Written by Kevin Jones in the December 5 edition of the CCJ @KevinJonesCCJ
For a link to the story in the CCJ, click HERE
A suspension of the restart provisions in the hours-of-service rule is among the more controversial riders still being negotiated, but time is running out as the lame duck Congress develops its funding plan for the federal government.
The final form and language of that plan is expected to be completed by the House Friday evening and published Monday. Whether the restart provision makes it, and whether the package can pass in both the House and Senate and be signed by President Obama depends on a number of factors, most of which have little to do with trucking, Capitol Hill insiders say.
As of Friday morning, the word of the day is “cromnibus,” a CR (continuing resolution) for the Dept. of Homeland Security combined with an omnibus spending package to fund the operation of the rest of the federal government, including the Transportation Department.
This hybrid approach is a compromise to appease the most conservative House Republicans who want to fight Obama on his recently announced immigration reforms. A short-term extension of DHS funding will allow Congress to more fully debate the immigration matter next year while fully funding the rest of the government for 2015 – and avert a shutdown.
Congress is dealing with the matter in a lame duck session because it couldn’t get its act together and pass the department-focused budgets in a timely fashion earlier in the year. DOT, for example, is funded along with the Housing Department by the annual THUD appropriation.
And it was into the Senate’s THUD bill that Sen. Susan Collins inserted language to suspend certain parts of 2013′s changes to HOS rule dealing with the restart, pending study of the actual impact on safety and efficiency of the rule. After gaining bipartisan committee support, the Collins amendment faced a floor fight before the entire THUD package was stalled by procedural squabbling between party leadership.
This week the HOS language is again the focus of debate “at the highest level” – meaning that it’s too controversial to be decided by the congressional staff who prepare the basics of the package, or even by just a couple of committee members, a source familiar with the negotiations tells CCJ.
“The fact that it got kicked up is to that level is really not surprising,” the source says. “We’ve not gotten any clear direction one way or another. But you’ve got a top Republican on the Senate side who has ownership of the language and that’s really strong – that only helps the language stand.”
Much of the pushback comes from highway safety advocates, truck crash victims and organized labor, who have rolled out the same arguments they used during the Senate debate in June. The coalition includes Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Parents Against Tired Truckers and the Teamsters, among others. They wrote to Congress this week to oppose the Collins language and other possible amendments relating to highway safety.
“While Congress may call these ‘riders,’ they are actually ‘assaults’ on truck safety,” the letter says. “As the 113th Congress nears conclusion, trucking and shipping interests are relentlessly pushing an anti-safety agenda that is dangerous, deadly and unprecedented in its attack on public health and safety.”
The proposed change to the HOS rule has been portrayed as a “minor tweak,” but in fact it is a major change that will significantly increase driver hours, the letter contends. The coalition again cites driver fatigue and the high profile accident involving comedian Tracy Morgan, also from last June as the amendment was being considered in the Senate.
The groups also oppose changes in truck size and weight limits, but sources suggest such provisions will not make it into the omnibus spending bill, but more likely will part of the next highway bill.
In a letter Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, the organizations pressed the Obama administration to veto any spending bill that will result in more highway deaths and injuries.
Indeed, “the bigger issue is whether [the restart suspension] is in a vehicle that can pass the Senate and ultimately get signed by the president,” suggests another Washington source with trucking connections.
Of course, trucking isn’t the only industry with specific riders tucked away in the massive bill – and any of these could prompt further delay, or even a veto. And that’s to say nothing of major, partisan disagreements. We should know more early next week. Stay tuned.
CalArk is excited to announce a pay increase for company drivers. All company drivers will receive a 3cpm increase effective 12/02/2014. In additional to the pay increase, all company drivers are eligible for a bonus of 2cpm when driving more than 11,250 miles in any given month. Teams are also eligible, but must drive 19,200 miles in a month before becoming eligible for the 2cpm bonus. ***Addendum***11/20/2014*** We would like to clarify that the mileage incentive bonus of $.02 per mile is based on authorized miles during the month
Along with the pay increase, we are pleased to announce major medical coverage thru BCBS along with RX coverage. Coverage will be effective 1/1/2015. Employee cost for the coverage will be $45/week.
