DOT Releases Data on Large Truck Crashes
Motor vehicle fatalities decreased for a third consecutive year, according to 2019 preview summary data released by the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on October 1.
Fatalities in crashes involving at least one large truck remained relatively unchanged from 2018 (5,006) to 2019 (5,005). Total highway fatalities declined by 2 percent, from 36,835 in 2018 to 36,096 in 2019. In addition, large-truck occupant fatalities increased by 0.2 percent, from 890 in 2018 to 892 in 2019, compared to a 0.8-percent increase between 2017 and 2019.
From 2018, fatalities decreased in 35 States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Large trucks, as defined by NHTSA, include both commercial and noncommercial trucks over 10,000 pounds, incorporating medium and heavy-duty pickup trucks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requested funding for a new study on the causes of large truck crashes, last conducted from 2001 to 2003.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Launches Online Tool To Answer HOS Questions
On September 29, FMCSA launched its Educational Tool for Hours of Service (ETHOS), an online tool for carriers and drivers to help them better understand the agency’s revised hours-of-service (HOS) regulations, effective since September 29.
Grain News on AgFax
Once a user keys in dutystatus information, ETHOS identifies potential violations to the HOS rules for transporting non-passenger cargo, including the following: 11-hour driving limit; 14-hour driving window; 30-minute rest break; and sleeper berth provision.
The website notes ETHOS does not cover the 60/70-hour limit regulations, which have not changed under the new rules.
FMCSA Extends Emergency HOS Waiver for Livestock and Feed
FMCSA recently extended—through December 31—the waiver on hours-of-service (HOS) requirements for trucks transporting livestock and feed. The waiver is based on the national emergency declared for COVID-19. It specifically does not cover drivers carrying mixed loads with only a “nominal quantity” of a waiver-qualifying item.
Grain Transportation Report (GTR) Figure 8 Returns to Showing Illinois River Rates
On October 13, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reopened the LaGrange Lock and Dam (Versailles, IL) after closing it in early July for major rehabilitation and replacement of lock machinery.
During the closure, the GTR temporarily introduced figure 8a, which reported barge rates on the mid-Mississippi. Figure 8a substituted for the regular GTR figure 8, which tracks Illinois River barges rates. This week, with LaGrange’s reopening, the GTR has retired figure 8a and resumed updating the regular GTR figure 8.
The weekly rates during the closure can be found in the GTR online datasets. Starting this week, the Illinois River barge rate will also replace the Mid-Mississippi rate as the benchmark to calculate cost index for GTR table 1.
Snapshots by Sector
For the week ending October 1, unshipped balances of wheat, corn, and soybeans totaled 61.2 million metric tons (mmt). This represented a significant increase in outstanding sales from the same time last year. Net corn export sales were 1.2 mmt, down 40 percent from the past week.
Net soybean export sales were 2.6 mmt, unchanged from the previous week. Net weekly wheat export sales were 0.531 mmt, up 5 percent from the previous week.
U.S. Class I railroads originated 26,534 grain carloads during the week ending October 3. This was a 6-percent increase from the previous week, 35 percent more than last year, and 21 percent more than the 3-year average.
Average October shuttle secondary railcar bids/offers (per car) were $769 above tariff for the week ending October 8. This was $213 less than last week and $738 more than this week last year. There were no non-shuttle bids/offers this week.
For the week ending October 10, barge grain movements totaled 754,507 tons. This was 7 percent less than the previous week and 45 percent more than the same period last year.
For the week ending October 10, 475 grain barges moved down river—39 barges fewer than the previous week. There were 759 grain barges unloaded in New Orleans, 17 percent lower than the previous week.
For the week ending October 8, 44 oceangoing grain vessels were loaded in the Gulf—42 percent more than the same period last year. Within the next 10 days (starting October 9), 57 vessels were expected to be loaded—27 percent more than the same period last year.
As of October 8, the rate for shipping a metric ton (mt) of grain from the U.S. Gulf to Japan was $43.25. This was unchanged from the previous week. The rate from the Pacific Northwest (PNW) to Japan was $23.75 per mt, unchanged from the previous week.
For the week ending October 12, the U.S. average diesel fuel price increased 0.8 cent from the previous week to $2.395 per gallon, 65.6 cents below the same week last year.