This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending November 25, 2017.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. There is ongoing legal wrangling about the contribution of the truck driver whose falling asleep when traffic was stopped led to a "Palm Springs tour bus crash that killed 13". There was one very interesting statement in a November 22, 2017, article:
"NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt said, 'In this crash, not one but two commercial vehicle drivers -- people who drive for a living -- were unable to respond appropriately to cues that other motorists did act on.'"
"Cues that other motorists did act on" implies the movement of traffic -- and in that manner, also implies vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication. There is more about this technology on the NHTSA's website.
2. According to a November 22, 2017, article, an Oklahoma trucker died following an accident that resulted from his attempt to avoid a collision with "the rear dual tires" that had come off of a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction.
He swerved to avoid the dual tires, causing the truck to roll over. He was pinned and partially ejected from the vehicle despite wearing a seat belt.
This is the first time I've read that someone wearing a seat belt was partially ejected from any vehicle.
Our condolences go to the trucker's family.
3. A November 21, 2017, article about the debt, bondage and "forced labor" imposed on truckers at U.S. ports near Los Angeles stated:
"some lawmakers are moving ahead nonetheless with the Port Drivers' Bill of Rights Act of 2017. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Grace Napolitano and seven other House Democrats, is intended to create basic standards of work for port truckers, including fair wages, protection under labor laws, and freedom from 'exploitative truck lease or rental arrangements'".
Exploitative situations like this could be avoided if those who put truckers in such situations would simply love them as they love themselves. Just saying...
4. How big of a problem is it for "heavy items such as granite and stone" to be broken into loads that are legal to haul when it comes to weight?
According to a November 21, 2017, article, an attorney stated,
- "When truckers arrive at the Port of Long Beach or Port of Los Angeles to ferry the products, they are charged if they don't take the entire load".
- If truckers take a whole load, "The moment they pull out of the port, they are in violation of city laws".
- But "If the trucking companies ask their customers to ship lighter loads, customers threaten to take their business elsewhere."
If you had the ability to fix this problem, what would be your solution?
5. A fight within the trucking industry involves the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) "plan to ease new emissions rules for part of the trucking business", according to a November 21, 2017, article.
This concerns "gliders", which are "heavy-duty trucks built from new and remanufactured parts" that "cost about 25 percent less than a new $150,000 semi-tractor".
Objections have been raised by truck and engine manufacturers because they have invested "millions of dollars into new technology to control emissions in trucks in the U.S. and globally and don't want their investment undercut."
6. A November 20, 2017, article stated:
"Massachusetts law enforcement ticketed more than a thousand commercial truck drivers in 2017 for using their cell phones while driving, according to statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)". One Massachusetts State Police Trooper said that it's a big problem.
The article also stated, "Distraction is the second deadliest cause for crashes involving large trucks, according to 2013-15 data from the FMCSA. Speeding is number one."
- It's against the law for commercial motor vehicle drivers to hold a cell phone;
- Truckers who use a hand-held phone risk losing their jobs;
- The fine for this illegal action costs $2,750;
- A moment of distraction is all it takes to be involved in a crash; and
- Truckers who were using the phone or texting while driving -- and who caused fatalities -- know that their distracted behavior wasn't worth it.
7. According to a November 24, 2017, article, "A truck driver who caused a fatal head-on crash on the Trans-Canada Highway had psychosis and likely didn't know what he was doing when he crossed the centre line, a psychiatrist told court Thursday".
What is strange is that the trucker had:
- "previously been hospitalized for mental-health concerns";
- "admitted he caused the crash";
- but says "he can't be held criminally responsible because of his mental disorder."
Why would a trucking company open itself to liability by hiring someone who has a known mental disorder?
8. Kudos go to the Boise Stage Stop in Boise, Idaho, for feeding a Thanksgiving meal to CDL drivers.
A November 23, 2017, article stated that the truck stop's motto is "Everyone is Family" and "that's why they started Driver Appreciation Day."
9. A very long November 2017 article entitled "70 Answers to Top ELD Questions" has some interesting points. Among them are:
- 25. How do I know my ELD is compliant?
- 26. Do I need to buy a device that has third-party verification?
- 52. What are the penalties for noncompliance?
- 59. What do drivers do if their ELD stops working? and
- 63. If I choose a device that turns out to not be compliant, despite the vendor's self-certification, what do I do?
Meanwhile, in a 2017 ELD Buyers' Guide, we read:
"The right price: In the crowded ELD market, a few companies set themselves apart with systems requiring no monthly fee".
Let the buyer beware.
10. A November 22, 2017, article reveals that at least two veteran truckers are skeptical about Tesla truck technology.
One of them stated, "I am not going to put my life into the hands of a computer".
Another said, "I trust a person's ability to recognize a hazard up ahead more than I do a computer's -- there's just too much room for error".
Do you agree or disagree?
11. Meanwhile, in the first part of a two-part article about "10 Tesla Takeaways" published on November 21, 2017, the author states (point 4):
"Autonomous tech is coming far faster than most realize".
12. I could be wrong, but I summarize a November 22, 2017, article about the state of New York having lost tens of millions of dollars through unpaid tolls this way:
- either the state didn't think things through when it came to the likelihood of people skipping paying tolls;
- or the state has gotten sloppy about its toll collections.
13. Supposedly, the FMCSA is "offering more electronic logging device transition guidance", according to a November 21, 2017, article.
"For more information on ELDs please visit: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/hours-service/elds/electronic-logging-devices".
14. Truckers, you are very important!
According to a November 21, 2017, article, "The amount of freight hauled by the trucking industry in October rose 9.9 percent year-over-year, the largest increase since December 2013."
15. According to a November 21, 2017, article:
"Eroad, a global provider of fleet-management technology, has been selected to take part in the first multi-state truck pilot to explore the feasibility of instituting a Mileage-Based User Fee along I-95, the East Coast's main north-south Interstate highway, running from the Canadian border in northern Maine through Miami in South Florida."
A related article is here.
16. In response to a November 21, 2017, article about "fatigue monitoring technology", I feel compelled to ask this simple question:
Why aren't the Hours of Service regulations flexible enough to let truckers rest when they're tired?
In a related article, we read:
"As many truckers are quick to point out, the hours of service rule's one-size-fits-all prescription isn't suited for drivers' highly variable and unpredictable schedules. Furthermore, because the rule is unable to address the quality or quantity of sleep during off-duty periods, there is no guarantee baked into the regulation that a driver legal on hours is alert enough to drive safely."
My husband Mike and I wish you -- and all professional truck drivers -- safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.