Latest Industry News Briefs Courtesy of PMTA

June 2024

Truckstop and Bloomberg Intelligence Survey Shows Sentiment Among Carriers Has Improved

BOISE, ID… According to the latest Bloomberg | Truckstop survey, which polled owner-operators and small fleets, sentiment among North American carriers operating in the truckload spot market has improved over the past three months, but some concerns still linger.

“The industry is emerging from a challenging quarter, and the improved sentiment coupled with Truckstop's rising Market Demand Index suggest rates may move higher from here,” said Lee Klaskow, senior freight transportation and logistics analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “The direction of rates will be driven by supply-side factors as the industry remains flush with capacity.”

The Bloomberg | Truckstop 1Q24 Truckload Survey shows: 

*        Demand remained under strain in 1Q: Despite 62% of carriers reporting lower freight volume in 1Q, 33% predict freight demand to increase in the next 3-6 months. Only 19% predict freight demand to decline in the same timeframe, which represents a 12-point percentage decline vs. the 4Q survey.

*        Encouraging signs the market may be starting to improve: The survey revealed that a majority of carriers believe better times are around the corner with Truckstop's Market Demand Index up 9% in 1Q from last year, the first year-over-year gain after seven quarterly declines. Only 26% expect rates to decline over the next 3-6 months, 6 percentage points less than in the 4Q survey, while 28% see rates rising, which is 6 percentage points more than in 4Q.

*        Carriers uncertain about their futures: Forty-four percent (44%) of respondents were unsure about their status in six months and 9% said they wanted to leave the trucking industry. More than three-quarters of respondents (78%) said higher interest rates in 1Q affected their businesses. Elevated rates can have a significant impact on equipment-financing expenses, with 19% citing increased costs as the main reason they're not replacing or adding tractors. Though demand was challenging for carriers in 1Q, with loads dropping an average of 10%, that was slightly better than the 13% decline in 4Q.

“We’re all eagerly anticipating a more positive shift in the tide,” said Kendra Tucker, chief executive officer, Truckstop. “Truckstop continues to be a trusted partner, committed to delivering innovative solutions to help carriers navigate this ever-evolving business landscape."

The Bloomberg | Truckstop survey of owner-operators and small fleets provides timely channel checks into the health of the spot market. The sample size was 225, consisting of dry-van, flatbed, temperature-controlled and specialized/diversified, hot-shot and step-deck carriers. Of the respondents, 45% operate just one tractor. 

Together for Safer Roads and the Trucking Association of New York (TANY) Partner to Expand FOCUS on Fleet Safety Training Program Across New York State

New York… During  the annual Truck Safety & Education Symposium in Saratoga Springs, the Trucking Association of New York (TANY) and Together for Safer Roads (TSR) are thrilled to announce a partnership aimed at extending the FOCUS on Fleet Safety Training Program to TANY Members with an eye on small and mid-sized fleet operators and drivers. This collaboration builds on the success of the program in fostering safe and efficient fleet operations and represents a significant step towards enhancing safety cultures and achieving Vision Zero goals.

The FOCUS on Fleet Safety Training Program, TSR’s signature workforce development safety program, helps independent fleet operators develop their safety culture with expertise and best practices drawn from TSR’s diverse group of leading fleets and technology companies. The comprehensive FOCUS program is structured around three key pillars: Training and Development, Safety Leadership and Technology, and includes executive coaching, and before and after benchmarking.

Now, TSR, in collaboration with TANY, seeks to bring this critical training initiative to New York State’s fleet operators and drivers, addressing the unique challenges and needs of this segment of drivers experience.

Additional Program Highlights:

* Inclusive Training: The program is designed for independent, small, and mid-sized haulers, acknowledging the unique characteristics of this cohort.

* Beyond Compliance: Recognizing the time and resource constraints faced by independent, small, and mid-size fleets, the program goes beyond mere compliance, offering practical insights and expertise to establish premier fleet safety programs.

* Saving Lives, Creating Change: With a focus on creating real and sustained changes, the program aims not only to enhance road safety but also to foster positive transformations within participating organizations.

