This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending July 21, 2018.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. A July 9, 2018, article states, "Industry attempts to delay implementation [of the ELD mandate] had more to do with the federal hours of service rule, which regulates how much time a trucker can spend behind the wheel, rather than digital data logging. ... Violations of the ELD mandate, which went into effect in December 2017, are running at less than 1 percent of those stopped and checked. ... An ELD synchronizes with a vehicle engine to automatically record driving time. It replaced a system of keeping paper logs."
However, I have read of truck drivers who unplug their ELD and drive anyway.
One of those instances was written about on July 9, 2018. The article revealed that a truck driver was driving in an "active work zone" when the truck "veered into the oncoming traffic lane, colliding head-on with another tractor-trailer. The driver of the other vehicle was killed, as was a passenger in [that trucker's] truck cab. ... Using global positioning system (GPS) to reconstruct [the trucker's] trip, ... FMCSA investigators estimated [the trucker] had been driving continuously for at least 38 of the 45 hours prior to the June 13, 2018, crash. Investigators found [the trucker had] either disabled or deactivated the electronic logging device (ELD) equipped in his truck in prior trips."
So, if an ELD can be "disabled or deactivated," what's the point of having one in a truck?
2. In case you wondered if the price of goods is going up, a July 16, 2018, article verified that.
"And as driver pay rises quickly and diesel fuel costs tick up, shipping companies are charging higher and higher rates to move goods. It now costs more than $1.85 a mile to ship a 'dry good' that doesn't require refrigeration or special accommodation, a nearly 40 percent increase from the price a year ago, according to data from DAT Solutions."
Has driver pay gone up by anywhere near forty percent?
3. A July 16, 2018, article made the following comment about a company with "a fleet of 1,250 vehicles and 950 drivers, with operations spanning 20 states" that "implemented ELDs in early 2017".
According to the article, "in just one year, reduced speeding by 70%, harsh acceleration by 30 to 40%, and harsh braking by 20 to 25% ... [and improved] fuel economy by 8 to 12%."
In order to measure such things as "harsh acceleration" and "harsh braking", I speculate that the equipment installed in this company's trucks was more than just an Electronic Logging Device, but rather was a more inclusive telematics system.
4. A July 17, 2018, article said that a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) "can extend truck and trailer tread life".
The article also addresses an Automatic Tire Inflation System (ATIS), which works in tandem with a TPMS and relieves drivers of the responsibility to manually re-inflate tires that have lost pressure.
Of course, this does not relieve the driver of the responsibility to do thorough pre- and post-trip inspections on tires.
The article also provides this quote, "In general, a TPMS system pays for itself if you avoid one on-road tire failure... When you add up the cost of the tire, road call and downtime, the investment you made in a TPMS system is more than covered."
5. "Some 1,595 commercial vehicles were placed out of service for brake violations during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's (CVSA) unannounced Brake Safety Day enforcement initiative April 25," stated a July 18, 2018, article.
Be ready for your truck to undergo a brake inspection at any time and you'll be OK.
6. Oh, goodie! A new California ports plan requires that effective October 1, "trucks that are not currently registered in the Ports Drayage Truck Registry must be model year 2014 or newer in order to visit the terminals" at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
So, your choices are:
- either get your truck on the list before October 1; or
- make sure your truck has a 2014 or newer engine; or
- plan on not visiting those California ports after the deadline.
7. "Approximately 25 percent of car collisions in the U.S. involve cellphone use, according to a recent news release issued by the Society for Risk Analysis. Talking on a cellphone increases crash risk by 2.2 times. Texting? A crash risk increase of 6.1 times," states a July 17, 2018, article.
8. A July 18, 2018, article addressed "the effects of the ELD rule on shippers."
Truckers who use ELDs cannot falsify their records. Those records "provide irrefutable data on how long they were delayed at a loading dock," necessitating that shippers "be more prudent with their drivers' time."
The article concluded:
"Your goals as a shipper can be summarized into three things: optimize your loading process, have a more driver-friendly schedule, and respect the rules that ELDs are designed to protect."
Truckers, make sure that the shippers and receivers that you're dealing with respect your time and your paycheck.
9. Another July 18, 2018, article stated, "Electronic logging devices provide valuable data and insights into a fleet's operations. Fleet managers can use that ELD data to boost efficiency, reduce operational costs, and increase profitability."
The article also listed "five ways you can use ELD data to minimize cost and increase profit."
Truckers, use this information to help you increase your paychecks, too.
10. For heaven's sake, make sure your loads are secure!
"A landscape truck driver has been arrested after [an 800-pound boulder fell off his truck, causing] a fatal accident that claimed the lives of two Minnesota women."
Our condolences go to the family of the women who were killed.
11. Beware of the "aggressive policy of booting trucks in the parking lot" of the Perry, Georgia, Walmart that are parked there longer than 30 minutes.
According to the article, "Drivers who have been booted must pay a $500 fine to have the boot removed from their vehicles. Drivers who fail to pay the fine will have their trucks towed."
See the article for photos of how trucks are booted (immobilized). We strongly recommend shopping elsewhere!
12. This is a really good reason not to carry huge sums of cash with you on the road and then flash some of it around:
You might get robbed and assaulted!
13. The state of Rhode Island instituted "truck-only tolling" starting on June 11, 2018, and reported that it "generated more revenue than [it] expected in [the] first month".
I bet R.I. officials are salivating over that!
I'll be interested to see how the lawsuit about the toll proceeds.
14. Our hearty congratulations go to "David Zelsdorf, of Albertville, Alabama, [who] received a 2019 Western Star 5700XE tractor" in a Landstar contest.
My husband Mike and I wish you -- and all professional truck drivers -- safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.