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GAO: Federal agencies should take additional steps to prepare for potential workforce effects of self-driving trucks

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Based on interviews with technology developers, the GAO identified technologies of self-driving trucks that could impact the workforce including light detection and ranging sensors, GPS, cameras, accelerometers and gyroscopes, and radar. (Courtesy: DAMILER TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA)

WASHINGTON — Even though deployment of automated heavy-duty trucks, including self-driving trucks, being developed for long-haul trucking operations is likely years or a decade away, the General Accounting Office Thursday urged federal agencies to take additional steps to prepare for potential workforce effects

“Most technology developers said they were developing trucks that can travel without drivers for part of a route, and some stakeholders said such trucks may become available within five to 10 years,” the GAO said in a report on a study it had conducted. “Various technologies, including sensors and cameras, could help guide a truck capable of driving itself. However, the adoption of this technology depends on factors such as technological limitations and public acceptance.”

The GAO said it conducted the study because automated vehicle technology may eventually make commercial trucking more efficient and safer, but also has the potential to change the employment landscape for nearly 1.9 million heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, among others.

The GAO said it was asked to examine the potential workforce effects of automated trucking, but didn’t say who requested it.

The report noted that the U.S. Department of Transportation had been consulting with the Department of Labor to conduct a Congressionally-directed analysis of the workforce impacts of automated trucking by March 2019.

The GAO said stakeholders it interviewed predicted two main scenarios for how the adoption of automated trucks could affect the trucking workforce, which varied depending on the future role of drivers or operators.

“Technology developers, among others, described one scenario in which self-driving trucks are used on highway portions of long-haul trips,” the study report said. “Stakeholders noted this scenario would likely reduce the number of long-haul truck drivers needed and could decrease wages because of lower demand for such drivers. In contrast, groups representing truck drivers, among others, predicted a scenario in which a truck would have an operator at all times for complex driving and other non-driving tasks, and the number of drivers or operators would not change as significantly.”

However, the study found that those stakeholders lacked consensus on the potential effect this scenario might have on wages and driver retention, adding that most stakeholders said automated trucking could create new jobs, and that any workforce effects would take time — providing an opportunity for a federal response, such as any needed policy changes.

For the study, GAO interviewed officials from DOT and DOL, as well as a range of stakeholders, including technology developers, companies operating their own trucking fleets, truck driver training schools, truck driver associations and workforce development boards.

As a result of the study, GAO made four recommendations for executive action:

  1. The Secretary of Labor should collaborate with the Secretary of Transportation to continue to convene key groups of stakeholders to gather information on potential workforce changes that may result from automated trucking as the technology evolves, including analyzing needed skills and identifying any information or data gaps, to allow the agencies to fully consider how to respond to any changes. These stakeholders could include, for example, representatives of other relevant federal agencies, technology developers, the trucking industry, organizations that represent truck drivers, truck driver training schools, state workforce agencies, and local workforce development boards.
  2. The Secretary of Transportation should collaborate with the Secretary of Labor to continue to convene key groups of stakeholders to gather information on potential workforce changes that may result from automated trucking as the technology evolves, including analyzing needed skills and identifying any information or data gaps, to allow the agencies to fully consider how to respond to any changes.
  3. The Secretary of Transportation should consult with the Secretary of Labor to further analyze the potential effects of automated trucking technology on drivers to inform potential workforce-related regulatory changes, such as the requirements to obtain a commercial driver’s license or Hours of Service requirements (e.g., the maximum hours commercial truck drivers are permitted to work).

4. The Secretary of Labor should consult with the Secretary of Transportation to share information with key stakeholders on the potential effects of automated trucking on the workforce as the technology evolves. These stakeholders could include, for example, representatives of other relevant federal agencies, technology developers, the trucking industry, organizations that represent truck drivers, truck driver training schools, state workforce agencies, and local workforce development boards.

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Utility Trailers Glade Spring, Virginia, plant receives Liberty Mutual safety award

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Glade Spring plant employees gather to celebrate the company’ safety award. Back row frim left, Ralph McMahan, Richard Carver, Rick Mitchell, Michael Phipps, Derrick McGhee, David Sturgill, Sam Hawkins, Tim Jones, Tim McVey. Middle Row: Sam Cassell, Marc Worley, Clarissa Bise, Lucas Jordan, Jeremy Casey, Coy Stokes, Linda Williams, Jeff Hendricks, Odie Barker Front Row: Keith Walsh and Richard Williams. (Courtesy: UTILITY TRAILER MANUFACTURING CO.)

CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif. — Utility Trailer Manufacturing Co., said that its Glade Spring, Virginia, manufacturing plant has received the Liberty Mutual Silver Safety Award from Liberty Insurance.

The award is based on the days away, restricted and transferred (DART) rate, which is calculated from the number of hours worked relative to the number of accidents at the plant

In 2018, Utility’s Glade Spring plant had a DART rate of only 1.36, with over 1.3 million worked hours. The average DART rate for the trailer manufacturing industry is significantly higher, at 3.9.  A Silver Safety Award is presented for DART rates that are at least 40% lower than the industry average rate.  The Glade Spring plant’s DART rate was nearly 1/3 of the industry rate.

“Receiving a safety award is an honor and takes a total team effort to accomplish. Keeping safety at the forefront everyday with employee participation is key to earning such an award. Employees identifying hazards, removing them, or managing them in the workplace, keeps us all safe,” said Keith Walsh, Utility’s Glade Spring Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) Manager.

