Arkansas Trucking Association

Drones to Take on Infrastructure Work

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English engineers at the University of Leeds recently won 4.2 million pound grant (about $6.5 million USD) from the U.K.’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to create a national infrastructure for “self-repairing cities,” where small robots can identify and repair everything from potholes to streetlights to utility pipes.

The team, led by civil engineer Phil Purnell and including researchers from University College London and the Universities of Birmingham and Southampton, is working on three drone designs. One set of robots will be responsible for “perch and repair,” meaning they will perch, like birds, on tall structures and make small repairs to things like streetlights. The “perceive and patch” robots will not only automatically inspect, diagnose, and repair potholes in the road, but will also prevent future ones from forming. And “fire and forget” drones will monitor and repair utility pipes as needed.

“Most of what we’re proposing is for the drones to do very simple and mundane tasks,” Purnell says. “When you look at major infrastructure failures—things like potholes or failures in pipe lines—they’re often caused by very small, millimeter-scale defects. And if those were caught early by an automated system, then the larger failures and inconveniences wouldn’t occur.”

As the researchers expected, not everyone is excited about the potential of drones. “If you look at the British press, some of the comments you can see are, ‘Thanks very much for taking our jobs,’ and that’s a valid point of view,” says Purnell. “We have a large workforce in the infrastructure-maintenance industry, and we should look at what will be the effect of work patterns, distribution of wealth and society, equality of access to the infrastructure. This is something we feel very strongly about.”

Purnell says his team will be ready to test the robots within the next year.

Millions in TIGER Grants Awarded to Transportation Projects

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that the Department of Transportation will provide $500 million for 39 transportation projects in 34 states from its TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) 2015 program. Rural areas received 43% of the project awards, more than any previous year.


Read more: Millions in TIGER Grants Awarded to Transportation Projects

ATRI Releases Impact of Non-preventable Crashes


The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released its latest CSA research, Assessing the Impact of Non-Preventable Crashes on CSA ScoresATRI’s research confirms the need for reforms that would direct the resources of the Agency and highway enforcement to the carriers that need it. 

In this analysis, ATRI investigated the impact that excluding non-preventable crashes would have on motor carrier CSA scores.  The analysis used carrier crash records, mapped to the FMCSA's Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) database, to identify a small and non-controversial subset of non-preventable crashes with the following causes:

  • Animal collision
  • Other vehicle hits legally parked truck
  • Other vehicle ran a stop light / sign and hit a truck
  • The driver of the other vehicle was DUI
  • Truck-assisted suicide

The ATRI analysis then removed these crashes and "recalculated" the Crash Indicator BASIC measure.  Among the more than one dozen carriers in ATRI's analysis, the Crash Indicator BASIC decreased nearly 15 percent once the non-preventable crash subset was removed.

"The trucking industry has identified a number of flaws in FMCSA's calculation of carrier safety performance through the CSA BASICs and perhaps none is more egregious than the inclusion of non-preventable crashes in the Crash Indicator BASIC.  ATRI's latest analysis, using a very conservative definition of non-preventable crashes, demonstrates just how skewed FMCSA's BASIC calculations can be," said Scott Mugno, a member of ATRI's Research Advisory Committee as well as Vice President of Safety and Maintenance for FedEx Ground.

ATRI estimates non-preventable crash costs exceed $68 million for the 15 carriers in the analysis.

Arkansas SMC Recognized for Safety Programs

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The Arkansas Trucking Association Safety Management Council (SMC) has been awarded by the American Trucking Associations with Summa Cum Laude status for exceptional excellent safety programs and dedication to saving lives. The SMC was recognized for the highest safety council award by the 2015 State Association Recognition Program at the annual Safety, Security and Human Resources National Conference & Exhibition in Little Rock, Ark.

The Arkansas Safety Management Council has been honored with this award for more than decade.

40 Under 40 Council Welcomes New Members

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The Arkansas Trucking Association 40 Under 40 Council names four new council members from this fall.

The Council was established in 2009 to identify and cultivate new, young executives in member companies and acclimate them to the intricacies of the trucking world as well as the dynamics of the association.

Grant Sykes, market support manager at ABF Freight; Mallory Millican, sr. manager process development and compliance at ABF Freight; Brad Heisterkamp, vice president of operations at Transco Lines, Inc. and Adren Hillenburg, operations manager at Fed Ex Freight join a select group of Arkansas-based transportation professionals under the age of 40. Collectively, the council represents 17 companies and various expertise, including safety, operations, pricing, recruitment, truckload and less than truckload.

DOT to Change Stance on Self-Driving Cars

The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will be updating the DOT’s policy on self-driving cars.

The department’s previous statement, published in May 2013, says cars should be limited to testing and not "authorized for use by members of the public for general driving purposes."

In light of recent progress in autonomous vehicle technology, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx he knows critics thought DOT played it too safe in its 2013 stance.

Foxx told reporters, "I think what you're sensing from me is a belief that if done well, we will set the ground rules for the next 20 or 30 years in transportation by figuring out as early as we can how best to integrate this technology into our roadways."

"I want the posture of our agency to be obviously vigilant on the safety front, but I don't want our agency to be skittish about innovations that are out there," Foxx said.