"Small–to-mid-size fleets account for roughly 97% on the road," said Peter Goldwasser, Executive Director of Together for Safer Roads. "We are proud to partner with the Trucking Association of New York on this expansion of the FOCUS on Fleet Safety Training Program, reaffirming our commitment to saving lives and creating safer roads in New York State, while gaining valuable insights that can help continue to expand this program to fleets across the country."

"Safety is a top priority across the trucking industry – and FOCUS on Fleet Safety Training is part of an active effort to ensure New York drivers, roads, and communities are as protected as possible,” said Kendra Hems, president of TANY. “The program will provide drivers with the tools and training necessary for a career on the road, and allow for operators of every size to build a culture of safety that goes above and beyond compliance. We are thrilled to continue this work with Together for Safer Roads, and look forward to working with our members for a safer New York."

"Safety is fundamental for New York fleet operators. Qworky is proud to be working with TANY and TSR to implement the FOCUS program to empower small and mid-size fleet operators across New York State with the resources, knowledge, and support required to meet and exceed the highest standards of safety," said Qworky co-founder Jessica Whitaker, M.S., PHR.

TSR and TANY are in the process of identifying fleets to participate in this new FOCUS cohort. Companies that are interested in participating or learning more are encouraged to reach out to Zach Miller ([email protected]).

Senators Introduce Bill Championed by ATA to Modernize Security Screening Process

Washington , DC… The American Trucking Associations welcomed the introduction of the Transportation Security Screening Modernization Act by Senators Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), Jon Tester (D-Montana), Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska), and Angus King (I-Maine). 

The bill would eliminate redundant fees and background checks for essential transportation workers.  It was previously introduced in the House by Representatives Garret Graves (R-Louisiana), Adam Smith (D-Washington), Mark Green (R-Tennessee), Michael Guest (R-Mississippi), Salud Carbajal (D-California), and Dina Titus (D-Nevada).  Last year, the ATA led a massive supply chain coalition of more than 150 organizations representing trucking, rail, energy, organized labor, agriculture, third-party logistics providers, and other key supply chain stakeholders in support of the bill.

"Subjecting essential supply chain workers to the same exact background check multiple times in order to receive different credentials from the same agency does nothing to enhance security,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear.  “This system only serves to pad government coffers by forcing truckers and other transportation workers to pay duplicative fees for a background check they’ve already cleared.  Congress should not allow the inefficiencies of government bureaucracy to impede the efficiency of our supply chain.  We applaud Senators Wicker, Tester, Fischer, and King for introducing this commonsense, bipartisan bill to support the hardworking men and women who keep our economy running."

The Transportation Security Screening Modernization Act cuts through red tape to allow workers to apply existing valid background checks to multiple TSA-managed credentialing programs, such as the Transportation Worker Identification Credentials and Hazardous Materials Endorsements. By eliminating duplicative screenings and harmonizing these programs, the bill would codify formal recommendations by the Government Accountability Office dating back to 2007.  These recommendations were reaffirmed in 2020 in a comprehensive security assessment conducted by the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center.

This long-overdue reform would reduce costs and hassles for workers like truck drivers, pipeline operators, longshoremen, and warehouse managers, among many others, who must obtain these credentials as a condition of employment. 

The bill does not make any modifications to the backend security assessment conducted on individual applicants, ensuring that they undergo the same level of review as they do under current law.

Oregon’s Umatilla County Partners with Drivewyze to Deliver In-Cab Work Zone Alerts

 PLANO, TX… Oregon’s Umatilla County has partnered with Drivewyze to provide commercial truck drivers with in-cab safety alerts in an effort to reduce commercial vehicle crash rates in active work zones.

 The Umatilla County pilot program to improve highway safety includes a collaboration between Drivewyze, North America’s largest Connected Truck platform, and, a leading digital work zone and road management platform provider. The alerts, which give drivers a heads-up to upcoming work zones, have been demonstrated to improve driver behavior by reducing the occurrence of over-speeding and hard-braking events. The in-cab safety alerts are available to all truck drivers and trucking fleets at no cost through the Drivewyze Free service. Drivewyze Free can be activated through 100+ telematics service providers partnered with Drivewyze or downloaded directly from app stores. 

