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Winding down the year by talking about value of safety in trucking industry

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Winding down the year by talking about value of safety in trucking industry
Every driver wants to avoid accidents. Many are trained in various programs of defensive driving, but the true professionals want to make the roads safer for everyone – even the bad drivers everyone encounters. (FOTOSEARCH)

Find the comment section of any news article about a traffic accident involving a truck and a smaller vehicle and you’ll discover it is filled with input from those determined to defend the honor of trucking and truck drivers. Someone will surely raise the point that 70% of the time (or 75% or 78.3%) the automobile driver is at fault. Another will claim that drivers of 4-wheelers frequently make hazardous maneuvers that truck drivers (and trucks) can’t react to in time. Undoubtedly, somebody will repeat the adage that none of us would have much if it wasn’t for trucks. Most of the comments will be true or at least have elements of truth in them. None of them will do anything to make the highways safer for a single person.

So, as we’ve done in past Decembers in the pages of The Trucker, we’re going to wind down the year discussing your value of safety.

When there’s a loss of life or a serious injury resulting from an accident, some people will get wrapped up in determining who was at fault. Once fault is established, then it’s time to decide on costs.

Somebody pays for hospital bills, ambulance rides, vehicle repairs and sometimes repairs to roads and bridges. Values will be placed on missed time at work, missing limbs and even on lives lost. Somebody pays; it’s just a matter of who pays and how much.

Winding down the year by talking about value of safety in trucking industry

SAFETY SERIES

If you make your living behind the wheel of a truck, there’s only one question that matters: How can we prevent accidents from happening? When a life is lost in a traffic accident, does it really matter whose fault it was?

Every driver wants to avoid accidents. Many are trained in various programs of defensive driving, but the true professionals want to make the roads safer for everyone – even the bad drivers everyone encounters.

That’s why every driver’s value of safety is so important. A person’s values are the standards of behavior or principles that he or she holds. Our values are deeply rooted, often formed in our youth, and shaped by family, friends, religious beliefs and other factors. Values determine what is most important in our lives and in many cases who we are. Values don’t change easily, and some don’t change at all.

Priorities are something else entirely. They can change, depending on need and circumstance. When you’re hungry, for example, finding a restaurant might be a priority. An hour later, something else is on the top of the priority list.

That’s why making safety a “priority” isn’t good enough. Our driving decisions must be based on our values.

When safety is only a priority, we check the phone to see who the text message is from before we decide if it’s important or it can wait. When safety is a value, on the other hand, we don’t read text messages while driving, period. A safety priority says we’ll drive at the speed limit unless the load is in danger of being late. If that’s the case, we’ll drive faster and cut corners to make up the time. A safety value means we’ll choose safety over timeliness. A safety priority says we’ll go a little long on driving hours because we’re almost home. A safety value means nothing trumps getting home safely, even if we need a break to do so.

So, as the Christmas season creeps closer, take a moment to examine your attitude towards safety. Is it a value for you? Do you take pride in knowing that you not only avoid accidents, but you help prevent them by considering the impact your driving decisions have on other motorists? Here are some simple things that have a great impact on the probability you’ll be involved in a crash:

Speed does kill: Slowing down gives you more time to react to hazards.

Following distance: Over time, it’s easy to become complacent about following distance, inching closer and closer to the vehicle ahead. It’s a good idea to test yourself, counting off the seconds it takes for the nose of your vehicle to reach a point the vehicle in front has already passed. If you don’t have five to six seconds of following distance, you’re living on borrowed time. Sooner or later, you will be involved in a rear-end collision with the vehicle in front.

Driving decisions: Very often, a driving decision isn’t as simple as “safe” versus “unsafe.” By considering the risks involved with each available option, you can make the choice providing the maximum benefit with the smallest amount of risk for everyone. Left turns are a great example. It’s easy to assume an oncoming driver will see your vehicle turning across their traffic lane and slow down before colliding. What if they don’t?

Remain in control: In the left turn example, you can’t be sure what will happen if you put your faith in other drivers reacting as you might expect. You can remain in control by NOT making the turn in front of them. Absolutely, it may mean waiting longer for a bigger traffic gap, but it also means you’ll never have to say, “I thought they would stop…”

As the year winds down, take some time to think about your value of safety and how it can apply to traffic situations. Remember that other drivers may not have your skillset—or your values. Your driving decisions should help protect them as well as yourself.

After all, we all have a better Christmas when we make it home.

