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FHWA administrator designee says rural roads need attention

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Nicole Nason says if confirmed as FHWA administrator she will work toward helping find a solution to the Highway Trust Fund shortfall. (Courtesy: U.S. SENATE)

WASHINGTON — During a hearing before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on January 29, Nicole Nason said that, should the committee confirm her nomination as administrator of the Federal Highway Administration and the full Senate concurs, she plans to place a special focus on rural roadway safety.

“My priority is safety on all roads, but we must recognize and address some of the unique safety challenges faced by rural communities,” she explained in her testimony as reported in an article in the Journal, a publication of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

In 2017, Nason said, 37,133 people lost their lives in U.S. highway crashes. Yet, as an example of how rural communities are “disproportionately” affected by road safety issues, 17,216 of those fatalities occurred on rural roads, representing 47 percent of total fatalities for 2017 – even though only 19 percent of the U.S. population lives in rural areas.

“This is not acceptable. The only acceptable number is zero,” she said. “If confirmed, I will tirelessly support FHWA’s leadership role in providing safety-related assistance and resources to our stakeholders as we work towards a common goal of zero deaths on our nation’s roads.”

Other issues Nason plans to focus on if confirmed as the FHWA’s next administrator include:

  • The United States faces an “ongoing challenge” of preserving and improving over four million miles of public roads and over 600,000 bridges and tunnels, she said; thus ensuring sufficient investment in those assets is important not only because it enhances safety, but “because it further benefits all Americans by increasing mobility and stimulating our nation’s productivity and economic growth.”
  • Nason noted that while the Highway Trust Fund is projected to have enough cash to cover highway expenditures through the end of fiscal year 2020, a “sustainable, long-term funding solution” must be found. “If confirmed, I look forward to working with Congress to find a solution,” she said.

Nason also emphasized that FHWA will play a critical role in helping reauthorize surface transportation funding legislation, as the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation or FAST Act will expire at the end of fiscal year 2020. “I was proud to play a part in helping shape SAFETEA-LU [The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, which was passed in 2005] when I previously served at the department [USDOT] and I look forward to the prospect of working together on any infrastructure or reauthorization efforts,” she said. “I recognize that there are challenges to be addressed, but I am ready to work with the [Transportation] Secretary and the Congress to address these important issues as there is not a one-size fits all solution.”

Jim Tymon, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, voiced his support for Nason’s FHWA nomination and urged the committee to approve her.

“The Trump Administration made a wise choice with its nomination of Nicole Nason as the next FHWA Administrator. Given her nomination hearing today which was well-received by both sides of the aisle, we ask for a speedy approval by both the Committee and the full Senate,” he said in a statement. “Not only has Nason served as administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, she has also held the position of assistant secretary of government affairs at USDOT. We look forward to working with her to advance our nation’s transportation infrastructure goals through a strong partnership between FHWA and our state transportation departments.”

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the EPW committee, also voiced his support for Nason’s nomination as well.

“I applaud President Trump’s nomination of such an accomplished and dedicated public servant,” Sen. Barrasso said in his opening statement. “She brings impressive, meaningful experience in federal transportation policy to this critically important position.”

He added that the authorization of federal highway programs “will expire in September of next year,” with the Congressional Budget Office projects the Highway Trust Fund will become insolvent sometime in 2021,” Sen. Barrasso noted.

He also stressed that America’s transportation infrastructure “faces a lot of challenges” and that for “far too long” FHWA has lacked Senate-confirmed leadership.

Ranking Member Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., made a special note of the HTF’s revenue issues in his remarks at the hearing.

“Last year, we spent about $13 billion more from the Highway Trust Fund than we collected in revenues. Next year, that deficit will be even greater,” he said. “To pay for the FAST Act, we took $70 billion from the general fund and other programs. For the next five-year transportation bill, we will need to find an additional $85 billion just to keep our programs at the current funding level. Despite spending more than we collect, we still aren’t even spending enough [as] the backlog of money needed to rehabilitate and improve highways and bridges has grown to $800 billion.”

“That’s why we must work together in this committee to write and pass a bipartisan highway bill that upgrades America’s roads and bridges in a fiscally responsible manner, and do it in this Congress,” Sen. Barrasso explained. “We successfully worked together to pass comprehensive, bipartisan water infrastructure legislation. Now let’s come together to fix our highways, roads, and bridges.”

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The Nation

FMCSA reminds truckers drug, alcohol clearinghouse coming soon

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The clearinghouse will be a professional truck driver database that will serve as a centralized record of all failed drug or alcohol tests, whether from pre-employment screenings, post-crash tests or random. (©2019 FOTOSEARCH)

Remember two years ago, when it seemed like the entire trucking industry was counting down the days to the ELD deadline?

Well, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) wants drivers to be aware of another countdown happening right now, although with much less hoopla than the Great ELD Panic of ’17.

At the recent Mid-America Trucking Show, Joe DeLorenzo, FMCSA director of enforcement and compliance, gave a presentation to raise awareness about the soon-to-be launched federal CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.