 Umatilla County, which covers more than 3,200 square miles in eastern Oregon, borders Washington state and connects to Boise on the border of Idaho via Interstate 84. It’s a main transportation corridor with mid-sized Oregon towns, like Baker City and Pendleton along the route. “Rural road safety starts with data, good and usable data,” said Dan Dorran, Umatilla County Commissioner. “Umatilla County realized that there wasn't a rural county program that we could build off of that could supply us with information that could both address safety and transport issues. We were lucky to have a local state representative, Rep. Greg Smith, who also recognized our issue and successfully went to bat for pilot project funds from the State of Oregon that we matched at the county level. Through Drivewyze, we are bringing rural roads into the 21st century digital age.”

 Drivewyze is partnering with leading transportation agencies across the U.S. to deliver essential safety alerts and advisories through Drivewyze Free to truck drivers and fleets at no cost to the industry. Over ? of all states have, or are in the process of, implementing this in-vehicle extension to traditional highway safety programs and the solution is growing quickly. In addition to active work zones, message sets can include warnings for sudden and unexpected slowdowns, service vehicles, virtual safety signs, and public emergency broadcasts.

 Drivewyze Free is accessed through the Drivewyze mobile application, which is integrated with ELD partners operating on millions of trucks. The application can be embedded, run as a companion application, or run directly on the vast majority of telematics devices, smartphones or tablets installed in commercial vehicles. In addition to agency sponsored safety alerts, Drivewyze Free also provides Drivewyze sponsored alerts and advisories warnings for High-Rollover risk areas, Low Bridges, Mountain alerts (steep grade ahead; chain-up/brake check stations; and runaway ramps), and truck parking availability, where available. Visit for more information.

Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association holds 2024 Annual Membership Conference

By: Megan Magensky, Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association, Director of Communications

Members of the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association (PMTA), vendors and trucking industry leaders gathered at the Ritz-Carlton Naples, Tiburon for the 2024 Annual Membership Conference titled “Excellence Wins.”

Chairman of the Board, Phil Garber picked the location for the conference after attending a wedding there in 2019. He said he was so inspired by the customer service and experience he picked up Ritz Carlton co-founder, Horst Schulze’s book “Excellence Wins.”

The book details Schulze’s attitude towards service and gives insight to how he built his hotel and resort empire.

Sessions at the conference included a report on trucking legislation from American Trucking Associations President & CEO Chris Spear, a legislative panel with government affairs staff from major trucking companies, a presentation from Saxton & Stump trucking lawyer Doug Marcello on lawsuit abuse and a lesson in succession planning with excellence from Barley Snyder partner John Reed.

It was a beautiful conference filled with building new relationships, visiting with vendor companies and enjoying the Florida sunshine.

PA Becomes 27th State to Ban Handheld Devices While Driving

By Rebecca Oyler, Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association, President & CEO

The Pennsylvania legislature passed Senate Bill 37, introduced by Sen. Rosemary Brown (R-Monroe), making it illegal to use a handheld device while driving. The bill now goes to Governor Shapiro for his signature, which he has said he will provide. This legislation, which was supported by PMTA, expands on the 2012 state texting law by allowing a driver to be cited for using a handheld device without another traffic offense. It sets the fine at $50.

Commercial drivers using a device for purposes of their job (according to regulations promulgated under 49 U.S.C. section 31136) are excepted from the law. Other exceptions include devices used for navigation purposes only, emergency notification, ham radio operators, and when a device is affixed to a mass transit or school bus. Devices being used in a hands-free manner are also excepted.

Provisions related to educating young people about the dangers of distracted driving are also included in the bill. SB 37 requires PennDOT to incorporate information in the driver’s manual on distracted driving and to include at least one question on the topic on the driver’s test. It also requires parents/guardians to certify that minors have viewed information on the dangers of distracted driving on PennDOT’s website.

