This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending February 3, 2018.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) had published a list of talking points opposing underride guard mandates.
A January 30, 2018, article on their website covered their having written a letter to the U.S. Senate opposing the underride guards.
Among the concerns they raised were:
- the possibility of actually increasing the number of crashes;
- the addition of "another 1,000 pounds to a tractor-trailer" and thus reducing capacity to haul freight;
- the cost of compliance, estimated to be $1,560 per trailer; and
- the restriction of weight distribution by those who use "spread axle trailers".
One thing that I have not yet seen in opposition to underride guards is the impact on aerodynamic equipment such as side skirts or under-trailer units. How would underride guards impact these?
2. According to a February 2, 2018, article, a trucker who was taking a personality quiz on his phone while driving -- and causing a crash that killed an 83-year-old woman -- has been charged with reckless driving and "jailed for up to 15 years".
When you are driving any vehicle -- and especially a commercial motor vehicle -- do not allow your cell phone to distract you. Remember that as a professional truck driver, you are being paid (at least in part) for the safe operation of your vehicle so that you pick-up and deliver freight.
If necessary, install an app on your phone so that you cannot operate it -- or engage in certain phone activity -- whenever your truck is moving. (Note: I am not in favor of legally-enforced use of such driver-restricted technology.)
3. The opening statement of a February 2, 2018, article was:
"Yesterday twenty-five members of Congress sent a letter to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) asking the agency to support an Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) sponsored ELD exemption request for small business truckers."
The article further quoted OOIDA's acting President Todd Spencer:
"We thank the representatives, especially Congressmen Babin and King, for recognizing that small-business truckers that have already proven their ability to operate safely should not be subject to purchasing costly, unproven and uncertified devices."
4. A February 2, 2018, article stated: "Every self-driving truck will need partners to cover local routes and bring loads to and from transfer hubs. Growth for self-driving trucks will therefore mean growth for truck drivers, on top of all the things we move getting cheaper and arriving faster. Additionally, those local haul truckers would be picking up and dropping loaded trailers, meaning big reductions in wait times at loading docks. And for drivers who prefer long haul, there will still be many routes across the country for years to come."
A similar article published on February 2, 2018, stated: "If self-driving trucks are used more efficiently and experience widespread adoption, it would drive down the cost of freight, which would stimulate demand, leading to more business. And, if more freight is out on the roads, and humans are required to run it around local areas, then there will be a greater, not lesser, need for truck drivers."
What do you think? Is the bulk of your non-productive time spent in local traffic and docks?
If you're paid by the mile and some autonomous vehicle can take over the work that keeps you from that, could your pay actually increase as a result?
One concern I have is "where" truckers are going to connect with autonomous vehicles so that the repowered loads will be delivered locally. If there aren't enough truck stops now, then, hmm, see my next point below.
Please share your thoughts.
5. Another historic site has been damaged by a truck driver, this time causing "deep scars" in a "2,000-year-old historical site in Peru". According to the February 2, 2018, article, the trucker "ignored warning signs and drove over a portion of the UNESCO World Heritage Site."
The trucker was "arrested for the errant drive on Jan. 27 in which three of the geoglyphs were damaged."
According to a February 1, 2018, article, the driver "told police he didn't know the area, and that he'd been forced off the road because of a problem with his truck. But some seem to think [he] might have hopped off the highway to avoid paying a toll".
Plan your route and stick to it. Although this article did not mention the trucker's use of technology, do not rely upon non-CMV GPS technology for routing.
6. Numerous articles have been written of late about truck driver pay.
- Since Schneider National Inc. realized greater profit than was forecast, I hope that they will share a good bit of that profit with their truck drivers.
- TruckingInfo.com wrote on January 30, 2018, "Fleets Reach Out to Drivers With Better Per-Mile Pay".
- TruckNews.com wrote on January 25, 2018, "Should carriers start paying drivers a yearly salary?"
- I agree with the truck driver who wrote the following on January 24, 2018: "Despite an increase in wages, many truckers feel that it's unfair to not be paid for all of the time that they spend on the road. The system of compensating only by mileage is antiquated because some carriers just pay the drivers when the wheels are moving, not for their time when they are filling out paperwork, fueling their trucks or waiting to be loaded or unloaded. Many truckers feel that this is unfair because, despite their rig not being in motion, they are still performing tasks that are part of the job requirements."
7. A trucker who "was seen trying to snake his way through the crossing gates, despite signals that included lights warning of the oncoming train" died as a result of the truck-train crash, according to a February 1, 2018, article.
Of note is that the train was "carrying GOP members of Congress" who were traveling "from Washington, DC, to West Virginia for their retreat".
Regardless of how fast the train was traveling, a trucker should never ever attempt to cross a railroad crossing when the lights are flashing, the bell is ringing, or the crossing arms are down.
Our condolences go to the trucker's family.
8. A North Carolina truck driver "was arrested on charges of careless driving, driving a commercial vehicle under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, possession of synthetic drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia and first-degree wanton endangerment", according to a January 31, 2018, article.
The article further stated, "Police say he admitted to having smoked synthetic marijuana 20-30 minutes before. The drug and a pipe were found in the truck according to investigators."
If you want to drive, don't do drugs. If you want to do drugs, don't drive. It's as simple as that.
9. Shifting loads can cause problems or death.
- A February 1, 2018, article written by a trucker who knew his freight and route thoroughly, was able to diagnose the problem of freight that had shifted in his trailer. The freight was rejected by the receiver, so it was important to know what happened.
He figured out that it was "in fact was the fault of the unloading lift driver at the receiver's warehouse"!
This makes me wonder if the day will come when truckers will install a recording "trailer cam" that attaches to the inside of the trailer just inside the doors to "watch" the trailer being live-loaded or live-unloaded.
In other words, if cameras can watch truckers in their trucks, why shouldn't they watch dock workers working inside their trailers? Hmm... perhaps this technology will one day become standard equipment on trailers -- or at least on trailers where freight can easily shift.
- A January 31, 2018, article stated that a trucker was killed after his truck "rolled over a concrete barrier on the right shoulder of the ramp at Interstate 355". According to police, it was the shifting of the load that caused the rollover.
I wonder if the trucker being "ejected from his truck" had anything to do with his having worn a seat belt. Our condolences go to the trucker's family.
10. Hurray for truck drivers!
A January 23, 2018, article stated: "The American Trucking Associations' advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased by 3.7% overall in 2017 compared to the year before, marking its largest annual gain since 2013."
Thank you, truckers, for your hard work 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.