This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending January 27, 2018.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. A January 25, 2018, news release from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) revealed the 2018 Top 100 Truck Bottleneck List.
The locations detailed in this latest ATRI list represent the top 100 congested locations. "For the third straight year, Atlanta's 'Spaghetti Junction,' the intersection of Interstates 285 and 85 North is the most congested freight bottleneck in the country."
Dennis Nash, Kenan Advantage Group CEO, stated, "Unfortunately, as ATRI's report shows, increasingly our trucks are not moving because of congestion, choke points and bottlenecks on an aging highway system. Addressing congestion and delays at these key interchanges and highways can make our supply chain more efficient, improve the environment by reducing fuel burn and save Americans countless hours of delay and added costs."
According to a January 25, 2018, article, "Overall truck speeds worsened at the top five bottlenecks on the list... by an average of 6% at these locations."
"Congestion on the nation's highways is costing the trucking industry $63.4 billion, and Houston is home to seven of the worst bottlenecks for truck drivers," stated another article.
2. In a January 26, 2018, article, we read: "A truck driver from Indianola is trying to bring attention to new federal mandates that are making it increasingly hard for semi drivers to find parking spots."
He has complained that:
- "states aren't providing enough rest areas for semi drivers to pull over";
- truckers can't park in WalMart parking lots;
- truckers aren't "allowed to park on exit ramps in most states"; and
- "state patrol officers [are] telling semi drivers to move their rigs off the exit ramps, but then ticketing them when they start moving for breaking the hours of service mandate".
What a Catch-22! Ouch!
Please share below your true account of problems finding parking and being ticketed for stopping in a less-than-desirable area in order to comply with the federal Hours of Service mandate.
3. A January 26, 2018, article starts, "Shoppers could see grocery prices rise because of a new federal mandate requiring most long-distance truckers to use electronic logging devices to keep track of their time spent driving."
I still haven't seen a side-by-side listing of the large truck crash rates of owner-operators vs. the large truck crash rates of trucking companies. When will these numbers be made public?
4. "A Tennessee jury has convicted a Kentucky trucker of vehicular homicide and other charges in a 2015 wreck that killed six people on Interstate 75", according to a January 26, 2018, article.
Prosecutors said that the trucker "was impaired on methamphetamine, ignored construction signs and never tapped the brakes when his tractor-trailer slammed into slowed traffic near the Ooltewah exit."
How many times must we say it: Don't do drugs and then drive -- especially a commercial motor vehicle!
5. According to a January 26, 2018, article from New Zealand, "Truckies are leaving the industry in droves, and reckless car drivers are mostly to blame."
6. Drivewyze reported that during "the first six months of a Pennsylvania Turnpike connected-truck pilot program that provides in-cab safety alerts to commercial drivers",
- "more than 70,000 driver-safety notifications [were delivered] to truck drivers" and
- "truckers who received in-cab notifications reduced their speed 7 percent more than those who did not receive alerts."
7. If, according to police, a Massachusetts truck driver "was not impaired by alcohol or drugs and not distracted", then what caused him to rear-end "a car slowing for congestion caused by a prior accident" that killed a man and two children?
According to a January 24, 2018, article, the trucker pleaded guilty "to three counts of negligent homicide with a motor vehicle" and received sentencing.
Please stay attentive to traffic around you at all times and be prepared to stop quickly.
8. "Unintentional and preventable injuries -- which are typically dubbed 'accidents' -- led to a record high of 161,374 fatalities in 2016, according to National Safety Council (NSC) data analysis, making 'accidents' the third leading cause of death in the U.S.," stated a January 18, 2018, article.
"The group said a total of 14,803 more people died accidentally in 2016 than in 2015 -- a 10% year-over-year increase and the largest single-year percent rise since 1936, and the largest two-year rise (over 18.6%) since 1903."
9. "The driver behind the wheel of the lead truck in a three-vehicle convoy [along the Shin-Tomei Expressway in Japan] controlled the brakes and accelerators of all three vehicles from his seat in the experiment using wireless transmission," according to a January 24, 2018, article.
While no other details are given, the article states, "The organizers of the experiment hope to commercialize the technology by 2020."
10. Meanwhile, a January 23, 2018, article stated: "Tesla's vaunted Autopilot feature may have been the cause of an accident in Culver City, California earlier this week... From what we've been able to gather thus far, a Model S [car] was cruising down the 405 freeway at about 65 mph whereupon it crashed into the back of a firetruck which was attending to a different matter on the road. The driver of the Model S reportedly told authorities that the car was in Autopilot mode at the time of the incident."
I'm very interested to learn more about this.
11. A January 23, 2018, article stated that a trucker stopped a mass shooter who was targeting truck drivers at an Iowa rest area and truck stop because he had had a family member killed in an accident with a semi.
Please use your own best judgment in situations like this and remember that taking matters into your own hands can have repercussions.
12. A trucker driving in New Hampshire "was ejected from his truck in a rollover crash near Gorham", according to a January 23, 2018, article. Although the accident is still under investigation, the article says that the trucker "was travelling north at a high rate of speed when he hit the front of another vehicle had had been trying to pass and lost control".
Whenever you're driving, always wear your safety belt. Also, if you're going to pass another vehicle, make sure you do so safely.
13. One trooper called it, "the worst crash he'd seen in 20 years". The trial of "a Kentucky truck driver charged in the deaths of six people in a 2015 interstate crash" was reported in this January 22, 2018, article.
"Brewer's attorney argued that it wasn't drugs, but rather lack of sleep that caused the crash."
Another article stated that the trucker "saw the cars with their brake lights and he tried to stop, but couldn't."
Make sure you're rested before you drive a commercial motor vehicle. And make sure that your truck's brakes are properly adjusted before you drive.
14. A January 22, 2018, article written by an attorney and entitled, "New Report: Low Trucker Wages Lead to Long Hours and Increased Safety Risks" opens with this paragraph:
"The wages truckers earn are too low, forcing them to work extended hours that sometimes exceed legal limits, according to a new report recently presented at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board."
The article also states; "that pay rate of approximately 50 percent higher than the average trucker's current mileage rate, and is likely the main reason why the trucking industry faces high turnover and an ongoing driver shortage."
Now that the ELD mandate is in place, I don't think that truckers can extend their Hours of Service. So, truckers' wages will possibly be even lower than this report reveals.
My husband Mike and I wish you -- and all professional truck drivers -- safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.