Trucking Biz Buzz

Mary Johnston Scholarship benefits descendants of OOIDA members

The OOIDA Mary Johnston Scholarship Program has helped dozens of truck drivers’ children pay for college.

Started in 1998, the scholarship has contributed $315,000 to 100 awardees, who are the children, grandchildren and legal dependents of OOIDA members. In the coming months, a new batch of prospective students will be named scholarship recipients.

Applications and all required materials for the 2019 scholarships must be postmarked no later than Feb. 1.

Each year, one $2,000 scholarship and four $1,000 scholarships are awarded. An alternate also is named each year. The funds are transferred directly to the student’s selected institution and can be renewed for a total of four years. 

The funds can be used for tuition or any legitimate school-related expenses.

Each student must submit an application, 500-word essay on the topic indicated on the application and a transcript from high school or from an institution of higher learning. To learn more about how to apply, go here.

The students are selected in a blind evaluation conducted by the OOIDA Scholarship Advisory Committee.

Winners will be notified by a letter after OOIDA’s spring board meeting. OOIDA will verify enrollment and deposit the funds directly into the student’s account at the college or technical school of his or her choice. Funds will be available in the first week of August for each year.

Donations to the scholarship program can be made here.

Trucking jobs up in November; slated for five-digit increase for the year

Net transportation jobs continued to spike in November after a large increase in October and September. The transport sector gained more than 25,000 jobs as a result of high increases in the couriers, warehousing, “support activities” and trucking subsectors, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The truck transportation subsector experienced an increase of 4,500 jobs in November after the industry lost 200 in October but gained nearly 5,000 in September. Numbers for November and October are preliminary and are likely to change in the coming months. So far, trucking jobs are up nearly 33,000 for the year.

Couriers/messengers experienced the largest increase in the sector with approximately 10,000 jobs added. That was followed by warehousing/storage with 6,200. There were 5,200 “support activities” jobs added. Trucking was close behind with 4,500 more jobs. Only three subsectors experienced a loss, with air transport losing the most, with 800 fewer jobs.

In 2017, the transportation and warehousing sector had a net gain of more than 3 million jobs. In every month except January there was a job increase compared to the previous month. September accounted for the largest one-month increase, with more than 25,000 jobs in the sector added to the economy. For the year, the trucking subsector had a net gain of 9,400 jobs in 2017.

Average hourly earnings for the transportation and warehousing sector was $24.45 for November – a penny less than in October. Earnings were up 33 cents from November 2017. Hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees went up 18 cents to $22.27 from the previous month and up 71 cents year to year. Average hourly earnings for private, nonfarm payrolls across all industries were $27.35, a 6-cent increase from the previous month. Compared with a year ago, average earnings have gone up by 3.1 percent, or 81 cents.

According to the report, the unemployment rate for transportation and material-moving occupations dropped dramatically to 4 percent, compared with 5.8 percent in November 2017. The rate also decreased significantly from 4.8 percent in October. The overall unemployment remained stagnant at 3.7 percent. The number of long-term unemployed declined by about 120,000 to 1.3 million, accounting for 20.8 percent of the unemployed.

Four rookie truckers vie for Transition Trucking award

Next week, one of three rookie truck drivers with a military background will be the owner of a new Kenworth T680.

The winner of the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence award will be revealed during a ceremony on Dec. 14 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. The third annual award recognizes America’s top rookie driver with ties to the military.

Finalists for the 2018 award are:

  • Mordaunt “Platt” Brabner, a veteran of the U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy and a driver for TMC Transportation.
  • Summar Hanks, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and a driver for U.S. Xpress.
  • Quinton Ward, a veteran of the U.S. Army and a driver for Werner Enterprises.
  • Christopher Young, a veteran of the U.S. Army and a driver for Stevens Transport.

Brabner served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was later commissioned as a naval flight officer in EA-6B aircraft.

Hanks joined the U.S. Air Force in 2008 and performed assignments in Kuwait and Seoul, South Korea. She transitioned to the Louisiana Air National Guard in 2016.

Ward enlisted in the U.S. Army after he graduated high school, but he was medically retired in 2010 after being injured during active duty.

Young served 15 years of active duty in the U.S. Army with four combat deployments and now remains active as an Army Reservist.

