Top 10 stories of 2018: A booming freight environment, ELDs, driver shortage highlight year’s news

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Enforcement of the electronic logging device mandate and a booming freight economy — which drove rates higher, tested capacity and exacerbated the industry’s shortage of drivers — were two of the key themes for the trucking industry in 2018.

Those themes were well reflected in the most read stories on CCJdigital.com this year, but they weren’t the only stories to crack the most-read list. Here’s a look at 10 of the top stories from 2018:

10. Inspectors told not to disturb off-duty/sleeping drivers for inspections

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance updated its policy guidance to establish that inspectors should not disturb truckers’ off-duty/sleeper berth time for a random inspection.

While CVSA’s guidelines are not law, they are meant to create a uniform policy for all inspectors.

9. CARB to begin blocking certain trucks’ DMV registrations in 2020

The California Air Resources Board in February announced carriers domiciled in the state with trucks older than 2011 model, or using engines manufactured before 2010, would have to meet the Board’s Truck and Bus Regulation beginning in 2020, or their trucks would be blocked from registration.

A new enforcement tool used by the California DMV beginning in 2020 will automatically block 2010 and older trucks from registration, requiring the trucks to either be replaced by a 2011 or newer truck or repowered with a 2010 or newer engine.

The Kenworth W990 was unveiled in September as the next truck from Kenworth in the W900 line.The Kenworth W990 was unveiled in September as the next truck from Kenworth in the W900 line.

8. Kenworth unveils W990 — ‘next generation of W900’

Kenworth unveiled in September its latest entry into the Class 8 truck market, the W990, a new addition to the classic W900 lineup.

Available in day cab, 40-inch flat top, and 52-inch and 76-inch mid-roof sleeper configurations, the W990 is standard with the proprietary Paccar Powertrain consisting of the MX-13 engine rated up to 510-hp and 1,850 pound-feet of torque, a 12-speed Paccar automated transmission and Paccar 40K tandem rear axles.

A massive voluntary recall from Cummins in July included more than 500,000 engines due to emissions system issues.A massive voluntary recall from Cummins in July included more than 500,000 engines due to emissions system issues.

7. Cummins recalls 500,000 engines over emissions system issue

The recall involved faulty emissions systems components that cause the engines to fall out of compliance with federal emissions regulations.

The trucks and engines under the voluntary recall saw degradation of their selective catalytic reduction systems, according to financial reports issued by Cummins. SCR systems are the exhaust aftertreatment components that use diesel exhaust fluid to curb emissions of nitrogen oxides and greenhouse gases.

6. Special report: Day of reckoning in driver shortage saga

This special report on the driver shortage by CCJ, the first of three parts, dives into the latest uproar over a lack of drivers. The cries have been heard for decades, but this time, carriers are turning down loads and shippers are paying double in some markets.

5. FMCSA initiates hours flexibility reforms process

FMCSA in August began the process of potential hours of service reforms for truck drivers, seeking feedback from the industry on ways to overhaul hours regs, including extending the 14-hour rule for adverse conditions, splitting the 10-hour break into segments, revising the 30-minute break requirement and expanding hours limits for short-haul drivers.

In December, Joe DeLorenzo, FMCSA’s director of enforcement and compliance, said the agency is sorting through the more than 5,100 comments filed and deciding whether to proceed with a proposal to overhaul the regs.

An Arkansas judge ruled in December that drivers should be paid for off-duty sleeper berth time.An Arkansas judge ruled in December that drivers should be paid for off-duty sleeper berth time.

4. Judge says drivers should be paid for sleeper berth time

An Arkansas federal judge in December ruled that drivers should be paid at least minimum wage for time spent off-duty in their sleeper berths. While the ruling doesn’t change any requirements for carriers, it could open the door to lawsuits brought by drivers.

The ruling also doesn’t state that drivers should necessarily be paid directly for sleeper berth time, but it does note that sleeper berth time is compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

3. States eye bills to suspend ELD enforcement, ask Congress for mandate repeal

In the wake of the ELD mandate, legislators in several states were looking to hold off on enforcement within their states’ borders or asked the federal government to repeal the mandate. Most of the bills cited small business truckers as the reasons to repeal or suspend the mandate. The efforts were either unsuccessful or didn’t advance, and hard enforcement of the ELD mandate has been in place since April.

2. Livestock/insect haulers relieved from ELD compliance ‘until further notice’

After a year-long saga for livestock and insect haulers getting short-term exemptions from the ELD mandate, the FMCSA in December issued an update telling these haulers they can use paper logs “until further notice.”

The agency also noted livestock haulers don’t have to carry documentation about the exemption.

The FMCSA announced in May it would allow truckers to use personal conveyance status to find safe parking if their hours of service are exhausted at a shipper or receiver.The FMCSA announced in May it would allow truckers to use personal conveyance status to find safe parking if their hours of service are exhausted at a shipper or receiver.

1. FMCSA allows drivers hours flexibility in finding parking after leaving shipper/receiver

FMCSA announced in May it would allow drivers to enter into personal conveyance status, whether the truck was loaded or unloaded, to find the nearest safe parking or rest locations after their hours of service are exhausted by a shipper/receiver, or when off-duty periods are interrupted by law enforcement.

The change was brought about by more strict enforcement that came about with the ELD mandate.