Industry New Briefs, Courtesy of PMTA
Operation Safe Holiday begins
PennDOT and police statewide are joining forces for Operation Safe Holiday, an initiative including seatbelt, aggressive-driving and impaired-driving enforcement aimed at keeping roadways safe this holiday season. The operation is underway, beginning with statewide Click It or Ticket seatbelt enforcement. Through the New Year, police will also use sobriety checkpoints, roving patrols and regular traffic safety patrols to crack down on motorists who are speeding, driving aggressively or driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
PennDOT reports that the holiday season continues to be the leading time period for traffic crashes. There were 4,235 crashes and 49 fatalities last year during the Thanksgiving travel period, which includes the weekends before and after the holiday. During the Christmas and New Year travel periods, there were a combined 1,994 crashes and 19 fatalities.
Weather and travel information for more than 2,900 miles of state roads is available by calling 511 or visiting www.511pa.com before leaving home.
PennDOT issues weight exemption
In coordination with federal and state agencies, PennDOT has issued Exemption 2012-11, requirement to comply with weigh limitations for certain motor carriers transporting debris to Pennsylvania waste disposal facilities from the state of New York provided a Pennsylvania Special Hauling Permit is obtained for the route being travelled. See attached document for complete details for complying with this exemption.
Free webinar on truck parking
The U.S. Department of Transportation, in partnership with the Trucking Industry Mobility and Technology Coalition, is sponsoring a free webinar Dec. 6 on the shortage of truck parking.
The webinar will include discussion by industry experts from the Federal Highway Administration, the American Transportation Research Institute and carrier Con-Way,. To register, visit www.freightmobility.com.
NTSB’s top ten safety priorities list
The National Transportation Safety Board’s 2013 list of transportation safety concerns includes a call for ending distraction in all modes of transportation. Six of the 10 issues focus on highway travel where most transportation fatalities take place and include substance-impaired driving, which NTSB said was the No. 1 killer on the list.
The list is as follows:
• Improve safety of airport surface operations
•Preserve the integrity of transportation infrastructure
•Enhance pipeline safety
•Implement positive train control systems
•Eliminate substance-impaired driving
•Improve the safety of bus operations
•Eliminate distraction in transportation
•Improve general aviation safety
•Mandate motor vehicle collision avoidance technologies
American Trucking Associations’ President Bill Graves said ATA applauds the list and shares an interest in advancing several items on the list.
ATRI seeking input on NC I-95 tolls
The American Transportation Research Institute is seeking input from carriers and drivers that travel North Carolina’s portion of Interstate 95 in connection with a study on how best to pay for improvements along the critical East Coast freight artery.
Last year, the federal government agreed to consider a state application for tolls, but legislators said that before the state proceeds, they want a study to determine the economic impact. ATRI is part of the research team studying the economic issues. Its questionnaire asks drivers and carriers for such information as how many miles they travel on North Carolina’s portion of I-95 and what problems they encounter with traffic congestion and finding rest areas.
To take the online survey, visit ATRI’s website, www.atri-online.org.
DEP watching for overweight vehicles from NY, NJ
PennDOT and the Department of Environmental Protection are intensifing efforts to stop overweight vehicles without permits from coming into the Commonwealth. DEP released this message to landfills as the initial heads up.
“We are having problems with overweight trucks coming in from New York and New Jersey. We are working with the authorities in those states to correct this problem, and they are helping us do that. As DEP's part of the effort to stop overweight trucks from coming in the Commonwealth in the first place, we are reminding all of our landfill operators that they should not be accepting overweight trucks without a permit. DEP has the authority to check landfill paperwork and fine any landfill for any violations of this protocol.”
NYDOT and NJDOT are also spreading the word and increasing enforcement.
ATRI updates operational costs report
The American Transportation Research Institute’s An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking 2012 update cites research showing the average marginal trucking cost per mile for 2011 was $1.71. The research identifies fleet-generated marginal costs from 2008 to 2011 and provides carriers with an important high-level benchmarking tool. The 2011 cost is the highest of the four years studied. Following a sharp decline in fuel prices and the resulting decreased industry costs in 2008 and 2009, marginal costs have steadily risen through 2010 and 2011. The per-mile costs were converted to hourly figures using an empirical truck operating speed. The total average industry cost per hour was $68.20 in 2011. Fuel and driver wages continue to be the largest cost centers for carrier, constituting 62% of the average operating cost in 2011. The Operational Costs of Trucking report is available online at www.ATRI-online.org.
