ELD Mandate Enforcement Begins

Starting today, the “soft enforcement” period for the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate begins, as roadside enforcement personnel throughout the U.S. start documenting violations of the rule, according to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Administration (CVSA)

“At a jurisdiction’s discretion, they may issue citations to commercial motor vehicle drivers operating vehicles without a compliant ELD,” noted CVSA Executive Director Collin Mooney in a statement.

Related: How quickly will ELDs be felt in the freight market?

“Enforcement personnel have been trained in anticipation of the ELD rule, and now that it is in effect, inspectors will be verifying hours-of-service compliance by reviewing records of duty status requirements electronically,” he added. “And on April 1, 2018, inspectors will start placing commercial motor vehicle drivers out of service if their vehicle is not equipped with the required ELD.”

[More information regarding enforcement of the new rule is available at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s ELD implementation website]

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CVSA also pointed out that fleets and drivers may continue using “grandfathered” automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRD) that meet the requirements of 49 CFR 395.15 until Dec. 16, 2019, which is when they, too, must switch over the ELDs.

As the mandate goes into effect, many truckers – especially independents – are calling in essence for a strike; for truckers to park their tractor-trailers and not haul freight. Others, however, have gone ahead and installed ELDs with mixed reactions on how using them impacts how they operate.

“I refuse to drive a vehicle – especially a semi – with one [an ELD] in it. They’re not safe for the driver behind the wheel or the public sharing the road,” Charles Claburn, a longtime driver and trucking activist based in Diberville, MS, who helps lead the 19,000-member anti-ELD group “ELD or Me,” stressed in a Facebook post.

“Trucking as many drivers grew up knowing it has changed, taking the use of common sense and throwing it out the window, and replacing it with a little black box that is supposed to make a driver safer,” he explained.

“For my fellow drivers – including company, local, port works, dock to dock, union, and long haul – every single one of you should be fighting this mandate,” Claburn said. “Being a driver is a brother hood, and when one part of the industry takes a hit from over regulation, every driver should stand and fight with them. It won’t be long when they try to come after you.”

Other drivers responded to Claburn by noting that they are either parking their tractor-trailers for the time being and not hauling fright or quitting the industry altogether.

“Forty-two years of driving and I am done,” said driver Don Smith.

“I’m shut down here and I’m not moving,” added another driver, Bobby Joe Gibbs. “If I do move I’m going home and I’m done.”

A different set of truckers pointed out that, while they decided to comply with the regulations and install ELDs in their trucks, the use of said devices is forcing them to change how they operate.

“A lot of guys are worried about time management when switching over to ELDs; they think it will be a huge issue. But I’ve been using an ELD plugged into my truck for six weeks for now. It seems pretty easy, though it’s like going from a flip phone to iPhone – there’s a bit of a learning curve,” Chad Boblett, an owner-operator out of Kentucky, explained to American Trucker.

“The biggest thing, though, is I’ve lost flexibility. I’m up against the clock and every minute counts – I don’t know what might slow me down along the way that could cause problems,” he added. “The biggest thing I’ve noticed is that I drive a whole lot faster and I used to. I used to set cruise control for a stead speed, around 62 to 65 mph, and let the traffic pass me by. But now if the speed limit for trucks is 70 mph, I drive 70 mph.”

Trucking fleet managers like Lori Robb are also worried about the time constraints ELDs impose.

“When trucks don’t come until the day after they were scheduled because they ran out of hours a half an hour away from where they are picking up a load, freight doesn’t move to make room for the next day’s loads to be staged,: she explained via Facebook. “Loads are late, customers re unhappy, and production has to slow down due to lack of space. That is the reality. I see it being a huge problem for all involved.”

Yet Lance Wood, a driver out of Missouri and president of Trucker Charity Inc., said from his perspective using an ELD is not changing his work day all that much.

“I ran 613.7 miles today [Dec. 16th] not speeding at all and running under the speed limit as my truck is governed at 65 mph,” he said via Facebook. “I did four deliveries and drop and hooked to eight different trailers, pre- and post-tripping each.”

