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.

 

CCJ Digital

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.

 

CCJ Digital

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.

 

CCJ Digital

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.

 

CCJ Digital

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.

 

CCJ Digital

Industry Insights

Driver pay has surged so far in 2018, NTI reports, with gains expected to continue

June 15, 2018

Per-mile company driver pay in the first quarter of 2018 surged compared to the same quarter a year ago, according to data from the National Transportation Institute, with some fleets, mostly midsize to large carriers, pressing driver pay ahead by a range of 7 to 11 cents a mile compared to 2017’s first three months.

“That’s a staggering amount,” says NTI President Gordon Klemp, who’s tracked driver pay changes since 1994. “These are very aggressive moves.”

Klemp said 6.25 percent of fleets tracked by NTI instituted pay boosts in the 7- to 11-cent range. Another 43.75 percent of fleets surveyed by Klemp boosted driver pay in the 4- to 6-cent range, also historically strong gains, said Klemp. The remaining 50 percent of carriers in Klemp’s data set raised pay by 1 to 3 cents a mile.

The wage increases were part of industry-wide efforts to retain and recruit drivers, says Klemp. NTI saw almost no increase from the year prior in 2017’s first quarter, he said. Pay moves didn’t begin until last spring and summer, and this cycle of driver wage hikes was shorter than most, says Klemp.

Fleets are now at the tailend of about an 8-month cycle of pay increases, he says. In that time, nearly all of the fleets he’s studied — 81 percent — have raised company driver pay. “That’s also very high,” he says. “It tells us this pay cycle is going to end pretty quickly. There aren’t many fleets left who haven’t moved. We’re going to continue to see that last roughly 20 make their moves [soon], and I expect another round of pay moves to kick off sometime this fall.”

Broken out by segment, refrigerated haulers saw the biggest per-mile pay gains, 3.3 cents a mile. Flatbed driver pay climbed 3 cents a mile, and per-mile van pay climbed an average of 2.7 cents.

Sign-on bonus rates also surged in the first quarter, according to NTI data. Sign-on bonuses for van drivers grew to a $7,000 average, NTI reports — a big jump from 2017’s first-quarter $1,500 average. Sign-on bonuses for reefer drivers grew to $3,000 on average, up from 2017’s first-quarter average of $1,000. Flatbed bonuses moved to a $6,000 average, up from $1,500.

Klemp says data for the first two months of the second quarter (April and May) show continued acceleration in driver pay, with pay announcements from December and January beginning to kick in.

 

CCJ Digital

Claim Spotlight

Preventable or not? Driver’s U-turn goes awry

June 15, 2018

John Doe was eastbound on a four-lane turnpike near Greensboro, N.C. It was 10 p.m., the sky was heavily overcast, and the turnpike was as dark as the inside of his diesel’s crankcase. In preparation for making a U-turn at the intersection with Grits Road, which was dead ahead, Doe moved into the left lane, actuated his left-side flashers and started to brake.

By the time Doe had stopped at the intersection, the traffic signal in his lane was red. That gave Doe time to extract a celery stalk from his survival rations, adjust the bass on his satellite radio and glance at the adjacent lane via his right-side West Coast and convex mirrors, which at that time revealed nothing.

Seconds later, while the traffic light still was red, Tommy “The Duke” Gripley became weary of staring at the rear of Doe’s trailer and began maneuvering his dark blue 1957 “Heavy Chevy” – 327 with multiple Holley carbs, column-mounted Sun tach and four-on-the-floor Hurst – into the right lane, next to Doe’s saddle tank. When the light turned green, Doe quickly started to turn, his rig extending into the right lane to complete the maneuver when … Sproing! Oh no! His trailer’s ICC bar had encountered the Chevy’s left front fender!

Because Doe contested the preventable-accident warning letter from his safety director, the accident was turned over to the National Safety Council’s Accident Review Committee. NSC upheld the preventable ruling, concluding that – despite Doe’s claim that the Heavy Chevy had materialized from thin air – Doe had not checked his mirrors adequately. Also, attempting a wide U-turn at a dark intersection on a high-speed road wasn’t exactly a safety-award-winning idea, either.