"We're on the cusp of a massive transformation in transportation. ...And that's exciting on some levels, but it's also something that requires a lot of thought on the part of our agency in terms of how to create the safest possible environment for that technology and what some of the ground rules ought to be."

ATA praises Congress for Highway Bill

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Arkansas Trucking Association Praises Congress for Highway Bill

Legislation Will Make Moving Goods Safer and More Efficient

Little Rock, Ar. – Today, leaders of the Arkansas Trucking Association (ATA) commended the House and Senate for working toward a long-term transportation bill that will fund infrastructure projects for the next five years and support advances in efficiency and safety across the national highways we all share.

Just ahead of the expiration on Friday, the conference committee announced yesterday that they had reached an agreement on a $281 billion highway and transit bill that addresses many of ATA’s priorities. The new bill, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation” (FAST) Act, is expected to be signed late this week or early next week.

Read more: ATA praises Congress for Highway Bill

Four USA Truck Veteran Drivers Receive Military-Themed Tractors

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USA Truck presented personalized, military-themed tractors to four of its outstanding veteran driving team members during a celebration at the company’s corporate headquarters on Sept. 11.

David Bell (U.S. Navy), Robert Decker (U.S. Air Force), Michael Powell (U.S. Marines) and Jodie Yoder (U.S. Army) each received a 2016 International ProStar with patriotic highlights, along with a personalized dog tag decal bearing their name and branch of service. The recipients were selected based on tenure and safety record. 

In addition, USA Truck reaffirmed its ongoing support of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund with a donation on behalf of the company’s entire driving fleet. The event was a prelude to National Driver Appreciation Week. 

“USA Truck has a deep appreciation for those who have served and who continue to serve our nation,” said Tom Glaser, President & CEO of USA Truck. “It dates back to the vision of one of our company’s founders, Mr. Robert Powell, a former Navy aviator who built USA Truck in a military image. Our bar and star logo is inspired by the insignia on the plane he piloted while serving aboard the USS Intrepid. We are honored to continue the tradition of recognizing our outstanding USA Truck veteran team members, who make up more than a quarter of our workforce. Their excellence sets them apart, so it’s only fitting that their tractors stand out as well.”

Con-way bought by XPO Logistics for $3 billion, will be rebranded as XPO

XPO Logistics announced its plans to acquire Con-way Inc., one of the country’s largest trucking companies.

The $3 billion deal is expected to close in October, and Con-way will then be merged with another XPO subsidiary. 

All of the divisions under Con-way, which include Con-way Freight, Menlo Logistics, Con-way Truckload and Con-way Multimodal, will be rebranded as XPO Logistics. 

The acquisition will make XPO the second largest less-than-truckload carrier in North America, the company says. 

““Con-way is a premier platform that we will run with a fresh set of eyes as part of our broader offering,” said Bradley Jacobs, chairman and CEO of XPO Logistics.

Douglas Stotlar, president and CEO of Con-way, said shareholders, customers, drivers and employees will benefit from the acquisition.

“The combination will mean more services for our customers, more miles for our drivers and more career opportunities for our employees as part of XPO’s global organization. We look forward to working with the XPO team to complete the transaction and ensure a smooth transition,” Stotlar said.

Drones Restricted over Arkansas State Capitol

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Drones and other unmanned aircraft have been restricted from flying over the Arkansas State Capitol. 

The ban includes airspace over the Capitol Building and any area immediately surrounding Capitol grounds. It refers to both recreational and professional drone usage, Arkansas State Capitol Police said. 

“We have been discussing this issue for over a year and have determined these restrictions are necessary for the safety and security of the Capitol, its visitors and employees,” said State Capitol Police Chief Darrell Hedden.

Anyone caught violating this policy will be subject to criminal and civil penalties under Arkansas and federal law, police said.

ATA's Chris Spear to Join Hyundai

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Chris Spear, senior vice president at American Trucking Associations, will leave the federation in October for a position at the Hyundai Motor Co.

“In his time with ATA, Chris has done a terrific job advancing our diverse legislative agenda and has been a valuable asset to the entire trucking industry,” President Bill Graves said. “We are very sorry to see him go, but wish him nothing but continued success in this new opportunity.”

Before leaving ATA, Spear will continue to lead the federation’s legislative efforts at a markup of a highway bill by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

“I have greatly enjoyed my time at ATA and feel good about the legislative successes we’ve achieved and what we are about to accomplish this fall,” Spear said. “I want to thank Gov. Graves, ATA's leadership and members as well as my great staff and colleagues for their support and the opportunity to serve this great industry.”

TCA President Steps Down


Brad Bentley resigned from his position as president of the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), citing family obligations in his native Alabama.

“It has been my distinct honor to serve as president of the Truckload Carriers Association for the past ten months,” he said, “but the time has come for a new direction.”

Bentley plans to take time off before pursuing other opportunities in the trucking industry.

Under the guidance of Chairman Keith Tuttle, TCA’s officers are in the process of assembling a search task force to find a replacement. The staff, under the leadership of executive vice president Bill Giroux and vice president Debbie Sparks, are committed to moving TCA’s mission forward.

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

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