Author: Vitaliy Dadalyan

16 Oct by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

Q. What is driver harassment in the context of the ELD mandate, and how is it addressed?

A. In the context of the ELD mandate, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) defines harassment as an action a fleet takes toward one its drivers that it knew or should have known would result in the driver violating hours of service (HOS) rules. The FMCSA explicitly prohibits a fleet from harassing a driver in connection of their use of an ELD.

HOS rules prohibit fleets from requiring drivers to drive when their ability or alertness is impaired due to fatigue, illness, or other causes that could compromise the driver's ability to operate his or her vehicle safely.

To be considered harassment, the action must involve information available to the fleet through an ELD or other technology used in combination with an ELD.

The FMCSA ELD technical specifications address harassment directly, including a provision to include a mute function to ensure that the driver is not interrupted in the truck's sleeper berth. In addition, ELD specifications only allow limited edits of the ELD record by both the fleet and the driver—and require that the original ELD record can't be changed and must also be retained. As a result, fleets will be limited in their ability to force drivers to violate HOS rules without leaving an electronic trail that would point to the original and revised records. Required driver certification of any edits or annotations is intended to, in part, protect drives from unilateral changes—a contributing factor to harassment.

A driver may file a written complaint if he or she was subject to harassment.

It is important to note that harassment will be considered in cases of alleged HOS violations, so the penalty for harassment is in addition to the underlying HOS violation. An underlying HOS violation must be found for a harassment penalty to be assessed, according to the FMCSA.

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16 Oct by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

Cyber Security: Connect at Your Own Risk

Connectivity — trucking shorthand for plugging into the Internet of Things — is a positive trend being advanced by industry suppliers and embraced by forward-leaning fleets to better control operating costs and boost productivity.

It all sounds good. Until it doesn't.

The appeal is easy enough to grasp. Connect every digital device so that data can be shared and leveraged across multiple, interconnected systems. In trucking, that means linking everything from in-cab computers to smartphones to hardware so reams of data can be intelligently managed and leveraged.

Expanding connectivity can make trucking operations smarter and nimbler and thus more profitable. But it also heightens exposure to cybersecurity threats. When everything is connected, a sophisticated criminal or merely a disgruntled ex-employee or unhappy customer can more easily gain access to computerized systems to wreak havoc on unsuspecting or poorly guarded businesses.

Ron Godine, vice president, information and cloud technology for fleet-management provider TMW Systems, points out that increased connectivity via in-cab devices gives outsiders the ability to “touch all the systems that affect the vehicle and learn your location. If they know your location, what can they do? How can they target you? There's safety concerns with just knowing your location, where you're going and how fast you're going. Any of those things are a security awareness risk.”

Hackers can then gain access to a fleet's trucking management solution and back office systems to learn about customers, loads, and financial information, cautions Godine. “What we've seen is that people can get into a system by automation and by hacking accounts, and then they peruse data like any other user.”

Alan Gordon, chief information officer of Cisive, parent of Driver iQ, which provides employee screening services, says that “small- and mid-sized companies can get lulled into thinking ‘Who would go after me?' but truck fleets are just as ...Read the rest of this story

16 Oct by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

Smithfield Foods Reduces Accidents with SmartDrive

SmartDrive Systems announced that Smithfield Foods, Inc. has deployed the SmartDrive video-based safety program across its entire fleet of nearly 600 Armour and Eckrich branded refrigerated box trucks following a competitive review and pilot program. Armour and Eckrich are brands of Smithfield Foods.

“We found ourselves reacting to accidents and situations, rather than training our drivers to get ahead of them,” commented James Michael, senior operations manager at Smithfield Foods. “There was a growing concern and some anxiety over the question, ‘what if the next accident is worse than the last?' We knew we needed an effective way to reduce risk, and the SmartDrive program was the perfect solution.”

To improve its safety record, Smithfield embarked on a side-by-side comparison pilot of two video-based safety systems in its vehicles across the country.

“The SmartDrive results were overwhelmingly positive,” continued Michael. “Soon after deploying the SmartDrive program, we went from 20 preventable accidents on the roadway where we lost two trucks to accidents, to only eight preventable accidents and no truck losses during the same time period the following year. In addition, the online dashboard, coaching workflow and client support convinced us that the SmartDrive program would be the most beneficial solution for our fleet.”

Smithfield Foods executives were involved in the purchasing decision and, after seeing the results from the pilot, quickly agreed the SmartDrive program was the right choice.

