC events.

From September 12-14, MTAC members will travel to Washington, DC for “Call on Washington.” This event is open to all interested members. Come spend time discussing important industry issues with our Congressional delegation. The members of Congress and their senior staff members need to hear directly from constituents as they work to craft policy. The rough schedule holds that participants can arrive early afternoon on September 12, and depart early morning September 14. More information will be provided in the future, but interested members can email Joe Sculley if they plan to attend.

On Thursday, October 26, the 97th MTAC Annual Meeting will be held at a new location. This year’s meeting will be at the Four Points Sheraton in Meriden, Connecticut. The Four Points is a beautiful facility with ample room for indoor and outdoor exhibits, breakout meetings, networking, and more. More information will be provided as the meeting date approaches.

2017 Truck Driving Championship results

The Connecticut Truck Driving Championship was held on Saturday, June 10 at FedEx Freight in Windsor Locks, Conn. Congratulations to Grand Champion Tony Spero from ABF Freight, who earned the award for the second consecutive year. The following is a list of winners from all classes of competition. Congratulations to all of the winners.

Step Van

  • 1st Place: GLEN COOKE, FedEx Express
  • 2nd Place: John Sanchez, FedEx Express

Straight Truck

  • 1st Place: DERRICK BELIN, All Waste
  • 2nd Place: Randy Kaufman, Mondelez International
  • 3rd Place: Drew Martin, FedEx Express


  • 1st Place: ERNIE BUDLOWSKI, XPO Logistics
  • 2nd Place: James Calvin, Frito Lay
  • 3rd Place: Tony Orfitelli, XPO Logistics


  • 1st Place: DAVID BRYANT, FedEx Freight
  • 2nd Place: Mike Erick, YRC
  • 3rd Place: Cruz Vasquez, FedEx Freight

5-Axle Van

  • 1st Place: DAVE BUONOCORE, Bozzuto’s
  • 2nd Place: John Greene, FedEx Freight
  • 3rd Place: Clint Martin, Domino’s SCC CT


  • 1st Place: PAUL BRANDON, FedEx Freight
  • 2nd Place: Ozzie Bartlett, Bozzuto’s
  • 3rd Place: Mike Richard, Frito Lay


  • 1st Place: MARK MCCLURE, Domino’s SCC CT
  • 2nd Place: Calvin Gee, FedEx Freight
  • 3rd Place: Brian Belanger, Bozzuto’s

Tank Truck

  • 1st Place: TONY SPERO, ABF Freight
  • 2nd Place: Randy Frazier, Coastal Carriers
  • 3rd Place: Arden Casiano, Frito Lay

Twin Trailers

  • 1st Place: DONALD BOILEAU JR., ABF Freight
  • 2nd Place: John Brown, Domino’s SCC CT
  • 3rd Place: Thomas Griffin, FedEx Freight

Company Award (highest average score): FedEx Freight

Bob Toce Award (highest score in 4-axle): David Bryant, FedEx Freight

Rookie of the Year (highest score among first time competitors): Derrick Belin, All Waste

Pre-Trip Award (highest pre-trip score): John Sanchez, FedEx Express

TDC sponsor recognition

A successful Truck Driving Championship would not have been possible without the support provided by members, particularly in the form of sponsorships and equipment donations. Many thanks to our members, and especially FedEx Freight for allowing use of their facility in Windsor Locks. Sponsors for the 2017 Truck Driving Championship include:

Platinum Sponsors


Gold Sponsors

Aaron Supreme, ABF Freight, Bozzuto’s, Coastal Carriers, Crystal Rock, Domino’s SCC CT, FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, Freightliner of Hartford, J.R. Christoni, Kay’s Moving & Storage, Soulsby Law Firm, Toce Brothers, and Stewart & Stevenson.

Silver Sponsors

Acadia Insurance, Fleet Screen, J.J. Keller, John DeGrand & Son, Manchester Ice & Fuel

Equipment Donators

ABF Freight, Bozzuto’s, Coastal Carriers, Crystal Rock, Domino’s SCC CT, FedEx Freight, Frito Lay, J&S Radio Sales, Kay’s Trucking, Manchester Ice & Fuel, Mondelez International, UPS, WB Mason