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Collaboration the key to safety, FMCSA’s Martinez says at ATA conference

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While speaking at the American Trucking Associations’ (ATA’s) annual Management Conference and Exhibition in San Diego Saturday, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Administrator Raymond Martinez  announced that FMCSA, along with ATA, the American Transportation Research Institute, the Technology & Maintenance Council and others are embarking on a two-year collaborative project to promote and accelerate the adoption of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

The project, which will be funded through the Department of Transportation’s ITS Joint Program Office, will be a directed effort among the partnering groups to highlight, through industry partnerships, outreach, and education, the benefits of ADAS technologies such as automatic emergency braking and lane departure warnings.

“Working with ATA and others, we will develop outreach and education materials that will outline ADAS’ potential to reduce fatalities and prevent injuries and crashes and share it with fleets, owner-operators, and other drivers who aren’t yet aware of ADAS’ potential benefits,” Martinez said.

Perhaps just as important, Martinez said the project will give the agency the chance to examine the prevalence and adoption rates for these technologies within the industry, and they will be able to measure both the impact of the outreach efforts on industry adoption of the technology’s safety benefits out on the road.

“I’m very excited about what we can learn through the ADAS project,” Martinez said.  “Thanks to all our partners for their enthusiasm and great ideas as we begin this important work. This is a concrete example of how active collaboration can help the industry remain strong and growing.”

The announcement of the ADAS project was the highlight of Martinez’ speech before the MCE attendees. He led up to it by highlighting several other FMCSA-related topics and holding them up as examples of the benefits of cooperation between the industry and the agency in the pursuit of safety.

Martinez reminded the audience that time was running out for public comment on arguably the hottest topic in trucking, FMCSA’s proposed changes to the Hours of Service rules, including modifications to the short-haul exemption and the adverse weather exemption, changes to off-duty breaks and more flexibility in the sleeper berth exemption.

He also reminded the audience to get a head start by registering for the national Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. The congressionally mandated database, set to go live January 6, that will allow FMCSA, CMV employers, state driver licensing agencies and law enforcement officials to identify CDL drivers who have violated federal drug and alcohol testing program requirements, and will be a required pre-employment step for CDL-required driving jobs.

FMCSA opened registration for the clearinghouse October 1. “We want to see that everyone who’ll be using the clearinghouse are registered as efficiently as possible,” Martinez said. “We strongly encourage all CMV stakeholders to get registered now.”

Martinez also updated those who may not have heard that FMCSA has concluded after a two-year study that ended this summer to extend a program designed to determine preventability in certain types of crashes.

“On August 5, 2019, FMCSA published a Federal Register notice proposing a new long-term determination program with additional crash types and other program enhancements,” Martinez said. We proposed to remove crashes with “not preventable” determinations from the SMS Crash Indicator measure and percentile and note these determinations in the pre-employment screening program.”

Martinez also mentioned another upcoming deadline, the final step to full implementation of ELDs in over-the-road trucking. As of December 16, 2019, trucks equipped with AOBRDs purchased prior to the original ELD deadline, December 18, 2017, will have to have replaced them with ELDs.

“We recognize that ELDs remain a top issue for the industry, and that this transition period — triggered by the congressionally-mandated use of ELDs — may have been challenging” Martinez said. “It’s a big shift, but we remain committed to working with industry, law enforcement, and the ELD vendor community to make this transition work.”

As proof that the effort has been worth it, Martinez pointed out that HOS violations dropped 52% in the past year.

But the real bottom line is safety, Martinez said, as he brought home the theme central to all of these programs, and that making these programs work takes a team effort.

“Collaboration is crucial,” he said. “None of us can do this work alone. We all own safety: FMCSA, industry, states, drivers, law enforcement, and the motoring public. We must all be all in — every one of us, every single day.”

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The Nation

Love’s, its customers raise more than $3.75 million for children’s hospitals

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Love’s showed additional support for CMN Hospitals on National Coffee Day, which took place September 29-30 during the store campaign. To honor the day, all hot beverages were discounted to $1, with sales going to CMN Hospitals. (Courtesy: LOVE'S)

OKLAHOMA CITY — Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores and its customers raised more than $3.75 million for sick and injured children through its five-week store campaign to raise funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. In the 20th year of the campaign, the company surpassed its goal of $3.6 million and set a company record for the most money raised during a campaign.