“We have 40 branches across the country, both union and non-union facilities,” explained Michael. “We engaged our drivers in a conversation so they understood the program and how it works. Once it was clear to them that video is only recorded if a risky maneuver or external G-force is detected, many drivers made a personal commitment to avoid causing a trigger by driving safely each and every time they hit the ...Read the rest of this story

16 Oct by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

Intellipark Takes the Sting Out of Parking Brake Valves

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Intellipark helps mitigate runaway crashes and is the foundation for automated and autonomous truck parking. Photos: Bendix

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Intellipark helps mitigate runaway crashes and is the foundation for automated and autonomous truck parking. Photos: Bendix

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As much as I enjoy driving tractor-trailers, one thing that has irked me for many years is the parking brake valves on the dashboard. The two push-pull valves -- the yellow one for tractor brakes and the red one for trailer brakes – are awkward to release because they must be pushed hard and held before brakes are released. And when pulled to apply the brakes, they pop out, sometimes stinging one's fingers – my fingers, anyway, which I suppose makes me a wimp.

Those valves might be low on professional drivers' complaint lists, but I doubt that I'm the only one who finds them clumsy to use. And there's a better way. European heavy and medium trucks use a handy joystick-like control that applies the parking brakes when swung one way and releases them when swung another. A collar that's pulled up by one's index and middle fingers unlocks the stick for movement either way. It's simple and very easy to use. Paccar employs this on the medium-duty cabovers sold by its Kenworth and Peterbilt divisions.

That the joystick parking-brake device is used here tells me that the system is not illegal in the U.S. Why, then, does every American-built truck have the two push-pull valves (or one yellow valve if the truck is not made to pull a trailer)? Because it's an industry standard, promulgated by the Society of Automotive Engineers in the 1950s, explains Fred Anderskey, director, customer solutions for Bendix, which is among the manufacturers of air-brake equipment. The shape, color, and lettering on the valves is in the standard, but it's not in a federal regulation.

Bendix sees a more serious problem with the valves: They sometimes do not apply the parking ...Read the rest of this story

16 Oct by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

ITI unveils Sentix for automated training needs

Company says system can help fleets reduce liability by changing dangerous behavior.

Instructional Technologies Inc. (ITI) said its new automated web-based learning management system will be available starting Nov. 1.

The new system is known as Sentix. ITI is the maker of the Pro-Tread online driver training system. The company is based in Vancouver, WA.

Sentix “can automate assignments for new hires, schedule training before an endorsement expires, or trigger corrective training based on an event or trend,” said Aaron Purvis, chief technology officer of ITI.

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16 Oct by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

Great Dane highlights foodservice products at IFDA

At the 2017 International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA) Distribution Solutions Conference, Great Dane will showcase several products designed for temperature-sensitive deliveries. Conference attendees can visit booth 239 to view an Everest refrigerated trailer and an Alpine refrigerated truck body both featuring Great Dane's ThermoGuard liner with Microban broad-spectrum antimicrobial protection that helps fight bacteria growth, stains and odors for the life of the trailer or truck body.

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16 Oct by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

Earnings Watch: J.B. Hunt Third Quarter Profit Slips

Profits for multi-modal freight transportation provider J.B. Hunt Transport Services fell a little more than 8% in the third quarter of the year despite increased revenue, with increased driver recruiting and retention costs part of the reason.

The Arkansas-based company reported net earnings of $100.4 million, or 91 cents per share, compared to $109.4 million a year earlier, or 97 cents per share. The per share performance in the most recent quarter was 5 cents less than analysts were expecting.

Total operating revenue for the third quarter was $1.84 billion, compared with $1.69 billion for the third quarter 2016.

Operating income for the current quarter totaled $165 million compared to $183 million for the third quarter 2016, primarily due to increases in driver wages and recruiting costs, increased rail purchase transportation rates, higher insurance and claims costs, increased legal and consulting costs, higher equipment maintenance costs and acquisition and integration costs incurred by its purchase of Special Logistics Dedicated (SLD) LLC that closed during the quarter.

The company's intermodal segment saw revenue increase 8% during the quarter to $1.05 billion, while operating income declined 7% to $109.1 million despite a 6% increase in overall freight volume.

The network disruption caused from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria limited the company's ability to handle approximately 5,500 loads in the period, according to J.B. Hunt.

The period ended with approximately 87,000 units of trailing capacity and 5,500 power units assigned to the dray fleet.

J.B. Hunt's dedicated segment reported $438 million in revenue, up 11% from a year earlier, as operating income was $42.9 million, an 18% decline.

Productivity, measured as revenue per truck per week, increased by approximately 2% compared to the same time in 2016.

Increased revenue from better integration of assets between customer accounts and customer rate increases was partially offset by lower productivity at new contracts implemented during ...Read the rest of this story