Trucking news and briefs for Friday, April 30, 2021:
Fuel haulers seek HOS waiver
Several national organizations that advocate for truck stops, travel centers and convenience stores have gone public with their concerns over a perceived tanker driver shortage and are asking the federal government for some relief for drivers hauling fuel. At the same time, a major trucking trade association says the alleged shortage of drivers available to deliver fuel could lead to higher prices at the pump or even shortages of gasoline heading into the summer travel season.
On Wednesday, April 28, four major trade associations asked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to issue a new hours of service waiver and include truckers delivering fuel. The current COVID-related hours waiver, which expires May 31, does not include fuel haulers.
In a letter to FMCSA Acting Administrator Meera Joshi, the National Association of Truckstop Operators, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the Energy Marketers of America, and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America reiterated earlier claims that access to fuel is an essential part of the supply chain. They said this is especially true as the country continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The COVID-19 crisis has shown the necessity of the HOS waiver for the delivery of fuel as indispensable to supporting public health and the infrastructure of this country," the groups said. "Without access to fuel, manufacturers would be unable to provide supplies to hospitals, businesses and homes. Moreover, workers at essential businesses – including first responders and hospital workers – need fuel to get to their jobs. And emergency response vehicles too need uninhibited access to fuel."
The letter goes on to call for FMCSA to “reestablish the transportation of fuel as an essential service under the HOS waiver for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency so that truckers can deliver fuel quickly to the sectors and people that depend on it most.”
The letter from NATSO and the other fuel seller came just as a major trucking association's concerns about the driver shortage and its impact on the delivery of gasoline made headlines in the general-interest media.
Earlier this week CNN reported the National Tank Truck Carriers said that between 20% and 25% of the nation's tank trucks are sitting idle because there are no truckers to drive them.
New FMCSA-sponsored driver assistance system guides available
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration-sponsored Tech-Celerate Now program released four videos and two informational guides that provide new safety technology information designed to improve industry awareness and to support adoption of advance driver assistance system (ADAS) technologies.
The two guides provide information on the safety benefits of ADAS, as well as return on investment expectations. The four videos describe the features and benefits of ADAS technologies related to braking, warning, steering and monitoring functions.
“Trucking industry crashes are a primary reason that motor carriers and truck drivers are experiencing double-digit increases in commercial insurance costs, even when the majority of crashes are caused by the car drivers,” said Dan Murray, program co-principal investigator and senior vice president, American Transportation Research Institute. “ADAS technologies can mitigate crashes regardless of who is negligent. The direct impact is fewer crashes and lower operating costs. The materials we’re releasing today will help industry stakeholders make better informed decisions on adopting proven safety technologies.”
The Tech-Celerate Now program was developed by FMCSA to reduce fatalities, injuries and crashes through expanded use of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). The program is analyzing industry awareness and perceptions of ADAS, with the goal of increasing its voluntary adoption of safety technologies among fleets and owner-operators.
New Love’s opens in Ohio
Love’s Travel Stops is now serving customers in Diamond, Ohio, on State Route 225.
The new location offers 93 truck parking spaces, Godfather’s Pizza and Subway restaurants, eight diesel bays, seven showers, a Speedco opening at a later date, and more.
The store is the 18th Love’s in Ohio.