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FMCSA to Keep Drug Testing
Rate for Trucking at 50% in 2015


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said the nation's trucking companies must continue random drug testing for at least 50 percent of drivers and other "safety sensitive" employees during 2015.

The FMCSA announced the decision December 31, based on data from 2012, even though the agency was due to have finished analyzing test results for 2013 by the close of 2014.

Trucking executives were hoping the FMCSA would lower the mandatory drug-test rate to 25 percent because the rate of positive results from random tests was below one percent for the two most recent years from which data are available -- 0.6 percent in 2012 and 0.9 percent in 2011.

Federal safety agencies for the railroad, airline, marine and passenger transit modes have all sliced their testing requirements in half, to 25 percent from 50 percent, once random drug-test results fell below the one percent threshold for consecutive years.

The FMCSA said it uses five major types of non-random tests: Pre-employment; Post-accident; Return to duty; Follow-ups to previous positives; and "Reasonable suspicion" tests where a person appears to be drunk or using drugs.

Analysis from the industry's 2013 drug tests will play a role in setting the next test rate. However, federal regulations say the FMCSA administrator may reduce the rate, not that he or she must do so.

Dave Osiecki, who is chief of national advocacy for American Truck Association's, said he hopes the industry will maintain its performance below one percent and that three straight years of doing so will persuade FMCSA officials to change to a 25 percent rate.

The FMCSA released the 2012 analysis about one year late, and Osiecki said it would be helpful to the industry if the 2013 results are less tardy than that.


TMHA Board
of Directors
Jon Coca
Diamond Transportation System, Inc.
First Vice President
Mike Connell
Bennett Motor Express
Past President
Jim Towery
Steelman Transportation
Clayton Fisk
Warren Transport

Dave Gallano
Gallano Trucking, Inc.
Jeremy Ihle
Ihle Transport, Inc.
Aaron Tennant
Tennant Truck Lines
TMHA Mission Statement  
To provide an ongoing forum for education, networking and advocacy for flatbed, step-deck and lowboy (RGN) carriers that specialize in the transportation of machinery and machinery-related commodities throughout the United States and Canada.

Crash Accountability Study Coming in Two Weeks


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will release its study on crash accountability in the next couple of weeks, said FMCSA Chief Safety Officer Jack Van Steenburg in response to a question at the Transportation Research Board Meeting in Washington, D.C., on January 14.


The study is likely to reignite the long-simmering controversy over how the agency accounts for fault in crashes recorded in its Compliance, Safety, Accountability enforcement system. Currently, the agency includes non-fault crashes in the CSA Safety Measurement System because its ability to distinguish fault is limited and there is a statistical probability that some of the crashes will be the carrier's fault.


The FMCSA and safety advocacy groups contend that past crashes are a predictor of future crash risk no matter who is at fault. Carriers say it is illogical and wrong to include non-fault crashes in a system that measures safety performance.


The FMCSA studied the issue and has drafted a report that is supposed to outline a possible solution. The study will address three core questions:

  • Are police accident reports reliable enough to determine accountability?
  • Will a system that includes accountability be a better predictor of future safety than one that does not?
  • And, how should the agency manage the process, giving the public a chance to participate?

An additional issue likely to surface in the report is the question of cost and whether the expense of determining fault be worth the value it achieves.

U.S. Congress to Consider Gas Tax Increase

As Congress stares down another looming highway cliff, an old idea is getting some new attention: Raising the gas tax.


Congress has avoided confronting the politically nettlesome issue for more than 20 years -- the federal gas tax was last increased in 1993. In the meantime, cars have become more fuel efficient, the 18.4 cents per gallon tax has lost buying power and Congress has repeatedly kicked the can, choosing tens of billions in general fund bailouts over raising a tax that would hit the vast majority of Americans right in the pocket.


But gas prices are at a recent nadir, dipping below $2 per gallon in many parts of the country. Several influential Republicans have expressed tepid openness to raising the tax by May, when Congress needs to pass a new transportation bill and figure out where to find $15 billion -- the current annual funding deficit -- needed to keep federal funding at current levels. Otherwise federal payments to contractors across the country would run out, leaving Congress staring at a perilous funding cliff that's now just four months away.

United States Opening Border To Mexican Truckers

The United States border is being opened to Mexican carriers, the Department of Transportation announced January 9.