Fleets push for uniform toll system
Carrier executives, frustrated with the time and costs it takes for drivers to get through highway toll plazas, are espousing interoperable electronic tolling systems. If the technology that toll agencies use for their highway tag readers and for their billing systems were interoperable from agency to agency, truckers could travel anywhere with one tag, and toll bills could be sent monthly to carriers from each toll agency. Congress has promoted the concept for years but has stopped short of mandating. Officials at the Federal Highway Administration issued a brief statement on the topic: “We continue to monitor developments in the industry to investigate the best ways to bring about...interoperability noted in the MAP-21 provision.”
Natural gas summit focuses on alternative fuels for fleets
American Trucking Associations’ two-day public conference on trucking’s use of natural gas begins Wednesday afternoon. The sold-out conference has attracted more than 500 attendees and features 11 sessions. Executives from trucking, truck and engine manufacturing, truck stops, natural-gas producers and vehicle maintenance, plus representatives from the U.S. Energy Department, an environmental advocacy group and several policy groups and two members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, will lead the sessions.
PMTA’s Communication Director Nancy Wilkes, who is attending the symposium, will write reports for the January issue of Penntrux.
Five PMTA members make ecofriendly list
Five PMTA member companies were touted in Newsweek magazine’s 2012 rankings of the most ecofriendly U.S. companies. The magazine’s annual rankings are closely watched to see which companies are protectors of the nation, and which ones pollute. It targets 500 of the largest publicly traded U.S. companies based, in part, on revenue and number of employees. PMTA members making the list: Qualcomm, Inc. (42); UPS, Inc. (84); Ryder System, Inc. (111); Eaton Corp. (195); and Con-way, Inc. (312). The rankings are based on a company’s overall environmental impact, ranging from policies, programs and initiatives.
CSA changes effective December 3
Previously published changed to the CSA program are now in place, FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro announced Monday. The changed were applied to the monthly update of carriers’ Safety Measurement System (SMS) scores. Some of the SMS changes include the following:
• Moving load securement violations into the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC
•Renaming the Cargo-Related BASIC the Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance BASIC. The intervention threshold for the HM BASIC will be set at the 80th percentile.
• Renaming the Fatigue Driving BASIC the Hours-of-Service Compliance BASIC
•Attributing to motor carriers those violations found on equipment offered/provided by an intermodal equipment provider that should reasonably have been identified by the driver during his/her pre-trip inspection.
• Removing from consideration in the Unsafe Driving BASIC all speeding violations between 1 and 5 mph over the posted limit. This change will be made to all such violations retroactively (for the prior 24 months) and moving forward.
•Reducing to “1” the severity weight for those speeding violations where a mph is not indicated.
• Making the severity weights for comparable EOBR and logbook violations the same.
• Establishing new criteria for defining which carriers will be subject to the lower HM intervention thresholds in each BASIC.
• Ensuring all recorded violations accurately correspond to the relevant inspection type.
FMCSA is expected to propose, evaluate and implement additional changes on an on-going basis and will likely propose another set of program improvements early next year. American Trucking Associations will continue to advocate for changes that result in a system that better identifies unsafe carriers and prioritizes them for intervention. For more details of the changes, go to www.fmcsa.dot.gov.
Corbett ready to present funding plan
Gov. Tom Corbett said he will present a transportation funding plan to state legislators early next year. The plan will outline how to pay for billions of dollars in backlogged road and bridge repairs. A spokeswoman declined to say whether Corbett would consider higher gasoline and diesel taxes. Corbett never acted on a 2011 special commission report that laid out revenue sources for solving the transportation funding problem. The report said two ways to increase revenue would be to raise the state’s wholesale oil tax and increase vehicle registration fees that have not changed since 1997.
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch spoke to The Patriot-News Editorial Board for more than an hour on Monday. Corbett and many legislative leaders have said transportation will be a top issue in 2013. To read excerpts of the interview, go to http://www.pennlive.com/opinion.
For more information on PMTA (Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association), go to www.pmta.org