Class 8 orders continue sluggish start to 2019

Class 8 truck orders hit a 31-month low in April, with preliminary data from ACT Research showing 14,800 orders, a 6.2% decline from March but down 57% year-over-year.

“We continue to contend that current order weakness has more to do with very large Class 8 backlogs and orders already booked, than with the evolving supply-demand balance,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “Of course, contracting freight volumes, falling freight rates, and strong Class 8 capacity additions suggest that the supply-demand balance will become an issue later this year.”

FTR reported preliminary orders of 16,400 units, marking the fourth consecutive month that orders have been below the 20,000-unit mark. FTR had April’s orders 5% higher than March. It reports Class 8 orders for the past 12 months now total 380,000 units.

“Near-term build slots are becoming available as fleets rearrange orders based on current needs,” said Don Ake, FTR vice-president, commercial vehicles. “There still is limited cancellation activity, as fleets do not want to give up build slots they may need at a later date. They remember what happened last year when they needed trucks, but could not get enough of them.”

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Women in leadership roles remains low in trucking

DALLAS, Texas – Ellen Voie, president and CEO of Women in Trucking, says the most successful businesses embrace women in high level executive roles.

Citing several studies as evidence during the Omnitracs Outlook User Conference in Dallas today, Voie pointed to the correlation between success from a business standpoint and for the women in those leadership roles.

“We need more women in leadership roles,” she said. “We need more women running these businesses.”

In the U.S., 10% of top executives at trucking companies are female, while 14% occupy board seats.

S&P 500 companies are doing slightly better when it comes to women in leadership roles, with 26.5% being top executives, 21.2% holding seats on the board, but only 4.8% being CEOs.

Voie highlighted several challenges companies face when looking to bring more women into leadership positions, which are not limited to societal biases.

First and foremost, Voie said many women are “power reluctant,” where their male counterparts push harder to get what they want in the workplace.

“Women often don’t want to push for more authority or responsibility,” Voie said, adding that she was speaking in generalities.

Voie continued, saying women typically do not negotiate for higher salaries or benefits, and shy away from celebrating their accomplishments, underselling themselves.

She also said women are usually more modest than men, and are more concerned with being liked by others.

Voie pointed to the genetic makeup of women versus men, saying estrogen encourages bonding and connection, while discouraging conflict and risk taking.

Even the way women and men approach problem solving differs.

Citing the book Why Women, Voie said men tend to approach problem solving by narrowing the field of options and focusing in on the fastest solution. Women, on the other hand, expand the field of options and explore the best solution.

“Neither one is right or wrong,” said Voie. “It’s just a different approach to problem solving.”

If women are to become more successful in promoting themselves in the workplace, Voie said they need to be more positive, learn to handle criticism, savor positive moments, speak up, take credit, and accept praise.

“One of the things that is frustrating is when you give someone a compliment and they downplay it,” said Voie. “Just say thank you and stop right there.”

Altruism is also important to women when selecting a place to work.

“We want to have confidence that we are making our world a better place,” said Voie. “Not that men don’t, but it’s a higher priority for women when looking for a career.”

Aside from what women can do better to improve the number of women in leadership roles, Voie said societal bias around the effort remains.

Studies have shown that men who speak up in the workplace among their peers are viewed more positively, whereas women are viewed in a more negative light.

Voie pointed to the likeability study The Heidi-Howard Experiment from Harvard Business School. Choosing the case study of successful and outgoing entrepreneur Heidi Roizen, the same story was read by two groups, with one changing Heidi’s name to Howard. Though the groups found both the male and female characters to be equally competent, Howard came across as more appealing, and Heidi was seen as selfish and not someone they would want to work for.

“We expect women to act a certain way, but then in a leadership role, they are expected to act differently, which leads to confusion,” said Voie.

The #MeToo movement also had an impact on how men and women interact in the workplace.

Surveys reveal almost half of male managers are uncomfortable participating in common work activities with female colleagues, such as mentoring or even socializing.

Nearly 30% of male managers are not comfortable working alone with a woman, more than twice as many as prior to the #MeToo movement. Men in senior positions are 3.5 times more likely to hesitate to having dinner with a junior-level woman than a man, and five times more likely to hesitate to traveling for work with a junior-level woman compared to a male.

Voie said this trend is an unfortunate result of the #MeToo movement, and “it’s something we really need to address or at least be cognizant of.”

Voie advised carriers to be open to admitting there is a problem with the number of women in leadership roles in the industry. She said companies should review how and where they are looking to attract and hire women. Placing job advertisements in appropriate locations, such as university job boards and other places women job search, can help entice more qualified women to apply for positions. As will how a job posting is worded.

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Volvo teams with Trimble for fleet management services

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Volvo Trucks has partnered with Trimble Transportation Enterprise to collaborate on fleet management services.

The two companies inked a memorandum of understanding that will see Trimble develop future transportation management and fleet maintenance products and services for the company. The proposal centers around Volvo’s on-board connectivity hardware and will offer solutions to help fleets run their businesses more effectively.

