This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending June 24, 2017.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. As it turns out, truckers in the USA aren't the only ones who are not being fairly compensated for their work.
A June 20, 2017, article quotes a former dispatch coordinator for a transport firm in Perth, Australia, as follows:
"There were times when I worked as much as a 60, 70-hour week and they didn't have to pay overtime, they didn't have to do all that."
The article further states, "Mr Pengilly said the company told him he was 'trouble making' and 'not working as a team', and he was sacked earlier this month."
When someone accuses someone else of "not being a team player," it tends to mean that the accused will not comply with the corporate way of doing things. If the "corporate way of doing things" is exploitative in nature -- meaning (in this case) that the company is not doing unto its workers as they want their workers to do unto them -- then there's no reason why workers should put up with that.
Labor laws need to be written in such a way that is fair to all and then carried out by all.
2. I've seen some pretty bold and daring things in my time. I've also seen some actions are so beyond-the-pale stupid that I can't help bursting out laughing.
Such was the case when I saw the June 19, 2017, article entitled, "Truck driver arrested after attempting to enter Tinker Air Force Base with large load of marijuana".
According to another article, the trucker was hauling "715 pounds of marijuana and several thousand bottles of marijuana oil in his trailer with other cargo."
Sir, what were you thinking?
3. It appears as though there are two issues behind why "a group of truck drivers and warehouse workers [were] going on strike at the ports of L.A. and Long Beach" as of Monday, June 19, according to this article:
1. the misclassification of drivers as independent contractors instead of employees (a wage dispute); and
2. requiring the truckers to "pick up some of the cost for the recent initiatives for greener operations at the ports".
In a separate June 17, 2017, article, a trucker who was interviewed stated, "We want clean air, too, but they need to raise the wages, the freight price. They pass the cost on to us."
To me, thrusting the cost of equipment upgrades upon those who do not own the equipment as a condition of employment is flat-out wrong.
What do you think? Who should foot "The effort to clean up the port, one of the region's biggest polluters, [which] will cost tens of billions of dollars over the coming decades"?
4. A June 19, 2017, article lists "5 things you should never do to save money" and that can even be dangerous.
One of them is buying cheap work gear -- including cheap shoes.
Unless you've already been given instructions on what to wear, ask your trucking company for recommendations. One of them may likely be steel-toed work boots.
5. PBS NewsHour opened its June 17, 2017, article with this paragraph:
Truck drivers are a crucial link in the supply chain of getting imported goods from ports to stores. An investigative report by "USA Today" shows those drivers work long hours for low pay, all while being heavily in debt from leasing their trucks. The story, "Rigged," published yesterday, recounts how at least 140 truck companies in southern California have been accused of labor violations, and forcing truckers into working conditions akin to indentured servitude.
A separate June 20, 2017, article about mistreated truckers stated:
The California probe exposed the plight of hundreds and perhaps thousands of mostly poor immigrant truckers forced into lease-to-own programs that find them coughing up nearly their entire salaries as repayment for the trucks they're driving. They operate short-distance routes, from the ports to nearby warehouses, and for many years did the work with dilapidated vehicles pouring out unhealthy emissions. A new law a decade ago designed to curtail the use of such old trucks had unintended consequences, however. Many companies stuck drivers with the cost of paying for the new fleet through abusive leasing arrangements. The result? Drivers have become little more than indentured servants, effectively working for pennies an hour and often working up to 20 hours a day.
Be on your guard against such treatment.
6. Lawsuits like the one described in a June 16, 2017, article are causing trucking companies to be more cautious regarding having their at-risk trucker employees tested for sleep apnea.
The trucker who rammed a car that was stopped in traffic had fallen asleep. The article states, "Black box records from the truck record the driver's speed at more than 50 miles per hour at the moment of impact."
The article further states, "According to a study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, truck drivers with obstructive sleep apnea who don't get treatment have a rate of preventable crashes five times higher than truckers without the ailment."
What are your thoughts on this?
7. Mike and I were recently talking with a woman who drives a dump truck. She had been injured because while driving, the bed of the truck started to rise without her knowledge and the elevated bed got hung on an overpass. Vicki asked her some questions that she has asked through our website in the past.
According to the driver, there is no warning of any kind in the cab of the truck when the bed of a dump truck is elevated: no visual indicator like a light, no auditory indicator like a beep, no nothing.
The driver said that the previous driver had "forgotten" to tell her that there was a problem with the bed staying down. In other words, there was a mechanical problem.
Are dump trucks inspected the same way that Class A trucks are? If so, what inspection would have found this problem?
In Vicki's opinion, this situation about the in-transit elevation of a dump truck bed without warning is something that smart manufacturers need to address.
In response to this, one former dump truck driver stated on our Facebook page that when he drove that kind of truck, he "constantly looked in mirrors and made sure bed was down".
8. I regularly see articles in the trucking journals about truck stop chains opening new facilities in various places. What I am waiting to see are news articles with titles like these:
- New Truck Stops Opening in New Jersey
- Finally, New York City Gets a Large Truck Stop
- R.I. Eliminates Truck-Only Tolls and OKs Stop Off I-95
- Much-Needed Truck Stop to be Built Near D.C.
- Northeastern Industrial Parks to Add Adjacent Truck Stops
Well, I can dream, can't I? :-)
9. According to a June 20, 2017, article: "The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance announced that its Brake Safety Day is taking place on Sept. 7 this year across North America."(a)
You can also read more here.
10. In response to a June 20, 2017, article about Missouri's I-70 project, I feel compelled to ask,
"Would you pay a toll in order to drive your truck in truck-only lanes -- and if so, how much?"
11. The opening paragraph of a June 21, 2017, article referred to a potential tax elimination:
U.S. Representative Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) introduced a bill this week that seeks to eliminate the 12% federal excise tax or "FET" most heavy-duty trucks, tractors and commercial trailers - a levy the American Truck Dealers (ATD) group claims can add anywhere from $12,000 to $22,000 to the sticker prices for such equipment.
You can read more about that here.
12. How much would you save in your trucking business by going "paperless"? That's my question based on this June 23, 2017, article.
My husband Mike and I wish you -- and all professional truck drivers -- safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.
a. http://www.worktruckonline.com/channel/safety-accident-management/news/story/2017/06/cvsa-brake-safety-day-is-september-7th.aspx (no longer online)