Cummins unveils electric truck ahead of TESLA’s November reveal date

Cummins AEOS Electric Truck

Aug. 29, 2017 — Indiana based Cummins, Inc., a leading maker of engines and engine components has unveiled an all-electric, 18,000 lb, Class 7 semi truck called AEOS. AEOS with its 100-mile range and 20-ton payload capacity is designed for local hauling. It is equipped with a 140 kWh battery pack that — at present — takes an hour to charge. However, Cummins says that by 2020, improvements in battery technologies are expected to reduce that time to 20 minutes. Additionally, technologies such as regenerative braking and the potential for solar panels on the trailer roof can extend its range by sending energy to the battery pack. Along with the expertise of Roush Industries, AEOS is expected to be ready for market by 2019.

In August of 2016, electric car maker Tesla said it expected to unveil an electric semi-truck in the following six to nine months and then enter production in less than five years. Most recently, the company has set a November 16 date for the unveiling and test ride of that truck in Hawthorne, CA.

In his “Master Plan” released last year, CEO Elon Musk wrote, “We believe the Tesla Semi will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate”. Along with the tentative October date, Musk tweeted “Worth seeing this beast in person. It’s unreal.

Unreal is just what a pair of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University believe. In a paper they wrote, the two found that the heavy-duty truck that Musk is looking to produce would need a 14 ton battery for 600 miles of non-stop driving at a cost exceeding $250,000. Taking into account the limits on truck weights and the room needed for the battery, cargo capacity would be reduced by one third. Compounding the problem would be the lack of infrastructure and regeneration times. However, the researches did agree that a next generation “beyond lithium battery pack” could produce a 600-900 mile range and increased cargo capacity, but that 300 to 350 miles is probably the limit of what the vehicle could be designed for with current technology.

Climate change is a big driver of aggressive electrified technologies with China and California leading the way. If it were up to California Governor Jerry Brown, the success of these two companies couldn’t come sooner. According to Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, the Governor has expressed serious interest in barring the sale of vehicles powered by internal-combustion engines. A ban on sales would help both company’s interests and would assist the state in meeting its aggressive 2050 emissions target of an 80% reduction. “The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California,” Nichols stated.

It appears that electrification has some serious business allies in a very large market. Electric vehicles around the world are increasing rapidly and electric trucks… well they’re gaining momentum and are here for the short haul, but how long before engineers find a way to build a better battery for the long haul? Stay tuned!

FMCSA to review/remove crashes from CSA data

In an effort to right the ship in regards to its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, the FMCSA has launched a new pilot program that allows a review of crashes for potential removal from CSA records.

The Agency has stated that its “Stakeholders”, referring to those that commented during a 2016 notice of proposed rulemaking, have expressed concern that their Safety Measurement System (SMS) may not identify the highest-risk motor carriers and that the listing of crashes on its public website without an indication of preventability can give a misleading impression of a company’s safety.

As of August 1, Requests for Data Review (RDRs) are being accepted into the FMCSA’s Crash Preventability Demonstration Program for crashes that occurred on or after June 1, 2017. Motor carriers and drivers can submit RDRs through the Agency’s website at: dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov.

It’s important to note that not all types of crashes are reviewable. Following are the eight crash types that qualify for a review:
• When the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) was struck by a motorist
driving under the influence (or related offense);
• When the CMV was struck by a motorist driving the wrong direction;
• When the CMV was struck in the rear;
• When the CMV was struck while it was legally stopped or parked, including
when the vehicle was unattended;
• When the CMV struck an individual committing, or attempting to commit,
suicide by stepping or driving in front of the CMV;
• When the CMV sustained disabling damage after striking an animal;
• When the crash was the result of an infrastructure failure, falling trees,
rocks, or other debris; or
• When the CMV was struck by cargo or equipment from another vehicle.

The Agency says that carriers/drivers must submit compelling information and documentation to show that the crash was Not Preventable. Suggested documentation/evidence includes, but is not limited to: Crash reports; Police Accident Reports; Insurance documents; Videos; Media reports; Affidavits; or Transcripts.

Once FMCSA completes its review of the crash, the Agency will post results to SMS within 60 days. FMCSA says it will continue to list Not Preventable crashes on the SMS website, but that the crash will appear with a notation that reads, “FMCSA reviewed this crash and determined that it was not preventable.”

Editorial — The FMCSA tells us that their studies show crash involvement is a strong indicator of future crash risk. Common sense tells us that a crash that was NOT preventable (e.g., when the CMV was struck while it was legally stopped or parked) would NOT aide in determining a carrier’s crash risk. Yet, here we are seven years later only now discussing that as a possibility. Stakes are high for motor carriers as the Agency’s “public risk calculator” is used by a number of industries to determine rates and even whether or not to do business with a carrier. Is it a step in the right direction? Yes, but it is both unfortunate and disappointing that it has taken this much time to only be at this point. Get involved and stay involved.

