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Overdrive Staff | June 01, 2010

Truckers cope with flooding crisis

This is one of the trucks stranded when rains hit Nashville, Tenn., in May. The downtown TravelCenters of America might not reopen until this month.

At least seven carrier terminals east of downtown Nashville, Tenn., sustained flood damage after record rainfall in May left the Cumberland River at levels not seen since the 1930s. Many, however, were able to move mobile equipment to higher ground before floodwaters rose too high and remained operational during the crisis.

Several rigs were caught in high water at the downtown Nashville TravelCenters of America. As of May 13, the facility remained closed, with a potential mid-June reopening.

Mike Stone, president of Milan Express, owner of one of the affected terminals, said his company was fully operational into and out of Nashville just two days after the flooding, as were other carriers, such as intermodal fleet TCW.

“We had an emergency and disaster plan in place and got that going immediately,” Stone said. “We were able to rescue most of our freight and our equipment before the police made us leave” May 2, as waters rose above 10 feet in some areas.

Milan and other carriers moved operations to temporary warehouses and other space, in many cases donated, and scrambled to keep business going amid nearly a week of high floodwaters.

Throughout the Nashville area, carriers have been assessing losses and cleaning up or rebuilding flooded terminal buildings. Cumulative damage in metro Nashville was estimated to have reached $1.5 billion. “Some of us personally have had issues with our own homes and everything else,” said Stone.

Up to 20 fatalities were blamed on the flooding, some occurring during inundation of Nashville-area interstates, which stranded many truckers through May 3.

For more pictures and video of the flooding, visit the Channel 19 blog: www.overdriveonline.com/channel19.

— Todd Dills

 

 

Agency starts driver pre-hiring program

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on May 11 began its Pre-Employment Screening Program, which allows carriers to access driver inspection and crash records before hiring.

The PSP provides up to five years of driver crash data and three years of inspection information. Data is provided monthly by FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Management Information System, which comprises driver performance data including inspection and compliance review results, enforcement data, state-reported crashes and carrier census data.

The National Information Consortium Technologies is contracted to provide data electronically to carriers with the drivers’ written consent. The carrier must enroll to participate in this optional program, and driver records are protected under federal privacy laws.

Drivers may purchase their own Driver Information Resource record for $10 with no subscription fee. Drivers can verify their data, correct discrepancies and may obtain their own information free from the FMCSA by submitting a Privacy Act request.

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