This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending January 20, 2018.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. It was reported on January 9, 2018, that Jim Johnston -- president and CEO of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) from 1974 until his death -- "passed away following a year-long battle with lung cancer".
Our condolences go to his family.
2. According to a January 6, 2018, article,
"The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has filed a request to investigate what CDL truck and bus drivers do during their home time. Specifically, the agency aims to study the effects of 'excessive commuting' between a drivers home and work terminal."
Repeat: they want to investigate what truck and bus drivers do during their home time.
If you believe that the FMCSA doesn't have any business tracking "what truckers do in their personal vehicles", please comment on this page before January 26, 2018.
3. A December 21, 2017, article stated:
"Truck side guards are designed to keep vulnerable road users -- pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists -- from being run over by a large truck's rear wheels in a side-impact collision, according to the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, a government-related research group."
Whenever I read of a potential new "safeguard" being installed on trucks for the protection of the public, one of my first questions is: "How big of a problem is this?"
Well, the article provided the statistics:
In a technical overview, Volpe stated, "Side collisions with large trucks were associated with 111 pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities annually in the U.S., based on 2005-2009 data on single-unit trucks and tractor-trailers" and "Of the 75 fatal bicyclist crashes per year with trucks, approximately 50% were side impacts."
The article states: "Side guards have been required since the 1980s in the European Union and Japan, and more recently in China, Brazil, and Peru [and] in the UK, a 61% reduction in cyclist fatalities and a 20% reduction in pedestrian fatalities were reported in side-impact collisions with trucks following the national side guard mandate."
While I'm all for safety and preventing fatalities, I wonder:
- What percentage of the time were these crashes and fatalities the fault of the truck drivers?
- To what extent is the trucking industry going to be pushed to prevent these types of collisions?
A January 5, 2018, article stated: "Lawmakers Call for Guards on Trucks to Prevent Deadly Underride Crashes".
The photos in the article speak volumes.
4. On January 19, 2018, it was reported that a former athletic trainer who became a nurse and instructor "learned that shoulder injuries were the second most common driver injury, but, even more important, it took longer to heal, cost more downtime, and often required more extensive treatments than back problems."
Please be mindful of your use of your shoulders on the job.
5. An article about how the "Big Three truck stops" -- Love's, Pilot Flying J, and TravelCenters of America -- have "added more than 3,000 truck parking spots to the infrastructure in 2017", I wonder if at least some of these parking spaces are in heavy metropolitan areas like in the northeastern USA, where they are needed most.
6. A January 19, 2018, article about tax reform stated:
"According to a recent survey of ATA members, 50% of carriers plan to either increase wages generally or offer hard-working Americans a one-time bonus -- putting more money back into the U.S. economy."
Let's hope that trucking companies that get a break on their taxes increase the wages of their drivers.
7. There have been many articles published within the last two weeks about truckers encountering icy roads or refusing to drive on them.
Winter Storm Inga brought bad traveling conditions to a good portion of the USA.
This week, my husband Mike and I were traveling
- on I-10 (from Arizona to Texas) on Monday; and
- on I-20 (from Texas to South Carolina) on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The section of interstate highway upon which we were traveling was closed for all vehicles at least twice along our route due to slick conditions and accidents. At one point, the road was closed for about 4 hours straight. We were surrounded by commercial motor vehicles.
Various articles captured weather-related difficulties:
- A January 18, 2018, article specifically stated that "the delay affected truck drivers trying to make their deliveries."
(http://bit.ly/2mXX1KK is no longer online.)
- On January 17, 2018, it was reported that "dozens of truck drivers" were stranded in the Mobile, Alabama, area due to ice.
- Another January 18, 2018, article stated, "Two northbound lanes of I-77 have been shut down around mile marker 2 in Carroll County, Virginia, after at least three trucks were blown over. The trucks cannot be removed until the winds die down."
- In a January 17, 2018, article, we read, "It's more than an inconvenience. Experienced truck drivers ... [have] learned creative ways to pass the time, but they get paid by the mile, so while they sit idle, their business is pretty much frozen too."
- It's not worth it to go 65 miles per hour in whiteout conditions.
- On January 8, 2018, it was reported that "A tanker truck driver lost his life in Athens, Ohio, this morning after his truck slid off of a slick overpass onto the roadway below." Our condolences go to the trucker's family.
We're grateful when trucking companies see the dangers of winter storm weather and decide to shut down rather than risk someone getting hurt.
Remember that as the trucker, you are responsible for determining if it is safe to drive. See our Whistle Blowing Truckers page for more info.
8. Mike and I once experienced frozen brakes during our teaming days.
What do you do when your truck brakes freeze up, as they did for one trucker driving in Texas?
Please comment below.
9. According to a December 19, 2017, article that quoted the ATA:
"Trucking hauls nearly 71 percent of tonnage carried by all types of domestic freight transportation. The industry accounts for about $676.2 billion in freight business, or 79.8 percent of total revenue".
Without you, truckers, America stops!
Thank you for your service all year long!
My husband Mike and I wish you -- and all professional truck drivers -- safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.