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TDMST Email Newsletter, 2017-05
May 12, 2017

Truck Drivers Money Saving Tips Email Newsletter

Issue #94, May 12, 2017



Featuring content from and supporting:

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"Because truckers know that no trucker deserves to be stung financially."

  • We provide real world tips that help professional truck drivers save hard-earned money and personal reporting about products and services for use on the road.
  • We've developed our unique website as a place to share the tips we have learned through the years -- and where other professional drivers can do the same.



Table of Contents




Partnership

Here are some serious questions about aspects of your earning potential as a professional truck driver:
  • Have you ever been told there's "no freight" to haul?
  • Are you tired of being under-utilized as a trucker?
  • Are you routinely not getting all the miles you want to run during your Hours of Service?
Truck-Drivers-Money-Saving-Tips.com is proud to partner with the company that provided the original load board over 35 years ago that continues to maintain the largest database of trucks and loads in the industry.

Access more than 68 MILLION loads and trucks posted each year. Of those, 45 MILLION loads and trucks are found here first or nowhere else, giving you first choice in priority loads.

TruckersEdge is powered by the DAT Load Board network - the industry's leading load board, with over 250,000 fresh loads posted daily.

Start your subscription on this load board with the best price and value you can find.

New subscribers get their first 30 Days FREE!





Important Notice


  • Our Website Platform

    Vicki continues working on transitioning Truck-Drivers- Money-Saving-Tips.com to a system with greater flexibility and functionality than we currently have. :-)



  • Happy Mother's Day to All Truck Driving Mothers!

    If you're a mother who is also a professional truck driver, we wish you a Happy Mother's Day!



 

Media


In numerous places throughout some of the TDMST Weekly Round-Up content, you'll see where we request a comment "below". These are references to the place on the page from which the content was taken, where comments may be left.


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From the TDMST Weekly Round-Up: 2017.04.22


1. The focus of the "annual 72-hour International Roadcheck inspection blitz" -- to be conducted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) from June 6-8 throughout North America -- will be cargo securement.

Some tips to help you prepare were provided in this April 21, 2017, article, which stated, "Brakes and hours were the top out-of-service violations in 2016."



2. An April 20, 2017, article stated that "Women and Men Leave Truck Driving Jobs for Different Reasons", and then gave the "top 15 predictors of turnover for women drivers".




3. "Landstar System's Gary Buchs ... [has] worked out a system that dictates which loads he chooses, based on his annual goals for earnings and downtime", according to an April 19, 2017, article.

If all owner-operators begin to implement his system, will it lead to a change in the trucking industry?



4. Of the "5 Regulations That Affect Your Trucking Business the Most" -- according to Team Run Smart's April 19, 2017, article -- which one affects (or will affect) you the most and why?

Please share.



5. Do you use or are you thinking about using aerodynamic wheel covers on your tractor or trailer or both?

Be aware that there could be "unintended negative consequences ... [and] ... unexpected increases in maintenance and operational costs."

Read the April 2017 article for more info.



6. When it comes to organizing things on your Smartphone, which app do you prefer:

  • Wunderlist (as showcased in an April 18, 2017 article),
  • Trello, or
  • a different app?


7. Who or what are responsible for the death of a cyclist: the box truck driver or a combination of "mixing zones", blindspots and a "deadly traffic signal design flaw"?

I'd like to know: Whatever happened to the "No Zone" initiative?

More info about this accident was written in an April 21, 2017, article.



8. I just became aware of an article written on March 13, 2017, entitled, "So many open jobs for truck drivers! It's another bogus skills shortage story."

Quoting the article: "Oddly the ATA does not mention the most logical theory. Shortages of goods, labor, or services indicate that their prices are too low to attract new entrants to the marketplace. For truckers that means offering wages that drivers consider worthwhile for the services and conditions demanded. As usual in these bogus 'skill shortages stories', the truth is easy to find. The trucking industry runs a state-of-the-art worker exploitation model."

Please share why you agree or disagree below.



9. We empathize with the family of the trucker who "failed to negotiate a curve" and died in the resulting accident, as was described in an April 22, 2017, article.

When you're making turns with a truck, slow down.



10. Are you thinking of entering into an "owner-operator's lease agreement"?

If so, read the fine print and make sure that you understand everything concerning your pay.

After the fact, if you think you've been stiffed, your trucking company may end up being the winner.