“This is the fifth Liberty Safety Award for the Glade Spring plant. This is a huge honor, particularly considering less than 0.5% of Liberty’s customers receive this award. More importantly, our employees are continuously focused on the safety of themselves and each other,” said Bob Griffis, corporate EHS manager for Utility Trailer Manufacturing, Co.

“Walking through the front door of the Glade Spring facility, the commitment this team has toward safety is obvious,” said Sam Cassell, Utility’s Glade Spring plant manager. “It is reflected by the five safety awards hanging on the wall. Each of our over 700 team members were part of achieving each of those awards. An award like this is more than a commitment towards doing the job safely, it is a commitment each team member has toward each other. Many of our employees will stop others, even managers, to point out safety issues. That is a commitment toward safety and to each other. I cannot express how proud I am of each person on the shop floor.”

Richard Williams of Liberty Mutual Insurance, Risk Control Services, presented the Safety Award to a group of Glade Spring employees on behalf of all Utility’s Glade Spring employees.

Utility Trailer Manufacturing Co. was founded in 1914 and designs and manufactures dry freight vans, flatbeds, refrigerated vans, Tautliner curtain-sided trailers, and aerodynamic technologies. Utility currently operates six trailer manufacturing facilities across North America.

For more information, visit www.utilitytrailer.com.

 

 

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Carrier Transicold upgrades dealer locator app

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The Carrier Transicold Dealers smartphone app for Google Android devices and Apple iOS devices has been improved with new features and expanded functionality. (Courtesy: CARRIER TRANSICOLD)

ATHENS, Ga. — Carrier Transicold’s free app for mobile devices that helps refrigerated truck operators find nearby Carrier Transicold dealerships has been upgraded with a fresh appearance, a significantly expanded dealer database and helpful new user features.

Now called “Carrier Transicold Dealers,” the app works with smartphones and tablets, so drivers can quickly and easily locate and connect to service operations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and, thanks to the 2019 update, Central America, South America and the Caribbean, according to Mary Udry, marketing manager, Carrier Transicold.

“The improved app now covers the entirety of the Americas – more than 300 dealerships in all,” Udry said. “And for the first time, it offers users multi-language support, enabling the choice of English, French, Spanish or Portuguese. The look and feel of the app has been modernized, making it more intuitive to use, and the amount of helpful reference material has been expanded.”

As part of the app’s expanded offering, Carrier Transicold Dealers now enables access to more operator manuals for current and legacy Carrier Transicold truck and trailer refrigeration systems, heating systems and auxiliary power units (APUs). As before, the app includes a convenient alarm code list for the Carrier Transicold APX control system, providing descriptions of potential problems and corrective steps for different warnings.

The “Nearby Dealers” function finds the closest dealer to the user’s location, including a map, address, contact details and hours of operation. Depending on device and connection, the app can auto-dial the dealership and can help provide navigation to the dealership. Where applicable, quick links are provided to connect to individual dealer websites or to share dealership details via an emailed link to content within Carrier Transicold’s online dealer locator at https://locator.ttdealers.carrier.com/

Most of the app’s resources require a cell or wi-fi connection, however the dealer lookup menu is available offline – users can always find dealers by selecting a country, plus state or province if applicable, from alphabetical listings.

Carrier Transicold Dealers works on smartphones and tablets using Google’s Android and Apple Inc.’s iOS operating systems. The latest version (3.0) can be downloaded through Google Play or the Apple App Store.

For more information, visit www.transicold.carrier.com. Follow Carrier on Twitter: @SmartColdChain.

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J.J. Keller offering new video monitoring platform

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Using artificial intelligence to detect and record dangerous driving behavior, the new video platform offers an end-to-end solution for fleets interested in improving driver behaviors that will result in better CSA scores and safer highways. (Courtesy: J.J. KELLER

NEENAH, Wis. — The new J.J. Keller Encompass Video Event Management and Dash Cam Pro are now available.

Using artificial intelligence to detect and record dangerous driving behavior in combination with the advanced reporting and diagnostic capabilities of J.J. Keller’s compliance dashboard, the platform offers an end-to-end solution for fleets interested in improving driver behaviors that will result in better CSA scores and safer highways, according to Tom Reader, senior director of marketing.

“This is one of many substantial new product and service releases for the Encompass® Fleet Management System in 2019,” Reader said. “We’re excited to continue offering technologies and advisory tools our customers depend on to improve performance and make informed safety decisions for their fleets.”

Beyond using dash cam technology to capture video footage of events and accidents, fleets can use the data provided to build better coaching programs, exonerate innocent drivers, and reward drivers for good behavior.

The compliance dashboard allows companies to perform queries by overall fleet performance and by driver, including:

  • Top drivers: Drivers with the lowest incident rates
  • Event rates and trends: Frequency of driving behaviors
  • Coaching required: Drivers with events

Find more information and videos of driving events captured by the dash cam by visiting KellerEncompass.com/Dash-Cam-Pro.

J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc. is a well-known name in safety and regulatory compliance. Since its beginning as a one-man consulting firm in 1953, the company has grown to over 1,400 associates serving more than 600,000 customers — including over 90% of the Fortune 1000 companies.

The company’s subject-matter spans nearly 1,500 topics, and its diverse solutions include ELogs and mobile technology; training via online courses, streaming video or DVD; online management tools; managed services; consulting services; online and print publications; forms and supplies.

For more information, visit JJKeller.com.

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