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TDMST Email Newsletter, 2018-01
January 12, 2018

Truck Drivers Money Saving Tips Email Newsletter

Issue #102, January 12, 2018

Featuring content from and supporting:

"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


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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.


From the TDMST Weekly Round-Up: 2017.12.16

This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending December 16, 2017.

We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.

TDMST Weekly Round-Up 1. A December 15, 2017, article stated:

Congressman Brian Babin (TX-36), who authored legislation to try and delay the imposition of the ELD mandate for two years -- dubbed H.R. 3282, the ELD Extension Act of 2017 -- took to the floor of the House of Representatives yesterday to implore President Trump to ask for a 90-day waiver from the regulation for the entire industry. ...

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), along with 10 other industry groups and companies, also appealed to President Trump in a letter sent to the White House this week -- a letter that also calls for "at least" a 90-day waiver for all sectors of the trucking industry to provide "additional time necessary to address the very serious and reasonable concerns of stakeholders."

Meanwhile, a December 7, 2017, article stated that "the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has "sent a letter laying out its concerns about the ELD rule to all state attorneys general and copied it to representatives in each state".

2. The only good use that I've seen come about as a result of the ELD mandate is described in this December 5, 2017, article.

ELDs capture detailed, driver-certified records of the workday. The primary purpose of the data record is for complying with federal hours-of-service rules, but the technology meets a secondary, and perhaps just as important need, for fleets to comply with California wage and labor laws.

California-based trucking companies can use the data to verify that drivers are compensated for all of the time they spend on duty. This is important since non-productive activities like inspecting equipment, fueling or waiting on dispatch have to be accounted for in driver pay.

Accounting for all non-productive activities will only occur if truckers are truthful on their ELDs.

3. The subtitle of a December 14, 2017, article, summarized one situation very succinctly:

"During Operation Safe Driver week, 43.5% of motorist citations/warnings were for speeding, compared to 7.4% for truck drivers."

4. One December 14, 2017, article with the title "Fine print trucking regulations snag NAFTA modernization talks" made me wonder about the truckers coming over the border from Canada and Mexico:

Are they being forced to comply with the ELD mandate like truckers in the USA are?

5. How about some motivation and statistics?

"There are good reasons why so many companies are suddenly fixated on modernizing a century-old industry. Stricter carbon emission regulations play a part. The swift rise of e-commerce does too. And technological breakthroughs, particularly around autonomous driving, are advancing far beyond the proving ground," states a December 12, 2017, article.

"But above all, it's business opportunity--and trucking is the physical embodiment of a thriving economy. Trucks moved more than 70% of all U.S. freight and generated $676 billion in revenue in 2016, according to the American Trucking Associations. Some 33.8 million trucks were registered for business purposes in 2016. Almost 4 million of them were categorized Class 8..."

6. You can be doing everything right and still die in a trucking accident.

Recent snowfall along Route 27 south of the Canadian border preceded a two-truck collision, according to a December 11, 2017, article.

The driver of a 2010 Peterbuilt tractor-trailer truck hauling an empty trailer in a curve "lost traction and jackknifed, and slid into the travel lane of the northbound fuel truck." The driver of the fully loaded fuel truck was killed instantly.

Our condolences go to the family.

7. A December 8, 2017, article quoted Charles Clayburn, a trucker in Mississippi and one of the spokesmen for the "#ELDorme" event, who stated:

"Ninety-nine percent of these devices are bluetooth -- they are not hardwired into a truck's motor -- and anybody with a smart phone, tablet, laptop will be able to hack into the truck's ECM (electronically commutated motor)". He said that that "could make the truck vulnerable to hijacking".

A December 2017 article addressed the question, "How Secure is Your ELD?" The article said,

"IOActive, a global security advisory firm, earlier this year conducted vulnerability assessment research using several ELDs that were available over the counter at big-box distributors. 'What we found could allow an attacker to pivot through the device and into the vehicle, where the consequences could be disastrous'. ...

