Latest Industry News Briefs Courtesy of PMTA

June 2019

ATA Truck Tonnage Index Fell 2.3% in March

Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index was down 2.3% in March after decreasing 1.5% in February. In March, the index equaled 113.2 (2015=100) compared with 115.8 in February.

“In March, and really the first quarter in total, tonnage was negatively impacted by bad winter storms throughout much of the U.S.,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “While I expected tonnage to moderate in the first quarter, the late Easter holiday and the winter storms made it worse. It is likely that tonnage will improve in the second quarter, although year-over-year gains will be significantly below the 2018 annual increase of 6.7%.”

Compared with March 2018, the SA index increased 1.6%, down from February’s 3.9% gain. During the first quarter, tonnage was up 3.8% from the same period in 2018.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 116.3 in March, 10.3% above February’s level (105.5). 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 the 5th day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.

ATA Urges President Trump, Democratic Leaders to Continue Infrastructure Push

Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear said the trucking industry is optimistic after today’s meeting between President Trump and Democratic congressional leaders, with all parties agreeing on the need for a well-funded infrastructure bill.

“Americans are literally wasting billions of dollars and millions of hours stuck in traffic because there has not been the necessary investment and maintenance of our nation’s roads and bridges,” Spear said. “We are encouraged to hear President Trump, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer and other key Congressional Democrats are in agreement on a ‘big, bold’ vision to invest as much as $2 trillion on our deteriorating infrastructure.

“The trucking industry is intimately familiar with the issues our nation faces due to deteriorating roads and bridges,” he said, “and we have a tool that can generate $340 billion over the next 10 years to fix our bridges and fill potholes across the country. The fuel tax is the one funding tool in the toolbox that pays for itself by users. It is the most effective, efficient and yes, conservative, way of generating the amount of money we need to do the job.”

ATA has proposed a five-cent increase in the fuel user fee over four years as part of the Build America Fund, a total twenty-cent increase that would generate $340 billion in funds for immediate investment in the nation’s roads and bridges.

ATA was also one of dozens of business and labor groups to send a letter to the president and congressional Democrats urging them take real, bipartisan action on infrastructure.

“Defining the scope of the problem and outlining a vision to address it is an excellent start, but action is what is needed next,” Spear said. “When these leaders reconvene in three weeks, we call on President Trump and Congress to demonstrate the kind of courage that Presidents Reagan and Clinton once did and advance an infrastructure bill with real increases in revenue – the kind of immediate funding that can only come from increasing the fuel tax.”

For more on ATA’s infrastructure proposal, visit

ATA Welcomes Proposal for New Pilot Program for Non-Military Younger Drivers - Industry Supports FMCSA Effort to Design Test for 18-20-Year-Old Interstate Drivers

Arlington, VA… The American Trucking Associations applauded the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for taking a first step toward a new pilot program to allow non-military commercial drivers under the age of 21 to operate in interstate commerce.

“ATA supports FMCSA’s efforts to expand on its current work examining younger commercial drivers,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “Right now, 18-, 19-, and 20-year-old drivers are driving trucks in the United States. What these pilot programs will do is set out a path for these drivers to fully participate in our industry by allowing them to drive interstate.”

In a Federal Register Notice, FMCSA announced it was seeking comments on what “training, qualifications, driving limitations, and vehicle safety systems that FMCSA should consider in developing options or approaches for a second pilot program for younger drivers.”

This would become FMCSA’s second younger driver pilot program, following a program announced last July to allow younger veterans to drive in interstate commerce.

“Allowing younger drivers, who are already moving goods intrastate, to drive interstate is a common sense step that has support not just from the trucking industry, but from a broad coalition,” Spear said. “Between FMCSA’s proposed pilot project and the bipartisan support for the Drive SAFE Act in Congress, we hope we will soon create a path for more young people to fully participate in our industry.”

