Congestion Chokepoints Hurt Economy, Environment
Arlington, VA – The American Transportation Research Institute today released its annual list highlighting the most congested bottlenecks for trucks in America.
“Trucks move 70% of the nation’s goods, so knowing where there are kinks and slowdowns in the system is important for motor carriers and our professional drivers, making this analysis a key tool for identifying where and when to route our trucks to avoid congestion,” said Prime Inc. President and CEO Robert Low.
The 2017 Top Truck Bottleneck List assesses the level of truck-oriented congestion at 250 locations on the national highway system. The analysis, based on truck GPS data from 600,000+ heavy duty trucks uses several customized software applications and analysis methods, along with terabytes of data from trucking operations to produce a congestion impact ranking for each location. The data is associated with the FHWA-sponsored Freight Performance Measures initiative. The locations detailed in this latest ATRI list represent the top 100 congested locations.
For the second straight year, Atlanta’s “Spaghetti Junction,” the intersection of Interstates 285 and 85 North is the most congested freight bottleneck in the country. The rest of the Top 10 includes:
2. I-95 at State Route 4 in Fort Lee, New Jersey
3. I-290 at I-90/94 in Chicago
4. I-65 at I-64/71 in Louisville, Kentucky
5. I-71 at I-75 in Cincinnati
6. SR 60 at SR 57 in Los Angeles
7. SR 18 at SR 167 in Auburn, Washington
8. I-45 at US 59 in Houston
9. I-75 at I-285 North in Atlanta
10. I-5 at I-90 in Seattle
“With President Trump expected to press for significant long-term infrastructure spending, this ATRI analysis should be a key guide for deciding what projects are worthy of funding,” said American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear. “Ensuring the safe and efficient movement of goods should be a national priority and this report draws attention to the places where our highway network needs improvement in order to meet that goal.”
For access to the full report, including detailed information on each of the 100 top congested locations, click here.
TT LiveOnWeb – The Safe Driver Checklist
Reduce speed on curves and work zones. Watch your blind spots. Adjust for bad weather.
These are all tips that we’ve heard time and again. However, driver safety is important not only to drivers but fleets as well, to say nothing of the industry on the whole. So, what are the key things that both drivers and fleets must do to keep their drivers safe, during all three elements of a driver’s day – from pre-trip to on-road to off-road?
With the input of a driver with a renowned safety record and a director of safety from an award-winning fleet, we will build the ultimate Safe Driver Checklist.
In this Jan. 31 episode, we will also touch on the newest tools, tips and technological enhancements that are helping drivers avoid distractions behind the wheel. Save your seat now.
On Jan. 23, DOT issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking harmonizing Part 40 with the revised HHS Mandatory Guidelines for urine testing published the same day. The NPRM proposes expanding the federal drug testing panel to include four Schedule II prescription semi-synthetic opioids: Hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone. The proposal would also remove methylenedioxyethylamphetamine as a confirmatory test analyte and adds Methylenedioxyamphetamine as an initial test analyte. Finally, DOT has proposed additional minor changes including: (1) Updating certain definitions to make them consistent with HHS definitions; (2) Removing the requirement for blind specimen testing; (3) Adding a provision that prohibits DNA testing of urine samples; (4) Clarifying the term “prescription”; (5) Prohibiting program participants from using DOT-branded items on their website, publications, etc.; and (6) Requiring that collectors, alcohol testing technicians, and substance abuse professionals subscribe to DOT’s Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy Compliance office list serve. Comments on the NPRM are due by March 24, 2017.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a final rule updating its general industry Walking-Working Surfaces standards specific to slip, trip, and fall hazards. The rule also includes a new section under the general industry Personal Protective Equipment standards that establishes employer requirements for using personal fall protection systems.
“The final rule will increase workplace protection from those hazards, especially fall hazards, which are a leading cause of worker deaths and injuries,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “OSHA believes advances in technology and greater flexibility will reduce worker deaths and injuries from falls.” The final rule also increases consistency between general and construction industries, which will help employers and workers that work in both industries.
OSHA estimates the final standard will prevent 29 fatalities and more than 5,842 injuries annually. The rule became effective on Jan. 17, 2017, and will affect approximately 112 million workers at seven million worksites.
The final rule’s most significant update is allowing employers to select the fall protection system that works best for them, choosing from a range of accepted options including personal fall protection systems. OSHA has permitted the use of personal fall protection systems in construction since 1994 and the final rule adopts similar requirements for general industry. Other changes include allowing employers to use rope descent systems up to 300 feet above a lower level; prohibiting the use of body belts as part of a personal fall arrest system; and requiring worker training on personal fall protection systems and fall equipment.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
(OSHA Fact Sheet available here)
Automobiles last week came a reminder of an issue going forward with autonomous vehicles: who will be liable in case something goes wrong with these things?
And it’s a very significant issue, given the general public’s “trust gap” when it comes to self-driving cars and trucks. Analysts such as John Larkin, managing director and head of transportation capital markets research for Stifel Capital Markets, have pointed out the good deal of inherent distrust of fully self-driving vehicles and regulatory frameworks still to be set before autonomous vehicles go mainstream.
“It seems as though we’re getting pretty close to where a lot of the technology elements [of autonomous vehicles] are working,” Larkin noted. “The problem, it appears, is on the regulatory front, since the average person is not going to be too comfortable with a driverless vehicle at least initially, until they can be confident the driverless vehicle is safe.”
Some of the country’s largest carriers have joined to file a request with the U.S. DOT to allow them to drug test drivers exclusively via hair sample, in lieu of the traditional and federally required urine sample test.
The carriers — J.B. Hunt, Schneider, Werner, Knight, Dupree Logistics and Maverick Transportation — argue hair testing is more reliable than urine tests in detecting prior drug use. It’s an issue several of the carriers have pursued for years.
The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) announced the launch of the Winter Central web portal, a new site to help drivers navigate winter conditions in Vermont. In addition to weather updates is a map that will show the location of all 250 VTrans plow trucks in near real-time. Truck locations are transmitted via cellular modem and users can look back in time up to an hour to see where the trucks have been. Click here to check out the Vermont Winter Central website.
The Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) is establishing the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse). This new database will contain information pertaining to violations of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) controlled substances (drug) and alcohol testing program for holders of CDLs.
Why has FMCSA published an entry-level driver training (ELDT) rule?
The ELDT final rule enhances the safety of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operations on our Nation’s highways by establishing more extensive entry-level driver training (ELDT) requirements. It revises the mandatory training requirements for entry-level operators of CMVs who are required to possess a Class A or Class B commercial driver’s license (CDL) or a hazardous materials (H), passenger (P), or school bus (S) endorsement for their license for the first time. The Final Rule also responds to a Congressional mandate imposed under Section 32304 of the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” (MAP-21).
Why is OSHA issuing this rule?
This simple change in OSHA’s rulemaking requirements will improve safety for workers across the country. One important reason stems from our understanding of human behavior and motivation. Behavioral economics tells us that making injury information publicly available will “nudge” employers to focus on safety. And, as we have seen in many examples, more attention to safety will save the lives and limbs of many workers, and will ultimately help the employer’s bottom line as well. Finally, this regulation will improve the accuracy of this data by ensuring that workers will not fear retaliation for reporting injuries or illnesses.