This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending April 11, 2020.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. Remember those who fed truckers — or worked to prevent food delivery:
Given the facts that:
- many restaurant dine-in options have disappeared based on coronavirus (COVID-19) shutdown orders;
- many fast food restaurants do not have semi tractor trailer ordering options; and
- many truckers do not have food provisions with them in their trucks;
it has become increasingly frustrating for those truckers who regularly depend on external, prepared food sources to get it.
That is why some have cheered those providing meals to truckers, including:
- the “Help A Trucker” initiative in New Brunswick;
- the Oregon Trucking Associations, who offered truck drivers free lunch on Thursday, April 9; and
- New Mexico Chick-Fil-A for offering drive-thru service for semis and free meals to professional truck drivers.
That’s part of the good news.
According to an April 9, 2020, article:
On April 3, the Federal Highway Administration issued a notice that allows states to have privately-owned food trucks to set up in rest areas along interstate highways, a practice normally not allowed by federal law. The exception ends when the national emergency declaration ends.
That’s more of the good news.
Please remember those who put profit over people and didn’t want for truckers to have food options during this stressful time.
2. Regarding face masks, self-isolation, and more for truckers:
Here are some rules that you need to know:
- Those entering B.C. will need to complete 14-day self-isolation plan document.
- Utah Wants Drivers Entering State to Complete COVID-19 Info Form.
(Related articles were written here, here, and here.)
- We read in an April 10, 2020, article: “Effective April 10, New Jersey is requiring workers and customers to wear cloth face covering while on the premises of the essential retail businesses, warehouses, and construction sites that are still allowed to be open during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
- Violators of California’s face mask mandate have been threatened with imprisonment and a $1,000 fine!
(Related articles were written here, here and here.)
If you need the resources, you can make your own face mask.
3. Regarding the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on truckers and trucking:
- A report out of Canada addresses: “an unusual recession,” “the effect on freight,” and “the impact on rates” due to COVID-19.
- Another article that covers trucking in the U.K., India, the European Union, and Australia, stated that “truckers around the world are bracing for financial ruin amid the fight against Covid-19, according to industry leaders.”
- Evidently, finances have gotten tight for truckers with International trucks, since the company is deferring payments for six months.
- An April 7, 2020, article states: “Adam Jonas, the transportation industry analyst at Morgan Stanley Research, has stepped back and come up with a compelling list of 10 ways the transportation industry is changing before our eyes.”
- Evidently, the shutdowns due to COVID-19 are straining last-mile delivery logistics.
- An April 8, 2020, article lists the “Percentage of normal activity” by vehicle type, with Geotab data showing, “Commercial vehicle traffic volume across the United States has seen an overall drop across the United States and Canada as a result of COVID-19, even while heavy-duty trucking activity remains robust.”
- Sadly, these states have canceled their driver championships: Arizona, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Vermont.
- PrePass said that March truck traffic was still strong.
- “The pressure to restock grocery stores and distribution centers stripped by COVID-19 buying has quickly given way to a slump for truck freight,” states an April 7, 2020, article.
- At least one truck show cancellation and other types of closures were described here. (Related info was written here)
- The American Truck Historical Society announced that its national convention and truck show “would not be held at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield May 28-30.”
- Both the ATA’s National Truck Driving Championships and National Step Van Driving Championships have been canceled.
- On Friday, April 3, Bob Costello, chief economist for the American Trucking Associations (ATA), predicted that “over the next few months” — because of federal guidance and state and local “stay at home” orders — much of the U.S. economy will grind to “a screeching halt.”
- Orders for Class 8 trucks “crashed in March to their lowest level since 2010.”
- An April 6, 2020, article stated, “Independent and leased owner-operators are increasingly feeling the pain of a rapidly constricting economy, based on a weekly survey of Overdrive and Commercial Carrier Journal readers.”
- An April 9, 2020, article stated: “The sudden, sharp economic fallout is one felt by many owner-operators and small fleets, no matter their type of freight.”
- The number of loads of freight has dropped and rates have declined, according to an April 9, 2020, article.
