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Latest Industry News Briefs Courtesy of PMTA

April, 2019

3 out of 4 Americans Agree: A Texting DriverIs More Dangerous Than an AI Driver

AUSTIN, TX… Who do you trust more: Man or machine? According to new data released by insuranceQuotes.com, the answer for most Americans is “machine” – at least when the man in question is distracted. In the second installment of its annual study on consumer perceptions of autonomous vehicles, insuranceQuotes.com revealed that nearly three-quarters (73%) of Americans say that riding in a vehicle where the driver is texting is more dangerous than riding in a self-driving vehicle. 

Still, 51% of Americans say their biggest concern about self-driving vehicles is the possibility of technology error or failure. Meanwhile, 22% are most concerned about data security or hacking; 13% are most concerned about job loss in the transportation sector; and 9% worry most about the purchasing cost being unattainable.

“This year’s findings speak volumes about distracted driving concerns in America. Even though many Americans express skepticism over the safety of driverless cars, they still would rather put their lives in the hands of a machine before a human that is texting—and those people could be onto something,” said Tim Spell, automotive technology analyst at insuranceQuotes.com. “As technology advances, we may well see a day when distracted driving accidents—and traffic accidents in general—plummet thanks to the adoption of autonomous vehicles.”

Among the survey’s findings:

•37% of Americans would consider owning or leasing a self-driving vehicle in the future.  

•32% trust the self-driving technology in use today, while 47% expect to trust the technology in 10 years.

•18-34-year-olds (52%) are most likely to consider owning or leasing a self-driving vehicle, compared to 38% of those 35-44; 39% of those 45-54; 33% of those 55-64; and 22% of those 65 and older.

•18-34-year-olds (40%) are most likely to trust the self-driving technology in use today, compared to 31% of those 35-44; 32% of those 45-54; 31% of those 55-64; and 23% of those 65 and older.

“Millennials and younger generations—who, according to findings, are most inclined to try the technology—have begun paving the road for a future where autonomous vehicles are the norm,” said Spell. “Our data suggests that this cultural and technological revolution isn’t slowing down any time soon. I would not be surprised if, ten years from now, Americans of every age put their trust in driverless cars without a second thought.”

The full report on the survey—which includes additional data, insights and analysis—is available at https://www.insurancequotes.com/auto/survey-driver….

Methodology:
This study was conducted for insuranceQuotes via telephone by SSRS. Interviews were conducted from January 15-20, 2019 among a sample of 1,015 respondents in English (980) and Spanish (35). The margin of error for total respondents is +/-3.66% at the 95% confidence level. All data are weighted to represent the adult U.S. population.


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AFP: Better Ways to Address Roads and Bridges than Punishing Tax Hikes

ARLINGTON, VA… Americans for Prosperity’s Russ Latino, Vice President, Economic Opportunity Portfolio, issued the following statement after today’s House Ways and Means Committee infrastructure hearing.

“While the U.S. has very real infrastructure needs in some targeted areas, a gas tax increase is the wrong way to address them. Indeed, increasing the gas tax by 25 cents per gallon, as some testifying at the hearing have suggested, would claw back more than a quarter of the benefits of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act—a reform that has put more money back into the pockets of Americans across the country. Such an increase would more than double the current federal gas tax, hitting lower-income Americans and those living on a fixed income hardest, as they already pay a larger portion of their income to cover basic needs like food and fuel.

“The better way to modernize and repair our nation’s roads and bridges is to target federal gas tax dollars toward the construction and maintenance of critical national priorities, allow state’s greater flexibility to address their needs, and unleash private investment. Currently, federal gas tax dollars are being diverted to projects that have nothing to do with roads and bridges, or which are inherently local in nature. Additionally, lawmakers must streamline and roll back the overly burdensome regulations, permitting processes, and other regulatory barriers that slow projects and increases cost. For example, Davis-Bacon and other anti-competitive wage laws increase the cost of projects by as much as 20 percent. If stretching our transportation dollars is as important as everyone at the hearing seemed to suggest, ending Davis-Bacon would be a good place to start.

