Drug testing rates will affect driver jobs

January 8th, 2015

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has reported that the annual minimum random controlled substances testing rates for those with driver jobs will remain at 50 percent through 2015.

The agency’s decision to maintain the current testing rate was based on data from motor carrier industry controlled substance lab test results, the 2012 drug and alcohol testing survey, and additional investigations, which showed that:

  • Positive test rates following an initial positive result increased by 4.1 percent from 2011 to 2012;
  • Reasonable suspicion positive test rates continued to rise sharply from 5.6 percent in 2010, to 15.7 percent in 2011 and 37.2 percent in 2012, marking a five-fold increase over the 3-year period;
  • The rate of total positive drug test results reported to DOT from independent Health and Human Services-certified laboratories increased from 95,427 positives in 2011 to 97,332 positives in 2012.  FMCSA-regulated industries comprise approximately 80 percent of the reported tests;
  • Serious controlled substance and alcohol testing violations were identified in 24 percent of recent compliance investigations; and
  • A two-week 2014 Strike Force focusing on the identification of drivers who tested positive resulted in 205 driver enforcement cases, and 138 enforcement cases against carriers for violations relating to drivers with positive test results operating a commercial motor vehicle.  These include drivers operating passenger carrying vehicles and transporting hazardous materials.

Amount of freight carried by those with driver jobs rises

January 2nd, 2015

The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by those with driver jobs, rose 0.3 percent in October from September.

This is according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS).

The September index was revised to 121.4 from 121.5 in last month’s release.

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.

The Freight TSI increased for the fourth month in a row in October, reaching an all-time high. The increase was a return to growth after a decline in June.  This October rise was the eighth monthly increase in 2014. However, due to the decline in June and the more substantial decline in January, the total 2014 increase has been only 2.2 percent, less than the 2.8 percent increase during same period in 2013. After dipping to 94.6 in April 2009, the index rose 28.8 percent in the succeeding 66 months.

Freight shipments measured by the index were up 2.2 percent in October compared to the end of 2013.

Freight shipments are up 23.9 percent in the five years from the post-recession level of October 2009 and are up 9.2 percent in the 10 years from October 2004.

The TSI for passengers rose 0.4 percent in October from its September level (Table 6).  The Passenger TSI October 2014 level of 120.1 was 1.6 percent above the October 2013 level.

Holiday tips for those with driver jobs

December 29th, 2014

The American Trucking Association has delivered some holiday tips for those with driver jobs.

“Safety for all motorists is our industry’s highest priority,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “While wishing everyone a happy holiday season, we also want to wish them a safe one. Following the rules of the road and sharing the road can help everyone – including certain jolly old elves – to arrive at their destinations on time and safely.”

The ATA recommends that drivers:

Buckle up: Safety belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45% and are a simple way to increase your safety on the road.

  • Slow Down: With the extra highway congestion due to holiday travel, speeding becomes even more dangerous. Allow plenty of space between you and other vehicles and reduce your speed.
  • Remove ice and snow from your vehicle: Clear your windows and roof of snow to insure you have maximum visibility and avoid creating a hazard for the vehicle behind you. Don’t allow ice and snow to create additional blind spots on your vehicle.
  • Don’t drive impaired: The holidays are often a time for merriment, but if you’ve had too much to drink, don’t get behind the wheel.
  • Prepare your vehicle for long distance travel: Check your wipers and fluids. Have your radiator and cooling system serviced. Simple maintenance before you leave your home can prevent many of the problems that strand motorists on the side of the road.
  • Be aware of the vehicle in front of you: Leave extra room between you and the vehicle in front so you can avoid snow and ice blowing onto your windshield or maneuver around patches of ice.
  • Do not cut in front of large trucks: Remember that trucks are heavier and take longer to make a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.
  • Be aware of truck blind spots: When sharing the road with large trucks, be aware of their blind spots. If you can’t see the truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the truck driver can’t see you.
  • Keep your eyes on the road: Distracted driving is a major cause of traffic accidents. Even just two seconds of distraction time doubles the chances of an accident. Use your cell phone when stopped and never text while driving.
  • Plan ahead: Before you get on a highway, know your exit by name and number, and watch the signs as you near the off-ramp. Drivers making unexpected lane changes to exit often cause accidents.
  • Check your emergency kit: Contents should include: battery powered radio, flashlight, blanket, jumper cables, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable foods, maps, tire repair kit and flares.
  • Be aware of changes in weather: Weather conditions across the U.S. will be changing – especially during early mornings and evenings with the cold. Watch for ice, snow and other weather related obstacles.
  • Leave early and avoid risks: Leave early so you won’t be anxious about arriving late and to accommodate delays. Road conditions may change due to inclement weather or traffic congestion.
  • Avoid extreme weather conditions: Ice, hail and snow make roads difficult to travel. Try to avoid driving through extreme weather conditions, and travel during daylight.

