Beware of increased cargo theft risk around July 4

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Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, July 2, 2024:

Take cargo theft precautions ahead of July 4

CargoNet July 4 theft trendsCargoNet has tracked 174 cargo thefts during the July 1-July 7 holiday period over the last five years, totaling more than $4.1 million in lost cargo.CargoNet, a Verisk company

CargoNet on Monday issued an urgent advisory to the logistics industry, warning of an increased risk of cargo theft during the upcoming July 4th holiday week as extended business closures can create an advantageous operating environment for cargo thieves.

Based on an analysis of 174 thefts that occurred between July 1 and July 7 over the past five years, CargoNet has identified several key trends:

  • Peak risk days: July 1 and 2 consistently show the highest rates of theft, likely due to loaded conveyances left unattended before the holiday.
  • Increasing trend: While 2023 saw record-high theft rates, 2024 is on track to surpass those numbers.
  • High-risk areas: California, Texas, and Florida remain the states most targeted by cargo thieves. The counties of San Bernardino, California; Maricopa, Arizona; Dallas; Los Angeles; and Shelby, Tennessee, are particular hotspots.
  • Targeted items: Thieves show a preference for non-alcoholic beverages (especially energy drinks), major appliances, and computer electronics.
  • Theft methods: Direct cargo and conveyance theft continues to be more common than complex fraud schemes.

"Cargo thieves are well aware that extended holiday closures work to their advantage," said Keith Lewis, vice president of operations at CargoNet. "With theft activity already surpassing 2023's record highs, we urge the industry to remain vigilant throughout the holiday weekend."

Noteworthy thefts from previous July 4th holidays include:

  • $439,895 in medical supplies from Davenport, Florida
  • $352,000 of computer electronics from San Francisco, California
  • $314,191 of computer electronics from Commerce, California
  • $180,000 of meat products from Georgetown, Texas
  • $180,000 of ATV’s from Savannah, Georgia

See the graphic below for tips on protecting cargo during the upcoming holiday period:

July 4 cargo theft tips CargoNet

Towing fee transparency comment period extended

Truck drivers, carriers and others now have through Aug. 1 to share their perspectives on current industry practices regarding the disclosure of towing fees to the commercial motor vehicle owners and whether the owner is made aware of costs and fees prior to the tow.

A notice published May 31 announced the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s plans for a public meeting regarding towing industry practices and fees, which was held June 21. The agency also set a July 1 deadline for submitted comments for those unable to participate in the meeting.

As reported, the meeting featured input from both the trucking industry and the towing industry largely discussing what is or isn’t predatory when it comes to towing fees.

FMCSA said during that June 21 meeting, certain parties expressed an interest in the comment deadline being extended to allow more input from both industries.

The agency said it “believes it is in the public interest to allow additional time for interested parties to submit written comments to the docket.”

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Comments can be filed here through Aug. 1.

[Related: Predatory towing: How can fleets avoid becoming victims?]

FMCSA denies HOS waiver for medical waste pickup company

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has denied an exemption request from Clym Environmental Services that would have allowed its drivers up to 14 hours of drive time within the work shift or, alternatively, up to 12 hours.

In its request, Clym indicated that, due to the nature of its operations, complying with the 11-hour driving time limit in the HOS regs places a strain on the company’s drivers and its overall operating costs.

The waiver would have only applied to drivers operating on a long-haul route between Clym’s office in New Castle, Pennsylvania, and its ozone destruction plant in Greenfield, Indiana. It would not have applied to any drivers operating on the company’s local routes.

In denying the request, FMCSA said Clym did not establish that it would maintain an equivalent or greater level of safety than operating without the exemption.

ATA opens industry image award nomination period

The American Trucking Associations is now accepting nominations to recognize the most passionate representatives of the trucking industry’s image with the 2024 Mike Russell Trucking Industry Image Award.

“The Mike Russell Award showcases the creativity and dedication of individuals and organizations to burnishing the image of trucking and raising positive awareness of the industry,” said ATA Chief Operating Officer Sarah Rajtik. â€śThis award recognizes people who go above and beyond to improve the image of trucking, while inspiring others to contribute in the future.”

The Mike Russell Trucking Industry Image Award, sponsored by Great West Casualty Company, celebrates companies, organizations and individuals who creatively generate awareness of the trucking industry. It’s presented to an individual, motor carrier, trucking organization and industry supplier who demonstrate excellence in creating a positive image for the industry, illustrated by a safety-first approach to conducting business and professionalism. 

Last year, ATA recognized Florida Trucking Association, Idaho Trucking Association, Total Transportation of Mississippi, Bob Bramwell and Rob Phillips.

The Mike Russell Trucking Image Award is named in honor of Mike Russell, a trucking industry supporter and former ATA Vice President of Public Affairs. 

Submissions for the Mike Russell Trucking Industry Image Award are assessed by an expert, impartial panel of judges based on creativity, frequency, reach, impact and execution. 

More information on submitting nominations can be found here. Nominations can be submitted through Aug. 6. The winners of the 2024 Mike Russell Trucking Image Award will be announced on Oct. 12-15 during the American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference and Exhibition in Nashville, Tennessee.