CTA, Suppliers Push Forward with ELD Tech Standard – Home Stretch in Sight

In completing the final review of the electronic logging device (ELD) technical standard last month, the Canadian Trucking Alliance believes there are no roadblocks to finalizing the standard in the immediate term, says Geoff Wood, CTA’s Senior VP, Policy.

As with anything to do with ELDs, the devil is in the details, explains Wood. Since Transport Canada first proposed in December 2017 that the Canadian industry move forward with ELDs, there has been steady progress to align the Canadian technical standard for ELDs with specifications issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in the U.S.

Over the past several months, CTA, working with technology firms within the Alliance membership that offer ELD products to the Canadian market, have met regularly to work with governments in expediting the completion of the technical standard, which will be an integral part of Transport Canada's final rule expected to be published in the Canada Gazette II by this summer.

CTA’s involvement has allowed government policy makers the opportunity to meet tight timelines desired by the trucking industry and requested by the Council of Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety. Specifically, the most recent work deals with third-party certification of ELD devices, which is essential for ensuring carriers across Canada are complying on an equal level playing field.

Third-party certification means that an independent organization meeting the requirements set out by the government regulatory body, not the product/software manufacturer, has reviewed the compliance characteristics of a product and has independently determined it complies with specific standards for safety, quality or performance. This review typically includes a comprehensive cross-referencing of the product(s) with set specifications as well as hands-on testing and live verification by the third-party organization. Some form of third-party certification requirements for electronic products or safety devices is relatively common in North America.

"We have strong supplier support and an open ear from government officials to regulate ELD technology from a both a performance and compliance standpoint for the first time,” said Wood. “It was necessary for CTA to coordinate efforts with both the suppliers and government and we are pleased with the outcome of this process.

“CTA will continue the collaborative approach with ELD suppliers and governments to ensure ELD standards and regulations keep pace with the evolving nature of technology and that we have an hours of service regime that is based on a level-playing field and certified equipment,” added Wood.

CTA Calls for National Carrier Entry Standard as New Humboldt Trial About to Get Underway

Toronto, Canada… Contending that it’s too easy to launch a new trucking company in Canada, the Canadian Trucking Alliance is calling for a national motor carrier entry standard that companies must meet before being allowed to put a truck on the road.

The announcement comes as the court proceedings of the owner of Calgary-based Adesh Deol Trucking, the company involved in the tragic Humboldt bus crash, continues in Calgary. The trial of the driver of the truck involved in the crash concluded in February. The driver, who plead guilty to 29 dangerous driving related changes was to be sentenced.

“High performing truck drivers are not only a product of their continuous commitment to their profession but are a reflection of the culture of compliance and training of their carrier,” said CTA Chair Scott Smith. “The perfect equation of truck safety includes a committed carrier and driver, and we must begin ensuring that every carrier that enters and remains in our sector understands and is committed to that.”

CTA says that while the government’s commitment to establishing a mandatory entry level training (MELT) standard for truck drivers is an excellent start, there needs to be a similar evaluation and monitoring program for new trucking companies in order to ensure the maximum level of safety and compliance on the highways.

The Alliance is asking the federal government to consider working with the trucking industry to create a Fleet Regulatory Responsibilities and Corporate Practices (FRRCP) standard, which could require new carrier entrants to undergo a safety fitness and risk assessment evaluation, as well as submit to continuous safety oversight, before being given authority to operate a commercial vehicle. Aspects of this potential program were recently put in place in Alberta.

CTA suggests the program could require new companies to submit evidence they are administratively and technically prepared to comply with National Safety Code (NSC) standards and regulations as it relates to the establishment of safety programs, ongoing training and oversight of truck drivers and equipment maintenance, among other things. The mandate could also include intervention mechanisms for provincial enforcement agencies to monitor and identify poor-performing carriers and take action against them faster and more consistently through roadside enforcement, facility auditing and safety fitness oversight.

