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Latest Industry News Briefs Courtesy of PMTA

October, 2018

ATA Truck Tonnage Index Rose 1.9% in July

Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 1.9% in July after decreasing 0.5% in June. In July, the index equaled 115 (2015=100), up from 112.8 in June.

ATA revised the June decline from the originally reported 0.4% to 0.5%.

Compared with July 2017, the SA index jumped 8.6%, up from June’s 7.7% year-over-year increase. Year-to-date, compared with the same period last year, tonnage increased 8%, far outpacing the annual gain of 3.8% in 2017.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 114.6 in July, which was 1.2% below the previous month (116.1).

“Truck freight remained very strong in July when accounting for normal seasonality,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Both the month-to-month and year-over-year gains were the largest in three months. This robust growth stems from solid manufacturing, retail sales, and construction activity. The industry’s biggest challenge isn’t finding enough freight, but recruiting and retaining quality drivers.”

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 the 10th day of the month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons and key financial indicators.



Emergency Declaration Extended For Commercial Vehicles Responding To Fires

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has extended its regional emergency declaration for wildfires in Oregon, Washington and California through Oct. 1, 2018.

This extension continues the exemption for Parts 390 through 399 of FMCSA safety regulations. Please note that the exemption does not include commercial driver license requirements and drug and alcohol testing requirements.

The FMCSA emergency declaration allows for faster movement of commercial vehicles involved in firefighting operations. When emergencies are declared, the Oregon Motor Carrier Transportation Division coordinates with enforcement officials around Oregon.

If you are responding to an emergency, be sure to tell MCDT enforcement personnel. If you are unsure of whether or not hours of service regulations have been waived please call 503-378-6963.

•Check the Oregon Governor’s website for specific information about emergency declarations.

During fire season in Oregon, it is vital to remind motor carriers that even for vehicles responding to a fires, size and weight exemptions cannot be waived.

Loads must be of legal dimensions, or operating under the provisions and requirements of the over-dimension permit issued to the truck by the Motor Carrier Transportation Division.

•For information about size and weight permitting in Oregon, contact the Over-Dimension Permit Unit between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays at 503-373-0000.

•Acquire a permit when responding to an emergency outside of normal business hours call 503-931-1541.

Vehicles responding to fire emergencies are required to enter open scale facilities when a sign posted before the scale reads:

•”All Trucks Over 20,000 pounds GVWR Next Right.”

•Or trucks with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or greater without posted sign unless they are operating with red warning lights and/or siren.

Registration and tax credentials are required, unless otherwise exempt by rule or statute.

•For more information about these requirements, contact the Registration Entry Unit at 503-378-6699.


E-ZPass Accepted on Orlando-Area Toll Roads 

ORLANDO, FL — The Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) and the E-ZPass Group, a network of toll road agencies operating from Maine to North Carolina and west through Illinois, announced that E-ZPass will be accepted on CFX’s Metro Orlando toll roads starting Sept. 1. In a move to further their commitment to toll interoperability, CFX is the first and only Florida toll agency to join the E-ZPass network bringing the total number of states served by E-ZPass to 17.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission manages nearly 2.3 million E-ZPass accounts with 3.1 million transponders in circulation. Today, 82 percent of all PA Turnpike transactions are paid with E-ZPass.

CFX’s Governing Board approved an agreement with the E-ZPass group in fall 2017 that laid the groundwork for the two agencies to improve the travel experience for E-ZPass customers visiting the Orlando area. With the addition of CFX to the E-ZPass Group, E-ZPass customers can use the transponder they already own on CFX’s 118-mile toll system. Toll roads in Central Florida where E-ZPass is accepted are outlined on the below map.

The more than 35 million E-ZPass users can now drive in Metro Orlando and avoid having to fumble for change at CFX toll gantries. E-ZPass account holders will be billed for CFX tolls through their E-ZPass accounts with no extra fees or charges.

“Our customers wanted portability to the Sunshine State, and now they have it in Metro Orlando, the number-one tourist destination in the U.S.,” said E-ZPass Group Executive Director PJ Wilkins. “There is no pre-registration required since customers are already enrolled. Just don’t forget to take your E-ZPass transponder when planning to travel CFX roads!”