 

 

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ATA Truck Tonnage Index increased 3.3% in 2019

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Ata truck tonnage index increased 3.3% in 2019
After falling 3.4% in November 2019, the Truck Tonnage Index recovered in December, posting a 4% monthly increase. (courtesy: ATA)

ARLINGTON, Vir. — American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 3.3% in 2019, about half the annual gain in 2018 (6.7%). The increase was the tenth consecutive year in which the tonnage index has risen above the previous year.
The advanced SA For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 4% in December after falling 3.4% in November. In December, the index equaled 118.2 (2015=100) compared with 113.6 in November.
“Last year was not a terrible year for for-hire truck tonnage, and despite the increase at the end of the year, 2019 was very uneven for the industry,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The overall annual gain masks the very choppy freight environment throughout the year, which made the market feel worse for many fleets. In December, strong housing starts helped advance the index forward.” It is important to note that ATA’s tonnage data is dominated by contract freight.
November’s reading was revised down slightly compared with the December 2019 data. In December 2018, the SA index rose 3%, which was preceded by a 2% year-over-year drop in November.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage hauled by the fleets before seasonal adjustment, equaled 112.7 in December, 2% below the November level (115.1). In calculating the index, 100 represents the index from 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.

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ACT Research For-Hire Trucking Index: Rates slip amid strong holiday freight

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Act research for-hire trucking index: rates slip amid strong holiday freight
For-hire index rates slip, but signs of freight recovery in 2020 "encouraging" (©2020 FOTOSEARCH)

COLUMBUS, Ind. – The latest release of ACT’s For-Hire Trucking Index showed improvement in for-hire freight volumes and utilization. The data used in the Index included December. Respectively, the data indicated 55.5 and 52.3 diffusion index readings, both up four points from November on a seasonally adjusted basis. But even as for-hire capacity contracted again, the Freight Rates Index slid to 48.7 in December.
The ACT For-Hire Trucking Index is a monthly survey of for-hire trucking service providers. ACT Research converts responses into diffusion indexes, where the neutral or flat level is 50.
Tim Denoyer, ACT Research’s Vice President and Senior Analyst commented, “We see encouraging signs that the freight downturn is in its late stages and the market will rebalance in 2020. However, the ongoing rate pressure, even as volumes ramped into the holidays, is symptomatic of ongoing excess industry capacity. Our survey respondents clearly get it, and reduced capacity for a sixth straight month, so we can pretty easily deduce that private fleet capacity additions through year-end 2019 are the main factor continuing to pressure for-hire rates.”
The ACT Freight Forecast provides forecasts for the direction of truck volumes and contract rates quarterly through 2020, with three years of annual forecasts for the truckload, less-than-truckload and intermodal segments of the transportation industry. For the truckload spot market, the report provides forecasts for the next twelve months.
In 2019, the average accuracy of ACT’s truckload spot rate forecasts was 98%. The ACT Research Freight Forecast uses equipment capacity modeling and the firm’s economics expertise to provide anticipated freight rates, helping businesses in transportation and logistics management plan with confidence.

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2019 trading performance ended on a sour note for transportation companies

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For major shippers, 2019 ended on a sour note; transportation companies have worst trading performance across market.
Transportation companies are showing the worst performance across the market and trading. Shares in railroad, trucking and ocean shipping companies are selling off. (Courtesy: FotoSearch)

For major shipping companies dealing with trade wars and slowing global growth, conditions appear to have deteriorated as 2019 came to a close.

Transportation companies are the worst performers across the market in trading. Shares in trucking, railroad and ocean shipping companies are selling off.

The trade war between the U.S. and China has taken a toll. Government data showed Friday that China’s economy grew by 6.1% last year, down from 6.6% in 2018, and a multi-decade low. The Trump administration has agreed to cancel planned tariff hikes on additional Chinese imports as part of an interim deal announced this week, and Beijing promised to buy more American farm goods.

Punitive duties already imposed by both sides, however, will stay in place.

JB Hunt Transport Services Inc., a trucking company, on Friday reported profits that fell well short of what industry analysts had expected, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research. Shares in that company are down 2.7%.

FedEx reported last month that its profit slid 40%, hurt by higher costs, a shorter holiday season and its move to cut ties with Amazon.com. It too, cut its profit expectations.

UPS reports fourth quarter and full year results at the end of the month. Its shares have been falling over the past month and were down in trading as of Friday.

Global shipping and logistics provider Expeditors International said Friday that it expects fourth quarter operating income to fall between $177 million and $183 million.

CEO Jeffrey Musser cited trade disputes and slowing growth for a number of economies. The report comes a day after the railroad CSX reported a 7% decline in the freight it hauled during the final months of the year.

“We’ve seen impacts throughout the year from these market conditions, but the pace at which these changes occurred accelerated dramatically in the fourth quarter,” Musser said. “We know this environment will change over time, as it always has in the past.”

Shares of Expeditors International of Washington Inc., based in Seattle, slumped almost 5%.

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