Arkansas Trucking Association

Blair Logistics Acquires Fikes Truck Line

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Fikes Truck Line will be closing its doors, but Blair Logistics out of Birmingham, Ala. has joined former Fikes President and CEO, Gary Salisbury, as a strategic partner and will operate the business that formerly ran as Fikes Truck Line.

Blair will operate out of the same terminal in Hope, Ark.,as Fikes did. Some employees and owner-operators will continue their work under Blair. “I felt it was very important to talk to the same people, same dispatcher, same safety people they have been talking to for the past 30 years,” Salisbury said.

 

Read more: Blair Logistics Acquires Fikes Truck Line

Rhode Island faces criticism for truck toll scheme

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Rhode Island lawmakers have proposed a ten-year plan to fund the state’s deteriorating infrastructure repair by adding a truck-only “user fee” on several state bridges.

Electronic tolling would be implemented for trucks with three axles or more on several bridges. This new fee would be used to pay off a $700 million proposed revenue bond that would be obtained to reconstruct bridges and prevent additional bridges from further deterioration.

Read more: Rhode Island faces criticism for truck toll scheme

ATA Board of Directors elects new members

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The Arkansas Trucking Association held election for three new members and new chairman for the Board of the Directors at its annual conference in Hot Springs, Ark. April 29 – May 1.

Outgoing Board Chairman Craig Harper, COO of J.B. Hunt Transport, named Butch Rice, president and CEO of Stallion Transportation Group, the new chairman to an audience of ATA members, including Rice’s whole family in attendance. As chairman, Rice will serve a one-year, renewable term.

Read more: ATA Board of Directors elects new members

ATRI releases results on truck platooning study

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In its first phase of research on the feasibility of truck platooning, the American Transportation Research Institute concluded that driver-assisted platooning can save fuel and increase efficiency for carriers that average load trips of 500 miles or more.

Researchers concluded in the study, funded by a grant from the U.S. DOT, that trailing trucks in a platoon can see as much as a 10 percent fuel economy increase, and lead trucks can increase fuel economy by as much as 5 percent.

ATRI’s, a research arm of the American Trucking Associations, researchers from Auburn University conducted a case study using actual truck movement data from ATRI’s truck GPS database.

Small fleets and owner-operators could see a return on investment in only 10 months of investing in platooning technology. The research also indicated an ROI in 18 months for larger fleets.

Truckload and line-haul LTL operations would likely be the greatest beneficiaries of a platooning system, particularly among larger fleets.Platooning also would not negatively impact traffic flow and could in fact improve traffic flow if market penetration reaches 60 percent, ATRI’s study concludes.

In the next phase of ATRI’s research, the Auburn researchers will conduct test track and on-road testing pilots of platooning systems. Researchers will monitor and assess a variety of human factor considerations, including driver satisfaction, driver training requirements and driver operational experiences, ATRI says.

Former Arkansas Governor enters 2016 Presidential Race

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Mike Huckabee announced his second presidential bid from his hometown of Hope, Ark.

As of May 29, Huckabee is the one of 16 declared Republicans and 8 declared Democrats to announce a presidential run for 2016.

"It is a long way from a little brick red house on 2nd Street in Hope, Ark. to the White House," Huckabee said during his announcement speech to an energetic crowd. "I always believed that a kid could go from Hope to a higher ground,” the presidential hopeful’s campaign motto.

Read more: Former Arkansas Governor enters 2016 Presidential Race

Oregon to Test Replacement for Gas Tax

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Oregon is ready to test the first U.S. revenue program that will charge car owners for miles driven rather than a fuel tax.

The program is meant to help the state fund road and bridge projects at a time when money generated from gas taxes are declining across the country because of greater fuel efficiency and increasing popularity of fuel-efficient, hybrid and electric cars.

Read more: Oregon to Test Replacement for Gas Tax

Hotfoot Gets Ruling to Help Arkansas Trucking Companies

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Arkansas trucking company, Hotfoot Logistics has collected from an out of state delinquent account after seven long years of litigation.

David Lasater, the CEO of Hotfoot Logistics in Little Rock, Ark., has perhaps made it easier for Arkansas trucking companies to collect from out-of-state creditors. All because of an unpaid $5,700 trucking bill.

The bill was “the perfect amount of money. It’s enough that it hurts, but not enough we can afford to send lawyers after it for years,” Lasater said.

In Nov. 2008, Hotfoot agreed to a contract with Shipping Points Marketing and its broker Western Brokerage of Phoenix to transport produce from Arizona to Albany, NY, and Scranton, Pa.

