Latest Industry News Briefs Courtesy of PMTA

December 2022

Trucking Law Enforcement Group Urges States to Address Truck Parking Shortage

Washington, DC… The American Trucking Associations’ Law Enforcement Advisory Board sent a letter to all 50 governors and state departments of transportation urging them to apply for federal funds to expand truck parking capacity. A nationwide shortage of commercial truck parking – widely documented in government and academic studies – has created a growing highway safety issue, as truck drivers are often forced to park in illegal or unsafe locations when authorized parking is unavailable. 

“Law enforcement organizations across the country, from local police departments to statewide patrols, are impacted by this issue and have seen firsthand how the truck parking shortage jeopardizes road safety for all motorists,” said Fred Fakkema, LEAB chairman and vice president of safety & compliance for Zonar Systems, who previously served 25 years in the Washington State Patrol. “The U.S. Department of Transportation is offering federal funds to help expand truck parking capacity, and we encourage states to capitalize on these resources now while they are available.”

On September 29, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg sent a letter to ATA President and CEO Chris Spear pledging the Administration’s commitment on the issue and detailing various competitive grant programs under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that can fund truck parking projects. The U.S. Department of Transportation also issued official guidance on funding eligibility requirements for states as they plan new truck parking projects. In recent weeks, Florida and Tennessee were awarded INFRA grants by USDOT totaling $37 million to expand truck parking capacity. 

“Truckers need accessible parking options to move the economy’s freight safely and efficiently. This issue is critically important – not just to drivers, but to patrolmen, troopers, and officers as well. It is a top priority for our Law Enforcement Advisory Board, and we’ll keep working it until the parking shortage is meaningfully addressed,” said Derek Barrs, LEAB industry outreach advisor and senior manager at the HNTB Corporation. Barrs previously served as chief of the Florida Highway Patrol’s Office of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement.

ATA’s Law Enforcement Advisory Board is a working group comprised of trucking industry professionals who have previous law enforcement experience, as well as current and retired law enforcement officers with experience on trucking issues. The 37 current members of LEAB combine for more than 900 years of law enforcement experience.

Analysis - The Diesel Truck Runs On Hydrogen Too

The latest report from goes into detail on the Canadian hydrogen pioneer dynaCERT Inc. By incorporating its hydrogen technology, the Company ensures more efficient combustion in conventional engines, such as those of trucks. The solution could contribute significantly to meeting global climate targets and be an economical and realistic bridge solution for existing heavy-duty transport fleets. Hydrogen and diesel - a propulsion technology with a near future? Operators are also likely to focus on possible carbon credits.

Excerpts and facts about the report at  

* Jim Payne, President and CEO of dynaCERT: "With diesel prices rising globally, dynaCERT is excited to serve the private and public sectors in Canada and internationally...Our products are designed for future carbon credits while users achieve sustainability and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions."

* "In about 18(!) years, if truck builders have their way, only vehicles that run on electricity, hydrogen or biofuel will be produced."... "However, bridge technologies with economic benefits for the commercial vehicle industry are already available to reduce emissions in the short term."  

* "CAD 90 million and 18 years of research and development have gone into this technology, which Payne says is unique in the world and has 20 patents and multiple certifications."

* "Future plans also include use for retrofitting on passenger cars, ships and trains."

The full report is available at  

dynaCERT Inc. manufactures and markets carbon emission reduction technologies for use in internal combustion engines. As part of the growing global hydrogen economy, our patented technology generates hydrogen and oxygen on demand through a unique electrolysis system. It feeds these gases through the air intake to improve combustion, resulting in lower carbon emissions and greater fuel efficiency. Our technology is designed for use in many types and sizes of diesel engines used in on-road vehicles, refrigerated trailers, off-road structures, power generation equipment, mining and forestry equipment, ships and railroad locomotives.  

For more information:

Trucking Community to Help Expand Truck Parking

 WASHINGTON, DC… The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will convene state, industry, and federal leaders at a meeting of the National Coalition of Truck Parking to share resources available in the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to address the nation’s truck parking shortage, which puts all road users at risk and is costing truck drivers time and money. At the meeting, DOT will share a new handbook for States that details strategies for developing truck parking and best practices on designing and constructing new truck parking. Officials will also discuss the new and expanded funding resources that are eligible for truck parking projects to make the United States’ freight system safer and more efficient. This meeting builds on the commitments of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Trucking Action Plan, focused on creating a stable and safe trucking workforce that offers good-paying jobs to millions of truck drivers.

