2017 LMTA Fall Conference

ELDs, Employer Notification Systems and Traffic Lead Fall Conference Discussions

 

Digital tools that improve safety like electronic logging devices, onboard cameras and notification systems that notify carriers when a driver is suspended generated much of the discussion at the LMTA Fall Conference.

There are 6,000 active carriers in Louisiana, but less than 10 percent are LMTA members, said William Norris, Division Administrator, Louisiana Division Office, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. LMTA members comply with regulations for driver hours, but lots of other carriers don’t and that’s why electronic logging is necessary.

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“It is not unusual for our folks to find drivers who have been up 21, 27, 32 hours continuously,” Norris said. “Will ELD stop it? I think it will start to shape a safety mindset.”

Jonathan Weiner, FMCSA state program specialist, ran through a number of regulatory updates, including the delay for the Unified Registration System, designed to streamline registration; the entry-level driving rule, which takes effect Feb. 7, 2020; and the crash preventability demonstration program now underway.

Those regulations and others will affect the trucking industry, he said. But the ELD is probably “the biggest rule in our agency in recent history.”

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Conference attendees wanted to know what Louisiana State Police and FMCSA officials recommended if drivers ran out of hours in a variety of scenarios. For example, what if the driver runs out of hours while waiting to pick up a load, and the shipper orders him to leave the property?

Weiner said it may be possible for the driver to use a personal conveyance exemption to find a safe place to park. But the exemption covers a very limited distance. A trucker can’t just jump in the rig and drive an hour or more.

LSP Capt. Chris Guillory said drivers should use common sense. The State Police aren’t out to hurt anyone. He recommended drivers use their smartphones to video a shipper in the event that they are ordered off the property.

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Meanwhile, Paige Paxton, manager of Driver Management, Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles, told attendees that the employer notification system is live.

The system allows trucking companies to get digital notifications each morning if any of their drivers’ licenses have been suspended for any reason, whether it involves medical certification, not paying child support or taxes, or some other violation, she said.

“Let’s face it. You’re a driver and you get suspended tomorrow, you’re going to drive as long as you can to feed your family,” Paxton said.

The problem for trucking companies is that one accident, one fatality can be catastrophic, she said. Employer notification helps avoid liability issues generated by the old method — checking the Motor Vehicle Record or Official Driving Record once a year.

Another topic that generated lots of discussion involved how best to warn drivers about slow-moving traffic or delays and prevent accidents caused by a truck running into the back of the queue. These slowdowns and the resulting accidents are a major problem on a four- or five-mile stretch eastbound on La. 415 every day around 5 p.m.

LMTA Executive Director Cathy Gautreaux said the industry has discussed viable options to address this issue with the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana State Police and Motorist Assistance Patrol.

The consensus was that nothing can be done, Gautreaux said. But she isn’t ready to accept that.

Rachel Anderson, supervisor, Regional Traffic Management Centers, said DOTD has a Dynamic Message Sign, a big electronic sign that alerts truckers to lane closures and stoppages. Louisiana 511 Traveler Information also provides that information and more via computer or mobile device.

The problem is that truckers can’t access their smartphones or tablets while driving, Gautreaux said. What’s needed is some sort of in-cab system that can provide an alert.

Carriers said by the time they find out about an accident, it’s too late to tell a driver who’s on the road.

One possible solution could come from the Louisiana Transportation Research Center, which is looking into research projects to reduce fatalities, Gautreaux said.

Although no one had the perfect solution to rear-end collisions on La. 415, Jim Angel, vice president of Video Intelligence Solutions for PeopleNet Communications, said carriers can protect themselves by equipping their trucks with video cameras. The placement of the cameras was also a large part of the discussion.

The costs of claims tripled between 2005 and 2011, Angel said. It now costs well over $15,000 on average to repair a truck.

However, studies show truckers are only at fault around 25 percent of the time in catastrophic collisions, he said. Still, carriers have to overcome a mindset, among the public and law enforcement, that typically blames the big truck for an accident.

Video proof can flip that around, he said.

 

 

Conference Sponsors

Patron
Aeropres Corporation
Port Aggregates, Inc.

General
Berard Transportation
Compass Compliance Management
Gulf South Insurance Agency, LLC
Shreveport Truck Center

Silver
Drivewyze
Grammer Industries

Coffee Break
C & S Wholesale Grocers
SevenOaks Capital Associates, LLC

Reception
ENVOC
National Tank Truck Carriers
Peterbilt of Louisiana
Port Aggregates, Inc.

 

Annual Sponsors

Platinum
Help, Inc.

Gold
Regions Insurance, Inc

Silver
FedEx Corporation
Grammer Industries
Gulf Coast Business Credit
Peoplenet Communications
Port Aggregates, Inc.
Southern Tire Mart, LLC
TAB Bank
Trico Transportation, Inc.
UPS
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Bronze
Aeropres Corporation
Bengal Transportation Services, LLC
BMO Harris Bank N.A.
Bruckner Truck Sales, Inc.
Cash Magic Truck Stops
Creel Brothers, Inc.
Dedicated Transportation, LLC
Dupre’ Logistics, LLC
Ergon Trucking, Inc.
Frisard’s Trucking Co., Inc.
Lake City Trucking
Newman Transport, LLC
NOCS Transport, Ltd.
Pilot Flying J
Service Transport Company
SevenOaks Capital Associates, LLC
Transportation Compliance Services, USA
Travel Centers of America d/b/a Petro
Triple G Express, Inc.
United Vision Logistics

 

 

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