Detention time continues to be a drag on drivers

Detention frequency and length have increased over the past four years, with negative impacts on driver productivity, regulatory compliance and compensation, according to new ATRI study.

Most drivers have run out of available hours-of-service (HOS) at a customer’s facility due to detention. And that detention, according to a new analysis by the
American Transportation Research Institute, had a significant impact on their ability to comply with HOS rules.

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Why the delay in FMCSA’s proposed HOS changes?

The announced July 31 date for a ruling came and went. What’s next is anyone’s guess.  The trucking industry is likely hoping three times will not be the charm when it comes to the highly anticipated hours-of-service (HOS) rule changes. First, they were scheduled for publication on June 7.  Next, they were to come out on July 31, according to the Department of Transportation’s latest report on significant rulemakings. It now being August meant that didn’t happen.

Fleet Owner contacted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) seeking clarity. We were given a contact person to shed light on the situation, left a message, and are waiting to hear back. If we do so, this story will be updated. The public comment period which was set to go through Sept. 16, was based on the July 31 information release, so that will likely be pushed back as well.

Fleet Owner also sought comment from The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In a return email, Chris Jennings, OMB press secretary, wrote that the HOS rules “are currently under review by OIRA (Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs). OMB historically does not comment on rules until review is finalized.”

Two academicians and trucking experts, one an author on the industry and the other with a book in progress, provided their views on the situation.

Steve Viscelli is a Ph.D., sociologist and author of The Big Rig: Trucking & the Decline of the American Dream. He spent over a decade studying the industry and interviewing truckers. He obtained a CDL and drove full-time for six months to experience a driver’s life. He is a Senior Fellow at the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.

“On the other end, we have drivers who a couple weeks ago had never seen the inside of a truck and are now living out of one for weeks at a time working almost continuously until they are exhausted. Developing a single set of rules to make the job safer across that spectrum is complex to say the least. That’s the legitimate challenge of hours of service regulations.

“The second reason is completely different. Huge numbers of hours are still not recorded accurately (non-driving on-duty time). Carriers will continue to build those illegal hours into their process. That is just how the industry has worked for decades. The industry and drivers have for so long disregarded both the letter and the spirit of hours of service that the basic foundation of the system is rotten.

“Tweaking the rules isn’t going to change that. We need to completely rethink HOS and, most importantly, build a system that, rather than imposing simplistic rules, addresses the central importance of the economics of driver pay, experience and safety.”

Karen Levy is an assistant professor of Information Science at Cornell University. She has written about trucking for the L.A. Times and other periodicals and is writing a book called Data Driven: Truckers, Automation, and the New Workplace Surveillance. She has no knowledge of when the new HOS rules will be released but has opinions on what they should contain.

“By all accounts, any HOS reforms need to give truckers the flexibility they need to do their jobs safely and efficiently,” she said. “Truckers have the best and most relevant expertise to structure their work in response to the conditions around them—the weather, the traffic, their fatigue level and physical needs. One-size-fits-all HOS rules are hard for truckers to stomach because they’re inflexible to these variables, especially in the ELD era. Things like eliminating the 30-minute rest break or returning to a split sleeper birth would help truckers adapt the rules to the many contingencies they face on the road.”

In FMCSA’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published Aug. 23, 2018, four questions were asked publicly so it could better define what trucking industry stakeholders thought. The more than 5,200 responses are being considered as the DOT prepares its proposals. The questions were:

  • Should the agency expand the current 100 air-mile “short-haul” exemption from 12 hours on duty to 14 hours on duty, to be consistent with the workday rules for long-haul truck drivers?
  • Is there adequate flexibility in the adverse driving exception that currently expands driving time by up to two hours?
  • If the 30-minute rest break after eight hours of driving did not exist, would drivers obtain adequate rest breaks throughout a daily driving period to relieve fatigue?
  • Do you have information that would support reinstating the option for splitting up the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating trucks with sleeper-berth compartments?

This article was originally published by American Trucker.

