Latest Industry News Briefs Courtesy of PMTA

February 2018

ATA Commends Congress on Passage of Tax Overhaul

Arlington, Virginia - The American Trucking Associations today applauded Congress for passing major tax reform legislation, which now heads to the President's desk to be signed into law.

"America's economic engine has been ignited," said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. "President Trump has said that 'when trucks are moving, America is growing.' With his signing of this bill into law, there will be more trucks on our roads, making the deliveries fueled by an expanding economy."

"Winning doesn't come easy here in Washington and comprehensive tax reform was no exception," said Spear. "The President, House and Senate are to be commended for putting the American people first. This is the first change to our nation's tax code in over three decades and the most sweeping reforms America has witnessed in over 80 years. The ATA and its members are proud supporters of this bill and welcome the countless benefits it will bring to the United States economy."

ATA has been actively engaged on tax reform throughout the legislative process. In October, members of ATA joined President Trump in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to rally support behind an overhaul.

"This bill is a win not just for trucking but for our entire economy," said ATA Chairman Dave Manning, president of TCW, Inc. in Nashville. "The relief this bill provides will enable companies to invest in their growth, by hiring new employees or purchasing new equipment. That creates an economic stimulus with positive ripple effects that reach far and wide."

ATA Hails Arrival of ELD Mandate Effective Date

Arlington, VA… The American Trucking Associations welcomed the effective date of the long-awaited requirement for commercial truck drivers to record their hours of service electronically as a step forward for the industry.

"Electronic logging devices have been legislated, promulgated and litigated – with Congress voting three times in the past five years in favor of this requirement and a federal court rejecting a challenge to the rule. The time has finally come to retire decades-old, burdensome paper logs that consume countless hours and are susceptible to fraud and put the safety of all motorists first. The benefits of this rule exceed the costs by more than $1 billion, making it a rule the ATA can firmly support and easily adopt," said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. "Today marks the start of a new era of safety and efficiency for our industry and we thank the champions in the Department of Transportation and Congress who have gotten us to this point."

A rule requiring the use of an electronic logging device was first proposed in 2007, and was finalized in 2010 – but the rule that went into effect in January is the result of bipartisan congressional action in the 2012 highway bill: MAP-21.

"We firmly believe that America's truck drivers – if they were operating legally within the hours-of-service rules before today – will see tremendous benefits in using an ELD. Whether in reduced crashes, less time spent on paperwork or in fewer errors in their logbooks," Spear said. "The data, as well as our members' experiences, with this technology tells us that ELDs reduce crashes, increase compliance with the hours rules and ultimately benefit our industry and the motoring public."

"With the support of law enforcement groups and trucking industry groups like ATA that are concerned with the welfare of the motoring public, this requirement is now in the rearview mirror and we can turn our attention to other important safety matters surrounding the hours-of-service rules," said ATA Executive Vice President for Advocacy Bill Sullivan. "Having good data from the use of ELDs will make it easier for ATA to make the case for technical corrections to the hours-of-service rules in areas like detention time, split sleeper berth and more. Simply put, with this requirement in place we can now move forward to a safer, better future for our industry."

ATA Offers Support for Proposed Association Health Plan Rule

Arlington, VA… The American Trucking Associations said it welcomed a proposal by the U.S. Department of Labor making it easier for small businesses and self-employed individuals to purchase high-quality, lower cost health insurance through expanded association health plans.

"Today's proposal is a step in the right direction for improving access to affordable, quality health care for all Americans," said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. "We were pleased in October when President Trump signed an executive order allowing self-employed individuals to pool together to purchase health insurance plans sponsored by larger associations and groups, and we are happy to see his Administration take the next step in advancing this plan today."

The trucking industry is primarily comprised of small-businesses- with more than 90% of registered motor carriers operating fewer than six trucks - making it uniquely positioned to benefit from the establishment of association health plans. ATA, a 50-state federation of associations representing the trucking industry, has been a strong supporter of the Trump administration's health care reform efforts.

