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TDMST Email Newsletter, 2017-06
June 09, 2017
Truck Drivers Money Saving Tips Email Newsletter
Issue #95, June 9, 2017
Featuring content from and supporting:
"Because truckers know that no trucker deserves to be stung financially."
Table of Contents
PartnershipHere are some serious questions about aspects of your earning potential as a professional truck driver:
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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.
Trucking companies are seeking to reduce their liability by requiring at-risk truckers to be tested for sleep apnea.
The two-fold rub for truckers is it could be deemed an invasion of privacy and that they could be forced to pay for the sleep study, the cost of which "averages about $1,200."
I know of no other occupation besides transportation where employees may be forced to undergo such a study.
I wonder how many truckers -- who previously didn't know that they had sleep apnea, underwent a sleep study, and were outfitted with a CPAP machine -- began to experience better sleep as a result.
My husband Mike and I know of a trucker who already knew that he had sleep apnea and was using a CPAP machine every time he slept. Yet, when he went to work for a new trucking company, he was forced to undergo -- and pay for -- a new sleep study!
Where do you stand on this issue?
6. Do you think that the use of the mascot being used by "Trucking Moves America Forward, in partnership with Pilot Flying J" -- and as shown in this May 18, 2017, article -- enhances or diminishes the image of professional truck drivers?
Please also share why you think that.
7. A May 18, 2017, article states, "Uber has launched a new app to connect freelance truck drivers with freight loads."
According to a second article on this subject, "another big pain point when it comes to small trucking companies and independent drivers [is] payment speed." Instead of forcing drivers to wait 30 days for payment, "Uber Freight will pay 'within a few days, fee-free, for every single load'".
How successful do you think Uber Freight as an additional means of obtaining loads will be?
8. An undated article about "Gamifying the driver experience" stated:
If you're currently using one of these systems, what are the pros and cons?
From the TDMST Weekly Round-Up: 2017.05.27
1. A truck driver overturned the big rig he was driving in the Salem, IL, area, because he said "he didn't see the curve due to darkness and the heavy rain", according to a May 20, 2017, article.
Whenever there is precipitation of any kind, slow down. If there is precipitation and darkness, one needs to slow down even more. Prevent these kinds of accidents!
2. A May 25, 2017, article listed a number of problems that a trucker had prior to crashing into "a bridge over Interstate 80 in Wyoming". Among the problems cited were:
If you're going to operate a commercial motor vehicle,
3. A truck driver has been charged in the deaths of two people. Among the problems cited in the May 24, 2017, article were:
And all truckers need to make sure that they can safely cross all lanes of traffic before making turns or crossing intersections.
4. A May 23, 2017, article states that the "truck-toll program" in Rhode Island continues to come under criticism. Critics indicated that the toll will "produce less revenue than expected and that better alternatives are available."
House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan stated in a news conference that:
If -- after the "14 toll gantries" are built -- the program produces revenue as poorly as critics claim, who will be stuck with the bill?
5. If you want to know why there is such a push to get self-driving or autonomous trucks on the road, look no farther than this May 23, 2017, article:
"A recent report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration says autonomous vehicles will transform the trucking industry before self-driving vehicles move into the consumer market, largely because there are bigger financial incentives to save on labor and other costs such as fuel."
There, it's out. The powers that be want to save money, at least in part, on labor.
However, someone will still have to be in charge of the freight movement, even if at a distance. Be watching for news about this.
6. A May 24, 2017, article listed the 10 least expensive and 10 most expensive cities to live in within the USA.
I found it most interesting that 8 of the 10 most expensive cities were in California and 9 of the most expensive cities were in the western USA.
How does this information affect how truckers are paid in those areas? Hmm...
7. A letter to the editor -- written by a truck driver and published on May 22, 2017 -- had the most concise reason for folks driving well around big trucks during holidays that I've read for a while:
"Instead of viewing trucks as something getting in your way this holiday weekend, I hope you'll view us as keeping your lives supplied and moving."
While the advice of the trucker is sound, please take extra precautions when driving around holidays. Some motorists will not be fully focused on driving and need to be given plenty of space.
A May 23, 2017, article stated, "According to AAA, Memorial Day weekend 2017 travel will be the highest since 2005."
8. A May 22, 2017, article opened this way: "A Northwest Indiana father has filed a lawsuit against an Indiana ambulance provider and an Illinois trucking company accusing them of negligence and recklessness in a May 16 crash that left one person dead and several others injured."
While we certainly empathize with the families of all those hurt or killed in truck crashes, this article points out the necessity of making sure that you have sufficient insurance -- and the right kind -- before you drive professionally.
Also, it is a good idea to consider having a type of trucker legal service in place before you need it, just in case.
9. The New York Times ran a very long article on May 22, 2017, the subtitle of which included this sentence:
"Truck driving, once a road to the middle class, is now low-paying, grinding, unhealthy work."
