Archive for August, 2016

The weight of driver jobs

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

North American freight numbers are providing a glimpse into driver jobs.

Trucks carried more U.S. freight by value with North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico in May 2016 compared to May 2015 but declines in all other freight modes led to a 3.1 percent decrease to $89.8 billion in the total current dollar value of cross-border freight.

May was the 17th consecutive month that the total value of U.S.-NAFTA freight declined from the same month of the previous year, according to the TransBorder Freight Data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

The value of commodities moving by truck increased 1.3 percent as the value of incoming freight from Mexico (up 6.2 percent) and Canada (up 11.4 percent) exceeded the 5.5 percent decrease in shipments from the U.S.  Of the top 10 commodities transported between the U.S. and other NAFTA countries by truck, fruits and nuts had the highest year over year increase – 13.2 percent.  The value of freight carried on other modes declined: rail 3.1 percent; air 3.8 percent; pipeline 21.4 percent; and vessel 30.7 percent.

A drop in the price of crude oil played a key role in the large declines in the dollar value of products shipped by vessel and pipeline. Crude oil (a component of mineral fuels) comprises a large share of the commodities carried by these modes. Average monthly prices for crude petroleum and refined fuel are available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration(link is external).

Trucks carried 66.0 percent of U.S.-NAFTA freight and continued to be the most heavily utilized mode for moving goods to and from both U.S.-NAFTA partners. Trucks accounted for $31.2 billion of the $47.9 billion of imports (65.3 percent) and $28.1 billion of the $42.0 billion of exports (66.9 percent).

Rail remained the second largest mode by value, moving 15.8 percent of all U.S.-NAFTA freight, followed by vessel, 5.4 percent; pipeline, 3.9 percent; and air, 3.7 percent. The surface transportation modes of truck, rail and pipeline carried 85.8 percent of the total value of U.S.-NAFTA freight flows.


The Transportation Act and driver jobs

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Officials have been busy working on an implementing the final rule on the Transportation Act and driver jobs.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a final rule to effectuate eight non-discretionary provisions mandated by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act).

The final rule implements the following FAST Act provisions:

  • Section 5206 – Applications for Exemptions (extends time frame of an exemption from two years to five years)
  • Section 5507 – Electronic Logging Device Requirements (for recreational vehicle operators)
  • Section 5518 – Covered Farm Vehicles
  • Section 5519 – Operators of Hi-Rail Vehicles
  • Section 5521 – Ready Mix Concrete Delivery Vehicles
  • Section 5522 – Transportation of Construction Materials and Equipment
  • Section 5524 – Exemptions from Requirements for Certain Welding Trucks Used in Pipeline Industry
  • Section 7208 – Hazardous Materials Endorsement Exemption

FMCSA’s adoption of these regulations is a non-discretionary, ministerial action that the agency takes without issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking and receiving public comment, in accordance with the good cause exception available to federal agencies under the Administrative Procedure Act. Click here to read the Federal Register Notice.

The impact of portable electronic smoking devices on driver jobs

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

A new statement has been released about the impact of portable electronic smoking devices and driver jobs. 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is issuing a Safety Advisory to provide notice and information to owners and operators of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) concerning incidents that have occurred relating to the possession and use of battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices [e.g., e-cigarettes, e-cigs, e-cigars, e-pipes, e-hookahs, personal vaporizers, electronic nicotine delivery systems] and the transportation safety risks associated with the use of these devices.

The use of battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices has resulted in incidents including explosions, serious personal injuries, and fires. The explosions regularly involved the ejection of a burning battery case or other components from the device which subsequently ignited nearby flammable or combustible materials.

The Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations do not specifically address the potential safety risks posed by battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices.

However, motor carriers and drivers should be cognizant of the risks associated with these devices and exercise good judgment and appropriate discretion in their possession, storage, and charging or use on, around, or while operating a CMV, and adhere to the smoking prohibitions on, near, or when loading and unloading a motor vehicle transporting hazardous materials