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TDMST Weekly Round-Up: 2017.08.12

by Vicki Simons
(South Carolina, USA)

This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending August 12, 2017.


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


TDMST Weekly Round-Up
1. In a July 31, 2017, article, we read

Automated parking has now been addressed by at least three companies. ...

With the Electronic Logging Device rule set to take effect this year, many fear that it will decrease productivity and eliminate drivers by choice for those drivers that refuse to ever be monitored or measured, or out of necessity for any driver running two log books illegally. Automating truck parking could get drivers another 30-90 minutes of driving time per day. ...


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,

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) have decided against moving forward at this time on a possible regulation covering the testing and treatment of sleep apnea for truck drivers and other transportation workers.


Good!

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...



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



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