Weather impacts truck driver jobs

April 6th, 2014

Severe weather over the last few months has had a heavy impact on freight and truck driver jobs, according to the Department of Transportation.

Freight moving across the northern border in January 2014 was down 3.4 percent from January 2013, the first decline from the same month of the previous year since June 2013 and the largest year-to-year decline since November 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Trade using truck, the largest mode, declined 4.9 percent while rail dropped 9.9 percent.  Air trade also declined while pipeline and vessel increased.

U.S.-México trade rose 3.9 percent from January 2013, the seventh consecutive increase from the same month of the previous year.  Trade using the three surface transportation modes – truck, rail and pipeline – rose a combined 5.4 percent from the previous year while trade using air and vessels declined.

Trucks carried 59.5 percent of the $90.3 billion of U.S.-NAFTA trade in January 2014 accounting for $28.0 billion of exports and $25.7 billion of imports. While the value of freight carried by rail decreased from year-to-year, rail was still the second largest mode, at 13.7 percent, followed by vessels at 9.8 percent, pipeline at 8.4 percent and air at 3.8 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 81.5 percent of the total NAFTA freight flows.

Truck, which carries nearly three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA trade and is the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners, was essentially unchanged year-to-year while rail declined 4.2 percent. Vessel rose 0.6 percent and air declined 1.2 percent.

National Carriers Names February 2014 Driver of the Month

March 27th, 2014

National Carriers is pleased to announce company driver, Steve Neal has been named Driver of the Month for February, 2014. National Carriers uses a strict criteria when choosing a driver of the month. Neal met or exceeded all requirements which determines National Carriers Driver of the Month.

National Carriers presented Mr. Neal a bonus check for $500 at the National Carriers terminal in Liberal, Kansas. He is now eligible for the Driver of the Year award for 2014. Driver manager, Jeff Chance nominated Neal based on his superior customer service and upbeat attitude. His nomination was seconded by Director of Social Media, Ed Kentner.

Neal has been a driving professional at National Carriers for almost 20 years. He and his wife, Sharon live in Holly, Colorado. Neal has received his two million mile safe driving award and is very appreciative of the driver of the month recognition, which he was not expecting.

“National Carriers has been and will continue to be, my home,” Neal shared at the award presentation which was attended by two of his 10 grandchildren.

National Carriers is a diversified motor carrier servicing all 48 states in the continental United States with transportation offerings which include refrigerated, livestock, and logistics services. At National Carriers, our mission is “to be the safest, most customer-focused, and successful motor carrier in our class.” Our team consists of only the Elite driving and office professionals.

To stay updated on National Carriers, via our social media community: www.facebook.com/nationalcarriersinc, Pinterest.com/nationalcarrier, YouTube.com/nationalcarriers, Instagram.com/nationalcarriers or follow us on Twitter.com @NationalCl. Industry news, National Carriers business updates and recruiting information is featured at www.nationalcarriers.com or www.drivenci.com.

DOT encourages electronic log books

March 20th, 2014

The Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have launched a proposal to require interstate commercial truck and bus companies to use Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) in their vehicles to improve compliance with the safety rules that govern the number of hours a driver can work.

The proposed rule will ultimately reduce hours-of-service violations by making it more difficult for drivers to misrepresent their time on logbooks and avoid detection by FMCSA and law enforcement personnel. Analysis shows it will also help reduce crashes by fatigued drivers and prevent approximately 20 fatalities and 434 injuries each year for an annual safety benefit of $394.8 million.

If passed, it would significantly reduce the paperwork burden associated with hours-of-service recordkeeping for interstate truck and bus drivers – the largest in the federal government following tax-related filings – and improve the quality of logbook data.

“By implementing Electronic Logging Devices, we will advance our mission to increase safety and prevent fatigued drivers from getting behind the wheel,” said Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “With broad support from safety advocates, carriers and members of Congress, we are committed to achieving this important step in the commercial bus and truck industries.”