Announcing a New Scanning Option: TRANSFLO Mobile+
Introducing a new way for drivers to scan and submit documents. TRANSFLO Mobile+ is a smartphone app available for iPhone and Androids. The app is free to download, and is simple to register and begin using.
Our company’s Recipient ID, which you will need to register, is: CALJ
Simply click on the App Store link if you are an iPhone user, or the Google Play link for an Android user.
Features & Functionality
· Auto detects borders and crops image
· Lighten, darken and rotate image
· No-hassle auto updates
· Compresses image for efficient transmission, conserving money on your data plan
· Quality check – automatically evaluates image to ensure readability before submission
· Sends delivery confirmation vie email and link to review images online for 14 days after submission
If you need assistance watch the demo video, call technical support at 813.386.2327 or email email@example.com.
CalArk, Central Hauling Co. Driver Of Year Award Winners Live Their Careers, Take Pride As Truckers by Aprille Hanson
Truckers Allen Robertson and Jason Mavrinac live their careers.
It’s not an exaggeration — Robertson, who has driven for CalArk for 18 years, is traveling the highways year round.
Mavrinac, who has driven almost two years for Central Hauling Co., is out four months at a time, only going home to Raleigh, North Carolina, for laundry, and proudly adds that his electric bill is “$15 a month.”
Their dedication is matched by few, which is why Robertson was named the 2014 Company Driver of the Year for CalArk and Mavrinac was selected as Contractor of the Year for Central Hauling Co.
CalArk and Central Hauling Co., both based out of Little Rock, are sister companies; Central Hauling is an independent contractor fleet that pulls CalArk trailers. The judging is strict for drivers of the year — they must have a year of on-time delivery, no accidents/tickets/violations, in addition to mastering all-around driver efficiency like good fuel mileage, said Dennis Hilton, vice president of safety for CalArk.
Those that received Driver of the Year runnerup awards for CalArk were: second runner-up Addison Benson Jr. ($500); first runner-up Bonifacio Robertson ($750).
For Central Hauling Co., the second runner-up was Carl Sparlin ($500); first runner-up was Lual Madut ($750).
Both Robertson and Mavrinac received plaques and the choice of $2,500 or a Caribbean trip; both drivers chose the money. Robertson also received the Company Best Fuel Mileage award and received an additional $500.
“You’ll have to excuse me,” a teary-eyed Robertson, 60, said to the crowd gathered at the CalArk headquarters in Little Rock on Sept. 19 in honor of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (Sept. 15-19). “Since I’ve been with the company, it’s been family.”
“Family” is what both drivers emphasized while sitting down with The Trucker to talk about their careers and their shock in being honored this year.
“If I can’t be the best, I don’t want to do it,” Robertson said. “I’m serious about my job, any job I do.”
Robertson, a trucker for 25 years from Richmond, Virginia, has no shortage of accomplishments: 100 percent on-time delivery every year; company driver of the year in 2003, 2004 and 2007; most miles driven from 2008-2010, 2012; achieved 3 million miles in 2013 — and that’s just to name a few.
His “will-do” attitude stems from his 20 years serving in the U.S. Army. Stationed primarily in Oklahoma, Texas and Germany, Robertson did everything from a desk sergeant for military police to field artillery. But what’s most shocking from this soft-spoken, humble driver was his favorite part of his time in the military — his two years as a drill sergeant.
“Just thinking about all the young men coming in, for myself, I was raised with an outstanding mother and father who showed me how to do right, made sure I went to school and learned so when I saw these kids, these were like my sisters and brothers. I’m trying to help them get to where I’ve been,” Robertson said.
After retiring from the military, trucking appealed to him for the travel and just “the idea of taking the challenge to become a truck driver, to see if I could do it.”