11. There are at least two lessons to learn from the accident reported in an April 21, 2017, article:
  • Change lanes safely; and
  • Watch to make sure that you don't drag a vehicle down the road behind your truck.



12. Werner Enterprises is considering a merger, in part because of "low freight rates", according to an April 20, 2017, article.

For the sake of speculation, if their merger goes through and their freight rates increase, what part of that rate increase do you think their truckers will receive?



13. Since the drug was "hidden" in two compartments of the truck, according to an April 18, 2017, article, is there any doubt that the trucker who crossed the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge is guilty of "attempting to import cocaine and possession with intent to distribute cocaine"?

According to Wikipedia, "Because of the drug's potential for addiction and overdose, cocaine is generally treated as a 'hard drug', with severe penalties for possession and trafficking. Demand remains high, and consequently, black market cocaine is quite expensive."

This trucker may very well have disqualified himself from ever driving professionally again. Was hauling the drug worth it?



14. A small fleet owner wrote a letter to the editor posted on April 18, 2017, decrying "pending legislation in the Ohio House and Senate that ask taxpayers to subsidize the training of entry-level truck drivers under the premise that there is a driver shortage".

Refer to the bullet point #8 above for corroborating info.



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From the TDMST Weekly Round-Up: 2017.04.29


1. There is an image that reveals the number of "Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers Per Metro Area" on a page entitled "How Autonomous Driving Will Affect the Trucking Industry".

This image shows the number of professional truck drivers who may eventually be put out of work when autonomous freight-hauling trucks are fully operational.

In a related April 27, 2017, article, two U.S. Senators asked the Government Accountability Office "to assess autonomous trucks' potential to displace workers."



2. According to an April 25, 2017, article, a "three mile stretch of Interstate 90, just east of Snoqualmie Pass" in Washington state is riddled with pot holes and "deep ruts".

If a truck is damaged by hitting a deep pot hole on an interstate highway, who is responsible to pay for timely truck repairs?

Please share your thoughts.



3. If you haul water in your truck, don't try to refill it from a municipal fire hydrant.

This April 29, 2017, article revealed how a trucker got a written warning for doing so.



4. "The California Labor Commissioner ruled that XPO Cartage must pay four drayage truck drivers $855,000 for improperly classifying them as independent contractors when they should have been considered employees," according to an April 28, 2017, article.

Besides individual payments, "In the ruling, the Labor Commissioner included awards to the drivers for their nonproductive time of around $38,000 each in wages for unpaid hours."

When will these trucking companies learn to classify and pay their drivers correctly?



5. According to an April 27, 2017, article, "A Lakeside man is suing his former employer, a trucking company, claiming that its managers retaliated against him and fired him because he refused to text and drive."

The driver "claims he was twice scolded by his manager for not reading or responding to his manager's texts while driving for work."

However, the company's chief operating and financial officer "denied that texting and driving was required of its employees" and called the employee "disgruntled."

We'll be interested to learn the outcome of this.



6. No matter from where you get your truck, always make sure that it is legal.

This April 27, 2017, article stated that the "driver was charged with a 1,000 yuan (£112) fine" for driving a truck in China with only half a cabin.



7. An April 27, 2017, news release was titled, "Keep Highways Safe Identifies The 25 Most Dangerous Trucking Companies In Pennsylvania".

"Surprisingly, despite being involved in hundreds of crashes across the United States, some trucking companies remain in operation," the release stated.

Attorney and Keep Highways Safe founder, Jay Solnick, stated, "Trucking companies with repeated violations should be shut down for good." One of the companies cited was Swift Transportation.

I wonder what will happen as a result of this information.



8. Are you thinking of outfitting your truck with wide-single tires where dual tires are now? Check out this April 2017, article.



9. An April 27, 2017, article opened with, "Wheel alignment is critical to tire life. Proper alignment decreases irregular tire wear and improves tire mileage by decreasing rolling resistance."

Besides checking tire pressure and tread depth, also check your tractor's wheel alignment as scheduled.



10. Dr. Chris Singh wrote in an April 26, 2017, article that "knee injuries are second only to lower back injuries among [professional truck] drivers."

This type of injury can be experienced:
  • in the "clutch leg of city drivers, due to the repetitive nature of the job and frequent clutch applications"; and
  • by those who haul flatbed loads "due to their constant climbing up onto the deck of the trailer".
As part of your overall health and wellness, take care of your knees!



