This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending July 27, 2019.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
According to a July 25, 2019, article:
Furthermore, as has been cited before, there are plenty of new drivers entering the trucking industry, but they don't stick around.
One trucker wrote (in part) on Facebook:
WAKE UP PEOPLE, and recognize REALITY vs THEIR LIES..!!!
If there really is a 'DRIVER SHORTAGE' in the transportation industry, than freight rates would be amazingly high right now. Remember the 'SUPPLY AND DEMAND' economic rule..? Because every shipper and broker would be struggling to get a driver to take their loads. And we all know that's NOT what's happening out here right now.
Several articles this week covered the "accident" that took place when a trucker attempted to take his truck across a historic rural bridge with a weight restriction in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
I wrote the following on our Facebook page on July 23:
This is the first article we've ever read that specifically states that a trucker followed routing from Google Maps and ended up collapsing a bridge with a weight restriction.
Do NOT use Google Maps for routing a commercial motor vehicle (CMV)!!!
Google Maps do NOT have truck routing.
Furthermore, non-CMV specific GPS units do NOT have truck routing.
Instead, obtain and learn how to use a Motor Carriers Road Atlas (aka truckers atlas).
Regarding the situation referred to in the article from CDL Life, for over 100 years, the bridge remained on its support.
Chances are very good that if the trucker hadn't struck and then attempted to cross the bridge, it would have remained on its support.
On top of the fine, we think that it would be perfectly reasonable for Grand Forks, North Dakota, to lay the entire cost of reconstructing the bridge on the trucker and his trucking company.
A July 18, 2019, article stated, "Convoy study finds independent truckers earn more than company drivers."
There are numerous statistics in the article, including:
Separately, there was a new wrinkle regarding being paid for off-duty time in a sleeper berth.
According to a July 23, 2019, article, "the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) ... said the time drivers are relieved of all duties and permitted to sleep in a sleeper berth is presumptively nonworking time that is not compensable."
The article further quoted Todd Spencer, president of OOIDA:
A primary duty of a truck driver's job is waiting, but unfortunately they are paid by the mile and nothing for their time. If drivers were simply paid for all time worked, this issue would not likely have been brought to court.
A July 23, 2019, article listed a number of "tips to keep older vehicles road ready", including:
Two reasons were cited as the reason why fleets are buying new trucks, to:
Regarding the former, the article cites a Fleet Advantage study, which cited that "upgrading from a 2012 to a 2019 sleeper cab model saves $26,687 in annual fuel costs."
A July 16, 2019, article addressed driving "autonomous trucks" via remote control or "remote teleoperators".
Stefan Seltz-Axmacher, co-founder and chief executive of Starsky Robotics, stated:
We believe that humans are far better at navigating many of the nuances of driving than even the most advanced computer systems. That's why we use a combination of autonomy and human decision making. Our trucks are autonomous on a highway and remote controlled by drivers for the first and last mile.
I am pleased that this autonomous trucking company executive recognizes the superiority of human operators!
Separately, if you're so inclined and can get past the irony, you can now "take a college class to learn how to drive self-driving trucks".
"A truck driver was arrested last week after attempting to smuggle 31 illegal immigrants into the United States inside of a tractor-trailer," stated a July 25, 2019, article.
The price of human life and health -- and the price of your trucking career -- are too high for anyone to ever attempt to smuggle people across the border in a truck.
Don't do it!
According to a July 24, 2019, article, "A California truck driver... pleaded guilty for his role in a scam to illegally obtain workers' compensation benefits ...".
Noteworthy points regarding this situation are:
In my opinion, because of his "false statement of a material fact", it is likely that he will have a hard time getting a job in the future.
Be honest. Tell the truth.
What in the world is going on?!?!
I keep reading about truckers who don't slow down their trucks when they encounter slowed or stopped traffic -- and therefore end up rear-ending the vehicles in front of them, often resulting in injuries or fatalities.
Among the articles posted recently were:
Pay attention to the traffic around you and be prepared to slow or stop at any time.
A county commissioner in Clark County, Nevada, is taking action regarding "illegally parked big rigs" this way:
"Violators would face a $100 fine for the first offense, $250 for the second offense and $500 for each subsequent offense."
There are a number of truck parking apps that have been created to help truckers find parking for their rigs, one of which was described in a July 23, 2019, article.
If you use any of these apps, would you please write a service review to let us know various aspects of it that you like and don't like?
Separately, it is not your imagination if you think that the Pennsylvania Turnpike keeps hiking toll rates.
This article stated: "Tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike will be increasing by 6% across the board in 2020. It will be the 12th year in a row that the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) passed a toll increase."
"Another large carrier has shut down without warning, leaving hundreds of drivers stranded nationwide," according to this article.
We encourage truckers to have enough saved up in an emergency fund to get home when they're in situations like this.
However, do everything in your power not to abandon a truck!
There's an interesting photo accompanying a July 25, 2019, article about how "Drivewyze, provider of PreClear weigh station bypass service, has launched its new Drivewyze Safety Notifications service."
The photo shows a bright yellow screen with a 12'6" clearance diamond and the words:
LOW BRIDGE AHEAD
Proceed with caution.
If you're driving a rig with a 13'6" height and you're encountering a low clearance bridge with a 12'6" clearance, DO NOT PROCEED!
Pull over where it is safe and legal to do so, but do not attempt to take your truck under the bridge because you'll never make it.
Always know the height of your truck.
Never attempt to take your rig in places too short to pass under or through, including:
DAT.com published an article entitled "10 things to know about Heavy Vehicle Use Tax", which answers such questions as:
While we have previously written a great deal about
a video embedded in a July 19, 2019, article brings this matter to life.
Heat-related illness is real.
Furthermore, your ability to do your trucker job well depends upon your ability to get good, deep, restorative sleep.
If you are unable to sleep or rest comfortably in your truck, determine what you need to do to make that a reality.
Your health, your life, and the lives of the motoring public around you may be at stake.
My husband Mike and I wish you -- and all professional truck drivers -- safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.