Laseter assigned the job to Justin Pierce, a driver with Freight Ambulance of Cabot, Ark. Pierce delivered the goods and returned the bill of lading to Lasater, who then sent the invoice to Phoenix.

When the broker disbanded, Shipping Points said it wasn’t responsible for the balance. However, Shipping Points and Western Brokerage had the same billing address, and David Fishgold ran Shipping Points and Louis Fishgold ran Western.

Lasater sued both companies and the Fishgolds in Arkansas. The case was dismissed originally because of jurisdiction issues, but Lasater doubled down and kept appealing.

Small Arkansas trucking companies are familiar with this issue. Turning down business isn’t an option, but if the company that refuses to pay is in another state, how much money will it take to go to that state and try to get it through the court system?

For Hotfoot, the transaction took place in Little Rock. Driver Pierce had started his trip from Cabot, and the bill was sent to and from Little Rock.

“It might cost $10,000 to get the $1,000, and they were using that to say they can’t afford to come after us,” Lasater said. “We decided we had to fight that out. If it was $100,000, everybody knows you have to go after it. This is death by a thousand cuts.”

The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that Hotfoot did have the ability to sue an Arizona-based entity in Arkansas because much of the business was transacted in Arkansas through faxes. After the Supreme Court issued its ruling in November, Shipping Points settled with Lasater rather than continue the court battle.

The Supreme Court also issued a ruling that could have a huge effect on his fellow Arkansas trucking brokers and carriers conducting business with parties outside of Arkansas.

“They carried all the water for the entire industry,” said Shannon Newton, the president of the Arkansas Trucking Association. “This was a really big problem. This is especially important for small carriers that don’t have the resources to chase down creditors across the country.”

“It would have been a serious financial hit,” Lasater said. “We would have gotten stuck for six years of lawyer fees. The most important thing is the ruling. We’re not a big carrier that can throw five law firms at someone and scare them.

Trucking Goes On-Demand

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The same concept that enables people to get a taxi, private car or rideshare from an app on their mobile phone has inspired a Nevada company to extend this application to the trucking industry.

Uber and other “sharing economy” applications is the inspiration behind On the Move Systems Corp. (OMVS) to bring a unique, on-demand services to the U.S. trucking industry, the company announced today.

The Henderson, Nev., company has begun development on a new program designed to save time and money on trucking by connecting users directly with individual service providers.

“It’s a revolutionary business model with the potential to make interstate shipping easier and more efficient than ever before. OMVS is now building the tools to tap that potential,” said OMVS CEO Robert Wilson.

According to data from the American Trucking Associations (ATA), nearly 70 percent of all the freight tonnage moved in the U.S. goes on trucks. Wilson said that an online community allowing businesses and consumers to hire trucks, combine cargo space and track shipments from loading dock to loading dock could be a game-changer for the multi-billion-dollar industry.

On the Move says its goal to join the next wave of transformative online businesses by using digital tools to connect transportation customers with smaller and independent trucking service providers. With development of OMVS’ new trucking program underway, the company’s first step will be building partnerships with smaller trucking firms, giving them an opportunity to compete in the same, wider marketplace as the biggest players.

Legislators Propose Drug Screening Changes for Drivers

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The commercial trucking industry would have more options available for pre-employment drug screenings under legislation two Arkansas lawmakers introduced in March in Congress.

The Drug Free Commercial Driver Act of 2015, filed by Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., and Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, would allow the U.S. Department of Transportation to recognize hair testing as an alternative option to the Department of Transportation required urinalysis testing.

“My bill’s only concern is improving the safety of our roads,” Crawford said. “Some drug users, when they know that a drug test is likely, are able to abstain for just a few days before the test and beat the system. This bill would catch a much larger percentage of those drivers and keep them off the roads.”

Many commercial trucking companies are already using hair tests because they find it is more effective in screening potential hires for drug or alcohol abuse. But because of federal regulations, those testing hair still have to conduct urinalysis tests. The bill would simply allow those companies to drop the duplicative process.

J.B. Hunt Transport has been testing hair and urine samples for nearly a decade. Between May 2006 and December 2014, the company had 110 driver applicants fail the urine test while 3,845 people had drug-positive hair test results. Schneider National, based in Green Bay, Wis., found similar results. Between March 2008 and June 2012, they had 120 prospective drivers fail the urine test while 1,400 applicants had drug-positive hair test results.

“Preventing drug users from operating commercial trucks will improve safety on our roads and enhance industry standards,” Boozman said. “This legislation eliminates the duplicative drug-testing process and allows trucking companies to use the more effective option, without having to pay for two tests.”

