Trucking Biz Buzz

Oversize/overweight trucks prohibited from Peace Bridge Oct. 15 to May 15

Truckers operating oversize and overweight vehicles who use the Peace Bridge in Buffalo, N.Y., should take note. OS/OW trucks will be prohibited from crossing the bridge from Oct. 15 to May 15, 2019.

According to a news release, crews will begin the final phase of the Peace Bridge rehabilitation project in October. This will involve closing the center lane of the three-lane bridge. Due to the lane closure, it will not be possible to accommodate oversize and overweight vehicles.

This ban only affects vehicles with oversize and overweight permits. All other vehicles that meet normal Ontario Highway Traffic Act or New York State Department of Transportation size/weight limits can still access the bridge.

Truckers operating under an oversize/overweight should contact the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission operations center at 905-354-5641 ext. 4161 or 716-285-6322 ext. 4161. The operations center will assist those drivers with getting across the Niagara River via the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge.

For more information about the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission truck loads program, click here.

Trucking industry experiences largest monthly job increase since March

Transportation jobs experienced a significant net increase in August after a more modest increase in July. The transport sector gained more than 20,000 jobs, due primarily to substantial increases in the trucking and transit industries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of 5,700 jobs in August after the industry gained 1,400 in July and 1,500 in June. This marks the largest increase since March when jobs grew by more than 8,000. April’s loss of 5,900 jobs was the largest since October 2009, when 6,200 trucking jobs were lost.

Numbers for August and July are preliminary and are likely to change in the coming months. So far, trucking jobs are up nearly 23,000 for the year.

Trucking experienced the largest increase in the sector with nearly 6,000 jobs added, followed by transit/ground passenger transportation with 5,000 more jobs. Rail and pipeline transportation were the only subsectors to experience a decrease in jobs at 300 each.

In 2017, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of more than 3 million jobs. In every month except January there was a job increase compared to the previous month. September accounted for the largest one-month increase, with more than 25,000 jobs in the sector added to the economy. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net gain of 9,400 jobs in 2017.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector were $24.45 for August – a 12-cent increase from July. Earnings were up 55 cents from August 2017. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees went up 7 cents to $21.94 from the previous month and up 54 cents year to year. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $27.16, a 10-cent increase from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 2.9 percent, or 77 cents.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material-moving occupations dropped slightly to 5.2 percent, compared with 5.3 percent in August 2017. However, the rate increased from 4.5 percent in July. The overall unemployment remained stagnant at 3.9 percent. The number of long-term unemployed decreased by approximately 100,000 to 1.3 million, accounting for 21.5 percent of the unemployed.

Daimler recalls newer Freightliner trucks for steering box and brake caliper issues

Daimler Trucks North America has recently announced two separate recalls for model year 2018-19 Freightliner trucks, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. One recall deals with the brake caliper on various models of Freightliners. Another recall affects Cascadia trucks with an issue with the steering box.

The larger of the two recalls affects more than 4,000 Freightliner trucks. In affected trucks, the brake caliper mounting bolts may have been insufficiently tightened during manufacturing. Loose brake caliper mounting bolts can reduce brake effectiveness.

Affected Freightliner trucks include (all model year 2018-19):

  • 108SD
  • 114SD
  • 122SD
  • Business Class M2
  • Cascadia
  • Columbia
  • Coronado

Owners will be notified and dealers will tighten the brake caliper mounting bolts for free. Recalls are slated for Oct. 6. For questions, call DTNA’s customer service at 800-547-0712 with recall number FL-783. NHTSA’s recall number is 18V-525.

In July, DTNA recalled more than 18,000 Cascadia trucks model year 2018-19 for the same issue. Last December, Daimler recalled more than 3,000 model year 2018 Freightliner and Western Star trucks for similar issues.

The second recall affects more than 100 Cascadia trucks model year 2018-19. Affected trucks have pitman arms that may crack and fracture over time. If the pitman arm fractures, there would be a loss of steering control.

DTNA will have dealers replace the pitman arms for free. This recall is also scheduled for Oct. 6. Questions can be directed to DTNA’s customer service phone number mentioned above with recall number FL-784. NHTSA’s number for the pitman arms recall is 18V-522.