Police are prohibited from charging a driver for both using a handheld device and texting while driving at the same time and place. It also disallows the seizure of an electronic device unless otherwise provided for in the law.

An amendment was added in the House of Representatives that requires state and local police in communities of more than 5,000 to collect data related to race, ethnicity, gender, and age of drivers during traffic stops. The PA State Police must produce an annual report of this information.

PennDOT data shows that there were more than 11,262 distracted driving crashes in 2023. When compared to 8,330 alcohol-related crashes that year, it is clear that distracted driving is a bigger highway safety issue than DUI.

The ban takes effect in one year. For the first 12 months after that, police will issue written warnings only.’

Investing In America: Brent Spence Bridge Project Marks New Milestone

 WASHINGTON, DC… In a major milestone for the Brent Spence Bridge project between Cincinnati, Ohio, and Covington, Kentucky, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that the project’s sponsors have cleared the comprehensive environmental review, setting the stage for a groundbreaking in the coming months. $1.6 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has been invested toward the Brent Spence Bridge, a major transportation corridor that sees over $1 billion in freight move across it every day. The project will upgrade the existing bridge and build a new additional bridge dedicated to interstate drivers to improve traffic along a critical freight route that runs from Canada to Florida.

 The $1.2 trillion infrastructure law is helping communities in the coming months and years break ground on projects to rebuild our roads and bridges, improve our ports and airports, partner with states to create a national EV charging network with 500,000 chargers by 2030, deliver clean and safe water, clean up legacy pollution, expand access to high-speed internet, and build a clean energy economy. Through his Investing in America agenda, President Biden is delivering an “Infrastructure Decade” that is unlocking access to economic opportunity, creating good-paying jobs, boosting domestic manufacturing, and growing America’s economy from the middle up and bottom out – not the top-down.


Hirschbach Motor Lines Announces Operational and Branding Consolidation

Hirschbach Motor Lines, Inc. is proud to announce the full integration of John Christner Trucking, LLC. Following the acquisition of John Christner Trucking on April 29, 2022, the companies have been running under separate operations, logistics, and brand identities. Today, we are excited to cement the full integration of operations with joint branding, uniting us as Hirschbach. Logistics and third-party capacity offerings will now operate under the name Hirschbach Solutions. 

Hirschbach Motor Lines Chairman and Owner, Brad Pinchuk, shared, “Today marks an important milestone. The merger of these two great companies has resulted in increased productivity, visibility to capacity and freight, resulting in tremendous pride in the collective teams. Consolidating to one forward-facing image was important for the sake of clarity and brand recognition in the marketplace.”  

President and CEO, Richard Stocking said, “The consolidation project, known as 1Hirschbach will result in increased flexibility and capacity to provide services customers have come to expect, including access to a larger, combined trailer pool.  Equipment re-branding will take place in tandem with the company’s equipment trade cycles over the next several years. We are thrilled with the opportunity to offer our customers increased capacity as a result of this operational consolidation.”    

 For more information, please visit

First-Ever National Strategy to Accelerate Deployment of Zero-Emission Infrastructure for Freight Trucks

Washington, DC…  The  National Zero-Emission Freight Corridor Strategy was recently released. Developed by the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in collaboration with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Strategy will guide the deployment of zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicle (ZE-MHDV) charging and hydrogen fueling infrastructure from 2024 to 2040. The Strategy is designed to meet growing market demands by targeting public investment to amplify private sector momentum, focus utility and regulatory energy planning, align industry activity, and improve air quality in local communities heavily impacted by diesel emissions.

 “This landmark strategy brings us one step closer to achieving a zero-emission transportation sector that provides clean air for communities, creates market certainty for industries investing in clean technology, and strengthens our supply chains,” said Senator Alex Padilla. “I’m grateful to the Administration for advancing this whole-of-government effort and heeding my calls to launch a national strategy to accelerate the build-out of heavy-duty vehicle infrastructure. This all-hands-on-deck approach from the federal government and industry partners will enable us to realize California’s and the Administration’s zero-emission goals.”