Crete Carrier and Shaffer Trucking Lead the Industry with Driver Pay Increase

December 7th, 2014

Crete Carrier and Shaffer Trucking have announced a pay increase for their company national over the road (OTR) drivers. Effective Jan. 1, 2015, Crete national OTR drivers will receive a $.02 per practical mile increase, resulting in an 11 percent increase in the overall pay package.  When combined with an over 2 percent increase in miles, drivers will be earning more than 13 percent over the previous year.  Shaffer Trucking is increasing pay by $.04 per practical mile.  Over the previous year, Shaffer has increased the overall pay package by over 17 percent and increased paid miles by more than 4 percent.  Truck drivers for Shaffer Trucking will now be earning over 21 percent more over the previous year.

“As a company, we have tremendous opportunities to grow.  Hiring the best drivers allows us to retain our leadership in the industry. You can’t be a great trucking company without having great drivers and this pay increase is just one way we are rewarding our great drivers and achieving this goal,” says President and CEO, Tonn Ostergard.  “We lead the industry in CSA scores, retention, our gold standard benefits package, and continue to lead in pay.  Our drivers put in hard work to keep this country moving, so this pay increase is not an expense, but an investment in our most valuable asset!”

Crete Carrier Corporation and Shaffer Trucking is recognized by the National Transportation Institute as a Top Pay Certified Carrier, meeting three critical categories: top tier pay, benefits, and carrier stability.  The recent pay increase is a reflection of the continued effort to ensure truck drivers at Crete Carrier and Shaffer Trucking have every opportunity to succeed in today’s trucking industry.

Furthermore, Crete Carrier Corporation and Shaffer Trucking also offers a gold standard benefit package that includes health, dental, vision, and life insurance, ensuring coverage for both the driver and the family.  In addition, Crete Carrier Corporation also offers 401k and profit sharing opportunities.  Last year, Crete Carrier and Shaffer Trucking distributed more than $8 million to employees.

“In addition to increasing driver pay rates, we are experiencing much stronger demand for our services which has also resulted in nearly a 5 percent increase in miles for our drivers,” said Jack Peetz, President of Shaffer Trucking.  “Growing our fleet will benefit both our drivers and our customers.”

Additionally, Crete Carrier and Shaffer Trucking have replaced half of the trucks in their fleet in the past 15 months, making the average age of equipment less than two years old. Plus, we are adding more than 1,500 new Freightliner Cascadias this year.

Crete Carrier Corporation continues to prove itself as a solid employer.  As one of the industry leaders in retention, drivers typically stay with Crete and Shaffer three times longer than the competition.  Much of this success is due to the continued efforts to ensure driver’s safety have the miles they want to make the good living they deserve.

About Crete Carrier Corporation

Founded in 1966, Crete Carrier Corporation and Shaffer Trucking, ranks as one of the largest privately-owned trucking companies in the country, offering a full range of transportation services to our customers. For more information about Crete Carrier Corporation, please visit www.CreteCarrier.com or email Todd Sanning at corpcomm@cretecarrier.com.

New options support those with driver jobs

December 1st, 2014

Some new Kenworth truck cabover options are opening the door for more diverse applications from those with driver jobs.