"IOActive's general conclusion was that all the tested devices did little, if anything, to follow cybersecurity best practices and were open to compromise, with shortcomings such as devices being shipped with debug enabled firmware easily accessible for analysis, and lack of encryption."

8. Will the ELD mandate squelch leisure activities of truckers who own their trucks? According to this article, one trucker said yes!

"I own my truck and trailer and if I want to hook on to my camper and go to the lake, that is nobody's business," he said. "They are putting an ankle bracelet me just because I decided to drive a truck for a living, and that right there is unfair."

9. According to a December 12, 2017, article, "Zonar has successfully completed testing with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to confirm that data transfer works between its Zonar Logs electronic logging solution and an authorized safety official's laptop."

The article went on to say that "Zonar is ELD self-certified and third-party validated by industry veteran and former FMCSA Administrator Annette Sandberg, and has successfully tested its ELD with FMCSA".

That's great! But I feel compelled to ask this:

Why haven't all self-certified ELDs been required to go through third-party validation and testing with the FMCSA before being listed on the FMCSA's website?

10. "The state of California uses fuel taxes to pay for infrastructure improvement and repair - but could change that. ... The state of California commissioned a report by CalTrans to look into the viability of a mileage-based tax on all vehicles to eventually replace the tax on fossil fuels," stated a December 11, 2017, article.

As more and more hybrid and electric vehicles come into use, the purchase of fuel will decrease, but the use of roads will most likely stay the same or increase. Something must be done to keep up infrastructure.

What are your thoughts about a per-mile tax?

11. In a December 14, 2017, article, we read: "Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reached an agreement with most prominent U.S. automakers that will make automatic emergency braking (AEB) a standard feature on all new vehicles by the 2022 model year."

Meanwhile, another December 14, 2017, article outlined "7 Truck Technologies You Need (And Why)". Number 4 on the list is "Collision Mitigation Technology".

I've raised this issue before, but will raise it again:

Who or what will be at fault if a trucker would have taken evasive action but the truck's technology took over -- taking control completely out of the trucker's hands -- and the truck crashed anyway?

12. And to end this week's edition, here are some other questions pressing on my mind:

- Regarding Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs): What will happen if a trucker had enough hours to drive a route but gets stuck in traffic due to an accident up ahead and runs out of available driving hours literally on the road? Will he/she have to stay parked on the road? How will he/she move? Will we start to see lots of stopped trucks on roads in congestion areas?

Recall the horrible accident that was reported in an October 19, 2017, article, which said that felony manslaughter charges have been filed against a semi-truck driver who "stopped for traffic in the far-right lane of Interstate 10" and fell asleep.

- Regarding autonomous trucks: if they are routed by GPS, what will happen if they encounter road construction? Will they safely be able to navigate detours of all kinds? What about the constantly changing situations on the road, like law enforcement officers who have pulled someone over on the shoulder? Will they be programmed to automatically move over?

My husband Mike and I wish you -- and all professional truck drivers -- safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.


From the TDMST Weekly Round-Up: 2017.12.23

This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending December 23, 2017.

We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.

TDMST Weekly Round-Up 1. A semi-retired truck driver who used his dump truck to collect and drop off food bank donations found himself with six tickets totalling $1005, according to a December 15, 2017, article.

While claiming that the vehicle is "absolutely safe", he said no safety check had been performed on it "because he primarily uses it on his farm".

If you drive a commercial motor vehicle for any purpose, make sure that it undergoes the required inspections at the required times.

2. A December 18, 2017, article about driver turnover at big trucking companies having hit 95 percent left me wondering about an unaddressed factor:

Why aren't the number and severity of regulations within trucking lowered in order to make it easier for experienced drivers to want to stay in the industry? Are all of the regulations absolutely necessary?