“Our work with Trimble enables us to continue expanding our connected vehicle services offerings, focused on partnerships with best-in-class providers,” said Conal Deedy, director of connected vehicle Services for Volvo Trucks North America. “We’re working together to enhance our customers’ fleet management systems to provide better insight into how their assets are performing and offer solutions that will increase efficiencies in their organizations.”

“We are excited to be working with Volvo Trucks to explore unique solutions for our fleet customers to reduce equipment downtime and improve efficiencies through increased insight of asset performance and service history,” added Bryn Fosburgh, president of Trimble Transportation Enterprise.

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Big rig loses tire, driver notices 150 miles later

The tractor trailer that lost an entire wheel assembly while driving down Interstate 40 in Oklahoma on Monday has been found in Texas more than 150 miles away from the crash site.

The accident happened on October 29th in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma at around 4:45 a.m.

Police say that the tanker truck hauling gasoline, driven by 45-year-old Shannon Aaron Fast, was traveling along Interstate 40 between South Meridian Avenue and South MacArthur Boulevard when it lost the wheel.

Fast, who later told police that he “did not notice the wheels were missing” until he was miles away, then continued driving but the wheel stayed behind, apparently bouncing along the highway before striking and killing a woman in a pickup, as well as damaging two other vehicles, including a semi truck, and causing another car to overturn.

The 33-year-old driver of the pickup truck, Kasey Jill Morse, was found dead in her truck on the eastbound shoulder of I-40 at around 4:45 a.m. None of the other motorists involved suffered life-threatening injuries, though their vehicles were seriously damaged, reported The Oklahoman.

Police then began searching for the truck driver who lost the wheel but had little to go on until they received a tip from a repair shop in Gainesville, Texas, approximately 150 miles away from the crash scene, stating that they were replacing a wheel on a semi truck that matched what officers were looking for.

Police have since located Fast and contacted the trucking company and are currently investigating the incident, stating that they’re not sure whether the lost wheel is a case of tampering or neglecting truck maintenance.

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Community nervous about big rigs after 285 pounds of illegal drugs seized from semi truck

Nearly 300 pounds of illegal drugs were discovered inside a semi truck passing through Indiana this week, making nearby residents nervous about what the discovery could mean for their community.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says that both the Indiana and Illinois state police were conducting a training at the weigh station on I-70 in Vigo County, Indiana on October 30th near the Indiana – Illinois state line when officers noticed some suspicious details regarding one tractor trailer undergoing a routine inspection – the Electronic Logging Device had been unplugged several times, meaning the driver’s log information would be inaccurate, and that the seal on the trailer differed from the one listed on the shipping papers.

An officer then conducted a thorough inspection of the big rig and discovered four bags and one box containing 220 pounds of cocaine and 65 pounds of methamphetamine – drugs with a combined street value of around $5 million.

“No, we’re not talking a little bit of contraband,” Matt Ames, Indiana State Police Master Trooper said. “When the trooper did finally locate it, he jumped out of the vehicle. You could tell that he was very excited knowing that he’s doing a good job and keeping the drugs from reaching the public,” Ames continued.

The truck driver, 22-year-old Ravninder Kaler, was promptly arrested and is currently being held in the Vigo County Jail on charges of dealing narcotics and possession of narcotics.

Though this particular shipment of drugs has been taken off the streets, residents are left wondering what other contraband could be hiding within the tractor trailers driving through their community daily.

“It’s scary and I’m glad that they caught whoever it was to keep the drugs off our streets and our communities and our kid’s hands,” said local resident Lori Frey. “It makes you wonder every time you pass a semi what’s in it and where’s it going and why is it there.”

Officers say that the drugs were coming from California and were on route to Ohio.

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Trucker’s “wise decision” saves lives in busy intersection

A trucker’s quick thinking potentially saved the lives of multiple people on Monday after the truck’s gas pedal got stuck at an intersection.

The incident happened at around 11:00 a.m. on October 22nd in Lucasville, Ohio.

Ohio State Highway Patrol says that trucker Garrett Pendleton was traveling along State Route 104 near the State Route 348 and State Route 104 intersection when he realized that his gas pedal was stuck, sending the truck barreling towards the busy intersection.

Pendleton knew he had to take action quickly and began to exit left but soon realized he was heading straight for some construction workers, so he instead chose to steer his rig to the right, crashing into the side of a building formerly known as “Nickles Daycare.” The force of the impact brought the runaway big rig to a stop, debris from both the big rig and the building scattered across the grassy median, reported the Portsmouth Daily Times.

“I didn’t want to get to the intersection… There was a line of cars and I had to do something,” Pendleton explained.

An Ohio State Patrol spokesman says that Pendleton made a “wise decision” in avoiding the intersection and choosing to strike the building instead. He was uninjured in the incident.

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Deceased trucker discovered in rig on side of road

A truck driver was found dead in his rig on the side of a road in Florida early Thursday.

