TDMST Weekly Round-Up: 2019.07.13

This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending July 13, 2019.

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


TDMST Weekly Round-Up

1. Regarding a vindicated trucker:

After trucker Clint Collins “refused to drive in hazardous weather and got fired for it”, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) stepped in.

According to a July 5, 2019, article, “OSHA found the firing violated the STAA and ordered [Collins’ trucking company] to offer Collins reinstatement without retaliation” and the award listed in the article. (no longer online)

A regional administrator with OSHA stated, “Forcing drivers to operate a commercial motor vehicle during inclement weather places their lives and the lives of others at risk.”

I am delighted every time I read that a trucker was vindicated for his decision to stand on principle like this!

The attorney who won the case was Paul O. Taylor of Truckers Justice Center.

We cover more about the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) — 49 U.S.C. §31105 — on these pages on our site:

More about this legal decision was written here.

2. Regarding CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Week:

According to a July 8, 2019, article, “The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s annual Operation Safe Driver Week, which focuses on unsafe driving of both trucks and cars, will take place July 14-20, with a focus on speeding.”

Please bear in mind that drivers of commercial motor vehicles are subject at any time to having their behavior, log-keeping, trucks, and more inspected.

3. Regarding trailer lifecycles:

A July 4, 2019, article described decreasing downtime by doing preventive maintenance on trailers.

If you are an owner-operator hauling your own trailer — and if you have acquired a trailer with the kind of “more advanced and durable materials” described in this article — would you please write a truck parts review to let us know about the pros and cons?

For example, as a result of the upgraded materials:

  • Are you experiencing decreased downtime?
  • Are you finding that preventive maintenance is easier to do?

Thanks in advance for your review.

4. Regarding human smuggling:

Human smuggling and trafficking is back in the news.

  • A Mexican national “pled guilty to charges related to human smuggling”, according to this July 9, 2019, article.What was interesting about this particular case was: “According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a major part of the smuggling scheme involved putting unsuspecting truck drivers at risk by hiding humans in their trucks without their knowledge.”The procedure used — which was documented in the article — included removing the seal from the back of the trailer and loading illegal aliens inside.The article stated, “The drivers would be unaware of their human cargo and were potentially exposed to criminal liability.”A related article quoted U.S. prosecutors as saying that “They frequently used Penske trucks and tractor-trailers to smuggle illegal aliens through various checkpoints”.

    So, to avoid this situation, make sure that you keep your trailer doors locked at all times — whether or not your trailer is loaded — and be especially on your guard if you drive a Penske truck in border areas.

  • Another news article this week states, “U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested a Mexican truck driver after finding more than 30 people hidden in his hot trailer … at the I-19 Checkpoint near Nogales, Arizona”.This article does not say whether or not the Mexican trucker knew that “12 children, a pregnant woman, a convicted felon, & 19 illegal aliens” were hidden inside the trailer, but the trailer was locked and the temperature inside rose to over 97 degrees.Yet another article quoted investigators as saying that “the interior of the trailer was nearly 100 degrees, causing imminent danger to the people locked inside with no means of escaping”.

Do not smuggle or traffic humans — ever!

5. Regarding driving in flood waters:

A July 8, 2019, article stated:

Though some local reports have indicated that the truck driver woke to find himself submerged in the flood waters, video was captured at the scene that appears to show the truck driver deliberately driving into the water.

Another article about this was written here — and included photos of the trucker actually standing “atop his cab”.

Here are 3 reasons why you should never attempt to drive in flood waters:

  • truck engines are not designed to withstand being submerged;
  • when they are high enough, flood waters can damage what is inside your tractor and trailer; and
  • depending on the force of the flood water flow, your truck can be swept downstream.

6. Regarding the trucker who barely avoided a pileup:

The tack of the writer of a July 5, 2019, article — in which a video is embedded — was that the trucker took “evasive action to avoid what could have been a very serious pileup crash” by driving on the left shoulder around stopped traffic.

The left shoulder is not intended for that kind of use.

Had the median had any softer or steeper of a surface beyond the pavement, the truck could have fallen over on its side.

But the main point here is this: It is obvious based upon what the video shows that the trucker was driving too fast for conditions and did not have his truck under control.

Continually pay attention to conditions and be prepared to stop for slowing and stopped traffic.

7. Regarding National Truck Driver Appreciation Week:

“National Truck Driver Appreciation Week [NTDAW] will be held this year during the week of Sept. 8-14 to honor America’s truckers,” stated a July 8, 2019, article.

According to this article, “National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, an annual celebration of America’s 3.5 million professional truck drivers, is the motoring public’s opportunity to thank truck drivers for delivering critical goods to their communities.”

Now Mike and I appreciate truck drivers year-round.

But still, it’s good when others appreciate truckers, too.

While I will be reporting on special discounts, freebies and giveaways for truckers throughout NTDAW, you may find some that I don’t find.

If you offer any specials during NTDAW, please share your truckers savings news.

Thanks in advance.

8. Regarding the trucker lottery winner:

What will the North Carolina truck driver who won a lottery payout of over $141,000 (after taxes) do with the money?

According to the article, “he plans to retire in a year or two”, so it looks like he won’t be quitting his trucking job right away (as other lottery winners might be tempted to do).

Will this trucker put his winnings in the bank or what?

We document on “Planning to Retire from Trucking One Day, Trucker?” how much money it would take in the bank in accounts earning various interest rates in order to get various monthly payouts.

For instance:

  • “To get $2000 per month retirement income, you need to have (as an example) $300,000 in the bank and earn 8% interest.”
  • “At the 1% interest rate, you need to have $2.4 million in the bank to earn $2,000 per month.”

Is it time to consider starting to earn a second income from the cab of your truck?

9. Regarding states with the “worst drivers”:

Just as I was about to congratulate my home state of South Carolina for not having made it on the list of the “top 10 states for bad drivers“, I found that it was tied for 11th place!


10. Regarding Canada’s carbon tax:

According to a Canadian trucking website’s July 5, 2019, article, the cost of fuel there is higher because:

As of April 1, the federal government has applied its carbon pricing system to Ontario, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba (all other provinces already had a carbon pricing system in place by that date).

Now, the article states, “The carbon tax should not change where you should buy fuel”, but I disagree.

Truckers and trucking companies should always be savvy about where they purchase fuel.

The “carbon pricing system” part of the cost of fuel may not change, but fuel prices can change often.

Work to get the highest quality fuel you can at the lowest price.

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

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