While the vast majority of companies go above and beyond in meeting NSC standards through their own progressive safety management systems, policies and corrective oversight, a small percentage of carriers lack the knowledge and preparedness to meet basic standards, says CTA.

To address the potential details of a potential FRRCP and how to focus attention on the few bad apples, CTA has established the Truck Safety Working Group made up of leading trucking industry representatives from coast-to-coast as well as Transport Canada. The Truck Safety Working Group was created to promote CTA’s 10-point actionplan, which provides policy makers some direction on how government and industry can work together on improving truck safety compliance.

In the meantime, the CTA Board is calling on the federal government to quickly introduce electronic technology that will eliminate the paper compliance system which governs the time a driver and truck can operate on a public roadway.

“Moving quickly on implementing tamper-proof, electronic logging devices (ELDs) to replace archaic paper logs to effectively monitor hours of service compliance is a good example of the technology our industry is calling for. This system needs to be implemented and enforced as quickly as possible,” said Stephen Laskowski, president, CTA.

According to Transport Canada, fatigue in both truck and passenger car drivers is a factor in about 20 per cent of all collisions. There are about 9,400 HOS-related per year in Canada and the introduction of tamper-proof, certified ELDs will significantly improve compliance.

Paper logbook violations were central among the charges against the truck driver and the company in the Humboldt case.

CTA Reaffirms Plan to Improve Truck Safety Oversight and Hours of Service Compliance

“There’s clearly an issue about monitoring,” said Provincial Judge Sean Dunnigan after Crown prosecutor Deanna Smyth detailed the multiple violations under federal and provincial transportation regulations which were not complied with by Adesh Deol Trucking, leading up to the tragic Humboldt bus collision.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance strongly agrees with Judge Dunnigan and has been calling for improved entry standards and oversight in the trucking industry.

“While the vast majority of companies go above and beyond in meeting National Safety Code standards through their own progressive safety management systems, policies and corrective oversight, a small percentage of carriers lack the knowledge and preparedness to meet basic standards, says CTA Chair Scott Smith.

To address the potential details of how to focus attention on the few bad apples, CTA has established the Truck SafetyWorking Group made up of leading trucking industry representatives from coast-to-coast as well as Transport Canada. The Truck Safety Working Group was created to promote CTA’s 10-point action plan, which provides policy makers some direction on how government and industry can work together on improving truck safety compliance.

In the meantime, the CTA Board is calling on the federal government to quickly introduce electronic technology that will eliminate the paper compliance system governing the time a driver can operate on a public roadway. Paper logbook violations were central among the charges against the truck driver and the company in the Humboldt case.

“Moving quickly on implementing tamper-proof, electronic logging devices (ELDs) to replace archaic paper logs to effectively monitor hours of service compliance is a good example of the technology our industry is calling for that would improve monitoring and oversight in our sector. This system needs to be implemented and enforced as quickly as possible so that hours of service violations associated with the Adesh Deol case can be eliminated,” said Stephen Laskowski, president, CTA.

According to Transport Canada, fatigue in both truck and passenger car drivers is a factor in about 20 per cent of all collisions. There are about 9,400 HOS-related per year in Canada and the introduction of tamper-proof, certified ELDs will significantly improve compliance.

CVSA's Operation Safe Driver Week Set for July 14-20 with a Focus on Speeding

Greenbelt, MD… Drivers' actions contributed to a staggering 94 percent of all traffic crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2015 Traffic Safety Factsreport.

In response to this issue, law enforcement personnel will be on the lookout for commercial motor vehicle drivers and passenger vehicle drivers engaging in dangerous driver behaviors July 14-20 as part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Safe Driver Week. Drivers engaged in unsafe driving behaviors will be pulled over by law enforcement and may be issued a warning and/or citation.

•In 2017, speeding was a contributing factor in 26 percent of all traffic fatalities, according to NHTSA. That’s 9,717 lives lost due to speeding.