Almost half of Florida’s domestic visitors come from E-ZPass states, with about 50 percent traveling by car. The partnership between CFX and E-ZPass simplifies the travel experience for visitors equipped with an E-ZPass transponder in their vehicle. The launch of the partnership between E-PASS and E-ZPass comes ahead of the peak season when millions of visitors head to Orlando in search of warmth during the cold winter months.

“Orlando is the most visited destination in the United States, so whether traveling here for business or pleasure, we want our visitors to have the same experience that residents enjoy year-round,” said CFX Executive Director Laura Kelley. “The launch of our partnership with E-ZPass makes driving in Orlando a safe, convenient choice for drivers.”

E-ZPass is accepted on tolled roads operated by a network of toll agencies in 17 states and will work as payment on CFX toll roads in Central Florida marked with both E-PASS and E-ZPass logos.

E-ZPass does not capture tolls on roads outside of its network. E-ZPass customers traveling out of network on roads operated by Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise under the SunPass brand will be invoiced for tolls via Florida’s Toll-By-Plate program.

The E-ZPass Group operates the largest toll road network in the world, consisting of toll agencies/companies in 17 states, with more than 22 million accounts and 35 million toll transponders in use.



OOIDA’s Petition Spurs HOS Reform

Grain Valley, MO… A petition by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association played a key role in the government launching an effort to revise hours-of-service regulations. OOIDA looks forward to working with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to safely and responsibly update those standards.

The Association’s petition, which was filed in February of this year, was referred to in today’s announcement by FMCSA to revise the hours-of-service regulations.

“OOIDA got this ball rolling with our petition, constant grassroots outreach from our members, and the relentless efforts of Congressman Brian Babin,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer said.

“Our members have continuously told federal officials that current regulations are overly complex, provide no flexibility, and in no way reflect the physical capabilities or limitations of individual drivers.”

OOIDA says its members have expressed their concerns about regulations that force them to be on the road when they are tired, during busy travel times and in adverse weather or road conditions. Their schedules are also at the mercy of shippers and receivers, and other obstacles that create a conflict between operating both safely and in compliance with federal regulations.

OOIDA’s petition recommended that drivers be allowed to take rest breaks once per 14-hour period for up to three consecutive hours as long as the driver is off-duty. It also suggested eliminating the 30-minute break requirement.

“The hours-of-service regulations for commercial truck drivers need to be updated to match the realities of freight movement and to truly improve highway safety,” said Spencer. “The trucking industry is in a situation where we have never had more regulations and greater enforcement and compliance. Yet, truck-related crash numbers are going in the wrong direction. It’s time for a new approach.”

OOIDA also expressed support for proposed legislation that came soon after the petition in February. The Responsible and Effective Standards for Truckers, or REST Act, H.R.5417, is similar in that it would allow drivers to take one rest break per shift, for up to three consecutive hours. This single off-duty period would not be counted toward the driver’s 14-hour, on-duty allowance. The bill would not extend the total, allowable drive time limits.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Brian Babin (TX-36) and would also eliminate the existing 30-minute rest break requirement.

“The agency is finally listening and now the door is open for truckers to make their voices heard and to spur real, common-sense changes to the hours-of-service regulations. This rulemaking needs robust participation from real truckers so that the next incarnation of the hours-of-service regulations is not written by corporate trucking executives and anti-trucking groups that have no understanding of the realities of over-the-road trucking,” said Spencer.

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 161,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Mo. area.


OOIDA Testifies At Subcommittee Hearing On Glider Regulations

Grain Valley, MO… The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association represented the interests of small-business truckers at a joint hearing with the Subcommittee on Oversight and Subcommittee on Environment Hearing - Examining the Underlying Science and Impacts of Glider Truck Regulations.

The hearing was held to discuss the effects that glider vehicle regulations have on truckers.

Collin Long, OOIDA director of government affairs, testified on behalf of the Association’s more than 160,000 members and shared how changes to federal policies such as glider vehicle regulations dramatically affect the industry.

