This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending July 8, 2017.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. A July 6, 2017, article opened with this statement: "The driver of a tractor-trailer was charged in a fatal seven-vehicle wreck on Interstate 95 North near Wade...".
A Highway Patrol trooper stated that the trucker had been "driving a truck loaded with 5,000 gallons of liquid, [and] was unable to get stopped and rear-ended a vehicle", which obviously started a chain reaction.
Prevent these kinds of rear-ending accidents. Leave plenty of following distance -- and make sure that your truck's brakes are properly adjusted -- so that you can stop your truck in time. Also, stay alert to traffic slowed or stopped in front of you.
Our condolences go to the families of those killed.
2. How would you prevent an attack such as the one in which a truck driver was killed, as was reported in this July 7, 2017, article?
3. It was bound to happen sooner or later. This July 7, 2017, article shows photos of a truck with no place for any driver to sit.
The article states, "Einride's T-Pod is an all electric truck built for long-haul deliveries. The trailer, which is a little over 7 meters (23 feet) has space for cargo but lacks a cabin for a human driver or operator - as well as everything else that goes in a driving space, i.e. pedals, a steering wheel, and a windshield. It can be remotely controlled by a human operator or run completely free of human control."
And just so you know, this July 5, 2017, article states, "The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defined five levels of autonomous driving from 0 to 5." The T-Pod described above supposedly operates at Level 5.
4. A June 30, 2017, article stated, "Artificial intelligence and the changes it will bring to pass is not a trucking industry issue. It is an issue that changes our human society on a global scale. It does not matter what your profession is, you will be impacted in some way, shape, or form. Yes, there will be jobs created by this new technology, but there will be far more jobs that will be made obsolete."
Now is the time to be planning for your future, truckers. One way to do that is to start earning a second income from the cab of your truck.
5. The author of a June 30, 2017, article says that it isn't ELDs that are the problem but the Hours of Service regulation:
"Even the most conscientious drivers have found ways to round the rough edges of the hours system to make it tolerable on a good day, without jeopardizing safety. Then along comes a technology that says hey, buddy, no more of that. You must embrace the literal HOS regs, even if it means driving while fatigued and resting when you're alert."
I'm glad that some changes were proposed in the article.
6. Two questions arose after I saw this July 6, 2017, article about truck drivers' premiums going up:
If there are no truckers in commercial motor vehicles, will the vehicles themselves still need to be insured?
If so, against what?
It will be interesting to see what happens as a result of the first fully-automated truck being involved in an accident with a 4-wheeled vehicle, proving who or what was at fault.
7. A July 6, 2017, article states that a trucker has been "arraigned ... on 34 charges, including three counts of involuntary manslaughter" for his role in a deadly crash.
Another article indicates that before the crash occurred, "a medical condition caused him to black out".
According to the driver's lawyer:
And yet according to the article, the driver "had a stent put in after the crash when his doctor found a severely blocked artery."
Something is out-of-whack here. Either there was a problem with the driver's medical condition or there wasn't.
Could this situation -- and string of fatalities -- have been prevented?
If so, by whom? The DOT medical examiner? The trucking company? The trucker himself?
8. A truck accident on the New Jersey Turnpike resulted in the "left two lanes of the roadway [being] closed for five hours", according to a July 5, 2017, article.
The driver of a box truck fell asleep at the wheel and was involved in an accident on Interstate 81 that closed the south bound lanes "for several hours", according to a July 4, 2017, article.
What sorts of slowdowns or traffic stops due to accidents have you encountered, trucker?
9. A truck driver faces two felony counts -- "one count of unlawful discharge and one count of criminal damage" -- after "allegedly dumping sewage on the grounds of a special-education school in Phoenix", according to a July 5, 2017, article.
Since "thousands of gallons" of sewage was dumped into the school's storm drainage system, this appears to have been no accident.
If you're hauling waste products, make sure that your load is secure and never ever dump your load in a non-approved spot.
Although clean-up may have been done, who knows what long-range problems could result from those exposed to the place where the waste once touched?
10. Fleetowner.com reported on July 5, "A proposal in the Wisconsin legislature to create a mileage-based fee on trucks to help fund highway improvements was met with fierce opposition from business groups."
What other states have passed -- or have tried, but did not pass -- a similar per-mile fee?
11. What kind or size of reward would be most meaningful to you as a trucker for consistently having clean truck inspections?
What is a "clean Level II scale inspection" worth to you?
These questions arose as a result of reading a July 4, 2017, article.
12. Congratulations to Kansas City, Kansas, which Allstate stated has "the safest drivers in the U.S. overall", according to a June 30, 2017, article.
13. According to a July 7, 2017, article, getting refund checks is another good reason for having the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association on your side as truckers.
14. Are you concerned about truckers' wages? A July 5, 2017, article states:
"Congress is again considering legislation that would block any state-level effort to dictate driver pay reforms and hours of service restrictions. The so-called Denham Amendment, first brought to the table by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) in 2015, seeks to reassert federal authority over hours of service regulations and reinforce the industry's standard per-mile driver pay model."
Farther down in the article, we read, "The language also blocks states from requiring carriers to pay drivers 'separate or additional compensation' beyond per-mile pay, effectively targeting any mandate for detention time/break pay and/or other compensation methods."
This is a constitutional matter. Remember the Tenth Amendment:
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."
Please take the action specified on AskTheTrucker.com here.
My husband Mike and I wish you -- and all professional truck drivers -- safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.