“There are ways to address targeted needs for our roads and bridges without resorting to punishing tax increases, and we look forward to working with Congress to get that done.”


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ATA Truck Tonnage Index Increased 2.3% in January

Arlington, VA…. American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.3% in January after falling 1% in December. In January, the index equaled 117.3 (2015=100), up from 114.7 in December.

ATA recently revised the seasonally adjusted index back five years as part of its annual revision.

“After monthly declines in both November and December, tonnage snapped back in January,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “I was very pleased to see this rebound. But we should expect some moderation in tonnage this year as most of the key sectors that generate truck freight tonnage are expected to decelerate.”

Compared with January 2018, the SA index increased 5.5%. In 2018, the index increased 6.7% over 2017, which was the largest annual gain since 1998.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 113.1 in January, which was 2.9% above the previous month (109.9). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 70.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.77 billion tons of freight in 2017. Motor carriers collected $700.1 billion, or 79.3% of total revenue earned by all transport modes. 

ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around 5th day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.


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Bipartisan DRIVE Safe Act Hailed by America’s Trucking Industry

Arlington, VA… Following the introduction of companion, bipartisan bills in the U.S. House and Senate that would help address the nation’s growing shortage of truck drivers, American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear praised the legislation as critically important to the American economy. 

“The strong bipartisan, bicameral support behind this legislation demonstrates how real a threat the driver shortage presents to our nation’s economic security over the long-term – and how serious our lawmakers are about addressing it with common-sense solutions,” Spear said. “Given the broad coalition of interests backing this measure, there is growing understanding across the country that the impact of this issue reaches far beyond just trucking and commercial vehicles. It is a strain on the entire supply chain, from the manufacturers and producers on down to retail and the end consumer, who will see higher prices at the store.” 

ATA is a member of the DRIVE Safe Act Coalition, co-led by ATA and the International Foodservice Distributors of America, and includes the National Association of Manufacturers, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation, Retail Industry Leaders of America and more than 40 other national trade associations and companies. 

See also: DRIVE Safe myth v. fact

While 48 states permit individuals to obtain a commercial driver’s license and drive trucks at age 18, federal regulations prevent those drivers from crossing state lines until they turn 21. This restriction bars a vital population of job seekers from interstate trucking, exacerbating the driver shortage, as qualified candidates are lost to other industries. The DRIVE Safe Act would allow certified CDL holders already permitted to drive intrastate the opportunity to participate in a rigorous apprenticeship program designed to help them master interstate driving, while also promoting enhanced safety training for emerging members of the workforce. 

The DRIVE Safe Act would help train younger drivers far and above current standards. Under the legislation, once a driver has met the requirements to obtain a CDL, they would begin a two-step program of additional training that includes a number of performance benchmarks each candidate must demonstrate competency in. In addition, they would be required to complete at least 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time with an experienced driver in the cab with them. All trucks used for training in the program must be equipped with NTSB-endorsed safety technology including active braking collision mitigation systems, forward-facing video event capture and a speed governor set at 65 miles per hour. 

Significantly, all of these post-CDL training, safety, and technology standards under the DRIVE Safe Act would be required on top of all the pre-CDL training benchmarks that new drivers will be required to satisfy when the Entry Level Driver Training Rule goes in to effect in February 2020, which includes 59 different topics of knowledge and behind-the-wheel training for Class A CDL applicants. 

“We thank Senators Todd Young and Jon Tester, and Congressmen Trey Hollingsworth and Henry Cuellar for their outstanding leadership in introducing this legislation, and we look forward to working closely with supporters on both sides of the aisle as we move this measure across the finish line,” said Spear. 

The Senate bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Angus King (I-Maine), and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). The House bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Trey Hollingsworth (R-Ind.), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Paul Mitchell (R-Mich), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) and Al Green (D-Texas).


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CTA’s House Committee Submission Highlights Driver Shortage as Key Impact to Small Biz

Addressing the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Industry, Science & Technology today, CTA president Stephen Laskowski called on government to support a trucking-focused immigration program to help solve the truck driver shortage as well as reiterating past industry issues such as increasing enforcement on the misclassification of truck drivers, modernizing cross-border processing systems and redirecting future carbon tax revenue into a green incentive program toward the purchase of green commercial vehicle technology, among other things.