Secretary Buttigieg has heard directly from truck drivers and industry partners that the availability of truck parking is a top concern for drivers. The American Trucking Associations and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association wrote a letter to DOT earlier this year citing that 98% percent of drivers report problems finding safe parking, costing drivers more than 56 minutes of drive-time to find parking. That wasted time is estimated to cause a $5,500 loss in annual compensation – roughly a 12% pay cut.

“I’ve heard from countless truckers across the country about how the shortage of truck parking costs them time and money—not to mention making our roads less safe and weakening our supply chains,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “We’re using funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help address truck parking shortages, and we’re working with state and industry leaders to develop more parking that will improve safety and quality of life for our nation’s truck drivers.”

Reflecting on the concerns of drivers and industry partners, expanding truck parking is a priority for DOT. Earlier this month, for the first time ever, DOT announced significant investments to expand our nation’s truck parking capacity on the interstate system through the INFRA program. These first-of-its-kind investments included $15 million to add approximately 120 new truck parking spaces along the critical I-4 corridor in Florida between Tampa and Orlando and a $22.6 million investment to add approximately 125 spaces along I-40 east of Nashville, Tennessee. These projects will improve safety, freight operations, and make freight transportation more sustainable. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also awarded $1.4 million in grant funding to Montana and Kentucky to improve truck parking through its High Priority Innovative Technology Deployment grants.

“One of the leading causes of truck crashes is driver fatigue.  It is clear that adequate rest for drivers is foundational for safe operations.  We have heard loud and clear from drivers – they need more places to rest and they need to be safe and secure while doing so,” said FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson. “We are proactively working at the local and regional level to point to the numerous resources across DOT for truck parking construction, expansion, and technology solutions, and we will continue to work collaboratively with agencies within DOT and with all of our partners in the industry.”

Additionally, DOT has updated guidance on the sources of federal funding that are eligible for States interested in making further investments in truck parking.  States and other government entities can apply for grants or prioritize formula funding for capacity projects from over $47.4 billion in eight programs.  The guidance is posted HERE.

 “Truck parking is a safety issue – both for truck drivers and all other road users, which is why FHWA has updated our guidance to ensure there is no question about eligibility for truck parking projects in new formula and discretionary grant programs authorized under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” said FHWA Acting Administrator Stephanie Pollack. “This new information will help states, localities and other eligible entities identify eligible formula funding sources and apply for discretionary grants to fund truck parking projects that not only support the increased demand for truck deliveries and strengthen our supply chains, but also provide safe truck parking, which is critical to protect the truck drivers we rely on, as well as the traveling public.”

STA Expiration Dates Extended

Due to supply chain issues and complications related to the pandemic, demand for drivers with a valid state-issued commercial driver's license (CDL) with a Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME) has increased significantly, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) now has a back log in processing the required Security Thread Assessments (STAs).

The TSA has allowed states, including Oregon, to extend the expiration date of an STA that expires between July 1, 2022, and December 27, 2022, by 180 days. This will ensure that the TSA backlog does not exacerbate current difficulties with the transfer and movement of cargo nationwide and at the ports.

What you need to know:  

* The extension is retroactive and includes STAs that have already or will expire between July 1 and December 27, 2022.

* Drivers that have received a notice of cancellation, or are pending cancellation, will receive a notice of withdrawal of those cancellations in the mail soon.

* The deferred cancellation date will be 180 days after the expiration date of the driver’s most recent STA (Expiration + 180 days).

While drivers have six more months to renew their STA, we encourage them to start the renewal process as soon as possible. Background checks required to maintain the endorsement take extra time, and staffing shortages and demand for services at Oregon DMV and the TSA remains very high. Any of these factors may increase the time it takes to get your renewal.

Learn more about the TSA exemption here: TSA grants renewal exemption for truck drivers with Hazardous Materials Endorsement | Transportation Security Administration

Start your TSA security check online at the TSA Website or contact Universal Enrollment Services at 855-347-8371.

DMV-related questions may be directed to (503) 945-5000 or (503) 299-9999 (Portland Metro Area).