 Providing ubiquitous and convenient access to electric vehicle (EV) charging and hydrogen refueling along our nation’s freight corridors and at intermodal freight facilities and high-usage ports is key to achieving U.S. goals to promote at least 30 percent ZE-MHDV sales by 2030 and 100 percent sales by 2040. The goal of the Strategy is to align public policy and investments by prioritizing, sequencing, and accelerating infrastructure along the National Highway Freight Network (NHFN) in four phases. A core objective of the Strategy is to meet freight truck and technology markets where they are today, determine where they are likely to develop next, and set an ambitious pathway that mobilizes actions to achieve decarbonization.

 In alignment with the Joint Office’s National Zero-Emission Freight Corridor Strategy, the Federal Highway Administration is announcing the designation of National EV Freight Corridors along the National Highway Freight Network and other key roadways. The designations, which are required by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), are a critical part of the strategy for building out a convenient, reliable, and made-in-America national EV charging network that supports individual drivers and commercial needs. 

 Battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicle technology along with other zero-emission forms of freight transport have considerable potential to save Americans money on consumer goods thanks to reduced fueling and maintenance costs associated with transport, all while delivering significant health benefits for historically disadvantaged populations that suffer the worst impacts of pollution from freight emissions and helping achieve national climate goals.

 “The Federal Highway Administration is pleased to announce these new freight EV corridor designations along our national highways,” said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt. “Medium- and heavy-duty trucks in our current freight network contribute approximately 23% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. transportation sector. These new designations and Strategy will help to grow our national EV charging network, encourage clean commerce within the freight community, and support President Biden’s goals of achieving net-zero emissions for the nation by 2050.”

 The number of publicly available EV chargers nationwide has increased by more than 80% to more than 173,000, and at least 40 U.S.-based facilities to produce EV chargers have been announced or opened. Today’s freight corridor designations are expected to crowd in even more investment for EV charging, with a particular focus on the needs of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.

 This is an all-of-government approach to aligning investments and accelerating sustainable and scalable deployment of reliable ZE-MHDV infrastructure. Focusing deployment on areas with substantial freight volume starts deployment in areas with the most opportunity to spark further investment. Deployment factors include corridor segment usage by freight volume, port usage by annual freight tonnage, projected ZE-MHDV volumes, disproportionate environmental and air quality burden from MHDV transportation and non-attainment for criteria air pollutants, states with ZEV deployment-enabling policies, and “on the ground” planning through DOE’s commercial ZEV corridor planning grants.

 The National Zero-Emission Freight Corridor Strategy will prioritize, sequence, and accelerate infrastructure along key freight corridors and hubs in four phases. The phases include:

* Establish priority hubs based on freight volumes (2024-2027)

* Connect hubs along critical freight corridors (2027-2030)

* Expand corridor connections initiating network development (2030-2035)

* Achieve national network by linking regional corridors for ubiquitous access (2035-2040)

CVSA's Operation Safe Driver Week Is Scheduled for July 7-13


Washington, DC…  The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has announced July 7-13 as the dates for this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, which is a safe-driving enforcement and outreach initiative aimed at improving driving behaviors through educational and traffic-enforcement strategies and driver interactions with law enforcement.

Throughout Operation Safe Driver Week, law enforcement personnel in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. will be on the lookout for commercial motor vehicle drivers and passenger vehicle drivers engaging in unsafe driving behaviors, such as speeding, distracted driving, following too closely, drunk or drugged driving, etc. Drivers engaging in such behaviors will be pulled over by law enforcement and may be issued a warning or citation.

  The focus area for this year’s Operation Safe Driver Week is reckless, careless or dangerous driving. Any person who drives a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is driving recklessly. Careless/dangerous driving is defined as operating a vehicle without due care and attention or reasonable consideration for other motorists or people on the road.

