Watch Now

Wisconsin carrier ceases operations over skyrocketing insurance, maintenance costs

Image: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

After 13 years in business, 101 Transport Inc. of Hudson, Wisconsin, has ceased operations, citing skyrocketing insurance rates and maintenance costs as the main reasons behind the decision to close.

Tom Dahlberg, owner of 101 Transport, said the death knell for his company was when his insurance rates spiked 70%  compared with the previous year after one of his trucks was involved in a serious crash in Utah in 2019.

“Insurance is making it untenable to do business,” Dahlberg told FreightWaves. “The government has got to step in on this issue before more companies go out of business.”

Dahlberg had 72 company drivers and the same number of power units until about six months ago, when he was forced to let his company drivers go and return the equipment in an effort to keep the carrier afloat.

“We were just trying to trim costs and maintenance expenses, which were out of this world,” Dahlberg told FreightWaves. “It would cost us around $10,000 to $15,000 every time one of our trucks was in the shop.”

At the time of the company’s closure, he had 32 owner-operators hauling contract freight for 101 Transport. He said drivers were notified of the company’s closure on Feb. 29.

The only upside is that a larger carrier has agreed to hire Dahlberg’s owner-operators, pending the outcome of the drivers’ background and safety checks.

As of press time on Monday, Dahlberg said he wasn’t able to reveal the name of that carrier.

“Hopefully, we will be able to name the carrier once we have everything in place and get everyone rolling by Wednesday,” Dahlberg told FreightWaves.

The 40-year trucking veteran said he isn’t sure what his next steps will be as he winds down operations.

“I guess I will be looking for another opportunity,” Dahlberg said. 

Read more articles by FreightWaves’ Clarissa Hawes


  1. Transport Insurance Amarillo

    Insurance is one of those things that people tend to parcel out to get the best prices, but you can find the best insurance coverage for your needs right here! The TWI Agency will help you to find the best policy for a price that fits your budget, so there’s no need to go back and forth between providers. Our knowledgeable agents will find the right business, home, life and auto insurance for you, saving you the time and money involved with finding the right coverage.

  2. Dayne Creveling

    I can’t stop thinking of how Hurricane Katrina, all those years ago, spiked the cost of diesel and delayed driver pay increases for years.

    Now I am hearing constantly of the increasing cost of insurance, and I am thinking ‘there’s goes the next five years of having any chance of pay increases’. Just makes me sad.

  3. CM Evans

    I had anticipated an all out inspection blitz after the ELD deadline in Dec of 2019. It doesn’t seem to have happened yet on a large scale but rather indirectly through other avenues. I do expect a greater ELD emphasis this May during the safety blitz.

    1. Jason Miller

      You are 100% correct; inspection behavior didn’t fundamentally change with the start of the ELD mandate. My colleagues and I, in a working paper that examines how the ELD mandate affected safety (quick summary: it likely made things worse), provide evidence that the number and length of inspections was unchanged in 2017 vs 2018.

  4. John

    I can’t believe all these “Safety Experts”. You have no idea what log rule was violated. There’s plenty of them that have nothing to do with driving or safety but can add points to your imaginary score. Light that may have gone out is many points or a banning scale inspection that is notoriously crooked. Just look on line for how these scales make false reports and have relationships with mechanics. 1 truck is ridiculous, now times that by 72. You hire “professional drivers” because they have the qualifications on the application. I’ve driven for 20 years now. There are some disgusting drivers at every company. This poor guy gave 72 people a job. What have you Safety Experts ever done in your life that would amount to a hill of beans.

    1. Jason Miller

      Hi John, I’m going to assume your scare quotes “safety experts” was aimed at me, so let me offer a data-driven rebuttal to your claim about widespread fraud. I think we would both agree that if fraud is widespread, then we should see a high degree of instability in motor carriers’ aggregate safety compliance across years (since the safety scores will inherently contain a lot of noise). In contrast, if carriers’ rank-ordering regarding safety compliance is very stable year-over-year, this would imply that stable carrier-level factors (e.g., safety culture) are what affect safety.

      To evaluate this, I pulled safety data for 1,048 of the largest truckload carriers (each firm had 100+ power units as of their December 2016 Motor Carrier Census). In total, this group operated 430,082 power units and experienced 406,114 inspections in 2016 and 405,557 inspections in 2017. So clearly we are dealing with a large amount of data. I then calculated carrier-level violation scores by linking each violation identification provided by the DOT’s inspection file with the violation points in the CSA documentation. To normalize the measures into rates, I then divided the total Unsafe Driving Violation Points by Power Units and the total HOS Compliance Violation Points and Vehicle Maintenance Violation Points by Inspections (which mirrors CSA but removes the time weights and allows for assembling yearly aggregates).

      Calculating simple correlations, these data reveal that the Unsafe Driving Rate in 2016 correlates 0.72 with the Unsafe Driving Rate in 2017, which is a massive correlation. Similarly, the HOS Compliance Rate in 2016 correlates 0.77 with the HOS Compliance Rate in 2017. Vehicle Maintenance Rate has an even larger year-over-year correlation of 0.85. Now, on average the carriers in this sample experienced about 390 inspections per year. It seems highly unlikely that such pronounced year-over-year correlations would exist if rampant fraud was present.

      Lastly, I’m not sure what you are trying to accomplish by statements such as “what have you Safety Experts ever done in your life that would amount to a hill of beans.” Such comments defeat the purpose of having an informed, professional discussion.

    2. MNTruckerMike

      “What have you Safety Experts ever done in your life that would amount to a hill of beans.”

      …besides being accident free/violation free for the last 20yrs, like yourself, I guess nothing.

Comments are closed.

Clarissa Hawes

Clarissa has covered all aspects of the trucking industry for 14 years. She is an award-winning journalist known for her investigative and business reporting. Before joining FreightWaves, she wrote for Land Line Magazine and If you have a news tip or story idea, send her an email to [email protected].