Fourth of July Traffic Up, Gas Prices Down

AAA announced that they expect 41.9 million Americans to travel 50 miles or more from home during this year’s Fourth of July weekend, the most since 2007. This would be a 0.7 percent increase from the 41.6 million people who traveled last year. The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, July 1 to Sunday, July 5.

“This Independence Day, more people will get in their cars, board airplanes, and take buses, trains and cruise ships to celebrate our nation’s freedom with friends and family,” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA President. “Students all across the nation are also celebrating freedom from homework, making this an ideal time for a family vacation. Independence Day is typically the busiest summer travel holiday for this reason, and more Americans are planning a holiday getaway than any year since 2007.”

There are several factors that AAA is crediting with the increase in travel. As income levels continue to rise, thanks in large part to a stronger employment market, more and more Americans are planning holiday trips this year.

Fourth of July Infographic Additionally, AAA anticipates that gas prices this Fourth of July weekend will be substantially lower than recent years. Most drivers can expect to pay the lowest Independence Day gas prices in at least five years. The current national average price for a gallon of gas sits at $2.78, which is 88 cents lower than the price on the Fourth last year. The lower gas prices has helped to boost Americans’ disposable income, leading to more and more Americans to plan a Fourth of July vacation.

“Although some consumers are using their recent savings on gas to pay down debt and save, overall, Americans are planning to travel in record numbers,” continued Doney. “Independence Day gas prices are expected to be the lowest in at least five years, a welcome sign for the 35.5 million people planning a holiday road trip.”

With so many more drivers on the road, its natural to expect for traffic delays and slower travel times. Be sure to stay alert while on the road during the next few days, and plan ahead to ensure you are able to deliver loads on time. Pack your patience, and you’re sure to have an enjoyable Independence Day weekend!

How will you be spending this Fourth of July? Let us know in the comments below.

Waiver Draws Veterans to Trucking

Federal Motor Carrier Safety AdministrationIn many ways, the trucking industry and the military seem to be closely tied. From the partnership in the wreaths across America program to a number of trucking companies with special initiatives focused on putting veterans back to work, veterans seem to find a home in the trucking industry time and time again. Recently, the number of veterans and active duty personnel in the industry has skyrocketed thanks to the FMCSA Military Skills Test Waiver Program.

As a result of the waiver, over 10,000 veterans and active duty personnel have become a part of the industry. In the three years since the Military Skills Test Waiver Program came to fruition, nearly 6,000 former military personnel obtained a CDL. In the last year, an additional 4,000 individuals, including Reserves, National Guard, and U.S. Coast Guard service members have earned their CDL.

“It is our duty to help returning veterans transition into civilian life, and I am proud that so many have used this program to secure careers in the transportation sector,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Just as important, we want to put their valuable skills and experience to work driving the Nations’ economy.”

Founded in 2011, the Military Skills Test Waiver Program grants state licensing agencies the authority to waive the skills portion of the CDL application for all active duty or recently separated veterans who possess at least two years of safe driving experience operating a military truck or bus. By waiving the skills test, the application process for veterans is expedited and the expenses for qualified individuals and operating costs to state licensing agencies is reduced.

“In the near future, the need for skilled truck drivers is expected to grow dramatically,” said FMCSA Chief Counsel Scott Darling.  “Having skillful and experienced drivers operating on our roadways will lead to increased safety for every member of the motoring public.”

We’re just happy to hear that there are initiatives continually put into place to keep the relationship between trucking and servicemen and servicewomen going strong. If you’d like to get more information about the FMCSA Military Skills Test Waiver Program, click the link.

FMCSA Issues Out-of-Service Orders

The FMCSA has ordered two trucking companies to shut down immediately. Rhino Displays out of Payson, Illinois and Prudential Carriers based in Hampton, Georgia were both instructed to cease operations immediately after federal investigations revealed a number of widespread violations of critical safety regulations by both companies.

Rhino recently got in trouble after it came to light that the trucking company had not been honest with the FMCSA about what they were hauling. In July of 2010, Rhino, a fireworks display company, told the FMCSA in writing that it was no longer operating the commercial fireworks transportation portion of its business. However, on May 30 of this year, FMCSA safety investigators found out the Rhino had transported fireworks to a baseball stadium in Hannibal, Missouri.

