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Latest Industry News Briefs Courtesy of PMTA

March, 2017

ATRI Releases Results from Truck Parking Diary Research

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the trucking industry’s not-for-profit research organization, has released the results of its Truck Parking Diary research, where commercial drivers provided detailed documentation of their challenges in looking for safe, available truck parking. Participating drivers recorded their parking experiences and issues over 14 days of driving, representing over 4,700 unique parking stops documented in the diaries.

ATRI’s report brings important granularity to the specific issues faced by drivers compared to other truck parking studies. Among the findings, drivers looking for parking between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and midnight face a confluence of challenges including increased search times, and truck parking spaces clogged by non-commercial vehicles, which results in drivers parking in undesig-nated or unauthorized locations such as roadway shoulders or ramps during those same times.

ATRI’s diary research also documented the amount of lost revenue time that drivers experience by parking earlier than they other-wise needed to, just to find parking. With an average of 56 minutes of revenue drive time sacrificed by drivers per day, the parking shortage effectively reduces an individual driver’s productivity by 9,300 revenue-earning miles a year, which equates to lost wages of $4,600 annually.

The ATRI truck parking diaries also quantified the negative impact that the Electronic Log-ging Device (ELD) mandate will likely have on the parking issue. Drivers utilizing ELDs were more likely to spend over 30 minutes looking for available parking than did drivers without an ELD.

Based on the diary findings, ATRI’s report offers recommendations for a number of industry stakeholders, including public sector providers of parking at rest areas, private truck stop operators and motor carriers — all designed to reduce the chal-lenges faced by commercial drivers when looking for available parking.

“The lack of available truck parking creates a lot of stress for me and my fellow drivers,” said Stephanie Klang, a professional driver for CFI and an America’s Road Team Captain. “And, as ATRI’s diary research shows, it’s a number of things – from lack of capacity, concerns over running out of hours, time limitations on parking in public rest areas and customers not letting us park in their facilities – that all combine to make this a perennial issue for us.”

You can download a copy of this report here.

FMCSA Officials Call for More Traffic Enforcement, Prevention as Truck and Bus Fatalities Rise

A top Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration official has issued a “call to action” citing preliminary statistics showing that fatalities in crashes involving large trucks and buses increased 7-8% in 2016.

“These aren’t just numbers,” said Daphne Jefferson, FMSCA deputy administrator. “These are husbands and wives, children, mothers and fathers.”

There were 4,337 fatalities in crashes involving large trucks and buses in 2015, the latest full data that has been made public, and a 1.4% increase over 2014.

“While the number 4,337 is lower than it was 10 years past, say a decade ago, the recent trends are ticking up. Those numbers are way too high, and we need to continue to focus on bringing those numbers down.”

Jack Van Steenburg, FMCSA safety officer said agency officials and the industry need to focus on prevention. Van Steenburg said that the high numbers are causing the agency to call on police to step up traffic enforcement, along with roadside inspections.

“We need to slow the truck drivers down,” he said. “We encourage law enforcement to conduct traffic enforcement,” Van Steenburg added. “Our research shows that traffic enforcement tied with inspection saves a lot more lives than just an inspection.”

Fuel Line – Industry Outlook

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that the price for U.S. on-highway diesel fell 1.6 cents from to $2.569 per gallon. The EIA is the statistical agency of the U.S. Department of Energy. The national average price is 49.8 cents, or 24% higher than at the same time last year. Diesel price activity was mixed across the country. The Midwest’s price was down 2.9 cents to $2.512. The East

Coast price decreased 0.9 cents to $2.627. New England’s price was up 0.1 cents to $2.676. In the Gulf Coast, the retail price of diesel was down 1.5 cents at $2.414 per gallon. The price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $52.07 per barrel on Monday, $1.33 above a week earlier. Compared with a year earlier, the price of WTI was up 44%. The EIA also reported that the price of regular grade gasoline was down 3.2 cents from last week at $2.326 per gallon. The price of gasoline is 25.3% or 47 cents more expensive than a year ago. Nationwide, diesel costs 24.3 cents more than gasoline. U.S. commercial crude oil stockpiles decreased 0.1% to 486.1 million barrels during the week of December 23, 2016. Compared with a year ago, crude oil inventories were down 0.3%. Year-to-date, crude oil stocks were 9.0% higher than at the same time last year.

Meanwhile, total distillate stocks decreased 1.2% from the previous week at 151.6 million barrels, which was 1.0% below the same time in 2015. Demand for distillates was down 5.2% from the previous week and 11.3% from the same time last year. Nationwide, refineries were operating at 91% of capacity.

Extreme delays, congestion likely at Delaware River crossings due to NJ & PA Turnpike bridge closure

The PA Turnpike Commission and New Jersey Turnpike Authority are advising motorists to expect extreme congestion and delays at all Delaware River crossings between Bucks County in Pennsylvania and Burlington and Mercer counties in New Jersey due to the continued emergency closure of the bridge connecting the Pennsylvania and New Jersey turnpikes.

