⛔ Can drivers decline deliveries due to weather?

⛔ Can drivers decline deliveries due to weather?

Getting behind the wheel is always a judgment call -- especially in treacherous weather. So when should drivers plow through and when should they stay put? And what laws protect those decisions? Buckle up for today's edition of The Inside Lane.

Inside today's newsletter

⛔When can drivers say "no" to driving?
💸 EV's increasing affordability
🚚 States fight self-driving rules
📈 Spot rates recovered to end 2023
⛽ Hydrogen fuel grants in Texas

Winter is a dangerous, disruption-prone period for truckers. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 24% of weather-related vehicle crashes involve snow, slush or ice on the road, while sleet and snowfall were a factor in 15% of incidents. But how can drivers balance time-sensitive deliveries with staying safe?

What do the regulations say? The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (Title 49, Part 392, Section 14) warns drivers to reduce their speed and discontinue the journey if it isn’t safe. Truckers are also protected by the Surface Transportation Assistance Act, which says they can stop driving without being disciplined or fired if they’re at risk of violating Federal safety regulations.

How can drivers judge conditions? Drivers’ rights are protected, but those rules stop short of defining what counts as an unsafe journey. Notable legal cases have stressed the importance of judging conditions before setting off, instead of speculating hours in advance. Using reliable sources for information, including peers, can also help build a case for deferring a drive.

Learn more at Truck Driver News.


Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly affordable for fleets. The average transaction price dropped by a massive 18% during 2023, according to Kelley Blue Book, largely due to Tesla slashing costs across the range.

Read up on the prices at Charged Fleet. 


Cargo thefts are continuing to surge, as criminals target carriers using the technology tools designed to make trucking more seamless. Experts believe a federal crackdown on double-brokering could be on the horizon.

Check the numbers on Overdrive. 

The case for adding automated safety features

The FMCSA has hinted, again, that fleets’ safety fitness determination (SFD) could be expanded to assess their use of driver assistance features - such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and in-vehicle monitoring systems.

A Notice of Data Availability published on Friday highlights six studies which could underpin future rulemaking, all of which are focused on how effectively these technologies improve driver behavior and fleet safety. Industry bodies have voiced concerns about the changes, which were first proposed last year.

Find out what it all means at Freight Waves.

States propose human operators for self-driving trucks

While technology companies are confident about deploying their first vehicles in the near future, two states are moving introduce rules which could reduce their use cases.

Lawmakers in Indiana and New York have backed bills which could require a human operator on board at all times, citing concerns about safety and protecting jobs. Similar legislation was vetoed in California last year.

Find out what the states have in mind at Land Line.

Spot rates reached May levels in final week of 2023

Broker-posted spot rates ended 2023 on a high, recording their largest rises since May and reaching August levels. Seasonal declines during the first week of January 2024 were the slowest since 2018, when the ELD mandate came into force, but it isn't all good news - rates are still 11% lower than they were a year ago.

Check the stats at Fleet Owner.

Quote of the Day:

“The biggest increases [in cargo thefts] we [have] seen in the last 18 months have been in the strategic theft category, where they trick you into giving them the freight." - Scott Cornell, Transportation Lead and Crime and Theft Specialist at Travelers Insurance

Staying safe on the roads is priority -- especially when road conditions are rough. What are your top tips for safeguarding yourself and your cargo?

I’m always looking for the “next big story” that affects you and your fleet operations – let me know if you see or hear of anything we should be covering in this newsletter.