Pennsylvania Turnpike Teams with Drivewyze and Inrix to Offer Slowdown Alerts to Truck Drivers

  PLANO, TX… Drivewyze, the leader in connected truck services and operator of the largest public-private weigh station bypass network in North America, has announced real-time, in-cab traffic alerts in partnership with INRIX, a leader in transportation analytics and connected vehicle services, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Pennsylvania joins Ohio, New Jersey, and North Carolina in offering in-state alerts which provide audible and visual cues of upcoming traffic slowdowns, congestion, and incidents.

 The alerts -- available through the Drivewyze Smart Roadway program -- are available to commercial truck drivers and will be active on all 564 miles of roadways managed by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Authority. Smart Roadways extends public transportation safety programs into the cabs of connected trucks throughout their road network.

Messages such as “Sudden Slowdown Ahead” and “Congestion Ahead” are displayed on ELDs that have the Drivewyze platform installed approximately two to three miles before the slowdown begins, giving truckers plenty of time to adjust their speed. Congestion and incident information is sent in real-time to drivers and is provided by INRIX, which usesadvanced algorithms to analyze millions of anonymous connected vehicles traveling more than a billion miles daily in the United States.

 “Unpredictability on the roadway causes downstream impacts that pose potential issues for truckers, dispatchers, shippers, and road management organizations,” said Craig Shuey, PA Turnpike Chief Operating Officer. “Our commercial trucking customers tell us it’s imperative to be kept informed about hazards on the road ahead in the most distraction-free manner possible and alerted with enough time and detail to process and react efficiently and safely. This new alert system enables us to improve real-time roadway communications that also pay further dividends in improved safety.”

 According to NHTSA, crashes on interstates represent nearly 30% of all collisions, and many are secondary incidents where a truck or car rear-ends a vehicle that was in a queue from an initial crash.[1] A 2019 Pennsylvania DOT study showed 32% of work zone crashes and 49% of secondary crashes occurred more than two miles back from the origin point of congestion. Additionally, 46% occurred over an hour later.[2]

“Those statistics show the importance of a heads-up alert,” said Brian Heath, CEO of Drivewyze. “We’re pleased to partner with the Turnpike Commission to give truckers the ‘visibility’ they need to slowdown. It will help take stress away from truckers, and allow them to start slowing before they see taillights turn red.”

 The INRIX traffic and slowdown alerts join other notifications that truck drivers already receive through Drivewyze’s in-cab Safety Notification service, such as notifications when coming upon dangerous curves, nearing a low bridge, and mountain corridor alerts for steep grades and runaway ramps.


PDA Releases 2022 Third Quarter Driver Feedback Data

Brentwood, TN…  –PDA released data  compiled from thousands of phone calls with professional truck drivers during the third quarter of 2022.  The data was gathered as part of PDA’s efforts to help trucking companies curb turnover while providing accurate and actionable data for addressing their drivers’ concerns.

 The two most mentioned concerns continue to be equipment and compensation issues, however miles-related compensation issues continued to rise due to the softening freight market. 

 “While equipment concerns remain the top issue for drivers in Q3, PDA continues to see a shift in data connected to miles-related compensation issues,” said Scott Dismuke, PDA’s vice president of operations.  “Driver’s concerns about miles continue to increase, up 12% since Q1, a clear indication of a slowing freight market.  In September alone, over half the drivers complaining about pay cited miles as the main reason.”

 Dismuke noted that the slowing freight market is not only increasing driver frustration with miles, but also causing a climb in turnover rates. 

 “PDA has seen an uptick in turnover that began at the end of Q2 and continued in Q3,” said Dismuke.  “For those drivers who have entered the market in the last two years, the slowing freight market is proving to be a frustrating wake up call.  For veteran drivers who have enjoyed consistent freight over the last couple of years, the slowing freight market is a disappointing return to waiting longer for freight.” 

 From a percentage standpoint, overall equipment issues dropped for the third quarter in a row, and mechanical/breakdown issues were also down from Q2 to Q3.  Dismuke noted that while the percentage of complaints has dropped, the number of drivers complaining about equipment has remained the same.  

 “Equipment issues remained the top driver concern in Q3.” stated Dismuke.  “While the percentage has dropped nearly 5% from Q1, relative to other categories, the total number of complaints remained the same.  So while we are hearing the equipment and parts shortage is letting up, the numbers aren’t yet reflecting that.”  