At 1:45 pm, he took 47 minutes off-duty to get a haircut, do some grocery shopping, and eat lunch, and then at 4:20 pm following a last drop and hook he enjoyed in his words “a very nice catered sit down roast beef dinner.”

Overall, in Wood’s words, he had “a very nice and relaxing” day. “I was not rushed [and] still had 43 mins of drive time and time on my 14 [hour on-duty clock] left. Heck, yesterday, I waited over three hours at a stop and still did 530 miles,” he explained. “I guess I just am missing how this is going to really affect anything. Log it as you do it; exactly the same electronically as on paper.”

50% of Trucks Not Ready for ELD Mandate

As the Electronic Logging Devices(ELD) mandate approaches, a new survey finds that almost half of the affected truckers are unprepared.
The study was conducted by PrePass, which provides weigh station bypass technologies. It surveyed 1,620 drivers, owner-operators, and fleets and found that forty-nine percent said they had yet to select an ELD.

A mere one-third of respondents had installed the devices, while 18% reported that they had the equipment in hand but had not yet made it operational.

On the more positive side, =more than half of those who identified themselves as fleet managers said the equipment was operating, in contrast to to 28% of drivers and owner-operators.

Of those who had yet to install an ELD, 68% didn’t plan to do it before the deadline, with 26% said they are not convinced the mandate will actually take effect. Thirty-one percent of that group said they are not planning to install ELD’s at all.

“It is surprising to see that such a large share of both owner-operators and drivers as well as fleet professionals see no need or rush to comply with the upcoming ELD mandate,” said Karen Rasmussen, Chief Executive Officer of Help Inc., which is the company behind PrePass. “Whether they are in favor of ELD or not, there is every indication that the FMCSA intends to follow through with its plans to require the devices without delay.”

Trucking sector gains jobs in November

Transportation jobs overall scored a 10th consecutive month of job gains in November. The transport sector netted 10,500 jobs to the economy. Trucking jobs went up moderately after two months of minor declines.

So far, the trucking subsector for 2017 has a net gain of 13,200 jobs. The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of 1,800 jobs in November after the industry lost 100 in each of October and September. November’s increase was only the fourth month of job gains. However, large gains in February and March have put trucking jobs in the black for the year so far.

For the year, the trucking subsector had a net loss of 2,500 jobs in 2016.

In 2016, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of more than 19,000 jobs. Last January, transportation lost more than 20,000 jobs, the largest decrease since January 2011, when 38,000 jobs were eliminated from the economy.

Warehousing and storage experienced the largest increase with 8,100 more jobs, followed by couriers and messengers at 2,200. Transit and ground passenger transportation experienced the largest loss for the second consecutive month, with 2,600 fewer jobs each, trailed by scenic and sightseeing transportation with 1,000 jobs lost. Six of 10 subsectors experienced gains, significantly outweighing subsectors with relatively minimal losses.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $24.13 for November – a 9-cent increase from October and up 65 cents from November 2016. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees experienced an increase of 6 cents to $21.62 from the previous month and a 64-cent increase year to year. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $26.55, a 5-cent increase from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.5 percent, or 64 cents.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material-moving occupations increased slightly to 5.8 percent compared with 5.7 percent last November and went up from 5.2 percent in October. The overall unemployment rate remained stagnant at 4.1 percent. The number of long-term unemployed was essentially unchanged at 1.6 million, accounting for nearly one-quarter of the unemployed.

Improving freight conditions push truck orders to highest level in nearly 3 years

Preliminary data from ACT Research shows North American Class 5-8 truck orders hit 55,700 units in October, up 65 percent year-over-year. Growing Class 8 orders and medium-duty order activity that is generally in-line with forecast have boosted the industry’s order intake to a level not seen since December 2014.

