This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending February 22, 2020.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. Regarding what drivers want:
CCJ Digital has published “What Drivers Want II” (available for download with registration).
A good bit of the document has to do with pay, including the following snippets (all answers from “all respondents” and emphasis added):
- “What are your top three concerns right now?”
#1: Paying my bills each month: 37% (page 8)
- “Why do you think fleets are having a hard time finding drivers today?”
Top answer: They don’t pay enough: 72% (page 10)
- Why do you think fleets are having a hard time retaining drivers today?
Top answer: They don’t pay enough: 74% (page 11)
- If you don’t plan on retiring, why will you keep driving?
Top answer: I need the money: 42% (page 20)
2. Regarding recent trucking statistics:
A February 20, 2020, article states, “U.S. trailer net orders dropped 15% in January to 15,000 units, according to ACT Research.”
According to a February 18, 2020, article, “American Trucking Associations’ seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 0.1% in January after rising 0.5% in December.”
3. Regarding top 100 truck bottlenecks in 2020:
The top 5 truck bottlenecks in 2020, in descending order, are:
- Fort Lee, New Jersey: I-95 at SR 4;
- Atlanta, Georgia: I-285 at I-85 (North);
- Nashville, Tennessee: I-24/I-40 at I-440 (East);
- Houston, Texas: I-45 at I-69/US 59; and
- Atlanta, Georgia: I-75 at I-285 (North).
4. Regarding CDL T.E.A.R.:
According to a February 19, 2020, article:
Truckers Emergency Assistance Responders (T.E.A.R.) is a new non-profit organization with the goal of helping out truckers in need. The fledgling group’s slogan is, “We step up when they step back,” and seeks to help drivers who need “assistance due to carrier abandonment, wage theft, carrier retaliation, accident, weather, illness or injury,”.
This topic was also covered here.
5. Regarding trucker education:
An article published on February 18, 2020, lists “All the things you can learn if you go to MATS.”
Among the talks that will be given are these that are financial in nature:
- Operating Income Efficiency Within a Tough Freight Environment
- Success as a Sole Owned Woman Owner-Operator
- Financial Impact of Owner Operator Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
More on the seminars that will be available at MATS was written here.
6. Regarding truck parking:
A number of articles this week covered truck parking and related:
This article stated that the trucker had been shot in the chest, was in critical condition, and that the truck stop where the shooting occurred was a TA truck stop in Oklahoma City.
The lesson here is to make sure that any reserved parking space you park in is one that you have paid for and is assigned to you.
7. Regarding trucker being killed by his own truck:
In a highly preventable accident, we read:
A 53-year-old trucker was tragically killed by his own semi-truck on Monday along state Highway 7 in Oklahoma.
Although the article does not address this, remember to apply your truck’s brakes when you park your truck.
Also, if you plan to work on, around or under your tractor or trailer, it is an excellent idea to put chocks before and after at least two tires.
Be especially careful when working on or around your tractor/trailer when it is parked;
- either on a slope
- or in winter weather.
8. Regarding smuggling:
We read in a February 14, 2020, article that:
A U.S. truck driver was arrested last week in Texas when U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents discovered 17 individuals in a large human smuggling attempt.
We further learn that:
- the trucker was arrested,
- the 17 individuals were arrested, and
- the vehicle was seized by CBP.
We further read that a Mexican national with a fake California driver’s license attempted to smuggle into the USA 26 illegals, who had been locked inside a trailer in a “potentially life threatening situation.”
All of them were arrested.
In a February 21, 2020, article, we read: “U.S. Customs and Border Protection says that they recently intercepted a huge amount of illegal drugs [alleged methamphetamine, alleged marijuana, alleged heroin, and alleged cocaine] from a truckload of vegetables at a Texas cargo facility.”
Both the truck and the drugs were seized.
In none of these cases was attempted smuggling worth the outcome.
9. Regarding trucking companies shutting down:
It seems that every week, I’m reading of another trucking company that is shutting down.
This week, a 130-truck union carrier named Rodgers Trucking Company — which is based in California and has been in the business for 48 years — announced plans to shut down at the end of April.
Owner Frank Ghiglione was quoted as saying that he has had “enough of the stifling regulatory environment in California.”
More about this closure was written here.
10. Regarding tolls:
“Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced on Wednesday, Feb. 19, that he is dropping his plan for highway tolls for trucks, expressing frustration with legislative leaders who have delayed a vote on the issue,” states an article dated that day.
Meanwhile, the Rhode Island DOT is looking to “hike trucks-only tolls amid court battle.”
There are also toll plans being considered in five states.
11. Regarding annual registration cost being lowered:
According to a February 18, 2020, article:
- “the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released a final rule that realigns the fees for the Unified Carrier Registration Plan”; and
- a document posted on the federal register states, “For the 2020 registration year, the fees will be reduced by 14.45% below the 2018 registration fee level… [and] The fees will remain at the same level for 2021 and subsequent years unless revised in the future.”
12. Regarding a fatal truck crash defense of “medical emergency”:
I am very interested in seeing how this lawsuit is settled:
A trucker’s insurance company has been slammed with a $21 million verdict in a fatal crash case. Attorneys for the insurance company tried to claim that the trucker passing out behind the wheel was an Act of God, therefore, it was not liable for the crash.
13. Regarding coronavirus:
More has been written on this topic:
- Commentary: Coronavirus will significantly impact US container imports in March
- Coronavirus Timeline
- What happens to freight and rail rates after coronavirus disappears?
Just so you know, I have been following news about coronavirus from sources outside trucking and this bioweapon has done a lot more damage than the mainstream media has reported.
Prepare now, financially, with in-truck supplies, and regarding your health and wellness.
14. Regarding the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse:
Numerous articles this week covered the news that nearly 8,000 violations by commercial truck drivers (about 650,000 registrants) had been identified during the first weeks of operation of the FMCSA’s Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, including these:
You may review a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse.
15. Regarding truck insurance:
A February 19, 2020, article covered “How to avoid death spiral of insurance costs in trucking“.
A trial defense attorney stated that, “The record number of motor carrier bankruptcies last year was due, in no small part, to higher insurance premiums from rising accident claims and jury-awarded verdicts”.
16. Regarding technology:
A February 17, 2019, article addressed “how to log yard moves with ELDs”.
Recent articles covered:
- “What is truck GPS navigation?“
- “Truck GPS tracking: Is it worth the investment for your business?“
- “Benefits of GPS trailer tracking“
- “How Your GPS Can Act as a Stolen Vehicle Recovery Device“
My husband Mike and I wish you — and all professional truck drivers — safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.