— Jill Dunn
SPOT MARKET FREIGHT availability increased by 9 percent in the 12 months ending in October, according to the TransCore Freight Index, a measure of truckload freight found on load boards supported by the company’s DAT network. TransCore says it is 2009’s first positive year-over-year comparison and is due to a good second half of 2009 and a very weak October 2008.
NET ORDERS for heavy-duty Class 8 commercial vehicles increased to 21,500 units in October, the highest level since January 2008, says ACT Research Co. ACT said Class 8 new orders were up across all three North American regions, as well as exports. Medium-duty Class 5-7 net orders were also at their highest level of the year, up 50 percent from the prior year.
CALIFORNIA WARNS that truckers with reefer units of 2002 model year and older were supposed to be in compliance with emissions control technology as of Jan. 1. Owners of non-compliant transportation refrigeration units could be penalized up to $500 per violation. More information is available at www.arb.ca.gov/diesel/tru.htm
Truckers increase use of sick days
While the number of truckers off work because of illness or injury remained stable between 2007 and 2008, the median number of days truckers were off work because of health issues increased from 15 to 17 days in 2008 from the previous year. The data comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers had 57,700 cases with days away from work, up 650 cases between 2007 and 2008. They were an exception in this category compared to other private industry occupations. The number of non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work across other jobs decreased 7 percent from 2007 to 2008.
But truckers matched the national trend for median days away from work, considered a key measure of severity of the injuries and illnesses. Across all occupations, that number increased for the first time in four years to eight days in 2008. Traditionally, truckers rank near the top annually for the most days missed because of sickness or injury.
Truck driving is one of eight occupations that had the most injuries and illnesses in 2008.
— Jill Dunn
Feds to hold hearings on hours rule
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will hold three January public listening sessions on hours of service after a FMCSA committee held a public meeting Dec. 7.
The agency’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee’s new task is to gather HOS information and recommendations to provide advice on new requirements.
Officials will have three listening sessions Jan. 18-29. Also in January, the FMCSA will issue a Federal Register notice soliciting data and research information the agency may consider in drafting a notice of proposed rulemaking.