Mandated as part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, or MAP-21, in 2012, the same piece of legislation that bore the ELD mandate, the drug and alcohol clearinghouse is scheduled to launch January 6, 2020.

The clearinghouse will be a professional truck driver database that will serve as a centralized record of all failed drug or alcohol tests, whether from pre-employment screenings, post-crash tests or random. All refusals to take a drug or alcohol test will also be recorded.

“I came here with a bit of a mission on the drug and alcohol clearinghouse rule,” DeLorenzo said to the MATS audience. It has come to the agency’s attention the clearinghouse has been flying under the radar, a bit, and not enough drivers seem to know about it or they haven’t gotten a full explanation of what the clearinghouse will contain and what it will be used for.

DeLorenzo said drivers have said to him, “Well, I don’t do drugs, so I don’t have to worry about this.”

“Actually, that’s not the case,” DeLorenzo said. “Everybody needs to know about this and get going on it.”

Starting in January, carriers will be required to query the database as part of the new-driver hiring process to ensure that the candidate does not have any failed tests or refusals in the previous three years. Carriers can only gain access to a driver’s record and make the mandatory query with the consent of the driver, and the only way a driver can give that consent is to be registered in the clearinghouse.

So, technically, drivers are not going to be required to register in the clearinghouse, DeLorenzo said. However, if you ever want to get hired anywhere again you’ll have to be registered in the clearinghouse.

“If you’re just kind of staying where you’re at, no intention of leaving, or if you are working for yourself, or if you are nearing retirement, you may decide not to register,” he said. “But in an industry with 100%-plus turnover, I know people are always looking for a new job, a different job, a better job. Any driver who’s going to apply for a new job after this rule goes into effect is going to have to have an account and is going to have to be able to go in.”

DeLorenzo explained why the clearinghouse has been set up this way. Today, when someone applies for a job, they get tested as part of the process. They fail the test and the carrier doesn’t hire them. Three months later, they stay clean just long enough, the apply somewhere else and that company hires them, not knowing about the prior failure.

Starting January 6, carriers will be required to upload notices into the clearinghouse of all failed drug tests by drivers and driving applicants, as well as all refusals to test, as they occur.

The database is designed to go back three years. At first, employers will have to conduct both electronic queries within the clearinghouse and manual inquiries with previous employers to cover the preceding three years to meet the mandated hiring requirement. As of January 6, 2023, they will only need to check the clearinghouse.

Drivers’ records will only contain positive tests and refusals. When a prospective employer makes a query, they will be told if the record is clean. If there are entries, they will be able to get more details.

If a driver has a failed test, the database will also record whether that driver has completed the return-to-duty process.

Drivers will also be able to review their own records, DeLorenzo said, which is another incentive to register. If a driver finds an entry they wish to dispute, they can file a DataQ request to have it corrected.

The clearinghouse website is already up and running. Drivers can go to Clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov to read about the clearinghouse and to register their email addresses for any updates. Actual registration is scheduled to begin in October.

DeLorenzo said he is hoping to raise more awareness about the clearinghouse now so they start registering in October instead of finding out the hard way come February when they try to apply for a job.

“What I’m trying to avoid, actually, is human nature, which is to wait until the very last minute.”

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Drivewyze completes Missouri weigh installations, now fully deployed with 19 locations

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Drivewyze President and CEO Brian Heath noted that Missouri is a centralized state in the U.S., home to major trucking lanes connecting the west and east coasts. (Courtesy: DRIVEWYZE )

501 drivewyze Missouri.doc

DALLAS — Drivewyze has completed its service site rollout in Missouri at all 19 weigh stations across the state. Drivewyze PreClear weigh station bypass is now operational at all Missouri locations, delivering weigh station bypass opportunities to its customers driving in the state.

“Our bypass service network is second to none in Missouri,” said Brian Heath, president and CEO of Drivewyze. “Drivewyze is the largest provider of weigh station bypass service by a factor of almost two — with more than 750 service sites in North America. By providing more bypass opportunities than our competitors, we enable our customers to earn a higher safety return on investment than anyone else in the industry. The time has never been better for carriers to adopt weigh station bypass, or switch away from transponder-based systems. Now, they can maximize our bypass services in Missouri and enjoy the same extended coverage of our transponder-free services offer across the country.”

The final four activated Missouri Drivewyze sites are located in Kearney (northbound), Platte City (northbound), and Willow Springs (both east and westbound). Kearney is on I-35, northeast of Kansas City (between Kansas City and Des Moines, Iowa); Platte City is on I-29, northwest of Kansas City (between KC and Omaha, Nebraska); and Willow Springs is on Highway 60/63, southeast of Springfield.

“Missouri is a centralized state in the U.S., home to major trucking lanes connecting the west and east coasts,” Heath said. “With hundreds of trucking companies based in the state, we are pleased to offer state-wide services to all carriers operating in Missouri, as well as those passing through. This is another step forward for Drivewyze — and our customers — and we look forward to continue revolutionizing the freight industry with world-class service and technology. More bypasses not only improve a carrier’s bottom line, it makes a positive impact on driver’s lives.”

