This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending March 14, 2020.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. Regarding coronavirus and trucking events:
Whether or not you believe that the coronavirus (COVID-19) is bad enough to warrant it, organizers of trucking events have decided not to take chances.
Even though the Mid-America Trucking Show was said — just days ago — to be proceeding as usual this year, organizers and others have decided to cancel the 2020 show according to articles:
Meanwhile, Truck World — “the national trade show serving Canada’s trucking industry” — has been rescheduled to June 4-6, according to articles here and here.
We also read that “the National Private Truck Council (NPTC) 2020 Annual Conference and Exhibition was cancelled due to Coronavirus concerns.”
Other articles about coronavirus this week include:
- Truckers have a role to play in fighting coronavirus spread
- Truck stops take steps to combat COVID-19
- The coronavirus: A truck driver’s guide to germs and illness — Part 1
- COVID-19 impacting North America’s commercial-vehicle market, report says
- Coronavirus outbreak leads to changes for some shippers and receivers
- Coronavirus spawns worldwide box-repositioning challenge
- Coronavirus outbreak puts pressure North American intermodal volumes
- Coronavirus will test supply chain partnerships
- COVID-19 exposing funding shortfalls at US ports — security expert
- Coronavirus is decimating IMO 2020 ship-scrubber savings
- Coronavirus will alter, not destroy, global supply chain — former UN ambassador
In addition to the advice given by the Centers for Disease Control about virus containment, I strongly urge professional truck drivers to do the following to help stay healthy:
- eat healthy food that nourishes your bodies,
- drink pure water,
- get sufficient sleep,
- engage in physical exercise, and
- boost your immune systems for good overall health and wellness.
2. Regarding truck parking:
According to a March 10, 2020, article:
Proposed legislation [H.R. 6104, the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act] in the U.S. that would dedicate hundreds of millions of dollars to increase truck parking spaces has been welcomed by truckers.
This March 11 article stated that the bill “calls on the federal government to spend $755 million to build new truck parking along the federal highway system.”
A March 9, 2020, article refers to this as “a ‘groundbreaking’ solution to alleviate the nationwide shortage of safe, accessible, truck parking.”
This March 9, 2020, article also refers to the bill as “groundbreaking.”
In my personal opinion, obviously truckers need more safe and legal places to park, especially in major metropolitan areas.
Existing facilities for trucks that do not currently allow truck parking need to be adapted to allow it.
I believe that private businesses should be the entities to create brand new truck parking, not the government using taxpayer dollars.
However, I also understand the problems associated with zoning.
That is why I have suggested in the past using land adjacent to existing industrial and manufacturing sites — where trucks routinely pick up and deliver freight — to allow truck parking.
For reference purposes, I have written previously about:
3. Regarding business hacking and identity theft:
Ransomware, phishing attacks, system outages, and social engineering attacks — including on mobile systems — were all mentioned as ways that “most modern hackers” try to gain access to company data.
You may wish to undergo education about cyberawareness, vulnerability scans, and protection of cybersecurity for your own operation.
A March 12, 2020, article addressed business identity theft.
Postal Inspection Service inspector Stephen Cohen notes it’s virtually impossible to stop someone from using your name once your identifying information is compromised. Nevertheless, a few extra steps taken early can immediately derail some schemes involving business impersonation.
Among the tips given were broker due diligence and not offering a fuel advance to a first-time trucking company.
We read in an article about identity theft scams:
“It’s not too uncommon for an owner-operator or small fleet to deliver a brokered load, only to find that payment isn’t coming and that filing …”
In case you think that cyberattacks are not serious or newsworthy, we read:
“A cyberattack that hit steel giant EVRAZ late Wednesday is impacting multiple facilities in North America — beyond the single plant in Canada that initial reports indicated had been affected.”
4. Regarding human smuggling:
Officials at the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Laredo, TX, “intercepted three large human smuggling attempts by truck,” according to a March 10, 2020, article, including one group of 90 people who were “illegally present in the U.S.”
Another article about human smuggling was written here.
In cases like these, the truckers can be arrested and the trucks seized.
Human smuggling is inhumane, puts profit before people, and must never be attempted!
5. Regarding trucking company closure:
“Odessa, TX-based WIT Transportation will no longer be hauling freight and will soon wind down all business operations,” according to a March 6, 2020, article.
6. Regarding owner-operator tips:
Articles for truckers and especially owner-operators this week include:
- 10 Diesel Fuel Economy Money Saving Tips For Truckers,” the one that drivers can definitely influence being “Driving Style.”
- Tractor/trailer use of wider single tires vs. dual pair
- Hours of Service cheat sheet: 6 rules to avoid violations
- So you forgot to switch to personal conveyance before you moved. What now?
- The best ways to pass a DOT audit with flying colors
- The best ways to stay safe and avoid ELD violations
7. Regarding autonomous trucks:
A contributor wrote the following:
Autonomous vehicles operate in a dangerously unregulated Wild West. Federal government and state governments have failed to establish adequate parameters for autonomous vehicles (AVs). Some states have fast-tracked laws that transform our highways into a test lab and treat the motoring public like guinea pigs.
NTSB sharply criticized the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) for its failure to develop appropriate AV standards, suggesting that NHTSA has prioritized profits ahead of safety.
Notes Stefan Seltz-Axmacher, co-founder of the now defunct Starsky Robotics, “To be honest, I don’t think that a super-computer can be built that is smarter than a truck driver.”
8. Regarding following GPS blindly:
“A sheriff’s department in Maine is warning drivers not to trust their GPS devices on rural roadways after a truck driver got stuck in deep mud,” stated a March 12, 2020, article.
9. Regarding bridge strike fine:
A March 11, 2020, article stated:
- “On March 8, police in the town of Milford, Connecticut, issued a warning to truckers after they say that five semi trucks struck low bridges in a single week.”
- “Police also warned truckers that the fine for striking a bridge is $2,200.”
Again, never trust a non-CMV-specific GPS when you’re driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle.
And it is always best to look at low clearances that are clearly listed in the front of a truckers atlas.
If you have a CMV-specific GPS and it routed you to a low clearance anyway, please report it.
10. Regarding dash cam savings:
A March 10, 2020, article stated that the embedded FalconEye Dash Cam video shows “two different angles of the same truck vs. SUV crash”, which the trucker showed to police at the scene, that ended up saving him “thousands” of dollars.
Amazon.com used to list FalconEye dash cam systems, but as of February 18, 2022, they had been removed from the site.
My husband Mike and I wish you — and all professional truck drivers — safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.