“We are so thankful to our employees and customers who not only donate at our stores, but who also go out of their way to raise money for sick and injured children in creative ways,” said Jenny Love Meyer, vice president of communications for Love’s. “Each year, we enjoy seeing communities come together for this effort and we couldn’t be prouder to have raised over $3.75 million for this year’s campaign.”

From August 26-September 30, customers could purchase Miracle Balloons, round up to the nearest dollar at registers or pumps or participate in events like 5k runs or fishing tournaments to donate money to CMN Hospitals.

Love’s showed additional support for CMN Hospitals on National Coffee Day, which took place September 29-30 during the store campaign. To honor the day, all hot beverages were discounted to $1, with sales going to CMN Hospitals.

“We are excited about the results of this year’s Love’s fundraising campaign,” said John Lauck, president and CEO of CMN Hospitals. “Not only did 2019 mark a 20-year milestone of partnership between Love’s and CMN Hospitals but more exciting, Love’s also crossed $31 million in donations to help sick and injured children treated in our hospitals across the U.S.”

Of the 170 CMN Hospitals throughout North America, 107 benefit from Love’s annual campaign.

 

 

 

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The Nation

Average price of gallon of diesel increase half a cent

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The price for the week ending October 14 was 34.3 cents lower than the comparable week in 2018. (The Trucker file photo)

WASHINGTON — The average price of a gallon of on-highway diesel increase four tenths of one cent to $3.051 for the week ending October 14, according to the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy.

Normally posted on Monday of each week, the average price chart was released Tuesday because the federal government was closed Monday for the Columbus Day holiday.

All but two regions of the country posted increases led by a 1.9 cent increase in the Rocky Mountain states (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado).

The New England states (Maine, Vermont, Hew Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts) was the only region showing a decline at five tenths of one cent.

The price for the week ending October 14 was 34.3 cents lower than the comparable week in 2018.

 

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DeFazio asks IG to investigate reports of Chao’s conflicts of interest

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In requesting an investigation of Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Rep. Peter DeFazio cites newly-obtained information from a recent media report that suggested Chao used her office to give preferential treatment to organizations and projects in Kentucky where her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is currently seeking re-election. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is requesting an investigation into Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and her reported conflicts of interest.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., made the request in a letter to Department of Transportation Inspector General Calvin L. Scovel III.

The letter, sent October 11, cites newly-obtained information from a recent media report that suggested Chao used her office to give preferential treatment to organizations and projects in Kentucky where her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is currently seeking re-election.

Politico reported that 25% of Secretary Chao’s meetings with local officials between January 2017 and March 2018 were with individuals from Kentucky.

DeFazio said the report noted that requests for meetings with Chao are typically forwarded from McConnell’s office to Chao’s chief of staff, who previously worked on McConnell’s Senate campaign, DeFazio wrote.

The Office of the Secretary of Transportation took exception to DeFazio efforts.

DeFazio said the Politico report followed an earlier report that Chao had asked her chief of staff to serve as an intermediary between her office and McConnell’s office, and that he had helped advise the senator and local Kentucky officials on federal grants of particular significance to McConnell.

“These allegations were first raised by left wing advocacy groups and hashed out in the media, and the department has previously fully responded to them. They are politically motivated and intended to waste time. While the Department will always be cooperative and responsive to appropriate requests, DOT looks forward to a prompt and final resolution of these questions,” a DOT spokesman told The Trucker Tuesday.

“Allegations included the steering of discretionary grants to fund these projects,” DeFazio wrote.  “I would expect Secretary Chao to meet with individuals from her home state more regularly than other states, but the sheer volume of meetings with local officials from Kentucky when compared to meetings with local officials from the rest of the country creates an appearance of favoritism that is troubling.  Even more troubling is the fact that McConnell’s campaign touted the Politico article on social media saying, ‘Mitch McConnell is a Kentucky Asset.’”

DeFazio said news reports have also raised questions about Chao’s adherence to her federal ethics agreement in which she agreed to divest certain assets to prevent her personal finances from creating conflicts of interest.

In particular, it has been reported that the secretary retained stock in Vulcan Materials, a stone and asphalt producer, as opposed to accepting a cash payment for her stock options in the company, as provided for in her ethics agreement.

 

 

 

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