  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, effective, high-visibility communications and outreach are essential parts of successful transportation safety programs. However, communications and outreach programs are unlikely to have an effect unless they are tied to vigorous enforcement. Operation Safe Driver Week aims to improve the safety of our roadways through proactive driver safety outreach and education, and by addressing unsafe driving behaviors through responsive traffic enforcement when drivers are identified engaging in dangerous driving behaviors on our roadways.

  Operation Safe Driver Week is part of CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Program. The program offers resources for teen and new drivers and commercial motor vehicle drivers, along with safe-driving public service announcement videos, which are available for download and distribution. CVSA is also offering Operation Safe Driver Week postcards at no cost to its industry and enforcement members. The postcards are available in English, French and Spanish. 

  State, provincial, territorial and local law enforcement jurisdictions; the motor carrier industry; the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; Transport Canada; and Mexico’s Ministry of Infrastructure, Communications and Transportation are all working together toward the same goal of reducing crashes, injuries and fatalities on North America’s roadways.

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces $3 Million in ‘Quick Release’ Emergency Relief Funding for I-95 Repairs After Truck Fire in Norwalk, Connecticut

WASHINGTON, DC… The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced the immediate availability of $3 million in “quick release” Emergency Relief (ER) funds for the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT). The funds will be used to offset costs to reconstruct the Fairfield Avenue bridge over Interstate 95 (I-95), damaged in a gas tanker crash on May 2nd.

 “I-95 is a critical highway—for both the people of Connecticut and our nation’s transportation network—and the Biden-Harris Administration focused immediately on helping Governor Lamont quickly restore travel,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “These emergency funds helped Connecticut DOT safely repair and reopen the road in less than 80 hours and can now help with costs associated with rebuilding the bridge."

 “The damage to I-95 in Norwalk disrupted the daily lives, travel, and business for local residents as well as the surrounding regions that rely on this vital route,” said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt. “As one of the country’s busiest highways, the Federal Highway Administration worked swiftly to provide funding to CTDOT to repair and reopen the Interstate.”

 On Thursday, May 2, 2024, a motor vehicle collision involving a gas tanker caused a fire on I-95 in Norwalk, Connecticut. The fire compromised the Fairfield Avenue bridge over I-95 and closed the interstate highway in both directions. CTDOT evaluated the crash site and determined the bridge will need to be demolished and reconstructed. The “quick release” Emergency Relief funding announced today will be used immediately for eligible expenses. CTDOT is conducting necessary emergency operations and repairs to maintain traffic throughout the crash site. CTDOT reopened I-95 Sunday evening.

 FHWA’s Emergency Relief program provides funding to States, territories, Tribes, and Federal Land Management Agencies for highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events. These “quick release” Emergency Relief funds are an initial installment of funds toward restoring this essential transportation link. Additional funds needed to repair damages to Interstate-95 and the Fairfield Avenue bridge will be supported by the Emergency Relief program through subsequent nationwide funding allocations.

 The FHWA Emergency Relief program complements Bipartisan Infrastructure Law programs and provisions by encouraging agencies to identify and implement measures to incorporate resilience in the design, restoration and repair of damaged infrastructure, to better withstand future damage from climate change and future weather events.

 More information about FHWA’s Emergency Relief program can be found online at

ATRI Issues Call for Truck Drivers to Participate In Detention Survey

Washington, DC…  The American Transportation Research Institute issued a call for truck drivers to provide data on their detention experiences at customer facilities. This latest data collection is part of a larger ATRI study examining the effects of detention on the trucking industry.

Driver detention – time spent waiting at shipper or receiver facilities outside of loading/unloading – is a longstanding issue in the trucking industry. Accordingly, ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee (RAC) identified the need for new research to document the widespread negative consequences of driver detention for carriers, truck drivers, shippers, and the economy as a whole.

The short survey asks truck drivers to share details confidentially on their experience with driver detention and how it impacts their day-to-day life, professional livelihood and perceptions of the industry.

While at the Mid-America Trucking Show last week, ATRI staff collected over 250 surveys from truck drivers in attendance. This online version now provides the opportunity for drivers nationwide to provide their input into this critical research.

