Trucking conditions improved to start 2024

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, March 19, 2024:

Carriers’ conditions improved in January

FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index for January improved to -1.41 from the December reading of -4.3, indicating a less challenging financial environment for carriers.

Freight rates and financing costs were not as negative as they had been during the prior month, although fuel costs were not as favorable. The outlook for trucking conditions has improved but remains in negative territory for most of the year.

“Our forecast for freight volume is modestly stronger, but excess capacity continues to temper our expectations for a market revival,” said Avery Vise, FTR’s vice president of trucking. “Absent a triggering event like a surge in fuel prices, for example, we see a continued gradual drain of capacity that will not begin to shift market fundamentals for months. The eventual rebound also might be uneven as the first signs of improvement could slow the exit of excess capacity and delay a sustained recovery.”

[Related: Will spot rates respond to rising demand?]

Mack accepting 2025 calendar submissions

2025 Mack Calendar ContestMack Trucks is now accepting submissions for its 2025 calendar contest.Mack Trucks

The Mack Trucks Calendar Contest is on the hunt for the best-looking Mack trucks for the 2025 calendar edition. A dozen Bulldogs will grace next year’s edition, courtesy of a professional photo shoot provided by Mack.

New for this year, in honor of Mack Trucks’ 125th anniversary in 2025, the oldest Mack truck still working in revenue operation will automatically win a spot in the calendar. The age of the vehicle will be determined by the build date associated with the vehicle identification number (VIN), verified by Mack Trucks. The winner must still be in regular service, as opposed to being an historic or show truck.

As always, the contest allows Mack customers to submit online their photos and videos of their truck for Mack fans to vote for. The top entries for each category will be featured for one month in the 2025 Mack Calendar.

The entry period begins March 18. Online voting runs from April 1 through April 30. Voters are allowed to vote once daily for their choice.

Partner Insights
Information to advance your business from industry suppliers

Several new enhancements have been added to the entry and voting procedures this year to add excitement:

  • Enter before April 1 for 125 bonus votes
  • Submit a video entry, along with your truck photo, and receive another 125 bonus votes; directions for the video are on the entry form 
  • Bonus Vote Days – check Mack’s social media channels regularly for special promotions, when daily votes could count for double or even triple 
  • In addition, all entries are eligible to be promoted to Mack’s 700,0000+ followers across its social channels. 

The contest is open to trucks in revenue operation; that is, trucks currently working in fleets and not collector or antique vehicles. The voting categories are aligned with Mack’s truck models, the Mack Anthem, Granite, Pinnacle, TerraPro, Mack LR and Mack MD, plus the legacy category detailed above. Full contest rules and procedures are found on the Mack website.

Winners will be announced in early May, and Mack Trucks will schedule a professional photo shoot for each winning entry for the calendar.

[Related: Groundhog says it's time to prep for early Spring for owner-operator business]

Driver named Highway Angel for extinguishing car fire

Tifton, Georgia-based truck driver Stephen Miller has been named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association for stopping to extinguish an extensive car fire. Miller works for Hogan Transports, Inc. out of Maryland Heights, Missouri. 

Stephen MillerStephen MillerOn Feb. 21 at 12:15 a.m., Miller was traveling southbound on I-75 in Punta Gorda, Florida, when a vehicle passed him at a high rate of speed. As they were traveling over a bridge near exit 164, the vehicle in front of Miller crossed over a dip in the road. 

“The guy hit the dip and I thought he wiped out because there was a huge plume of smoke,” Miller said. “As I was coming through the smoke, I’m looking for a wrecked-out vehicle.” 

Miller continued driving and noticed the car in front of him with smoke, and then flames shooting out from underneath.  The driver of the inflamed car pulled over. Immediately, Miller safely pulled his truck over and grabbed his fire extinguisher. As other vehicles passed the scene, he sprang into action. 

“I jumped out and ran back there and shot the fire extinguisher underneath the car to see if I could get the fire out from there because that’s where it was coming from,” Miller said. 

The fire wasn’t going out, so he asked the driver to pop the hood -- then Miller deployed the rest of the fire extinguisher. The fire continued, so he ran back to his truck and grabbed the 40-pack of bottled water that he kept with him.  

“I got the fire out with the bottles of water,” said Miller, who has been driving a truck for 10 years. 

He stayed by the vehicle with the driver until first responders arrived. There were no injuries to the male driver and passenger from the vehicle. 

“I was raised if you see something, you help out if you can -- we gotta look out for each other,” Miller said. 

Showcase your workhorse
Add a photo of your rig to our Reader Rigs collection to share it with your peers and the world. Tell us the story behind the truck and your business to help build its story.
Submit Your Rig
Reader Rig Submission