Truck drivers will not be part of Utah’s recent travel advisory which requires adults who enter the state to complete an online form asking whether they have been exposed to the novel coronavirus.
In efforts to slow the spread of the infectious disease COVID-19, Governor Gary Herbert released an executive order that establishes a protocol for those crossing the border. All adults must fill out a form within three hours of entry about their current health situation and the potential risks of infection.
Originally, truck drivers were included in the executive order but later were exempted along with other essential workers such as airline personnel and first responders. It took the Nevada Trucking Association (NTA), in league with the American Trucking Associations, Utah Trucking Association, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, to point out the governor’s edict was unconstitutional.
In a press release, the NTA said, “We appreciate the governor’s office for recognizing the operational burden the requirement puts on the trucking industry and others that are responding to this public health emergency.”
NTA leaders correctly pointed out at the time of the Utah governor’s original announcement that such “an impediment to interstate commerce” had been one of the key reasons why the United States Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation in 1789. The founding fathers were worried that states could block commerce for any variety of reasons which could be judged as discriminatory.
With New York, California and Washington experiencing a high number of infections from the coronavirus, trucking spot rates in those areas have increased and carriers are even rejecting loads into places where the virus has hit the hardest. In addition, load times at many warehouses have increased.
Rates to haul from Los Angeles to Seattle, including fuel, are up 9.6% in one week alone. Rates from Dallas to Los Angeles are up 27%, although those rates had cratered in February. Many truckers are now turning down some loads to New York where more than 15,000 cases (and growing exponentially every day) of the virus have been detected. In particular, less-than-truckload (LTL) jobs are being rejected because those loads tend to cause drivers to have to enter and exit their trucks several times for various deliveries.
In the New York area, carriers are adhering to a COVID-19 policy by not taking signatures for delivery, not doing inside deliveries and practicing social distancing (staying 6-feet away from others). Some carriers are also turning down shipping loads into the major ports of New York and New Jersey centered around Elizabeth, NJ. Rejections are up to 16% in New Jersey, compared to 13% across the rest of the nation.
While all of this is happening, wait times have soared at many warehouses with freight brokers unable to verify appointment times. The average wait times are now at 159 minutes and can be as much as 322 minutes for loading and unloading in the Philadelphia market. This is leaving many carriers to turn down high spot rates because the wait times are simply not worth it.
Volvo Trucks adds an ergonomically advanced workstation to its VNL 760, 740 and VNX 740 models, providing a flexible living environment for thousands of drivers who make their homes on the road. Designed to improve driver productivity, comfort and overall convenience, the upgrade is now available for order.
“This advanced workstation is the latest example of the emphasis Volvo Trucks has placed on enhancing driver comfort and driver productivity,” said Allison Athey, product marketing manager at Volvo Trucks North America. “The ability to create an exceptional all-in-one living space and working environment is essential to attracting and keeping drivers.”
Each year, truck drivers spend thousands of hours in their cabs driving, living and keeping the economy going. The new workstation provides a relaxing, versatile living space for work and rest to enhance driver productivity.
This workstation was developed as a result of rigorous testing and input from Volvo customers and drivers. It features ergonomic advancements that allow drivers to enjoy the comforts of home while on the road. The workstation transforms from a sitting area and table for relaxing, eating and catching up on work, then lowers as a base for seating cushions that unfold into a bed. Additional enhancements include an angled table for easy seating; a 103-degree cushion seat angle to improve seating comfort; and connected cushions that can be easily secured to allow for adequate rest.
The workstation is a prominent feature in the cab, giving drivers flexibility to personalize their living space while on the road. With various configuration possibilities, solo drivers may prefer to leave the table set-up and sleep in the top bunk, while team drivers may choose to collapse the table for access to both bunk beds. The workstation also allows space for storage inside the bottom bunk bases.
Ideal for owner/operators and fleet drivers on the road for extended periods of time, the workstation has been shown to help boost resale value for customers. Previously successful on the VNL 670 model, the enhanced workstation for the VNL 760, 740 and VNX 740 models enters production in February 2019.