This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending October 26, 2019.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. Regarding 30-year high record of trucker deaths:
News reports about the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s report have stated:
- “Overall fatalities on U.S. roads have declined for a second consecutive year, but deaths involving large trucks have risen slightly.” (link)
- “Trucker deaths continue to rise and are at their highest level in more than 30 years, according to data released Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.” (link)
- “Trucking groups are stepping up calls for action against the electronic logging devices (ELD) mandate in the wake of newly released data showing trucker crash deaths have risen to a 30-year high.” (link)
- “More truckers died in accidents last year than at any time in the last 30 years, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).” (link)
- “The number of fatalities in crashes involving large trucks increased slightly in 2018 from 2017 with 46 more fatalities in 2018 than the previous year, according to numbers released Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.” (link)
- “Startling new data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that large truck occupants are dying in crashes at the highest rate in decades following the implementation of Electronic Logging Device (ELD) regulations intended to increase highway safety.” (link)
- “The total number of deaths in crashes involving large trucks increased slightly from 2017 to 2018, according to numbers released Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.” (link)
- “The number of fatalities in crashes involving large trucks increased slightly from 2017 to 2018 in 2018 with 46 more fatalities, according to statistics released Tuesday, Oct. 22, by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.” (link)
Our condolences go to the families of the truckers who have died on the job at any time.
In response to learning about this NHTSA report, I stated on Facebook:
“Isn’t it interesting that this report came out **after** the deadline to submit comments to the FMCSA about the proposed change to the Hours of Service regulations?”
Of course, I referenced ELDs, the 2013 Hours of Service regulations, truck accidents seeming to increase over time since 2013, and even an experienced trucker couple who was killed in my comments to the FMCSA about the proposed Hours of Service regulations change.
2. Regarding driving in winter weather:
According to an October 23, 2019, article out of Richmond, British Columbia, Canada:
“Drivers will again be ‘Shifting into Winter’ in B.C. and across Canada in the coming weeks, and for the 11th year, WorkSafeBC wants to remind truckers to be prepared before hitting the road.”
The article covers such topics as:
- Carrying traction devices on the truck;
- Fines for not carrying or using traction devices when required;
- Checking road and weather conditions before beginning one’s trip; and
- Driving according to conditions.
3. Regarding mental health of truckers:
“Cathy Cook, president of Safe Harbour Consulting, said psychological disorders and mental health issues are more prevalent in the trucking industry than in the general public”, according to an October 23, 2019, article.
Among the things cited in the article were:
A survey that revealed that:
- “75% of those in trucking feel their work is too stressful,” and
- “71% say the same thing about their lives in general.”
Furthermore, named health issues arose from:
- “Long driving shifts,
- disrupted sleep patterns,
- social isolation, and
- delivery urgency.”
You may read more about products that can help truckers with their mental health.
4. Regarding the North American Commercial Vehicle Show:
According to an October 24, 2019, article:
The North American Commercial Vehicle Show is embarking on the second year of the new biennial business to business trucking industry expo, and this year’s event is expected to be bigger and more insight filled than than the last.
NACV takes place at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, Oct. 28-31. For 2019, the exhibition hall has been expanded, with more than 470 exhibitors, including the top truck and trailer OEMs, with many making announcing and [showcasing] new products and services.
My husband Mike and I look forward to attending the NACV one day next week.
5. Regarding weather and the winter forecast:
- The forecast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center includes “warmer in many places, wetter in some”.Regardless of the weather, plan ahead, check travel conditions, don’t overdrive your headlights at night, stay alert, and prepare as best as you can for the unexpected.
- An October 21, 2019, article addressed driving in Pennsylvania this winter, saying: “Contrary to popular belief, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials were and are sensitive to trucker responses, and hope new winter road closing criteria due out before the snow flies this winter will address driver concerns.”More about traveling in Pennsylvania this winter was written here.
- Speaking of driving in Pennsylvania in the winter, the PA Senate has approved a “snow-free vehicle mandate“.
- Meanwhile, an October 18, 2019, article addressed how the Alaska DOT has announced the closure of a maintenance station that covers “Seward Highway through Turnagain Pass”, which will reduce snow removal there.
- No matter where you drive, please drive safely! And when you’re driving, focus on your job and don’t get distracted as one trucker did in Utah recently and ended up in a fiery crash.