New CCIA Gear

Our 2017 shirt design features America’s “Mother Road” Historic Route 66.
New CCIA Gear

Our new design is set on 100% preshrunk cotton in American royal blue. The shirt design showcases American strength, ingenuity and pride starting with the symbolic Bald eagle clasping onto California’s Route 66 highway sign. The trucking industry, a key component to the prosperity of American businesses is featured with an 18-wheeler in silhouette along the road with the sun shinning brightly in the background. The term “Mother Road” is draped across the top of the design on a colonial-aged scroll adding a much needed feeling of maturity and patriotism. To add a little flare and to leave no doubt about the message, “HISTORIC ROUTE” was drawn in a vintage font and prominently place in the center of the design. Stars complete the image by surrounding the artwork and compounding the American theme.

Route 66 was one of the original highways within the U.S. Highway System. US 66 was established on November 11, 1926 and was completely paved by 1938. The highway originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before ending at Santa Monica, California, covering a total of 2,448 miles.

The new highway brought life and economic prosperity to those communities along its path and would eventually lead to the construction of the U.S. Highway System. The trucking industry compounded that prosperity and would eventually form the backbone of the U.S. economy.

The decline of Route 66 began in late 1950’s with the signing of the Interstate Highway Act by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and was officially removed from the United States Highway System in 1985.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION Re: Volvo Safety Recall

IMPORTANT INFORMATION Re: Volvo Safety Recall

USDOT Announces Unrepaired Recalled Volvo Trucks That May Still be Operating on the Nation’s Roadways Are in an Unsafe Condition, “such vehicles are to be immediately ordered out-of-service by federal and state roadside safety inspectors.”

Get more details in the two attached FMCSA announcements.

LATE REPORTING OF CLAIMS

LATE REPORTING OF CLAIMS
Comes with consequences

Call Your Agent

So many things can happen in a short amount of time and when you delay reporting a claim, those “things” can be forgotten, embellished and/or lost forever. If it is something that can help in your defense, you don’t want it lost.

When you are involved in any type of claim that has property damage or injury, it is imperative that you let your insurance agent know as soon as possible so that the process of discovery can begin. In many instances, an insurance company can have an independent adjuster dispatched to the scene to begin the process.

Witnesses: When there are witnesses to a claim, it is critical to talk to those witnesses as soon as possible in order to get their version of the story. Details can become fuzzy or lost altogether as time goes by. Always get names and phone numbers of witnesses – especially if they cannot stay at the scene.

Your story: When you or a driver are involved in a claim, the details are so important, e.g. how many people were in a particular vehicle at that time? We see claims where individuals that were not even involved in the crash are claiming injury. Write down the details, take pictures and/or have someone in the company designated to conduct post-accident interviews.

Scene changes: The more time that goes by the more a scene can change. Skid marks fade and/or other skid marks occur, spills get cleaned and damages get repaired. When there isn’t proper documentation and examination of the scene, it becomes more difficult for a claims professional to do their job.

Unnecessary expenses: Expenses can occur when a claim is reported late to your insurance company. When a claimant’s vehicle is damaged, they will likely need a rental. The longer the life of the claim, the more rental expense is incurred. Additionally, claimants can rationalize that the insurance company is not properly tending to their claim and respond by hiring an accident attorney. These attorneys are synonymous for inflating charges.

Your damages: Another item to note is that when you are involved in a claim, your damages need to be fixed as soon as possible as well. We see claims where damaged parts from a previous crash fall off of the vehicle and cause another separate claim.

Please report your claim as soon as possible to give your claims professionals the best chance at defending you and reducing your exposure to unnecessary costs. A notice of an incident to an agent is a notice of claim. You should expect confirmation from the insurance company of the claim within a reasonable amount of time.

President signs highway legislation into law

With one day left before the latest transportation funding extension expired, the House of Representatives and the Senate passed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) securing Highway funding for the next five years. The FAST Act authorizes federal surface programs through fiscal year 2020 providing $305 billion for roads, bridges and mass transit.

President Obama put pen to paper signing the FAST Act into law late December 4th securing long-term transportation funding for the first time in over a decade. The House of Conferees representing both houses signed off on their compromise bill on Dec. 1. Two days later, the House passed the Act by a vote of 359-65 on Dec. 3. That same evening, the Senate followed suit with a vote of 83-16.
The $305 billion comes in reauthorizing the 18.5 cent-per-gallon fuel tax and $70 billion in subsidies. Lawmakers have resisted increasing the federal gas tax and instead are using offsets to bridge the annual shortfall. The $70 billion comes from: tapping into the surplus of the Federal Reserve bank; reducing dividends that are paid to banks; adding additional customs fees; selling oil reserves; and privatizing some IRS tax collections.