3. One survey indicated that 68 percent of truckers who did not have an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) installed in their trucks had no plan to do so prior to Dec. 18, and "31 percent said they didn't plan to install an ELD at all."

"Some drivers, mainly independent truckers and small carriers, have threatened to leave the industry rather than switch to ELDs from paper logs", the article stated.

Refusing to have an ELD installed in a commercial motor vehicle where one is required leaves only 2 options:
- either shut down (refuse to drive commercially, period);
- or continue operating and hope one doesn't get caught.

What are the fines -- and CSA points -- associated with this action?

4. Isn't the point of having an electronic logging device (ELD) that there will never again be the need to fill out paper log sheets?

If so, why did Deryk Powell, president of Velociti Inc., indicate this in one December 18, 2017, article:

"There is also a fear that newer drivers in the industry, who have only used ELDs, may not know how to properly fill out paper logs if they experience an ELD failure."

"ELD failure"? Really?

That's a problem. Did the FMCSA count on that?

5. The owner of a transportation service said that not only is there an "extreme shortage of truckers" right now, but that he believes "ELDs are only going to make finding new drivers harder."

Regarding the 14-hour time frame that truckers have to work each 24 hours, "Once it starts, it doesn't stop, even if the driver does."

This is why the Hours of Service regulations need to be changed!

There needs to be much more flexibility thoughout the trucking industry. One size does not fit all!

6. A December 19, 2017, article stated that an auto parts delivery truck driver "was charged with first-degree larceny" after "illegally running up his company's credit card up to about $28,000 that he allegedly collected in cash".

Well over 100 suspicious transactions were made this year, when the trucker put some fuel in the truck and pocketed the difference in cash.

What is surprising is that "he knew the charges weren't allowed, but he was having money problems and did not realize how many fraudulent charges he put on the card".

Don't take things that don't belong to you. Theft will eventually catch up with you.

7. A December 19, 2017, article stated, "The reaction of truck drivers to the Tesla truck [which features a semi-autonomous driving system] was split between two extremes. According to a survey of over 100 truck drivers by, 46.2% were 'not at all' interested in the new trucks, and 43.2% were 'absolutely' excited about it. The remaining drivers fell somewhere between those two poles."

Read the article to learn the concerns that drivers had with the truck and its technology.

8. Could the general public be getting ready to pay for the increased costs of the ELD mandate?

Independents and owner-operators won't absorb this cost. They'll have to pass it along.

The information in this article says by how much costs are anticipated to go up.

9. What would possess a truck driver to drive when he had a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .21 percent? That is "almost three times the legal limit", according to this December 20, 2017, article.

Never drink alcohol -- or use alcohol such as in mouthwash -- before driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).

Also, please be extremely careful about consuming cough syrup that contains alcohol.

10. Similarly, never use illegal drugs such as methamphetamine ("meth") before driving a CMV.

According to a Decemeber 20, 2017, article, a trucker who was high on meth was "sentenced to life in prison for killing two women in [a] horrific crash".

The article stated that the trucker
- was so high that he didn't know what he was doing;
- had a previous history of substance abuse (two DUI convictions and one conviction for possession of cocaine); and
- was sentenced to life in prison for his actions in this situation.

Why did the trucking company for which this trucker drove hire him in the first place, knowing that he had this history?

Our condolences go to the families of the women who died.

11. Although we oppose the ELD mandate, "Noël Perry, partner and transportation economist at freight transportation forecasting company FTR Transportation Intelligence, argues that ELDs would become an industry standard even without the federal mandate because it provides valuable data to trucking companies," according to a December 20, 2017, article.

"Trucking companies... know which customers make drivers wait hours before picking up a load. They can use this data to push for higher rates or to find new, more time-conscious customers."

By having the data recorded by a machine instead of just taking a trucker's word for it that he/she is waiting to be loaded/unloaded, there may be more money in it for the trucker.

If only the trucking companies will stick up for their drivers and their time!

