Archive for March, 2019

Proposal would fund investments for driver jobs

Monday, March 11th, 2019

A new proposal would potentially fund infrastructure investments to help driver jobs.

American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear told the House Ways and Means Committee that the nation’s infrastructure needs demand real funding solutions from the federal government, not reliance on gimmickry.

“We are no longer facing a future highway maintenance crisis – we’re living it – and every day we fail to invest, we’re putting more lives at risk. In nearly 53 percent of the highway fatalities, the condition of the roadway contributed,” he said. “Time wasted sitting in traffic – rather than at work or with our families – has skyrocketed. Motorists now pay an average of $1,600 due to repairs and congestion each year. Trucking now loses $74.5 billion sitting in gridlock. These are regressive realities and the escalating costs of doing nothing – and they are reflected in the prices we all pay. These costs are measurable and should serve as offsets for new spending on our nation’s infrastructure.”

ATA has proposed a 20-cent-per-gallon fee on motor fuels – collected at the wholesale rack – as a way of raising real funding for investment in infrastructure. This fee, called the Build America Fund, would be phased in over four years at a nickel per year and generate $340 billion over the next decade for road and bridge repair and replacement.

“Federal inaction has prompted cash-strapped states to adopt regressive revenue schemes that hurt commuters, communities and divert funds to non-infrastructure priorities,” Spear said in his testimony, citing variable tolls on Interstate 66 in Virginia.

“This is the essence of regressive and our future if you choose to devolve your Constitutional authority to the states,” he said. “In contrast, if motorists paid the average toll – the cost of a 10-mile trip over an eight-day period on I-66 would equal their cost for an entire year under ATA’s Build America Fund for all roads and bridges in the United States.”

Tonnage Index for driver jobs increases

Monday, March 11th, 2019

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.3% in January after falling 1% in December, which will affect driver jobs. In January, the index equaled 117.3 (2015=100), up from 114.7 in December.

ATA recently revised the seasonally adjusted index back five years as part of its annual revision.

“After monthly declines in both November and December, tonnage snapped back in January,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “I was very pleased to see this rebound. But we should expect some moderation in tonnage this year as most of the key sectors that generate truck freight tonnage are expected to decelerate.”

Compared with January 2018, the SA index increased 5.5%. In 2018, the index increased 6.7% over 2017, which was the largest annual gain since 1998.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 113.1 in January, which was 2.9% above the previous month (109.9). 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 5th day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.

Bill to address truck driver shortage

Monday, March 11th, 2019

The introduction of a new bill will take a look at resolving truck driver shortage.

Bipartisan bills in the U.S. House and Senate have been introduced that would help address the nation’s growing shortage of truck drivers, American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear praised the legislation as critically important to the American economy.

“The strong bipartisan, bicameral support behind this legislation demonstrates how real a threat the driver shortage presents to our nation’s economic security over the long-term – and how serious our lawmakers are about addressing it with common-sense solutions,” Spear said. “Given the broad coalition of interests backing this measure, there is growing understanding across the country that the impact of this issue reaches far beyond just trucking and commercial vehicles. It is a strain on the entire supply chain, from the manufacturers and producers on down to retail and the end consumer, who will see higher prices at the store.”

ATA is a member of the DRIVE Safe Act Coalition, co-led by ATA and the International Foodservice Distributors of America, and includes the National Association of Manufacturers, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation, Retail Industry Leaders of America and more than 40 other national trade associations and companies.

While 48 states permit individuals to obtain a commercial driver’s license and drive trucks at age 18, federal regulations prevent those drivers from crossing state lines until they turn 21. This restriction bars a vital population of job seekers from interstate trucking, exacerbating the driver shortage, as qualified candidates are lost to other industries. The DRIVE Safe Act would allow certified CDL holders already permitted to drive intrastate the opportunity to participate in a rigorous apprenticeship program designed to help them master interstate driving, while also promoting enhanced safety training for emerging members of the workforce.

The DRIVE Safe Act would help train younger drivers far and above current standards. Under the legislation, once a driver has met the requirements to obtain a CDL, they would begin a two-step program of additional training that includes a number of performance benchmarks each candidate must demonstrate competency in.  In addition, they would be required to complete at least 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time with an experienced driver in the cab with them. All trucks used for training in the program must be equipped with NTSB-endorsed safety technology including active braking collision mitigation systems, forward-facing video event capture and a speed governor set at 65 miles per hour.

Significantly, all of these post-CDL training, safety, and technology standards under the DRIVE Safe Act would be required on top of all the pre-CDL training benchmarks that new drivers will be required to satisfy when the Entry Level Driver Training Rule goes in to effect in February 2020, which includes 59 different topics of knowledge and behind-the-wheel training for Class A CDL applicants.