Latest Industry News Briefs
ATA Truck Tonnage Index Jumped 7.4% in December Index Down 3.3% for Full Year
Arlington, VA… American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 7.4% in December after rising 3.2% in November. In December, the index equaled 120 (2015=100) compared with 111.7 in November.
“Tonnage ended last year on a high note,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The index not only registered the largest monthly gain since June, but it also had the first year-over-year increase since March. Freight continues to be helped by strong consumption, a retail inventory restocking, and robust single-family home construction. With the stimulus checks recently issued and with a strong possibility of more in the near future, I would expect truck freight to continue rising.”
November’s gain was revised down slightly to 3.2% from our December 22 press release.
Compared with December 2019, the SA index rose 2.3%. For all of 2020, compared with the same 12-month period in 2019, tonnage was down 3.3%. 2019 had an annual increase of 3.3%.
“Because of the pandemic, 2020 was obviously a very challenging year for the economy overall, and that is reflecting in the tonnage index’s dip from the previous year,” Costello said. “Despite that, truck tonnage clearly outperformed the broader economy as freight continued to move in the face of a myriad of COVID-related challenges faced by the country.”
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 115.9 in December, 5.4% above the November level (109.9). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015. ATA’s For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index is dominated by contract freight as opposed to spot market freight.
Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 72.5% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 11.84 billion tons of freight in 2019. Motor carriers collected $791.7 billion, or 80.4% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.
ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 5th day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.
ATA Pleased by Ninth Circuit Ruling Upholding Meal and Rest Break Preemption - Court Unanimously Confirms FMCSA’s Authority to Review State Commercial Vehicle Rules
Arlington, VA… The American Trucking Associations hailed a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upholding the federal preemption of the state of California’s meal and rest break rules as they apply to truck drivers subject to federal hours-of-service regulations.
“The Court’s ruling is a victory for common sense over bureaucracy and the plaintiffs bar,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “When the Department of Transportation preempted California’s rules, it was a victory for highway safety, ensuring that there is one uniform standard for trucking regulations. By upholding DOT’s authority to be the sole regulator of interstate trucking, the Ninth Circuit is preventing states and trial lawyers from creating a costly and inefficient patchwork of competing rules.”
In 2018, after bipartisan efforts to enact a legislative fix failed, ATA petitioned the Department of Transportation to preempt California’s meal and rest break rule, preventing them from being enforced against interstate truck drivers, noting the rules would force those drivers to comply with two competing sets of hours-of-service rules.
Today’s unanimous ruling by the Ninth Circuit found that not only does the federal government have the authority to review and preempt state safety rules, but the three-judge panel agreed with the DOT’s conclusion that “federal regulations adequately and more appropriately balanced the competing interests between safety and economic burden,” than allowing states to impose a patchwork of competing regulations.
“We hope this ruling sends a strong message to other states that they are not allowed to impose additional regulatory burdens on interstate commerce,” Spear said. “We thank DOT and the Court for upholding the principle that federal regulatory primacy is critical for maintaining safe and efficient transportation.”
Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission Proposes Toll Hikes
The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission announced that it plans to increase tolls later this year. The full schedules of proposed toll changes may be viewed on the Commission website at www.drjtbc.org/newtolls. The first schedule is proposed for implementation on or after April 3, 2021. The second is proposed for implementation on or after January 6, 2024. The Commission also has published a webpage — www.drjtbc.org/tollcomments — to provide more information on the adjustments, the comment/hearings process on the proposals, and a series of capital projects that the prospective toll revenues would help fund.
The proposal would establish uniform per-axle rates for Class 2-to-7 vehicles (two or more axles and 8-feet and above in height) at $4.50 for E-ZPass and $5 for cash. Class 2 vehicles currently are charged $3.25 per-axle for E-ZPass and cash; Class 3 vehicles and larger currently are charged $4 per-axle for E-ZPass and cash. This would affect the following locations: Trenton-Morrisville (Route 1), New Hope-Lambertville (Route 202), I-78, Easton-Phillipsburg (Route 22), Portland-Columbia (Routes 611, 46, and 94), Delaware Water Gap (I-80), and Milford-Montague (Route 206).
Oregon Driver License, Vehicle Tag Grace Period Extended Into 2021
SALEM, OR… Oregon residents with a vehicle registration, permit or driver license expiring between Nov. 1, 2020, and April 30, 2021, have up to three months after their expiration date without being cited by law enforcement for an expired license or tags.
The Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon law enforcement agencies agreed to the new grace period as DMV catches up with a backlog due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Under the agreement, Oregon law enforcement officers will exercise more discretion for recently expired licenses and registration before choosing whether to write a citation. Law enforcement can verify the status of a driver or vehicle registration electronically during a traffic stop.
A law enforcement moratorium under Senate Bill 1601 from an Oregon Special Legislative Session last summer will expire Dec. 31. Under that legislation, a police officer cannot issue a citation for the following DMV products if they expired between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2020:
* Driver license and identification cards
* Passenger vehicle registrations
* Commercial vehicle registrations
* Trip permits and temporary registrations
* Disabled parking permits
DMV offices are open by appointment – mostly those that require in-person visits such as driver license and other identification card-related services. In some parts of Oregon, the first available appointment may be two months out, so don’t wait until the last minute to schedule your appointment.
As DMV catches up with the backlog, more services will become available by appointment. We do not yet know when walk-in services can resume, but some appointments for vehicle title and registration are available now. Visit www.OregonDMV.com for a complete list of services available by office.
Many services are available online at DMV2U.Oregon.gov and more will be added soon. Those available now include:
* Renew your vehicle registration
* Access your DMV profile
* Schedule an appointment
* Replace a lost, damaged or stolen license or ID card
* Pay a reinstatement fee
* Report your change of address
* Report the sale of your car
* Calculate vehicles fees to mail in title and registration applications
You can also download forms and complete many transactions by mail including vehicle title transfers. Find detailed instructions at www.OregonDMV.com. We are continually improving our website to help you get what you need.
DMV has been increasing its capacity to provide services as safely as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is to use our new system capabilities so customers get their DMV services from the comfort of their homes, and to hire more staff to help catch up with the backlog. Among our current efforts:
* Hiring additional temporary staff for field offices and call centers.
* Authorizing overtime to process mailed-in transactions.
* Adding services online by successfully finishing a multi-year system replacement in July.
* Expanding capacity for appointments from 16,000 per week this summer to nearly 28,000 per week now.
* Adding new knowledge test machines to increase capacity.
* Increasing drive test appointments at DMV offices in addition to expanding the number of private drive-test providers – both using COVID-19 safety practices.
Truckers Say "No!" To Increasing Weight And Size Limits On North Dakota Highways - Oppose HCR 3001 And SB 2026
Letter from Lewie Pugh, Executive Vice President of OOIDA:
RE: OPPOSE HCR 3001 and SB 2026
Dear Members of the North Dakota Legislature:
On behalf of more than 150,000 small-business truckers and professional drivers nationwide, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) strongly opposes HCR 3001 and SB 2026.HCR 3001 urges Congress to drastically increase federal truck size and weight standards. This effort has been repeatedly rejected by a majority of republicans and democrats, making it one of the few transportation issues Congress can actually work together on –in this case, in opposition to bigger andheavier trucks.
HCR 3001 also suggests there’s a shortage of 900,000 truck drivers in the U.S., effectively perpetuating a myth that was busted long ago. In fact, we’ve heard this myth since 1973 when OOIDA was established and it’s still bogus now just as it was nearly 50 years ago. To the contrary, trucking has always suffered from overcapacity –too many trucks, trailers, and drivers. Wages, working conditions, and rampant driver turnover are proof of this.SB 2026 is equally as bad–or worse –because it gives the Governor of North Dakota statutory authority to double or triple the size and weight limits of commercial motor vehicles on designated roads in the state. In effect, the state legislature is pursuing legislation that would significantly compromise margins of safety on North Dakota roadways. It’s unclear exactly who or what is behind this effort, but it is clear that the safety of the motoring public is an afterthought. It’s also inconceivable to think that state lawmakers would knowingly pass a law that would hasten the deterioration of the state’s already crippling infrastructure. The trucking industry has dozens of real issues that need to be addressed, but we can unequivocally say that there is no driver shortage and no need for bigger and/or heavier trucks. If you move forward with this, you’re going to unnecessarily inject a tremendous amount of capacity in an industry that simply doesn’t need it, all so a few shippers or private special interests can save money and move cheap freight. In other words, you are going to pick winners and losers.
Obviously we can’t stop you from doing this, but don’t expect us to sit quietly while your supporters go to DC and complain about a patchwork of state size/weight laws that you’re responsible for creating. You’re on the wrong side of this issue and highway safety will suffer as a result. Thank you for your time and consideration of our position. Please contact me directly at (816) 229-5791 or [email protected] should you have any questions or require additional information.