The incident happened on October 18th in Ocala, Florida at around 3:50 a.m.

Ocala police say that the semi truck was traveling west along Northwest Blichton Road when the rig suddenly swerved off the road and struck a pole, slowing it down before it came to a stop in the 3700 block of the road.

Several people at the gas station across the street noticed this occurrence and called 911, reported The Ocala Star Banner.

When police arrived, they discovered 60-year-old Tim Davis dead inside the cab of his rig.

Upon investigation, they discovered that Davis had left home and driven to Butcher Transportation Services Inc., his employer, picked up some water, and was on his was to Orlando when police believe he suffered some sort of medical condition, which took his life.

The incident is still under investigation.

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Dupre Logistics Recognized By Texas Motor Transport Association

Earlier this week the Texas Motor Transport Association announced the recognition of Dupre Logistics for their performance for outstanding achievement in highway safety at the annual Safety and Maintenance luncheon in San Antonio.

Seeing recognition for the 10 Million Mile class, Dupre Logistics was awarded the outstanding achievement in safety alongside the American Trucking Association and the TMTA.

Dupre Logistics reports that the company’s field safety supervisor, Stephen Murray, was present at the luncheon to accept the award for the outstanding achievement in highway safety.

“It is truly an honor for Dupré to receive such an award from the Texas Motor Transport Association,” said, vice-president of safety and risk management at Dupré, Al LaCombe. “Each employee is a true steward of the safety programs here at Dupré — which are overseen from the top down but work daily from the bottom up by job experts completing each task safely, one at a time.”

More information on Dupre may be found at the company’s site.

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Independent insurance agent group adds one more

Erie Insurance has announced that another independent insurance agency has joined its network.

Fairport, NY-based Fujimura Insurance Agency is the latest member to join Erie’s network. Fujimura Insurance offers a wide range of commercial and personal insurance, along with professional consultations and services.

“We are honored to partner with Erie Insurance as a local agency and work hard with the 94-year-old company,” said Fujimura Insurance Agency principal Robert K. Fujimura in a statement. “We will be working hard to continue to grow the presence and the scope of the Rochester Region for the company as we offer distinctive insurance products to the area.”

Fujimura Insurance Agency will continue to be based in the Fairport, NY area, serving the Greater Rochester Market.

Currently, Erie Insurance in Erie, PA has 12 operations in 12 states and the District of Columbia. The Fortune 500 company is rated A-plus by A.M. Best and is considered one of the 20 largest P&C insurers in America.

In April, a J.D. Power study found that Erie Insurance led the industry in terms of customer satisfaction in the auto insurance purchase experience, with a total satisfaction score of 877 out of 1,000. This is Erie’s sixth straight year earning the distinction.

Court orders trucking company to remove driver-facing cameras because they violate drivers’ privacy

A Canadian court has ruled that driver-facing cameras violate a trucker’s right to privacy and have ordered Sysco Quebec to remove the devices from their trucks.

The ruling was announced during the week of August 21st, by the Quebec Superior Court.

According to TVA Nouvelles, the truck drivers of Sysco Quebec have been rallying against driver-facing cameras for the last five years.

Back in 2012, Sysco began installing DriveCam driver-facing cameras in all of their trucks, claiming that they were only to be used to record evidence in case of an accident. The cameras were meant to record only specific events, such as sudden braking, for 12 seconds at a time. However, soon after the DriveCam cameras were installed, around 70 truck drivers for Sysco Quebec filed complaints about the cameras, claiming they would randomly start recording several times a day.

The truck drivers said they felt “watched” and “intimidated,” so their union filed a grievance.

In 2016, an arbitration panel reviewed the complaints and ordered Sysco to remove the driver-facing cameras. The arbitration tribunal called the cameras a “particularly intrusive” method to promote workplace safety, as the cab of a truck is more private than an office or other workplace.

Sysco contested the arbitration panel’s decision and the case was elevated to the Quebec Superior Court, which sided with the drivers in late August.

“The interior of our truck is a bit like our home,” explained Pierre Pelletier, an independent owner-operator of 30 years.

“We eat in there, we change … so it’s not very nice to be filming all the time.”

Sysco has refused to comment on the situation, but now has less than 30 days to file an appeal on the decision.

“In the United States, the many lawsuits that have been brought [against trucking companies] may push the industry to protect itself and invest in this kind of equipment,” said CEO of the Trucking Association and Counsel, Marc Cadieux.

“But here, it is the insurance companies that pay in the event of an accident. So, I do not see the point of filming the drivers.”

Despite the victory for truck drivers working for Sysco, the ruling will not necessarily keep all companies from installing driver-facing cameras.

“Certainly, it paves the way for other decisions that the courts could take, but that does not mean that some carriers could not use other grounds to justify the installation of cameras,” Cadieux continued.

“For example, some companies carry high-value items or downright money. Others carry dangerous products. So maybe at that time, some surveillance equipment inside the truck can be justified,” Cadieux added.

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