The new options for the Kenworth K270 and K370 cabovers include a compact back-of-cab exhaust system to allow more space for custom bodies; right-side steer for street sweeping, refuse and road maintenance applications; and expanded PACCAR PX-7 engine ratings.
Kenworth’s clear frame rail package, introduced earlier this year, has been improved and provides nearly 12 more inches of space for body installations. The clear frame rail package and exhaust package gives body builders even more room for customization. It frees up frame space back-of-cab and allows body builders flexibility with their components.
TThe K270 and K370 cabovers can now be specified with the PACCAR PX-7 engine at a new top rating of 260 hp and 660 lb-ft of torque, in addition to a new 200 hp and 520 lb-ft of torque rating. The standard engine rating is 220 hp with 520 lb-ft of torque, mated with an Allison 5-speed transmission.
Compared to a typical medium duty conventional, the K270 and K370 offer up to a 30 percent improvement in curb-to-curb turning, while a 63.4-inch BBC provides an extra 45 inches of payload room. The Kenworth K270 and K370 come with 22.5-inch tire and wheel packages. Kenworth also recently announced a 19.5-inch tire and wheel option for the K270 for easier curbside pick-up and delivery.

Peterbilt 389 debuts for trucking jobs

December 1st, 2014

A new Peterbilt model, 389, has debuted for those who hold trucking jobs.

Peterbilt said the truck is now in production and shipping to customers and Peterbilt dealerships throughout North America.

The truck features:

• A louvered grille design reminiscent of Peterbilt’s Model 351 (first manufactured in 1954) and manufactured from durable polished steel;
• A highly polished hood crown;
• A brightly polished hood spine;
• Polished metal hood air intake vents fashioned in the style of the original 1939’s egg crate grille pattern and integrated with the Peterbilt logo;
• Bright metal front fenders evocative of the Model 379X;
• Large polished exterior sun visor, bumper and exhaust stacks;
• Polished rocker panels complementing the bright cowl skirts, battery box, fuel tanks and trimmed mud flaps.

“Peterbilt has defined the look of trucking for generations and the new Model 389 Pride & Class embodies that spirit of bold design and legendary craftsmanship,” said Darrin Siver, Peterbilt General Manager and PACCAR Vice President. “Stylistically this truck deserves a place on a pedestal or in a museum, but it is every bit the workhorse that customers expect from a Peterbilt.

“It’s a head-turning tribute to an industry classic that keeps on innovating.”

Grant to help veterans get driver jobs

November 7th, 2014

A new $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has been launched to help veterans get truck driver jobs.

The grant has been awarded to nine technical and community colleges across the country to help train returning military veterans for jobs as commercial bus and truck drivers.

FMCSA awards CMV-OST grants to organizations that provide truck driving training, including accredited public or private colleges, universities, vocational-technical schools, post-secondary educational institutions, truck driver training schools, associations, and state and local governments, including federally-recognized Native American tribal governments.

“Those that we entrust to protect and serve our nation deserve opportunities that utilize the skills and training they received on the job on military bases overseas and at home,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “We can think of none more appropriate to safeguard our highways as commercial vehicle drivers than the thousands of veterans who have already proven they can safely handle large vehicles under extremely stressful circumstances.”

“These unique grants are designed to help recruit, train and place veterans and their spouses in good jobs that are in high demand and in an industry that is vitally important in keeping our national economy moving forward,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “Graduates of these training programs are continuing to serve our nation by ensuring that the goods and products we depend on are delivered professionally, efficiently and, most importantly, safely.”

The funds are used to recruit, train, and provide students job placement assistance after graduation.

The 2014 FMCSA grants announced today will provide training for nearly 400 new students.  The awards were made to the following organizations:

Florida – South Florida State College, Avon Park, Fla., $58,003

Illinois – Joliet Junior College, Joliet, Ill., $165,800

Minnesota – Century College in White Bear Lake, Minn., $91,080

Missouri – Crowder College, Neosho, Mo., $72,160

Nebraska – Metropolitan Community College, Omaha, Ne., $47,614

Pennsylvania – Northampton County Area Community College, Bethlehem, Pa., $134,400

UPS hiring for driver jobs

November 2nd, 2014

UPS, a major provider of shipment and logistics, has said it is hiring for several thousand driver jobs.

The company is ramping up for the busy holiday season.

UPS expects to hire between 90,000 – 95,000 seasonal employees to support the anticipated holiday surge in package deliveries that will begin in October and continue through January 2015. The company is gearing up for increased holiday delivery volume in 2014.

The seasonal positions as package sorters, loaders, delivery helpers and drivers have long been an entry point for permanent employment, training and career opportunity after the company re-assesses its needs following the holiday period.