When the investigators took a closer look at the cargo, driver, and truck, they found multiple safety violations. The violations included opened and improperly secured packages of fireworks; absence of a federally required fire extinguisher in the vehicle; presence of alcohol in the vehicle; the driver not possessing a commercial driver’s license (CDL), a hazardous materials endorsement, or a valid medical certificate; no records of duty status; no Hazardous Materials Safety Permit  (HMSP); no hazmat placarding on the vehicle; and absence of required shipping papers. On June 4th, the FMCSA issued a federal out-of-service order for Rhino, which stated “These widespread violations substantially increased the likelihood of serious injury or death to Rhino Display’s drivers and the public.”

Federal Motor Carrier Safety AdministrationFMCSA safety investigators initiated an investigation of Prudential towards the end of last month after the carrier was involved in a number of recent crashes. One of these crashes occurred on May 12, when Prudential instructed a driver to continue operating a truck that was transporting a damaged load which was causing canola oil to leak onto Interstate 75 in Georgia.

The slick road conditions caused by the leaking canola oil was to blame for four separate vehicle crashes before the driver was stopped and arrested by law enforcement officers. In a June 5th-dated federal out-of-service order, the FMCSA said that the investigation “… uncovered widespread regulatory violations demonstrating Prudential’s repeated and egregious non-compliance with (federal safety regulations) and a management philosophy indifferent to motor carrier safety.”

Violations included failing to ensure its leased and company-owned vehicles were systematically inspected, repaired and maintained; failing to ensure its drivers complied with federal hours-of-service regulations designed to prevent fatigued driving; failing to comply with driver qualification requirements and allowing unqualified drivers to operate a commercial motor vehicle; and failing to comply with FMCSA-mandated random alcohol and controlled substances testing of its drivers.

You can view a copy of the Rhino out-of-service order and a copy of the Prudential out-of-service order by clicking on the links.

American Central Transport Honored for Commitment to Safety

American Central Transport trucking company logo American Central Transport is being recognized for their commitment to safety. The trucking company received a Gold Award from Great West Casualty Company as part of the 2014 Workplace Safety Awards Program.

“We’re honored to be recognized for our safety record and we thank Great West for this award,” said ACT Chief Operating Officer Phil Wilt. “Dedication to safety is one of our five Core Values. We’ve pledged to go above and beyond what the law requires when it comes to keeping drivers safe on the country’s highways. We’re proud to receive an award that recognizes the hard work of our employees and contractors.”

The Workplace Safety Awards program honors trucking companies for their dedication to creating and fostering a safe work environment for their employees. Award winners are chosen based on the carrier’s year-end incident rate. In 2014, the awards program drew over 125 participants from across the country.

Committed To Their Truck Drivers

In addition to a commitment to safety, American Central Transport is also known for being committed to ensuring that their drivers always have a positive work experience. Earlier this year, the trucking company announced a pay increase that raised pay for all truck drivers.

American Central Transport, Inc. is a dry van truckload carrier that serves major shippers all across the eastern half of the United States. The company was founded in 1926 as E.K. Motor Service and was renamed after it was purchased by the Kretsinger family, who still runs American Central Transport today. In addition to the Workplace Safety Award, American Central Transport has also been frequently recognized for its quality and premium service, signified by its “Raising the Standard” motto.

If you’d like to get more information on how you can kick off your career with American Central Transport call them at 888-HAUL-ACT or visit their website. You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter @HaulACT.

 

Transport America Reveals New Pay Increase

transport america logoTransport America, who was recently named one of the fastest growing carriers by Transport Topics, recently announced a pay increase for its owner operators. As a result of the pay change, now all of the company’s independent contractors will now be able to earn $1 per mile.

“Every single person from top to bottom here at Transport America is working together to provide a great experience for our drivers,” said Mike Bash, director of recruiting operations for Transport America. “We’re invested in our drivers’ careers as much as they are and they understand that we¹re able to provide them with the support and opportunities needed for success. This pay increase for our owner operators is just a small piece of the large vision we have for our drivers’ futures.”

In addition, the pay increase, which takes effect July 1st, eliminates the difference between base pay in HazMat trucking jobs and non-HazMat trucking jobs. This means that all Transport America owner operators will now earn at least $1 per mile.

This increase in mileage pay comes on the heels of pay package enhancements that took effect on May 1st. The previous changes included improved fuel and DEF discounts with 100 percent pass through to the owner operator, decreasing truck drivers’ cost anywhere from 10-60 cents per gallon.

Along with the competitive pay at Transport America, owner operators also have the luxury of choosing from multiple lease options, and can expect base plate bonus, $2,000 sign on bonus with own truck, no forced dispatch, $1,000 referral bonus and consistent miles. Pair that with the respect, quality assistance with insurance, maintenance and dispatch and positive driver experience Transport America is known for, and truckers have no reason not to apply today!