“Today’s proposal will improve safety while helping businesses by cutting unnecessary paperwork – exactly the type of government streamlining President Obama called for in his State of the Union address,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “By leveraging innovative technology with Electronic Logging Devices, we have the opportunity to save lives and boost efficiency for both motor carriers and safety inspectors.”

The Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which was sent to the Federal Register to publish on March 12, supersedes a prior 2011 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking related to electronic on-board recorders. It includes provisions to:

  • Respect driver privacy by ensuring that ELD records continue to reside with the motor carriers and drivers. Electronic logs will continue to only be made available to FMCSA personnel or law enforcement during roadside inspections, compliance reviews and post-crash investigations.
  • Protect drivers from harassment through an explicit prohibition on harassment by a motor carrier owner towards a driver using information from an ELD.  It will also establish a procedure for filing a harassment complaint and creates a maximum civil penalty of up to $11,000 for a motor carrier that engages in harassment of a driver that leads to an hours-of-service violation or the driver operating a vehicle when they are so fatigued or ill it compromises safety. The proposal will also ensure that drivers continue to have access to their own records and require ELDs to include a mute function to protect against disruptions during sleeper berth periods.
  • Increase efficiency for law enforcement personnel and inspectors who review driver logbooks by making it more difficult for a driver to cheat when submitting their records of duty status and ensuring the electronic logs can be displayed and reviewed electronically, or printed, with potential violations flagged.

Trucking jobs carry big weight

March 6th, 2014

A new report shows the importance of trucking jobs and other modes of transportation to the U.S. economy.

Three of the five transportation modes – truck, vessel and pipeline – carried more U.S.-NAFTA trade in December 2013 than in December 2012, according to the December TransBorder Freight Data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

According to the data, trucks, which carries nearly three-fifths of U.S.-NAFTA trade and is the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners, rose 7.2 percent year-to-year while rail declined 2.3 percent. Vessel rose 10.7 percent and air declined 3.2 percent (Figure 1).

Trucks carried 57.2 percent of the $90.1 billion of U.S.-NAFTA trade in December 2013 accounting for $26.3 billion of exports and $25.2 billion of imports. While the value of freight carried by rail decreased from year-to-year, rail was still the second largest mode, at 14.9 percent, followed by vessels at 11.2 percent, pipeline at 7.7 percent and air at 4.0 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 79.7 percent of the total NAFTA freight flows.

U.S.-Canada trade by pipeline, of which 89.2 percent was imported, increased the most of any mode from December 2012 to December 2013, growing 21.9 percent. U.S.-Canada pipeline trade comprised 95.2 percent of total U.S.-NAFTA pipeline trade in December (Tables 2, 4). Vessel freight exports to Canada increased by 64.8 percent from December 2012 due to an increase in exports of mineral fuels.

For trade with Canada in December, trucks carried 52.2 percent of the $50.0 billion of freight, followed by rail at 15.7 percent, pipelines at 13.2 percent, vessel at 7.1 percent and air at 4.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 81.2 percent of the total U.S.-Canada freight flows.

The value of U.S.-Mexico trade by pipeline had the largest percentage increase of any mode from December 2012 to December 2013, growing 17.5 percent.  Freight moved by vessel and air between the U.S. and Mexico increased by 14.8 percent and decreased by 0.2 percent respectively.

Elite Driver of the Year to be Named Soon

March 1st, 2014

National Carriers has announced March 21, 2014 as the date for the National Carriers Driver of the Year Banquet. Twelve finalists will participate in this prestigious event to be held at the Bob Duncan Center in Arlington, TX. The reception begins at 6:00 pm followed by a program and meal at 6:45 pm. Winner of this year’s award will be presented a check at the banquet for $5000 by National Carrier’s President, Jim Franck.

The twelve finalists are: Randy Sprague, Phil Nix, BJ McGuire, Steve Danielson, Jamie Latham III, Brook Welch, Edwin Che, Don Zimmerman, Goldie Seymour, Jeff Hutton, Tiber Roczo, and Jeff Gutzler. All have been recognized as a Driver of the Month during 2013. Each were selected from a pool of over 500 eligible drivers for the award. Each driver is currently featured at www.nationalcarriers.com .

