TWIC program under fire

The U.S. House transportation committee blasted the Transportation Security Administration for delays in approving TWIC readers.

Meanwhile, Congress is considering legislation to address renewal deadlines for TWIC holders.

The TSA is still conducting the pilot program for readers to verify the Transportation Worker Identification Credentials’ biometric identifiers, Chairman Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) said. “Without any readers, TWIC is about as useful as a library card,” he said.

TSA Administrator John Pistole and TWIC Program Manager John Schwartz were scheduled as hearing witnesses, but did not attend or submit written testimony. The Department of Homeland Security said the TSA hasn’t testified before the committee since 2008, but reports to 108 other congressional committees and subcommittees.

“According to the House’s own rules, Congressional oversight jurisdiction over DHS functions relating to transportation security resides with the House Homeland Security Committee,” the department responded.

Mica said he would continue inquiries about full deployment of the $420 million TWIC program. The TSA has estimated TWIC could cost taxpayers and the private sector up to $3.2 billion over a 10-year period.

Trucker News

Driver hiring, turnover increase

Trucking industry hiring and driver turnover surged in the fourth quarter of 2010. According to American Trucking Associations’ quarterly trucking activity report, large truckload fleet turnover rose to 69 percent in the fourth quarter, its highest level since the second quarter of 2008. Trucking industry hiring and driver turnover surged in the fourth quarter of 2010.According to American Trucking Associations’ quarterly trucking activity report, large truckload fleet turnover rose to 69 percent in the fourth quarter, its highest level since the second quarter of 2008.


Turnover at small truckload fleets increased to 49 percent in the fourth quarter from 44 percent in the third quarter, and LTL turnover remained low at 6 percent. Also, truckload and less-than-truckload carriers increased payrolls in the fourth quarter. Small truckload companies increased employment by 0.8 percent, while large truckload companies boosted total employment by 0.3 percent.Less-than-truckload employment rose 0.4 percent, according to the survey.ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said the increased hiring, coupled with rising turnover, indicated fleets are responding to a growing economic recovery.

Trucker News

FMCSA unveils cross-border trucking plan

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced proposal details of cross-border trucking project with Mexico, which will require fewer participants and equip participating Mexican trucks with GPS or electronic on-board recorders.The FMCSA’s April 8 plan for a cross-border trucking project with Mexico otherwise contained few details not already disclosed by Mexican or U.S. officials or contained in the previous program Congress ended in 2009.

Trucking plan
The agency’s notice and request for comment on the plan will be published soon in the Federal Register. After that, the public will have 30 days to comment. The FMCSA will formally respond to feedback and consider public comment in forming its final program.The agency anticipates an average of one long-haul border crossing per week per truck with each Mexican carrier having two trucks participating in the program. It assumes an attrition rate of 25 percent after 18 months in the project and calculates 46 carriers will suffice to achieve a target of 4,100 inspections within three years.


Reefer rates rise

Following a three-month decline, truckload rates for refrigerated vans increased 2.2 percent on the spot market in March from February, according to TransCore’s Truckload Rate Index.Compared to March 2010, rates for the reefer segment increased 2.9 percent. Spot market rates are those paid by freight brokers and third-party logistics providers to the carrier.Outbound lanes originating in Chicago and Dallas warmed up the reefer rates, which typically rise along with reefer freight volume during the early spring produce season. This year’s severe winter weather delayed or reduced produce shipments, particularly from California.

Reefer rates increased gradually throughout the month, while van and flatbed rates on the spot market rose during the first week of March and remained stable through the rest of the month. Van rates were up 4 percent, while flatbed rates rose 2.5 percent compared with February.

Trucker News

How to Start a Trucking Business?

Trucking businesses have therefore flourished because of the necessity for trucking services in moving food and consumer goods. If you are planning to get into the trucking business, it is important that you know basic things about operating a trucking business.
Trucking business clients
Targeted market for a trucking business includes people and business organizations that manufacture, sell and distribute goods and materials. Getting big companies to work with you will be difficult though if your trucking company is just starting up and your trucking transport business has limited coverage. It is therefore important that you look for alternative potential clients which can include small business operators that are participating in trade shows to showcase their goods and products. These clients need trucking services when moving their goods from one location to another.


Marketing your trucking business
You can increase the number of clients who avail of your trucking services by advertising your trucking freight business. You may, for example, post ads in trade magazines where prospective clients are able to find them. You can also offer better rates than other trucking businesses and highlight your special rates when sending brochures to potential customers. Word of mouth remains to be helpful so take the opportunity to provide the best service to your clients as this can help spread the world about the excellent trucking services that you offer.

