This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending February 20, 2021.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
In response to a February 17, 2021, Facebook post about the "Regional Emergency Declaration Under 49 CFR § 390.23 No. 2021-001," I wrote the following comment:
Quote from the "Emergency Declaration":
"By execution of this Emergency Declaration, motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the emergency in the Affected States in direct support of relief efforts related to the severe winter storm are granted relief from Parts 390 through 399 of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations except as restricted herein."
Just wondering how much good this will do if the winter weather is **so bad** that roads are gridlocked
- either by vehicles involved in accidents
- or by no vehicles moving due to ice.
Not long ago, I spoke on the phone with a trucker whose company was gouging him for a late fee that was never even mentioned in the dispatch.
During the phone call, he referenced how far "above and beyond" the call of duty he had gone during the transport of goods in 2020 (driving outside the regular Hours of Service due to one of the "emergency declarations" that the FMCSA issued).
It was obvious that by going "above and beyond" the HOS at that time that he was tired (not well rested) and I told him that it was a wonder that he hadn't gotten involved in an accident.
While this current "emergency declaration" includes "an exemption from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety (FMCSRs)" -- and Part 395 covers "Hours of Service" (links below) -- please do not cut corners on safety.
Please make sure that you're getting sufficient sleep and doing all of the things necessary for safe travels.
More about the FMCSA's Declaration was written here:
Please make sure that you put chains on your truck's tires only in approved locations.
To do otherwise invites the opportunity for you and others to be injured.
There are different kinds of closures listed below.
When truck stops lose power, truckers also lose the ability to pick up fuel and eat a cooked meal there.
Also see the sections on food and fuel below.
Because the electricity was out in many locations, taking on more fuel became impossible, even if one schedules delivery of fuel via DoorDash.
A Facebook post by Trooper Tracy stated:
Attention interstate travelers:
Fuel is NOT available at all exits directly along the interstate system in Illinois. I'm also gonna venture to say that is the same across all the state's interstate systems.
Drivers with zero fuel are finding themselves out of luck and stranded on the interstate which can be extremely dangerous. Please ensure if you drive on the interstate you keep your tank at least half full, or preferably all the way full.
Tow companies do provide services for a fee to bring fuel if you find yourself with zero fuel.
Now when y'all hop on the interstate system and think to yourself, I'll just fuel up when I get to my destination or closer to it, think again. You see, something could happen between when you hop on the big road and when you plan to get fuel. There could be a crash which shuts the lanes down for 3-4 hours. Then there you sit with fumes and then zero fuel and you begin to wish you would have filled up before you got on there with no fuel station to get to.
Apparently it's become quite a topic of discussion amongst the Troopers lately because people keep finding themselves stranded on the interstate system in subzero temperatures during the middle of a winter storm with zero fuel.Don't have zero fuel.
When weather becomes exceptionally rough, you may not have your preferred choice of truck parking.
Please choose as best you can.
If you are a company driver, ask your driver manager or safety director how they advise you to safely remove snow and ice from the top of your trailer.
Please stay continually updated about the end of old restrictions and the posting of new ones.
There are supplies that you will need to have with you in the event that you are ever stranded.
You may wish to review the information on our Emergency Kit page.
This is one author's take on how the winter storm came into being:
Please learn what you can from these articles and seek never to be involved in an accident or near-miss.
I am totally opposed to fully autonomous (driverless or self-driving) trucks, but am sharing these as a courtesy to help you stay informed:
Given that the winter storm knocked out power to millions of consumers (residential and business) for an extended period of time, some people have experienced for themselves the frailty of being in or driving an electric-only truck.
When the charge on one's electric vehicle runs down and there's no way to recharge it, one is going nowhere until a charge is provided.
As I recently wrote in a comment on Facebook:
The momentum within the trucking industry is toward more and more electric commercial motor vehicles.
People may not like idling, but as long as there is fuel, motors [running] on good old diesel can stay warm when batteries discharge and the power grid isn't working.
Here are some of the most recent articles about electric vehicles:
This is not the same list as the one ATRI publishes.
Congratulations to all those who received recognition for their skill and thanks to all who received recognition for helping others.
Thank you to everyone who helped even one other person.
A recent post in a private Facebook group related help from a stranger and reminded me of loving one's neighbor as one loves oneself:
Listen to what happened to me today. The weather in memphis and Southaven Mississippi has been less than pleasant. By that I mean snow and ice everywhere. Well I had to go run a couple of errands today bobtail. When I was leaving my last errand, I got stuck at the exit in snow and ice and I couldn't get out. I used every trick I knew to get free to no avail. A good Samaritan came by me in a Silverado Z71, put on his flashers and walked up to my window and asked me if I needed help. When I replied yes, he took a couple straps out of his bed, attached them to the front of my truck and pulled me out of the mess. I tried to give him $20 and he wouldn't accept it. He unhitched and drove away. It's rare to find those kind of people among the 4 wheeler community and I am greatly appreciative of his willingness to help a trucker in need. I had to share this. Thank you for reading.
My husband Mike and I wish you -- and all professional truck drivers -- safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.