•During last year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, 16,909 passenger vehicle drivers and 1,908 commercial motor vehicle drivers were issued citations for speeding. In addition, 17 commercial motor vehicle drivers and 714 passenger vehicle drivers were cited for driving too fast for the conditions.

•According to the Insurance Institute for Highway SafetyHighway Loss Data Institute, speeding has been a factor in more than a quarter of crash deaths since 2008.

•According FMCSA’s 2016 Large Truck and Bus Facts, speeding of any kind was the most frequent driver-related crash factor for drivers of commercial motor vehicles and passenger vehicles.

For these reasons, CVSA selected speeding as the emphasis area for this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week and law enforcement jurisdictions throughout North America will be endorsing, promoting and supporting the following message: Late won’t kill you, speeding will.

“For more than two decades, speeding has been involved in nearly one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities,” said CVSA President Chief Jay Thompson with the Arkansas Highway Police. “That is unacceptable, especially because it’s preventable. We will continue to educate the public on the dangers of speeding and we will identify individuals who are speeding on our roadways and may issue citations as a deterrent to future speeding tendencies and to affect diver behavior.”

In addition to the emphasis on speeding, law enforcement personnel will be tracking other dangerous driver behaviors throughout Operation Safe Driver Week, such as distracted driving, texting, failure to use a seatbelt, following too closely, improper lane change, reckless or aggressive driving, failure to obey traffic control devices, evidence of drunk or drugged driving, etc.

A 2014 study, titled “Do Traffic Tickets Reduce Motor Vehicle Accidents? Evidence from a Natural Experiment,” investigated whether traffic violation enforcement actually reduces the number of motor vehicle crashes. The study’s author used one of the best-known enforcement programs, Click It or Ticket, which focuses on mandating seat belt use and ticketing violators. The study found that the Click It or Ticket campaign decreased motor vehicle crashes by roughly 11 percent and found that a 1 percent increase in citations issued led to a 0.28 percent decline in motor vehicle crashes. The ticketing campaign also reduced the number of non-fatal injuries from motor vehicle crashes.

“As unpopular as traffic citations are among drivers, we know that driver behavior does respond to contacts with law enforcement and warnings and citations,” said Chief Thompson. “Roadway safety is our top priority and this traffic enforcement initiative supports our goal of making sure everyone driving on our roadways is doing so safely.”

CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Program was created to help to reduce the number of crashes, deaths and injuries involving large trucks, buses and passenger vehicles due to unsafe driving behaviors. Operation Safe Driver Week is sponsored by CVSA, in partnership with FMCSA and with support from industry and transportation safety organizations. The initiative aims to help improve the behavior of all drivers operating in an unsafe manner – either in or around commercial motor vehicles – through educational and traffic enforcement strategies to address individuals exhibiting high-risk driving behaviors.

To find out about Operation Safe Driver Week enforcement events going on in your area, contact the agency or department responsible for overseeing commercial motor vehicle safety within your jurisdiction.

Daimler Trucks Agrees To Acquire Majority Stake In Torc Robotics To Create Technology Powerhouse For Automated Trucks

Blacksburg/Stuttgart/Portland… Daimler Trucks, a division in the Daimler Group, the inventor of the truck and world’s largest manufacturer of heavy and medium trucks, and Torc Robotics, a pioneer in autonomous driving solutions, are joining forces in a one-of-a-kind combination to commercialize highly automated trucks (SAE Level 4) on U.S. roads. Going beyond an OEM/supplier relationship, the companies signed an agreement today for Daimler AG’s subsidiary Daimler Trucks and Buses Holding Inc., to acquire a majority stake in Torc Robotics for an undisclosed sum. Closing of the acquisition is subject to approval from U.S. authorities.

Michael Fleming, CEO of Torc Robotics, Martin Daum, Member of the Board of Management Daimler AG, responsible for Trucks and Buses, and Roger Nielsen, CEO of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, announced the strategic move today at Torc headquarters in Blacksburg, Virginia.

