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FHWA’s first highway status report says 77% of pavement OK

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WASHINGTON — Freight transportation is vital to the U.S. economy and the daily needs of Americans throughout the country and trucking plays a dominate role in moving that freight. To no one’s surprise, thus says the Federal Highway Administration’s first “Highway Freight Conditions and Performance Report” to Congress, which was mandated by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015.

The report was released July 6. “Households and businesses depend on the efficient and reliable delivery of freight to both urban and rural areas,” the report said. Federal support for freight increased under the FAST Act, which included provisions to define, establish, and provide funding for a national highway freight program.

The FAST Act freight provisions were designed to address significant needs in the transportation system to ensure that projected increases in freight volumes can be handled efficiently across all transportation modes.In 2015, the transportation system handled a record amount of freight — including a daily average of approximately 55 million tons of freight, worth approximately $49.5 billion.

The freight transportation industry employed 4.6 million workers and contributed 9.5 percent of the nation’s economic activity as measured by gross domestic product (GDP). Although freight moves on all modes of transportation, the report said trucks are involved in the movement of most goods.

The report said that 59.9 percent of the total tonnage of freight was moved by truck and 60.7 percent of freight moved in terms of billions of dollars was moved by trucks. The highway system is the most-used mode of transport for freight by tonnage and value of goods moved.

Commodities moved by truck have a higher value per weight, which gives trucking a higher share of freight dollar value.  Trucking accounted for nearly 30.5 percent of total transportation and warehousing sector employment. Truck driving is by far the largest freight transportation occupation, with approximately 2.83 million truck drivers. About 57.5 percent of these professional truck drivers operate heavy trucks and 28.2 percent drive light trucks.

The FAST Act also required the FHWA to report on the condition of the National Highway Freight Network (NHFN). In 2012, the NHFN consisted of 51,029 centerline miles, including 46,947 centerline miles of interstate and 4,082 centerline miles of non-interstate roads. Based on 2014 international roughness index (IRI) data from the Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS), approximately 77 percent of pavement miles were rated as having good ride quality, 19 percent had fair ride quality, and 4 percent had poor ride quality.

Professional truck drivers might take exception to the agency’s claim that 77 percent of pavement miles are in good condition.The National Bridge Inventory (NBI), which is used to identify current bridge ratings for bridges on the NHFN shows there are approximately 57,600 bridges on the NHFN.

Around 4.3 percent of those bridges were rated as structurally deficient. Most of these structurally deficient bridges are 25 years and older, and over half are more than 50 years old. These findings have implications for future maintenance and funding needs as well as impacts to operations.

The FHWA said travel time, speed and safety are three measures of performance.Slower speeds and unreliable travel times caused by congestion increase fuel cost and affect operations and productivity, which adds expense to the freight transportation system, the report said, noting that in 2014, congestion created stop-and-go conditions on 5,800 miles of the NHFN and caused traffic to travel below posted speed limits on an additional 4,500 miles of the high-volume truck portions of the NHFN.

The projected growth in freight and its reliance on trucks will increase congestion and make it more difficult and costly to move freight.As for the forecast, the report said in 1990, 36.4 percent of the freight moved on the NHFN by trucks. That percentage had jumped to 46.5 percent in 2015 and is forecast to reach 54.4 percent by 2040 for an annual growth rate between 2015 and 2040 of 1.6 percent per year. As for the distance freight travels, the report said approximately 50 percent of large freight trucks (trucks with a gross vehicle weight of over 10,000 pounds) operate within 50 miles of their origination and account for about 30 percent of truck vehicle miles traveled (VMT).

By contrast, only 10 percent of large trucks operate more than 200 miles away from their origin, but these large trucks account for more than 30 percent of overall truck VMT. Long-distance truck travel also accounts for nearly all freight ton-miles and a large share of truck VMT.As for truck parking, the report noted that truck drivers need safe, secure, and accessible truck parking.With the projected growth in truck traffic, demand for truck parking will continue to outpace supply.

In 2014, FHWA worked with States and industry partners on the Jason’s Law Truck Parking Survey Results and Comparative Analysis to assess these needs. The resulting information quantified the commercial motor vehicle parking shortage at facilities along the National Highway System.

The survey provided direct insight into parking issues: more than 75 percent of truck drivers surveyed said they regularly experienced problems finding “safe parking locations when rest was needed.”