Farther down, the article states, "...trucking, which was once among the best-paying such jobs, has become low-wage, grinding, unhealthy work."
Do you agree or disagree with this -- and why?
10. A May 25, 2017, article raises this question:
Why did it take an Executive Order in order for trucking regulations that
11. "CargoNet has issued its annual reminder that cargo theft activity often increases around Memorial Day weekend and is once again offering common sense tips to avoid becoming a victim", according to a May 25, 2017, article.
"SensiGuard [formerly FreightWatch International] says it has recorded theft levels up to 50 percent higher during holiday weekends than non-holiday weekends," according to a related May 24, 2017, article.
Review and heed your company's procedures about securing your truck and load during time off.
12. Brian Buckham, general manager of product marketing at Goodyear, was quoted as saying, "Weight savings remains the primary benefit of using wide-base truck tires. ... Wide-base tires mounted on aluminum rims can reduce a truck's GVWR by up to 1,100 pounds."
If you could increase your payload by 1,100 pounds and experience no negative effects of going to wide-base -- or super single -- tires, how much extra money could you theoretically earn?
13. A May 23, 2017, article opened, "A 2018 fiscal year budget plan released Monday by the Trump Administration proposes slashing the Department of Transportation's budget by nearly $17 billion annually by 2022, as well as allowing more tolls on U.S. Interstates and boosting efforts to draw private investors to fund highways."
Another article on this topic can be read here.
How do you feel about this proposal, truckers?
14. Will rates dramatically increase prior to the December 2017 deadline to comply with the "electronic logging device mandate"?
Analysts who had originally predicted they would, now think their predictions are wrong (according to a May 25, 2017, article).
"We agree that full implementation and enforcement of ELDs should require more drivers and more trucks to move the same amount of freight, all else equal," the analysts said.
Do you agree or disagree -- and why?
15. Two helpful articles to help you prepare for the upcoming CVSA Roadcheck are here and here.
From the TDMST Weekly Round-Up: 2017.06.03
1. A truck driver is "in danger of being arrested" for driving an "unregistered" truck, according to a June 1, 2017, article.
His employer said that he would take care of it. But even 3 months after having left that job, the trucker (not his former employer) "received a letter explaining the $399 ticket was delinquent and a warrant may be issued for his arrest."
It is the trucker's responsibility to do two things before driving a truck (during a pre-trip inspection):
2. While we encourage truckers to start earning a second income on the side, we recommend earning that money legally.
Unfortunately, one trucker tried to sell merchandise -- branded food products -- that didn't belong to him. Fortunately, he got caught and was terminated.
When anyone suggests making money by such a scheme, run -- do not walk -- in the other direction. These schemes always backfire.
3. A May 30, 2017, article points out the dangers of truckers picking up hitchhikers: in this case, the trucker was killed.
At least one trucking company I know of had (and may still have) a passenger authorization policy in place for their company drivers.
If you're an owner-operator, you may want to check on that.
There is a fine line between wanting to be kindhearted to those in need and discerning ill-intent. Be on your guard for your truck, your load, and your life!
4. Another historic bridge has been harmed by a trucker, according to a May 30, 2017, article. This time, the trucker "will likely be charged ... [for the] $650 in damage" that was done.
The article does not state why the trucker struck the bridge -- particularly since it is "listed on the National Register of Historic Places" -- but I strongly suspect that the trucker was using a car-specific (not a CMV-specific) GPS unit.
If you are driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle and want to use a GPS unit:
5. It wasn't the crash that killed the dump truck driver, it was "being crushed by [the] construction debris that slid forward from the bed of his truck" that killed him, according to a May 30, 2017, article.
This article is a good reminder for all truckers who carry loads that can shift in transit, to make sure that they are secure.
6. A May 30, 2017, article opens with this:
"Truckers shouldn't be afraid of Uber, or Uber-style technology, because the entire aim is to make it easier for shippers and carriers to connect, at the expense of today's middle man."
Owner-operators, do you know what percentage of the pay rate for your load is paid to "middle men"?
How would driving for Uber -- or getting your loads through a top-rated load board -- improve your profitability?
7. According to a May 26, 2017, article, the truck that was being driven at the time of a crash that killed four people "had previously been cited for mechanical defects."
The truck driver "has been convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter."
This is another reminder to do thorough pre-trip inspections to make sure that your truck is safe, legal and compliant to drive before driving it.
Any time your truck has had mechanical problems, always check to make sure that the problems have been corrected. If you do not know how to make sure that the problems have been corrected, ask the mechanic who worked on your truck.
Lives are on the line every time you drive your truck.
8. The May 25, 2017, article doesn't specifically say why an eastbound truck "crossed through the median and struck a semi-truck traveling westbound" at about 6 a.m. in the morning.