“With the ever rising demand for road transportation, not the least through e-commerce, there is a strong business case for self-driving trucks in the U.S. market and I believe the fastest path to commercialization for self-driving trucks is in partnership with Daimler Trucks, the OEM market leader. This move is in line with our mission of saving lives and represents another major milestone for Torc since crossing the finish line in the DARPA Urban Challenge 12 years ago,” said Michael Fleming, CEO of Torc.

“Bringing Torc Robotics within the Daimler Trucks family creates a unique and powerful team of innovators to put highly automated trucks on the road. Daimler Trucks and Torc Robotics complement each other perfectly in terms of resources, expertise, and skill sets. We are forming the ideal combination between Torc’s expertise on agile software development and our experience in delivering reliable and safe truck hardware,” said Martin Daum, Member of the Board of Management Daimler AG, responsible for Trucks and Buses. “Together, we will provide a sustainable way for our customers to meet the ever-growing freight demand and benefit both the economy and society,” he said.

“Torc is not a start-up, but one of the world’s most experienced companies for vehicle automation. Torc takes a practical approach to commercialization and offers advanced, road-ready technology, plus years of experience in heavy vehicles. Torc’s Level 4 system has been shown to operate well for both urban and highway driving in rain, snow, fog, and sunshine,” said Roger Nielsen, CEO of Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), which includes the market-leading Freightliner brand.

As part of the overall agreements, the Torc team will work closely with Daimler Trucks’ developers, particularly with the Research & Development team of Daimler Trucks North America in Portland, Oregon. Torc will continue to develop its Asimov self-driving software and testing at its Blacksburg facility. At the same time, DTNA will focus on further evolving automated driving technology and vehicle integration for heavy-duty trucks at its Automated Truck Research & Development Center in Portland. The DTNA team is working on a truck chassis perfectly suited for automated driving, particularly the redundancy of systems needed to provide the maximum level of reliability and safety.

Under the agreement, Torc will remain a separate entity retaining its name, team, existing customers, and facilities in Blacksburg. The partnership with Daimler Trucks will enable Torc to expand significantly its team, engage into the trucking market and service its growing customer base in other markets.

Continued strong collaboration with Mercedes-Benz Cars

In addition to the partnership with Torc, Daimler Trucks will continue to work very closely across the Daimler Group for maximum synergies regarding automated vehicle technology. Specifically, Daimler Trucks is drawing on the activities and experiences of Mercedes-Benz Cars regarding sensor technology and operational aspects of vehicle automation.

Daimler Trucks pioneer of automated trucks

Daimler Trucks is the pioneer of truck automation. Its global business includes not only Daimler AG in Germany, but other companies worldwide, including Daimler Trucks North America LLC in the U.S. In 2014, the world’s leading truck manufacturer presented the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025, the world’s first automated truck, and was the first to demonstrate the technological opportunities and great potential that automated trucks offer the economy and society.

In 2015, Daimler’s Freightliner Inspiration Truck obtained the first-ever road license for a partially automated commercial vehicle and the world premiere of the Mercedes-Benz Actros with Highway Pilot took place on public roads.

Level 2 automated driving now a reality at Daimler Trucks

With Active Drive Assist (Mercedes-Benz Actros, FUSO Super Great) and Detroit Assurance 5.0 with Active Lane Assist (Freightliner Cascadia), Daimler Trucks is the first to bring partially automated driving features (SAE level 2) into series production. The new system can independently brake, accelerate and steer. Unlike systems that only work above a certain speed, Active Drive Assist / Detroit Assurance 5.0 make partially automated driving possible in all speed ranges for the driver, also another first in a series production truck. This revolutionary active lateral and longitudinal assistance package is powered by a new state-of-the art radar and camera fusion system.