12. "One part of this [revised GOP tax bill] removes itemized deductions, which impacts employed interstate truck drivers," according to a December 20, 2017, article.

"Right now, truck drivers get a per diem, which compensates them for meals when they are out on the road. According to Accounting Manager for IM Trucking, Cathy Knicely, the per diem compensates $63 per day, but they only see 80% of this, resulting in $50.40 for meals each day."

Drivers, if you currently do not have your own business, it may be time for you to look at starting one so that you can start writing off some legitimate business expenses.

Check with your tax advisor for more info. If it is wise for you to do so, take a look at earning a second income from the cab of your truck.

My husband Mike and I wish you -- and all professional truck drivers -- a blessed Christmas, safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.


From the TDMST Weekly Round-Up: 2017.12.30

This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending December 30, 2017.

We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.

TDMST Weekly Round-Up 1. Thanks for being with us on TDMST Weekly Round-Up this year.

Vicki started these weekly round-ups of news affecting professional truck drivers this past February. She has commented on many news articles and plans to continue doing so each week.

Please pay attention to both direct and indirect ways that truckers can or did lose money so that you don't fall in the same trap.

2. Thanks to Allen Smith of, Vicki found the FMCSA's rule on coercion.

The opening paragraph begins: "Coercion occurs when a motor carrier, shipper, receiver, or transportation intermediary threatens to withhold work from, take employment action against, or punish a driver for refusing to operate in violation of certain provisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs) and the Federal Motor Carrier Commercial Regulations (FMCCRs)."

Remember that you as the driver must be satisfied that the equipment you're driving or hauling is safe. Review the wording from our Condition of Employment page.

According to this article, "Specifically, the 'Prohibiting Coercion of Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers' rule forbids motor carriers but also shippers, receivers, and transportation intermediaries from coercing CDL holders to violate certain provisions of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The covered regs include drivers' hours-of-service limits as well as CDL, drug and alcohol testing, and haz-mat rules."

3. A December 22, 2017, article stated, "Holiday weekends can be a prime time for cargo theft -- with more truck shipments left unattended for longer amounts of time -- and incidents of theft can spike 50%, according to data from cargo theft prevention technology company Sensitech. Couple that with the end-of-year holiday season's increased e-commerce and retail goods movement, and right now is a good time to be extra mindful as a driver or trucking operation."

Since this weekend is a long holiday weekend -- Friday, December 29, 2017, through Monday, January 1, 2018 -- please take appropriate precautions to "reduce the risk of cargo theft".

4. If necessary, review the article, "Safety Tips for Winter Driving Conditions".

5. "With the electronic log rule now in effect, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is considering revising a much older but related regulation," states a December 19, 2017, article.

"Per an announcement published in the Federal Register for Dec. 19, the agency is proposing to revise its regulatory guidance on commercial-vehicle drivers legally using trucks as 'personal conveyance' while off duty."

According to this December 20, 2017, article, "The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is requesting public comments on the guidelines revision. The comment period closes Jan. 18. Comments may be submitted electronically..."

6. According to ATA President and CEO Chris Spear, "The benefits of [the ELD mandate] exceed the costs by more than $1 billion, making it a rule the ATA can firmly support and easily adopt. ... [December 18, 2017,] marks the start of a new era of safety and efficiency for our industry and we thank the champions in the Department of Transportation and Congress who have gotten us to this point."

OK, Mr. Spear, here are a few questions:
- What happens if the costs of the ELD mandate approach or exceed the benefits derived?
- What happens if the ELD mandate doesn't improve safety and efficiency across the trucking industry?
- Will you be willing to backtrack, issue and apology, and fight for the removal of this rule?

7. "Now that the electronic logging device mandate is in effect in the United States, the government of Canada is moving forward with its own law requiring the devices in commercial motor vehicles," stated a December 22, 2017, article.