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Stay Metrics releases Stay Ahead as new platform for survey products

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As the centerpiece of the Stay Ahead platform, Stay Metrics is introducing a new tool for reducing early-stage driver turnover (drivers who leave within the first year with your carrier, what Stay Metrics calls “new-to-you” drivers). (Courtesy: STAY METRICS)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Stay Metrics, a provider of driver retention tools for motor carriers, has released Stay Ahead, a new platform for its suite of driver survey products, which include onboarding surveys, fleetwide ongoing/annual surveys and exit/departure surveys.

Joining these surveys is a powerful new feature that lets carriers make the most of their data, according to Mary Malone, vice president of business development.

“The Stay Ahead tool helps carriers stay ahead of turnover, stay ahead of driver satisfaction, and stay ahead of growing their fleets,” Malone said. “It’s solidly focused on the future and making that future as successful for carriers as possible.”

As the centerpiece of this new platform, Stay Metrics is introducing a new tool for reducing early-stage driver turnover (drivers who leave within the first year with your carrier, what Stay Metrics calls “new-to-you” drivers).

The Intervention Opportunities feature makes Stay Metrics’ proven onboarding surveys even more effective by pointing out exactly which drivers need attention to stay during their first year, Malone said.

“This feature comes with a redesign and significant upgrade to Stay Metrics’ Self-Service Reportal for clients to see their data and analytics. It provides on-demand access to a wide range of reports, providing full transparency and powerful options for tracking drivers’ satisfaction and retention,” she said.

The Stay Ahead portal works with the onboarding surveys to alert carriers any time a driver appears to be at risk of leaving. The at-risk status of drivers is determined based on a Stay Metrics proprietary model that identifies at-risk drivers based on previous research.

Carriers can also filter drivers based on their alerts and willingness to recommend the carrier.

An additional helpful component is the ability to export all drivers that have intervention opportunities on a spreadsheet. Stay Metrics recommends that carriers check the system once per week and export this list as a checklist for their driver calls that week, Malone said.

“At a certain size of carrier, you can’t realistically call everyone each week,” said Tim Hindes, Stay Metrics co-founder and CEO. “That’s why this feature is so helpful. It helps teams prioritize their calling time to reach the drivers that need it most and provides suggested topics for those conversations. The combination of who to call and what to talk about makes this the most actionable tool on the market for driver engagement and satisfaction.”

In addition to intervention opportunities, the Stay Ahead tool also brings to the forefront any questions drivers have after taking their surveys.

“This powerful communications tool lets carriers know what information drivers need right now,” Hindes said. “These questions have always been collected by Stay Metrics and sent to carriers as Intervention Alerts, which will continue, but now carriers can export a checklist as a helpful tool to make sure the team addresses each one.”

Industry professionals and media are invited to attend a free webinar demonstrating how the Stay Ahead platform and its new features work on September 18 at 2 p.m. EDT. To register go to https://www.staymetrics.com/webinar/.

“I honestly believe this could be a revolution in how carriers onboard new drivers and keep them beyond the first year,” Hindes adds.

Carriers can find out more about each of the surveys that are part of the Stay Ahead platform on the Stay Metrics website at staymetrics.com.  8

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Daimler celebrates 750,000th unit produced at Cleveland, N.C., plant

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The 750,000th truck produced at Cleveland Truck Manufacturing, a Freightliner new Cascadia, pictured in front of the plant. (Courtesy: DAIMLER TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA)

CLEVELAND, N.C. — Daimler Trucks North America on August 26 commemorated the production of the 750,000th vehicle built at its Cleveland, North Carolina, truck manufacturing plant.

Keys to the milestone vehicle — a Freightliner new Cascadia — were presented to representatives from United Parcel Service during a ceremony at the facility.

“Over the past 30 years, our Cleveland plant has served as the foundation for our North American manufacturing operations and has been an integral part of our growth, innovation and leadership,” said Roger Nielsen, president and CEO, Daimler Trucks North America. “This production landmark demonstrates both customer acceptance of our solutions and the strength of our team. As we continue to evolve our product offerings and technologies, the Cleveland facility will remain a critical part of our strategy and success.”