Executive Vice President
Kenworth Achieved Market Share Records in Class 8 and Medium Duty Truck Retail Sales in 2020
KIRKLAND, WA… Kenworth achieved retail sales market share records for the U.S. and Canada of 15.8 percent in Class 8 trucks and 11.7 percent in medium duty vehicles in 2020.
“Our industry-leading, premium quality Kenworth T680 on-highway flagship, T880 vocational leader and iconic long-hood W990 models drove sales and record Class 8 market share in 2020. Kenworth had excellent performance in both the on-highway and vocational segments,” said Laura Bloch, Kenworth assistant general manager for sales and marketing.
Kenworth’s T270 and T370 conventionals and K270 and K370 cabovers propelled Kenworth to its medium duty market share record. “These versatile and reliable models serve a wide range of applications, and our customers count on them to provide high productivity and reliability over years of service,” Bloch said.
“Our Class 8 and medium duty market share records were driven by the outstanding customer support provided by the Kenworth dealer network, the best in the industry. Kenworth dealers operate 431 dealerships in the U.S. and Canada, and 138 of our locations have met our stringent and demanding standards required to achieve the prestigious Kenworth PremierCare® Gold Certified status,” Bloch said.
Bloch noted that Kenworth continues to invest in its Class 8 and medium duty products. “We are always striving to enhance our trucks and maximize customer uptime. Kenworth also is pushing forward in advanced technologies as we pursue the development of exceptional and productive electric, hydrogen fuel cell electric and hybrid vehicles, and driver assistance systems and connected truck services,” Bloch said.
Kenworth is The Driver’s Truck™. See what drivers are saying at www.kenworth.com/drivers.
FMCSA Announces New Commercial Driver Panel Members to Provide Feedback on Critical CMV Issues and Initiatives
WASHINGTON, DC… The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator (FMCSA) announced it has named 25 drivers from all sectors of the industry to serve as a new panel to the Agency’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee (MCSAC) comprised of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers.
“FMCSA believes in listening to our drivers and hearing their concerns directly. We know that many of the solutions to the challenges we face don’t come from Washington—they come from the hard-working men and women who are behind the wheel all over our nation. This new subcommittee to MCSAC will further help us hear from America’s commercial drivers,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Wiley Deck.
This new panel will provide direct feedback to FMCSA on important issues facing the driving community—such as safety, hours-of-service regulations, training, parking, and driver experience. This new panel is comprised of 25 drivers from all sectors of the CMV industry—tractor trailer drivers, straight truck drivers, motor coach drivers, hazardous materials drivers, agriculture haulers, and more.
FMCSA has focused on hearing directly from commercial drivers and incorporating their opinions and concerns into the Agency’s safety initiatives. The Agency continues to hold listening sessions and discussions with the motor carrier industry to gather feedback and shape FMCSA’s priorities.
The panelists include: Mr. Todd Spencer, Chairman, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA); Mr. William Bennett III, UPS Freight; Mr. Teddy Cranford, Waste Management of Maryland, Inc; Ms. Debra Desiderato, Walkabout Transport; Mr. Douglas Feathers, URS Midwest Inc.; Mr. Steve Fields, YRC Freight; Ms. JoAnne Forbes, MBT Worldwide, Inc.; Mr. Gerald Fritts, Jr., American Overland Freight; Mr. John Grosvenor, McKiernan Trucking; Mr. Attila Gyorfi, RSP Express Inc.; Mr. W. Scott Harrison, K Limited Carriers; Ms. Rhonda Hartman, Old Dominion Freight Lines; Mr. Darwin Hershberger, Hershberger Livestock, LLC; Mr. Daniel Kobussen, Kobussen Buses, Ltd.; Ms. Deb Labree, Castle Transport, LLC; Mr. Alphonso Lewis, YRC Freight; Mr. Don Logan, FedEx Freight; Ms. Kellylynn McLaughlin, Schneider National, Inc.; Ms. Tina Peterson, Ravenwood Transport; Mr. Stephen Pryor, Greyhound Lines, Inc.; Mr. H. Kevin (Brandy) Russell, Transport America; Mr. Douglas Smith, Ralph Smith Co.; Mr. Kevin Steichen, Steichen Trucking; Ms. Angelique Temple, Atlantic Bulk Carrier; Ms. Desirée Wood, Real Women in Trucking
To learn more about the MCSAC committee, visit: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/advisory-committees/mcsac/welcome-fmcsa-mcsac
Federal Mask Requirement for Surface Transportation Providers
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an Order imposing a mask requirement applicable to public transportation systems, rail, and van, bus and motorcoach service providers to mitigate the risk of COVID-19. The CDC Order implements President Biden’s Executive Order 13998, Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel, “to save lives and allow all Americans, including the millions of people employed in the transportation industry, to travel and work safely.”
Science-based measures are critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19. Mask-wearing is one of several proven life-saving measures including physical distancing, appropriate ventilation and timely testing that can reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Requiring masks will protect America’s transportation workers and passengers, help control the transmission of COVID-19, and aid in re-opening America’s economy.
In addition to the CDC order, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) anticipates issuing additional information and guidance on this topic.
The Department has posted a Frequently Asked Questions at this website. https://www.transportation.gov/safety/mask-travel-guidance
The Department will continue to add to this site with additional information in the coming days.
Retail Fuels Industry Urges Northeastern States to Refrain from Adopting TCI
Alexandria, VA… Three trade groups representing the retail fuels industry ─ NATSO, representing the nation’s truckstops and travel plazas, the National Association of Convenience Stores and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America ─have encouraged Northeastern states to reconsider the regional Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) and instead focus on climate change policies that will achieve more meaningful environmental benefits without imposing exorbitant costs on low- and middle-income Americans.
“The retail fuels industry is encouraged by policymakers who take seriously the threat of climate change and craft policy designed to mitigate the threat for all Americans,” the groups said in a joint statement. “The retail fuels industry has been active, productive advocates for clean fuel policies for more than a decade. We know what types of policies result in greater consumption of alternative fuels, and what types of policies do not. The TCI program, as currently constructed, will not work. The program will result in higher costs without any meaningful environmental benefit. These higher costs will be most acutely felt by the northeast region's low-income communities. There are more effective ways to commercialize alternative fuel technologies. We hope to be productive participants in future TCI discussions.”
In a letter to Kathleen Theoharides, Chair of the Transportation and Climate Initiative, the groups said that TCI:
•Injects substantial pricing and administrative complexities into the retail fuels market, without making alternative fuels, including electricity, more desirable for consumers;
•Increases fuel prices and places a regressive tax upon low-income Americans, who spend a far greater percentage of their income on energy needs;
•Intensifies the economic uncertainty and hardship created by the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing the price that consumers will pay for fuel and ultimately increasing household spending during a time of unprecedented job losses and diminished GDP.
Truckers Can Survive COVID-19 As Long As You Don’t Run Them Out Of Business
WASHINGTON, DC… The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association brought a straight forward message to a Congressional hearing t on behalf of the nation’s truck drivers with regard to surviving COVID-19: Truckers are continuing to struggle under COVID, but their biggest concern is being run out of business by lawmakers in Washington.
OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh spoke as the only witness who has worked as a truck driver at the Protecting Transportation Workers and Passengers from COVID: Gaps in safety, Lessons Learned and Net Steps hearing on Feb. 4 before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Pugh was a trucker and small-business operator for nearly 23 years with roughly 2.5 million miles of safe driving before joining OOIDA’s staff in 2017.
“When many Americans began working from home, truckers continued to crisscross the country, picking up and delivering the things that we all need,” says Pugh. “The media and government were quick to send generous praise for truckers. Now it’s time for Congress to turn that appreciation into tangible support for owner-operators and professional drivers.”
OOIDA’s full testimony includes suggestions on what Congress should do if they truly wish to demonstrate support for small-business truckers and professional drivers.
Among other things, Pugh urged the Committee to reject imposing unnecessary burdens and costs on truckers as they recover from the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, including raising insurance minimums. OOIDA also recommends setting aside federal funding to expand truck parking capacity and repealing the overtime exemption for employee drivers in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
In oral testimony, Pugh described the challenges faced by truck drivers during the early days of the pandemic.
“When COVID first hit, shippers and receivers started restricting access to basic amenities. Suddenly, finding a place to use the bathroom was more difficult, even impossible at times,” says Pugh.
“Drivers weren’t able to find masks, hand sanitizer or even bottled water. Ironically, they were delivering everything Americans needed to survive, though they couldn’t actually buy much of it themselves. It was a cruel reality. And it wasn’t until FEMA began distributing items at truck stops that many truckers finally had what they needed.”
Going forward, OOIDA also requests that truckers have better access to vaccines, testing, economic relief, and food and restrooms.
“Finding a decent meal is still tough,” says Pugh. “Many truckers are concerned about the future of their business, an uncertain freight market and new regulations. Some even fear that their business will survive COVID only to be destroyed by Congress.”
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 150,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the Greater Kansas City, Mo., area.