Invited to discuss how Canada’s regulatory structure impacts small businesses, Laskowski highlighted areas for improved efficiency to reduce costs on industry and government; how to improve and align international trade and areas for regulatory and legislative modernization.

One key recommendation made by CTA is the establishment of a trucking

focused immigration initiative or including trucking in an existing program. The goal would be to allow prequalified companies with the highest labour and safety standards to recruit professional foreign truck drivers quicker and with less administrative burden as is permitted in other sectors.

Meanwhile, ESDC should review its funding approach for occupations like “truck driver” so small business in the trucking industry can have the same access to training dollars as other small businesses in other sectors, added Laskowski.

With Canada set to price carbon on all diesel fuel beginning on April 1, 2109, CTA once again urged the government to consider directing carbon tax revenue into a green incentive program toward the purchase of green commercial vehicle technology. Furthermore, to ensure there is no unnecessary administrative burden and competitive unbalance, CTA called for Canada Revenue Agency to work with the industry to clarify how a federal carbon registry for trucking fleets can operate effectively and efficiently.

As well, CRA should be given the appropriate resources to target the misclassification of truck drivers claiming to be small business and enforce their status as a personal service business, added Laskowski. Misclassification is costing the Canadian economy north of $1 billion on an annual basis and putting hard working and tax-compliant small trucking businesses at a significant competitive disadvantage, he said. 

In his submission Laskowski also urged for the government to prioritize the introduction of electronic logging devices to replace paper logbooks as soon as possible; to consider delaying the implementation of a Canadian GHG trailer manufacturing regulation until at least a comprehensive regulatory impact analysis is conducted and it becomes clear how US regulators will proceed with a similar rule that’s currently shelved south of the border; and harmonizing border data systems to pave the way forward for US Customs and Border Protection to restore in-transit shipments.


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Fourth Quarter Truck Driver Turnover Rate Shows Muddled Picture - Churn at Large Truckload Fleets Sunk, but Rate Rose at Smaller Carriers 

Arlington, VA… The American Trucking Associations released its figures on truck driver turnover in the fourth quarter, showing a continued downward trend in the churn rate.

“The driver market continues to be tight, but not quite as much as the middle of 2018. The overall trend late last year was that turnover is slowing,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “There can be various reasons for this – either freight volumes are decelerating and as such fleets pulled back on recruiting efforts or fleets’ efforts to increase pay are paying dividends in the form or reduced turnover. The truth probably lies somewhere in between, but it is a trend that bears watching.”

In the fourth quarter, the turnover rate at fleets with more than $30 million revenue fell nine points to 78%. It is now 10 points lower than it was during the same quarter in 2017. For the year, the turnover rate at large fleets averaged 89% - two points higher than the previous year.

At smaller carriers, the turnover rate rose five points to 77%. That mark was three points lower than the rate in the final quarter of 2017. The rate averaged 73% for the year – the lowest churn rate since 2011. 

Turnover at less-than-truckload fleets was unchanged at 10% and averaged 11% on the year.


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Truckers Oppose Multi-Billion Dollar Underride Mandate Proposal


Grain Valley, MO… The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association opposes legislation to mandate underride guards on all sides of commercial motor vehicles over 10,000 pounds. OOIDA says such requirements cannot be accommodated on most trucking equipment and would yield little if any safety benefit, while costing truckers billions to comply. 

The Association more fully outlined its practical concerns in these letters sent to elected officials. (Letter OpposingH.R. 1511 and Letter OpposingS. 665)

OOIDA had previously opposed the same effort a year ago, particularly with regard to the requirements for putting side and front underride guards on all trucks and trailers retroactively.

“There is no assurance that such installations would result in fewer or less severe crashes involving heavy vehicles,” said OOIDA President Todd Spencer. 

The Association is aware that for several decades the federal government has considered numerous proposed rules involving underride guards, but consistently concluded that the costs and impracticality would far outweigh perceived benefits to safety.