This raises two interesting questions:
- If American truckers must comply with this rule, why aren't Canadian and Mexican truckers automatically forced to comply as well?
- Will truckers from other countries be subject to the same ELD penalties as American truckers if caught on U.S. soil?

8. A December 22, 2017, article stated, "A 4-cent increase in [Oregon's] 30-cent fuel tax rate takes effect Jan. 1. Additionally, 2-cent increases will follow every two years through 2024. At that time, the gas tax rate will reach 40 cents."

Let the fuel buyer beware.

9. Don't throw away your paper logbook yet!

According to a December 18, 2017, article, "Doug Morris, OOIDA's director of safety and security operations, says drivers experiencing technical difficulties [with their Electronic Logging Devices] should continue to record their hours of service the old-fashioned way. 'The rule does require drivers to have paper logs available just for this reason ... So, just make sure you have paper logs available because we know there will be problems.'"

10. To fix a problem, you have to understand its roots.

There's an interesting historical overview of "Why truckers are paid by the mile instead of by the hour".

11. Both the states of Iowa and Kansas are attempting to improve their respective truck parking situations.

According to a Dec. 19, 2017, article, "Pilot Flying J announced new myPilot app capability to better deliver real-time parking information in partnership with Sensys Networks."

12. So if FedEx's profit jumped to $775 million, will they be sharing any of that with their truckers?

13. "Truckers traveling the Pennsylvania Turnpike in 2018 will notice an increase in tolls, effective Jan. 7," stated a December 18, 2017, article.

Expect a 6 percent increase now and "annual increases of 3 to 6 percent ... through 2044".

Is this Turnpike toll increase getting to be a habit?

According to the article, yes!

"2018 will be the 10th consecutive year to see an increase."


14. "Truckers occupy one of the nation's deadliest jobs. Last year, 786 drivers were killed while working. ... That's an increase of 5.5 percent from 2015...", stated a December 26, 2017, article.

Our condolences go to the family of every trucker who was killed on the job last year.

15. Truckers who are seeking to earn more income than their trucking jobs can provide are encouraged to get the free "Second Income for Truckers Video Mini-Course".

My husband Mike and I wish you -- and all professional truck drivers -- safe travels, lots of money saving opportunities on the road, and a prosperous New Year!


From the TDMST Weekly Round-Up: 2018.01.06

This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending January 6, 2018.

We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.

TDMST Weekly Round-Up 1. Happy New Year! My husband Mike and I wish all professional truck drivers worldwide safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities in 2018.

2. A December 30, 2017, article stated that there are not enough professional truck drivers "in Texas to increase domestic oil production".

Curious, I went digging for info, because the first thought that crossed my mind was, "What about the pipeline?"

The article stated that some truckers are "not returning to the boom-and-bust cycle industry of oil production".

However, the second point really got my attention: "truck drivers are concerned that companies will not be paying them as much as they did three years ago, as the new mantra of careful spending is sweeping across the U.S. shale patch."

If you worked in oil transport 3 years ago and left/quit -- and are considering going back -- would you please comment on any differences in pay rates then as opposed to today? Thanks.

3. Do you trust mobile apps to help you save money, including but not limited to those listed in a December 31, 2017, article?

Why or why not?

4. You know that a new tax bill was recently passed on the U.S. federal level, right?

If so, then one small paragraph in a December 31, 2017, article may interest you:

"Parking and transit reimbursement. Companies have been allowed to subsidize worker transportation costs up to $255 per month per worker, with the sum deductible by the employer and not counted as income to the worker. With this deduction gone, the job benefit may disappear, too."

Has your trucking company ever paid for your truck parking?

If so, do they plan to continue doing so?

Please be specific.

5. According to a December 29, 2017, article, two scholars concluded "that individuals who think about savings cyclically - seeing life events as a series of repeating experiments - are estimated to save 74 percent more than those who think linearly".

So, are you a cyclical or a linear saver?