“Drivers routinely rank detention/delay at customer facilities among their top industry concerns,” said ATRI President Rebecca Brewster. “This research will update our 2019 analysis on detention to see how and if things have changed post-pandemic.”

Truck drivers are encouraged to complete the survey by clicking here. The survey will remain open through April 26, 2024.

ATRI is the trucking industry’s 501c3 not-for-profit research organization. It is engaged in critical research relating to freight transportation’s essential role in maintaining a safe, secure and efficient transportation system.

ATA Truck Tonnage Index Decreased 2% in March

Washington-, DC… American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index declined 2% in March after increasing 4% in February. In March, the index equaled 113.4 (2015=100) compared with 115.7 in February.

“Tonnage in March suggests that truck freight volumes remain lackluster, and it is clear the truck freight recession continued through the first quarter,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “In the first three months of 2024, ATA’s tonnage index contracted 0.8% from the previous quarter and declined 2.4% from a year earlier, highlighting ongoing challenges the industry is navigating.”

February’s increase was revised down slightly from our March 19 press release.

Compared with March 2023, the index fell 1%, which was the thirteenth straight year-over-year decline, but the second smallest over that period. In February, the index was down 1.7% from a year earlier. 

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 114.4 in March, 4.7% higher than in February. ATA’s For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index is dominated by contract freight as opposed to spot market freight. 

In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 72.6% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 11.46 billion tons of freight in 2022. Motor carriers collected $940.8 billion, or 80.7% 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. 


Arkansas Now Providing Real-Time Traffic Slowdown Alerts to Truck Drivers through Collaboration with Arkansas DOT, Arkansas Trucking Association, and Drivewyze

PLANO, TX…  Drivewyze, the North American leader in connected truck services and the largest public-private weigh station bypass network operator, has announced that the Arkansas Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Arkansas Trucking Association (ATA) have collaborated to provide free in-cab safety alerts for commercial truck drivers traveling on Arkansas interstates and freeways. These proactive safety alerts, which give drivers heads up notifications of unexpected traffic congestion and other safety hazards, are provided free of charge to commercial carriers thanks to the Arkansas DOT, Arkansas Highway Police, with the support of the ATA, and delivered via the Drivewyze connected truck network.

 Through Drivewyze’s Smart Roadways service, which helps state agencies extend the reach of their safety messaging programs right into the cabs of commercial trucks, more than 800 miles of roadways in Arkansas are monitored for real-time traffic activity. In addition to real-time alerts, Arkansas is providing drivers with virtual sign messaging which can help drivers prepare for special traffic conditions or be advised of alternative routes. 

 Arkansas is the 10th state to offer these alerts, which provide visual in-cab messages such as “sudden slowdown ahead” along with an audible chime. The alerts are configured to allow ample time for trucks to slow down or stop, as necessary. The program is provided for free to drivers and fleets as part of the Drivewyze Free safety service, which runs on most ELDs, telematics devices, smartphones, and tablets.

 Arkansas provides a major corridor connecting California and North Carolina, with I-40 handling most of the traffic. Between Little Rock and Memphis, it’s estimated that more than 60% of the traffic consists of 18-wheelers. The state is also home to some of the largest trucking companies in the United States. 

 “With so much truck traffic in our state, we wanted to find a way to inform truckers traveling on major roadways of sudden slowdowns,” said Joe Hawkins, State Intelligent Transportation Systems Engineer from Arkansas DOT. “It’s clear that if a truck driver knows of an upcoming sudden slowdown before he or she sees brake lights, accidents can be avoided. It takes a lot of time for a truck to slowdown, and the extra time afforded by these alerts can make all the difference in preventing a crash.”

Strategic virtual signs in trucks also help drivers prepare for unexpected events on roadways. “Recently, we provided alerts on the solar eclipse, giving truckers a heads up that normal traffic patterns would be impacted due to increased traffic in our state for those coming to view the eclipse,” said Monica Saffle of ARDOT’s Traffic Management Center. “It’s just another innovative way we can help truckers.”