ACT Research President and Senior Analyst Kenny Vieth says year-to-date, orders after seasonal adjustment have been consistent, ranging from 41,400 units in May to 48,900 units in October. North American Class 8 orders for the past twelve months have totaled 261,500 units, according to FTR and at 36,200 units, preliminary October Class 8 net orders surpassed expectations.

“October’s orders represented a 160 percent year-over-year jump from a particularly easy, cancellation impacted, year-ago comp,” Vieth says. “October is typically the second strongest order month of the year.”

Vieth says the strength exhibited by Class 8 orders in October reflects improving freight conditions and freight rates that will lead to a rebound in carrier profitability in 2018.

“The market seems well situated for a strong production environment to persist into 2018,” adds Jonathan Starks, chief operating officer at FTR.

“October’s preliminary orders clearly put upward pressure on ACT’s expectations for Class 8 demand next year,” he says. Vieth. “At the same time, we recognize the potential that this year’s NACV show [September] may have pulled-forward the timing of orders that would normally have been placed through the fourth quarter.”

“FTR has been anticipating a strong fall order season since early this year,” Starks adds. “The market continues to follow our expectations and highlights that market fundamentals remain solid as we approach 2018. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma merely exacerbated an already tight truck market so the strong order activity in October was no surprise to us.”

Georgia-based small fleet shut down after fatal crash, numerous regs violations

A Georgia-based owner-operator has been effectively shut down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for his involvement in a fatal crash and a bevy of other safety violations.

According to FMCSA, on Aug. 11, Dwight Anthony Preddie, co-owner of Keep On Trucking, was traveling on I-95 in Virginia when he failed to slow down from an estimated 63 mph entering a construction zone, where he hit the back of a Jeep Grand Cherokee that was going an estimated 5 mph. The impact killed the driver of the Jeep and critically injured the passenger, FMCSA says.

Preddie was charged at the scene with reckless driving, driving with a suspended license and operating an uninsured vehicle. A police investigation also found that he was in violation of federal hours-of-service regulations at the time of the crash.

DOT shuts down driver for drug use, operating without CDL

A Tennessee-licensed truck driver has been effectively shut down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for continuing to drive after his gooseneck trailer disconnected …

A post-crash investigation by FMCSA found the company was in violation of several safety regulations, including:

Failing to comply with any driver qualification requirements. The investigation found Keep On Trucking had allowed its drivers to operate without a valid driver’s license, or without possessing a valid medical certificate.
Failing to monitor its drivers to ensure compliance with hours-of-service regulations.
Failing to monitor its drivers to ensure the safe operation of the company’s vehicles.
Failing to ensure its vehicles were properly inspected, maintained, repaired and met minimum safety standards.
Additionally, the company was found to not have the federal operating authority required to conduct interstate commerce, or have the minimum levels of insurance required to operate.

According to the Compliance, Safety, Accountability Safety Measurement System, Keep On Trucking operated one truck with two drivers.

Drivers seek $1.1M from carrier over classification as contractors

Seven Los Angeles area truckers paid as independent contractors but allegedly treated as employees have filed state wage theft claims seeking an average of $153,150 per driver.

The Teamster-backed Justice for Port Drivers says California Multimodal made illegal deductions to the truckers’ paychecks and did not reimburse business expenses. The 275-truck carrier also violated state law by not paying meal and rest break premiums, minimum wage for all hours worked and waiting time penalties, the organization stated.

The California-based CMI, whose parent company, Cal Cartage, was purchased by the New Jersey-based NFI Oct. 2, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

These claims filed with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement Oct. 20 are similar to at least 27 others pending with agency against California Cartage. Since 2015, the company has appealed nine DLSE cases after the agency concluded the claimants were employees misclassified as contractors. Seven remain pending in California’s Superior Court after the company settled two.

House Dems file bill to examine driver classification of port carriers

A bill introduced in the U.S. House last week would, if passed, direct the Labor Department and Department of Transportation to develop a task force …

Similar issues also promoted two class actions against Cal Cartage’s trucking divisions and two mass actions against its K &R Transportation segment, all in superior court. Mass actions or torts involve a set of plaintiffs treated individually while class action members are treated as one plaintiff instead of individually.