 Dismuke remarked that the softening freight market will continue to be a challenge in combating turnover in Q4.  

“People are spending more on services right now, less on goods,” said Dismuke.  “Diesel/gas prices are on the rise again, taking disposable income out of people’s pockets, interest rates continue to rise and some economists are expecting unemployment rates to go up; meaning the last quarter of 2022 could continue to be a challenge in reducing driver turnover.”

Driver retention continues to be more important now than it has ever been.  Reducing turnover and keeping drivers in trucks will continue to be a challenge.

 “Drivers who have entered the market in the last two years have not experienced a slowdown in freight,” said Dismuke.  “Open and proactive communication with drivers will be essential in Q4, especially with new drivers who are struggling with miles in this market.”

PA Turnpike Welcomes Legislation to Strengthen Toll-Collection Efforts

HARRISBURG, PA… The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission welcomes today’s passage of House Bill 1486, which includes language from former House Bill 2139 that will strengthen the Commission’s ongoing efforts to hold accountable those customers who do not pay their tolls.

The legislation, which was passed by the Senate with House concurrence, lowers the thresholds that trigger registration suspensions for Pennsylvania vehicle owners with unpaid tolls and fees from $500 to $250.

“I want to thank members of the general assembly for their support and cooperation on this important measure,” said PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “The fact is that uncollected tolls are largely due to drivers dodging their responsibilities. These customers receive invoices but simply choose not to pay. This legislation will allow us to better hold accountable those who intentionally cheat the system.”

Under Act 165 of 2016, the PA Turnpike has been working with PennDOT to suspend motor-vehicle registrations of Pennsylvania owners with unpaid tolls and fees exceeding a fixed number or dollar value. As of Sept. 30, 2022, the Commission has collected $11,438,495 in toll and fees associated with 23,095 suspended registrations under Act 165.

If signed into law, HB 1486 would update the criteria that prompt vehicle-registration suspensions as follows:

* it would lower the dollar threshold from $500 to $250 in unpaid tolls and fees;

* it would lower the number of unpaid Toll By Plate invoices or violations from six to four; and

* it would extend the statute of limitations for unpaid invoices or violations from 3 to 5 years.

Compton noted that, while most customers do the right thing and pay on time, this new measure enables the Turnpike to more quickly trigger the processes to collect from people who flout responsibility by choosing not to pay.

“We need to pursue nonpaying drivers before their toll obligation exceeds the $500 mark and potentially hampers their ability to pay up,” Compton said. “Five-plus years of experience have shown that it is better to act sooner to maximize chances of collecting from those who think it is OK to ride free. We are here to tell you, it isn’t.”

The legislation will take effect 60 days after it is signed into law. The Turnpike estimates that 25,000 additional vehicle registrations would qualify for suspension due to unpaid toll invoices. If convicted, penalties for operating a vehicle with a suspended registration may include:

* a mandatory, three-month driver’s license suspension;

* fines of up to $500 plus court costs;

* higher auto-insurance rates; and

* a record of the violation on the offender’s driver history.

“This measure is an essential step in the right direction, and we are confident the change will hold drivers more accountable and boost collections,” Compton said. “But we are not stopping here. We continue to evaluate revenue collections and loss-prevention best practices in and outside the tolling industry to add tools to our revenue-assurance toolbox.”

If the initial Toll By Plate invoice is not paid or resolved within 30 days, a past-due invoice is mailed. Past-due invoices include a late fee of $5 or 1.5% of the amount owed, whichever is higher. Invoices unpaid after 60 days go to collections. Beyond that, the PA Turnpike executes other collection measures, including:

* working with local district attorneys to file criminal charges against egregious scofflaws;

* filing civil charges against those with unpaid tolls up to $12,500 as well as filing civil and criminal lawsuits against commercial carriers; and

* engaging neighboring toll agencies on reciprocity to provide mutual authority to pursue scofflaws in other states.

In addition to stronger enforcement, the PA Turnpike has made it easier for customers to pay. It partnered with a nationwide cash payment network, enabling customers to use cash to pay invoices and replenish E-ZPass accounts at 70,000 drug, convenience, and discount stores. A recent upgrade of the Turnpike’s Toll By Plate invoice includes a convenient, new QR code customers can scan to pay right from their devices.


