The Landing Gear Banner with Green Truck
The Landing Gear Banner with Green Truck

November 2022

This issue of the Landing Gear is sponsored by the ICSA services shown below. If you haven’t explored these discounts and special programs, you are not getting full value from your ICSA membership. Click on these links/services and see what’s in store for you!

We also want to remind you of two important business opportunities available to you and/or your drivers: ICSA’s Model Safety Plan and the FirstGear™online driver training curriculum. Both of these programs are available to members at no charge and can be accessed in your dashboard after you log into your account in the ICSA website.

FMCSA Issues Interim Guidance on Freight Brokers, Other Roles

The October Regulatory Roundup article on broker transparency caught the attention of many members, so we want to update you on interim guidance posted just yesterday by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in advance of possible rulemaking. FMCSA intends the guidance to help define key roles in the transport of goods. Is that company or person you hired to help you find loads truly the “dispatch service” they claim to be? Are they your “bona fide agent” serving your individual motor carrier needs? Have you actually engaged the services of a “broker,” one required under law to have broker authority, to post a $75,000 bond, and to obey federal regulations such as disclose load information including the broker’s compensation?

FMCSA’s interim guidance is intended to help carriers better define and understand these three roles in the trucking industry. Three quick things you need to know:

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Mike Hitchcock, ICSA Safety Consultant

By Mike Hitchcock, ICSA Safety Consultant

Could You Be Found Negligent for Not Managing Your Camera Data?

ICSA’s safety consultants get many calls every week from members asking us to send them video of incidents or crashes involving their drivers. Yet the SmartDrive Program belongs to you – the member. You own the data and you can, and should, access it yourself. In fact, because they belong to you, ICSA can’t send or use any of your videos without your permission.

Yet fewer than 10% of ICSA members with SmartDrive cameras, or event recorders, have EVER logged into their own accounts and viewed video and reports. Members who haven’t logged into the site are missing out on valuable data that could help them prevent crashes before they happen. Such data includes factors such as those listed in the article below about five driving behaviors that predict future crashes.

In just the past week, SmartDrive reviewed 40,498 events recorded by cameras mounted in just over 7000 ICSA-member trucks. SmartDrive assigns a severity level to each such event, with Severity 3 and Severity 4 flagged for review by an ICSA Safety Consultant. Of the 40,498 events, 3,791 were severity 3 or 4, leading ICSA to reach out to the carrier to alert them to these serious incidents. If you receive a message from an ICSA safety consultant, please return the call as soon as possible – they are reaching out to help you deal with potentially serious issues!

As your consultants, we are on your side. We aren’t trying to run your business for you but would like to help you protect your business. To do this you must dig down to the root cause of what happened with each severe event and ensure that the driver understands what he or she should have done and what to do in the future to avoid another similar event. Multiple owners who have failed to follow up on serious safety alerts have been found negligent in lawsuits. Use the videos to help your driver fight complacency and improve driving habits.

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Five Driving Behaviors Predict Future Truck Crashes

In the 2022 update to its Predicting Truck Crash Involvement report published last month, the American Transportation Research Association (ATRI) documented five driving behaviors that are “strong indicators” of future truck crashes. Due to a delay in reporting by FMCSA, ATRI’s report examined truck data collected in 2017 and 2018, covering 584,000 truck drivers and 38,797 crashes.

The five behaviors outlined by ATRI are:

  • A reckless driving violation

  • Conviction for failure to use or improper use of signals

  • A past crash

  • Failure to yield right-of-way violation

  • Conviction for Improper or erratic lane change

ATRI’s analysis also shows how likely it is, in percentage terms, that a driver’s current behavior will result in a future crash. The recent increase in truck crashes has made this research more important than ever, with FMCSA data showing an increase in truck crashes from nearly 147,000 in 2020 to over 168,000 crashes in 2021. Just from January 1 through March 31, 2022, FMCSA preliminary data documented over 40,000 crashes, indicating a trend that could make 2022 an even worse year for truck crashes! We hope you’ll download the report, read it and share with your drivers and other personnel.

Download the Report

CA’s “Dirty Truck Detectors” Ramping Up for January 2023

In the October Regulatory Roundup, we told members about the new truck pollution enforcement program scheduled to start soon in California. Meanwhile, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has begun deploying “Portable Emissions Acquisition Systems (PEAQs) – so-called “Dirty Truck Detectors” – in areas of heavy truck traffic to educate drivers and operators about the new truck smog check program that starts Jan. 1.

CARB first unveiled the smog detectors August 23 near the Port of Los Angeles, where the agency screened more than 1,200 trucks over a five-hour period. Trucks drive underneath the monitors which are programmed to detect high emissions, and which alert officers to heavy polluters that are then pulled over for additional smog inspections.

The PEAQs – manned and unmanned – have been spotted around the state, including Oct. 18 in San Diego at the CHP’s commercial border crossing at Otay Mesa, October 25 in Oakland and November 1 at the Calexico border crossing on the U.S. side of the Mexican border.

“But wait!” you say. “My trucks aren’t registered in California, and I’m not based there!” Unfortunately, that doesn’t matter – the program will apply to all heavy-duty trucks, buses and agricultural equipment with a gross vehicle weight rating over 14,000 pounds operating in the state, regardless of whether they are registered in California. And by mid-2023, all truck operators traveling within the state will be required to register with CARB and obtain a certificate of compliance to operate in the state.

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Conference Recap

Your eyes and ears on the industry

As our members know, ICSA is active in many trucking organizations and attends many conferences to get and share information that can be useful in your business. On a regular basis we will provide information that you can use. In October, we attended the Management Conference and Exhibition (MCE) put on by American Trucking Associations (ATA). The following week, we also attended the Future of Freight Festival put on by Freightwaves. The highlights:

In both events, the economy was a key focus. We heard from numerous economists, both national and international, both trucking specific and general economists. Obviously, the economy is not going well. The consensus of all the economists speaking in these meetings is that there will be a recession in early 2023. It is projected to be relatively small, and not as severe as in the rest of the world. In fact, the United States was described as the “best house in a bad block.”

So, what does that mean for you? Loads are going to be down (as you probably have experienced) and hard to come by. Loads are shifting from the spot market to the contract market and from FTL to LTL. This also means that finding loads will be more difficult and many loads will be on the brokerage side, especially those operated by the large carriers with shipping contracts.

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