"President Trump and Secretary Acosta should be commended for their leadership in increasing access to affordable health insurance for thousands of Americans through this action," said ATA Chairman Dave Manning, president of TCW Inc., Nashville, Tennessee. "By allowing self-employed individuals and small businesses to pool their resources and offer affordable insurance options, this Administration is making good on its promise to improve our health care system."

ATA President Calls on Congress to Support Trucking's Growth

Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear told a Senate panel that the federal government needs to invest more in highway infrastructure if the trucking industry is to keep up with growth in demand for freight transportation services.

"The Highway Trust Fund is projected to run short of the revenue necessary to maintain current spending levels by 2021, creating a huge funding gap that could force states to cancel or delay critical projects. The U.S. spends less than half of what is necessary to address these needs," Spear said. "As the investment gap continues to grow, so too will the number of deficient bridges, roads, bottlenecks and, most critically, fatalities attributable to inadequate roadways.

"ATA's proposed solution is the Build America Fund. The Fund would be supported with a new, indexed, 20 cent per gallon fee built into the price of transportation fuels collected at the terminal rack, which will generate nearly $340 billion over the first 10 years," he said. "This proposal will stabilize the trust fund for many years and provide the resources necessary to reduce the project backlog."

Spear also urged the Committee to focus infrastructure improvement efforts on freight movements - across modes - in order to maintain the smooth flow of commerce in the country and to support a "strong federal role in funding and overseeing highway improvements."

ATA Truck Tonnage Index Increased 2.3% in November - Tonnage Index Up 7.6% from Year Earlier

Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations' advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index jumped again in November, adding 2.3% in addition to the 3.9% jump during October. In November, the index equaled 151.8 (2000=100), up from 148.4 in October.

Compared with November 2016, the SA index surged 7.6%, which was down from October's 10.5% year-over-year gain, but still very strong. In September, the index increased 6.3% on a year-over-year basis. Year-to-date, compared with the same eleven months in 2016, the index is up 3.5%.

ATA also revised its October monthly increase in the index up to a 3.9% jump from the previously reported 3.3% gain.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 147.1 in November, which was 3.1% below the previous month (151.8).

"The freight market is really strong," said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. "The solid truck tonnage figures over the last four months suggest to me that this holiday spending season might be better than many expected, and the best in several years. The strength in tonnage also shows that other parts of the economy are doing well, too, including business investment, factory output, and even construction."

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 70.6% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled nearly 10.5 billion tons of freight in 2016. Motor carriers collected $676.2 billion, or 79.8% 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.

Low Carbon Fuel Policies for Trucking Must Reflect Realties of Technology and Modern Supply Chain

As the federal government continues to explore policies around the use of low carbon fuels, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) reminds policy makers that readily available alternative fuel technology and infrastructure has not kept pace with the trucking industry’s desire to reduce its carbon footprint further.

“The trucking industry is not a monolithic entity,” said CTA president Stephen Laskowski. “Although low carbon technologies like natural gas and electric engines have less infrastructure and supply chain challenges for short haul trucking, government must also be aware that significant impediments for long-haul fleets using these technologies continues to persist.

Laskowski said CTA is encouraged by recent developments in electric trucks – “we’re perhaps starting to see a small handful of long-haul fleets kick the tires of heavy-duty electric vehicles” – but pointed out a modern long-haul truck can travel 1500 miles before needing to refuel. Electric trucks can only travel about 500 miles before needing to be recharged.

“Because of these technological and operational challenges, the predominant fuel used for long-haul trucking will continue to be diesel – not necessarily by choice, but because of practical and operational realties,” he said. “Without a battery swapping program or a dramatic reduction in recharging time, the electric truck will not work for long-haul drivers.

He said drivers, who are limited by hours of service rules in the number of hours they can drive in a day or week, cannot afford to spend precious time finding locations to recharge or change batteries.

The use of biodiesel has also been raised as a short-term, low carbon solution for the trucking sector. CTA’s advised the federal government to look forward, not backward for environmental transportation solutions:

“Biodiesel is as outdated as the rotary phone and belongs on the shelf with other ideas past their due date. Biodiesel is impractical, costly and gives rise to several operational issues, with little, to no environmental benefits for our sector,” says Laskowski. “Instead, CTA looks forward to working with the federal government on exploring how natural gas and electric vehicles can grow in the trucking market and how impediments could be removed.

