This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending April 20, 2019.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. Regarding fuel efficiency and tire rolling resistance:
In an April 15, 2019, article, we read:
Tire rolling resistance is the third biggest factor affecting a vehicle’s fuel economy behind engine inefficiencies and aerodynamic drag, and fuel costs represent many fleets’ highest non-payroll operating expense. Rolling resistance from tires accounts for approximately one-third of fuel costs.
Among the topics discussed in the article are:
- tire inflation;
- tire tread (and tread blocks);
- low rolling resistance (LRR) tires;
- tire lifespan;
- tire content; and
- wheel positions using LRR tires.
2. Regarding HazMat loads in a tunnel:
The DOT in Colorado is going to “study the feasibility of allowing hazmat loads to travel through the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70”, according to an April 15, 2019, article.
Another article about this is here.
I think this is a bad idea.
Just one HazMat spill or accident inside the tunnel could lead to disastrous — and possibly long-lasting problems.
Although the movie Atomic Train was purely fictitious, it points out how a number of problems compounded into a disaster.
(The link to the movie shown above is on Amazon.com, with whom we have an affiliate relationship.)
3. Regarding trucker fines for driving on non-truck routes:
Large commercial vehicles are already banned from driving on the Merritt Parkway and Wilbur Cross Parkway in Connecticut.
However, the state House of Representatives recently approved a bill that would assess a trucker or bus driver who “accidentally strays” onto the roads a fine of $500.
It is ultra-important to route your Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) on approved truck routes only.
Non-CMV GPS routing systems lack both low clearance information and truck routing, both of which truckers need.
We recommend that truckers obtain and learn how to use a Motor Carriers or truckers atlas.
4. Regarding trucker fines for speeding in work zones:
An April 17, 2019, article states, “Transportation authorities in Pennsylvania will start using camera technology to automatically detect and ticket drivers who speed in work zones.”
Remember to slow down in work zones no matter which state you’re in.
5. Regarding “move over” laws:
In case you’re not aware of it, some states have a “move over” law — also called “Scott’s Law” — which requires vehicles to move one lane to the left when an emergency vehicle is parked in the breakdown lane.
According to an April 16, 2019, article, three state troopers in Illinois have been “killed during traffic stops so far this year”.
For this reason, law enforcement agencies within the state are utilizing drone technology to pull over “drivers who fail to move over for emergency vehicles.”
A video embedded in the article shows how police individually went after a big truck and a passenger vehicle, drivers of which failed to move over — and had room to do so.
The article did not specify the size of the fine for violating Scott’s Law is — or what would happen if there is so much traffic on a road that a trucker literally can’t move over.
We read in an April 13, 2019, article that “The truck driver [whom] police say is responsible for the death of an Illinois state trooper has been arrested and charged with multiple crimes.”
Recall that part of the Smith System is “Leave Yourself an Out”.
Because of the size and momentum of their vehicles, professional truck drivers need to look ahead much farther than the typical passenger vehicle driver does.
Give yourself as much time as you can to prepare to move over for emergency vehicles.
Furthermore, it is a good idea to practice courtesy and safely move over whenever anyone has pulled over on the shoulder or the breakdown lane, no matter what the reason.
6. Regarding underride guards:
Although an article on OverdriveOnline.com states the opposite, an April 16, 2019, article states:
A day after the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a 46-page report on truck underride guards, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said the data does not justify a mandate.(a)
You may read the four recommendations from the report itself.
7. Regarding highway removal:
We all know about road and highway construction, but what about highway removal?
An April 18, 2019, article reported that a named organization has “identified 10 stretches of limited-access highways that cut through urban centers [that] are better off being completely removed.”(b)
I’m sure that if any of these highways are closed or removed, plenty of advanced notice will be given.
8. Regarding per diem changes to tax code:
According to an April 15, 2019, article, “the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is asking for input for drivers on how changes in the tax code are affecting their bottom line.”(c)
- eliminated “the ability of employee drivers to deduct 80% of up to $63 in daily expenses for meals on the road”;
- which “could total well over the new standard deduction of $12,000 for a driver who spends 250 days on the road annually, meaning drivers could be left owing more money to taxes.”
An April 18, 2019, article stated:
Many company drivers received higher tax bills this year after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 eliminated employee drivers’ ability to deduct 80% of up to $63 in daily expenses for meals on the road.(d)
However, one U.S. Congressman and one U.S. Senator have introduced bills in their respective chambers that would reverse the “per diem changes to the tax code that affected employee truck drivers”.
If you agree with these bills, call your federal lawmakers and encourage them to support and vote for them.
9. Regarding the unintended benefit of urinalysis:
Although an April 18, 2019, article was written for a different reason, I picked up on one benefit of a urinalysis:
DOT’s required urinalysis might save your life. I have discovered patients with untreated [listed diseases] and other issues much sooner than if they had waited for symptoms to appear.
10. Regarding “low quality” DEF:
An April 18, 2019, article addressed a subject I’ve never seen written anywhere else:
preventing problems from “low-quality DEF”.
I didn’t know that there were different “qualities” of Diesel Exhaust Fluid.
Company drivers, check with your companies regarding approved sources or brands of DEF.
11. Regarding driving in white-out conditions:
I’ve long wondered how autonomous trucks were going to be able to “guide themselves” on roads where the lane markings are either covered or so faded that they can’t be seen.
The caption of the top image in an April 18, 2019, article reads:
A “Differential GPS” guidance system with 2-centimeter resolution keeps Alaskan snowplow drivers on the road even in zero-visibility white-out conditions.
Granted, there are big differences between snow plows and big trucks.
Still, let me share a few thoughts…
In my December 29, 2018, issue of TDMST Weekly Round-Up, I described a test drive that Mike and I took in “a car with some ‘driver assist’ or autonomous technologies.”
Although I did not specify it at the time, one of these new technologies is called “Lane Departure Alert”.
Be prepared for advanced technologies like this — and vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems — to be incorporated into future models of trucks.
In thinking ahead on this, there is more to be considered regarding transportation in bad winter weather than just keeping a truck in its lane, one of which is traction.
12. Regarding truck driver champions:
Congratulations to all truckers who became class winners in the Arizona Truck Driving Championship as named here.
We applaud you for your safe and skilled driving behaviors!
My husband Mike and I wish you — and all professional truck drivers — safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.
We also wish you a blessed Resurrection Day!
a. www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryID=74080 (no longer online)
b. www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryID=74098 (no longer online)
c. www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryID=74075 (no longer online)
d. www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryID=74094 (no longer online)