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!

Happy National Truck Driver Appreciation Week!

It’s that time of the year again!

Sept. 8 through 15 is National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, a time to celebrate the 3.5 million men and women in the United States who move the country’s freight.

Trucking associations, industry suppliers, and motor carriers of all sizes are set to host events for drivers, and the American Trucking Associations has an official site with ideas to show your support.

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Pumping the Brakes

Nearly 18% of all vehicles inspected during the CVSA’s International Roadcheck event in June received a critical violation. Enforcement officials conducted 67,072 inspections from June 4-6 and put 12,019 trucks and 2,784 drivers out of service.

The most common violations for drivers were related to hours of service and falsified logs—52% of the total. The No. 1 infraction for trucks was for braking systems, followed by tires and wheels, cargo securement, and lighting.

Take note: Next week is CVSA’s Brake Safety Week, when enforcement officials will conduct roadside safety inspections with a focus on brake violations.

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Trucking Closures Outpacing 2018

Tariffs and lower spot truckload freight prices are factors in an increase in trucking company closures this year, Donald Broughton, principal of Broughton Capital of Missouri, tells Transport Topics. He said 640 freight companies have closed their doors in 2019, more than twice as many as went bankrupt in all of 2018.

“It’s happening because costs went up last year as pricing power rose,” Broughton said, noting that while spot prices have dropped dramatically this year, costs such as driver pay and expansion-related expenses have largely stayed at 2018 levels.

Some carriers closed for reasons that can happen even in the best of times.

New England Motor Freight of Elizabeth, N.J., said it faced a shortage of drivers in a job market. Falcon Transport of Youngstown, Ohio, closed after its biggest customer, General Motors, shuttered a number of plants. LME Inc. of New Brighton, Minn., abruptly closed during a legal dispute.

Broughton said this year’s closures have taken more than 20,000 trucks off the road, and the tighter capacity should lead to stronger rates.

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