6. Although a tow truck driver and his wife were creative in earning extra income, unfortunately, it was a scam that backfired and earned him 9 years behind bars.

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

7. According to "Consumer Expenditures in 2015" -- a document produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics -- the average U.S. household spent $3,008 per year on "food away from home" that year.

Those who are away from home -- including truck drivers -- may feel a greater need to eat restaurant meals.

However, we have proven that truckers who have even a small amount of energy at their disposal (such as a crock pot plugged into a 12-volt inverter) can save a lot of money on food and recipes by preparing meals in their trucks.

If you eat low-cost and nutritious food in-truck often, you can save a lot of money on your food purchases.

8. A December 29, 2017, article states,

"Almost 400,000 people nationwide obtain commercial driver licenses every year. But the nomadic life and low pay fuels constant turnover."

If trucking companies did more to keep their truckers once hired, they wouldn't have to spend so much money on recruiting new truckers.

Then, they could actually pay the truckers they have a higher rate. Just saying...

9. Need a challenge to help you save money? Here are a few...

10. A December 22, 2017, article reported that in what may have been the start of an attempted hijacking, a trucker "had just picked up a load at the Walmart distribution center in Memphis and was headed to her terminal in West Memphis when someone shot at her from a car at Airways Boulevard and I-240."

A December 29, 2017, article implied that not even drivers of Brink's armored trucks are immune from being robbed.

- Constantly take safety precautions; and
- Always be on the lookout for set-ups like these.

11. A U.K.-based, December 23, 2017, article stated,

"Mileage and emissions-based charges for lorries are being considered - and if it works, ALL drivers could be hit with new levies".


12. According to a January 1, 2018, article, a trucker "got stuck while trying to make it over an old wooden bridge with a 4-ton weight limit and a 10'6" height restriction".

I speculate that this situation arose from:
- either a complete lack of education regarding the height and weight of his truck;
- or a total dependence upon a non-CMV GPS unit (the article didn't say he was using one, but it's clear he wasn't using a trucker's atlas for routing).

For drivers like the one in the article, here are some basic helps for trucking in the USA:
- standard Class A tractor trailers have a maximum height of 13'6";
- "high cube" trailers have a maximum height of 14'3" but must stay in places where they are legal;
- a rig without additional permitting can weigh a maximum of 80,000 pounds (40 tons); and
- you must never ever use a GPS unit intended for cars to route a big truck (commercial motor vehicle).

13. A transport truck driver driving in the Brighton, Ontario, Canada area "was charged under the Highway Traffic Act section 109(14)" for having an "Over height vehicle" after the six feet of snow on top of his rig damaged wires belonging to Bell Canada.

See this December 29, 2017, article for more info.

14. Before you pull out of a parking space, please inspect the area around and under your tractor and trailer.

Evidently during pouring rain (according to this December 26, 2017, article), someone had taken shelter under the back of the truck.

When the trucker pulled out, it appears as though the truck ran over him.

The trucker had no knowledge of the person's presence under his rig and is not expected to be charged for the death.

Still, that has to weigh heavily on one's conscience.

15. The author of a December 28, 2017, article wrote about "the driver's clock" and changing the paradigm of "hours of service" to "minutes of service":
- 660 minutes being 11 hours that a trucker can drive within 24 hours; and
- 840 minutes being 14 hours that a trucker can work within 24 hours.

He wrote, "I have preached repairing trucks is more about uptime and spending the right dollars so a driver is not on the side of the road. ... Someone will realize that decisions made in maintenance should include investment in uptime..."

He used the example of tires: "Just because DOT says minimum of 2/32nd does not mean that is how far your tires go. This is one of the top CSA infractions. Stay away from the gallows, do not hang yourself."

By this, I gather that instead of trying to squeeze the last little bit of use from various truck parts, that investments should be made in truck maintenance that will keep the truck loaded and rolling, even if it costs more. This will be a balancing act, for sure.