To overcome some of the challenges associated with electric and natural gas vehicles, CTA reminds governments that incentive programs remain a valid option to attract early adopters.

Gary Plant Named Trucking's National Driver of the Year

Memphis, TN… American Trucking Associations' Safety Management Council recognized outstanding trucking leaders at the Safety, Security and Human Resources National Conference and Exhibition in Memphis, Tennessee. Gary Plant, professional truck driver with Walmart Transportation, was honored as trucking's National Driver of the Year.

"Safety is a reward in and off itself, but at ATA we also believe in recognizing the people and organizations who pursue excellence in their approaches to safety," said ATA President & CEO Chris Spear. "Safety is what defines our industry, and one must look no further than a four million mile accident-free driver or a company that dedicates substantial resources to safety investments, to see that safety is what guides trucking's dedicated professionals every day."

ATA's National Driver of the Year Award annually recognizes one exceptional driver for significant and career-long professional achievements, holding a stellar safety record, and maintaining dedication to keeping the roads safe. The driver is selected from a pool of exceptional state Drivers of the Year submitted by ATA's affiliated state trucking associations. Each candidates' qualifications are first reviewed by a group of industry safety professional judges. These judges then narrow the field of nominees to a group of finalists who are judged by an impartial panel of Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and law enforcement representatives, who select the award winner.

Plant, who was awarded the 2017 National Driver of the Year trophy on stage in Orlando, Florida at ATA's Management Conference and Exhibition in late October, is in the middle of his 41st year as a professional truck driver. He has driven 4.4 million safe miles throughout his career, equivalent to 176 trips around the world. Incredibly, Plant has not been involved in a single preventable or non-preventable accident and has never been cited for a moving or traffic violation of any sort.

Plant is a 27-year veteran of Walmart Transportation and has worked at a total of four trucking companies. He typically operates a 5-Axle Sleeper Berth tractor-trailer and drives an average of 125,000 miles per year.

As a prolific truck driving championships competitor at both the state and national levels, Plant has won 11 state titles and 6 top ten finishes at nationals, including 2 second place trophies at the National Truck Driving Championships.

The Safety, Security and Human Resources National Conference and Exhibition also set the stage for the presentation of several other key trucking safety and security awards.

The Arkansas Trucking Association was honored with the ATA State Excellence in Safety Award, given annually to a state trucking association making innovative and impactful progress on promoting safety to their members. Arkansas Trucking Association hosted 8 safety council meetings, 5 education sessions, operates an Arkansas Road Team and Share the Road program, and hosted a state truck driving championship for 156 drivers representing 18 companies.

The ATA President's Award was given to three companies who exhibited safety excellence in their daily operations:

• Fortune Transportation, a for-hire, General Commodities Truckload operation headquartered in Windom, Minnesota, for fleets under 25 million miles;

• A. Duie Pyle, a for-hire, general commodities, less than truckload motor carrier headquartered in West Chester, Pennsylvania, for fleets between 25 million and 100 million miles and;

• Ruan Transportation, a for-hire, General Commodities Truckload, Flatbed and Tank Truck motor carrier located in Des Moines, Iowa, for fleets with more than 100 million miles.

Security, an increasingly critical topic in the trucking industry, was also featured in several of the awards given out in Memphis. Old Dominion Freight Line was presented the Excellence in Security Award and ABF Freight System Inc. was honored with the Excellence in Claims and Loss Prevention Award.

Truckload Carriers Association, in Partnership with the Motor Carrier Insurance Education Foundation, Launches Latest Online Certification Program

Alexandria, VA… The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), in conjunction with the Motor Carrier Insurance Education Foundation (MCIEF), is proud to announce the release of a new certification program dedicated to strengthening operations—the Motor Carrier Insurance Risk Management Program (MCIRMP).

This eight-part online course empowers participants to make better insurance purchasing decisions, and instructs on how to improve their practices to see measurable results. The participant will earn the designation of Certified Motor Carrier Risk Specialist upon completion of the lessons and examination.

