Viewing posts from: March 2016

FMCSA denies request from ATA to allow some drivers to exclude detention time from 14-hour clock

Posted March 29, 2016 by Erin

An exemption request from the American Trucking Associations to allow drivers to exclude detention time at a natural gas or oil well site from their total 14 on-duty hours has been denied by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

ATA asked FMCSA in May 2014 for a limited two-year exemption for drivers who exclusively service oil and natural gas extraction sites and “have the opportunity to obtain rest while waiting at such sites.” The trucking lobbyist added that “trucks with sleeper berths” and “on-site bunking or resting facilities” would satisfy the “rest opportunity” standard.

 FMCSA said in its denial that ATA didn’t demonstrate how the exemption would achieve a level of safety equal or greater than the safety without the exemption. The agency added the current waiting time exemption doesn’t include a limit and “ATA’s request would extend this potentially risky option” to more oil and natural gas workers.

A total of 37 comments were received on the exemption request, according to the FMCSA, with 21 commenters supporting the request and 11 commenters opposed it, including the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.

Originally published in the CCJ Daily Report by Matt Cole.

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Dates set for annual 72-hour Roadcheck inspection spree

Posted March 28, 2016 by Erin

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has announced its annual Roadcheck inspection blitz will be held June 7-9.

Nearly 75,000 inspections take place each year during the inspection spree, done by a joint effort of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and others.

CVSA has yet to announce the the point of emphasis inspectors will be looking for in 2016. During the inspection blitz, inspectors will primarily conduct full 37-step Level I inspections, which is the most thorough inspection.

In last year’s Roadcheck, 1,623 drivers and 9,732 vehicles were found with out-of-service violations, the lowest rate since 1991.

CVSA has on its site resources for drivers and fleets. See the 9 top things inspectors look for as well as a checklist for drivers here.

This article was originally published on CCJ by Matt Cole.

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New Initiatives Make it Easier for Military Vets to Become Truck Drivers

Posted March 23, 2016 by Administrator

shutterstock_118561318 - CopyThe FMCSA has proposed several rule changes in order to make it easier for military veterans to obtain a CDL and transition to a truck driving career. The FMCSA has also made a new website available for veterans to learn about partner initiatives, current and future FMCSA programs, and job resources.

Future FMCSA Programs

The FAST Act requires the FMCSA to create a procedure to make it easier for VA doctors to perform DOT medical certifications for veterans and launch an interstate driving program for veterans between the ages of 18-21.

In addition to the initiatives created by the passage of the FAST Act, the FMCSA wants to give veterans more time to apply for skills test waiver. In addition, the FMCSA suggests that military personnel who are in the process of transitioning to civilian life be allowed to apply for a CDL in states where they are stationed.

Partner Initiatives

The FMCSA has partner initiatives with many groups including:

  • The US Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ Helmet to Hardhats
  • Army’s Soldier for Life
  • American Legion’s Veterans Employment and Education Commission

Hiring a veteran for your commercial trucking company offers many benefits. To learn more about the ways that hiring practices affect your business insurance rates, contact the experts at Cline Wood.

Consumer Comfort Good News for Agribusiness

Posted March 16, 2016 by Administrator

shutterstock_129868538The Bloomberg News Consumer Comfort Index has been remaining steady for the last two months and is approaching a three month high. This is good news for agribusinesses as consumers feel more confident in food and energy prices.

Eight Weeks with Little Change

The Consumer Comfort Index has varied only slightly over the last eight weeks. In January and February, the index has remained in the 44 range with only a .6 change week to week. This is the best index the US has seen since the second quarter of 2013.

Jobs and Gas Main Factors
The two main factors that are said to contribute to the consumer comfort index are gas and jobs. The decrease in the jobless rate and cheaper gas make consumers more comfortable in making certain purchase decisions. These decisions include food and other consumer goods.

Good News for Agribusiness

Consumer confidence and increased spending in food and other agriculture-based products is good news for agribusinesses that have been hit hard by the rocky economy. Farms that were struggling before may be able to look forward to increased revenues as this trend continues and more people visit their local grocery stores.

For more industry news and agribusiness tips, contact us today.

White Out Conditions Create 50 Vehicle Pile Up

Posted March 9, 2016 by Administrator

freight transportation by truckIn February a 50 vehicle pileup in Fredericksburg, PA killed three, sent 40 people to area hospitals and closed I-78 for over twelve hours. This early morning crash was caused by the sudden snow squalls and high winds that hit the area as a storm front passed through Pennsylvania. It was a reminder that even with a mild winter, truckers still need to be vigilant.

Mild Winter Lowers Guard

With less snow and warmer temperatures, many people have become less cautious this winter. They neglect winter vehicle maintenance, don’t put snow tires on their vehicles, and tend to let their minds wander as they travel the interstate.

Truck Drivers Can’t Be Casual

However, truckers and other commercial vehicles can’t afford to have a casual attitude when it comes to winter driving. Even a mild snow storm can lead to slippery roads and once roads a plowed wind gusts can create white out conditions that will reduce visibility.

In early February, the white out conditions were caused by snow squalls where visibility would be fine one moment and the next moment drivers could barely see the taillights of the vehicle in front of them.

The collision involved fifty vehicles, including passenger cars, tractor trailers and commercial vehicles. The sound of the crash was so loud, nearby residents mistook the sound for thunder. Almost a hundred people had to wait in warming shelters for hours while the debris was cleared and the injured were transported to three local hospitals. Three people died from injuries sustained during the crash.

It is important for commercial trucking companies to maintain proper winter protocols, even if the weather is mild. Make sure your trucks are properly maintained and that drivers are vigilant when the weather report calls for snow, wind or ice.

Reducing your company’s crash statistics will help you reduce your insurance rates. For more insurance information and safety tips, contact us today.

Why You Shouldn’t Cut Crop Insurance to Save Money

Posted March 1, 2016 by Administrator

All businesses look for ways to save money, including agribusinesses. If you are looking to cut costs in 2016 you may be looking at reducing your crop insurance coverage. However, the money you save on insurance premiums may not make up for the money you lose later if you have a tough year.

Agriculture Act Not A Safety Netsidebar-ag-preferred-vendors

One reason you may be looking at cutting your crop insurance is because of the Agriculture Risk Coverage-county average (ARC-County). ARC-County was created as part of the 2014 Agriculture Act to help protect agribusinesses who had below average crop yields. Many farmers and others in the agriculture industry believe that with this safety net in place, crop insurance isn’t necessary.

That isn’t the case. ARC-County offers limited protection and figures are based on lower levels as part of the county average. Because farm yields are variable, the coverage received from ARC-County wouldn’t be enough to offset losses for most agribusinesses.

In a recent study comparing ARC-County with different types of policies and coverage levels, agribusinesses would need ARC-County and crop insurance to help offset loses. And since 2016 is expected to be a tough year for crop yields, you may want to consider keeping the crop insurance coverage you have.

There are other ways for agribusiness to reduce costs and maintain adequate coverage. Contact us today and our experts can help protect your business and your bottom line.

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