OOIDA would like to see glider vehicles exempted from Phase 2 regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency because it would provide small-business truckers affordable, reliable and efficient options when purchasing new or used trucks.

In July of this year, the EPA announced it had decided to delay through 2019 the enforcement of a cap that would limit the number of glider trucks that could be built. The agency said the delay was intended to reduce the impact on the industry until a resolution could be reached. However, a lawsuit prompted the EPA to pull back the decision not to regulate.
OOIDA has been supportive of the glider industry, contending that gliders give small-business truckers an affordable option when compared to new trucks. According to the Association, gliders are at least 25 percent less expensive than new commercial motor vehicles and can save owner-operators tens of thousands of dollars.

Long told the subcommittee that owner -operators typically purchase glider kits with remanufactured engines because it allows them to diagnose and repair mechanical issues without the need for a dealer technician or specialized equipment. Also, the fuel efficiency of glider kits is either closely matched, or in some cases, equal to or better than a new truck.

Emission standards have increased the cost for new trucks and the technology has often been found to make them extremely unreliable. If a truck becomes a liability by routinely being inoperable, the owner must absorb the cost of lost productivity, while also paying for the necessary repairs.

The option of purchasing a glider kit can sometimes mean saving a small trucking business and should remain a viable option.

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.


State Safety, Transportation Agencies Launch Effort to Protect Highway Responders

MIDDLETOWN, PA… Five commonwealth agencies formalized an interagency agreement which officially launches the Pennsylvania Traffic Incident Management Enhancement program (“PennTIME”). The goal of PennTIME is to reduce highway incident clearance times and improve first-responder safety while keeping traffic moving.

“Traffic crashes and ‘struck-by’ incidents are leading causes of injury and death for highway workers, police officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel and towing and recovery workers,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards. “Reducing incident clearance times on our roadways will improve responder safety while also keeping traffic moving and travelers safe.”

The interagency agreement was signed by five commonwealth agencies which make up part of the executive panel of the PennTIME consortium: PennDOT, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

The PennTIME program, designed from national traffic-management concepts, will enhance coordination and training among responder agencies and decrease the time it takes to respond to and clear highway incidents.

“Each day, in Pennsylvania alone, we see 355 reportable crashes that cause three fatalities and 227 injuries, on average,” said PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “We can do better. Today, these five agencies — and others on the team — are taking a meaningful step towards improving highway worker and responder safety and making roads safer for all who use them.”

PennTIME grew out of a 2016 traffic-incident management summit hosted at PEMA, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. Attendees heard firsthand then about the successes and challenges Mid-Atlantic response agencies faced when implementing statewide traffic-incident management (or TIM) initiatives; Pennsylvania officials agreed to move towards a statewide response model at the 2016 summit.

“Each of the agencies represented here is charged with keeping our citizens safe as well as providing access to critical care when needed,” said PEMA Director Richard D. Flinn. “Today’s agreement puts into practice a working blueprint that has been saving lives by bettering coordination.”

PennTIME will help synchronize a multitude of organizations, jurisdictions and governments involved in TIM in Pennsylvania, which encompasses a mix of rural and urban environments, volunteer and paid response companies and personnel from state, county and local agencies.

“Coordinating traffic-incident management has been challenging in Pennsylvania because our roadways fall under different jurisdictions and involve many responding entities, each with different protocols,” said Lieutenant Colonel Robert Evanchick, Acting State Police Commissioner. “While each entity has distinct functions and responsibilities, organizing via a multi-disciplinary approach is crucial to develop and operate a successful statewide incident-management plan.”

As PennTIME agencies work to improve incident-scene safety and clearance times, officials throughout the state’s response community continue to remind motorists of the need to slow down or move over for all emergency, recovery and maintenance personnel. Pennsylvania’s “Steer Clear” law requires drivers to move over or slow down when approaching an emergency scene, traffic stop or disabled vehicle.

“When responding to highway incidents, EMS providers and other responders are focused on the task at hand, such as caring for patients who need immediate treatment,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. “As passersby, we must give them the space they need to do their jobs, not to mention the respect they earned for the selfless work they do. Creating space between your car and the crash scene is just one way we can offer a gesture of thanks to our providers.”