. Severe congestion is expected at all area river crossings. Expect slow-moving or stopped traffic, especially during the morning and evening rush hours.

The following detours are in place:

Motorists heading to New Jersey will be detoured at PA Turnpike Exit 351 to Route 1 northbound to I-95 northbound, which becomes I-295 southbound in New Jersey, to I-195 eastbound to the New Jersey Turnpike. PA Turnpike Exit #358, Delaware Valley, will remain open for local traffic only; watch out for a single-lane pattern approaching Delaware Valley.

Motorists heading to Pennsylvania will be detoured at New Jersey Turnpike Interchange 7A to I-195 westbound to I-295 northbound, which becomes I-95 southbound; or from New Jersey Turnpike Interchange 5 to Mount Holly Road. Motorists traveling from northern New Jersey are advised to exit at Interchange 14 and use I-78 west into Pennsylvania.

I-276 eastbound is closed and detoured at PA exit 358. Local roadways under the bridge including Radcliff Street, Palmer Avenue and Wood Avenue are also closed until further notice. Motorists traveling east from Route 130 will be able to use Interchange 6 to access the New Jersey Turnpike via the Pearl Harbor Memorial Extension. The westbound Pearl Harbor Memorial Extension will remain closed to all traffic; there will be no access to Interchange 6 from that direction.

The bridge is jointly owned and maintained by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. It was deemed unsafe and immediately closed Friday following the discovery of a fracture in a steel truss. Work is continuing to stabilize the bridge while engineers engage in a more comprehensive assessment and structural analysis to determine a permanent repair strate-gy. No timetable has been set for the reopening.

For real-time information about traffic conditions in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, drivers are encouraged to call 511 from any telephone.

NOTE: The PA Turnpike today launched a new web feature to provide timely, accurate updates to travelers impacted by this prolonged bridge closure. Click here to learn more: https://www.paturnpike.com/DRBAlert.aspx 

UPS Freight Partners With Truckers Against Trafficking

Truckers Against Trafficking announced a partnership with UPS Freight that will train the carrier’s more than 8,000 drivers on how to recognize and respond to signs of human trafficking activity.

The program will be deployed throughout 2017, the Frankfurt, Kentucky-based group said. “UPS Freight is in a unique position to help identify traffickers and trafficking victims by educating our drivers and management on this epidemic impacting our local com-munities,” Rich McArdle, president of UPS Freight, said in a statement. “We are proud to take a stand in fighting human trafficking and look forward to working with Truckers Against Trafficking on this initiative that will save lives.” UPS Freight is the less-than-truckload and truckload unit of UPS Inc.

The new effort builds on the completion of a pilot project between TAT and UPS Freight across 10 states in December, which suc-cessfully trained 1,500 drivers, the group said. January is Human Trafficking Awareness month, a national effort to increase aware-ness and educate the public about modern-day slavery, which impacts hundreds of thousands in the United States and more than 20 million globally, TAT said.

“TAT’s goal is to saturate trucking and related industries with educational materials and to equip drivers on how to recognize sex trafficking, what to do, and importantly — what not to do,” Kendis Paris, executive director of TAT, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to have an industry leader like UPS on board, demonstrating the impact the business community can make to raise aware-ness and stop this horrific exploitation.”

Also, UPS Freight also will support TAT with quarterly in-kind transportation of TAT’s Freedom Drivers Project, which uses a semi-tractor trailer equipped with educational resources to serve as a mobile educational exhibit on human trafficking, the group said. The exhibit has been seen by more

VTNA Recalling More Than 6,000 Trucks to Fix Software

Volvo Trucks North America is recalling 6,127 of its model year 2013-2017 VNL and VNM trucks and model year 2017 VNX trucks with faulty software to prevent possible contamination of the brake system. The vehicles have incorrect software for control-ling the electronic air dryer and that may result in oil and water contaminating the brake system, VTNA said. The recall is expected to begin Feb. 17, and VTNA will notify owners, and dealers will reprogram the vehicle control module and replace the air dryer filter, free of charge, the truck maker said. Owners may contact Volvo customer service at 800-528-6586. Volvo’s number for this recall is RVXX1608. VTNA is a unit of Sweden-based Volvo Group.

FMCSA Delays New Driver Training Rule Because of Trump

In the agency’s first reaction to a Jan 20th presidential directive freezing and delaying many new regulatory actions, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration officials said they are postponing the effective date of the entry-level driver training final rule.

In a Feb. 1st Federal Register announcement, the agency said that because the rule was scheduled to be effective on Feb. 6th, the effective date of the rule is being delayed until March 21st. However, the rule will not be enforced for three years after it becomes effective. FMCSA said the delay is consistent with the memorandum of the assistant to the President and Chief of Staff directive to the heads of the executive departments and agencies to postpone for 60 days from the date of the memorandum the effective dates of certain regulations that had been published in the Federal Register but had not yet taken effect. The White house said its “freeze memo” directive would allow time for a thorough review of certain regulations.