CCJ Daily Dispatch, Aug. 5: Sod haulers can operate under ag hours exemptions, for now

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Updated Aug 6, 2020

Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020:

FMCSA interprets sod turfgrass as ag commodity, for now
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said in a Federal Register notice published Aug. 5 that it interprets sod turfgrass as an agricultural commodity, thus allowing sod haulers to operate under the same hours of service waivers as other ag haulers.

The agency, in response to an hours waiver request from Turfgrass Producers International in June 2019, said based on definitions from Congress and other government agencies, sod turfgrass is already considered an agricultural commodity.

FMCSA acknowledged its July 2019 advance notice of proposed rulemaking still in the works that seeks to further clarify what freight is considered agricultural commodities and to what extent haulers of those commodities should receive exemptions from federal hours of service regulations.

“The agency’s decision today to interpret agricultural commodity as already including sod grass for purposes of resolving TPI’s exemption request is thus interim in nature and does not foreclose a revised or even contrary conclusion as a result of the related rulemaking,” FMCSA said in the notice regarding sod.

Drivewyze adds 12 new bypass locations in Montana, Illinois
Drivewyze has added 12 new locations in Montana and Illinois to its PreClear weigh station bypass service, the company announced Tuesday.

The new locations in Montana are:

  • Lima, I-15, north and southbound
  • Cameron, U.S. 287, north and southbound
  • Clearwater Junction, State Highway 200/83, eastbound and southbound
  • Clearwater Junction, State Highway 200, westbound

The new Illinois bypass locations are:

  • Brownstown, I-70, eastbound
  • Carlock, I-74, east and westbound
  • Peotone, I-57, north and southbound

Drivewyze says Carlock is a busy weigh station on the main route between Peoria and Bloomington, while Brownstown is the main thoroughfare between St. Louis and Indianapolis. Peotone, just south of Chicago, takes drivers right into Chicago.

Old Dominion opens nine new service centers
Old Dominion Freight Line (No. 9 on the CCJ Top 250) announced this week it has opened nine service centers in new and existing markets during the first half of 2020. With the new service centers, ODFL has a nationwide total of 238.

The LTL carrier’s new facilities include, Butte, Montana; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Conroe, Texas; Jonesboro, Arkansas; Lafayette, Indiana; LaGrange, Georgia; Rochester, New York; Rock Island, Illinois; and University Park, Illinois.

“Even during an unprecedented time, we will continue to invest in our network and look for additional ways to improve our operations,” said Chip Overbey, senior vice president of strategic planning. “Our goal is to build capacity to win market share, while shortening response time and transit times. Our investments align with our long-term strategic plan of investing in our business.”