U.S. Department of Transportation Awards Nearly $2.7 Million Grant to Pennsylvania's Work Zone Reservation and Traveler Information System

WASHINGTON… The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) y awarded a $2.69 million Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) grant to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) for the Work Zone Reservation and Traveler Information System (WZRTIS).

“These highly innovative projects offer high-tech solutions to relieve congestion and improve safety and efficiency on the nation’s highways,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

WZRTIS will enhance work zone operations and safety by providing accurate, standardized, and real-time work zone information across nearly 41,000 miles of roadway through Pennsylvania and Ohio. The system will also streamline work zone coordination between maintenance crews, construction crews, and traffic operation centers by modernizing the way work zones are scheduled and managed.

“These technological tools are helping to support a transportation system that is equipped for the future,” said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Brandye L. Hendrickson.

FHWA's ATCMTD program funds early deployments of cutting-edge technologies that can serve as national models to improve travel for commuters and businesses. This year, the program funded 10 projects valued at $53 million that range from advanced real-time traveler information to Integrated Corridor Management and vehicle communications technologies, paving the way for connected and autonomous vehicles and congestion-relieving traffic management systems.

The ATCMTD program was established under the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. State departments of transportation, local governments, transit agencies, metropolitan planning organizations, and other eligible entities were invited to apply under the program.

Fuel Retailers, Biodiesel Producers and Consumers Applaud House Legislation to Extend the Biodiesel Tax Credit

Alexandria, VA… NATSO, the national association representing truckstops and travel plazas, along with the Advanced Biofuels Association (ABFA), American Trucking Associations (ATA), National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), and Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA) -- representing the entire biodiesel supply chain -- today commended a bipartisan group of lawmakers for introducing legislation to extend the biodiesel tax credit. The legislation is sponsored by Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer (D-IA), as well as Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Darin LaHood (R-IL), Danny Davis (D-IL), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Cheri Bustos (D-IL) and others.

“This legislation underscores the fact that the biodiesel tax credit has strong Democratic support in the House of Representatives,” said David Fialkov, Vice President of Government Affairs for NATSO. “The authors of this legislation understand that the biodiesel tax credit helps create jobs, reduce the transportation sector's greenhouse gas emissions, and enables fuel retailers to offer more competitively priced diesel fuel, which in turn lowers the price of all consumer goods that are moved by truck. The biodiesel tax credit has bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress. It's time to get this done.”

Michael McAdams, president of the Advanced Biofuels Association, said ABA’s “membership is grateful and will work vigorously to support the bipartisan legislation introduced today. This legislation is crucial to ensuring that biodiesel producers can continue to create jobs and make a product that substantially improves the transportation industry's greenhouse gas footprint, all while lowering fuel prices. Producers win, retailers win, and most importantly, consumers win. Everybody wins with this bill.”

“ATA applauds the bipartisan group of House lawmakers for introducing this legislation. The biodiesel blender tax credit results in lower fuel costs for truckers throughout the country,” said ATA Vice President Glen Kedzie.

“NACS members around the country have used the tax credit to offer biodiesel as an affordable option for consumers,” said Paige Anderson, Director, Government Relations, National Association of Convenience Stores. “We applaud the bipartisan group of Members of Congress for introducing a two-year extension of the credit so fuel retailers and marketers can include biodiesel in their fuel portfolio in the near future.”

“SIGMA strongly supports this legislation, which would immediately incentivize fuel marketers to buy and blend additional gallons of biofuels,” said Brad Puryear, President of SIGMA. “This legislation promotes American energy independence and cleaner energy. The biodiesel tax credit also leads to more competitive pricing of diesel fuel at the pump, which benefits American consumers.”

OTA Highlights Strategies to Curb Truck Speeds, Bolster Limiter Rules

In a recent letter to the Ontario Provincial Police, Ministry of Transportation and the Ontario Police Commercial Vehicle Committee (representing regional and municipal police forces), OTA highlighted ways like-minded safety stakeholders can work to make Ontario roads even safer by adding efficiencies to the province’s truck speed enforcement programs and policies.