Carriers can eliminate the cost and administration of traditional transponders with Drivewyze. The Drivewyze PreClear weigh station bypass service is integrated with existing in-cab equipment like electronic logging devices, smartphones, tablets and other in-cab telematics systems. Customers can now receive bypass opportunities in 42 states and two Canadian provinces.

The Drivewyze PreClear weigh station bypass application is available on a number of Drivewyze partner platforms, including Omnitracs, Orbcomm, PeopleNet, Transflo, Rand McNally, Zonar, Platform Science, ISSAC and Switchboard. The application is also available for drivers to download on Android and iOS-based tablets or smartphones.

Fleets can request a free weigh station activity report to help them determine how much time and money they could save by using Drivewyze PreClear.

Drivewyze comes with a free Weigh Station Heads-Up service for real-time notifications at more than 1,200 weigh stations and inspection sites nationwide.

To learn more about Drivewyze, please visit www.drivewyze.com. 8

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Pilot Flying J to hold in-person, virtual hiring event May 2

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Pilot Flying J is hiring an average of 10 positions per location with some states adding more, including Illinois, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia. (Courtesy: PILOT FLYING J)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Pilot Flying J will conduct its first-ever National Hiring Day on May 2 – the largest in-person and virtual hiring event in the company’s history.

Gearing up for the influx of travelers this summer, the company aims to hire more than 5,000 new team members across its network of more than 750 travel centers in the U.S. and Canada. Pilot Flying J invites job seekers to experience and explore what it means to be part of the Pilot Flying J team with on-the-spot in-person and virtual interviews.

“Making the decision to start a career at Pilot Flying J provides the opportunity to work hard, have fun and live up to one’s full potential, while also advancing professionally,” said Paul Shore, chief people officer of Pilot Flying J. “Hiring 5,000 enthusiastic team members to join our company in a wide array of positions across North America is an exciting challenge, especially during a time of low unemployment. To help candidates get a feel for our values and culture, learn about the great benefits we offer and find the right job opportunity, we can’t rely on standard outreach. That’s why we’re inviting everyone to join us on National Hiring Day.”

Shore said Pilot Flying J is seeking hands-on, high energy individuals with a people-first service mentality.

Candidates are invited to visit all Pilot and Flying J travel centers and Truck Care service centers on Thursday, May 2, from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. for on-the-spot interviews and information. To make it easier for candidates to learn more and apply wherever they are, the company also is offering virtual job tours and interviews available at pilotflyingj.com/hiringday.

Open positions include:

  • Travel center leadership and entry level part-time and full-time roles in quick-service restaurants, deli, retail and maintenance
  • Truck Care mechanics and certified technicians
  • Professional drivers for fuel transport, DEF, crude and refined fuel

The company is hiring an average of 10 positions per location with some states adding more, including Illinois, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia.

For technology candidates, Pilot Flying J is hosting Tech Night, a meet-and-greet at the company’s support center and headquarters in Knoxville. On May 2 from 5-7 p.m., interested individuals are invited to bring their resumes, meet the company’s IT leaders, enjoy light refreshments and learn more about the growing Technology Innovation department. The company plans to hire 55 professionals in technology fields, including mobile developers, data scientists, engineers and more.

Pilot Flying J promotes a team member-first culture and offers both part-time and full-time team members benefits, such as weekly pay, tuition assistance, 401(k) participation, dental and vision plans and paid time off.

On average, the starting salary for hourly, entry-level employees at Pilot Flying J travel centers is $10.75 per hour, $3.50 more than the federal minimum wage. Comprehensive and affordable medical plans are also available to full-time team members, including a $10 per week plan for Travel Center team members, and access to no-cost medical consultations with Teledoc. In addition, team members enjoy unique perks, including free beverages and 50% off on deli and made-in-house PJ Fresh meals while at work.

“Giving back to the communities in which the company operates has been a core value of Pilot Flying J since the beginning. Team members are encouraged to take part in volunteer opportunities, fundraising efforts and other philanthropic activities in support of their local communities,” Shore said.

For more information about National Hiring Day events, visit pilotflyingj.com/hiringday. To learn more about the company, benefits and view open positions, go to jobs.pilotflyingj.com.

Pilot Flying J has more than 750 retail locations in 44 states, Roadside assistance available at over 135 locations nationwide and growing as part of its Truck Care program, 44 Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Centers, and 34 Boss Shops. The Pilot Flying J network provides drivers with access to more than 72,000 parking spaces for trucks with Prime Parking at more than 400 locations, 5,200 deluxe showers and more than 6,200 diesel lanes with 5,200 offering diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) at the pump. Pilot Flying J is currently ranked No. 14 on Forbes’ list of America’s largest private companies.

Visit www.pilotflyingj.com for more information.

 

 

 

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