This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending November 3, 2018.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. An October 28, 2018, article described that FlowBelow Aero's "Trailer Aero Slider Stage 2 system":
- "achieved 1.93% fuel savings during a recent test done in accordance with EPA SmartWay test protocols"; and
- added "a 0.70% fuel savings improvement over FlowBelow's Stage 1 AeroSlider System."
Consisting of "multiple components positioned between and behind the trailer wheels to control the airflow around the trailer wheels and the wake behind the trailer", the AeroSlider can work with "other trailer-mounted aerodynamic devices".
2. Professional truck drivers need to quickly look at their truck mirrors every 5 to 8 seconds, according to Tip #4 on this article by the FMCSA.
A trucker may not be able to spot absolutely every potential mechanical failure that could lead to a wheel assembly separation during a standard pre-trip inspection.
However, it seems reasonable that a trucker should notice the wake of destruction behind his/her truck after a wheel assembly comes off -- if he or she is scanning his/her mirrors as described above.
An October 29, 2018, article says that Oklahoma troopers were searching for the truck that "lost a wheel assembly and triggered a series of deadly crashes along I-40 in Oklahoma City".
Our condolences go to the families of those who died.
3. Make sure that at least one set of your truck's mirrors are positioned in such a way that you can see down the left and right sides of your trailer.
A video embedded in an ultra short article showed a semi truck dragging a car down a North Carolina roadway in the rain, the trucker evidently completely unaware of the car's presence!
An October 26, 2018, article describes how a large reel containing cable broke free from a flatbed trailer and rolled down a Houston, Texas, area freeway.
Ensure that your freight is properly secured and regularly check your mirrors.
4. All loads, including explosives, need to be properly secured.
"Federal law requires hazardous materials to be protected against shifting and falling during transportation. The truck was placed out of service due to this issue."
5. The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) recently named at the very top of its Top Industry Issues this year "the so-called 'driver shortage'" problem.
Please note that OOIDA's Todd Spencer has stated that what is really happening is a "driver retention" problem. Or as Norita Taylor stated, "The real problem is driver churn caused by low pay and poor working conditions."
6. What was "the original idea behind the hours of service regulations"?
According to an October 22, 2018, article, the HOS regulations were designed to protect drivers.
There's an excellent quote that addresses "All of the reasons for the various exemptions and [waivers]" that have been requested, and how they are "off the mark" because "they are all focused on what's being hauled, not who is hauling it."
"What's in the trailer should never be more valuable than the health and safety of the driver delivering the goods. Valuable, yes. Just not more valuable."
8. You may be familiar with Deflecktor's wheel covers.
Now they have introduced "locking aerodynamic wheel covers".
In response to a quote about "Fear of theft" of the devices from "truck and trailer assets [that] go unattended for extended periods of time" -- and regarding the wheel separation accident cited above -- I need to point out that truckers need to be regularly inspecting the lug nuts that hold their truck tires and wheel assemblies on the axles.
If you have wheel covers on your truck's wheels how often do you look behind them to be sure that none of the lug nuts is "cracked, broken or missing"? (References to this phrase are on our site here and here.)
9. An October 29, 2018, article states that the ATA "is calling for increased flexibility in the [federal Hours of Service] rules".
It sounds noble that "The industry wants to be better able to deal with issues such as traffic congestion, which ATRI said cost the trucking industry $74.5 billion in lost productivity last year."
However, bear in mind that the ATA wants to keep truckers stuck with being paid on a cents per mile basis and not being paid for all time worked.
I'll be interested to see what comes of the FMCSA's "fast-tracking a review of the hours-of-service rules", especially since they now plan to study "how driver schedules impact crash risk".
This is interesting given an article that states, "More Heavy-Duty Trucking Deaths May Be Caused by Drivers Racing the Clock".
In other words, they already know the contributors to unsafe driving, don't they?
10. Really? Seriously?
Could Monday Night Football be to blame for risky driving behavior among truckers?
11. Allen Smith is warning of the ATA's "divide and conquer" strategy with a "new Independent Trucker program" that will "pin the owner ops against the company drivers".
12. Remember to stay on guard against cargo theft at all times, especially during the upcoming holiday season.
It's good to know the "riskiest times and locations for truckers".
And according to a November 1, 2018, article, "SensiGuard reports California and Texas had the highest cargo theft numbers... [and] Across the U.S. [during 2018's third quarter], cargo theft volume was down, while values were up."
13. Officials in the state of Virginia "are considering tolling drivers on I-81 to the tune of $2 billion", says an October 30, 2018, article.
14. Tuesday, November 6, 2018, is Election Day in the USA.
It has been reported that "County ballots around Florida... include road funding questions".
If you can vote, please do!
The construction of I-269 has now been completed in Tennessee and Mississippi!
16. Congratulations to John Manderscheid, a Davenport, Iowa truck driver who "has been on the road for 40 years for UPS" and has "been accident-free for 35 of those years"!
My husband Mike and I wish you -- and all professional truck drivers -- safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.