Director of Driver Services, Al Love said, “This group of drivers represents not only the best of National Carrier’s “Elite” Fleet, but the best in the transportation industry. This band of drivers provide outstanding service to our customers, are among the safest drivers in our company, and exhibit excellent communication skills with our customers, office and shop employees.”

National Carriers is a diversified motor carrier servicing all 48 states in the continental United States with transportation offerings which include refrigerated, livestock, and logistics services. At National Carriers, our mission is “to be the safest, most customer-focused, and successful motor carrier in our class.” Our team consists of only the Elite driving and office professionals.

To stay updated on National Carriers, via our social media community: www.facebook.com/nationalcarriersinc, Pinterest.com/nationalcarrier, YouTube.com/nationalcarriers, Instagram.com/nationalcarriers or follow us on Twitter.com @NationalCl. Industry news, National Carriers business updates and recruiting information is featured at www.nationalcarriers.com or www.drivenci.com.

Drug and alcohol clearinghouse proposed for truck driver jobs

February 20th, 2014

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is proposing a drug and alcohol clearinghouse for all national commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders, a move that will affect truck driver jobs.

The clearinghouse will make it easier to determine whether a truck or bus driver is prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle for failing to comply with federal drug and alcohol regulations, including mandatory testing.

Current federal regulations require employers to conduct mandatory pre-employment screening of a CDL driver’s qualifications based upon his or her driving record. However, there has not been a single federal repository recording positive drug and alcohol tests by CDL holders that employers would be able to search to ensure that the driver is able to perform safety-sensitive duties.

The proposed rule announced today would create such a repository and require employers to conduct pre-employment searches for all new CDL drivers and annual searches on current drivers.

MCSA-regulated truck and bus companies, Medical Review Officers, Substance Abuse Professionals, and private, third party USDOT drug and alcohol testing laboratories would be required to record information about a driver who:

Fails a drug and/or alcohol test;
Refuses to submit to a drug and/or alcohol test; and
Successfully completes a substance abuse program and is legally qualified to return to duty.

It is a violation of federal regulations to drive a truck or bus under the influence of controlled substances or alcohol. Federal safety regulations require that truck and bus companies that employ CDL drivers conduct random drug and alcohol testing programs. Carriers must randomly test 10 percent of their CDL drivers for alcohol and 50 percent of their CDL drivers for drugs each year.

New HOS study focuses on those with driver jobs

February 5th, 2014

A new survey has taken a closer look at the Hours-of-Service and those with driver jobs.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has released a study that shows the restart provision in the current hours-of-service rule for truck drivers is more effective at combatting fatigue than the prior version.

Working long hours on a continuing basis is associated with chronic fatigue, a high risk of crashes and a number of serious chronic health conditions in drivers. The updated 34-hour restart includes two nighttime periods from 1 to 5 a.m. and is intended to provide sufficient time for a driver to recuperate from cumulative fatigue if they work beyond the weekly maximum on-duty limits.

Scientists measured sleep, reaction time, sleepiness and driving performance in the study. They found that drivers who began their work week with just one nighttime period of rest, as compared to the two nights in the updated 34-hour restart break:

Exhibited more lapses of attention, especially at night;

Reported greater sleepiness, especially toward the end of their duty periods; and

Showed increased lane deviation in the morning, afternoon and at night.

On Dec. 27, 2011, FMCSA published the updated hours-of-service rules for truck drivers that amended the 34-hour restart provision to include at least two nighttime periods from 1 to 5 a.m. instead of one. MAP-21 did not change the July 1, 2013 effective date of the rule.

“This new study confirms the science we used to make the hours-of-service rule more effective at preventing crashes that involve sleepy or drowsy truck drivers,” said Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “For the small percentage of truckers that average up to 70 hours of work a week, two nights of rest is better for their safety and the safety of everyone on the road.”

Freight shipments for driver jobs rise 1.2%

January 29th, 2014

Freight shipments climbed 1.2% in November, a good sign for those who have truck driver jobs.

