Commerce Express Weekly Road Map: April 20th, 2021

Keeping you informed on the latest news/insights in our industry.


While it is no surprise that drivers safety is an ongoing conversation in the industry, a recent study conducted by J.J Keller Center for Market Insights stated that ‘distracted driving, injury, safety, regulation comprehension and hours of service compliance’ are the top 5 concerns fleet managers have for their drivers (HDT). The study shoes that the most important topic fleet managers stated was ‘how to avoid distracted driving’, which was relayed by 31% of the study participants.

The ‘million-dollar question’ here is what is the most effective way to avoid distracted driving? Texting and driving is a known leading issue when it comes to distracted driving, to civilian motorists and truck drivers all the same. However, there are many other ways the drivers can be distracted, maps, food, beverages, smoking and other common distractions are much harder to control. FMSCA does have rules in places and fines for drivers who are texting and driving, but fleet managers implementing additional road safety training is an additional option to keep drivers safe.

Less Than Truck Load

U.S. Representative Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D- Ill.) has reintroduced a ‘bill to increase carrier insurance’, according to HDT. This act would ensure that the insurance prices would match the inflation rates each year, which is currently not the case. This has been a topic of conversation for a while, as a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration back in 2014 found that the insurance minimums would not be enough to cover damages in a crash.

If this act were to pass, costs for smaller trucking businesses could have to pay double annually in insurance costs. The current $750,000 liability coverage is proposed to be over $4 million.


While the past year has been difficult for many, whether it be emotionally, financially, or career-wise, the same patterns continue to emerge as we near the mid-way point of 2021. It has been reported that the Union Pacific (UP) railway, located in Palestine, Texas, will be closing its main car repair facility. Being due to changes being made across the railroad’s network, this may lead to the unemployment of up to 57 employees by June. In a recent statement, UP broadly mentioned these changes have spawned from a “continuous effort to provide rail service” to consumers. Fortunately, the employees impacted are being assisted with job placement services. (FreightWaves)

Interestingly enough, the UP signed an agreement with the city of Palestine in 1872, in an effort to keep 0.52% of the UP’s jobs in Palestine for 150 years. At the time of the deal, many railroad companies had agreed to keep a percentage of their jobs there indefinitely, giving better access of opportunities to the citizens. Ultimately, UP sued Palestine and Anderson County in 2019, stating the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act deems the agreement invalid. U.S. District Court judge, Jeremy D. Kernodle, sided with UP, but Anderson County Judge, Robert Johnston, will appeal the decision in the next week or so. As more information on this matter becomes available, we will keep you updated.

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