Trucker News

How does a truck driver know where to go?

These days everything is computerized. Eighteen wheelers are no exception. MOST trucks are equipped with a QUALCOMM™ Satellite System. OR some other type of satellite system to enable trucking companies to track their trucks to within three blocks anywhere in the country! These trucks now are highly stylish. Qualcomm is a messaging system with GPS built in which is tied into the truck’s computer and allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver similar to email. It shows you within a few short blocks of where you are at about 3 blocks or so. It may be much closer now. You access the Qualcomm from inside the truck using what looks like a computer keyboard and screen. Each company can set it up to their own needs.
Truck drivers now do not have much need of a telephone. When the trucking company gets a load from a customer they then send a message over the satellite which the driver gets in his truck on an on-board computer telling him/her where to go and when to be there. It also tells the driver how many miles it is to the customer, directions, and any other pertinent information requested by that customer. New advances in technology are greatly enhancing the life of a trucker. These computers are getting very intricate. A trucking company can track how fast the truck is moving as it is moving, how long it has been on the move, fuel economy, idle time, engine rpm, and on and on! It is amazing what has come and what is upcoming soon!

Trucker News

Diesel Drops

Since falling the week of Nov. 29, the price had increased 74.5 cents over 15 straight weeks of gains. The national average price is 96.1 cents higher than the same week last year. For the first time since late November, the national average retail price of diesel dipped 0.1-cent to $3.907 a gallon during the week ended March 21, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration.Since falling the week of Nov. 29, the price had increased 74.5 cents over 15 straight weeks of gains. The national average price is 96.1 cents higher than the same week last year.

Although the national price slipped a bit, prices in some regions continued to escalate. Prices increased 3.7 cents in the Rocky Mountain region, 1.3 cents on the West Coast (exclusive of California) and 2.9 cents in California, the most expensive area at $4.199. The New England price also gained 0.6-cent.Oil slipped under $100 a barrel last week for the first time since March 1, following demand downturns after Japan’s big earthquake on March 11.Crude rose $1.26 Monday to finish the New York Mercantile Exchange trading day at $102.33 a barrel — the highest closing price since March 10 — following U.S. and allied military strikes against Libya, an OPEC oil producer, over the weekend, Bloomberg reported.Each week, DOE surveys about 350 diesel filling stations to compile a national snapshot average price.For state-by-state diesel prices, updated daily, click here.

Trucker News

How to become a driver in complete package?

If it seems as if more and more big and small rigs fill the highways every year, it’s not just your imagination – over 3 million Americans drive trucks for a living.

Most of us while driving tend to drive subconsciously while we are engrossed in our other tasks like field phone calls, chat, eat or drink. The most crucial and the most important step of safe driving is ‘paying attention’. Now don’t try and fool yourself with those counter points of your saying ‘no, we pay attention’ but the truth is you don’t. If you want to talk, then go park the car and talk. What’s the matter with parking and taking your call? But we don’t get that point until we ourselves get into the worst situation.


1) Everyone else drives badly– if you assume everyone else is going to be doing something dangerous, then the chances are that you will be more prepared when someone does.
2)Open your eyes– read signs around you, watch people other than just in front of you, and keep an eye on the road.
3)Keep a good distance from the driver in front – if you give yourself some space, then you also buy yourself time.


4)Use your seat belt – seems like a bit of a no brainer but studies show that people tend to have accidents closer to their houses, which means that that pint of milk may be more dangerous than you think.
5)Don’t fight – just be calm. If someone cuts you up, ignore them, don’t flash your lights madly or tailgate them. It’s not courteous, and will invariably end up with trouble.
All in all, be cautious of other drivers. To keep your no claims bonus on your Car Insurance, you want to avoid accidents at all costs.


How Drivers Spend their time?