Minimum Liability Insurance – In accordance with the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), the FMCSA was required to conduct a study on the issue of minimum financial responsibility limits for motor carriers. With skyrocketing medical costs and high-profile crashes i.e., Walmart vs Tracy Morgan and the Skagit River bridge collapse that far exceeded the insurance aggregates, FMCSA floated a proposal to more than triple those minimums to somewhere around $3.5 million. However, studies (including FMCSA’s own study) have shown that roughly half of 1% of all truck-involved crashes even exceed the current minimum levels. Likely consequences of such an increase would be increased insurance premiums, critical driver acceptance policies and the large scale attrition within the workforce. Surely, such an increase would be devastating to the economy, the majority of America’s motor carriers and the insurance industry. In the end, however with a lot of grass roots effort by the trucking industry, the message was received by politicians who have quelled the Agency’s off-base efforts.

The FAST Act includes language that mandates responsible consideration from the FMCSA when introducing language that would increase the minimum liability insurance requirement on trucking businesses. For instance, prior to issuing a final rule, consideration must be given for the potential impact on: the safety of motor vehicle transportation; and the motor carrier industry; the ability of the insurance industry to provide the required amount of insurance; the extent to which current minimum levels of financial responsibility adequately cover medical care; compensation; and other identifiable costs; the frequency with which insurance claims exceed current minimum levels of financial responsibility in fatal accidents; and the impact of increased levels on motor carrier safety and accident reduction.
Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) – The Government Accountability Office, various law enforcement organizations, truckers and politicians alike have been extremely critical of the FMCSA.

So much so that, included in the Act are requirements to thoroughly review and reform the Agency’s procedures. Specific to the trucking industry, the FMCSA is required to commission a study of the Agency’s CSA program and the Safety Measurement System (SMS) utilized by the CSA program. Very important is that from the time of enactment (December 4) and until further notice, the Act requires that the FMCSA remove from public websites any analysis, enforcement and inspection data regarding motor carriers of property.

The CSA study mandated by the FAST Act is charged with getting into the weeds as to the accuracy and benefit of the program – especially with its Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). The study will attempt to identify the relative value of inspection information and roadside enforcement data; identify any data collection gaps and the impact of those gaps to the CSA program; and identify the accuracy of safety data including the use of data in which a motor carrier was free from fault and much more.

Hair testing – The regulations permit motor carriers to use hair testing as an acceptable alternative to urine testing in both pre-employment screening and random testing if the operator was subject to hair testing for preemployment testing.
You can view a the full bill at: http://transportation.house.gov/

Spotlight on crashes

Multiple Vehicle Crash

As we have noticed an uptick in the frequency of multiple-vehicle crashes, we would like to pass on some key points to consider with respect to liability arising out of these types of crashes. The key for investigators is to determine the sequence of events. The following would be typical questions you might be asked following a crash.

      1. Were you stopped before the impact?
      2. If not, how far were you from the vehicle ahead before you made contact?
      3. How many impacts did you feel?
      4. What was the severity of each impact?
      5. Was a lane change the cause of the crash?

In addition to the information above, any photos that you could provide before the vehicles are moved would help to preserve the scene for accident investigators. As always, safety first. Do not put yourself in an unsafe area to take photos. When safe, take photos of all angles, both the whole scene and the impact areas. Take photos of signs, intersections and skidmarks. Photos go a long way in helping claims representatives to corroborate any received testimony.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Always give yourself enough room to stop behind the vehicle in front of you. If you are being followed too closely, increase your distance from the vehicle ahead to help prevent a rearend crash.
Another type of crash we are seeing more often is trucks backing into dock doors and stationery vehicles. These accidents have been occurring with seasoned drivers. Safety coordinators should add these accident types to their driver meeting notes as the development of bad habits and not asking for assistance is more likely to blame than actual ability.

When a parking situation is tight – especially when backing, you should always get a spotter to assist you. If the area appears to be too tight, stop and ask to have the obstacle moved to accommodate your truck and trailer size. Do not risk a claim. When backing without a spotter, be sure to get out of the truck and check for obstacles and people that might be behind and/or alongside your vehicle and trailer.

New CCIA Gear!

Have you received your new CCIA t-shirt yet?

The CCIA team came up with a new design this year that highlights the theme of “keeping it moving”. The title of the shirt is “Big Wheels Keep On Turnin'”. The design is a play on the large and numerous wheels found on a commercial truck and the long and winding roads that they travel on. We hope you enjoy it!

