• DATVF.VSU
    1.385
    0.016
    1.2%
  • DATVF.PHLCHI
    0.943
    -0.053
    -5.3%
  • DATVF.VEU
    1.652
    0.027
    1.7%
  • DATVF.LAXSEA
    2.155
    0.031
    1.5%
  • DATVF.CHIATL
    2.209
    0.102
    4.8%
  • DATVF.VWU
    1.764
    0.049
    2.9%
  • DATVF.SEALAX
    1.373
    0.067
    5.1%
  • DATVF.VNU
    1.600
    0.030
    1.9%
  • DATVF.DALLAX
    1.030
    -0.019
    -1.8%
  • DATVF.ATLPHL
    1.803
    0.030
    1.7%
  • DATVF.LAXDAL
    1.740
    0.050
    3%
  • ITVI.USA
    10,250.710
    -46.410
    -0.5%
  • OTRI.USA
    7.920
    -0.400
    -4.8%
  • OTVI.USA
    10,244.810
    -70.470
    -0.7%
  • TLT.USA
    2.620
    0.010
    0.4%
  • WAIT.USA
    158.000
    8.000
    5.3%
  • DATVF.VSU
    1.385
    0.016
    1.2%
  • DATVF.PHLCHI
    0.943
    -0.053
    -5.3%
  • DATVF.VEU
    1.652
    0.027
    1.7%
  • DATVF.LAXSEA
    2.155
    0.031
    1.5%
  • DATVF.CHIATL
    2.209
    0.102
    4.8%
  • DATVF.VWU
    1.764
    0.049
    2.9%
  • DATVF.SEALAX
    1.373
    0.067
    5.1%
  • DATVF.VNU
    1.600
    0.030
    1.9%
  • DATVF.DALLAX
    1.030
    -0.019
    -1.8%
  • DATVF.ATLPHL
    1.803
    0.030
    1.7%
  • DATVF.LAXDAL
    1.740
    0.050
    3%
  • ITVI.USA
    10,250.710
    -46.410
    -0.5%
  • OTRI.USA
    7.920
    -0.400
    -4.8%
  • OTVI.USA
    10,244.810
    -70.470
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  • TLT.USA
    2.620
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    0.4%
  • WAIT.USA
    158.000
    8.000
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Driver issuesNewsTrucking

Swift confirms driver leader instructed truckers to drive in inclement weather

Some truck drivers for Swift Transportation, a unit of Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc. (NYSE: KNX), said they received messages via their onboard computer messaging systems around 7 a.m. Dec. 2 instructing them to chain up and drive in inclement weather to get their loads delivered on time.

“We cannot afford to have you down or the load to be days late due to weather,” said the message, sent by a Swift driver leader and posted by Swift drivers on the Twisted Truckers Facebook page. “If we can drive, we will — whether it be 5 mph or an appropriate speed as long as we are safe.”

Message to drivers from Swift driver leader on Dec. 2.

The social media post received more than 3,700 comments from truckers responding to the message. Some said they would park until conditions improved while others stated that driving in harsh weather conditions is just part of the job.

Winter weather alerts disrupted much of the Northeast on Dec. 2 after a storm dumped snow, freezing rain and sleet across a large portion of the mid-Atlantic and New England regions. Severe weather was also reported in portions of the Sierra Nevadas and the Cascades in southern Oregon to the mountains of northern Nevada and southern Idaho.

SONAR Critical Events for Dec. 2.

A follow-up message was sent approximately four hours later by the same driver leader to Swift drivers clarifying that he did not recommend drivers be on the road “if the weather won’t allow it or you do not feel comfortable.”

Second message to drivers from Swift driver leader.

Kevin Quast, chief operating officer of Swift, confirmed the message was sent by one of its “newer driver leaders,” but said the statement didn’t accurately convey the company’s position on safety.

“This was not a company-wide statement,” Quast told FreightWaves. “A newer driver leader with us was a little overzealous with what he was trying to do. We’ve coached him and helped him to understand really what he was communicating and we made sure we are all approaching it the same way.”

A post on Swift Transportation’s Facebook page on Dec. 3, a day after the original message was posted, clarified the mega-carrier’s position on its chain usage stance.

“Chains should be used to get a driver out of trouble and to find the first safe/legal place to park,” Swift’s post stated. “They [chains] are not to be used to make a delivery on time or to get through bad weather.”

Dave Berry, vice president of Swift, said he wasn’t aware of the social media posts concerning the Swift driver leader’s message sent via OmniTracs, formerly Qualcomm.

“Loads can be late, but the priority is the people on the highway and the people behind the wheel of the truck,” Berry told FreightWaves.

Since the merger with Knight Transportation in 2017, Swift is becoming significantly safer than it’s been in decades, Quast said. 

“We take safety very seriously and are continuing to improve and work hard to become even safer,” he said.

SONAR Chart: Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc.

FreightWaves’ Stephen Oatley contributed to this report

Read more articles by FreightWaves’ Clarissa Hawes

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Clarissa Hawes

Clarissa has covered all aspects of the trucking industry for 13 years. She is an award-winning journalist known for her investigative and business reporting. Before joining FreightWaves, she wrote for Land Line Magazine and Trucks.com. Clarissa lives in the Kansas City area with her family. If you have a news tip or story idea, send her an email to chawes@freightwaves.com.

129 Comments

  1. I don’t usually get in on the Post, just figured I’d leave my two cents worth on this one. I travel all over the United States and Canada and as a commercial business owner I understand what it is like too not have trucks show up on time as I have employee s waiting for product to install . It cost me money for each minute of down time but it is all worth it if that trucker gets there safely without killing himself or someone else. These guys my full support on the Rd as I travel the same route they do and would not want there job after what I see on a daily basis of travel. As a large company like Swift they should ashamed of putting the truckers in this position. . There are all types of truckers out there with all sorts of different experience s. If they don’t feel comfortable on the Rd then that is there judgement . Maybe the person that posted that post should jump in that truck and drive it themselves seeing how they have so much experience.

    1. You are so right about this truck drivers need to able to shut down due to a storm or take a 2 or 3 hour nap if over tired. Swift and Celadon both pushed truck drivers when they should not have. It doesn’t help when companies fine for being late when they run into traffic or bad weather. The whole industry needs a overhaul before bringing younger or oversea people from low wage countries that have more accidents. In 2006 Canada tried to bring in driver pay and overtime after a study was done in 2005 in Canada that said overtime and minimum wage rates plus much better driver training would save more lives than E-LOGS and speed limiters on the foot. It speed limiters on Cruse control to 66 m p h .and mileage pay rounded down when the average speed exceeded 55 m p h on driving time. The C T A in Canada and the A T A in the U S fought those safety ideas with all the right donations.

    2. SWIFT is the worst company on the road when it comes to accidents in the United states, this comment from a dispatcher might be the reason why, the guy who gave those orders has probably NEVER DRIVEN A TRUCK. Get rid of him before you are sued.

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