GBATS coming up on Sept. 27-29

OOIDA, which is celebrating its 45th anniversary of fighting for the rights of truckers, is partnering with Four State Trucks to present the 10th annual Guilty By Association Truck Show. The festivities will be Sept. 27-29 in Joplin, Mo.

OOIDA started in 1973 and now has more than 160,000 members. Four State Trucks held the first GBATS in 2009.

Those in attendance will have the opportunity to talk with members of OOIDA’s leadership team, as well as the chance to enjoy all of the truck show’s scheduled entertainment and activities.

Some of the featured events include a professional bull riding competition, a truck and tractor pull, a motorcycle stunt rider show, big rig drag races, a truck convoy that benefits the Special Olympics of Southwest Missouri, and a downtown concert featuring Confederate Railroad.

The L.J. Jenkins Bull Riding Tour will help kick off GBATS on Thursday. It is a stand-alone tour that gives bull riders an opportunity to prepare for the Professional Bull Riders circuit.

As part of the Evel Knievel-style motorcycle stunt show on Friday, a rider is expected to attempt a jump over a tractor-trailer.

A free concert on Saturday will be headlined by Confederate Railroad, which was one of the most popular country bands of the 1990s.

The band released its self-titled debut album in 1992 and climbed to No. 7 in the U.S. country charts. The album included three top 10 singles with “Queen of Memphis,” “Jesus and Mama,” and “Trashy Women.”

Saturday’s festivities will also include a truck convoy that generated about $115,000 for the Special Olympics in 2017.

A full schedule of events can be found here.

More than 1,000 Freightliner, Western Star trucks recalled for tie-rod issue

Daimler Trucks North America is recalling certain 2012-15 Freightliner and Western Star trucks for an issue with the tie rod assembly, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents. Approximately 1,200 trucks are affected.

More specifically, Freightliner 114SD, Business Class M2, Cascadia and Coronado trucks, as well as Western Star 4900 trucks model year 2012-15 are affected. In some front axle, brake lining, and brake spider combinations, braking may cause high vibrations, resulting in early failure of the tie-rod tube, according to a NHTSA recall acknowledgment sent to DTNA.

A tie-rod failure would cause a disconnect between the front wheels, resulting in a loss of steering ability and increasing the risk of a crash.

Owners of affected trucks will be notified. Dealers will replace brake linings, brake spider and tie rods as needed for free. The recall is slated for Sept. 24. For questions, call DTNA customer service at 800-547-0712 with recall number FL782. NHTSA’s recall number is 18V-503.

NAFTA truck freight in June down slightly from May, up year-to-year

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in June trucks moved nearly 63 percent of NAFTA freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. All five modes experienced an increase in freight year-to-year for the second consecutive month.

The value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by 1 percent compared with May, when freight increased by 4.4 percent from the previous month. Compared to June 2017, freight was up more than 6 percent. This marks the 20th consecutive month of year-to-year increases.

March 2017 had the largest month-to-month increase (16 percent) since March 2011, when NAFTA freight was up more than 22 percent compared to February 2011. NAFTA freight declined by nearly 11 percent in July 2017, the largest decline for the year.

In March 2017, the index reached more than $100 billion for the first time since October 2014 before going back below that mark in April. That landmark was revisited in October and maintained through November before dipping below the $100 billion mark again in December. March marked the first month in 2018 to reach beyond $100 million, which has been maintained through at least June so far.

Trucks carried nearly $67 billion of the more than $106 billion of imports and exports in June.

Year-to-year, Canada truck freight increased by 6.3 percent and Mexico freight rose by 6.5 percent. Top truck commodities were computers and parts, electrical machinery, motor vehicles and parts, plastics and measuring/testing instruments.

Freight totaled $106.16 billion, down more than $1 billion from the previous month but an increase of more than $6 billion from June 2017.

Vessel freight accounted for the largest increase at 26.5 percent after an increase of 29.6 percent in May. Trucks accounted for an increase of 5.3 percent, the fourth largest increase behind a 23.2 percent increase in pipeline freight and a 6.3 percent increase in air freight. Truck freight experienced increases of 9 percent in May and 15.3 percent in April.