Every year, the CCIA team produces a different shirt design and distributes them to each of its clients. We’d love to know what you think about the shirts and are open to ideas for next year’s design.Big Wheels Keep On Turnin'

ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS EXPECTED

El Niño The National Weather Service issued a September advisory giving a 95% chance that El Niño will continue through the 2015-16 winter, with an 85% chance that it will last into early spring 2016.
According to the advisory, current “atmospheric and oceanic features reflect a significant and strengthening El Niño”, which is expected to peak in late fall/early winter.

El Niño weather conditions occur when winds in the central Pacific Ocean along the equator slow or reverse direction. The change in the winds warms water over a vast area, causing drastic changes in weather patterns around the world. Typically, El Niño conditions reduce rainfall in Australia and parts of southeast and southern Asia and increase rainfall in the United States.

This year, climate forecasters have already measured sea surface temperatures in the east-central Pacific Ocean that are more than 3.7° F above normal (84° F). Temperatures that warm have not been recorded this early in the year in the last 65 years. However, each time they got close, they preceded big El Niño weather conditions. In extreme conditions such as those associated with an El Niño, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Extreme instances of rain, fog, ice, snow and dust can accompany weather conditions such as El Niño. Adverse conditions such as these make driving very dangerous. As a commercial vehicle operator, you should be prepared for these conditions. Your vehicle’s size and weight can hamper your ability to maneuver and stop as favorably as other vehicles thereby increasing your risk of a crash. Be prepared. Keep your equipment in good operating condition including maintaining proper tire tread depth and air pressure and never rush onto the road without performing a pre-trip inspection.
In all extreme weather conditions, the first thing you should do is slow down, be patient and allow extra time to get to your destination safely.

FOG – Because of reduced visibility, heavy fog is one of the most dangerous conditions. Always check the weather forecast prior to your trips. If you must, when driving in foggy conditions you should: slow down; turn on your low-beam headlights; use wipers and defroster as necessary; be prepared to stop quickly; be alert to drifting out of your lane by paying attention to road reflectors and road striping; and roll down your window to listen for audible clues as to what is happening around you. If/when the fog becomes too thick to see far enough ahead of you to react safely, pull completely off the road and wait for it to lift.

Heavy rain downpours can come without warning. You should: slow down and increase the distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you; turn on your headlights and fog lamps to increase your visibility; reduce condensation on your windshield with your defroster; and avoid driving in the outermost lanes that tend to pool up with water. Proactively, you would keep the inside of your windows clean to reduce reflections.

Flooding can occur when large amounts of rain falls in a short period of time. Streams, rivers and flood channels can rise quickly during these periods. Along the city streets, overwhelmed storm drains can pool up fast. Never attempt to drive through a flooded roadway. According to the National Weather Service, nearly half of all flash-flood deaths occur in vehicles, killing motorists who attempted to drive through the flooded roadway.

Water does not have to be deep to cause a dangerous condition. One inch of water on a roadway can hide dangerous potholes and/or cause your vehicle to hydroplane – no matter how heavy your vehicle is.

During hydroplaning, you will lose the ability to steer and brake. To avoid hydroplaning: slow down; avoid quick acceleration and hard braking; and take turns slower than normal. If you find yourself in a skid, don’t panic. Ease your foot off the accelerator and turn the steering wheel in the direction you want the vehicle to go so that when you regain traction you are not thrust into a crash situation. However, if you need to brake during the skid, pump your brakes gently until you regain contact with the road.

The current of moving water is very strong and the water can be deeper than you think. One foot of water can be enough to separate most vehicles from the road. When faced with moving water, turn around and find another route or get off the road and wait the storm out.

Lastly, you should keep an automotive emergency kit with you in your vehicle. There are a number of prepackaged emergency kits on the market that provide a good combination of supplies, but don’t hesitate to tailor one to fit your commercial needs.

Be prepared, stay alert, stay alive!

Highway Trust Fund Extended through October 29

Both the Senate and the House have voted to keep the Highway Trust Fund running for another three months through the end of October. President Obama signed the stopgap bill (HR3236) into law on Friday, July 31. This, the 34th short-term transportation extension since 2009 keeps the trust fund solvent allowing vital road and bridge construction to continue through the summer.

While both House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have openly stated that their goals are to come up with long-term legislation, neither had come any closer to an agreement on how to pay for it. The Senate has passed a six-year $275 billion bill termed the DRIVE Act. The House will work on its own multiyear bill when it returns in September. The two chambers will have roughly six weeks to construct a plan, find a funding mechanism and hash out any differences before sending it to the President for approval. Both chambers remain optimistic that they will be able to work out a fully-paid-for, six-year bill following the August recess.

Those in the trucking industry should use this time to strengthen their fight for the things that matter most to them. Following the August recess, be sure to contact your representatives!

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/