Most Drivers spend their time behind the wheel, not behind a laptop so it might seem odd to be talking about online resources for truck drivers. But increasingly more drivers are getting connected, and take that connection with them on the road. 3G mobile internet connections mean a driver’s link to the outside world is never far away.
And that’s good news for drivers and good news for the industry, helping combat the negative aspects of being a driver facing isolation and loneliness, particularly on long haul routes.
1 – Check the weatherWeather affects truck drivers; in fact it affects all commercial drivers. From high winds making tall trailers unstable to blizzards that reduce visibility to practically nothing, drivers are often at the mercy of the elements.It’s helpful to know what’s ahead and the National Weather Service provide a detailed forecast service that is countrywide, which is particularly useful when traveling interstate. You can sign up for RSS feeds that mean weather warnings get delivered direct to your inbox.
2 – Check the governmentThe DOT provides strict guidelines for drivers in a number of areas. One in particular is HOS (Hours of Service). The penalties for not complying or not providing the necessary documentation can result in the suspension of a driver’s licence, which is a heavy blow for anyone who relies on that to earn an income.Learn what’s involved in complying with HOS requirements and investigate making life easier with automated hour tracking software, such as Telogis Mobile.

Trucking Business
How Drivers Spend Time?
3 – Check out a new jobFor drivers who aren’t completely satisfied with their current job or who are currently out of work, it can be helpful to know what vacancies are out there. Even if you’re not actively looking, it’s a good idea to know what opportunities are available, opportunities that could land you better pay, better working conditions, or both.On the website you can filter your job search based on your experience, current status and personal preferences. It also allows you to view background information on the employer to review their working conditions. It’s recommended you make sure they’re a reliable company that offers worker protection and has a good credit history to ensure you don’t get left high and dry when it comes to getting paid.
4 – Check in with other driversDrivers are a social bunch and there are a bunch of forums available that truckers can join and chew the fat. Of the forums we reviewed and participated in, we found the best one was the Truckers Forum. It seemed to be the most responsive, was updated regularly and had a good number of members, many of whom seemed quick to reply to our posts.You’ll find a lot of fellow drivers who know about the challenges you face and are willing to offer their suggestions on solutions to problems. Tap in to the wisdom of the crowds by signing up today.If you’ve never used a forum before you’ll find it helpful to review some common ground rules that can make sure your forum experience is a positive one, both for you and other members.
5 – Check out driving gearDrivers, and in particular truck drivers, have particular needs when it comes to fitting out their traveling office.Whether it’s a new GPS device that can cope with road restrictions and is loud enough to be heard over the noise in the cab to a built-in air-conditioning to keep your sleeper at a comfortable temperature, check out this site for some products you might find helpful.Now that drivers are connected they have ready access to vital, up-to-the-minute information on anything from the weather on the road ahead to the latest industry news. Keeping current is now only a mouse click away.


Is Hybrid Truck an Answer to Trucking Industry Challenges

There is a continuous hike in the oil prices and the hybrid trucks are looked as a new alternative by the trucking companies. There are many companies which have launched their hybrid trucks in the market and they are very fuel efficient as compared to the normal trucks. The trucking companies are facing the challenges on the fuel front and they are forced to cut the costs by reducing the number of truck driver jobs. Hybrid trucks are becoming more and more popular these days as it is very environmental friendly and the amount of pollutants emitted is also very less.

The basic reason behind the launch of the hybrid trucks is to reduce the cost. There is still a doubt in the minds of the truckers about how these hybrid trucks are operated. The trucking companies are also looking forward to train the drivers about the operation of the hybrid trucks. Most of these trucks run on two kinds of fuels: electric motor and gasoline motor. There are only one or two companies which have come up with the idea of the hybrid trucks and have launched selected models in the market.

The government is putting strict laws regarding the pollutants emission by the trucks and hybrid trucks can be considered to be a big step to solve this serious problem. There is much less noise produced by the engine of these trucks and are very silent in its functioning. Mostly the hybrid vehicles run on the gasoline motors but when extra power is needed, the electric motor is also started. The trucking companies can also look for the truck drivers’ employment that is well trained in driving the hybrid trucks. It is very economical for the trucking industry which was coping hard to survive the hard market conditions especially the overhead costs due to the fuel hikes.

The gasoline motor is installed in the hybrid trucks to save the energy. It will stop the engine automatically as soon as the truck will come to a halt and will result in preserving the energy. The researches show that the fuel consumed by the hybrid trucks is almost half in cost to that of any normal truck. Most of the hybrid trucks available in the market today have the limited capacity of loading the materials as there are batteries and electric motor also employed in it. The load boards have a huge supply of materials and they look for the vehicles which have a huge capacity of loading. They do not want the loads available to be kept like that and this is a huge disadvantage for the hybrid trucks. The motor companies are planning to launch heavy hybrid trucks in the market but it may take some time.

The costs of the hybrid trucks are also more as compared to the normal trucks. The trucking companies may be reluctant to go for the hybrid trucks looking at the initial costs but they should not overlook the advantages of the hybrid trucks.