I suspect that at that pre-dawn hour, the eastbound driver fell asleep at the wheel or swerved to avoid an animal in the road.
The accident resulted in one trucker's death and the hospitalization of the other. I empathize with the family of the trucker who died.
9. FleetOwner.com reported on May 31, 2017, that a "Joint study predicts a 50% to 70% cut in truck driving jobs in the U.S. and Europe due to self-driving technology by 2030." That's 4.4 million truck driving jobs that could be cut.
This is all the more reason why professional truck drivers need to seriously consider preparing to transition out of the industry by putting in place now a second income stream.
10. Beware of the potential for being rear-ended in stupid weigh station set-ups like the one in Olathe, Kansas. A June 1, 2017, article says that a semi was clipped by a four-wheeler.
According to one trucker commenting about that weigh station: "It's always backed up and it's dangerous."
It is possible that turning on your 4-way flashers will help others notice that you've slowed down your rig in such a situation. Another preventative measure may be to legally route around such a scale.
11. Are you ready for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's (CVSA's) annual International Roadcheck inspection -- where the emphasis is going to be on cargo securement -- to be held from June 6-8 across North America?
A June 2, 2017, article states, "Violations related to cargo securement include failure to prevent shifting/loss of cargo, failure to secure truck equipment, damaged tie-downs, insufficient tie-downs and loose tie-downs." There is also a link to a flyer with tips.
Save yourself the time and expense of violations by always being ready for an inspection.
12. A June 1, 2017, article says that two Walmart stores are testing having "company associates... deliver online orders to customers' homes" because "90% of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a store, making it easy to match an associate's commute with a delivery order."
Naturally, this will allow the associates to earn extra income.
Do you think this trend will continue?
13. "Starting in 2018, Texas will increase the weight limits for trucks hauling intermodal containers, allowing loads up to 100,000 pounds to travel within a 30-mile radius of their point of entry on the Gulf of Mexico," states a June 1, 2017, article.
Since the "permits will cost carriers $6,000 a year", I'd like to know from Texas truckers hauling intermodal containers in that area: How long you figure it will take you to make a return on your investment?
14. Owner-operators, please contribute your input to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) to help them compile their annual update to its "Operational Costs of Trucking report." To learn what kinds of information are sought, read this May 31, 2017, article.
From the TDMST Weekly Round-Up: 2017.06.10
1. Ending an operation that spanned 14 years, a June 8, 2017, article reported: "An El Paso, Texas, trucking company owner was recently sentenced to more than 24 years in prison for his connection to a marijuana smuggling operation...."
Separately, the article quoted a newspaper as stating that the "trucks driven by Lopez and other drivers were used to transport the drugs...."
One wonders if the drivers who drove for the owner of the company knew that they were "trafficking marijuana from El Paso to cities across the U.S."
Regardless, if you are caught with illegal drugs in your possession -- or if you are transporting it -- you could be found guilty.
Protect your CDL and your ability to drive a truck professionally. Don't transport illegal drugs!
2. The chief executive of Old Dominion Freight Line advocates "higher fuel taxes to fund road improvements but stands steadfast against expanded toll roads", according to a June 8, 2017, article.
He stated, "We are perfectly willing to pay more taxes to reduce congestion and improve our roads, reduce potholes that are costing us an arm and a leg and roadside crashes that are occurring."
Just one question: Will "more taxes" on fuel actually fix those things?
In my home state of South Carolina, the largest gas tax in state history was passed this year, but there has been at least one report that the tax may not all go to road improvements! Hmm...
3. A June 6, 2017, article reported the sad and extremely preventable accident that killed both a trucker and the driver of a car the big rig struck -- because the trucker had been using methamphetamine.
A school bus was also struck during the accident, injuring more than a dozen students.
No matter how appealing using drugs may be, they always have an impact on your body. As we reported earlier this week, even prescription drugs in your body can slow down your reaction time.
In this case, the trucker paid for his action with his life. Using drugs and driving just isn't worth it!
4. According to a June 7, 2017, article, a trucker who wasn't allowed to park on the premises of the location where he was going to be making a pick-up went to a nearby resort. He left his truck running and went inside. When he came back, his truck had been stolen.
The article does not say whether or not the trucker had locked his doors before leaving his truck. Even so, a motivated thief can find a way to break into a locked, running and unoccupied truck.
The question is whether or not a thief will know the "access code" of a device that may be installed in some trucks to prevent theft. If you are considering installing such a device on your truck, do your due diligence ahead of time.
5. From the overhead video accompanying a June 8, 2017, article, it appears that it was on the outside of a curved ramp leading to a highway ramp in Tempe, Arizona, where a truck driver lost control of his rig and spilled a load of beer on the side of the road.
Pallet wrap, straps and load locks will go only so far in preventing a load from shifting when a trucker is taking a curve too fast.
