Each week we recap the hot topics in freight and compile them into one place so you can easily stay up to date on the industry. Check back each Monday and start your week off in the know. TRANSFLO & GO!
Give Me a Break
Federal transportation regulators held a two-hour public listening session at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas last week to hear ideas about how to change proposed new hours-of-service rules so drivers have more flexibility to do their jobs.
Much of the discussion focused on the 30-minute break requirement. Drivers expressed a need for more leeway, such as splitting the break into two 15-minute segments or three 10-minute segments.
Candace Marley, an owner-operator from Iowa, said the 30-minute requirement has discouraged her from stopping and taking breaks more frequently.
“Before (the 30-minute requirement) came out, I stopped every two hours. I would stretch my legs, use the bathroom, get a drink, and make sure the blood got flowing in my legs. After the rule came out, I stopped doing that,” Marley said.
Her reason is the same one truckers have been telling regulators at HOS listening sessions for years: it’s bad for business.
“If I’m taking a 10-minute break every two hours and a 30-minute break, that’s less miles I’m going. That is very important to me and my paycheck, especially now that I’m an independent contractor and paying all my expenses. I know anyone who is a driver in here understands why we push without that break.”
HOS On the Clock
Even with the publication of the updated hours-of-service proposal in the Federal Register on August 14, it may take 18 months or more before changes are finalized, writes Neil Abt in Fleet Owner.
The formal publication of the HOS proposal kicks off a 45-day widow for public comments. From there, agency officials must review the comments, decide if any changes to the initial proposal are warranted, determine if a final rule should ultimately be issued, and choose the effective date for the new rule. FMCSA will consider how much time it will take ELD providers to update software or reprogram devices.
It Comes with Batteries
Freightliner delivered its first two production-model Freightliner eCascadia battery-electric tractors to customers last week. Penske Truck Leasing will run eCascadias in daily delivery operations within California’s Inland Empire, while NFI will employ eCascadias in drayage operations at both the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
In total, Penske and NFI will receive 30 battery-electric trucks. The diesel version is the best-selling Class 8 truck on the market. Fleet Equipment magazine took a test drive when the truck was introduced in January.
Trending Up: Women in Trucking
Women make up less than 8 percent of the total workforce in trucking but they fit right in with another key and concerning demographic: the typical female driver is about 50 years old. That’s five years younger than the industry average.
“Eighty-three percent of women who come into the industry do so at the urging of a family member or friend,” Ellen Voie, president of the group Women in Trucking, tells the Roadtrippers blog. “They’ve raised their children, and then a husband or boyfriend or significant other goes, ‘Hey, go get your commercial driver’s license and come out on the road with me.’”
One thing has changed over the years, says Voie: women are more vocal about their job. “They’re more, ‘I am woman, hear me roar,’” says Voie. laughs. “They say, ‘I can do this.’” That’s good news. Voie says one reason women don’t join the industry is because they aren’t exposed to successful women who enjoy a great career in trucking.