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Distracted driving, speed among NTSB’s Most Wanted List

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There are 267 open NTSB safety recommendations associated with the 10 Most Wanted List items and the NTSB is focused on seeing 46 of those implemented within the next two years. (The Trucker file photo)

WASHINGTON — The National Transportation Safety Board revealed its 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements Monday.

First issued in 1990, the NTSB Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements serves as the agency’s primary advocacy tool to help save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce property damage resulting from transportation accidents.

The 10 items on the list include:

  • Eliminate distractions
  • End alcohol and other drug impairment
  • Ensure the safe shipment of hazardous materials
  • Fully implement positive train control
  • Implement a comprehensive strategy to reduce speeding-related crashes
  • Improve the safety of Part 135 aircraft flight operations
  • Increase implementation of collision avoidance systems in all new highway vehicles
  • Reduce fatigue-related accidents
  • Require medical fitness – screen for and treat obstructive sleep apnea
  • Strengthen Occupant Protection

“The 2019-2020 Most Wanted List advocates for 46 specific safety recommendations that can and should be implemented during these next two years,” said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt. “It also features broad, longstanding safety issues that still threaten the traveling public.

Sumwalt issued a call to action when the list was released.

We at the NTSB can speak on these issues,” he said. “We board members can testify by invitation to legislatures and to Congress, but we have no power of our own to act. We are counting on industry, advocates, and government to act on our recommendations.  We are counting on the help of the broader safety community to implement these recommendations.”

There are 267 open NTSB safety recommendations associated with the 10 Most Wanted List items and the NTSB is focused on seeing 46 of those implemented within the next two years. The majority of these recommendations, roughly two-thirds of the 267, seek critical safety improvements by means other than regulation. Of the 46 safety recommendations the NTSB wants implemented in the next two years, 20 seek regulatory action to improve transportation safety.

At any given time, the NTSB is managing around 1,200 open safety recommendations and while all have the potential to save lives and reduce injuries by preventing accidents, the NTSB cannot effectively communicate about each of them. The NTSB’s Most Wanted List provides the NTSB’s advocacy team and other agency communicators a roadmap to focus on a select number of recommendations. In 2017 the NTSB went from an annual list to a biennial process, to give our advocacy team, their partners, and our safety recommendation recipients more time to move toward implementation of the recommendations associated with the list.

 

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The Nation

Diesel heads up 4 cents a gallon to $3.006

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Diesel prices jumped 4 cents a gallon to ring up Tuesday at $3.006. (The Trucker file photo)

For the past several months, including the end of 2018, all the “experts” said oil (and consequently diesel) was going nowhere but up. It had to, they reasoned, after prices had almost literally scraped the bottom of the barrel.

Then oil and diesel both went down for weeks. After that it stayed the same.

Now diesel prices are finally up — 4 cents a gallon — to $3.006 a gallon Tuesday from $2.966 a gallon last week.

Normally, diesel prices would have been announced Monday, but since it was President’s Day, diesel prices were released Tuesday.

And it may be a testament to how long prices had been going down or stayed flat that none of the U.S. Information Administration’s 10 reporting regions were clocking $4-a-gallon diesel, not even California, where diesel was ringing up at $3.739.

Also, four regions were still below $3 a gallon as of Tuesday.

And although 4 cents a gallon for the on-highway national average was a significant jump from the week before, the Lower Atlantic and Midwest regions each jumped 5.5 cents a gallon. Diesel in the Lower Atlantic sector went from $2.872 last week to $2.927 Tuesday while in the Midwest, diesel prices went from $2.849 last week to $2.904 today.

The Gulf Coast had the lowest prices at $2.809 a gallon, up 3.3 cents from the week prior.

Is this the start of an upward trend? It’s hard to know what oil prices will do in a global economy that is teetering since what seems like a bandwagon jump out of the European Union.

Meanwhile, oil was trading up:

U.S. crude added 48 cents to $56.07 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange after gaining $1.19 on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 16 cents to $66.34 per barrel, The Associated Press reported.

For diesel prices by sector, click here.

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The Nation

Ohio governor to reveal gas tax hike plan Thursday

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Ohio's tp Transportation Department executive says the state is facing an "impending crisis" unless more road funding is provided. (The Trucker file photo)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine says he’ll announce Thursday his proposed recommendation for increasing the state’s gas tax to deal with a chronic shortfall in spending on road construction.

DeWine, a Republican, says there are no other solutions outside a gas tax increase, while warning that any increase simply keeps Ohio from falling behind.

He wouldn’t provide details or say what the proposed increase will be. He spoke at an annual forum sponsored by The Associated Press.

DeWine says the increase is “just to keep us where we are today.”

The head of the Ohio Department of Transportation director said earlier this month that Ohio’s road maintenance and infrastructure are facing an “impending crisis” unless more funding is provided.

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OOIDA Foundation issues information it says debunks driver shortage ‘myth’

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Most carriers with high turnover do so by design, says OOIDA President Todd Spencer. “They could deal with driver turnover by offering better wages and benefits and improved working conditions,” he said.

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s research foundation published two new documents it says debunks the driver shortage “myth.”

A fact sheet explains how the industry isn’t afflicted with a shortage of drivers, but is actually plagued with overcapacity and driver retention, the foundation reported.

A second, accompanying document talks about how wages have decreased for truck drivers at large carriers and many have moved toward smaller fleets.

Last year, the association also created a short video that explains why there is high turnover as opposed to a shortage.

“We are concerned about the perpetuation of a myth of driver shortage,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA President. “This misinformation is used to push agendas that are harmful to the industry and highway safety.”

To address the supposed driver “shortage,” some organizations have suggested that the age requirement to obtain a commercial driver’s license should be lowered from 21 to 18.

“If safety is the top priority when considering a change to a regulation, when it comes to age, the number should be raised, not lowered.” Spencer said.

OOIDA also contends that any issue with retention could be mitigated with other solutions that would be safer for all highway users.

For example, compensation has been shown to be tied directly to highway safety, as revealed in studies that suggest there is a strong correlation between driver pay and highway safety, Spencer said.

“Most carriers with high turnover do so by design,” he said. “They could deal with driver turnover by offering better wages and benefits and improved working conditions. But putting younger drivers behind the wheel of a truck isn’t the solution because it does nothing to address the underlying issues that push drivers out of the industry. It merely exacerbates the churn.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The association currently has more than 160,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Missouri, area.

 

 

 

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