Warning: Holiday week boosts cargo theft danger | Tow-fee comments extended

Trucking news and briefs for Monday, July 1, 2024:

Take cargo theft precautions ahead of July 4

CargoNet July 4 theft trendsCargoNet has tracked 174 cargo thefts during the July 1-July 7 holiday period over the last five years, totaling more than $4.1 million in lost cargo.CargoNet, a Verisk company

CargoNet on Monday issued an urgent advisory to the logistics industry, warning of an increased risk of cargo theft during the upcoming July 4th holiday week as extended business closures can create an advantageous operating environment for thieves.

Based on an analysis of 174 thefts that occurred between July 1 and July 7 over the past five years, CargoNet has identified several key trends:

  • Peak risk days: July 1 and 2 consistently show the highest rates of theft, likely due to loaded conveyances left unattended before the holiday.
  • Increasing trend: While 2023 saw record-high theft rates, 2024 is on track to surpass those numbers.
  • High-risk areas: California, Texas, and Florida remain the states with the most cargo theft incidents. The counties of San Bernardino, California; Maricopa, Arizona; Dallas; Los Angeles; and Shelby, Tennessee, are particular hotspots.
  • Targeted items: Thieves show a preference for non-alcoholic beverages (especially energy drinks), major appliances, and computer electronics.
  • Theft methods: Direct cargo and truck theft continues to be more common than complex fraud schemes.

"Cargo thieves are well aware that extended holiday closures work to their advantage," said Keith Lewis, vice president of operations at CargoNet. "With theft activity already surpassing 2023's record highs, we urge the industry to remain vigilant throughout the holiday weekend."

Noteworthy thefts from previous July 4th holidays include:

  • $439,895 in medical supplies from Davenport, Florida
  • $352,000 of computer electronics from San Francisco, California
  • $314,191 of computer electronics from Commerce, California
  • $180,000 of meat products from Georgetown, Texas
  • $180,000 of ATV’s from Savannah, Georgia

See the graphic below for tips on protecting cargo during the upcoming holiday period:

July 4 cargo theft tips CargoNet

Towing fee transparency comment period extended

Truck drivers, carriers and others now have through Aug. 1 to share their perspectives on current industry practices regarding the disclosure of towing fees to the commercial motor vehicle owners and whether the owner is made aware of costs and fees prior to the tow.

A notice published May 31 announced the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s plans for a public meeting regarding towing industry practices and fees, which was held June 21 and was dominated by tow-truck industry participants. As reported, the meeting featured discussion of what is or isn’t predatory when it comes to towing fees, some of it from a few trucking interests, too.

The agency also set a July 1 deadline for submitted comments for those unable to participate in the meeting, yet FMCSA noted that during that June 21 meeting certain parties expressed an interest in the comment deadline being extended to allow more input from both industries.

The agency said it “believes it is in the public interest to allow additional time for interested parties to submit written comments to the docket.”

Partner Insights
Information to advance your business from industry suppliers
BlueParrott B350-XT
Presented by BlueParrott
The ALL NEW Rand Tablet
Presented by Rand McNally

Comments can be filed here through Aug. 1.

[Related: Towing industry dominates FMCSA public discussion of predatory billing and practice]

International trucks caught up in growing tie rod recall

Navistar is the latest OEM to issue a recall due to a potentially faulty tie rod assembly that could affect the steering of included trucks.

Navistar’s recall affects approximately 116 model year 2025 International HV, LT, MV and RH trucks.

Tie rod assemblies in the affected units may contain ball studs that may have been incorrectly heat-treated, which can cause them to break, and possibly result in tie rod failure. Tie rod failure can cause a loss of vehicle steering control and increase the risk of a crash.

Dealers will replace the tie rod ends and realign the front axle, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed Aug. 12. Owners can contact Navistar customer service at 800-448-7825 with recall number 24509. NHTSA’s recall number is 24V-462.

Previously, recalls have also been issued by Paccar, Daimler, Volvo and Mack due to improperly heat-treated ball studs.

FMCSA denies HOS waiver for medical waste pickup company

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has denied an exemption request from Clym Environmental Services that would have allowed its drivers up to 14 hours of drive time within the work shift or, alternatively, up to 12 hours.

In its request, Clym indicated that, due to the nature of its operations, complying with the 11-hour driving time limit in the HOS regs places a strain on the company’s drivers and its overall operating costs.

The waiver would have only applied to drivers operating on a long-haul route between Clym’s office in New Castle, Pennsylvania, and its ozone destruction plant in Greenfield, Indiana. It would not have applied to any drivers operating on the company’s local routes.

In denying the request, FMCSA said Clym did not establish that it would maintain an equivalent or greater level of safety than operating without the exemption.

[Related: Successful owners tackle detention's time, cost, and rates impact: Two new surveys]

Drivewyze adds free, real-time traffic alerts in Texas

Fleets utilizing the Drivewyze platform and operating in Texas can now take advantage of a new Smart Roadways service with the Texas Department of Transportation, using Drivewyze’s connected truck network and INRIX real-time traffic data.

Through Smart Roadways, 285 miles of I-45 between Dallas and Galveston are currently being monitored, providing truck drivers with in-cab alerts on sudden and unexpected slowdowns of traffic and other hazards. By the end of July, more than 3,000 interstate miles in Texas will be monitored.

Texas joins nine other states that have partnered with Drivewyze and INRIX in rolling out traffic slowdown alerts as part of their connected truck safety programs.

The in-cab alerts, using visual messages such as “sudden slowdown ahead” along with an audible chime, are configured to allow ample time for trucks to slow down or stop, as necessary.

In 2022, there were nearly 4,500 motor vehicle traffic fatalities and nearly 19,000 serious injuries in Texas, which equates to a traffic death every 1 hour and 57 minutes, INRIX said. The latest National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report (2021) showed Texas had the most fatalities involving commercial trucks of any state, with 806.

Traffic slowdown alerts are offered to the entire trucking industry at no cost. Any commercial truck driver or fleet can access the alerts free of charge through a recently introduced service called Drivewyze Free.

Drivewyze Free includes access to agency sponsored real-time traffic slowdown alerts and other alerts and advisories generated in partnership with select state transportation and enforcement agencies. In addition, core message sets include Drivewyze sponsored alerts and advisories for High-Rollover risk areas, Low Bridges, and Mountain alerts (steep grade ahead; chain-up/brake check stations; and runaway ramps).

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