CCJ Daily Dispatch, May 27: New HOS regs slated to take effect in Sept.; Ryder shareholders allege company inflated truck values

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Updated May 29, 2020

Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, May 27, 2020: 

Ryder shareholders allege fraudulent financial reporting in lawsuit
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Ryder System on behalf of company shareholders, who allege Ryder executives inflated values of the equipment in its fleet between July 2015 and February 2020 to artificially inflate the company’s stock price.

Ryder would not comment on the allegations made within the lawsuit.

Murphy Law Firm, one of several firms representing plaintiffs in the case, issued a press release last week announcing the lawsuit. The claim accuses Ryder of “drastically overstating the residual values of its trucking fleet,” pointing to the $357 million deprecation charge the fleet took in the first quarter of this year. The charge-out precipitated a 20% dip in the company’s stock price in just two days of trading, falling from $50.19 to $40.12 a share in mid-February, just before the stock market crashed as the coronavirus pandemic hit U.S. shores.

When Ryder reported the depreciation charge and losses on used truck sales, it also announced that it expected to incur another $275 million in depreciation expense on its fleet.

Ryder’s 2019 fourth quarter earnings and 2020 forecast, released Feb. 13, confirms the $357 million depreciation impact from residual value estimate changes and $59 million in losses from used truck sales, along with the estimated $275 million depreciation expense on the fleet for 2020.

The lawsuit also alleges that Ryder executives “made materially false and misleading statements to investors by repeatedly increasing the reported residual values for Ryder System’s trucks during a time when sales of used trucks were declining.”

The lawsuit aims to recover losses for Ryder shareholders, with all litigation costs and expenses covered by Murphy.

New hours of service regs to take effect in late September
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s recently announced hours of service changes will take effect Tuesday, Sept. 29, according to the final rule that is set to be published in the Federal Register June 1. Though FMCSA did not list a date yet, the rule is slated to be published June 1 and will become effective 120 days after that — Sept. 29.

As reported earlier this month, the changes include expanded split-sleeper berth options; allowing the 30-minute break to be taken in on-duty, not-driving status; allowing an additional two hours to be added to the driving window for adverse conditions; and expanding the short-haul exception from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.

For the amended split sleeper berth provisions, drivers will now be allowed to split their 10-hour off-duty period into windows of seven hours and three hours, in addition to the existing eight-hour and two-hour option. Additionally, the shorter window in any split of off-duty time will not count against drivers’ 14-hour on-duty clock, unlike with current regs.

For the 30-minute break, in addition to the duty status change, drivers will now be required to take the break within their first eight hours of driving, rather than their first eight hours on-duty.

Petitions for Reconsideration of the final rule must be submitted to FMCSA within 30 days of the rule’s publication in June 1.

Mack produces, donates PPE to local businesses near production plant
Mack Trucks recently donated approximately 500 pieces of personal protective equipment that the company manufactured at its Lehigh Valley Operations plant in Macungie, Pennsylvania.

The company produced face shield headbands utilizing its 3D printer, as well as hand-crafted assembly at the plant that produces Mack’s Class 8 trucks. It also recently began producing 3D-printed ear guards for more comfort for employees wearing face masks.

The equipment was first given to employees then donated to various organizations, including Lehigh Valley Health Network, Lehigh Center, Kirkland Village, Westminster Village and the Eaton Home. Mack will donate more PPE pieces as they are produced.

Mack also recently donated $10,000 to the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania.