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TDMST Email Newsletter, 2017-08
August 11, 2017
Truck Drivers Money Saving Tips Email Newsletter
Issue #97, August 11, 2017
Featuring content from and supporting:
"Because truckers know that no trucker deserves to be stung financially."
Table of Contents
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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.
Embark is also focusing on handling freeway driving, with a human driver on board who navigates city streets. Still, taking the freeway scenarios out of their hands should eventually mean that drivers can do more loads per day, increasing efficiency, cutting cost and addressing demand for trucking that is outpacing driver supply. This, combined with the relatively low cost of Embark's tech, should help U.S. truckers essentially purchase themselves a virtual "employee" in the form of semi-autonomous trucks, while still retaining work, the company says.Furthermore, would you as a trucker buy this kind of machine to help you increase your "efficiency"?
2. Will Christmas be ruined this year?
According to a July 17, 2017, article about electronic logging devices or ELDs, the "federal mandate [is scheduled] to take effect Dec.18".
Many carriers are going to be putting the devices in their trucks around the middle of October, right in time for goods for the Christmas season to be shipped.
A North Dakota trucker named Jason Pies is already upset about the electronic logs or e-logs:
"You decide to shut down because of weather because of road conditions, accident up ahead, you have dispatch send you a message saying, 'you still got four or [five] hours of driving left, why are you stopped?' Well, as a driver, I felt it was safe for me to stop," Pies said.
3. Not allowing enough following distance or braking distance doesn't just happen in the USA.
The South China Morning Post reported on July 19, 2017, that a truck driver slammed on his brakes in order to avoid a collision with a vehicle stopped at an intersection. When that happened, the cab of the tractor flipped forward. In fact, the braking was so hard that the steel rods that were being carried on the trailer rammed the back of the cabin.
In a separate situation, a truck driver in the UK was jailed for six years after not slowing his "heavy goods vehicle until just one second before the crash" that killed both a 3-year-old girl and her unborn brother last August. The July 17, 2017, article did not say why the UK trucker "failed to notice traffic slowing down" on a busy road.
Truckers, always leave enough following distance between your trucks and the vehicles in front of you.
Our condolences go to the family.
4. Warning: This is a rant.
This is the reason why some trucking companies are picky about whom they hire to deliver freight.
A July 19, 2017, article reported that a trucker who
- had seven times within 18 years experienced the suspension or revocation of "driving privileges",
- lost his CDL for a year due to drunk driving, and
- been "convicted of careless driving and another misdemeanor in 2016",
crossed the center line in thick fog and killed a teen in a head-on collision.
I'd like to know what possessed the trucking company to hire this guy to drive for them -- and how he was even eligible to be hired on.
I imagine that a wrongful death lawsuit will be filed against the trucking company on the principle described in the Bible in Exodus 21:28-32.
Our condolences go to the family of the teenager who was killed.
5. Another trucker rolled his truck over after swerving to avoid hitting a deer, according to a July 17, 2017, article.
This particular truck was hauling 6,000 gallons of liquid manure, about 3,000 gallons of which spilled out.
Review your company's collision avoidance procedure.
6. "A new health care offering aims to provide truck drivers and their families an affordable way to receive basic services that fit into their schedules", stated a July 15, 2017, article.
The "Hello Alvin" website, states (all capitals reformatted), "Hello Alvin is your mobile healthcare network for just $100 per year and $45 per visit."
Is this the solution to helping truckers get some of their healthcare needs met?
We personally prefer focusing on wellness.
7. If a piece of gravel falls out of a dump truck and cracks the windshield of the vehicle immediately behind, is the trucker driving the truck responsible to pay for the damage -- even if the truck bears a warning sign to stay back?
According to a spokeswoman for the Auto Club in a July 17, 2017, article, "The sign does not absolve the driver from being in violation of the Vehicle Code".
The spokeswoman advised keeping a distance back from the truck. Also, one would need to prove that the debris that fell from the truck actually caused the damage.
Remember, drivers, many cars now have dash cams, too. So, secure your loads.
8. Some stretches of road are more challenging than others. Some areas are more prone to truck crashes than others.
On July 12, 2017, KPLCTV.com reported that a curved westbound section of I-10 near Shattuck Street in the Lake Charles, Louisiana, area has been the location of "Multiple 18-wheeler accidents".
Remember to slow down before a curve, not wait until you're already in a curve to slow down.
9. Do you remember the article that appeared in USA Today entitled "Rigged: Forced Into Debt. Worked Past Exhaustion. Left With Nothing"?
A follow-up article revealed, that the trucker who had been interviewed for the original piece -- Rene Flores -- was subsequently fired by his trucking company and basically forced to forfeit the $60,000 that he had "invested in down-payment on his truck".
The author of the follow-up piece wrote a couple of hard-hitting -- and from what I can tell, well deserved -- statements about the trucking company:
- "Think of this unctuous corporation sending a truck driver a message of silence. Be obedient, or your children go hungry. What is it like, I wonder, to be a villain from a Capra film?"
- "Why would you expect an industry that keeps 'indentured servants' to care about its cogs rebelling?"
If you are the victim of trucking company exploitation, do not put up with it. Speak up!
You deserve to be treated with respect.
10. "At least 20 states ... have their own meal and rest break laws that would be impacted" if Congress overrides states' work rules through legislation currently being considered.
This legislation will "make ... highways more dangerous" according to "union officials and truck drivers" in July 20, 2017, article.
Call your federal elected officials now at 202-224-3121 and SAY NO TO FAA (F4A) bill with Anti-Trucker Wage Preemption Amendment (Denham language).
11. A July 2017 article states,
"More than 15 cents per mile. That's what it costs a fleet on average for maintenance and repair, according to the American Transportation Research Institute. That equates to about 10% of a fleet's vehicle-based operating costs."
Knowing your numbers is important if you're considering becoming an owner-operator entrepreneur.
12. Heads-up: A July 20, 2017, article opens:
Working long hours isn't just tiresome, it may actually shorten your lifespan. A recent study published in the European Heart Journal has put forth some shocking figures: working for more than 55 hours a week may raise your chances of developing a serious heart condition - such as atrial fibrillation or irregular, rapid heart rate that can lead to chronic fatigue, stroke, and heart failure - by up to 40 percent.The problem in the trucking industry isn't needing to work more hours to earn a decent paycheck; the problem is being paid a decent rate for the hours you do work.
If you're looking to potentially transition out of the trucking industry, you may want to consider first starting to earn a second income from the cab of your truck.
From the TDMST Weekly Round-Up: 2017.07.29
This week, Vicki concentrates solely upon various aspects of the human smuggling or human trafficking tragedy that was recently revealed in San Antonio, Texas.
A July 23, 2017, article revealed that 10 people were dead and 30 others had been hospitalized after they had been discovered in a tractor trailer in "stifling summer heat" outside a Walmart store in San Antonio, Texas.
The police have called it a "horrific human trafficking case".
Those who were hospitalized were in "dire condition, many suffering from extreme dehydration and heatstroke", according to a July 24, 2017, article.
Two issues were involved: smuggling/trafficking and heat-related illness and death.
Did the trucker know what was in his trailer?
According to a July 24, 2017, article, the driver "had no idea how the immigrants got into his trailer".
A July 25, 2017, article states that the driving "suspect in a fatal human smuggling case" "didn't know what was in the truck".
Another driver said that the suspect's actions were inexcusable, that "as a driver you know what you're hauling".
However, back on November 14, 2011, a trucking magazine published an article about the blog of an owner-operator who reported unusual places where stowaways can hide on a truck.
In this case, "unbeknownst to [another trucker] a young man and woman were crouched on top of his sleeper in the area behind his high roof fairing."
The article urged truckers to "Keep an eye on your roof fairing in Laredo".
A similar stowaway situation was reported on December 19, 2016.
Even so, there's a difference between a stowaway hiding in an exterior part of one's truck and inside one's tractor or trailer.
Was there a lock on the trailer so that no one could get inside?
Where did the illegals get in the trailer? In Laredo?
Furthermore, the doors of the trailer were closed from the outside. Therefore, someone had to have shut the doors behind the people -- most likely someone whom they trusted.
How hot did it get inside the trailer?
A July 23, 2017, article stated:
"Smuggling illegal immigrants through South Texas in the heat of the summer is deadly business. The high temperature Saturday was 100 with the heat index as high as 106."The Medical Director for the San Antonio Fire Department said that the people were "trapped basically within an oven ... [and their] body systems [weren't] able to handle that rise in heat that [occurred] in that closed environment."
A July 25, 2017, article stated that the "surface temperature reader in the truck ... read as high as 121 degrees" and there was extremely poor ventilation in the trailer.
Why do people smuggle or traffic others? Sadly, for money.
"There will always be people willing to pay for illegal transport and there will always be people who take that money", stated the author of a July 24, 2017, commentary.
A July 25, 2017, article quoted a Rio Grande Valley trucker that "smugglers often pressure [truckers] and make them offers to haul people in the country illegally."
The offer of $1,000 per person smuggled "may seem appealing at first". However, he knows "four truck drivers who are currently serving jail time for smuggling" and "all it takes is to get caught once for everything to be over" (including losing one's CDL).
Smuggling just isn't worth it.
Did the trucker take the most direct route?
An article addressed the 316 miles out-of-route that the suspect drove the truck.
When I put the cities into Google Maps, I came up with the same number of out-of-route miles, too.
Since there is a route to get from Laredo to Brownsville, why did the trucker go all the way back to San Antonio first?
I wondered about the city's status, but according to a January 26, 2017, article, San Antonio does not consider itself to be a "sanctuary city".
Hmm... Something seems very wrong here.
What about the trucking company and the trucker?
An Associated Press article dated July 27, 2017, revealed more about the trucking company for which the smuggling suspect contracted, supposedly not being as wholesome as they want people to believe.
The owner of the trucking company for whom the driver contracted says that the company has nothing to do with this "incident", according to a July 24, 2017, article.
A July 26, 2017, article states that the driver "has a criminal record going back 20 years, and was driving without a CDL".
Are these things true?
What kinds of charges does the trucker face?
The driver "faces federal and state charges", according to a July 23, 2017, article.
A July 24, 2017, article states that the driver "appeared in federal court on charges of illegally transporting immigrants for financial gain, resulting in death".
Another July 24, 2017, article stated that the driver could be facing a death penalty.
A July 25, 2017, article stated: "Truck driver James Matthew Bradley Jr., has been charged for his role in the immigrant smuggling operation and could face a sentence as harsh as the death penalty because of the fatalities that occurred."
Have people died inside a hot trailer before? Yes!
A 2003 smuggling-by-truck tragedy resulted in the deaths of 19 people who had been "locked inside a stifling rig".
In that case, the "driver was sentenced to nearly 34 years in prison", according to a July 24, 2017, article.
Why weren't the illegals caught at a checkpoint?
A July 26, 2017, article opens, "The trucker accused in a deadly smuggling attempt passed the Laredo Customs and Border Protection checkpoint two hours before he was discovered in San Antonio, according to U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar."
This makes me wonder why the border patrol didn't discover the folks being smuggled.
Yet a July 23, 2017, article states, "it's difficult to spot smugglers without a tip from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Many go under the radar unless they're stopped for another traffic violation."
"Under the radar" in this case means that they escape detection.
Isn't there some way to detect human cargo, like with X-ray technology?
At least some trucks going into Canada are X-rayed.
A March 17, 2003, article addressed "X-ray equipment at border crossings" -- meaning the U.S./Canada border.
According to an April 5, 2006, article, "gamma-imaging technology" was used to spot "Two people hiding in a container about to be trucked from Canada to Buffalo, N.Y.".
If this technology is used at the U.S./Canada border, why isn't it routinely used at the U.S./Mexico border?
What lessons can be learned from this tragedy?
- Truckers would be wise to thoroughly research the trucking companies for which they are considering driving -- before hiring on.
- Do not ever engage in trafficking or smuggling.
- No matter how good the payoff may be, don't agree to do that which is illegal and could cost you your future.
- Even if your trailer is empty, put a lock on it when it is in transit so that no one can enter without your knowledge or permission.
- Unless you are instructed otherwise, whenever you are driving a commercial motor vehicle, take the most direct truck route from where you pick up your load to where you will deliver it.
- Watch out -- especially in towns near international borders -- for illegal aliens seeking to hitch a ride.
- At every stop such as a truck stop, check to make sure that one or more stowaways haven't hitched a ride.
- Be on your guard when it comes to staying in a hot truck. Protect your body and health from heat-related illness.
- Never put someone else in a position that you would not want to be put in. Love your neighbor as yourself.
From the TDMST Weekly Round-Up: 2017.08.05
1. Although it's not known why he did so, "A 57-year-old man who stepped out of his truck after parking along the shoulder of Interstate 78 Monday afternoon was struck and killed by a passing tractor-trailer", according to a July 26, 2017, article.
Be careful where you park and look for oncoming traffic.
2. A July 27, 2017, article quoted a trucker about his thoughts regarding autonomous (or driverless) trucks:
3. Yes, trucking is a deadly occupation.
- A July 8, 2017, article stated that a 53-year-old professional truck driver died in a single-vehicle New Jersey accident that "closed two of the highway's three eastbound lanes for much of the afternoon and led to delays up to 45 minutes that backed up traffic across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania."
- A 50-year-old driver is believed to have "suffered a medical episode" prior to the crash in which he died in Florida, according to a July 11, 2017, article.
- A July 13, 2017, article stated: "A crash involving four tractor-trailers and two other vehicles claimed three lives, including that of a truck driver, Tuesday afternoon along I-35 in Waco, Texas". In this case, when a trucker came over the top of a hill, he "did not recognize that the traffic was stopped."
Our condolences go to the families.
4. A box truck driver blamed a bee (yes, an insect) for causing him to cross the centerline and cause a crash, according to a July 25, 2017, article.
If a bee entered your tractor while you were driving, what would you do? Please comment below.
5. Which of the "6 money-saving tips that will make you feel smart" would work best for you?
6. Yes, taking a turn too quickly and rolling over a truck can have fatal results -- even if you're wearing a seat belt -- according to a July 25, 2017, article.
7. If you're hauling an over-dimensional load, check your route and make sure your load isn't too tall to go under overpasses.
A July 24, 2017, article stated that "a tractor trailing hauling a large telescopic boom lift on a low boy trailer hit the U-S 441 overpass" and did damage.
The trucker was cited for a height violation.
8. A July 24, 2017, article states that there are "sharp divisions within the trucking industry" over a bill introduced by U.S. Representative Brian Babin, that "seeks to delay implementation of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate for two years".
In my opinion, the most ridiculous revelation in the article is this:
Imagine for a few moments what will happen to truckers who "invest" in electronic logging devices, thinking that they're doing the legal thing, and then some time down the road, the devices they chose don't do what is needed!
A July 27, 2017, article indicates that the bill to delay ELD implementation is not likely to get far.
9. Should ex-convict -- nonviolent felons -- be given an opportunity to enter the trucking industry?
Some trucking companies see to think so, according to a July 24, 2017, article.
What pros and what cons would this pose?
Would these drivers be limited to running within the continental USA only -- or have other limitations put on them?
10. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will be holding Operation Safe Driver Week from Oct. 15-21, 2017, according to a July 26, 2017, article.
What struck me as odd about this event is that "enforcement personnel will identify and issue warnings and/or citations to commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers and passenger-vehicle drivers exhibiting unsafe driving behaviors on our roadways."
Did you catch that "passenger-vehicle drivers" will also be watched and held accountable for their behaviors while driving?
Is this the first time that has happened during a CVSA event?
11. A July 25, 2017, article stated,
12. Are you ready for the "10th consecutive" fee increase on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, scheduled to be effective on Jan. 7, 2018?
The "6 percent increase [will apply to] both E-ZPass and cash customers". Furthermore, annual increases of "3 to 6 percent are expected to continue for the Turnpike through 2044", according to a July 24, 2017, article.
13. On July 24, 2017, Land Line Magazine reported,
14. Troopers arrested a truck driver who was high on meth and crashed his rig.
The charges were "suspicion of Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (Controlled Substance), Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine, Reckless Driving, and Recklessly Endangering Another Person", according to a July 26, 2017, article.
15. In an August 1, 2017, article entitled "Fleet exoneration: Using video to determine truck accident liability",
Furthermore, Angie Leathers, litigation coordinator for Avertitt Express, stated,
16. In an August 1, 2017, article entitled "Doing the math on the ELD mandate", Ashley Cruz, a procurement research analyst with consulting firm IBISWorld, stated,
17. Here's a link to a July 31, 2017, article about "Using GPS and tracking to help prevent vehicle theft".
18. The opening paragraph of an August 1, 2017, article stated,
From the TDMST Weekly Round-Up: 2017.08.12
1. In a July 31, 2017, article, we read
I have just one question:
If an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) measures "drive time" whenever a truck is moving, how will the driver be able to not log when the truck is moving in the process of "automatically parking"? See #13 below.
2. According to an August 6, 2017, article,
But that being said, according to the photo caption on that article, "A recent study found that about 28 percent of commercial truck drivers suffer from mild to severe sleep apnea."
A separate August 8, 2017, article states, "even if the guidelines were unequivocal about screening all truckers for obstructive sleep apnea, many would be unable or unwilling to pay for the testing if it were optional, as some employers and insurers leave the costs to the individual truckers."
I am urging truck drivers who feel tired a lot of the time or who find themselves nodding off while driving -- for the sake of their own health and safety -- to voluntarily undertake a sleep study to determine if they have sleep apnea. You can always ask if you can pay for the sleep study on time.
And if the results of your sleep study indicate that you have sleep apnea, please take the necessary steps to be fitted with the appliance or device of your choice to treat it -- and use it consistently. You can also ask if you can pay for the device on time.
Mike and I have a friend with sleep apnea who could not believe the improvement to his sleep after he got fitted for a CPAP machine. Yes, it took a while for him to get used to wearing it while sleeping, but the benefits outweighed the inconvenience.
My understanding is that there are at-home type sleep studies that one can undergo that won't require going to a sleep lab for observation.
3. While trucking is a dangerous occupation that sometimes leads to death due to collisions and job-related tasks, I have recently become aware of the fact that "500 workers in interstate transportation [have been] slain over the past decade, a statistic cited by [the] U.S. Department of Labor".
This topic came up because "49-year-old Keith Odom of Jonesborough was robbed while repairing his 18-wheeler truck" and after having been shot, he died, according to an August 9, 2017, article.
According to an August 10, 2017, article, "The teen accused of robbing and shooting [Odom] is suspected of also robbing two nearby stores at gunpoint earlier in the summer".
Whether or not you agree with it -- and whether or not you intend to participate -- I am passing along information about a proposed holiday on Tuesday, September 5th, 2017, called "Day Without a Trucker", instituted by the Trucker Lives Matter! movement.
According to the press release, some truckers "are planning to take that day off and drive instead to Washington, D.C. to publicize the need for them to be able to carry firearms nationwide to protect themselves while living and working on the road."
Please consider the cost of participating and not participating in this event or related events.
4. Don't pull out in the path of a moving vehicle.
One trucker did that and has been "charged in [the] crash that killed [a] woman". He was arrested "on misdemeanor counts of vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter", according to an August 8, 2017, article.
