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Indiana trucking company to shut down after insurance costs double, rates fall (with video)

An Indiana-based trucking company will lay off all its drivers and close its doors for good later this month.

A.L.A. Trucking’s 41 drivers and 15 other employees will lose their jobs in the layoff, owner Alan Adams confirmed late Wednesday night.

Adams blamed the company’s rising insurance costs for its ultimate demise, noting that insurance rates at the company jumped to more than $700,000 this year from less than $340,000 last year. He said the jump was due to factors beyond the company’s control, including the way the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) handles Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores.

“I didn’t do anything wrong with the company. It’s the way the government has this new grading system that is affecting a lot of companies,” Adams said. “If there’s a situation on the road where a car comes off the on-ramp and bumps into a tractor trailer, until that claim is settled, the insurance company charges a company with that claim.”

While insurance rates may have been what ultimately pushed the company over the ledge, the shutdown comes amid a general slowdown throughout the freight market as a whole. Adams admitted that falling freight rates have taken a toll on the company.

“These rates are ridiculous,” Adams said. “The shippers and receivers are adding to it.”

He said rates have dropped so low, in fact, that the company cannot even afford to haul freight anymore.

Adams lamented the overall state of the trucking industry today and said the shutdown will hit him hard personally, as well as professionally.

“At 61 years old, we put every dime into this,” he said. “I don’t want anything to do with the trucking industry anymore, but it’s all I know. I have to go back to it as a driver. Not as an owner, but I have to go back as a driver and put up with the bull.”

The company’s circumstances have changed dramatically in the last two years. A.L.A. Trucking broke ground on a new headquarters in 2017, setting up shop at a former lumber yard at a cost of nearly $1.3 million, according to Adams.

The company, which was founded in 1988, received a six-year tax abatement which would save an estimated $118,000 upon building its new headquarters. At the time, Adams planned to hire 20 additional drivers to complement its existing 33 drivers, at an additional annual salary cost of $1.1 million.

A.L.A. Trucking is expected to haul its last load by Wednesday, June 26.

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Ashley Coker, Staff Writer

Ashley is interested in the opportunities and issues that arise at the intersection of law and technology. She is the primary contributor to the truckloadindexes.com news site content. She studied journalism at Middle Tennessee State University and worked as an editor and reporter at two daily newspapers before joining FreightWaves. Ashley spends her free time at the dog park with her beagle, Ruth, or scouring the internet for last minute flight deals.

27 Comments

  1. He is not the only one who is quitting. I was running 13 trucks and now down to 3. Possible 0 in a few weeks. The rates are not down the brokers are taking 50% of the load.

  2. That’s be what happens when
    you have a unsafe be driver’s
    incidents happen and your insurance rate goes up

  3. I love Freightwaves and the way that you report on issues in this industry, but I am deeply saddened by the lack of due diligence in this report. This carrier’s 411 page shows that they are very bad at holding themselves to HOS standards AND are in the worst percentile for their Crash Indicator Percentile and have had 5 injuries from crashes in the last 6-12 months. I think the owners statement of “I did nothing wrong” is highly inaccurate and I am very surprised that your company does not due this research when speaking on insurance rates, seeing that high of an increase is abnormal for a company who has been working in this industry for that long. If you would like me to supply you with their violation report so you can also see other aspects of their company that they are lacking including ELDs, proper equipment, and drivers who can legally drive.

    1. Until you participate directly and get the road experience word of advice: “ Zip It “
      Some people have no ideal what us truck drivers really face day to day.
      You can get an Hos violation merely because you forgot to sign a log or put the correct information in petty things that had no bearing on safety per se.
      DOT NIT PICKS ON EVERYTHING WHILE DOING AN INSPECTION. Something as small as a simple crack on the passenger side of a double sided windshield or a rock chip. Small stuff like that cost us thousands of dollars. Picture you just got that glass fixed brand new $300 , get on the highway a rock from a car pops up and recrack it. What would you do ? Fix it immediately or get a ticket down the road at a scale? You would never get anything done period.

      1. So right, the company I work for here in TX had to get audited. Too many warning for no washer fluid, which is not against the law. Jug could be filled, but if the sprayers are plugged or the usual malfunction and it doesn’t spray, it gets counted as no fluid. DOT and insurance are conspiring together.