Back in 2013, we reported about a wasteful situation that cost a trucker a lot of time and his trucking company a lot of money:
"Aside from the actual money down the drain, the trucker who was inconvenienced received points under CSA and was furious at the person within his trucking company who failed to heed his advice about adjusting brakes before Brake Safety Week."

Instead of the company spending $40 for a brake adjustment at the terminal, the brake adjustment out on the road cost $700 and it cost the trucker many hours' worth of waiting on the road.

So, regarding the perspective of the author referenced in this point, I look forward to reading how trucking companies are putting "investment in uptime" into action in the months and years ahead.

My husband Mike and I wish you -- and all professional truck drivers -- safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.


From the TDMST Weekly Round-Up: 2018.01.13

This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending January 13, 2018.

We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.

TDMST Weekly Round-Up 1. Based on information that I've seen shared in one Facebook group that opposes the Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) mandate, there are problems with certain ELD models.

I am asking for truckers to provide their real names and product reviews of their ELDs that contain:
- the name of the manufacturer of their ELD unit;
- the model of the ELD they're using;
- the problem(s) that they've experienced; and
- anything else that is relevant to the situation.

Submit your ELD product review here.

2. I'm also asking truckers to provide their real names with service reviews on their ELDs, including:
- the name of the manufacturer of their ELD unit;
- the model of their ELD unit; and
- any and all ongoing service fees associated with Electronic Logging Device use.

Submit your ELD service review here.

3. In a December 19, 2017, article, we read that David Daley, the safety director for R.C. Moore Trucking, "believes said the new [ELD mandate] law will ensure all truckers follow the same safety requirements."

Yet, according to independent trucker Jake McDaniel, "The owner-operators are the safest guys on the road because we have to take responsibility for it."

Since the whole point of the ELD mandate is to improve safety and save lives, I would like to see a side-by-side comparison of the number of truck crashes and fatalities between:
- owner-operators and
- trucking companies.

I believe that that kind of comparison would shed a great deal of light on the need for owner-operators to be mandated to have equipment in their trucks that won't improve safety for them -- because they're already safe.

4. And speaking of that, we received this by email from the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association:

"On January 2nd, FMCSA formally published OOIDA's ELD exemption request in the Federal Register. The request, originally submitted last November, would allow small trucking businesses that do not have a carrier safety rating of 'unsatisfactory,' and can document a proven history of safety performance with no attributable at-fault crashes to use paper logs rather than be forced to install ELDs. ..."

Contact OOIDA for more info and the opportunity to comment.

5. A December 21, 2017, article described a few points about "How Tesla's Semi will dramatically alter the trucking industry", including:
- electrification (which will definitely have an impact on fuel being used by trucks, fuel taxes being used for road infrastructure, and most likely usher in a need for mileage-based tax platforms); and
- "autonomous self-driving or driving assist technology", because:
  - "the highest cost to the trucking company is the driver behind the wheel, with wages and benefits -- not to mention legalities and downtime";
  - limitations on a driver's ability to drive (Hours of Service regulations) as opposed to an "autonomous truck [being able to] drive 24/7, stopping only to load/unload or refuel"; and
  - relief of "driver shortages".

The article also stated regarding veteran vs. rookie truckers, "those with the most skills are the least likely to lose their jobs when automation becomes the norm."

I could be wrong, but based on my limited experience, those who are paid more for doing a job are more likely to be "let go" than those who can do the same job for less money. Veteran truckers should prepare now for this potential situation. Just saying...

6. Check out the 7 Mistakes to Avoid for Smooth Roadside Repairs for some great tips.

7. So, the American Trucking Associations thanked Congressman Bill Shuster for his leadership on key issues on January 3, 2018, huh?

This is the same Bill Shuster who:
- has been Chairman of the House Transportation Committee since 2013 (reference); and
- according to received $104,750 in trucking PAC money during the 2016 cycle, $4,700 of which came directly from the ATA.

