Industry Insights

Major stretch of I-10 shut down following hurricane

October 11, 2018

More than 100 miles of I-10 along the Florida panhandle are closed Thursday morning following Hurricane Michael’s landfall Wednesday afternoon.

According to Florida 511, all eastbound lanes of I-10 are closed from milemarker 85 to the Apalachicola River at milemarker 160, and all westbound lanes are closed from the Apalachicola River to milemarker 120.

Additionally, in Georgia, DOT officials closed three bridges Wednesday evening along U.S. Highway 17 and State Route 25. The Talmadge Memorial Bridge in Savannah, the Sidney Lanier Bridge near Brunswick, and the Houlihan Bridge north of Savannah are each closed as of Thursday morning.

The large truck stop chains have each announced closures in the region as well. The Love’s Travel Stops locations in Cottondale, Florida, Mossy Head, Florida, and Lake Park, Georgia, are closed as of 7 a.m. Central Thursday.

Eight Pilot Flying J locations are closed, including the Flying J in Dothan, Alabama; the Pilot in Marianna, Florida; the Pilot in Midway, Florida; the Flying J in Quincy, Florida; the Pilot in Albany, Georgia; the Pilot in Cordele, Georgia; the Pilot in Tifton, Georgia; and the Pilot in Vienna, Georgia.

Finally, TA-Petro has only announced one closure as of Thursday morning, which is its Marianna, Florida, location.

Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday just east of Panama City, Florida, as a high-end Category 4 storm. After moving through the Florida panhandle and southern Georgia Wednesday night, the storm, now listed as a tropical storm, is over the Carolinas.


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Industry Insights

Regs waived for relief load haulers in 8 states for Hurricane Michael

October 10, 2018

Truck drivers providing direct assistance in eight states that could potentially be impacted by Hurricane Michael have been granted relief from Parts 390 through 399 of federal regulations.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Southern Service Center issued a regional emergency declaration for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee ahead of the storm that is expected to make landfall along the Florida panhandle Wednesday as a Category 3 hurricane.

Drivers supporting emergency relief efforts hauling supplies, equipment, fuel and people into and out of the affected states will be able to operate under the temporary exemption. The declaration is effective as of Tuesday afternoon and will remain in effect through the duration of the emergency, or until 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 9, whichever is less.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Michael is forecast to move over the Florida panhandle or big bend area Wednesday, then move northeastward across Georgia and the Carolinas before moving off the mid-Atlantic coast by Friday. As of Tuesday afternoon, maximum sustained winds are near 110 miles per hour, and additional strengthening is expected before it makes landfall.


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Claim Spotlight

Cargo theft numbers decline in second quarter

July 30, 2018

he total number of cargo thefts recorded in 2018’s second quarter was down 4 percent from the same period last year, according to a report from cargo theft recording firm CargoNet. Cargo thefts have been on the decline recentlywith reported thefts falling by 12 percent in 2017 compared to 2016.

The firm reports there were 157 cargo thefts during the quarter with an average value per theft of $186,779 for a total estimated loss of $29.3 million during the quarter.

Cargo theft numbers were highest in California with 34 reported thefts during the quarter, which is a 21 percent decrease in the state from the second quarter last year. Florida had the second-most reported thefts with 22. Cargo theft increases were seen in the Canadian province of Ontario and in Illinois.

Household products took over as the most-stolen commodity during the quarter as food and beverage cargo thefts continued to decline. Thieves specifically targeted major appliances, mixed household goods and tools, CargoNet reports.

Truck stops were the most common locations for cargo thefts to occur with 18 percent of all thefts occurring at these locations. This is a shift from the previous two years when truck stop cargo thefts only accounted for 9 percent and 11 percent of thefts in the second quarter 2016 and 2017, respectively. Thefts at secured yard locations accounted for 16 percent of total cargo thefts.


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Industry Insights

PeopleNet debuts PD.5 Android display

July 30, 2018

Fleet mobility technology provider PeopleNet, a Trimble Company, debuted the PD.5 Android-powered fixed-mount display.

The PeopleNet Display.5 was built for the rigors of the commercial trucking industry, the company said. It gives PeopleNet customers a new option to use for complying with the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate while leveraging other applications such as navigation and in-cab scanning.