5. A trucker was arrested following failure to pay a toll across the George Washington bridge, according to an August 8, 2017, article. He had fraudulent license plates, had an expired registration, and had racked up "398 outstanding violations totalling $28,995 in tolls and fees" on the truck's EZ Pass.
Pay the tolls for your use of toll roads and bridges. Don't be a thief.
6. "Since at least 1993, long-haul truck drivers have been using the westbound stretch of road near 69th St. and the expressway in Maspeth as a spot to park and get a few hours of sleep", according to an August 9, 2017, article.
Then, the driver of a car "died when he left the expressway and slammed into the back of one of those trucks".
While our condolences go to the family, there are several conflicting things captured in the article:
- that exit area is busy;
- there has been a long-standing practice of truckers pulling over at the spot to get sleep; and
- according to one person quoted in the article, there are "rest stops" where all truckers who need sleep in that area can go.
I'd like to know if these so-called trucker "rest stops" are on or along the Long Island Expressway. Would anyone care to share?
7. An August 9, 2017, article states, "Truck World in Hubbard is celebrating their 5th annual Driver Appreciation Days this week with free lunches and entertainment for CDL licensed drivers."
If you're in the area, feel free to stop in and celebrate!
8. Congratulations to the 7 Delaware truck drivers who are competing in a "national competition, run by the American Trucking Association".
According to an August 7, 2017, article, this is the "80th year drivers showcase their precision and safety skills."
9. It is possible that the rollover truck crash that occurred in Webster Parish, LA, on Monday August 7, 2017, didn't have to prove fatal for the trucker.
According to an August 7, 2017, article, police say the trucker "was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash... was partially ejected from the truck... sustained fatal injuries during the crash and was pronounced dead at the scene".
Had the trucker been seatbelted in, he might have lived through the crash. Buckle up before you drive the first inch.
10. "Thursdays are one of the deadliest days of the week for new and experienced drivers of 18-wheelers", according to an August 7, 2017, article.
Furthermore, "More than half of fatal accidents involving a truck occur on major roads other than interstates or highways and about one-third occur on interstates and freeways."
So be on your guard. Life is precious.
11. Do you need to pull over onto the shoulder of a road and then merge back into traffic?
Then do so safely and don't cause a fatality like one trucker did in Nebraska, as was reported on August 7, 2017.
12. The "FMCSA added 12 violations to the Safety Measurement System (SMS) to give large truck and bus companies a more complete picture of their safety performance", according to this August 8, 2017, article.
Links to the violations are on the page.
13. Now this is interesting! In point #1 above, I questioned how drivers could become more efficient if all miles logged on an Electronic Logging Device and driven autonomously were assigned to a driver.
According to an August 10, 2017, article, "The ELD device must track all miles associated with the vehicle. If any mileage is not assigned to a driver, it is labeled as Unassigned Driving Time."
So, friends, that's how they're going to get around that.
Just watch what happens if some unscrupulous drivers claim that time they're awake has been classified as "unassigned". I predict trouble ahead, just like truckers might get into if they work two paper log books. Hmm...
Earn More, Save More
The image of an "Autonomous Vehicle" license plate from the state of Nevada -- as shown in this August 1, 2017, article -- speaks volumes.
Every week, Vicki reads or watches something about trucker pay and/or self-driving trucks.
Like it or not, automation is coming to the trucking industry.
A July 5, 2017, article describes the "five levels of autonomous driving from 0 to 5" which we will list concisely here:
- Level 0: Complete driver control;
- Level 1: Driver assistance;
- Level 2: Driver limbs-free;
- Level 3: Vehicle handles "safety-critical functions";
- Level 4: Vehicle handles "all safety-critical functions" and monitors road conditions;
- Level 5: Vehicle replaces driver.
Those who prepare for the changes now will not be taken unaware. Vicki hopes to have her Second Income for Truckers Report ready soon.
Learn more about earning a second income as a trucker.
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As school starts in many areas of the USA, be on your guard for childen playing near or in roads -- as well as for school buses making lots of stops in some areas.
Do not become impatient and cause an accident.
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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