ATA: Three factors contribute to looming driver shortage

Driver demographics, industry growth, and strict carrier policies and governmental regulations are contributing to a projected shortage of 175,000 commercial drivers by 2024, according to a study released by the American Transportation Associations (ATA).

Presently, over-the-road truck drivers are overwhelmingly male (94 percent) and older than the average worker, with a median age of 49, compared to the median age of 42 for all U.S. workers. Those workers are poised to retire as demand for shipping continues to increase.

Hiring larger numbers of new, qualified drivers seems to be the best strategy for stemming this coming shortfall, and the ATA has several suggestions:

  • Increase driver pay
  • Increase at-home time
  • Lower the minimum driving age from 21 to 18
  • Improve the public image of truck driving as a career
  • Recruit military veterans

In service of that last tactic, the industry has pledged to hire 100,000 veterans over the next two years, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently pledged $2.3 million in grants to assist in the training of veterans.

This article presented by Marty Shea, Senior Vice President and Director of Sales for Sinclair Risk & Financial Management.

Note: Many MTAC members are eligible for very competitive rates for property/casualty insurance through Sinclair. MTAC members who enroll in the group plan will be eligible to receive a share of potential dividends. Contact Marty at MShea@srfm.com or by calling (203) 284-3208

Final ELD rule delayed again

On Nov. 30, Transport Topics reported federal regulators at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration once again delayed the final rule on electronic logging devices (ELDs) concerning replacing paper hours-of-service logs with automated logging. Although the proposed rule was released in March 2014, the final rule has been delayed multiple times. From Transport Topics

Federal regulators have failed to meet their projected November 30 date for publication of the long-awaited final rule mandating the use of electronic logging devices.

Rob Abbott, vice president of safety policy for American Trucking Associations, said the trade federation now expects the rule to be published in early December.

Abbott said the rule could be published later this week but more likely will come out the week of December 7.

The rule, which has been delayed several times, cleared a review by the White House Office of Management and Budget on November 16 — the last step before publication.

The agency has said the rule, which will replace paper hours-of-service logs with automated logging, has been delayed due to “additional coordination necessary.” The rule also is expected to create requirements concerning HOS supporting documents and include measures to address concerns about harassment resulting from the mandatory use of ELDs.

The proposed rule was announced in March 2014.

 

Capitol Moving and Storage

capitol-moving-storage-01This week, MTAC President Joe Sculley visited MTAC Chairman Mark Gagnon’s company, Capitol Moving and Storage. At Capitol, a specialized exhibit department dispatches and monitors each shipment by computer, ensuring that it arrives on schedule. They handle corporate moves from international to national relocation to anywhere in the world.

In addition, Capitol Moving provides warehouse and storage for precious furnishings. To accommodate the future growth of their company, they provide a state-of-the-art warehouse and storage facility with over 60,000 square feet of storage space with 33-foot high ceilings, and much more.

Capitol Moving is an agent of both Mayflower and United Van Lines.

capitol-moving-storage-02

 

IFTA

IFTA adopts audit ballot

Voting closed Nov. 19 on the proposal to significantly amend the audit and record-keeping rules of the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA). IFTA has officially adopted those amendments, effective with audits completed after Jan. 1, 2017. Very quickly, those are: increased flexibility for how motor carriers may produce and maintain their IFTA records; explicit approval of records produced by such systems as GPS, provided those records contain the needed information; relief for carriers from arbitrary penalties for “noncompliant” records; an assurance that the same types of mileage records will suffice for both IRP and IFTA audits; and a thorough rewriting of IFTA’s language on audit and records.

MTAC appreciates the fact that the State of Connecticut voted to support this ballot. Additionally, MTAC will be coordinating an educational seminar regarding these changes, and general compliance with IFTA, which will feature presentations from senior officials from the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. This seminar will be free of charge for MTAC members to attend.

This information provided by Bob Pitcher, State Laws Newsletter.

 

Proposal for truck stop in Hopkinton, R.I.

A proposal for a new truck stop in Hopkinton, R.I. – just beyond the Connecticut/Rhode Island border off I-95 – will increase the space available for truck drivers to rest and refuel along I-95 in southern New England. From The Day

A proposed truck stop across the border in Rhode Island would help address a lack of places for truckers to rest and gas up along Interstate 95, while providing some unwanted competition for the truck stop here, according to some in the trucking industry.

An important corridor for commercial trucking between New York and Massachusetts, I-95 has only one truck stop, North Stonington’s American Auto Stop, between Branford and West Greenwich, R.I. North Stonington has long been home to a truck stop, with the most recent one opening in 2007.

“Connecticut and the nation as a whole has a shortage of truck stops,” said Joseph Sculley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut. He pointed to a study conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute, a nonprofit that studies the industry, which ranked truck parking as the fifth most critical concern facing the industry in 2015.

Read the full article.

TrucBrush offers 10% discount to MTAC members

TrucBrush unit installedMTAC associate member, TrucBrush Corporation, is generously offering MTAC members a 10% discount when purchasing their patented, mobile snow-removal device. TrucBrush is a polypropylene-bristled broom powered by a front-end loader that clears accumulated snow off the tops of trucks, trailers and buses faster, safer and more effectively than other methods. The unit is available for purchase, rent, or companies may hire a snow service vendor to provide the service.

TrucBrush…

TrucBrush service is easily implemented into a company’s snow management protocol with either the snow contractor providing the service, a Preferred Vendor offering it in conjunction with a facility’s overall snow management or the facility itself implementing the snow removal method. TrucBrush improves deployment time during a period when a facility needs it the most. It increases operational efficiencies by allowing the same equipment that operates TrucBrush for clearing snow off the fleet’s rooftops to be utilized for terminal and parking lot clearing of snow if desired. When TrucBrush is coordinated with a facility’s overall snow management, bay areas can also be cleared of snow before melting and refreeze occurs that is so common at docks. This adds to your overall safety initiatives.