“The PD.5, much like our Android-based tablets, lays the foundation for the next-generation of fleet mobility and helps our customers transform their drivers’ experience,” said Bryan Coyne, general manager, North America for Trimble’s Transportation Mobility Division, which includes PeopleNet.

Through PeopleNet’s Managed Mobility service, fleets can manage business and third-party apps running on the display and provide remote assistance for support cases and troubleshoote other mobile applications.

The PeopleNet Display.5 can pair with multiple in-vehicle gateways from PeopleNet that leverage 4G LTE connectivity.

“As we continue our migration to Android, the PD.5 can run both proprietary solutions alongside third-party apps, giving a fleet the ability to customize the driver experience to optimize productivity,” said Coyne. “Android software also unifies all of our latest devices, so a fleet can run any combination of fixed-mounted displays, handhelds and consumer-grade devices to meet their business-specific needs.”

The PeopleNet Display.5 is available now and will be showcased at the 2018 in.sight user conference + expo in Houston, September 9 – 12.


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Industry Insights

Facing lawsuit from ATA, Rhode Island touts trucks-only toll plan

July 20, 2018

One month into Rhode Island’s trucks-only tolling plan, truckers have already paid $625,989 at the first two of 14 gantries to open in the state, according to numbers released Wednesday by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation.

RIDOT says the total received so far is $27,322 more than what the state’s financial studies estimated.

“With one full month of operation under our belts, we feel confident that the tractor-trailer truck-only tolling system is working as expected,” says RIDOT Director Peter Alviti.

The trucking industry has staunchly opposed the Rhodeworks truck tolling plan. The American Trucking Associations just this month filed a lawsuit against the state seeking to have the plan struck down in court. ATA argued its unconstitutional and discriminatory against interstate trucking companies.

RIDOT says 188,815 trucks were tolled in the first month of the first two tolls’ operations, which began June 11. The first location is between exits 2 and 3 on I-95 and charges truckers $3.25 once per day in each direction when passing under the gantry. The second location is between exits 4 and 5 on I-95 and charges truckers $3.50 once per day in each direction.

Truckers can expect the system to expand in the coming year and a half.

RIDOT says it has submitted its Environmental Assessment for the next 10 toll locations to the Federal Highway Administration, which Alviti expects to either be under construction or operational within the next 18 months.


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Claim Spotlight

Preventable or not? Red-light runner rams truck’s rear end

July 18, 2018

At noon, rain was falling on Mugwump Parkway. Northbound, John Doe was waiting for a chance to turn his tractor-trailer across the opposing traffic lane and enter the parking lot at Pearl’s Pizza Palace. “10-4 on the all-veggie special and diet soda,” mused Doe, who was watching his weight. Finally, confronted by a virtually empty stretch of road, Doe started his turn.

Simultaneously, far ahead in the southbound lane, Betsy Bibbel put the pedal to the metal in her bright blue Trans Am Formula 350, seeking to beat the “pink” traffic light in her path. Traveling at warp speed, Bibbel shot through the intersection – and suddenly was faced with the last few feet of Doe’s trailer as it was disappearing into Pearl’s lot.

Bibbel miscalculated her closing speed and slammed into the right rear corner of Doe’s trailer. She wasn’t hurt, but when authorities arrived on the scene, they cited Doe for failure to yield right-of-way. He also got a warning letter from his safety director, who charged him with a preventable accident.

A flabbergasted Doe contested the decision, and the case was turned over to the National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee. NSC ruled in Doe’s favor, since there was nothing he could have done to anticipate or ward off Bibbel’s mindless sneak attack.


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Industry Insights

Paccar recalls 3,000 Kenworth, Peterbilt tractors

July 18, 2018

More than 3,000 Kenworth and Peterbilt tractors are being recalled over an issue with the anti-lock braking system dash warning light not working properly, according to documents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Paccar is recalling 3,043 trucks in which, in the event that the ABS loses battery and/or ignition power to the controller, the dash warning light for the ABS may not light up to warn the driver. NHTSA says a driver unknowingly operating a truck without the ABS functioning increases the risk of a crash.

Trucks affected by the recall include:

  • 2015-2018 Kenworth T660
  • 2015-2018 Kenworth T680
  • 2015-2018 Kenworth T800
  • 2015-2018 Kenworth T880
  • 2015-2018 Kenworth W900
  • 2017-2018 Peterbilt 567
  • 2017-2018 Peterbilt 579

Paccar will begin notifying truck owners on July 24. Dealers will update the software in the cab control module free of charge. Affected truck owners can contact Peterbilt customer service at 1-918-259-3258 or Kenworth customer service at 1-425-828-5000. NHTSA’s recall number is 18V-368.