      2. Man, a huge percentage of people that work in transportation, SPECIFICALLY safety, have had experience as drivers. ALL of my companies regional safety managers, are individuals who came off the road. Also, the same things you mention , are happening to EVERY company. So no…. This is not normal and IS very likely a direct representation of how this company handled safety conversations with their employees. My company sends a safety message EVERY day, as well as ending EVERY conversation with a safety reminder. These drivers have a lot on their minds, and it does help to remind them to put “less obvious” safety thoughts back into their thought process.

    2. Thank you for your information. I didn’t check them out myself but found it very odd that a company in this business that long and I am sure weathered many storms like we are in now would just give up running that many trucks on the road. My motto with insurance is “you got to pay to play.” I also wondered why a company that size would not try to self insure the cost of moving to a new facility costing that much money???Maybe they over stepped. I have only been in this game less than 10 years and I’ve seen hardships and the insurance racket is one of the worst but I still believe that this is a business that will be here for the “Long Haul” so we must weather the storms and keep it moving the best way we can.

  4. The rates are too low to pay for higher insurance costs and truck drivers wages. Other jobs are paying better than truck driving . Many Owner-ops in Canada haven’t seen good rates since November 2018. The rates are good enough on produce until this October or November. Many Owner-ops are going to take insurance off for the winter and in Canada get another job or get U.I for the winter. Without minimum rates for trucking a strike like Brazil got could bring a shortage worse than in the spring of 2018. The only way to improve truck safety is to pay a decent freight rate set by the a non shipper control group plus set truck drivers pay after 3000 experience of at least $20.00 u.s. per hour plus

  5. More to go out including myself.
    Nothing new here…I said it at the beginning of this spring that if this situation doesn’t change including insurance cost and CSA bs many might go out until the end of this year.
    CSA was the latest invention from Obama administration to put an end to small trucking co .
    This way mega corporations can and they will…control the entire trucking market.
    It’s like a long time investment from mega carriers into this market with help from US politicians…since they can get sufficient donations for their organization.

    1. If you thought CSA was hard on motor carriers with bad performance, wait until IRT (Item Response Theory) replaces CSA . It could be out as early as fall.

  6. Joey dot is cruel last year I got stop and put out of service 10 hours for a mistake of 15 minutes .st the scale no rest rooms my ac was broke it was a 100 out side in directions sun like my dog almost die ..I had to go rest room so bad they told me walk 2 miles there was a Mcdonald’s.. I almost got arrested I had to bring my little dog in with me and no dogs are allowed he was suffering really badd because it was too hot for a long head dog..so you people who think dot is so sweet think again ..

  7. Again there is no right formula when you have ata and mega carriers working together with the computers in the truck all the extra cost and by the way all the truck movements are being sold to the highest bidder so mega carriers by that information they can use that to. Under bid you this is checkers this is chess

    1. Insurance rates are up. I know two independents that have had their rated doubled. Clear MVR and CSA. Another received notice he is going to get an in Reade, but not quite as much. Rates were already high. Having to pay double for no apparent good reason makes no sense. Rates are down for most with whom I have spoken. Some of the lower rates could be due to the flooding and weather issues. Maybe independents and smaller carrier’s need to start knocking on doors and deal directly with shippers instead of using brokers.

  8. So right, the company I work for here in TX had to get audited. Too many warning for no washer fluid, which is not against the law. Jug could be filled, but if the sprayers are plugged or the usual malfunction and it doesn’t spray, it gets counted as no fluid. DOT and insurance are conspiring together.

    1. Yeah, I bet it was for windshield washer fluid. Sure. Of course you don’t identify your company so we can check the CSA scores ourselves. Maybe too many inoperable washers indicated that maybe the drivers were not doing proper pre-trips or that the company was not maintaining the equipment. But trust me, they had so,e suspicion about something. You are correct that sprayers are not a DOT thing, but it was the trend that got their attention.

  9. This is a classic situation where the owners take their eye off of compliance and safety and fail to have solid training and someone who knows how to run a fleet. This is a small fleet too, my guess is the story will get more complete if the drivers came forward, or did they just not put money into the company and let all of the vehicles become run down? you can Data Q everything else

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