Overdrive Staff | March 01, 2010

Tom Bower, a small fleet owner of four trucks and an operator from Kentucky, said the duty rule’s inflexibility causes him and his drivers to lose time. “Waiting can make you more tired than working,” he told an FMCSA panel at the session in Davenport, Iowa.

Ralph Pepper, who’s been driving for 36 years, said the 14-hour limit hurts his ability to make a living. “It’s coming down to a stranglehold on drivers out there,” said Pepper, one of dozens of who called in comments.

Chris Perry, who said he’s driven for more than 30 years with more than 3.5 million safe miles, called to say FMCSA treats all drivers the same with the existing regulations. “I know when I’m tired,” he said. “I don’t need a babysitter. Before the DOT took over, it seemed a lot easier because we were left alone to do our job, period.”

Attending the session in person, owner-operator Bob Kinsley of Toledo, Iowa, said that although he likes the 14-hour clock and the 11 hours of driving within that, he noted there’s no flexibility to take a nap or a break. “I don’t eat a meal in the truck stop,” he said. “I don’t have the time.”

— Max Kvidera

Short hauls

SCHNEIDER NATIONAL plans to hire an estimated 2,100 drivers to expand its regional driving force to 2,500 drivers by December. The drivers will serve short-haul routes in the company’s West, Southwest, Midwest, Southeast and Northeast regions.

IN RECENT MONTHS, 59 truck owners working the Port of Seattle have turned in their older polluting diesel trucks for a $5,000 scrap credit. About 85 percent of the trucks have been or are being replaced with a newer truck, according to Cascade Sierra Solutions. As of Dec. 31, 2010, no pre-1994 engine trucks will be allowed access to the port.

Analysis: Intermodal transport gains

Intermodal transport gained market share from trucking in 2009’s fourth quarter, according to analysis by transportation research firm FTR Associates.

Intermodal transport gained market share against trucks in the fourth quarter of 2009, reaching a new high in the process, an analysis by FTR Associates shows.

Intermodal’s share of U.S. long-haul (550-plus miles) movements of international and domestic containerized freight was estimated to be 13.3 percent in the fourth quarter, up 0.2 percent from the third quarter and slightly above the previous high-water mark achieved in the 2008 fourth quarter.

“Intermodal has gained share for three consecutive quarters since the freight meltdown late last year,” says Lawrence Gross, FTR senior consultant. “This latest increase has been driven by improvement in the international intermodal sector, an indication that imports and exports are rebounding faster than domestic traffic.”

The market share of the domestic intermodal sector, which had been growing earlier in the year, was flat in the fourth quarter, says Gross, who expects the overall positive trend to continue. “Provided that the railroads maintain their current high levels of service, we see a variety of factors leading to a resumption of domestic share growth even as the international sector continues to rebound,” he says.

— Staff reports

EPA revises DEF stance

Under legal pressure from Navistar, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revised its 2010 engine emissions guidance for the number of miles and hours a vehicle using selective catalytic reduction technology can operate after the diesel exhaust fluid is exhausted.

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