“Today, we offer E-ZPass and Toll By Plate customers six ways to pay: by mail, by phone, online, using the PA TOLL PAY mobile app, through the cash-payment network, and by walk-in at our Harrisburg Customer Service Center,” Compton said. “E-ZPass remains the easiest, least-expensive way to pay on the PA Turnpike.”

Most customers pick up an E-ZPass GoPak at one of more than 700 retail locations across PA, including 7-Eleven stores inside Turnpike service plazas. In addition, customers who get a Toll By Plate invoice can convert to E-ZPass and save up to 60% on that invoice and on all PA Turnpike travel.

Besides these measures, the law also requires the Turnpike to notify customers when a “V-toll” is posted to an E-ZPass account. A V-toll is a charge that occurs if the E-ZPass transponder was not read when the vehicle exited, but the license plate matched to an active E-ZPass account. In such cases, the Turnpike may not be able to determine the actual travel, so a flat toll of $10 for Class 1 and Class 2 vehicles is posted, appearing on the E-ZPass account statement as a “V-toll.”

“I’m pleased to report that, as of Aug. 4, we had already begun sending daily notifications to customers with V-tolls, thereby meeting this requirement months before the law’s effective date,” said Compton. “To avoid V-tolls, we remind E-ZPass customers to bring your E-ZPass transponder each time you travel the Turnpike and be sure it is properly mounted. Check your E-ZPass statement regularly to confirm that all account information is up to date including address, payment, and vehicle information.”

NATSO Bringing Annual NATSO Connect Show to Texas in 2023

  Alexandria, VA…  NATSO is excited to announce its annual in-person industry meeting, NATSO Connect, is scheduled to take place March 7-10, 2023, at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in the Dallas Metropolitan Area.

  NATSO Connect is the annual meeting of truckstop and travel center operators who represent buying power for more than 16,000 fuel stations. The event features hundreds of truckstop and travel center operators as well as industry partners coming together for face-to-face learning and networking to help them identify trends and maximize profit margins.

New for this year’s conference are dedicated sections for vendors specializing in alternative fuels, technology, and innovation. The event also features new first-night activities including an invitation only, dedicated dinner for new truckstop and travel center members and a welcome and thank you reception for vendors. The event combines exclusive, executive briefings with opportunities for operators to gain specific guidance on how to succeed by speaking directly with experienced operators and vendor partners. NATSO Connect also creates opportunities for operators to problem-solve with key industry suppliers and their peers so they can grow their businesses. The conference includes retail study tours, a great ideas workshop, a government affairs meeting, and the NATSO Foundation Full House Fundraiser.

  “We’re excited to bring the NATSO Connect show to Texas and to put a greater emphasis on our technology, innovation, and alternative fuel vendors,” said Pamela Hayes, Vice President of Business Development for NATSO. “The industry is experiencing tremendous growth, and we’re happy to showcase both existing operators and the many new vendors looking to engage with our operators.”

The show is ideal for travel plaza or truckstop owners, operators, managers, buyers, and staff who want to increase their industry knowledge, gain business intelligence, and see new products. Those within the industry should make plans to attend NATSO Connect 2023. Although events like the retail study tours are included with registration, certain events always reach capacity and are limited and available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Learn more at Attendees are encouraged to register early to guarantee availability at limited-seating events.

Truckstop and travel plaza operators can register online or by contacting Kimberly Roberts at (703) 739-8573 or [email protected]. Suppliers interested in participating as an exhibitor or sponsor can reserve a booth online or by contacting Pamela Hayes at (615) 473-1429 or [email protected].

CVSA Expands Human Trafficking Awareness Initiative from Three Days to Five

  Washington, DC…  The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Human Trafficking Awareness Initiative (HTAI) has increased from three to five days for 2023.

  CVSA’s HTAI launched in early 2022 as a three-day awareness and outreach effort to educate commercial motor vehicle drivers, motor carriers, law enforcement officers and the general public about the crime of human trafficking, the signs to look for and what to do if you suspect someone is being trafficked. Building on the success of the 2022 three-day campaign, the CVSA Human Trafficking Prevention Program decided to extend the campaign to five days for 2023. 