Remember to gauge your speed appropriately and to slow down in curves. Semi trucks must almost always go more slowly than cars in curves because of their larger height, weight and other factors.
Review the "Safe Driving: Turns and Curves" section of our Safe Driving Tips for Drivers of Large Trucks page.
6. A June 6, 2017, article quoted this question regarding the truck-only toll in Rhode Island:
"Why is RIDOT rehabilitating a bridge that's in good condition (72 percent sufficiency rating) with a superstructure rating of 5 when (Rhode Island) has so many structurally deficient bridges that it deems 'dangerous'"?
Indeed! It isn't just the amount of the money but where the money is going that is at stake with some taxes and tolls!
7. In what has to be one of the most ludicrous stunts ever pulled by a trucker trying to blame someone else for his own stupidity, this June 6, 2017, article stated:
"According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the trucker admitted to investigators that he accidentally shot himself in the leg while driving and falsely reported being the victim of a shooting."
If you're at fault for something, don't compound your problem by bearing false witness. Tell the truth! Lying can catch up with you.
8. A June 6, 2017, article, reported a gigantic issue that a man planning to become a small trucking company owner is facing: the "lack of affordable insurance."
Specifically, "One broker offered Walker a commercial vehicle insurance policy with an annual premium of $43,000 - $2,000 more than heavy-duty truckers' annual median pay."
Truckers, if you're in a similar situation entrepreneurially speaking, have you found found your situation to be the same?
9. A spokesman for the Arkansas Highway Police was quoted in a June 6, 2017, article regarding the inspection emphasis that took place this week, "We're checking tires rims, lugnuts, brakes, brake chambers, you name it we're looking at it."
It's a wonder that the nationwide inspection process doesn't happen more often than it does.
Keep your truck in tip-top condition. You never know when your truck will be pulled in for a random inspection.
10. A June 5, 2017, article about how some insurance companies are losing money, stated: "many insurers have proven more willing to renew coverage if trucking companies agree to install in-cab cameras to monitor drivers. As a result, many commercial trucking companies have adopted the cost saving technologies."
The article further states, "Lawyers have increasingly used on board cameras in courts as they can record the moments before an accident, which in many cases exonerates the driver. The issue of driver liability has become more critical in recent years as jury awards have increased dramatically."
Would you as a trucker be willing to have a cab-facing camera in your truck if it meant that your or your carrier's insurance rates would be lower? Why or why not?
11. A lorry driver "pleaded guilty to causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving".
We empathize with the family of the woman, her unborn son, and her daughter -- all of whom died directly -- or as a result of complications that arose -- from the accident.
The article further stated that "thirteen other people were injured in the six car pile-up".
The lorry driver was suspected of being distracted at the time of the fatal accident, according to a June 9, 2017, article.
Whenever you are behind the wheel of a truck, don't allow yourself to be distracted. It can prove fatal.
12. The whole reason for establishing a database of those who can perform DOT medical exams was to keep the unqualified off the list.
But according to a June 9, 2017, article, a Georgia "septuagenarian chiropractor, [who was] certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation to test truckers' health to be eligible to drive" allowed thousands of truckers to get on the road "after incomplete medical exams".
If you're one of the truckers who acquired a DOT medical card legitimately but was given your card by a doctor who was later found to be falsifying records, have you ever experienced difficulty or been required to get a new DOT medical card?
If so, how much time and money did that cost you?
13. A June 8, 2017, article reported:
"Volvo Trucks has developed a new self-steering truck that can become a significant productivity booster for Brazilian sugar-cane growers. The truck, which is used to transport newly harvested sugar-cane, is steered with great precision through the fields in order to avoid damaging the young plants that will form the following year's crop. At present, about four per cent of the crop is lost as young plants are run over and the soil is compacted by moving vehicles. This can translate into tens of thousands of US dollars in lost revenue per truck per season."
I envision that it won't be too long before trucks guided in sugar cane fields will be guided on roads.
It's time to start earning a second income so that you can easily transition out of the trucking industry.
From time to time, Vicki reads an article about a trucker who experienced a medical emergency being involved in an incident or accident. Sometimes the
Earn More, Save More
The May 22, 2017, article in The New York Times said these things about trucking:
He said, "Because at 54 years old, nobody wants me. I can't retrain for anything else. For older people, you kind of get trapped. For every one that does well, there's 30 that it destroys."
We certainly understand how he feels! But the truth is that he can retrain himself if he is willing.
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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Although "hurricane season" may result in lots of water being dumped on roads, flooding can take place in many areas. For example, the Mississippi River floods over its banks periodically.
What you can't see under the flow of the water can harm your truck! So don't try to be a hero by pushing ahead when the waters rise.
Review your company's policies and procedures about stopping and parking your truck when summer storms dump lots of water in your area.
To all of our readers who are professional truck drivers, we wish you safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road!
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