“Nothing has changed over these years,” said Spencer. “Proponents of this effort have given little consideration to the impact that front and side underride guards would have on the daily operations of truckers,” said Spencer. “Truck drivers would face serious challenges navigating grade crossings, high curbs and numerous other road conditions. Additionally, no front underride equipment is currently on the market because the concept lacks any practicality.”

Similar to original efforts last year, two newly introduced bills, H.R. 1511 and S. 665, also seek updates to existing regulations for rear underride guards. The Association does not object to this portion of the proposals.

“We agree that the underride guards on the backs of trailers could be improved,” said Spencer. “But the proposals as written go too far in broadly, retroactively requiring them on all trucks and trailers. Trucking is a diverse industry and such devices just simply can’t be attached to all types of equipment.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 160,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Mo. area.


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State DOT Officials Concerned Time Will Run Out to Pass a Transportation Bill

WASHINGTON , DC… The stakes could not be higher for hundreds of top officials from 45 state departments of transportation gathered this week in the nation’s capital for the annual American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Washington Briefing. State DOT officials will hear directly from the nation’s top political leaders whose jurisdictions cover transportation and they will deliver an urgent message about the importance of passing transportation funding legislation this year, as they personally visit their congressional delegations as part of the Washington Briefing event.

“Once we get to 2020, you’re going to see Washington D.C. lock down pretty tight as presidential politics really comes to the forefront,” said Jim Tymon, AASHTO’s Executive Director, during an interview with AASHTO’s Transportation TV. “Congress has about seven or eight months to try to get some of their key pieces of legislation done. And I think getting something done on transportation is a priority for both parties – Democrats and Republicans – in the House of Representative and the Senate. And I think President Trump’s administration wants to get something done on infrastructure, as well.” 

Today, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao delivered the luncheon keynote address and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee; Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., ranking member on the Senate EPW Committee; Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; and Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., ranking member on the House’s T&I Committee discussed their 2019 legislative priorities for transportation at AASHTO’s Washington Briefing event. 

Tymon said that there’s a sense of both urgency and opportunity at this year’s conference. 

“Given the fact that Congress may be gearing up for reauthorizing the FAST Act, this is the perfect time for our members to flex a little bit of muscle--go up to Capitol Hill and really let their congressional delegations know what their priorities are for this session of Congress.”


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Trucking Calls on Congress to Draft Sustainable, User-Funded Infrastructure Plan

Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear told the House Ways and Means Committee that the nation’s infrastructure needs demand real funding solutions from the federal government, not reliance on gimmickry.

“We are no longer facing a future highway maintenance crisis – we’re living it – and every day we fail to invest, we’re putting more lives at risk. In nearly 53 percent of the highway fatalities, the condition of the roadway contributed,” he said. “Time wasted sitting in traffic – rather than at work or with our families – has skyrocketed. Motorists now pay an average of $1,600 due to repairs and congestion each year. Trucking now loses $74.5 billion sitting in gridlock. These are regressive realities and the escalating costs of doing nothing – and they are reflected in the prices we all pay. These costs are measurable and should serve as offsets for new spending on our nation’s infrastructure.”

ATA has proposed a 20-cent-per-gallon fee on motor fuels – collected at the wholesale rack – as a way of raising real funding for investment in infrastructure. This fee, called the Build America Fund, would be phased in over four years at a nickel per year and generate $340 billion over the next decade for road and bridge repair and replacement. 

“Federal inaction has prompted cash-strapped states to adopt regressive revenue schemes that hurt commuters, communities and divert funds to non-infrastructure priorities,” Spear said in his testimony, citing variable tolls on Interstate 66 in Virginia.

“This is the essence of regressive and our future if you choose to devolve your Constitutional authority to the states,” he said. “In contrast, if motorists paid the average toll – the cost of a 10-mile trip over an eight-day period on I-66 would equal their cost for an entire year under ATA’s Build America Fund for all roads and bridges in the United States.”

“The Build America Fund is the most conservative proposal – costing less than a cent on the dollar to administer versus up to 35 cents on the dollar for tolling schemes,” Spear said.

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