All three countries of the Alliance – Canada, Mexico and the United States – plan to participate in the 2023 HTAI. To capitalize on each country’s already-established Human Trafficking Awareness Day, CVSA set its five-day HTAI to align with that day in each country. Therefore, in the U.S., HTAI is scheduled for Jan. 9-13, 2023. In Canada, the HTAI dates are Feb. 20-24, 2023. And in Mexico, HTAI is set for March 13-17, 2023.

According to the United Nations, human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of people through force, fraud or deception with the aim of exploiting them for profit. Men, women and children of all ages and from all backgrounds can become victims of this crime, which occurs in every region of the world, including North America. Human traffickers often use violence or fraudulent employment agencies and fake promises of education and job opportunities to trick and coerce their victims.

  In preparation for the 2023 Human Trafficking Awareness Initiative, CVSA is offering human trafficking awareness resources to its membership and working with the Truckers Against Trafficking organization to distribute wallet cards and window decals. 

  During the five-day awareness initiative in each country, CVSA jurisdictions will note human trafficking awareness and outreach efforts and projects and submit that data to the Alliance. The results will be released in summer 2023.

  To find out what your jurisdiction is doing to increase human trafficking awareness, contact the agency/department responsible for overseeing commercial motor vehicle safety within your state, province or territory.

  The Human Trafficking Awareness Initiative is part of CVSA's Human Trafficking Prevention Program. The program seeks to reduce human trafficking throughout North America through coordinated enforcement and investigative and educational awareness measures within the commercial motor vehicle industry.

CTA, Industry Groups Support Call by Congress Reps to End U.S. Border Vaccination Restrictions

 TORONTO, CANADA… The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), the American Trucking Associations (ATA), numerous Canadian and U.S. industry groups, and 55 members of Congress, led by U.S. Representative Rick Crawford, have called on President Biden to the U.S. border vaccination requirements impacting cross-border truck drivers.

 The full text of the letter led by Rep. Crawford can be found here, and the accompanying press release here. 

 The letter highlights that many essential commodities important to the U.S economy are imported into the U.S. from Canada, and that the vaccination mandate continues to strain the supply chain and hinder the trucking industry’s ability to move these essential goods quickly:

 “The trucking industry is already suffering immense labor shortages, especially for drivers, which is raising costs on consumers and limiting the supply of nutrients, food, energy, chemicals, and other major products. Combined with a looming threat of a rail worker strike, we must look to alleviate any outstanding restrictions for our commercial truck drivers to further incentivize not only their return to work, but for onboarding new drivers as well,” the members wrote.

Both CTA and ATA continue to actively work with U.S. officials to remove the U.S. vaccination mandate as soon as possible. The policy applies to all non-U.S. citizens. All Canadian vaccination/COVID requirements were removed as of October 1. 

 In recent weeks, both organizations have co-signed a letter to the U.S. government requesting removal of the mandate. The Alliance also wrote to the Council of Governors and lauded the Northern Border Caucus for their public support to remove U.S. vaccination restrictions to the benefit of the Canada-U.S. economy and the tourism sector. 

CTA will continue to engage with U.S. officials and industry stakeholders on both sides of the border and will update members as soon as possible if any changes are announced.

Bendix Tech Tips: Post-Flood Inspection And Reconditioning Advice For Tractors And Trailers

Akron, Ohio …  The devastating floods in Florida resulting from Hurricane Ian will require massive relief and rebuilding efforts – many of which depend on the trucking industry and thousands of truck drivers. For commercial vehicles exposed to these types of floodwaters, this installment of the Bendix Tech Tips series provides fleets and drivers with technical advice on inspecting and possibly reconditioning air brake, wheel-end, and other safety components that have been partially or completely submerged.

Salt Water vs. Fresh

The first determination to make is whether the water affecting the vehicle was salt water or fresh water. If it was salt water, you’ll need to immediately begin replacing parts due to its extreme corrosivity, which can remove lubrication and put certain parts at much higher risk for unexpected and premature malfunction. Any brake system valve that has been submerged in salt water must be replaced. In addition, systems and components including air compressors, air reservoirs, antilock brake system (ABS) relays, modulators, and brake actuators must also be replaced. Talk to your Bendix account manager or call the Bendix Tech Team for complete details. 