11. A "class action lawsuit against New York's Department of Taxation and Finance" resulted in New York being ordered to pay over $44 million, according to an April 24, 2017, article.

OOIDA had "challenged the taxes [for unconstitutional registration and decal fee] as ... discriminatory against out-of-state truckers who drive their trucks mostly in other states--in contrast to New York-based truckers who drive a disproportionately higher number of miles in New York."

A related article is here.

What do you think?



12. Regarding a commentary dated April 26, 2017, entitled, "We can't attract more drivers while automating the profession", I'm glad that somebody "gets it" on this topic!

Selected quotes from the site are:
  • "The way to attract new blood into our industry is to market a clear career path to prospective drivers."
  • "Technology is not going to replace drivers. It will reduce the number of drivers required."
Doesn't "reduction" mean that some drivers will be "replaced"?

Please share your thoughts.



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From the TDMST Weekly Round-Up: 2017.05.06


1. The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has a number of top priorities in 2017, among which are:
  • "Cumulative Economic Impact of Trucking Regulations";
  • "HOS Flexibility"; and
  • "Autonomous Truck Impacts on the Truck Driver";
according to a May 2, 2017, article.

Speaking of autonomous trucks, a May 3, 2017, article stated, "Senators Susan Collins (R-Me.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) have asked the Government Accountability Office to look into autonomous truck technology and its potential to displace workers."

Which one of ATRI's top priorities this year matters most to you -- and why?



2. According to an April 28, 2017, "biz report": "Haulme is an online, software-based alternative to traditional load boards and brokers."

If you use Haulme, would you please provide a service review? Thanks in advance.



3. We empathize greatly with the family of the trucker who died at the scene of the accident that was reported on May 4, 2017, here.

I wonder what caused the trucker to veer "out of the travel lanes" and strike the "semi parked on the right shoulder", but the article does not say.

The accident took place between 11 a.m. and noon, so darkness could not have been a factor.

Note that the accident caused the westbound lanes of the Ohio Turnpike in that area to be closed down "for about 4½ hours."



4. Lessons to be learned from a May 4, 2017, article about a trucker who engaged in some poor behavior are:
  • don't drive a truck through an "emergency vehicle only access";
  • when your truck strikes another vehicle, stick around to confess; and
  • don't tamper with evidence.
In this particular case, the trucker was arrested many states away and has been charged with killing the driver of the van he struck.



5. "Two California truckers have admitted hauling huge, even historic amounts of drugs into New Jersey," stated a May 5, 2017, article.
  • One trucker "was sentenced to 10 years in state prison with three years parole ineligibility" after pleading guilty to "first-degree possession of heroin with intent to distribute"; and
  • The other trucker "pleaded guilty to first-degree possession of heroin with intent to distribute", for which the state will be recommending "10 years in state prison".
Don't haul illegal drugs, no matter how much the drugs may sell for on the street. It just isn't worth it.



6. If you're hauling anything that has been shipped by rail from Mexico, you might want to check to see if there are any illegal drugs inside.

According to a May 5, 2017, article, "A shipment of Ford Fusions traveling by rail from Mexico to Minnesota has been found to have marijuana hidden inside the vehicles" -- specifically "in the trunks' spare-tire space".

Is it routine for a trucker hauling vehicles to check each vehicle that closely before hauling them?

Are any other loads coming out of Mexico subject to this kind of smuggling?



7. Be aware of "the potential for terrorists to use trucks as weapons to conduct attacks", according to a May 5, 2017, article, and check with your trucking company and driver manager for any updates on security measures.



8. Congratulations to the professional truck drivers working for Walmart's "12 trucking and transportation providers" that were listed as the "retailer's 2016 Carriers of the Year", according to a May 5, 2017, article.

Although the carriers are receiving the recognition, it is you who made this possible!



9. Be sure to stabilize all work trucks where the operation can shift the center of gravity.

According to a May 4, 2017, article, the lineman "was inside of the elevated bucket working on a utility pole ... when the truck became unstable and turned on its side."

The lineman consequently died and we offer our condolences to his family.



10. Although many truckers may not think of the State of California as being very trucker-friendly, this May 4, 2017, article may make you think again.