In addition to the five above-mentioned agencies, the PennTIME executive panel includes representatives of these organizations: the Governor’s Office, the Office of the State Fire Commissioner, the Pennsylvania Association of Township Supervisors, the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, the Pennsylvania Towing Association or Alliance of Automotive Service Providers, the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Along with the executive panel, PennTIME consists of the following organizational bodies:

The Statewide TIM Panel functions as the primary leadership group to develop statewide TIM initiatives and implement multi-disciplinary TIM programs. Along with executive-panel members, the TIM Panel includes representatives of some 20 national, state, regional, county and local groups involved in emergency response, planning, safety, transportation and legislative activities.

Four distinct Regional TIM Teams — western, central, eastern and southeastern — are responsible to bring initiatives developed at the statewide level to the local level for review and consensus-building among TIM practitioners from all d

Six Statewide TIM Committees will implement and enhance targeted programs and strategies and report successes and challenges to the Statewide TIM Panel. The six committees include Training, Technology, Public Education and Outreach, Legislative Affairs, TIM Task Force Development and Towing and Recovery.

To learn more, connect with PennTIME on Facebook and Twitter.


U.S. EPA and DOT Propose Fuel Economy Standards for MY 2021-2026 Vehicles

WASHINGTON, DC… The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a notice of proposed rulemaking, the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks (SAFE Vehicles Rule), to correct the national automobile fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards to give the American people greater access to safer, more affordable vehicles that are cleaner for the environment.

The SAFE Vehicles Rule is the next generation of the Congressionally mandated Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards. This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is the first formal step in setting the 2021-2026 Model Year (MY) standards that must be achieved by each automaker for its car and light-duty truck fleet.

In the proposal, EPA and NHTSA are seeking public comment on a wide range of regulatory options, including a preferred alternative that locks in MY 2020 standards through 2026, providing a much-needed time-out from further, costly increases. The agencies’ preferred alternative reflects a balance of safety, economics, technology, fuel conservation, and pollution reduction. It is anticipated to prevent thousands of on-road fatalities and injuries as compared to the standards set forth in the 2012 final rule. The joint proposal initiates a process to establish a new 50-state fuel economy and tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions standard for passenger cars and light trucks covering MY 2021 through 2026.

“We are delivering on President Trump’s promise to the American public that his administration would address and fix the current fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Our proposal aims to strike the right regulatory balance based on the most recent information and create a 50-state solution that will enable more Americans to afford newer, safer vehicles that pollute less. More realistic standards can save lives while continuing to improve the environment. We value the public’s input as we engage in this process in an open, transparent manner.”

“There are compelling reasons for a new rulemaking on fuel economy standards for 2021-2026,” said Secretary Elaine L. Chao. “More realistic standards will promote a healthy economy by bringing newer, safer, cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles to U.S. roads and we look forward to receiving input from the public.”

The current standards have been a factor in the rising cost of new automobiles to an average of $35,000 or more—out of reach for many American families. Indeed, compared to the preferred alternative in the proposal, keeping in place the standards finalized in 2012 would add $2,340 to the cost of owning a new car, and impose more than $500 billion in societal costs on the U.S. economy over the next 50 years.

Additionally, a 2018 government study by NHTSA shows new model year vehicles are safer, resulting in fewer deaths and injuries when involved in accidents, as compared to older models. Therefore, the Administration is focused on correcting the current standards that restrict the American people from being able to afford newer vehicles with more advanced safety features, better fuel economy, and associated environmental benefits.

On April 2, 2018, EPA issued the Mid-Term Evaluation Final Determination which found that the MY 2022-2025 GHG standards are not appropriate and should be revised. For more than a year, the agencies worked together to extensively analyze current automotive and fuel technologies, reviewed economic conditions and projections, and consulted with other federal agency partners to ensure the most reliable and accurate analysis possible.

EPA and NHTSA are seeking public feedback to ensure that all potential impacts concerning today’s proposal are fully considered and hope to issue a final rule this winter.

The public will have 60 days to provide feedback once published at the Federal Register.