This latest round of SoCal trucker misclassification cases was followed by the introduction of two Teamster-backed Congressional bills, each with eight co-sponsors. The Port Drivers Bill of Rights Act would task the labor and transportation departments with creating a task force to examine how drayage carrier’s leasing practices affect truckers’ pay. The Clean Ports Act, introduced for the fourth time since 2010, would alter federal law to allow ports more drastic measures to reduce truck pollution and congestion than currently allowed.

Maverick Transportation boosts per-mile pay for certain drivers

Maverick Transportation boosts per-mile pay for certain drivers
CCJ Staff | November 2, 2017
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Maverick Transportation (No. 74 on the CCJ Top 250) has announced a 5-cent per-mile pay increase for its flatbed and glass over-the-road divisions.

The pay increase, effective Dec. 18, is applicable to all drivers in both divisions, including student drivers.

The boost brings base pay for OTR flatbed drivers to between 51 and 56 cents per mile, and regional OTR flatbed drivers to between 49 and 53 cents per mile. Glass division drivers will now make between 55 and 60 cents per mile base pay, while students will start between 43 and 50 cents per mile, depending on their division.

Additionally, the company is currently offering a $5,000 sign-on bonus for drivers with at least a year of verifiable experience.

Threat of weaponized trucks on display in Manhattan terror attack

The suspect arrested Tuesday in the terrorist attack that took place in Manhattan, in which a rented Home Depot-emblazoned pickup truck mowed over pedestrians and cyclists along a pathway in New York City, was once employed as a truck driver, according to reports from major news outlets.

Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old who said he carried out the attack “in the name of ISIS,” was a CDL holder and formerly employed as a truck operator, though it’s unclear whether he was a long-haul driver or something else, like a local delivery driver.

The attack left eight dead and another dozen people injured, underscoring the dangers of weaponized vehicles. Major attacks using tractor-trailers have been carried out in the past year and a half in both France and Germany, though no such attack has yet occurred on U.S. soil.

But such attacks are of concern, and the Transportation Safety Administration this year published a long bulletin warning law enforcement and the public at large about the potential for trucks, including both pickups and Class 8 vehicles, to be used to inflict terrorist attacks.

ISIS has encouraged such attacks, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reiterated this point in an interview with CBS News on Tuesday. “The Internet has given them (ISIS) a global platform and a global training ground,” he said. “They have a very simple play: rent a car, rent a truck, create mayhem.”

‘Cowardly act of terror’: Truck driver kills 8 on bike path

NEW YORK — A man in a rented pickup truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists along a busy bike path near the World Trade Center memorial on Tuesday, killing at least eight and seriously injuring 11 in what the mayor called “a particularly cowardly act of terror.”

The driver was shot in the abdomen by police after jumping out of the truck with what turned out to be a fake gun in each hand and shouting what witnesses said was “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” authorities said. The man underwent surgery and was in critical condition but was expected to survive.

Officials who weren’t authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on the condition of anonymity identified the attacker as 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov and said he is from Uzbekistan and came to the U.S. legally in 2010. The officials said Saipov has a Florida driver’s license and may have been staying in New Jersey, and a family friend described roots he had in Ohio, where he lived years ago and was a commercial truck driver.

The ride-hailing service Uber confirmed late Tuesday night that Saipov was one if its drivers. The company said he passed a background check and had been actively driving on the platform for more than six months. He has since been banned from the Uber app.

“We are horrified by this senseless act of violence,” the company said in a statement. “Our hearts are with the victims and their families. We have reached out to law enforcement to provide our assistance.”

The driver in Tuesday’s attack barreled along the bike path in a rented Home Depot truck for the equivalent of about 14 blocks, or around eight-tenths of a mile, before slamming into a small yellow school bus. The mayhem and the burst of police gunfire set off panic in the neighborhood and left the pavement strewn with mangled bicycles and bodies that were soon covered with sheets.

