A new study of the causes of commercial truck accidents has been launched by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
It is the first new such study since 2001-03. “In the more than 15 years since the original study, many changes in technology, vehicle safety, driver behavior and roadway design have occurred that effect how a driver performs,” FMCSA points out.
Between 2003 and 2009 fatal truck crashes declined, but between 2009 and 2018 they jumped 52.6%. In the 2016-18 period alone, fatal truck crashes rose 5.7%.
FMCSA says among new factors needing study since the last research are the dramatic increase in distraction caused by cell phones and texting, the level of driver restraint use, the advent of in-cab navigation and fleet management systems, as well as equipment introduced to enhance safety, such as automatic emergency braking systems.
“Knowing more about driver behaviors will identify areas where new driving automation systems can be of help, and aid in formulating performance metrics and standards that may need to be considered if they are to reduce crashes involving large trucks,” it said.
The agency also notes that because some Automated Driving Systems driver assistance euipment already has been deployed in many fleets, the study can help provide data on their effectiveness and help determine what crash avoidance capabilities could be incorporated into these systems in the future.
FMCSA also suggests that findings from the study can be used to inform technology developers in the autonomous vehicle environment about the kinds of driver behaviors that need to be addressed.
<h2>Xmas Store Sales Seen as Anemic</h2>
Overall holiday retail sales in 2019 rose 4.1% over the same period in 2018 to $730.2 billion, the National Retail Federation reports.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that most of that 4.1% percentage increase was the result of ecommerce growth, with bricks- and-mortar sales rising only slightly. Online and other non-store sales were up 14.6% over the year before at $167.8 billion and are included in the total.
NRF forecast in October was that 2019 holiday sales during November and December would increase between 3.8% and 4.2%, for a total of between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion.
The growth rate is nearly double the 2018 holiday season’s weak 2.1%. “This was a healthy holiday season, especially compared with the decline in retail sales we saw at the end of the season in 2018,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz.
However, NRF’s segment statistics tell a sadder story. Year-over-year. general merchandise stores were up only 0.4%; sporting goods stores were down 0.4%; clothing and clothing accessory stores sales dropped 1.6%; and electronics and appliance stores were down 2%.
Year-over-year increases were registered by grocery and beverage stores, up 2.9%; furniture and home furnishings stores, 2.6%, health and personal care stores, 1.6%; and building materials and garden supply stores, which were up 1%.
Commenting on the overall sales increase, NRF President Matthew Shay said. “This is a consumer- driven economy, and by any measure, the consumer has put the economy in a solid position for continued growth. This is a strong finish to the holiday season, and we think it’s a positive indicator of what’s ahead.”
<h2>Food Sector Said To Gain Ground</h2>
The food and beverage industry, driven by the expansion of grocery delivery, significantly expanded its share of the largest 100 U.S. industrial & logistics leases by square footage last year while the share claimed by ecommerce and logistics companies receded, CBRE reports.
The food and beverage industry accounted for several million additional square feet of the largest industrial leases last year than they did in 2018, as grocers and distributors continued to build out their supply chains for home delivery.
Specifically, food and beverage companies claimed 13 of the top industrial leases for a cumulative 13 million square feet, up from nine leases for 8.8 million square feet in 2018, CBRE found.
Ecommerce companies and warehouse logistics companies accounted for 52% of the square footage in the largest 100 industrial leases last year, down from 61% in 2018.
Ecommerce and logistics remain juggernauts for warehouse leasing, accounting together for far more leases (54) and square footage (45 million) last year within the top 100 than the next-closest category – wholesalers at 18 leases for 15.2 million square feet.
“This report, which our team completes each year, often provides us a rough outline of important trends within the industrial and distribution sector — and the growth of grocery delivery is a clear factor this year,” said John Morris, executive managing director leading CBRE’s Americas Industrial & Logistics business.
“Ecommerce and logistics companies are the needle movers, but food snd beverage has quickly established itself as a major player in industrial real estate leasing. This projects continued growth for both dry and cold-storage warehousing this year.”
Geographically, California’s Inland Empire remains the capital of big industrial leases, more than doubling the activity of the next busiest market in terms of the largest leases. Memphis joins the top five for 2019 with nine massive leases.