Without that money, would he have done what the ATA wanted? Hmm...

8. After a truck driver "halted his rig in his lane of travel" on a Georgia road, he then stepped into the path of an oncoming car and was struck. Ouch!

Even if you have to stop your truck in a highly traveled area, make sure that you have your flashers going and if possible, wear a high visibility and reflective vest so that you can be seen.

Idea: GripGlo Reflective Safety Vest, Bright Neon Color with 2 Inch Reflective Strips - Orange Trim - Zipper Front, Medium.

9. The eastern USA has felt the effects of Winter Storm Grayson.

There's still a lot of winter left in the northern hemisphere.

Here are some cold weather and winter storm tips:
- Always gauge weather conditions to determine if it safe to drive. If it isn't, stay parked.
- When wind is up, drive slowly. If it is blowing too hard, your rig can be flipped over on its side.
- Never drive through a lot of water.
- Certain kinds of terrain cannot be traveled upon without extra equipment (like snow chains).
- Bundle up and stay warm when it gets cold!

10. According to a January 2, 2018, article, "Truck drivers, bus drivers, and other operators of commercial vehicles could be more likely to lose their licenses for texting while driving, under legislation the Iowa Department of Transportation will ask state lawmakers to approve this year."

11. "The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a final rule that reduces annual registration fees collected the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Plan and Agreement for the 2018, 2019, and subsequent registration years," says a January 5, 2018, article.

12. This type of technology can document detention time so drivers can be paid for it. Hurray!

A January 5, 2018, article stated: "...blockchain systems could do a better job of allowing such data [including location data] to be harnessed for automating detention-pay contracts and helping drivers and shippers/receivers work within available hours."

13. After all of the fussing, fighting and feuding about getting Electronic Logging Devices put in trucks -- so that the truckers don't exceed their Hours of Service -- why do some "states suspend hours regs for some drivers" when the weather gets bad?

Will drivers cave into violating HOS regulations just because there's some emergency?

14. A January 5, 2018, article reported about how a concrete truck driver was ejected from his truck off an I-10 exit ramp.

I'm speculating here, but I am fairly confident that:
- the loaded truck overturned on the exit ramp because the driver was taking the curve too fast; and
- the driver was ejected from the truck because he wasn't buckled in the driver's seat.

Based on this,
- constantly monitor conditions so that you can drive accordingly; and
- fasten your seat belt before you drive a single inch and keep it on the whole time you're driving.

15. Allowing Federal Authority language in government bills is TRUCKER wage theft.

Thanks to for this blurb:

"Dave at Smart Trucking created this video in 2017 when anti trucker wage provision language was going to be introduced in the THUD bill and FAA bill. Now the 2018 Trucker Wage Theft Provision language is most likely to be added to the January 2018 Spending Bill and/or Infrastructure bill. Call your reps and tell them NO to the Federal Authority language which will over ride states rights to pay drivers for all time. 202-224-3121".

My husband Mike and I wish you -- and all professional truck drivers -- safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.


found expired

Hello, My father-in-law owned his own logistics company and was found dead in the back of his cab in another state. Can you provide guidance on how to

dispatchers punishing drivers

i am a truck driver, i have heard, for example, if i do something that a dispatcher disagrees with, i may sit while the guy next to me at same reciever,


Earn More, Save More

A December 31, 2017, article reported that the road upon which a truck accident occurred "was closed for over 12 hours while crews worked to extinguish the fire".

Depending on many factors, truckers planning on going through that area at that time may or may not have been able to take a detour. They may have had to just "wait it out" and lose some, most, or all of a day worth of driving.

Wouldn't you like to know how you can help offset losses that come from situations like this?

Subscribe now to get Second Income for Truckers Video Mini-Course for FREE!

The SIFT Video Mini-Course is a lead-in to the paid Second Income for Truckers Report -- and more Action Steps for those who need it.

Learn more at


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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

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