“Americans rely every day on the safety of our roads and highways as they commute to their jobs, travel to schools and recreational activities, and transport goods and products across the country,” co-sponsor Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, said.

This bill is supported by the American Trucking Associations, the Arkansas Trucking Association and the Trucking Alliance.

Arkansas Social Media Privacy Bills Unpopular with Facebook

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Facebook doesn’t “like” two bills being considered by state legislators – one that would allow certain employers to require access to their employees’ social media accounts, and one that would give personal representatives access to a deceased person’s digital records.

House Bill 1087 by Rep. Nate Bell, R-Mena, would allow entities working with minors as well as religious entities to require access to employees’ social media accounts. Employers at schools, day cares, and summer camps could require their employees to “friend” them on Facebook, for example. The bill would amend a 2013 law prohibiting any employer from having that requirement.

The bill passed the House, 91-1, on Feb. 23, with only Rep. Warwick Sabin, D-Little Rock, voting no. It has been referred to the Senate Committee on Public Health, Welfare and Labor.

The bill drew attention from Facebook. Spokesperson Andy Stone said, “Any legislation that requires employees to give employers access to their private communication is problematic, but this bill goes even further by compelling minors to provide an adult employee or supervisor access to their social media accounts.”

Facebook also is opposed to House Bill 1362, the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, by Rep. Matthew Shepherd, R-El Dorado. It would allow a deceased person’s personal representative access to his or her digital information. Both bills failed to garner support in the Senate.

CSA Scoring System Under Attack

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Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., reintroduced the Safer Trucks and Buses Act, which would reform safety scores for trucks and buses by making the scores more reflective of the company’s safety record.

The legislation, HR1371, would temporarily halt the publication of what Barletta called flawed safety scores until the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) scoring system is revamped. 

The Barletta legislation requires FMCSA to stop publishing safety scores until the CSA program is fixed.  Additionally, it prevents these scores from being used as evidence in liability cases.  In the meantime, the bill requires the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) — an independent, nonprofit, and non-partisan organization chartered by Congress — to work with FMCSA to develop a safety score improvement plan and implement that improvement plan.  Once the scores are improved, they will again be available for the public to make educated decisions about the safety of trucks and buses.

Dave Osiecki, executive vice president and chief of national advocacy at the American Trucking Associations said the ATA greatly appreciated Barletta’s efforts to improve CSA, and remove CSA scores from public view until the much-needed improvements are made.

The American Trucking Associations leaders have also urged FMCSA to change the CSA’s safety measurement system so that crashes are not posted on the list of carriers on the agency’s website. The current procedure makes carrier crash data publicly available without specifying who is at fault in a crash.

“FMCSA’s failure to address this real flaw is especially egregious in light of its push to make CSA scores easier for the public to access and its encouragement that the public make decisions based on what they know to be faulty information,” ATA President Bill Graves said. 

While everyone throughout the industry and even the enforcement community seem to agree the CSA scoring mechanism is flawed, some have stopped shy of asking for the scores to be taken down. The Arkansas Trucking Association Board of Directors recently voted to keep the information public to while improvements are sought. Board members contended that having the information public causes companies and drivers to be more safety conscious and that taking the scores down might decrease the urgency of the desired fix.

Arkansas Highway Department Withdraws Construction Projects

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The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department has withdrawn 56 construction projects scheduled for consideration in its April 21 bid opening because of continuing uncertainty of federal-aid reimbursements available from the Federal Highway Trust Fund.

The estimated value of projects withdrawn is more than $112 million and includes $50 million authorized by the Arkansas Highway Commission for its 2015 highway overlay program. The estimated construction value of the withdrawn projects is $162 million.

“If you stop and think about the economic impact this has — not only on construction jobs, but the lost commerce that results in each local area because construction isn’t taking place — then you begin to understand the trickle-down effect and the urgency of solving this national problem,” said AHTD Director Scott Bennett.

Since December 2014, AHTD has been conducting an evaluation of scheduled federally-funded projects prior to each bid letting to ensure sufficient state funds are available to fulfill commitments.

Contact Us

Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201

(501) 372-3462 | Phone
(501) 376-1810 | Fax

Our Mission

  • PROTECT the collective interests of trucking companies in the political and regulatory arenas.
  • PROMOTE the dynamics of trucking so that people have a better understanding of the link between America's primary freight delivery system and the standard of living they enjoy.
  • SERVE our members to help them to grow their business and their profits
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