The DOT will publish a notice in the Federal Register saying Mexican carriers are allowed to apply for operating authority here, ending more than 20 years of dispute over the Mexican truck issue.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said opening the border to "a safe cross-border trucking system with Mexico is a major step forward in strengthening our relationship with the nation's third largest trading partner, and in meeting our obligations under [the North American Free Trade Agreement].

"Data from the three-year pilot program, and additional analysis on almost 1,000 other Mexican longhaul trucking companies that transport goods into the U.S., proved that Mexican carriers demonstrate a level of safety at least as high as their American and Canadian counterparts," Foxx said.

American Trucking Associations supports a border-trucking policy that allows foreign motor carriers that want to operate in the United States, as long as they comply with the regulatory and financial requirements that apply to U.S. carriers.



Online Registration Now Available for TMHA Annual Meeting
Preparations for The Machinery Haulers Association Annual Meeting are well underway with online registration now open. Additionally, a hotel room block has been established at the Chicago Marriott O'Hare, where the meeting will be held April 8-9.

The meeting is free of charge to attend, but registering is still appreciated so the TMHA staff can deliver an accurate attendance number to the restaurant and hotel for food and beverages. Please utilize the online link provided below to complete your registration.

Hotel accommodations can also be secured through the Chicago Marriott O'Hare directly. Use the hotel reservation link below to book your room online for the special rate of $152 per night. This rate will expire on March 18 when the room block closes.

More details about the meeting, including speakers and the location of the welcome reception/dinner, will be released as they become available.

Landstar Names 2014 Employees of the Year

Landstar System, Inc. announced the middle of December that Michael Sterling and Erica Lafin have been named the company's Employees of the Year for 2014.


Sterling and Lafin were chosen as the best of the best among the 24 employees of the month selected during the 2014 calendar year from Landstar's service centers in Jacksonville, Fla., and Rockford, Ill.


Working out of the Jacksonville service center, Sterling is a bid analyst in the pricing services department. He has been with Landstar since June 2013, and was recognized for his industry knowledge, strong work ethic and willingness to go the extra mile to get the job done.


Lafin is a senior loss prevention coordinator within the safety services department in Rockford. She first started working at Landstar in Mach 2005. Lafin gained praise for her spot-on decision making, positive personality and knowledge of both her own field and Landstar overall.

CVSA Seeks Nominations for Driver Excellence Award

Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is seeking nominations for the International Driver Excellence Award, which recognizes commercial drivers who go above and beyond their duties and distinguish themselves through achievements in safe operation and compliance.

CVSA will appoint a committee to review the nominations and select a winner in April. The award will be presented at CVSA's Annual Conference and Exhibition in Boise, Idaho, in September.

In order to qualify for the award, a driver must have at least 25 cumulative years of accident-free driving in a commercial vehicle with a clean driving record for the most recent three years. Nominees must have no felony convictions, no safety related driving suspensions in the past three years and no driver violations in the past three years. This excludes form and manner violations.


The deadline for nominations is February 27. Participants will receive a letter confirming CVSA received the nomination.

For more information, please visit

How Tight is Trucking Capacity Getting?


Industry analysts are continuing to try and quantify just how tight trucking capacity is getting in the U.S. freight market, with rate increases being used as one way to measure the severity of the current capacity crunch.

For example, research firm Transport Capital Partners found that three-fourths of the motor carriers it recently polled said they "think" freight is sitting on the shipper's dock and as a result 68 percent expect to renegotiate detention times -- almost double the number from a year ago.

"Recent changes in hours of service rules have made detention times a hot button on driver efficiency and equipment efficiency," noted Lana Batts, one of TCP's partners. "Unfortunately, it looks like larger carriers are expecting to re-negotiate more than their smaller competitors."

Meanwhile, the trend of carriers using less broker freight services continues, noted Rickard Mikes, another TCP partner, with 76 percent of carriers indicating in the firm's most recent survey that they intend to use less broker freight this year.

"This is a logical fall out from tighter capacity and rising rates, and a consistent trend since the end of the Great Recession," Mikes added.

Research by Wall Street investment firm Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. indicates that the TL segment alone lost 20 percent of capacity during the "Great Recession" with motor carriers remaining reluctant to add capacity due to challenges associated with driver recruiting and retention.


The Machinery Haulers Association

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Des Moines, Iowa
Phone: (515) 244-5193
Fax: (515) 244-2204

Your Professional Staff

Brenda Neville, Director
Jon Dill, Membership
Don Egli, Safety
Phillip Nicolino, Marketing