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Industry Insights

More fleets announce driver pay increases

July 5, 2018

Three trucking companies recently announced pay increases for drivers, including Milan Express, Risinger and Central Oregon Truck Company.

Milan Express (No. 237 on the CCJ Top 250), beginning July 8, will pay experienced company drivers between 42 and 52 cents-per-mile, based on experience, resulting in annual earnings of $63,960 to $76,960 based on 2,500 miles per week, according to the company.

Company team drivers will earn between 49.4 cents to 54.4 cents-per-mile, earning between $143,000 and $150,800 for 5,000 miles per week.

Additionally, Milan’s new pay plan increases stop pay by 33.3 percent and hourly pay for all accessorials by between 9 and 50 percent.

Central Oregon Truck Company, part of the larger Daseke Inc. group of fleets, announced it is implementing a “Weekly Driver Salary Pay,” similar to the plan its sister company, Smokey Point Distributing, announced in May.

The program gives new drivers a $65,000 a year base, while more experienced drivers can make upwards of $90,000 a year. The company is also guaranteeing at least 2,430 miles per week with a minimum salary of $1,250.

The company has also started a team pay program in which team drivers can earn between $2,350 and $3,345 gross each week, for an annual salary between $122,000 to $173,000

Risinger, based in Morton, Ill., launched a new “Triple Play” program on June 17 that gives drivers three different pay incentives for owner-operators and lease-purchase drivers.

With the new program, drivers can earn a weekly minimum pay guarantee of $1,000, a $1,000 sign-on bonus and up to a $1,000 quarterly “High Roller” safety and productivity bonus.

The company also offers bonus opportunities, 100 percent no-touch freight, fuel surcharge, paid tolls and scales, and no Qualcomm fees.


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Claim Spotlight

Be wary of heightened cargo theft activity during July 4 period

July 3, 2018

Cargo theft experts are warning truck drivers and fleets about the increased risk of theft this week during the Independence Day holiday.

Because July 4 falls on a Wednesday this year, cargo theft recording firm SensiGuard says there is a chance that shippers and receivers will also be closed on Tuesday, July 3, and/or Thursday, July 5.

The firm says organized cargo theft rings will be looking for unattended loads during the holiday period. During the July 4 holiday periods between 2013 and 2017, SensiGuard recorded more than three thefts per day with an average loss value of $207,570 – a theft rate 38 percent higher and average loss value 20 percent higher than thefts throughout the rest of the year.

Scott Cornell, transportation business lead and crime and theft specialist for Travelers Insurance, says the majority of cargo thefts that occur during holiday periods happen on the first day a load is parked because it gives the thieves a longer timeframe to go unnoticed. With the upcoming holiday is in the middle of the week, Cornell says he hopes theft activity will be reduced.

“Unless people are taking Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday off as well, we should see lower numbers than if the holiday fell on a weekend,” Cornell says. “It’s hard to predict with it being in the dead center of the week. We suggest always practicing the same diligence as every other holiday period.”

Drivers hauling food and beverage commodities should consider taking extra precautions as those have been the most-stolen commodities for the last eight years, Cornell says.

“Thieves target what they know they can sell, and with food and beverages, the evidence disappears quickly because it is consumed,” he adds. “These items aren’t as traceable as electronics. There’s no serial number on a pistachio.”


CCJ Digital

Industry Insights

CVSA’s annual driver-focused enforcement blitz this month

July 2, 2018

Operation Safe Driver Week, an annual enforcement spree put on by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, is set this year for July 15-21.

During the weeklong blitz, enforcers will be focusing on traffic violations, seat belt enforcement, driver roadside inspections and driver regulatory compliance. CVSA says driver behavior is the cause of more than 88 percent of large truck crashes and 93 percent of passenger vehicle crashes.

Driving behaviors that will be targeted during the week include speeding, distracted driving, texting, failure to use a seat belt, following too closely, improper lane change, failure to obey traffic control devices and more.

Last year, nearly 39,000 citations and warnings were issued to truck drivers during Operation Safe Driver Week. More than 84 percent of these violations were for state and local moving violations.


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