CCJ Digital 

Industry Insights

Convoy announces nationwide rollout, new driver-friendly features in app

March 27, 2018

After barely two years, app-based freight matching service Convoy on Tuesday announced it has expanded its network nationwide.

Convoy has grown its footprint from the Peugeot Sound-area, to the Pacific Northwest, to west of Rockies and is now offering loads coast-to-coast with more than 100,000 trucks and drivers on the network.

To coincide with the expansion of the network, Convoy is adding three new features to its platform, each aimed at pairing carriers to shippers while also adding layers of convenience for drivers.

A Suggested Reload option shows carriers loads that will be immediately available after dropping off an initial load. When a carrier searches for jobs in the app, Convoy suggests recommended reloads near their drop off location that can be booked instantly, allowing carriers to plan ahead and avoid driving an empty truck. 

Kristen Forecki, Convoy’s vice president of carrier engagement and expansion, says this feature was designed to allow carriers to fill backhauls, or to pick up other loads along their way to other drop-points.

A Request a Load feature lets drivers post their availability, along with a preferred city of origin and destination and pickup and drop-off times.

The Convoy platform will notify carriers when a load matching their parameters has been found. Carriers can also set the post to recur automatically if they regularly have availability at a given time and day.

“If you always know on Thursdays you’ll be looking for a particular back haul, you can set a recurring [post] up for that,” Forecki says.

For drivers trapped at the dock waiting for their shipper, Convoy is rolling out Automated Detention. Payable on the first minute of the third hour at a shipper’s facility, drivers can simply request detention pay through the press of a button within the Convoy app.

“When drivers have to wait at a facility, we want them to know they are going to be paid for that time,” Forecki says.

Convoy’s geo-fencing technology verifies that the driver arrived at the facility on time. The shipper has two hours to get the truck loaded and back underway. At the beginning of the third hour, Forecki says Convoy pays a $40 per hour detention rate regardless if shipper reimburses them.

“Drivers feel today like they have to fight for detention and we just wanted to eliminate that completely,” she says.

Not only do shippers pay detention when they have wait times at their facilities, but Convoy says their average price to book a truck goes up. For example, Convoy’s data suggests that facilities with an average of six hours wait time pay up to 30 percent more to book a truck than a facility with an average of 2 hours wait time.

Convoy also announced a partnership with Goodyear in which active carriers receive an up to 30 percent discount on tires.

Roadside assistance is also offered, free of charge, to carriers hauling a load booked through the Convoy platform.

 

CCJ Digital

Claim Spotlight

Mitigating Theft

January 26, 2018

ATLANTA:

  • Over the year and a half, there has been a severe rash of high end automobile cargo thefts in the Atlanta area.
  • More than 10 cargo theft claims have been filed for losses occurring within the 285 Perimeter around Atlanta.
  • The majority of the thefts are concentrated in the southwest suburbs around the airport (Union City, College Park, East Point, etc.).
  • Car thieves are targeting high-end dealerships, such as Audi, BMW, Infiniti, and Porsche.
  • Here is how these losses typically occur:
    • As the driver unloads the units, he or she stages them in a different area, leaving the keys inside the unlocked cargo unit.
    • After the first one, two, or three are unloaded, another vehicle with a driver and several passengers pulls up to the staged cars.
    • The passengers get out of the vehicle, get into the unlocked cargo vehicles, and all the vehicles drive away.
  • I know of only one instance when the thief was apprehended; the stolen units are rarely recovered.

Drivers should use extra care when delivering to the above-mentioned areas.  These losses can be easily prevented by the drivers removing the keys from the staged cargo units and only providing the keys to the consignee at the time the delivery receipt is signed.  Until the delivery receipt is signed and the liability transfers to the consignee, drivers should keep the keys on their persons at all times.

 

Car thieves know that keys are often left inside the cargo units, making the auto hauling industry especially susceptible to theft losses.  If we change our practices as an industry, we can help shrink the imaginary target car thieves see when they look at an automobile hauler.

 

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