June 2, 2014: Road check inspections will be happening all over North America June 3-5. Expect to see federal, state, local or in Canada, provincial inspectors making thousands of “road checks” over the next few days.
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The newest hire at trucking company YRC Worldwide Inc. is a recruiter whose job is to find drivers.
Chief executive James Welch revealed the hiring Wednesday during an industry panel discussion held in New York by Wolfe Research. He said it was the first time the Overland Park company had put a recruiter for drivers on its payroll.
“We have a lot of applications for drivers, but they can’t pass the drug test. They can’t pass the background checks,” Welch said. “Or they don’t have the mental faculties that you want to put behind an 80,000-pound rig going down the road.”
Click here to read more at The Kansas City Star.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) moved Monday to crack down on trucking firms who press their drivers to skirt safety rules.
The proposed rule is the latest in a series of steps by the Obama administration to tamp down on dangerous practices in the trucking industry.
Click here to read more at The Hill.
It was just after 2 p.m. and two truck drivers were hanging out at a burger joint in Carson, hoping their phones would ring. When a call comes in, they go to work. When the phones are silent, the stress and the bills pile up.
That's the daily routine for Byron Monzon and Santiago Aguilar, who had reported for duty at 6 a.m. Wednesday to their truck yard near the Port of Los Angeles. They never know how many loads they'll haul from one day to the next, and they don't get paid for waiting. They each had one quick delivery at 7 a.m., and they might not get another before calling it quits around 8 p.m.
Click here to read more at the Los Angeles Times.
It’s a few minutes into a run carrying a load of scrap copper from the Port of New Jersey to a waste transfer station outside Philadelphia, and Miguel Tigre reaches over the dash of his maroon-and-yellow cab to grab a folder stuffed with the receipts squeezing him dry. He reels off calculations: He gets paid $400. It’s about 150 miles round-trip, and his truck gets 5.2 miles per gallon, so that's $180 in fuel. Tolls are $20. Taxes take about a quarter off the top -- but then there's insurance for the truck, and any repairs, which came to $22,000 last year.
All told, that amounts to $32,000 in take-home pay per year, which is barely enough to cover rent and food for him and his wife, who doesn’t work. Then there’s child support and car insurance. Tigre, a stocky 56-year-old with the paunch that comes from sitting for 12 hours a day, says he can’t afford health insurance -- he’s diabetic, and pays $100 a pop out of pocket for regular doctor’s visits, plus $300 a month for insulin. And retirement? Tigre laughs, harshly.
Click here to read more at The Washington Post.
YRC Worldwide Inc. said May 1 its first-quarter loss nearly tripled due to factors such as winter weather and claims costs.
The less-than-truckload carrier’s loss widened to $70.2 million, or $3.95 per share, from $24.5 million, or $2.93, a year ago.
Click here to read more at Transport Topics.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx visited several critical freight corridors during an eight-state bus tour last week, saying the future sustainability of America’s roadways depends on Congress addressing the infrastructure funding crisis.
The tour, which began April 14 in Ohio and ended April 18 in Texas, highlighted short- and long-term funding needs, as well as generated pressure on federal lawmakers from local officials and commuters.
“I’m traveling across the country all week to highlight projects like this that show the difference we can make if we invest in America and commit to the future — because just fixing what we have today isn’t going to help us meet the transportation needs of the future,” Foxx said in Ohio.
With a federal funding plan in place, “We’ll actually put more money into infrastructure so that we can repair more bridges and build new capacity and help fast-growing areas like Nashville have the assets they need,” Foxx said.
Dave Manning, president of Tennessee Express Inc. and a vice chairman of American Trucking Associations, was among those appearing with Foxx in Nashville.
“This funding crisis can be averted if both Congress and the administration will raise the federal fuel tax and index it going forward,” Manning said.
Manning told Transport Topics afterward that Foxx made a compelling case for infrastructure investment.
“He does a good job of personalizing the pay-it-forward thing — that our parents and grandparents have made sacrifices for us that we enjoy today and we’re not doing the same thing for the next generation,” Manning said.
The U.S. DOT said that if federal dollars were available, rehabilitation work could start on the 1960s-era bridge as well as on five other bridges that connect Nashville’s Interstate 40 Inner Loop.
Tennessee Transportation Commissioner John Schroer, standing by Foxx, said: “If we don’t get funding, the only thing that we we’ll be able to do at the state level is maintain our existing infrastructure.”
Earlier in the week, Foxx visited a $28.8 million project in Columbus, Ohio, the Pickaway County Connector that will connect U.S. 23 and the Rickenbacker Intermodal Facility.
Then, in nearby Dayton, Foxx viewed the work upgrading Interstate 75, a heavily traveled freight route that intersects with Interstate 70.
Kevin Burch, president of Jet Express in Dayton and an ATA vice chairman, was at the event and reported that the secretary emphasized that infrastructure investment is related to highway safety and economic growth.
“He even mentioned truckers in the discussion,” Burch told TT, “saying that more trucks would be needed because the economy is picking up and we need better roads and [need to address] the congestion issues, the safety issues.”
ATA, along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other groups, has said Congress should raise federal fuel taxes and index them to inflation.
But Foxx touted President Obama’s four-year, $302 billion plan to raise money for transportation through tax code changes that include repatriating money held overseas by American corporations to avoid paying taxes.
The country faces two transportation funding crises, the immediate one in the Highway Trust Fund, which is expected to be in the red in August when payment obligations will exceed revenue from the 18.4-cent gasoline tax and the 24.4-cent diesel tax.
The second crisis is MAP-21, the existing transportation funding law, which expires Sept. 30 with it remaining unclear if Congress can agree on a new measure.
In Louisville, Ky., Foxx warned that gridlock in Congress threatens critical transportation projects dependent on the continued flow of federal dollars.
“Part of what we want to do is highlight the fact that highways, transit, all of it is a partnership between states, local government and the federal government,” Foxx said in Louisville.
Kentucky and Ohio, with anticipated federal funds, are rebuilding two aged bridges over the Ohio River that carry traffic in and out of Louisville.
While in Louisville, Foxx also visited UPS Worldport to tour the facility and meet with Scott Davis, UPS chairman and CEO, and other business leaders.
Later, on his blog, Foxx said of the meeting: “What they made clear to me is the scope of the challenge we’re facing when it comes to transportation in America.
“By 2050, we’re going to have to haul an additional 14 billion tons of freight around this country,” Foxx wrote.
During the trip, Foxx also made stops in Atlanta, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Dallas.
Staff Reporter Eugene Mulero contributed to this story.
A California state agency has ruled that seven drivers for Pacer International Inc. who challenged their status as independent contractors can collect $2.21 million.
The Department of Labor Standards Enforcement ruled the drivers were company employees, rather than independent contractors. Pacer, which recently became part of XPO Logistics, has filed a notice of appeal.
The case is the latest development in an ongoing battle over the status of truck drivers, who are independent contractors from the carriers’ standpoint.
Don Minchey, the hearing officer in the case, wrote “the plaintiffs are convincing in their arguments.”
Drivers’ independent contractor status is being challenged by union organizers, in Southern California and other locations, who are seeking employee status so that organizing campaigns can advance.
“We are aware of the rulings by the administrative hearing officer in the seven claims,” an XPO spokesman told Transport Topics. “These cases are ongoing and we have appealed the rulings to California Superior Court. We intend to vigorously oppose these claims, which we believe are without merit.”