"By making the commitment to be more knowledgeable purchasers of insurance for their motor carriers, professionals are not only showing their dedication to their own career development, but to the success and profitability of their companies," said Ron Goode, M. Ed., TCA's director of education. "Truckload Academy is proud to be the source of such continuing education and professional certification for the trucking industry through the Motor Carrier Insurance Risk Management Program."

The new offering is divided into modules covering a wide variety of topics; including, the types of coverage needed, key strategies for obtaining a sound insurance program that is a valuable asset for the motor carrier, and the considerations that go into how coverage is provided. In addition, participants learn steps to take to become a better insured, and how to best be prepared for critical situations with potential major financial implications.

"How important is insurance to your trucking company?" asked M. Thomas Ruke, Jr., CIC, CPIA, CWIS, TRS, president of Insurance Business Consultants, Inc. and founder of MCIEF. "It becomes very important when you have to rely on the promise of protection in your insurance policies. Then the promise in the policy might be the most important promise made to your company."

The Motor Carrier Insurance Risk Management Program features interactive modules, with key words and phrases linked to additional information about the topic, and quizzes to help serve as checkpoints for understanding. The MCIRMP is the second certification program from Truckload Academy with the Certified Fleet Manager Program also offering credentialing opportunities. Both programs are available at a discount for TCA members, and can be purchased from TCA's online learning platform, the Truckload Academy On-demand (TAO). Once purchased, participants have unrestricted access for one year, and receive a certificate suitable for framing upon completion of the preparatory course and exam.

For more information on the Motor Carrier Insurance Risk Management Program, and to purchase, visit TCA's online learning platform, Truckload Academy On-demand.

Volvo Trucks Shares its Vision for a World with Zero Traffic Accidents

On-road fatalities plague societies around the world, and road safety must improve, Volvo Trucks said during an education session at the American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference & Exhibition in Orlando.

Safety is the cornerstone on which Volvo founders Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson built the company, establishing safety as a core value in 1927. Gabrielsson and Larson are famously quoted as stating, “A vehicle is made by and for people. Thus, the basic principle of all manufacturing is and must remain safety.”

“Each year more than 1.2 million people per year killed on roads around the world, and we must change the world,” said Carl Johan Almqvist, traffic and product safety director, Volvo Trucks. “Often times it’s not until a traffic accident or fatality personally affects our lives that we take note of the problem. We know that about 90 percent of all accidents are a result of human factors, so real progress requires a change in mindset so we don’t tolerate accidents and their contributing behaviors.”

Volvo Trucks globally has a HYPERLINK ""Zero Accident Vision.

“We should not accept any fatalities in traffic at all, and our vision means that no Volvo truck is to be involved in a traffic accident,” said Almqvist.

To achieve this vision, Volvo is continuously developing products and systems that help prevent accidents from happening and reduce consequences if an accident does occur. HYPERLINK ""In North America, Volvo made Volvo Active Driver Assist, which includes Bendix Wingman Fusion, standard on the new Volvo VNR regional haul series and Volvo VNL long-haul series tractors. Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology (VEST), full stability technology, has been standard on Volvo on-highway models since 2007.

“Technologies can certainly help improve safety and show even greater promise in the future, but we must always recognize the human element in safety,” said Almqvist.

“I commend companies and programs that invest in identifying the importance of professional drivers and the significant role they play in all our lives. I strongly believe that drivers perform far better when they feel engaged, appreciated and a valued part of their company.”

Traffic safety is a complex issue that’s further complicated by growing congestion.

All road users are part of the problem and we must all be part of the solution. Collaboration is key because no single entity can solve the problem alone,” said Almqvist. “Eliminating traffic accidents requires truck manufacturers, authorities, infrastructure planners and other experts around the world to work together.”

Women In Trucking Association Announces its December Member of the Month

Plover, WI… Women In Trucking Association (WIT) announces Mackenzie Melton as its December Member of the Month. Compared to many truck drivers, Mackenzie is relatively new in the transportation industry. She began her professional driving career with Garner Trucking, Inc, in her home town of Findlay, Ohio, nearly three years ago.

