Anne Ferro, head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, said a widespread approach is needed to reduce fatigue-related crashes by truckers.
“There is no silver bullet … but what we need to strive for is silver buckshot,” Ferro said. She said this could be accomplished through research, programs, events, education, and targeted outreach and intervention.
The challenge for FMCSA and industry leaders is “to provide affordable and implementable solutions for the industry at large,” Ferro said, including small fleet owners and owner-operators who “can’t always leverage the economies of scale that large carriers can.”
Dr. Martin R. Walker, chief of FMCSA’s research division, noted that a 2002 study found that almost a third of commercial drivers have mild to severe obstructive sleep apnea. This study, along with a later study, found that older age and higher body mass index – two factors common to truckers – are commonly linked with sleep apnea.
— Misty Bell
Trailer orders surge in March
March commercial trailer net orders were up 165 percent from March 2009, says an ACT Research Co. report.
Commercial trailer net orders have posted year-over year growth for six consecutive months, including four months in which the increases were more than double last year.
The ACT trailer report notes year-over-year growth in all nine trailer segments. Dry van, the volume leader, has a year-to-date growth in net orders of 233 percent. Reefer van, which generally performed best during the recession, continues to gain, with year-to-date growth of 63 percent.
The improving orders pushed total trailer backlogs to their highest level in 18 months, which will support a gradual increase in production rates, the firm said.
“The stretch of stronger months has come during the normal peak season for trailer orders, so the industry is being cautious about ramping up production too rapidly to ensure growth is sustainable,” says Steve Tam, vice president of the commercial vehicle sector with ACT Research.
– Staff reports
SPOT MARKET FREIGHT availability increased by 259 percent in March compared to a year earlier, according to TransCore’s North American Freight Index. The high load volume in March, added to the atypically high totals of January and February, contributed to the strongest first-quarter volume since 2004, according to the company. March’s spot freight also exceeded February’s near-record volume by 44 percent.
THE CALIFORNIA AIR RESOURCES BOARD has begun to revise its strategy for the cleanup of on- and off-road diesel engines. CARB has asked staff to draft changes to the regulations that will mitigate the potential effects of an unfavorable economy on affected businesses. CARB also told staff to consider approaches to give credit to firms that already have complied with the regulations, and to examine the possibility of additional loans and incentive funding for the program.