“Saltwater corrosion is also a threat to wheel-ends, since it increases the likelihood of rust jacking and accelerates corrosion of critical surfaces,” said Randy Salvatora, engineering manager – Vehicle Systems. “So, we recommend complete replacement of the foundation brakes to prevent a potential future failure. And if it’s not clear whether the water was fresh or salt, play it safe and follow the saltwater guidelines.”

Additionally, when replacing any pneumatic system components that have been subjected to flood conditions, disconnect all contaminated air tubes and hoses, flush them with clean water, and blow them out with air pressure to remove contaminants.

Fresh-Water Damage Guidelines

If you’re certain the power unit or trailer was submerged in fresh water, begin by carefully power-washing the vehicle – including the foundation brakes. Be cautious while cleaning: Rubber parts and sealing interfaces should not be directly sprayed with the high-pressure jet. Irreparable damage to valves will occur when a high-pressure washer directly sprays exhaust ports. Appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is recommended while washing or working on flooded vehicles, whether salt water or fresh. In the unapplied state, most valves have the delivery open to atmosphere at the exhaust port, so if any exhaust port is submerged, the water has infiltrated the system and can lead to future malfunction.

Do not attempt to start a vehicle if fresh water has entered the air compressor or dryer through the air system intakes.

Follow these steps to thoroughly check the various parts of the air brake system:

•Vehicle valving

•Inspect each component in the pneumatic brake and accessory systems.

•Drain any pressure remaining in the service reservoirs.

•Mark and remove all pneumatic and electrical connectors at each valve.

•Check for evidence of water or contamination inside the connectors, air hoses, or the component itself.

•Carefully use dry compressed air pressure (from a stationary compressor or similar) to blow air through the pneumatic tubes and hoses. Watch for evidence of water or contamination.

•If water or contamination is found inside the component, replace the component.

•If no evidence of water or contamination is found inside the component, reassemble the component to the associated lines and fittings.

•Repeat this process as you continue to inspect all the valves in the air brake system. Replace any nonfunctioning valves or those showing evidence of ingestion of water or contaminants.

•Inspect tractor and trailer glad hands and the supply and control hoses. Water and contaminants frequently enter the air brake system through unprotected glad hands.

*Charging system

•Inspect the air intake, compressor, and air dryer for signs of water or contaminant ingestion.

•Carefully use dry compressed air pressure (from a stationary compressor or similar) to blow air through the pneumatic tubing and watch for evidence of water or contamination.

•Use dry compressed air from a stationary air compressor (or suitable portable unit) to get any residual water out of the service tanks.

•Air dryers remove moisture in compressed air, but they will not remove moisture that’s present in the system beyond the service tanks.

•After reconnecting pneumatic lines, install a new or properly serviced air dryer to aid in removing any residual moisture from the air inlet.

If you find signs of moisture or other contamination, all the pneumatic air brake components should be replaced: Once water or contaminants get into any of the air brake components, it’s impossible to completely clear the system without total disassembly. Consider also the guidance included in the TMC Recommended Practice 617A for contaminant elimination procedure for tractor, trailer, or dolly air brake systems.

Wheel-Ends and Electronics

Examine all wheel-ends for water, which increases the possibility of corrosion between drum brake lining material and the shoe table (rust jacking), and can also pool in drums when left standing, increasing the risk of corrosion. You will also need to check the integrity of the friction couple between the friction and disc or drum. Water-filled loading docks may not immediately come to mind as “flood events,” but can certainly have the same impact to some wheel-end components such as slack adjusters.

Remove any fittings and mounting stud nuts, and orient ports downward to verify that no water has entered brake chambers through the air lines. If water is present, replace the actuator. Follow the appropriate wheel-end relubrication procedures, including re-greasing slack adjusters.

Assess the braking/safety electronics components by using a tool such as Bendix® ACom® PRO™ software to conduct a diagnostic download on systems such as ABS, ESC (electronic stability control), and collision mitigation controllers, including any front or side radar units. Electronics will validate through self-check in most cases: If the electronic control unit (ECU) is operable, it will check the necessary solenoids, sensor, harnesses, etc. Make sure to inspect the seven-pin electrical connector interface between the tractor and trailer as well.