Robertson travels throughout the lower 48 and into Canada, hauling primarily automotive supplies.
Since he’s out on the road year-round, Robertson helps out motorists, whether it’s giving out food and water or stopping to help them.
“I was coming out of San Diego and there was this lady and five kids in the car; she had a flat tire. It was like 105 degrees. I stopped, and she didn’t have a spare. I went down the road and bought one and put it on for her,” Robertson said, adding he couldn’t have driven by knowing that the “next guy who comes along may have different intentions. Then I would have to live with that … I’ll give someone the shirt off my back if they’re in need; I’ve got another one,” he said with a smile.
For Robertson, the most important advice he has for drivers just starting out is to find a good company and stick with them and keep a positive attitude.
“It’s about attitude and making the best out of a situation and being the best that you can be,” Robertson said. “I have to say I’m blessed to be working for this company; they have so many drivers that can receive the award … Whatever they give me, I’m gone. Whether it’s one mile or 1,000 miles, I’ve got to get it there on time.”
It’s that same positive, can-do attitude that Mavrinac, a trucker for six years, takes pride in as an owner-operator.
“I was a little shocked, I didn’t think I did that well,” he said of winning the performance-based award.
“He’s always willing to run, he’s always on time,” said his dispatcher, Jane Pearce, adding that he brightens her day by making her laugh. “He’s a pleasure to work with.”
Mavrinac, 39, had been a company driver but preferred the “freedom” of running his own truck — a 2006 9400 International — so he signed on with Central Hauling Co.
“The running lanes are very good, the miles are very good. The one thing transitioning from a company driver to an owner-operator is not the miles. It has to be a balance between fuel mileage and miles. Most of your fleet averages they say are eight miles to the gallon, a lot of these drivers out here will blow by me … my 30-day and 90-day is 8. 36 miles to the gallon, 57 miles per hour,” Mavrinac said. “I work very hard and spend a lot of money on that truck.”
Before trucking, Mavrinac was bringing home about $130,000 a year, certified to do body work on BMW and Mercedes vehicles. When the economy tanked, he was out of a job.
“I was on unemployment for 30 days thinking I was going to get a vacation and after a week of not doing anything, I was bored and thought, ‘let’s go be a truck driver.’ Haven’t looked back since.”
But that doesn’t mean he still doesn’t have love for “Mercedes” — his 10-year-old female Rottweiler mix that has traveled with him since she was just a puppy.
“The first time she’d seen the snow out there she lept out of the truck and went into a ditch that was covered in snow and disappeared. I had to dig her out,” Mavrinac said. “She didn’t look at me the same way after that. She doesn’t jump out of the truck anymore.”
On his off time, he’ll park his truck near a clearing to fly one of his high-dollar model airplanes or helicopters.
“I have some jets with actual jet engines on them; I have to go to the airport to get fuel,” Mavrinac said, adding it’s another reason he likes being an owner-operator. “A, the money because you’re talking about $10,000 to $12,000 an airplane and B, I can stop out in the middle of the dessert somewhere for three or four hours … and go flying.”
But the only way Mavrinac can be successful is by his own choosing and with a good company like Central Hauling Co. Backing him, he said.
“Learn how to maintain you equipment. Your biggest cost is fuel, your second is labor. If you can reduce both of those you’ll be profitable,” Mavrinac said to other owner-operators. “And slow down. Most of these trucks that can do 75 miles per hour, they do 75 mph.”
About three months ago, Mavrinac and seven other owner-operators formed the Contractor Advisory Board (CAB) as a teaching tool for new owner-operators and the go-between for drivers and the management.
“A lot of drivers will come in and say, ‘Oh I’ve got a truck that will run 75 miles per hour,’ then they’re blowing up tires, blowing up motors, their equipment is failing constantly. Maintenance costs go through the roof,” Mavrinac said. “We try to mentor them into being profitable, to treat it as a business not as a company truck.”