 “We’re thrilled that the Arkansas DOT and its highway police division have come on board to invest in safety with in-vehicle alerts designed especially for truckers,” said Brian Heath, CEO of Drivewyze. “The state has a great partnership with the Arkansas Trucking Association, and it was gratifying to see the collaboration the two organizations have and are building on with the rollout and support for this new safety program.  With so many trucks residing and passing through the state, we know we can move the needle on highway safety.”

 “The interstates of Arkansas are a prominent workplace for the men and women in the trucking industry. Anything we can do to make the roadways safer for them and the motoring public is a win for everyone,” said Arkansas Trucking Association President Shannon Newton. “We know that our carriers invest heavily in safety. Connected truck technology can amplify this by providing critical safety information to an exponential number of drivers when and where they need it most.”

 The alerts are available free of charge through a recently introduced service called Drivewyze Free. This allows fleets and drivers -- using telematics devices, smartphones, or tablets -- to receive an essential set of in-cab safety alerts and advisories in advance of potentially risky areas on the roadway. Drivewyze Free includes access to agency-sponsored real-time traffic slowdown alerts and other alerts and advisories generated in partnership with select state transportation and enforcement agencies. Drivewyze’s unique one-to-many application has the largest reach of any independent software application in trucking history and is available to anyone in the industry without any requirements for paid subscription services. In addition, core message sets include Drivewyze sponsored alerts and advisories for High-Rollover risk areas, Low Bridges, and Mountain alerts (steep grade ahead; chain-up/brake check stations; and runaway ramps).

 To take advantage of this new program in Arkansas and receive free in-cab safety alerts, drivers or fleets should visit in order to be activated.

Nearly $150 Million in Grants Awarded to Help Reduce Truck Air Pollution Near America’s Ports

WASHINGTON, DC… The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration is announcing $148 million in grants to 11 states and Puerto Rico under the first round of a new $400 million program to improve air quality and reduce pollution for truck drivers, port workers and families that live in communities surrounding ports. The Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Grant Program invests in port electrification and efficiency improvements. This program aims to reduce pollution from idling trucks at our nation’s ports while modernizing infrastructure and strengthening supply chains.

In this first round of grant awards, FHWA has funded 16 projects that reduce pollution in communities adjacent to ports, which disproportionately bear the negative environmental impacts of idling trucks. Specific truck emissions reductions implemented include replacing diesel-powered trucks serving ports with zero or low emissions electric or alternative fuel-powered trucks, constructing electric vehicle charging infrastructure, employing port roadway access improvements, and studying technology enhancements to reduce truck emissions. For example:

* California is receiving $49.7 million for port improvements. The Ports of Long Beach, Oakland and Los Angeles will receive funding to replace diesel- and gas-powered trucks and shuttle buses with zero-emission technologies, electric trucks and EV chargers.

* Texas is receiving $26.9 million for improvements to the Port of Houston, including 30 new zero-emission, short-haul trucks and portable electric chargers for battery electric vehicle trucks to make zero-emission technology accessible and more affordable to owners and operators of small trucking fleets. It will also pay for the installation of new automated terminal operating systems to reduce truck idling times.

* Georgia is receiving $15.3 million toward improvements at the Port of Savannah, including to build large-scale charging project near the port, replace diesel-powered trucks, and expand the use of low-emission and zero-emission equipment.

* Florida is receiving $10 million for Talleyrand Marine Terminal in Jacksonville and the Port Everglades Terminal in Fort Lauderdale to replace diesel-powered trucks, while terminal improvements at the Seaboard Port of Miami will reduce truck idling time at the gates.

* Louisiana is receiving $7.1 million to purchase 14 new all-electric heavy-duty terminal trucks and five light-duty pickup trucks to replace diesel vehicles currently in use. Funding also will be used to upgrade electrical infrastructure and evaluate new emissions-reducing equipment.

* New Jersey is receiving $2.2 million to replace 20 diesel trucks with more efficient, environmentally friendly vehicles that run on clean, low-emitting propane fuel.

 The Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Grant Program is part of the Justice40 Initiative.