For further detailed reference, two Bendix Technical Bulletins are available in the Bendix Document Library at that serve as valuable resources for getting tractors and trailers back into service after they’ve been submerged:

* Flood Damage: Bendix Recommended Procedure for Trailer and Dolly Control Systems That May Have Been Submerged (TCH-003-048)

* Flood Damage: Bendix Recommended Procedure for Power Vehicles That May Have Been Submerged (TCH-003-049)

Back on the Road and Follow-Up Support

If your checks turn up no evidence of water or contamination, conduct a thorough test of the air brake system and ABS before returning the vehicle or trailer to service. Note that between the floodwaters and power-washing, it’s possible that ABS wheel speed sensors may have been moved from their normal position. Push them back into contact with the exciter ring by hand, and when the wheel turns, normal wheel-bearing play will adjust the sensor position.

“We recommend retesting and diagnostic checks of the electronic systems after the initial post-flood testing,” Salvatora said. “Additionally, make sure you’re following other vehicle and system manufacturers’ guidelines: Flooding can have bumper-to-bumper effects, and you can’t be too careful.”

Other Bendix support resources include 1-800-AIR-BRAKE, its Service Engineering team, and a library of Service Data Sheets and Technical Bulletins.  

ATA Truck Tonnage Index Rose 0.5% in September Index 5.5% Above September 2021

Washington, DC…  American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 0.5% in September after rising 2.1% in August. In September, the index equaled 118.8 (2015=100) versus 118.2 in August.

“The latest gain put tonnage at the highest level since August 2019 and the third highest level on record,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “This is another example of how the contract freight market remains strong despite weakness in the spot market this year. During the third quarter, tonnage increased 0.5% over the second quarter while increasing 5.6% over the same period in 2021. That was the largest quarterly year-over-year increase since the second quarter of 2018.”

August’s increase was revised down slightly from our September 20 press release.

Compared with September 2021, the SA index increased 5.5%, which was the thirteenth straight year-over-year gain. In August, the index was up 6.7% from a year earlier. Year-to-date through September, compared with the same period in 2021, tonnage was up 4%.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 119 in September, 3.8% below the August level (123.7). 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 72.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.93 billion tons of freight in 2021. Motor carriers collected $875.5 billion, or 80.8% 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 Honors Pennsylvania’s Oyler with TAEC President’s Leadership Award

San Diego, CA…  The American Trucking Associations honored Rebecca Oyler, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association, with the ATA Trucking Association Executives Council President’s Leadership Award.

“When Rebecca started at PMTC last year, the state was already moving forward with an initiative to fund the reconstruction of 9 major bridges via an aggressive tolling scheme,” ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said. “Talk about trial-by-fire. She took a leading role in opposing these tolls, both in the media and in the courts – and this past summer a Pennsylvania court sided with the PMTA-led coalition and ruled that PennDOT failed to follow proper procedure in pursuing the bridge tolling initiative effectively killed the proposal.”

Prior to joining PMTA, Oyler was legislative director for the National Federation of Independent Business, and had worked across a number of policy development, legislative advocacy, and project management roles in state government over roughly two decades. 

TAEC is comprised of staff executives of state trucking associations and conferences affiliated with ATA. TAEC serves to promote the trucking industry; contribute to the improvement of the associations and organizations established to serve the industry; and advance the professional stature and capabilities of the managers and executives of such associations and conferences.

The President's TAEC Leadership Award was created in 2002 by ATA to honor a state trucking association leader and to create an enduring legacy for that leader and for the industry. The award comes with a $10,000 grant for trucking education or research cause chosen by Oyler.

Past winners of the award are: Paul Enos of Nevada, Sheila Foertsch of Wyoming, Chris Maxwell of Rhode Island, Shannon Newton of Arkansas, Shawn Yadon of California, Brenda Neville of Iowa, John Esparza of Texas, Kendra Hems of New York, Mike Riley of Connecticut, Rick Todd of South Carolina, George Burruss of Missouri, Karen Rasmussen of Arizona, Jim Runk of Pennsylvania, Tom Howells of Wisconsin, John Hausladen of Minnesota, Dale Hanington of Maine, Larry Davis of Ohio, Dale Bennett of Virginia, Cathy Gautreaux of Louisiana and Dave Huneryager of Tennessee.

In addition to Oyler, ATA honored a pair of state executives for their continued service to the industry: Rick Clasby, executive director of the Utah Trucking Association, for 10 years of service and Traci Nelson, president of the West Virginia Trucking Association, for five years of service.