Deciding to attend a truck driving school took more courage than anyone else could understand. When Mackenzie was only eleven years old, she had been involved in a fatal car accident which took the lives of both of her step-brothers. Snow and icy conditions were a factor of that tragic event. The memory of the accident left her with a fear of riding in vehicles for several years after. Even as a professional driver, it adds another layer of focus when weather conditions become severe.

Being a single mother, Mackenzie found herself working several dead-end jobs as she struggled to provide for herself and her young child. As she labored in a factory to barely made ends meet, Mackenzie described her situation as “dirt poor” and nowhere to go. While she was working at the presses day in and day out, it was a driver who unknowingly gave Mackenzie an inspiration. The driver made a daily delivery to the facility where Mackenzie worked. She noticed his professionalism, his pleasant demeanor, his confidence and pride in what he did for a living. Mackenzie had never spoken to that driver, but began to admire the job he did. “Why can’t I be a truck driver and happily come and go instead of standing at my press every day?” was what began going through her mind.

Family members were split over her career decision. The man in her life, who is now her husband, has been nothing but supportive since the very beginning. He helps make her home time quality family time with her two children. Another family member expressed her fear of dangers on the road that a woman could encounter. After nearly three years, none of those fears have proven to be valid and Mackenzie stated that she is so glad she didn’t allow the fears of others to hinder her decision.

It was time for her to begin a new career that would provide a good life for her family. Driving truck promised to be financially stable and offer some adventure too. It would have taken a life-time to save enough for tuition for truck driving school; so, she sought assistance. She found an agency that would invest in someone who was willing to work hard, had a good employment history and could fit classes into her weekend schedule. She took a little longer to graduate than some, but with her job and family, she could only be in class one day each week; however, Mackenzie has no regrets of the choice she made! Mackenzie considers herself very fortunate that she found a career that gives her so much satisfaction. Since becoming a driver for Garner Trucking, Mackenzie says, “I feel no other career would be as fulfilling. Every day I take pride in my job. Everywhere I go my goal is to change the way people perceive truck drivers in general. Admittedly, there are some truck drivers who perpetuate the general opinion of the occupation as grumpy, angry and complaining people. But I have met some truly nice people out there. Truck drivers are some of the most reliable, friendly, and helpful people I come across.”

Mackenzie states that being a lady driver does create a few challenges. When someone sees her drive into their lot for the first time, occasionally, they will stand and watch to see if she can do her job. Once she backs in and proves she can handle the truck and trailer, she gains their respect. As her professionalism extends to paperwork and communicating with shippers and receivers, they are glad to have her return to their facility.

Mackenzie’s clean safety record, on-time deliveries and other criteria that calculates into the formula for company driver awards, certainly paid off for her. “In 2016, I was selected as Garner Driver of the Quarter,” says Mackenzie, “and that was a big surprise since I was not a long-time employee!”

“Stories like Mackenzie’s fill my heart with joy!” says Sherri Garner Brumbaugh, owner of Garner Trucking, Inc, Findlay Ohio. “Mackenzie is special and I am fortunate she has found a career at Garner. I think, sadly, there are more women like Mackenzie out there that don’t or can’t realize their financial and career potential. How do we find them? How do we get them behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler? I’m so thankful Mackenzie takes pride in her career and talks to others about facing their fears head on!”

Recently, Mackenzie has shifted her focus at Garner Trucking. She is now a Recruiting Specialist where she is able to share her excitement for the industry and her experience on the road with others.

About Women In Trucking: The Women In Trucking Association, Inc. is a nonprofit association established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry. Membership is not limited to women, as 17 percent of its members are men who support the mission. Women In Trucking is supported by its members and the generosity of Gold Level Partners: Arrow Truck Sales, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, Daimler Trucks North America, BMO Transportation Finance, Expediter Services, Great Dane, J.B. Hunt Transport, Ryder System, Inc., and Walmart. Follow WIT on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. For more information, visit or call 888-464-9482.