Each week we recap the hot topics in freight and compile them into one place so you can easily stay up to date on the industry. Check back each Monday and start your week off in the know. TRANSFLO & GO!

AOBRD to ELD Transition: Train Away the Pain

Lisa Gonnerman, vice president of safety and security for Transport America, has one piece of advice for carriers still running grandfathered AOBRDs just two months before the deadline to switch to ELDs: do more training.

Speaking at the American Trucking Associations annual meeting in San Diego earlier this month, Gonnerman said the Eagan, Minnesota-based carrier began converting its 1,700 trucks to ELDs and training drivers and other personnel in February. The program included about an hour of face-to-face and hands-on instruction, as well as training so they know what to say in order to prove their ELD compliance to inspectors, she said.

Jim Mullen, chief counsel for the FMCSA, told the audience that the agency “doesn’t really have a good feel, quite candidly,” for the number of fleets that haven’t yet switched from AOBRDs to ELDs. The deadline to switch: Dec. 16. Mullen, incidentally, is expected to take over as acting FMCSA administrator after Ray Martinez announced he will leave his position at the end of this month.

Learn more about Transflo’s FMCSA-certified ELDs, telematics, and mobile solutions.

Just Pay ’em More?

For a second straight year, truck fleet managers said the driver shortage and hours-of-service rules are the top two issues they face, according to a survey conducted by the American Transportation Research Institute.

Rebecca Brewster, ATRI’s president and chief operating officer, said drivers worry that pay has not kept pace with inflation, even after a year that saw some of the largest pay hikes in history. Meanwhile, some motor carriers are concerned that with a softer economy, rates cannot keep up with those raises.

Driver compensation ranked third while detention was fourth. Both issues are closely linked and reflect growing concern over delays that can affect HOS compliance, pay, and ability to find safe, available truck parking, according to ATRI.

Driver’s Ed for Driverless Trucks

The Shell Lubricants’ Starship concept tractor-trailer achieved nearly 9 mpg while carrying roughly 20 tons of cargo last year during a cross-country trek last year. Next summer, the bullet-shaped rig will try to improve on that mark with another run.

The Starship was loaded to almost 20 tons during the 2,410-mile route along I-10 from California to Florida, Bob Mainwaring, Shell Lubricants technology manager, told CCJ magazine. That’s a freight-ton efficiency of 178 ton-miles per gallon (19.9 tons of freight multiplied by 8.94 mpg). The average U.S. truck, Mainwaring noted, has a freight-ton efficiency of 72 ton-miles per gallon (11.25 tons of freight multiplied by 6.4 mpg). 

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