More than 56 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at more than 16 percent. Of the $51.84 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried more than 69 percent of the loads.

FMCSA plans to reduce UCR fees in 2019, 2020

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing to reduce the fees for the Unified Carrier Registration plan, according to a notice of proposed rulemaking set to publish in Tuesday’s edition of The Federal Register.

According to the notice, which is scheduled for publication tomorrow, the proposed fees for the 2019 registration year would be nearly 18 percent lower than the 2017 level. The reason for the reduction is to ensure fee revenues don’t exceed the statutory maximum. Fees in 2020 would be roughly 9.5 percent below 2017 levels.

FMCSA proposes fees for 2019 to be $63 for motor carriers and brokers with zero to two power units. That represents a $6 decrease from the 2018 fee. It is however, $10 less than what the UCR board had anticipated needing to charge for 2019 fees for the smallest of motor carriers.

Proposed fees for 2019:

Number of TrucksFee
0-2 $63
3-5 $187
6-20 $372
21-100 $1,299
101-1,000 $6,190
1,001 and above $60,441

Total revenues from the current UCR plan for 2018 are estimated to exceed the statutory maximum by more than $9 million. Collection of UCR 2019 fees is scheduled to begin Oct. 1.

Collection of 2018 UCR fees was delayed until after the start of the new year, as the UCR board grappled with a fee reduction.

FMCSA will take public comments on the notice for 10 days after publication in The Federal Register. Comments may be made online at Regulations.gov, by searching for FMCSA-2018-

0068.

Daimler Trucks recalls more than 45,000 Cascadias over instrument panel issue

Daimler Trucks North America is recalling more than 45,000 Freightliner Cascadia trucks for issues with the instrument panel, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recall documents.

More specifically, Cascadia trucks model year 2017-19 are affected by the recall. According to NHTSA, the ignition control unit may not perform the required bulb checks for the anti-lock brake system or electronic stability control if the ignition is turned from on to off to on too quickly. This goes against Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 121, “Air Brake Systems,” and 136, “Electronic Stability Control Systems on Heavy Vehicles.”

Daimler Trucks North America says it plans to notify owners of affected vehicles. Dealers will reprogram the ignition control unit to ensure a bulb check is performed each time the ignition is turned on. The recall is scheduled for Sept. 17.

For questions, call Daimler Trucks North America’s customer service at 800-547-0712 with recall number FL-780. NHTSA’s recall number is 18V-491.

Form 2290 due Aug. 31; OOIDA can help you file

OOIDA’s Permits and Licensing Department is giving truck owners a heads up: It’s time to pay your federal highway use tax for heavy vehicles. It’s that $550 fee you pay each year when you file an IRS Form 2290.

The current tax period runs July 1 to June 30, 2019. For trucks and other taxable vehicles in use during July, the Form 2290 and payments are due Aug. 31. State governments require proof of payment as a condition of vehicle registration.

Fleets with 25 or more vehicles must pay online with the IRS. Smaller fleets still have the option of paying by mailed check or money order or online. You must have an Employer Identification Number for at least 14 days before you can e-file.

If you need help, OOIDA Permits and Licensing Department can assist members with filing the Form 2290 for a service fee. Call 800-444-5791.

Paperwork must be received at OOIDA by Aug. 24 to guarantee filing by the Aug. 31 deadline.

If you are comfortable filing them yourself online, you can do so at OOIDA2290.com. That service charges a small processing charge.

Nominations sought for Women in Trucking award

Women in Trucking and Freightliner Trucks are seeking nominations for the 2018 Influential Woman in Trucking Award.

Nominations for the award will be accepted through Sept. 1.

The award, which is in its eighth year, recognizes women who make or influence key decisions in a corporate, manufacturing, supplier, owner-operator, driver, sales or dealership setting. The nominee “must have a proven record of responsibility and have mentored or served as a role model to other women in the industry.”

Finalists for the award will be invited to participate in a panel discussion at the 2018 Accelerate! Conference & Expo, which will be Nov. 12-14 in Dallas.

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