Two class-action lawsuits that resulted in carriers paying out millions of dollars "argue that labor laws require the fleets to account for all work-related activities in their pay structure, no matter if some activities - like fueling, vehicle inspections, waiting for dispatch, etc. - are not considered productive."

Requiring trucking companies to pay drivers for all work-related activities is an excellent move!

Furthermore, the article states, "On a national level, the electronic logging device mandate could be another impetus for restructuring driver pay to activity-based models."

A spokesman for "an Internet-based fleet management and dispatch software provider" explained, "Activity-based driver pay is already common among private and for-hire fleets with dedicated pickup and delivery routes".

What are your thoughts on this? Please share.



11. A May 4, 2017, article has the title, "Celadon to lean less on owner-operators in effort to boost profits".

Say what?

Are owner-operators and independents actually putting up with "increases in deadhead miles, reduced utilization, longer driver dwell times"?

If so, why? And what lessons are to be learned from this?



12. If there's a list of the "Top 100 Truck Stops for 2017" (link), is there a list of the "Bottom 100 Truck Stops"?

If so, where?



13. An excellent and documented letter to President Donald Trump was written by a professional truck driver here which covers ELDs, truck parking, the Hours of Service regulation, lost productivity, potential truck hacking, speed limiters, and driver pay.

The last paragraph ends with this statement: "You want safe roads and drivers, designate them as skilled labor, pay them by the hour for all of their time, and drivers will slow down because they will not have to push to make up lost time and wages."

Do you agree or disagree? Why?



14. According to a May 2, 2017, article, "The advances in A.I. [Artificial Intelligence], M.L. [Machine Learning] and Deep Learning are disrupting and doing a better job on many tasks currently being executed by humans."

Oh, and in case your driver manager thinks his job is secure, the article also asks, "what would your margins look like if 30% of the dispatching and/or order entry tasks were executed by algorithms?" Oh, my!



-----

From the TDMST Weekly Round-Up: 2017.05.13


1. According to an article -- and following the announcement of a $10 million quarterly operating loss -- Celadon Trucking plans to cease operations at its Battleboro, NC, facility and lay off 127 employees by June 30, 2017. "Celadon blamed the operating loss on irregular freight route operations and vowed to fight the problem by hiring more company drivers and relying less on owner-operators."

A May 10, 2017, article stated that "18 local drivers" will be affected.



2. A May 11, 2017, article stated, "Uber hired the team behind a Chicago transportation brokerage last fall as part of an effort to break into the long-haul trucking industry" and "The deal comes as Uber is vying to apply the logistics expertise it has gained ferrying passengers in countries around the world to the trucking industry."

Do you believe that Uber will be as successful in matching freight with trucks as it has been in matching passengers with rides?

How will this affect your income, truckers?



3. What would cause a truck's brakes to "suddenly" not work correctly?

A May 10, 2017, article reported, that a "Semi-truck ran stop sign, hit SUV, then crashed through fence and into tree". The trucker was cited for reckless driving.

In the event that this accident was due to brakes being out of adjustment, learn the lesson to make sure that your brakes are properly adjusted.



4. An analyst stated in a May 10, 2017, article: "We think many trucks could make the transition to an electric drivetrain without adding more than 4,000 pounds in gross weight."

What would be the gain or loss for your truck operations if you added 4,000 pounds' worth of electric drivetrain weight to your truck?

How long would it take to realize a return on investment?



5. This is for all of the dunces at all trucking companies who think that every truck accident is preventable.

According to a May 10, 2017, article, a small plane clipped the top of a semi trailer and left one of its wheels behind.

How could the semi driver have prevented this?

Answer: He couldn't have.

This was a low clearance accident that was 100% the pilot's fault!



6. Our condolences go to the family of the two people who were killed when a trucker failed to stop his vehicle when he came upon slowed traffic over the crest of a hill.

The May 7, 2017, article stated that the Winchester, VA, area accident happened at about 6 a.m., which means that it occurred before sunrise. The trucker was charged.

This is a tragic example of the need to never overdrive your stopping distance -- and to be especially careful when cresting hills and mountains.



7. According to a May 12, 2017, article from The Wall Street Journal:
  • "A glut of used heavy-duty trucks means some long-haul carriers are ‘upside down’ on their rigs, owing more than the trucks are worth";
  • "Large long-haul trucking companies typically run a truck for three to five years, then trade it before the warranty expires"; and
  • "Repair and maintenance costs tend to skyrocket after about 500,000 miles."
Consider the pros and cons of buying a vehicle new vs. used and for how much you can afford to sell your old truck.



