This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending December 9, 2017.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. Many articles have been written about the ELD mandate protest. And others are still being written.
I feel compelled to address this part of a December, 5, 2017, article, "Lifting the mandate, though, would be a big mistake. That's because if we're being honest, the only reason to resist installing an ELD is to keep cheating."
That viewpoint is incredibly naive and does not take into account numerous other factors, at least three of which I addressed in my Facebook Live broadcast (turned into a YouTube video entitled, What Professional Drivers Must Know About The ELD Mandate) which are:
- the costs,
- the self-certification problem, and
- the safety numbers since the FMCSA changed the 2013 Hours of Service regulations, supposedly in the name of safety.
According to a November 30, 2017, article, "Federal data shows that an ELD reduced the truck crash rate by 11.7 percent and reduced hours-of-service violations by 50 percent when compared to users of paper logs." However, I've never seen any of this data published online. Where is it?
"Representatives of the small carriers' segment of trucking industry appeared before The U.S. House Committee on November 29, one day after a request was sent to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao requesting an exemption to the ELD mandate for carrier with fewer than 50 employees," according to a November 29, 2017, article.
One November 30, 2017, article stated that a group of truckers going by the name "ELD or Me" who oppose the electronic logging device mandate are 19,000-strong. They were "planning to stage events around the nation [on Monday, Dec. 4] against the mandate and in support of a bill in Congress that would delay the proposal for two years." At the time the article was written, more than 40 locations had been arranged and the group's goal was at least one rally in every state.
Information about where the rallies were to be held were linked from this November 28, 2017, article.
Independent Kentucky truckers said that the ELDs "can be hacked and manipulated, and there is uncertainty as to which of the ELD brands will ultimately be certified for use", according to a December 4, 2017, article.
A "longtime driver and trucking activist" stated in a December 3, 2017, article that "truck drivers are targeted [for citations] in order to bring in revenue -- that's all we are to them, a source of revenue."
2. "Indiana's Office of the Attorney General has become the first state agency to ask the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to delay [the] mandate requiring electronic logging devices in commercial vehicles," according to a November 30, 2017, article. "Attorney General Curtis Hill asked for a delay on the mandate, citing the 'self-certification' provision in the current regulation that allows device manufacturers to claim their ELDs are compliant, without any government or third-party verification."
I could be wrong, but I suspect that if numerous truckers wind up with Electronic Logging Devices that are listed on the FMCSA's website as being "self-certified" but which ended up falling short of the requirements of the law, this agency of the federal government could find itself as one target of a class-action lawsuit.
It is my hope that truckers are documenting the information from the FMCSA's and the manufacturers' websites now, so that if appropriate action needs to be taken later, it can be. Truckers, protect your interests -- and feel free to submit a product review of your Electronic Logging Device (ELD) on our site.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) applauded Attorney General Hill and posted his letter here.
3. A December 1, 2017, article, stated:
"A truck driver was cited for failing to have proper permits to haul a 36-foot wide shed in northwestern Minnesota."
Furthermore, the trucker "was also cited for not having an escort vehicle and various other violations".
If you're going to haul an oversized load, make sure you have the needed permits. And if you require an escort, arrange for one!
4. As a Georgia truck driver "had stopped [his] semi on the [Florida] SunRail tracks and was trying to back into a business' loading dock", his truck was struck by a Florida commuter train and he consequently died, according to a December 1, 2017, article.
If it was the case that the business's loading dock was that close to the train tracks, then extra precaution should have been taken to make sure that the truck was not going to be on the tracks when a train came through. Thankfully, none of the train's 38 passengers were hurt.
Our condolences go to the family of the trucker who died.
5. If it is the case, according to a GHSA report based on 2015 data, that "Illegal drugs were detected in more than 40 percent of fatally injured drivers for whom test results were available", then why are trucking companies "not always notified when a driver is arrested for drugs"?
6. Although I've never seen an explanation for why the trucker did this, according to a December 4, 2017, article, he "was indicted for dumping thousands of gallons of sewage into a school's storm drainage system [and] has been sentenced to nine months in prison."
If you haul waste products of any kind, always, always, always dump them in an approved location.
7. According to a November 22, 2017, article, "Based on statistics from 2016, the Ohio DOT confirmed that the truck driver wasn't at fault in about 75 percent of fatality crashes involving a commercial motor vehicle."
8. "The [electric] Tesla Semi $150,000 base model will have a 300-mile range. The $180,000 model will have a 500-mile range", according to a December 1, 2017, article.
If this comes to pass, it could be a great savings over trucks that operate on diesel. There are too many unknown factors to know at this time if that will be the case.
Speaking of electric trucks, "Workhorse Group says electric vehicle energy costs 35% of what diesel costs last-mile delivery fleets as nearly 1 billion packages are expected to be delivered during 2017 holiday season", according to a November 30, 2017, article.
9. Congratulations to Tammy Newcomer, a trucker driving for Ohio-based Jet Express. "Between January and August, she averaged 8.38 mpg ... [and] reached 99.9% of her potential mpg", according to a November 28, 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.