“I saw a lot of blood over there. A lot of people on the ground,” said Chen Yi, an Uber driver.

Eugene Duffy, a chef at a waterfront restaurant, said, “So many police came, and they didn’t know what was happening. People were screaming. Females were screaming at the top of their lungs.”

Police closed off streets across the western edge of lower Manhattan along the Hudson River, and officers rushed into the neighborhood just as people were preparing for Halloween festivities, including the big annual parade through Greenwich Village.

A police bomb squad scoured the truck but found no explosives.

“This was an act of terror, and a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians, aimed at people going about their lives who had no idea what was about to hit them,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

New York and other cities around the globe have been on high alert against attacks by extremists in vehicles. The Islamic State group has been exhorting its followers to mow down people, and England, France and Germany have seen deadly vehicle attacks in the past year or so.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called it a “lone wolf” attack and said there was no evidence to suggest it was part of a wider plot.

The city’s police commissioner, James O’Neill, said a statement the driver made as he got out of the truck and the method of attack led police to conclude it was a terrorist act.

On Twitter, President Donald Trump called it “another attack by a very sick and deranged person” and declared, “NOT IN THE U.S.A.!”

While police did not specifically blame the Islamic State group for the New York bloodshed, Trump railed against the extremist group, tweeting, “We must not allow ISIS to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough!”

Records show Saipov was a commercial truck driver who formed a pair of businesses in Ohio after moving to the U.S. The first business, Sayf Motors Inc., used the address of a family friend near Cincinnati with whom Saipov had stayed for a couple of weeks after his arrival in the country. The second, Bright Auto LLC, used an address near Cleveland.

A trucking industry website listed Saipov at a Paterson, New Jersey, address that authorities were searching Tuesday night. Court records related to trucking-related infractions list Saipov with addresses in Paterson and the Cleveland suburbs.

The family friend with whom Saipov stayed in Ohio, Dilnoza Abdusamatova, told The Cincinnati Enquirer Saipov was “really calm” and worked hard.

“He always used to work,” Abdusamatova said. “He wouldn’t go to parties or anything. He only used to come home and rest and leave and go back to work.”

Police said Saipov rented the truck at about 2 p.m. in New Jersey, entering the bike path about an hour later on West Street a few blocks from the new World Trade Center, the site of the deadliest terror attack in U.S. history. The truck then turned at Chambers Street, hitting the school bus and injuring two adults and two children.

A paintball gun and a pellet gun were found at the scene, police said. At least two covered-over bodies could be seen lying on the bike path, and the front end of the truck was smashed in, as was the side of the school bus.

Two law enforcement officials said a note was recovered inside the truck. One official said the note was handwritten in a foreign language, possibly Arabic.

The contents were being investigated, but the officials said the document supported the belief the act was terrorism. The officials were not authorized to speak publicly about an ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

Tom Gay, a school photographer, heard people saying there was an accident and went down to West Street, where a woman came around the corner shouting, “He has a gun! He has a gun!”

Gay said he stuck his head around the corner and saw a slender man in a blue track suit running on West Street holding a gun. He said a heavyset man was chasing him.

He said he heard five or six shots, and the man in the tracksuit fell to the ground, gun still raised in the air. He said a man came over and kicked the gun out of his hand.

Argentina’s foreign ministry said five of the dead hailed from that country. Belgian officials said one of the dead was from there.

The city’s Halloween parade went on as scheduled after the attack, but security was increased, with extra officers, heavy-weapons teams and sand trucks parked as protective barriers along the route.

A Home Depot Inc. spokesman said the company, based in Atlanta, was “fully cooperating” with law enforcement in the truck attack investigation.

Associated Press writers Sadie Gurman in Washington, Tom Hays and Adam Geller in New York, Michael Balsamo in Los Angeles and Michael Sisak in Philadelphia contributed to this story.