Mavrinac said he plans on staying with the company for the same reason Robertson gave — the “good people.”
“I don’t know a whole lot of people here because I’m usually on the road, but when I come through here there’s no nasty attitudes, everyone looks out for one another,” Mavrinac said. “Ninety percent of the other drivers are good people too.”
When conditions demand additional traction 7700 and 7800 series vehicles are equipped with a differential lock and rear suspension air release to lower the rear suspension to allow the rear axle weight to be shifted to the front drive axle.
For 7700 series trucks, here are the instructions for engaging:
Depress the black Bendix valve left of the camera monitor, this will engage the diff lock and lower the suspension. This system should be engaged anytime additional traction is required, once the truck is driven and 6th gear is obtained, the valve will pop back out and normal operation will resume. This function will work in a forward or reverse gear.
For 7800 series trucks, here are the instructions for engaging:
Depress the lock diff switch located above the radio, this will engage the diff lock and lower the suspension, this system should be engaged anytime additional traction is required, once the any interaction from the driver. The four bag dump function has been disabled.
When would I use this?
The wheels of American business is seeking a Night Dispatch/Customer Service Representative to become part of the operations department team. The position is based out of our Laredo, TX facility, is a night time position and requires previous transportation experience.
Night Dispatch/Customer Service Representative
Ideal candidates will be able to:
• Work in a team environment
• Communicate with all levels of management, employees, and outside contacts.
• Have accurate typing and data entry skills
• Exibit exceptional customer service skills
• Multi-task in a fast paced environment
• Demonstrate decision making abilities
• Display leadership skills
Additionally, candidates should possess:
• Previous transportation experience
• Load tracking and driver monitoring experience
• Ability to work closely with maintenance personnel
Qualified candidates can submit resume in person at 4441 Pan American Blvd, Laredo, TX 78045
Drivers, please take a minute to review the operational video for Trailer Tails. If you have issues opening, please click HERE
Great West Casualty Company presented Calark with a Gold Award on 6/27. The Gold Award was based on CalArk's preventable accidents times 1,000,000 divided by total number of miles driven. The Gold Award was one of only fifteen awarded. The management team at CalArk wants to thank our drivers for their continued attention to safety, making this award possible.
Contact: NR 14-178
Randy Ort/Jeff Whatley June 30, 2014
ARKANSAS DRIVERS REMINDED TO USE IDRIVEARKANSAS.COM
FOR HOLIDAY TRAVEL INFORMATION
LITTLE ROCK (6-30) - The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) reminds drivers to visit IDriveArkansas.com before traveling over the July 4th weekend.
Extensive highway improvements continue in the state. With those improvements come work zones. To aid in your holiday travel, AHTD has been working hard to open as many lanes as possible. Still, travelers will likely face work zones and possible delays due to increased traffic volume.
Drivers are urged to plan ahead by visiting IDriveArkansas.com for the latest travel information. The website includes live traffic flow, weather information, and details on construction zones. Travelers can also follow us on Twitter @AHTD.
Below is a list of Arkansas’ major lane closures during the holiday.
CalArk representatives attended the annual Arkansas Trucking Association Business Conference in Branson meeting last week where CalArk was presented with the Arkansas Trucking Association 2013 Corporate Fleet Safety Grand Champion Award. This award is given for fewest accidents per million miles run in Arkansas. This is a great accomplishment and CalArk wants to say “Thank You” to our drivers and supporting staff who made this award possible. CalArk ran 4.375 million miles in AR with a crash rating of zero. CalArk competed with large, medium, and small carriers who are members of the Arkansas Trucking Association.
In addition to use of a trailer at Jones Glass in Benton, AR, CalArk has also teamed up with the Buzz 103.7 and Jim's Razorback Pizza to gather water for the tornado relief program. Let's get our Calark trailer full of water for these folks!! The trailer is located in the parking lot of Razorback Pizza - 20608 Arkansas 365, Maumelle, AR. From I-40, take exit 142.
Click HERE to read the article
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