This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending November 10, 2018.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. A couple of huge things were in the news this week about self-driving trucks:
- An autonomous truck equipped with TuSimple technology was tested in Arizona "taking on real world hazards like heavy rain, traffic, and a railroad crossing", according to these articles: link, link, link.
If you watch the video, you can see on the right side of your screen the embedded vehicle speed as it was recorded.
- A November 8, 2018, article opens: "The U.S. DOT, which released updated guidance on automated vehicles in October, is accepting public feedback until Dec. 3 on its attempt at updating the federal government's stance and guidelines on autonomous vehicle development and deployment."
The page on Regulations.gov where comments may be left is here.
2. Remember that political issue about truck drivers potentially not getting paid for anything except on a cents-per-mile basis (first the Denham Amendment and then the ATA's petition to pre-empt California's meal and rest breaks)?
I wrote and submitted my comments about the latter, which you can read here.
Well, 19 lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate "filed a letter Oct. 31 with the U.S. DOT asking it to deny a request by the American Trucking Associations to exempt carriers from California labor laws requiring meal breaks and paid rest breaks for employees", according to a November 7, 2018, article.
Good for them!
3. A "rear sensor system" is currently designed to work only when a vehicle is in reverse.
I have no doubts that technology will improve such that sensors will be built to detect objects on all sides of vehicles while they are moving forward.
4. During Brake Safety Week conducted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) in September 2018, "[nearly] 5,000 trucks were placed out of service for brakes violations" (link)
A second article on this topic stated, "14% of vehicles inspected were placed out of service".
A third article said, "Brake Safety Week data also captured antilock braking systems violations".
Do you use a device (or series of devices) to help you see at a glance whether or not your truck's brakes are properly adjusted?
If so, how well does it (or do they) work?
Please write and submit a product review.
5. Ouch! And on Low Clearance Awareness Day of all days!
Caught on video, "a container being transported by a flatbed truck" struck "the ceiling of the O'Neill Tunnel [in Boston] during the morning rush hour", which resulted in "miles-long traffic backups on southbound I-93".
This is the second crash like it that has happened in recent weeks, the other that happened in Virginia's Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT) on October 1.
Double-check the height of your rig before you attempt to drive through any tunnel -- and never try to drive through one that is shorter than any part of your rig.
Check your trucker's atlas for truck routes and low clearances.
Do NOT rely on a GPS unit for routing.
6. While Connecticut's newly elected Governor is pressing for truck-only tolls in his state,
- a "Virginia truck toll study now includes tolls on passenger vehicles"; and
- voters decided a lengthy list of trucking-related measures on Election Day 2018.
7. Will having a realistic-looking dummy wallet and dummy phone in your truck help you keep from losing everything in case you're ever robbed (link)?
9. I'm reading more articles and seeing more videos lately of trucks that are trying to cross railroad tracks that are sloped such that the rigs are getting stuck -- which inevitably leads to a railroad crossing accident.
The most recent "high centered" accident not only ended up with the truck getting struck by the train, but the rig winding up in a lake!
I wonder if the trucker was on a truck route when this happened.
10. A brief article leading to a white paper asserts that "Video [Telematics] Can Help Predict and Prevent Collisions".
11. On the fuel savings front:
- one owner-operator reported "the best 4 ways [he saves money] on fuel costs"; and
- "FedEx Express improved fuel efficiency by 2.9% in fiscal year 2017".
12. To help you keep your competitive edge, here are lists of:
- "The 15 toughest states when it comes to moving violations"; and
- the worst times of day and days of the week when collisions are likely to occur.
13. Look for speed limits in British Columbia, Canada, to be lowered on certain roads where speed-related collisions have increased.
14. Again, "the US District Court in the Western District of Arkansas ... has upheld the notion that truck drivers ought to be paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for sixteen hours per day -- meaning all of the time spent in the truck except for eight hours of sleep." (link)
15. The right technology can save you a lot of money!
A GPS enabled dash cam video
- proved a CDL holder's speed was nowhere near 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit for which he was cited;
- forced the Florida Highway Patrol to drop a $281 ticket: and
- saved the driver's job.
My husband Mike and I wish you -- and all professional truck drivers -- safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.