Industry New Briefs, Courtesy of PMTA
FMCSA improves safety, cuts red tape, protects driver privacy with pre-employment screening program
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has introduced an expanded version of its pre-employment screening program (PSP), making it easier for more motor carrier companies, with the driver' consent, to access PSP records. A PSP record includes three years of crash history and five years of roadside inspection history for a commercial driver. PSP is now available to eligible intrastate motor carriers and companies directly involved in the pre-employment screening and hiring of commercial drivers. The program expansion means important driver safety data is now more easily available to companies that are responsible for hiring the drivers that get behind the wheel of many large trucks and buses. FMCSA has also launched an iPhone application for PSP. Account holder can now securely access a PSP dashboard on an iPhone or iPad, and easily review a PSP record in a mobile-friendly format. The application is available for free download by searing "DOT PSP" in the Apple iTunes store. For details on the pre-employment screening program, visit http://www.psp.fmcsa.dot.gov.
ATA urges FMSCA to improve CSA
The American Trucking Associations told the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to make candid acknowledgements about the strengths and weaknesses of its Compliance, Safety, Accountability program. In a white paper, ATA said it its members are supportive of CSA's objectives, but they are also eager to see FMCSA make much-needed improvements. ATA said FMCSA highlights the benefits of CSA but do not give a clear picture of the weaknesses. In the paper, ATA said carriers' scores in three of CSA's seven measurement categories (43% of the system) do not effectively identify future crash risk. ATA also said FMCSA only has sufficient violation data to assign a percentile rank (in at least one category) to 12% of active carriers. "As highlighted in a recent American Transportation Research Institute analysis, perceived safety risk is heavily dependent on the amount of data available on each motor carrier and it is wrong to conclude that carriers with insufficient data to be scored are safer than those that have reported data," ATA said.
ATA elects new officers
Michael Card, CEO of Combined Transport in Oregon, replaces Dan England, chairman of C.R. England, Inc., as American Trucking Associations chairman. England becomes chairman of the executive committee, replacing Barbara Windsor. ATA elected new officers at the end of the 2012 Management Conference and Exhibition on Oct. 10. Philip Byrd, Sr., CEO of Bulldog Hiway Express, Charleston, S.C., succeeds Card at ATA's first vice chairman. L. Duane Long, chairman of Longistics, Raleigh, N.C., moves to second vice chairman. Two new vice chairman are Kevin Burch, president of Jet Express, Inc., Dayton, Ohio, and David Manning, president of Tennessee Express in Nashville. Burd is former president of the Truckload Carriers Association while Manning is the current chairman of the Intermodal Association of North America.
Bill would give veterans easier path to CDL
Congress passed a bill last month that would give military veterans more job opportunities by allowing them to obtain CDLs in the states where they are stationed, even if they are away from home. The Military Commercial Driver's License Act of 2012 would carve out an exemption to regulations that currently require a CDL applicant to take the necessary tests and obtain the license in his or her home state. Members of the military frequently are stationed at bases outside their home states. FMCSA requires CDL applicants to be legal residents of the states where they apply, and Rep. Larry Bucshno (R-Ind.), the bill's sponsor, said this is a barrier to military applicants. The Military CDL act would also allow the Department of Defense to work with states to issue CDLs itself. That is meant to take advantage of the training that some members of the military receive to drive heavy vehicles. The bill received widespread praise form the trucking industry.
CARB reminds truckers about new tire requirements
The California Air Resources Board reminds truckers that as of Jan. 1 in that state, 2010 and older tractors that pull 53-foot dry van or refrigerated trailers must use SmartWay-verified low-rolling-resistence tires or retreads.
The exception is that tractors with new or retreaded non-SmartWay tractor tires "manufactured prior to Jan. 1, 2013, can continue to use those tires for the useful life of that tread, or until Jan. 1, 2015, whichever comes first," CARB said.
A list of the 34 SmartWay approved tires can be accessed at http://www.epa.gov/smartway/technology/tires.htm.
Industrial production rise exceeds projections
The Federal Reserve said industrial production increased by 0.4% in September, following a revised 1.4% decline in August that was originally reported as a 1.2% decrease. Economists had predicted a 0.2% rise. Manufacturing , which makes up about three-quarters of the total, rose 0.2%. Production of motor vehicles and parts fell 2.5% in September, following a 5.1% drop. Factory production excluding autos and parts rose 0.4%. The factory sector is one of trucking's largest and most important customers.
DOT agrees to CSA audit
The Department of Transportation will audit CSA, including a close look at the relationship between carrier safety scores and crash risks. Rep. John Duncan (R-Tenn.), chairman of the House Transportation Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, and the ranking Democratic member, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), requested the audit after the Sept. 13 subcommittee hearing. Witnesses at the hearing expressed concerns that a lack of adequate safety data, inappropriate weighting of violations and other scoring problems are causing CSA to erroneously label carrier safety performance. The audit request asks DOT’s Inspector General to “characterize the relationship between scores and future crash risk,” examine whether the weight given to each violation is tied to crash risk or crash severity, and if it is possible for carriers to have high scores that erroneously reflect the fleet’s safety performance. A spokesman for the IG said no specific timeline has been set for the audit.
FMCSA penalizes movers holding shipments hostage
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently posted penalties for household movers that hold shipments hostage. They can face fines of $10,000 per violation, and they can also have their registration suspended from one to three years. The policy applies to carriers and brokers that knowingly break a contract and fail to deliver a shipment that has been paid for, FMCSA said.
Washington has most seat belt users
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ranked Washington state highest in seat belt use among drivers in the country. Washington ranked at 97.5% seat belt use in 2011. The lowest was Massachusetts at 73.2% of usage. The national average was 84%.
It is the seventh year in a row Washington has scored 95% or higher.
FedEx ready for Green Monday
FedEx, ranked No. 2 on the Transport Topics 100 listing of U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers, said it expects the busiest online shopping day of the year to be historic this year. FedEx expects Green Monday, the second Monday in December, to be its busiest day in history because of anticipated online sales. They expect to move 19 million shipments, a 10% increase from its busiest day last year. During last year’s Green Monday, consumers spent $1.1 billion, according to FedEx.
For more information on PMTA (Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association), go to www.pmta.org