UPS is ready to provide customers a smooth 2014 holiday experience and has implemented the following actions since the 2013 peak shipping season:

  • Using industry-wide delivery volume forecasts and working closely with high impact leading customers, UPS has made improvements to network utilization and schedule planning.
  • Daily processing capacity will increase with the opening of new and expanded buildings, plus installation of temporary mobile sorting and delivery centers. UPS is adding thousands of new or leased delivery vehicles, trailers, aircraft and portable loading aids to flex capacity in the UPS network.
  • Added operating days and shifts – full ground delivery and pick-up operations the Friday after Thanksgiving and nearly 50 new package sorting shifts throughout the company’s existing hub locations.
  • Shipment tracking timing and accuracy will be improved with additional and mobile app upgrades for enhanced information on package location and shipment status.

FMCSA grant helps veterans get driver jobs

October 22nd, 2014

A million dollar grant awarded by the the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will go to nine community colleges to help train returning military veterans for jobs as commercial bus and truck  driver jobs.

The 2014 FMCSA grants announced today will provide training for nearly 400 new students.  The awards were made to the following organizations:

Florida – South Florida State College, Avon Park, Fla., $58,003

Illinois – Joliet Junior College, Joliet, Ill., $165,800

Minnesota – Century College in White Bear Lake, Minn., $91,080

Missouri – Crowder College, Neosho, Mo., $72,160

Nebraska – Metropolitan Community College, Omaha, Ne., $47,614

Pennsylvania – Northampton County Area Community College, Bethlehem, Pa., $134,400

Pennsylvania – The Sage Corporation, Camp Hill, Pa., $249,968

Texas – Lone Star College-North Harris, Houston, Texas, $73,704

Virginia – Tidewater Community College, Norfolk, Va., $107,271

In July 2014, FMCSA announced that the Military Skills Test Waiver Program had been expanded to include all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  Under this program, state licensing agencies have authority to waive the skills test portion of the CDL application for active duty or recently separated veterans who possess at least two years of safe driving experience operating a military truck or bus. Waiving the skills test expedites the civilian commercial drivers licensing application process and reduces expenses for qualified individuals and operating costs to state licensing agencies.

“Those that we entrust to protect and serve our nation deserve opportunities that utilize the skills and training they received on the job on military bases overseas and at home,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “We can think of none more appropriate to safeguard our highways as commercial vehicle drivers than the thousands of veterans who have already proven they can safely handle large vehicles under extremely stressful circumstances.”

“These unique grants are designed to help recruit, train and place veterans and their spouses in good jobs that are in high demand and in an industry that is vitally important in keeping our national economy moving forward,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “Graduates of these training programs are continuing to serve our nation by ensuring that the goods and products we depend on are delivered professionally, efficiently and, most importantly, safely.”

The funding is provided through FMCSA’s Commercial Motor Vehicle – Operator Safety Training (CMV-OST) grant program.

Program helps others get driver jobs

October 5th, 2014

A waiver program from U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is helping veterans obtain driver jobs.

The program helps experienced veterans and active duty personnel transition into civilian jobs as commercial truck and bus drivers has been expanded to all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Last summer Alaska became the 50th state to participate in the FMCSA Military Skills Test Waiver Program.  Begun in 2011, the Program grants state licensing agencies, including the District of Columbia, the authority to waive the skills test portion of the commercial driver’s license application for active duty or recently separated veterans who possess at least two years of safe driving experience operating a military truck or bus.

Waiving the skills test expedites the civilian commercial drivers licensing application process and reduces expenses for qualified individuals and operating costs to state licensing agencies.

Returning military service personnel who possess a state-issued Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) certificate http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/medical/skill-performance-evaluation-certificate-application-new-driver-application due to a limb impairment will automatically be recognized as equivalent to an FMCSA-issued SPE certificate and allowed to obtain an interstate commercial driver’s license (CDL).  FMCSA encourages other state licensing agencies to establish comparable equivalency SPE programs.

“Commercial drivers fulfill a vital role ensuring that America’s economy continually moves forward,” said Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne S. Ferro.  “Service members who have clocked countless miles safely working behind the wheel of a military vehicle will now have more time and opportunity to find long-term employment in the commercial driving industry.  Reducing the burden of finding civilian jobs is one of the best ways we can thank members of our military and their families for their service to our nation.”