The November rise was a result of increases in all modes except pipeline. Growth in tonnage intensive industries such as heavy construction and oil and gas fracking produced an increase in truck tonnage. Both trucking and rail benefitted from growing auto production.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) Freight Transportation Services Index, the numbers were rebounding from a one-month delcine to reach its highest all-time level.

The level of freight shipments in November measured by the Freight TSI (116.5) reached an all-time high, exceeding the previous high of 115.4 in September 2013.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are combined into one index. The index measures the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight.

Freight shipments in November 2013 (116.5) were 22.8 percent higher than the recent low in April 2009 during the recession (94.9). The November 2013 level is an all-time high (116.5).

Freight shipments are up 11.3 percent in the five years from the recession level of November 2008 and are up 9.6 percent in the 10 years from November 2003.

Truck tonnage increases in November, boosting driver jobs

January 20th, 2014

The truck tonnage increased 2.7% in November, according to the American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index. The increase in tonnage will boost driver jobs.

The increase came after falling 1.9% in October.

October’s decrease was less than the preliminary drop of 2.8% ATA reported on November 19, 2013. In November, the index equaled 128.5 (2000=100) versus 125.1 in October. November’s level is a record high.

Compared with November 2012, the SA index surged 8.1%, which is down from October’s 9% surge, but still very robust. Year-to-date, compared with the same period in 2012, tonnage is up 5.8%.

“Tonnage snapped back in November, which fits with several other economic indicators,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Assuming that December isn’t weak, tonnage growth this year will be more than twice the gain in 2012.”

Tonnage increased 2.3% in 2012. Costello noted tonnage accelerated in the second half of the year, indicating that the economy is likely stronger some might believe.

“Still, truck tonnage continues to be supported by fast growing sectors of the economy that generate heavy freight loads, like residential construction, fracking for oil and natural gas, and auto production,” Costello said.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 68.5% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 9.4 billion tons of freight in 2012. Motor carriers collected $642.1 billion, or 80.7% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.

FMCSA recommends changes so veterans can transition to driver jobs

January 8th, 2014

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has recommended changes to further ease the transition of military personnel and veterans into much-needed driver jobs driving commercial motor vehicles in a new study.

The proposed changes in the study include:

Extending the period of time, from 90 days to one year, in which an active duty and recently separated veterans can take advantage of a Military Skills Test Waiver. The waiver, which FMCSA first implemented in 2011, allows states to waive CDL skills tests for service members with two years of safe driving experience with similar vehicles. Today, 46 states and Washington, D.C. offer the waiver, which has already provided almost 2,000 military personnel a quicker pathway to a job;

Updating federal regulations to allow over 60,000 service members trained and employed in the operation of heavy vehicles, many of which are nearly identical to civilian commercial motor vehicles, to immediately qualify for a CDL while still on active duty; and

Allowing a service member who is stationed in one state, but licensed in another, to obtain a CDL before being discharged.
The study, which was directed by Congress in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21 Century Act (MAP-21) one year ago, analyzed training, testing and licensing similarities and differences between military and civilian commercial driver’s license (CDL) requirements.

A number of federal and state regulatory changes were identified that would not adversely impact safety but would allow returning U.S. military personnel possessing extensive training and experience operating trucks, buses and other heavy equipment to more easily and conveniently receive a state-issued CDL.

“The demand for truck drivers will continue to rise in the coming years, so we are taking action to remove the obstacles that prevent military veterans from finding employment in the industry,” said Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “The men and women who serve in uniform commit their lives to protecting our country — in many cases by operating heavy vehicles — and there are no better credentials for becoming a safe truck or bus driver.”

“Our military men and women make tremendous sacrifices in service to our nation, and helping veterans transition to the civilian workforce when they come home is just one way to show our gratitude,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Today’s report builds on the work FMCSA has already accomplished on behalf of our veterans and outlines opportunities to help even more qualify for jobs based on the skills and training they receive in the armed forces.”

FMCSA will continue to explore other ways to ease the transition from military occupations to jobs requiring CDLs, including waiving the requirements for pre-employment drug testing for recently discharged military personnel based on their recent participation in random drug testing programs run by the military.