6. Regarding data exposure due to “website vulnerability”:
According to an October 23, 2019, article:
In a new statement of admission, the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Plan Board of Directors say its online National Registration System could have exposed a UCR registrant’s Tax ID number or social security number for a period of 28 days in March 2019.
Twenty eight days!
The article further states: “… UCR says it has recently mailed out notices and is offering identity monitoring services to those impacted in ‘an effort to prevent any further inconvenience.'”
Land Line Magazine stated that the number of motor carriers affected is “approximately 30,000”!
Identity theft is a very serious issue and I encourage you to take all steps necessary to protect yourself.
I also wonder why, after 7 months, this issue has just now been acknowledged publicly.
7. Regarding valuing your time as a trucker:
Gary Buchs, an owner-operator, wrote the following in an October 22, 2019, article:
Drivers and owners feeling the pressure thus try and negate revenue losses by driving more miles, more miles, more hours to balance income with the expenses. It’s a vicious cycle, a dog chasing its tail. The more we drive, the more we dilute our own value even as we want to believe we’re just one good week away from a return to what we imagine profits should be.
Separately, it has often been said by truckers not to haul “cheap freight”, but then along comes a news report about what I call “cheap shipping”.
According to an October 26, 2019, article:
“Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is offering customized ground parcel delivery services for its select high-volume shippers at rates as low as $3 per parcel for shipments weighing up to 50 pounds and traveling significant lengths of haul, according to a person familiar with the program.”
8. Regarding dishonorable actions by truckers:
Two different reports show that selected truckers have not shown proper respect:
- For human life (39 people died inside a trailer), the trucker of which is wanted for murder; and
- For the property of others (a load of meat was stolen), the trucker of which has been sentenced to prison.
It may sound corny or old-fashioned, but the Golden Rule is still a good one to live by:
“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
9. Regarding “unusual unloading technique”:
- the problems with the truck’s brakes and tires (not to mention other parts) that may arise afterwards because of this trucker’s actions; and
- how the trucker’s company was going to deal with him.
In my opinion, this trucker deserves a stern reprimand, if not a more severe disciplinary action.
10. Regarding self-driving trucks and rats driving tiny cars:
According to an October 25, 2019, article, “TuSimple is committed to fielding a truly driverless commercial truck, and it has nearly $300 million in funding and a minority stake from UPS to help it get there.”
Also, it’s not bad enough that machines are being invented to take over truckers’ work but that now we learn that “Scientists at University of Richmond have succeeded in teaching rats to drive tiny electric cars”, thus making it seem as though operating a vehicle does not require much intelligence.
I want to encourage you to remember that:
- driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) takes a great deal of skill; and
- I (and many others) appreciate the work of every single trucker who professionally, safely and efficiently does his/her trucking work.
11. Regarding justice and the kindness of strangers:
I was glad to read that “Federal authorities have indicted five people in connection with an insurance fraud scheme involving a faked commercial vehicle crash in New Orleans.”
Separately, some weeks back, I covered the “booting” of truck tires/wheels at a Walmart in Berea, Kentucky.
Now we learn that “A trio of Kentucky farmers [has taken] it upon themselves to wake up several sleeping truckers and warn them about a booting brigade at a local Walmart.”
A TV station reported that “one of the men who took it upon himself to alert the sleeping drivers of what was happening” reported that the “security company” will “barely tap on the door, that way they know (the driver) won’t wake up so they can boot them anyway”.
More on this was written here.
I, for one, am grateful for these folks watching out for truckers — and I hope that many more such folks will step forward to protect their fellow human beings from those who would exploit them.
Just to be on the safe side, avoid parking at the Berea, Kentucky, Walmart — or any Walmart where truckers are not welcome to park.
Our heartiest congratulations go to Holland driver Robert “RB” Wolford who was honored by his trucking company “for achieving three million safe driving miles.”
Woohoo! Way to go, RB!
Separately, the truckers who were brake-checked multiple times by a BMW driver deserve recognition for not letting the 4-wheeler engage them in an accident.
I sincerely hope that the dash cam video recording was turned over to law enforcement and that the BMW driver is dealt with appropriately for his road rage.
My husband Mike and I wish you — and all professional truck drivers — safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.