8. According to the May 8, 2017, article, "Both fully loaded trucks were rounding a curve in the road when the frac sand semi entered the opposite lane and the trucks collided head-on."

Is there any sort of maneuver that could have been done to lessen the severity of this two-truck accident that killed both truckers? If so, what?



9. An Australian truck driver "has been charged with criminal offences and the truck and trailer defected" after smoke was seen pouring from the truck's brakes.

The trucker was "driving unlicensed, aggravated due care and failing to use low gears," according to a May 10, 2017, article.

Remember to keep your truck driver's license active, do a thorough pre-trip inspection, and use the proper gear for the road on which you're traveling.



10. In advance of the June 6-8 blitz, Kinedyne will be offering a webinar entitled "A Survivor’s Guide for Cargo Securement Inspections During International Roadcheck 2017," according to a May 12, 2017, article.

You may register for the webinar here.



11. From FleetOwner.com are two articles of interest:
  • Welcome to the Amazon jungle, truckers (May 10, 2017), which summarizes Thom Albrecht, a long-time Wall Street analyst who is now president of Sword & Sea Transport Advisors, who "anticipates that 2018 and 2019 'will feel good' to truckers... [but] carriers shouldn't get too used to the good times, because a lot of truckload demand is going away and never coming back... thanks largely to Amazon and the e-commerce revolution in retail."
  • Real-time load tracking: At what price? (May 12, 2017), which raises my question, "If trucks are being tracked in real time, will truckers be paid for all of the miles that they must drive to deliver loads?"



12. A May 11, 2017, article states that the first of "Rhode Island's trucks-only tolls" will be operational by December.

Since I-95 goes through Rhode Island, what choices do truckers who ordinarily use this interstate highway have?

Can they very well use an alternate route? If so, which one?



13. Do the results of the study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) -- which found that "reinforced guards instead of aero side skirts could stop roof-crush, decapitation in collisions with passenger cars" -- have you rethinking what you'll install on your truck?



14. One fuel tax hike and one new truck fee are slated to go into effect if South Carolina state lawmakers override the governor's veto.

Quoting a May 10, 2017, article, Governor McMaster said,

"Right now, over one-fourth of your gas tax dollars are not used to repair roads. They're siphoned off for government agency overhead and programs that have nothing to do with roads. Then, much of what is left is spent on the wrong roads, roads with almost no traffic" and "If we would simply reform how DOT spends your tax dollars to be responsible and accountable, we'd have plenty of money and this gas tax hike would be totally unnecessary."



15. Why can't all road construction and re-construction be done as quickly as the 6-week repair to the collapsed bridge in Atlanta?



16. A May 11, 2017, article listed five Smartphone apps to help you find "the best fuel stop near you".

Which app is your favorite -- and why?



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Max Burton stove to go

This stove works great, I love it. But it doesn't last, I've had it a month and it's no longer working. I can plug it in the light comes on showing there





 

Earn More, Save More


Did you see the article above about the accident that caused the westbound lanes of the Ohio Turnpike to be closed down "for about 4½ hours"?

That's about 41% of an 11-hour driving shift. At an average of 43 miles per hour average travel speed, 4.5 hours is 193.5 miles.

Multiply that by the number of cents per mile you're being paid as a trucker (if that's how you're being paid).

In addition to losing that drive-time and income-earning potential, such a loss:
  • throws off delivery schedules;
  • could result in late penalties associated with showing up late; and
  • could potentially ruin pick-ups and deliveries of a whole string of lined-up loads.

Don't you wish there was a way to help protect your paycheck? There is!

Vicki is revising her Second Income for Truckers E-Course into a different format. Learn more about earning a second income as a trucker.



 

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Memorial Day weekend is known in some circles as the official start of summer vacation.

Please be on your guard regarding -- and give extra room to -- those who may be driving large vehicles but do not have a special license to do so (especially if something is being towed behind).

To all of our readers who are professional truck drivers, we wish you safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road!

Best regards,
Mike and Vicki Simons, Owners
NKBJ InfoNet, LLC

Truck-Drivers-Money-Saving-Tips.com

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All information on this site and in this email newsletter is intended for informational and educational purposes.
It neither substitutes for professional advice nor negates user responsibility to do due diligence.




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