The Financial Factor


By Emily Pogue

For those in the trucking industry, time is money. More time spent hauling loads and moving product over the road means more income.
Halting that process to organize, invoice, and attempt to get paid
leads to missed opportunities and wasted time. And some small independent carriers find themselves behind the wheel and unable to organize their process in a way that doesn’t hurt their bottom line. Assist Financial Services is closing the gap for their clients by managing those transactions and creating a streamlined flow of billing, cash payments, and a quick turnaround for those managed receivables.

Assist Financial Services (AFS) is an accounts receivable factoring company that takes on the invoices generated from their independent carrier clients in the trucking industry, provides cash for those invoices, and helps to turn those invoices into payment from their brokers in an average of 30 days. That’s nearly 10 days earlier than some similar factor companies. Fast payments from those brokers not only helps cash continue to flow, it also allows AFS
clients to keep growing their businesses.

With an average of 16,000 invoices per month being processed by AFS, many clients are seeing fast results. Chief Operating Officer Merrell Holbrook says that accessible, personal customer service and good relationships with clients and their brokers are what makes AFS unique.

“You build a good relationship with the brokers and you also build a good relationship with the customer,” says Holbrook. “We know our clients appreciate who they’re getting here when they call us.”

When you call AFS, you reach a member of their team, not a machine. Having pride in their customer service means getting to know their clients and being available so clients know and trust them. With more than 150 years of collective transportation experience, the staff at AFS work solely in the transportation industry and serve up Midwest values on a national scale. Nearly 80 percent of referrals come from satisfied customers who have experienced the incredible customer service and industry knowledge that AFS provides.

“We know that our clients will tell others that it is the best service they can receive,” says Holbrook.

In addition to being a premier factoring company with clients across the nation, AFS is doing more than just billing; they also help with other processes that are beneficial to trucking industry owners. They offer free credit checks of customers to help minimize the likelihood of taking a load from someone with poor credit or a less than stable payment history. Convenient 24/7 access to online accounts allows AFS clients to stay up to date on invoicing, credit checks on brokers, and other pertinent information at any time of the day or night.

There are also easy options for invoice delivery, fuel discount cards, conflict resolution, and selective debtor funding, all made possible by industry aware representatives at Assist Financial Services. They understand the needs of independent carriers and deliver superior service. And while AFS serves clients from around the country, Holbrook says he would happily welcome more South Dakota clients.

To get more information on Assist Financial Services, visit their website at or call their sales team directly at 877-287-3835.

This article was originally published by The Motor Market July 2019.


Freightliner’s Team Run Smart focuses on careers in professional truck driving

The Team Run Smart Pros will be on hand at the 40th Annual Walcott Truckers Jamboree from July 11-13 at the Iowa 80 Truckstop, in Walcott, IA.

Freightliner Trucks has expanded Team Run Smart to include a deeper focus on career opportunities available in professional truck driving, while providing valuable resources on how to succeed in the career. Team Run Smart has also added a lineup of drivers to represent five distinct categories in the profession to serve as industry resources to the Team Run Smart community. 

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Cash flow tips for owner-operators

Three ways to make sure your money is budgeted properly from Jeremy Robison, president of Tetra Capital.

Expenses for owner-operators can at times seem never to stop adding up when you consider insurance, fuel, meals, expected and unexpected maintenance and repairs, just to name a few. With all of these expenses, one of the biggest challenges facing owner-operators is cash flow. Being proactive about cash flow is always the best option when you are running your own trucking business.  Here are three cash flow tips to help keep you ahead of a cash flow crisis.

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How to keep drivers happy

More loyalty, quicker pay and technology usage are effective.  The trucker shortage is everyone’s problem. The lack of drivers is causing the prices of nearly everything to go up, whether it’s your grocery bill, your business expenses or, perhaps worst of all, your Amazon Prime membership.

It’s all because shipping demands are rising in tandem with driver vacancies. For large carriers, this means a driver turnover rate as high as 94% while shipping demand, particularly for spot freight loads, is booming.