“We have been given a clear mandate from the OTA Board of Directors to address speed issues from both a safety and environmental perspective and will continue to work with our road safety partners in exploring innovative ways to promote safe roads and a level-playing field that will yield positive results with respect to compliance with speed limits and speed limiter regulations,” said Geoff Wood, OTA senior VP of policy.

Travelling too fast for conditions and following too closely are historically among the leading speed-related causes of heavy truck at-fault collisions in Ontario. OTA has tabled a series of policy positions on truck speeds with provincial, regional and municipal authorities which include: enhancing technology used to detect speed limiter activation at roadside; deploying photo-radar for heavy trucks; applying driver and carrier abstract points for speed limiter violations (regardless of jurisdiction of drivers licence or domicile of carrier); and connecting failed speed limiter checks at roadside back to fleets and shops.

“While there should be zero speeding and speed limiter related tickets issued to heavy trucks along 400 series highways due to the speed limiter requirements, the reality is a small percentage of fleets and drivers, including those from the US, continue to circumvent the rules,” said Wood.

Other concepts tabled by the enforcement community include: the application of the community safety zone speeding fine and point structure to heavy commercial vehicles for speed issues; as well as incorporating speed limiter requirements into daily trip inspection and roadside inspection regimes.

Relatedly, OTA also believes there could be a strong correlation between the small subset of fleets who violate speed limiter rules and those who use writable ELD devices to gain an advantage over their compliant competition.

Although only a small percentage of drivers and companies are engaged in these practices, it does represent an increased risk for road safety while also having a negative impact on the environment, the industry’s image and creates an unlevel playing field for compliant trucking companies who are trying to operate their businesses safely.

OTA looks forward to continued dialogue with the enforcement community on both of these issues.

Truckers Oppose Efforts To Lower Age For CDL Holders

GRAIN VALLEY, MO… The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the largest national association representing professional and small-business truckers, opposes a proposal to launch a pilot program allowing drivers under 21 to participate in interstate commerce.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking comments for developing a program that would lower the CDL age restriction from 21 to 18.

The Association has opposed similar efforts and last year signed a coalition letter, opposing the “DRIVE Safe Act” and other bills, citing them as detrimental to highway safety.

“Rather than developing ways to allow more teenagers behind the wheel of commercial trucks, the federal government should be taking steps to reverse the incessantly high driver turnover rate, which remains above 90 percent among large truckload carriers,” said Todd Spencer, president of OOIDA. “Efforts should focus on improving the industry instead of trying to hire more cheap labor.”

OOIDA contends that younger drivers – especially teenagers – generally lack the maturity and experience to operate a CMV at the safest levels. Research has consistently shown that CMV drivers under 21 are more likely to be involved in crashes.

“Launching this pilot program would go against FMCSA’s goal of improving highway safety,” continued Spencer. “The agency should not be used as a tool for large motor carriers to expand their driver pool instead of fixing the problems that have led to their extremely high turnover rates.

“If highway safety is the priority, the age should go up, not down. Instead of efforts to entice the least experienced, the focus should be hiring and retaining the most experienced drivers, not expanding the funnel of driver churn.”

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.

Trucking Cheers U.S. Agreement with Mexico, Canada to Lift Tariffs - ATA praises Administration for advancing America’s trade interests

Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear issued this statement on Friday, May 17th following news that the Trump Administration had reached an agreement with Canada and Mexico to remove the Section 232 tariffs for steel and aluminum imports from those countries, and for the removal of all retaliatory tariffs imposed on American goods by those countries:

“Trucking and trade are synonymous, and this decision by President Trump is a huge step toward achieving a vital national priority—ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The more than seven million Americans in the trucking industry cheer this decision and will work hard to see ratification of this critically-needed modernization of trade policies with our neighbors to the North and South.”