Detailed videos of the four finalists can be found here.

The award aims to encourage military veterans to make the transition into the trucking industry. To be nominated for the award, the driver must be a military veteran, a current CDL holder, an employee of a carrier that has pledged to hire veterans through, and he or she must have been first employed as a truck driver between Jan. 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018.

After nominations were received, the list was narrowed to 10 finalists in July. At GATS, the list was narrowed again to four.

The winner will receive a Kenworth T660 Advantage with a 76-inch sleeper that is valued at $155,000. The runner-ups will receive $10,000 each.

Previous winners were Gregg Softy in 2017 and Troy Davidson in 2016.

Sleigh Bells and Santa provides gifts for children of deceased truckers

Truckers Final Mile is still accepting donations for its Sleigh Bells and Santa program, which provides Christmas gifts to the children of deceased truck drivers.

The campaign is open to any child age 18 or younger who lost a truck driver parent in the past year. To refer an eligible child, send a detailed email with contact and verifying information to by Dec. 14.

New, unwrapped gifts can be mailed to; 3301-R Coors Blvd. NW 293; Albuquerque, NM 87120. Cash donations will be accepted through Paypal on the website through Dec. 21. All of the money received will go toward gifts for the children.

Founded by OOIDA member Robert Palm in 2013, Truckers Final Mile is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity that helps return truck drivers to their families in the event of death.

The Sleigh Bells and Santa campaign was added in 2015 and started small. Nineteen children received $834 worth of gifts in 2015. Then $1,900 worth of donations were distributed to nine families in 2016, and 12 children received gifts from a total of $1,400 worth of donations last year.

“This is a good thing,” Palm said. “This year is the first year we’ve really pushed it out to the media. We hope it grows into something recognized by the entire trucking industry in the next few years.”

More than 20,000 International trucks recalled for clutch assembly issue

Navistar is recalling certain International trucks of various models with model years 2018-19. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents, affected vehicles have an issue with the clutch assembly.

Nearly 21,000 International automated manual transmission trucks with Eaton ECA heavy-duty truck clutches are part of the recall. An internal component in the clutch assembly may fail, possibly resulting in unintended vehicle movement. Unintended vehicle movement can increase the risk of a crash.

The following International truck models are included in the recall:

  • HV (2019)
  • HX (2018-2019)
  • Lonestar (2018-2019)
  • LT (2018-2019)
  • MV (2019)
  • Prostar (2018-2019)
  • RH (2018-2019)
  • Transtar (2018)
  • Workstar (2018-2019)

Owners of affected trucks will be notified by Navistar. Dealers will recalibrate the transmission control module for free. Recalls are scheduled for Jan. 18. For questions, call Navistar customer service at 800-448-7825 with recall number 18518. NHTSA’s number for this recall is 18V-826.

Registration open for 2019 Mid-America Trucking Show

Free early-bird registration is now open for the 2019 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky.

The annual truck show will be March 28-30 at the Kentucky Exposition Center. MATS offers more than 1 million square feet of exhibit space and more than 1,000 exhibitors. Each year, the show features seminars on the trucking industry, as well as performances by several country music artists.

MATS announced Wednesday, Dec. 5, on its Facebook page that Peterbilt, Kenworth and Cummins have signed on to be exhibitors at the 2019 show.

The show’s annual free concert will be March 29 in the Kentucky Expo Center’s Freedom Hall. Previous concerts were headlined by such artists as Kellie Pickler, Thompson Square, Craig Morgan, the Marshall Tucker Band, and Gretchen Wilson. This year’s featured artist is expected to be announced in January.

Registration for MATS will be free until Feb. 28. After the deadline, registration can be completed for $10 either online or at the show.

For a list of frequently asked questions about the show, go here.

Wabash recalls more than 5,000 van trailers

Wabash National Corp. is recalling certain van trailers for an issue with limb deflectors, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

More specifically, the recall affects more than 5,000 Wabash National van trailers model year 2014-19. The limb deflectors installed on the upper rear corner of the trailers may detach while moving. If the limb deflectors detach, the risk of a crash increases.

Owners of affected trailers will be contacted by Lafayette, Ind.-based Wabash National. Dealers will remove the limb deflectors for free. Recalls are scheduled to begin on Dec. 10.