For more information contact Debora Babin Katz by phone at (877) 783-0237 or via email.

This is a great product that can be used to comply with Connecticut’s law requiring the removal of accumulated snow and ice from all vehicles.

I-84 Viaduct Project

Public Advisory Committee discusses I-84 viaduct options

The proposed project to replace the two-mile-long stretch of elevated Interstate 84 known as the Hartford viaduct continues to move forward. This week MTAC staff participated in a meeting of the project’s Public Advisory Committee (PAC), a committee of which MTAC is an active member. State officials and consultants working on the project spent a lot of time discussing the option of replacing the highway with a tunnel. It was reported that the cost of building a tunnel would have a cost of $10-12 billion, more than twice the cost of any other option. Additionally, project leaders admit that the tunnel option does not create additional opportunity for economic growth, does not offer new north-south connections, potentially has significant property impacts, and has permitting challenges associated with conduit and power plant relocation.

According to those working on the I-84 viaduct project, the “lowered” highway option would cost $4-5 billion to build. Additionally, it could still be capped to create a “partial tunnel” which could allow for rebuilding of cross streets to accommodate bicycles and pedestrians; it would improve safety and highway efficiency, and better connect the Asylum Hill area with downtown Hartford. Traffic simulations show that both highway traffic and surface street traffic in surrounding neighborhoods would flow best under the “lowered” option.

PAC members took part in a couple of real-time polls at the meeting, and in one poll, a large majority of respondents (65%) indicated that they would be very comfortable in moving forward with the lowered highway option.

MTAC will remain actively involved with this project, will let members know when they can provide meaningful input, and will continue to push for inclusion of measures that would improve congestion, such as improving the I-84/I-91 interchange.

Certified Medical Examiner Changes

There are some upcoming rule changes that will affect Certified Medical Examiners, the drivers they examine, and the FMCSA form required for the examinations. The changes stem from an April 23, 2015 rule published by FMCSA. The rule requires – among other things – that, beginning Dec. 22, 2015, medical examiners will be required to report results of examinations using a revised form MCSA-5850.

Reference Documents

I-84 Hartford Viaduct Replacement

This week, MTAC staff attended multiple meetings regarding the planned replacement of the elevated Interstate 84 Viaduct that runs through Hartford. Replacement and reconstruction of the two-plus mile long stretch of the main highway, and the accompanying on/off ramp bridges connected to that area, is necessary because the elevated highway and on/off ramps have reached the end of their useful life.

Engineering consultants are currently considering four main options, which include: a no-build option, an elevated highway, a lowered highway, and a tunnel. Each of those options have a number of different sub-options, for example, different configurations of on/off ramps for each. Consultants presented maps showing the results of traffic simulations for not only the highway, but key city streets and intersections, for various proposals. It should be noted that the tunnel option is not only very costly, but would create major congestion on the highway and on several major city streets and intersections. The tunnel option could also effectively ban hazmat trucks from traveling on that section of I-84, meaning that several MTAC member companies would face a great burden as they deliver fuel to heat homes, businesses, and for resale at gas stations.

MTAC members need to be aware that one option for “accelerated construction” of the project would be to completely shut down that stretch of I-84 for more than one year. Consultants and government officials working on the project stated that the idea is “thinking outside the box” and that is “a long shot,” yet they also referenced on multiple occasions the fact that it was done for projects in St. Louis, Mo. and Knoxville, Tenn. Needless to say, completely shutting down the highway would create dire consequences for members.

It is also important to note that as part of the project, multiple on/off ramps would be eliminated, because engineers and consultants believe there are too many in a short distance, which contributes to congestion. Importantly, the project would not relieve congestion at that I-84 / I-91 interchange, because it won’t eliminate the choke point where three lanes are reduced to two lanes in both directions. Through-put will not be increased.

MTAC members should attend I-84 project meetings in the future if possible. Several were in attendance this week, and they were able to provide real-world examples of the challenges faced by their companies, and how this project would further complicate those challenges. MTAC appreciates the members that were able to attend the meeting this week and provide valuable comments, specifically: Bozzuto’s, Coastal Carriers, FedEx, UPS, Walker Crane, and XPO Logistics.

Consultants and government officials took note of the concrete examples provided by MTAC members. MTAC and its members need to continue to provide valuable information like that in order to have our concerns addressed during this project.

For more information, visit the project website.

Uniform Registration System postponed

On Oct. 21, 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced in the Federal Register the postponement and phasing in of its Uniform Registration System (URS). The agency had published the final URS rule in 2013, and the rule has been in the works, more or less, for nearly two decades. When finally in effect, URS will replace several existing FMCSA systems, including those for registering the authority of regulated motor carriers, the issuance of DOT numbers, and the filing of entities’ insurance coverage and agents for service of process.

The recent notice says that most of the URS rule won’t be effective until Sept. 30 or Dec. 31, 2016. However, new applicants for motor carrier authority or DOT numbers are to begin using the URS’s new online Form MCSA-1 on Dec. 12, 2015.

Important Note – The URS is not the UCR

Despite the similarity in names, the URS is not the Uniform Carrier Registration Agreement (UCRA/UCR), under which motor carriers and other entities pay annual fees to states. There is no postponement for the payment of the 2016 UCR fees. Fees are due Dec. 31, 2015, and are payable now, most easily through the national UCR system maintained by the Indiana Department of Revenue online.

This information was provided by Bib Pritcher from the State Laws Newsletter.