TDMST Weekly Round-Up: 2019.02.02

This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending February 2, 2019.

We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.


TDMST Weekly Round-Up

1. Regarding winter weather, the Polar Vortex, and related:

The FMCSA expanded the Hours of Service regulation in 23 states in advance of the winter storm, but there were some travel bans in place.

Even though there was a ban on tractor trailer travel on numerous roads in New York, there was a 21-vehicle pileup on the Thruway, which led the governor to say that he would “punish truckers who violate [the] travel ban” there, the severity of which includes having their CDL taken away and being charged with “reckless endangerment and assault”.

Separately, there was a snowy pileup involving “up to 40 vehicles” in Pennsylvania and some trucks were banned from travel.

A January 28, 2019, article referred to the polar vortex as bringing “historically cold temperatures” and “dangerous to impossible travel conditions”.

One article addressed “[staying] safe in record-setting cold“.

Other articles about this winter storm are here and here.

And here are articles about “Preventing Truck Air System Freeze-ups” and “5 Ways Truck Drivers Can Prevent Cold-Weather Calamity“.

2. Regarding court decisions and trucker wages:

An excellent article by Allen Smith covered “Court decisions [that] are turning the tide in favor of Truckers Wages”. (no longer online)

He cited a number of cases and how the Fair Labor Standards Act is being used regarding “wages and compensable time.”

One excellent quote is:

This accepted practice of payment for “what you produce”, no matter how many hours it takes, has created an atmosphere of subservience, obedience, submissiveness and desperate attempts to get as many hours as they can in order to drive more miles to earn more money. As long as drivers are paid for mileage only, the employer is in control. … The more unpaid hours you work, the less valued you are

Before you hire on with any trucking company, make sure you understand their entire detention pay system.

If a motor carrier is paid for detention but doesn’t pass along any of that payment to you as the trucker who is stuck waiting, I recommend that you go to work elsewhere.

Your time is valuable and they need to know that.

You may wish to read another article about the Supreme Court ruling being a win for owner-operators.

3. Regarding technology used by truckers:

Several articles of note include:

  • Saving money while “Protecting Your High-end Assets” (which addresses a number of those assets).
  • Mobile apps that “identify and improve risky behaviors” are designed to be installed “on drivers’ personal smartphones” and are used to help determine one’s insurance premium.
  • 3G networks are coming to an end, a situation that will affect “an estimated 7.5 million IoT devices based primarily on 3G”, according to a spokesman for a “vision-based safety and telematics platform”.If you have devices based upon 3G technology, you will need (not just want) to plan now for a replacement.
  • Since Google is sunsetting their Google+ platform on April 2, 2019, you can download and save your info by following the instructions here.
  • If you’re still using an AOBRD, check out this article.

4. Regarding rating facilities and being rated by companies:

A February 1, 2019, article described how “…Uber Freight has introduced [on its mobile app] a facility ratings and reviews feature that enables carriers using the platform to rate their experiences at load and unload locations….”

In addition to truckers’ reviews and ratings also being seen, a spokeswoman stated that the “intelligence [will] hopefully help those customers improve operations at low-performing facilities”.

Another article says that “carriers and drivers [have] the ability to share honest feedback about the facilities they visit” through the app.

I hope that over time, every facility that loads freight onto and unloads freight from trailers will be graded and that the grading process will help all facilities to optimize operations from the truckers’ standpoint.

5. Regarding aerodynamics and fuel economy in trucks:

A new type of trailer aerodynamic aid called “Rocketail” has become EPA Smartway-verified, according to a January 29, 2019, article.

According to the manufacturer’s website, the “certified fuel savings” is 3.36%.(a)

Additionally, several descriptions include:

  • “One piece jet wing design”;
  • “No moving parts to break or maintain”;
  • “Opens and closes with NO driver involved”; and
  • “Guaranteed for the life of your trailer”.

Another article about this device is here.

If you use a Rocketail on your trailer, please write and submit a truck part review with your personal observations about usage and fuel savings.

6. Regarding speed limits:

  • A January 28, 2019, article stated, “Lawmakers in [nine] states have recently introduced or passed legislation to get rid of speed differentials or to increase speed limits for all drivers.”
  • The Minnesota DOT “will increase speeds to 60 mph on more than 5,000 miles of state highways”, says a January 25, 2019, article.(b)

7. Regarding preventable truck accidents:

  • A trucker who was taking a turn too fast overturned on a parked car.
  • Despite clearly posted signs about a 6 ton weigh limit, a trucker “followed his GPS” onto an 88-year old wooden bridge, collapsed it, and wound up in the Petit Jean River, according to a January 31, 2019, article.

8. Regarding a trucker winning the lottery:

A trucker’s life was changed after winning the lottery.

He opted to take “the $180 million lump sum” and quit his job.

Another article said that after taxes and withholdings, his net payment is $114,091,248.

I’d like to know how things are going for him — financially and otherwise — 5 years from now.

9. Regarding trucker protests:

Numerous trucker protests have been planned through the years.

The most recent one of which was a “slow roll” along about a hundred miles I-57 in Illinois.

Please be aware that we do not recommend intentionally impeding the flow of traffic on any road and that doing so could result in punitive action, as described in this article.

10. Regarding taxation and tolls:

  • On January 29, 2019, Land Line Magazine reported, “The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is waiting to learn how a bill to repeal the federal excise tax on commercial truck sales would affect small-business truckers before it takes a stance on the issue.”(c)
  • “A dozen statehouses consider bills regarding toll collection”, states a January 30, 2019, article.(d)
  • OOIDA is urging truckers to “voice opposition to [the] I-81 toll bill in Virginia”.(e)
  • The “Iowa Supreme Court [ruled that] speed cameras [are] constitutional” in that state, according to a January 31, 2019, article.(f)
  • Here’s another article about the per diem benefit in the tax code being sunsetted and how it could cause company drivers to suffer.

11. Regarding being ELD-free:

A January 31, 2019, article states, “H.R. 5948 aims to allow carriers with 10 trucks or fewer the option to record drivers hours-of-service with a ‘paper record of duty status form’ instead of an ELD. Small carriers could still use ELDs should they choose to, but it would no longer be required.”

Please call your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator to weigh in on this issue.

12. Congratulations to accident-free trucker:

We congratulate and applaud Arthur “Art” Stoen — a trucker with a 55-year career — for “driving nearly four and a half million miles without an accident” and being named “the 2018 Minnesota Driver of the Year by the Minnesota Trucking Association (MTA)”.


My husband Mike and I wish you — and all professional truck drivers — safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.

Return from TDMST Weekly Round-Up: 2019.02.02 to our TDMST Weekly Round-Up Trucking Commentary or our Truck Drivers Money Saving Tips home page.


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