This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending June 30, 2018.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. As you may remember, Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) became mandatory in the USA on Dec. 18, 2017, and the "hard enforcement" of them began on April 1, 2018.
But what has transpired since then?
- According to a June 22, 2018, article -- and numerous others here, here, here and here -- Hours of Service violations are down (as one would have anticipated).
- However, a June 27, 2018, article stated, "A North Dakota congressman recently introduced a bill [H.R.6159] that would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct a study to determine how many truck drivers have left their jobs because of Electronic Logging Device (ELD) regulations."
- Another June 27, 2018, article stated: "Over two-thirds (69 percent) of fleets also believe that ELDs do not improve driver satisfaction, and 33 percent are having more difficulty retaining drivers due to strict hours-of-service compliance."
What we don't yet know is how the ELD mandate affects safety, which was the purported reason for forcing ELDs on most of the U.S. trucking industry in the first place.
I am very interested in seeing the large truck crash statistics since the ELD mandate was put into place.
2. Are we going to see "minimum driver pay" become more commonplace, as a means of luring professional truck drivers to trucking companies?
According to a June 22, 2018, article, "Central Oregon Trucking Company has introduced a new pay structure for drivers that offers weekly minimum guaranteed miles and pay."
Furthermore, the CEO said that the company "is guaranteeing at least 2,430 miles per week, with a minimum weekly salary of $1,250" which is an "effective salary base of $65,000 per year."
There is also the potential for experienced drivers to earn more.
Have you ever worked for a trucking company that offered a guaranteed minimum number of miles and pay?
If so, how did that work out for you?
3. Numerous articles within the last week or so have focused on truck parking.
- A June 22, 2018, article stated, "The I-10 Corridor [Coalition] is asking for funding for a truck parking system that would alert drivers to available truck parking along Interstate 10." This coalition is of DOTs from the states of California, Arizona and New Mexico.
- A separate June 22, 2018, article states that the Iowa "state Department of Transportation is considering getting rid of several rest areas while adding truck parking in other locations."
- A June 28, 2018, article states: "Part of a joint initiative started in 2016 by eight of the 10 states that make up the Mid America Association of State Transportation Officials, TPIMS [Truck Parking Information Management Systems] aims to provide a consistent, up to date, and free standard for reporting available parking along transportation corridors, the first of its kind on this scale.
- A June 26, 2018, article stated: "The University of Kentucky researchers emphasized how important it is to expand truck parking nationwide: 'Our results support the need for increased truck parking on the federally designated National Network for trucks, particularly on parkway routes. Existing rest areas should be expanded for additional truck parking and new truck rest areas should be established, particularly on parkways.'"
4. OK, the unanswered question that has arisen from a June 25, 2018, article has me peeved.
A vehicle that was supposed to be "autonomous" had a driver behind the wheel, but ended up striking and killing someone in Tempe, Arizona.
According to the article:
- the "safety driver" became distracted by watching a streaming television show;
- the fatality was said to be "entirely avoidable" and that "driver could face charges of vehicular manslaughter"; and
- "Uber had disabled the emergency braking system" in the vehicle and it was "not designed to alert the vehicle’s operator".
So, my question is:
- Was the driver made aware ahead of time what level of "autonomy" the vehicle had and that the braking system had been disabled?
6. Talk about a lack of communication!
According to a June 28, 2018, article, a 1996 ordinance in the city of West Buechel, Kentucky, requires a $125 per year "unloading license".
This amounts to "a fee businesses pay for having freight delivered" and all of the trucks unloading at a business in the city must bear a sticker.
At least one major retailer in the city had no knowledge of the license, or the fact that trucks without the sticker could be "stuck with a $25 code violation".
This situation is similar to the financial penalty for arriving late about which I wrote some time back.
Trucking companies need to find out before assigning each and every load if there are any usual or special requirements that their drivers (or the trucks) will need at a shipper or receiver.
Drivers want no surprises when they arrive at facilities.
7. Two articles this week addressed solar panel usage on big trucks: here and here.
The first article stated: "Solar power makes sense for many commercial trucks, and in many applications, an investment in the right equipment can be paid back in roughly three years, says the North American Council for Freight Efficiency...."
8. A June 29, 2018, article said, "A California Supreme Court decision has made it much tougher for trucking companies to use owner-operators in the state."
Stay alert on this.
9. The end of a sentence (in italics, the emphasis being mine) in a June 28, 2018, article bothers me:
"The future of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) remains in limbo as the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation approved a bill that will require an assessment of the effectiveness of the program before moving forward with required biometric readers."
According to the article, the final rule "would require biometrics such as a fingerprint be included in confirming a TWIC card holder's identity."
My questions include:
- Which shippers and receivers require a TWIC card?
- Which problems has having a TWIC card ever prevented?
10. A June 28, 2018, article stated: "Central Cal Transportation must pay a driver $16,723 after the Department of Labor concluded the carrier violated whistleblower protection by firing her for refusing an overweight load."
11. To all professional truck drivers living in the USA, we wish you a blessed and safe July 4!
My husband Mike and I wish you -- and all professional truck drivers -- safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.