“UPS celebrates this landmark achievement alongside DTNA as we accept the 750,000th truck produced by the Cleveland truck manufacturing plant,” says Carlton Rose, president of global fleet maintenance and engineering at UPS. “We applaud the efforts made by thousands of employees across UPS, DTNA, and Peach State Trucks Centers to bring this milestone to fruition. This accomplishment signifies our companies’ continued success as collaboration transforms technology and service defines the customer experience.”

Freightliner Trucks acquired the plant in 1989 and started producing the Freightliner Medium Conventional, a day cab truck model based on a Mercedes-Benz cabin mounted on an American chassis.

Over the years, the product line-up at Cleveland has evolved as DTNA’s newest innovations entered the marketplace.

Today, in addition to the Class 8 new Cascadia, the Cleveland plant also produces the Western Star 4700, 4900 and 5700XE truck models, and the Freightliner Coronado and Columbia for the right-hand drive Australian and New Zealand markets.

Since the first truck rolled off the line in Cleveland, DTNA has invested more than $350 million in the facility, including a recent $27 million investment to add a new logistics center with state-of-the-art technologies to support the company’s lean supply chain practices.

More than 2,200 people are employed at the Cleveland facility, DTNA’s largest manufacturing plant in the U.S.

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Stevens Transport driver Dwight Arnold name trucking’s top rookie

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Dwight Arnold accepts the winner’s check for $10,000 after being named trucking’s top rookie during the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas August 23. (Courtesy: STEVENS TRANSPORT)

DALLAS — Dwight Arnold, a driver for Stevens Transport, has been named the 2019 Mike O’Connell Trucking’s Top Rookie Award.

Presentation of the award was made August 23 during the Great American Trucking Show here.

Arnold, 38, lives in Clarksville, Tennessee. He won $10,000 and prizes from the RoadPro Family of Brands and Rand McNally. Arnold also received $1,000 from his company for winning the award.

“It gives you a buffer so I can work harder and get more done, clear debt and prepare a better life for my family,” he said of winning and the cash prize. “It’s a dream come true.”

According to the Stevens Transport website, Arnold was born in Kissimmee, Florida, and raised in Jacksonville, Florida.

In 2001, Arnold, joined the United States Army and during his time in the service, served as an ammunition specialist, military recruiter and a special unit transportation officer.

Arnold received many awards in the Army, including the Army Commendation Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with a Campaign Star and an Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two stars.

After retiring from the service in August 2014, Arnold said he wanted a profession that matched what he was already used to doing and allowed him to see his family more.

Having experience in the transportation industry, he realized that a profession as a truck driver would be the perfect fit and obtained his CDL from Tennessee Truck Driving School and graduated from orientation at Stevens in August of 2018.

Today, Arnold is a member of the Stevens Independent Contractor Division and is driving in the company’s Kraft dedicated fleet.

“Trucking has given me the opportunity to make a better home dynamic for me and my family,” Arnold said. “As for my future plans with Stevens, I’m hoping to start a fleet with four to five trucks and I also hope to build financial stability with my family, thanks to the financial success that I have had with trucking so far.”

Arnold’s driver manager DeAnthony Montgomery spoke high praise about Arnold’s success at Stevens.

“Dwight is a driver that I know will complete every task presented to him with a positive attitude,” Montgomery said. “He consistently delivers every load on time and is a very motivated and exemplary driver. I am glad to have him on my team.”

Arnold was one of 11 finalists for the award.

The other 10 finalists, the driver training school they attended and their employer include:

  • Aaron Pratt, Maverick Transportation, Maverick Transportation
  • Bradley Chislett, National Tractor Trailer School, H.O. Wolding
  • Daniel Walton, Roehl Transport, Roehl Transport
  • Jaron Grier, New England Tractor Trailer Training School, U.S.Xpress
  • Kandy Qualls, United Truck Driving School, Earl L. Henderson Trucking Co.
  • Matthew Hepburn, Miller-Motte College, Melton Truck Lines
  • Oday Alhousha, CDL Xpress School, Hogan Transport
  • Pamela Girton (Coffman), Tulsa Technology Center, Groendyke Transport
  • Thomas Blitch, Roadmaster Drivers School, Werner Enterprises, Inc.
  • Tyria Snow, Diesel Driving Academy, TMC Transportation

Each received $1,000 and a prize package.

The award is named after the late Mike O’Connell, who was formerly the executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Training Association, and who originated the idea of the award.

O’Connell said he believed that honoring a top rookie driver helped show new drivers they are appreciated by the trucking industry. 8

 

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