Transport America currently has open positions for solo truck drivers, teams and owner operators for regional, dedicated and OTR routes. If you’d like to get more information on Transport America, click the link above.

Super Service Announces Super Pay Increases

Super Service trucking logo

Super Service, a truckload carrier out of Grand Rapids, Mich., has just announced big changes to the way they pay drivers. The company will be switching drivers to PC Miler based practical mileage pay, which will allow drivers to earn more money than ever before.

This latest change comes just months after the trucking company raised General Division company driver pay. In addition to the practical mileage pay, the company unveiled additional compensation package enhancements.

The practical mileage pay will go into effect June 28, and will use PC Miler practical mileage to calculate pay for company drivers. “We believe the change to PC Miler will reduce driver frustration, improve efficiency and most importantly, keep drivers safe and legal when navigating our nation’s highways,” said Vaughn Yow, vice president of operations. The switch to PC Miler is expected to add around 2 cents per mile on all paid miles compared to the short route miles previously used.

“Here at Super Service, we want our approach to truck driver compensation to be progressive and constantly adapting to the needs of our drivers,” said Yow. “We respect and value the jobs our drivers do every day and believe these changes more accurately reflect pay for the work our drivers perform.”

Super Service also announced changed to other parts of its compensation package. For example, truck drivers will now receive detention pay after two hours. Additionally, the quarterly performance bonus will be raised from .02 cents to .03 cents per paid mile beginning July 1st.

Super Service also said that they plan to provide drivers with turn-by-turn navigational software to improve driver satisfaction, safety, and efficiency.

“This switch to practical mileage pay and some of our other pay improvements are a direct result of feedback received from our professional drivers,” said Yow. “We listen to what they have to say and do what we can to meet their needs.”

In order to drive for Super Service, drivers must be at least 21 years old and have a Class A CDL, clean safety record and a strong commitment to safety and customer service. Six months of OTR driving experience is preferred. If you would like to get more information about Super Service, visit their website by clicking the link at the top of the page.

KLLM Transport Receives Top Award From BASF

KLLMJackson, Mississippi-based KLLM Transport has been named 2014’s BASF Truckload Packaged Carrier of the Year.

The award was presented to KLLM’s President and CEO Jim Richards and the company’s Director of Regional Accounts Tony Reynolds at BASF’s Supplier of the Year Ceremony at The Park Savoy Estate in Florham, New Jersey.

In an issued statement, BASF noted, “KLLM Transport was selected as the best of the best based on our overall evaluation of five key metrics.”

The five things considered when choosing the award’s recipient were “on-time delivery, safety, pricing, customer service and billing accuracy.”

Additionally, BASF recognized KLLM for its superior customer focus and service responsiveness.

Wrapping up its statement, BASF stated: “KLLM has built one of the best teams in the industry. The dedication of your drivers, operations staff, sales and customer service groups is second to non. The level of consistency in professionalism and dedication as demonstrated by your company has been evident throughout the past year.”

KLLM provides over-the-road, regional and dedicated temperature-controlled services across the United States, in addition to Mexico. For over 50 years, KLLM’S transportation services have left customers more than satisfied.

J.B. Hunt Announces New Detention Pay Policy

JB Hunt Transport Logo
J.B. Hunt Transport
announced its most recent update to the truckload business detention pay policy as of May 14. The new policy will effect approximately 1,200 drivers as of just one day ago, May 31, 2015. J.B. Hunt trucking company wants to up their driver satisfaction by coupling a new detention pay policy with an updated pay scale. The new pay scale was released last fall in 2014.

The decision to make a pay change resulted from a push from the truck drivers. The requirements of the new policy include detention pay to be given after two hours with a customer at $15 an hour, up to 10 hours total.

Those who are considering what trucking company to drive for next may want to consider J.B. Hunt for a multitude of reasons. Not only is J.B. Hunt the place to be because of the new pay policy, but also because the business added over 800 new Freightliner Cascadia Evolution trucks and has plans to add 3,500 Wabash trailers by the end of the year.

“We are pleased to make these improvements for our drivers- all of which will contribute to our goal of enhancing the J.B. Hunt experience. These changes will continue to move our Truckload unit in the right direction, as a thriving, successful division,” said Steve Rogers vice president of truckload.

These changes will continue to add to J.B. Hunt’s continual effort to provide quality services to its customers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.