For questions, call Wabash’s customer service at 765-771-5404 with recall number LEG201803. NHTSA’s number for this recall is 18V-808.

Daimler Trucks recalls thousands of Freightliner Cascadias over airbag issue

Daimler Trucks North America is recalling certain Freightliner Cascadia trucks for an issue dealing with driver’s side airbags, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

More specifically, nearly 3,000 Freightliner Cascadia trucks model year 2017-19 are being recalled. Driver’s frontal airbag in affected trucks may deploy unexpectedly. If the driver’s frontal airbag deploys unexpectedly, it can increase the risk of a crash.

Owners of affected trucks will be notified by DTNA. Dealers will modify the wiring leading to the steering wheel clockspring to ensure that it is properly grounded. Recalls are slated to begin Jan. 9, 2019. For questions, call DTNA’s customer service at 800-547-0712 with DTNA recall number FL800. NHTSA’s recall number for this defect is 18V-787.

More than $2,100 donated to Vietnam memorial in honor of late OOIDA board member

In memory of OOIDA Board Member and U.S. Army veteran Steve Davenport, more than $2,100 will be donated to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

Davenport, 70, of Lewisville, Texas, died unexpectedly of natural causes on Nov. 8, 2018. He was a member of OOIDA’s Board of Directors since 2011 and was a staunch advocate for military veterans.

The Association raised $1,069 during last week’s fall board meetings in Grain Valley, Mo., to be donated to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund in Davenport’s honor. Run for the Wall’s Missouri chapter agreed to match that amount, bringing the total to $2,138.

Davenport was well known in the trucking and veteran communities. He drove more than 33 years as a company driver and more than 15 as an owner-operator.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1969-71 and in the Army Reserves from 1971-75. After his service was complete, he became an active participant with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

For more than three decades, starting in the 1980s, Davenport made the annual Memorial Day pilgrimage to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. He rode a customized 1990 Harley Davidson Softail in honor of high-school friend Robert Cupp, who was killed in 1968 in Vietnam.

In 2016, Davenport pulled the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Replica to the Mid-America Trucking Show. Davenport was dedicated to educating people on the sacrifices made by fallen soldiers and their families.

“Freedom isn’t free,” Davenport said at the time. “The cost was more than 58,000 purple hearts.”

September NAFTA freight marks largest month-to-month decrease since December 2017

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in September trucks moved more than 62 percent of NAFTA freight – with trains, planes, ships and pipelines picking up the rest. All five modes experienced an increase in freight year-to-year for the fifth consecutive month.

However, the value of freight hauled across the borders decreased by nearly 5 percent compared with August, when freight increased by nearly 6 percent from the previous month. This is the largest month-to-month decrease since December 2017, when NAFTA freight dropped by more than 7 percent. Compared to September 2017, freight was up nearly 8 percent. This marks the 23rd consecutive month of year-to-year increases.

In 2017, March had the largest month-to-month increase (16 percent) since March 2011, when NAFTA freight was up more than 22 percent compared to February 2011. NAFTA freight declined by nearly 11 percent in July 2017, the largest decline for the year.

In March 2017, the index reached more than $100 billion for the first time since October 2014 before going back below that mark in April. That landmark was revisited in October 2017 and maintained through November 2017 before dipping below the $100 billion mark again in December. March marked the first month in 2018 to reach beyond $100 million, which has been maintained through at least September so far.

Trucks carried nearly $63 billion of the nearly $102 billion of imports and exports in September.

Year-to-year, Canada truck freight increased by 5.1 percent and Mexico freight rose by 10.4 percent. Top truck commodities were computers and parts, electrical machinery, motor vehicles and parts, plastics and measuring/testing instruments.

Freight totaled $101.63 billion, down more than $5 billion from the previous month but an increase of more than $7 billion from September 2017.

Vessel freight accounted for the largest increase at 34.2 percent after an increase of 59.7 percent in August. Trucks accounted for an increase of 4.2 percent, the smallest increase among the different modes. Truck freight experienced increases of 5.7 percent in August and 11.2 percent in July.

Approximately 56 percent of U.S.-Canada freight was moved by trucks, followed by rail at 16.3 percent. Of the $50.6 billion of freight moving in and out of Mexico, trucks carried 68.4 percent of the loads.