4. Regarding conflicting signals:
An article published around April 10 had a number of really bad pieces of news (emphasis added):
Trucking trade organization American Trucking Association executives are warning that “the second quarter is going to be terrible.” They are warning that fleets will be forced to lay off drivers. Yet at the same time, many of the same megacarriers represented by the ATA are trying to make sure that new CDL drivers keep flooding into the industry. Their proposed solutions include allowing CDL students to drive without first obtaining even a permit.
What doesn’t make sense to me is this:
“A coalition made up of trucking schools and motor carriers is asking for emergency action to get new truck drivers behind the wheel during the COVID-19 crisis.”
If there isn’t enough freight to move now, why try to get new truck drivers driving big rigs?
Is it the case that they want less experienced truckers on the road so that they can pay them less?
5. Regarding COVID-19 information:
You may wish to look at: Trucking Through Coronavirus.
6. Regarding trucking regulations and COVID-19:
An April 6, 2020, article opens with this: “The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has written U.S. Congress reminding them of key issues facing the trucking industry that must be addressed once the Covid-19 crisis passes.”
But the question is: When will the COVID-19 crisis pass?
I must remind our readers that it isn’t the virus, but rather elected officials who have caused the shutdown.
Just as I wrote back in 2013 regarding the new at-that-time Hours of Service regulations, this is a matter of control.
An April 9, 2020, article stated: “The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has extended its Emergency Declaration providing hours-of-service and other regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to the nationwide COVID-19 outbreak another five weeks, through May 15.”
7. Regarding truckers’ “hero pay” proposal and hand outs:
An April 7, 2020, article states:
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wants truck drivers and other frontline workers to receive $25,000 in what he is calling “heroes pay” for their roles in the [COVID-19] coronavirus outbreak. His request comes as Congress tackles a second COVID-19 economic rescue package.
While this sounds like a great idea on its surface — and while truckers truly are heroes, coronavirus or not! — consider for a moment the following:
- First, government has no money other than what it takes from the taxpayers — either on the front end or the back end.
- Second, the U.S. government is trillions of dollars in debt right now.
- Third, the “CARES Act” — which makes it sound like the government really “cares” about Americans — is based upon money that was (or is being) created out of thin air.
- Fourth, like more and more slices being cut out of an existing pie, the more money the government creates out of thin air, the less value all of the money will have.
- Fifth, the buying power of the dollar has been falling ever since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913.
- Sixth, any “hero pay” that you receive could be considered a “buy off” in some respect.
- Seventh, since when has Senator Schumer valued truckers until now?
Meanwhile, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has its hand out to Congress for an “immediate emergency injection of $49.95 billion to offset an estimated 30% loss in state transportation revenues over the next 18 months.”
What do they know that we don’t?
8. Regarding CDL training:
In Ontario, Canada, truck driving schools have had to close down, which is bringing 3 times the problems:
- for prospective truckers who were going through training,
- for instructors who were laid off, and
- for the trucking schools themselves.
More on the trucking school situation was written here.
Meanwhile, Land Line reported: “The FMCSA is granting a waiver that will allow states to use third-party CDL test examiners while state driver licensing agencies are closed, the agency announced on Thursday, April 9.”
9. Regarding truck parking:
Rest areas that have been closed for more than a decade in Arizona have been reopened for truckers only.
In my opinion, truckers should have been allowed to park at these places all along!
10. Regarding “COVID-19 help” and CARES Act:
As I wrote last week, I give my strongest possible caution about taking a CARES Act loan for your trucking business.
However, for those who need more info or want to forge ahead, here are more resources:
- “17 takeaways for applicants“;
- “What’s in the stimulus bill for carriers, brokers, owner-operators?“
- “COVID-19 CARES Act: To small business owners, ‘Help is on the way!’
11. Regarding towing and booting companies:
We read from an April 8, 2020, article:
“The North Carolina Attorney General has opened an investigation into towing companies accused of predatory booting and towing of truckers carrying essential supplies during the pandemic.”
Anyone can report scams or price gouging going on within North Carolina.
12. Regarding food and beverages wasted:
This is one thing I don’t understand: the coronavirus hasn’t killed off millions upon millions of people, so why have people’s eating and drinking habits changed now that they’re home?
According to news reports here and here, America’s dairy farmers have been forced to dump “thousands and thousands of gallons of milk” because of sharply dropped demand because of “shelter in place orders” in many states.
Why are people not drinking milk and eating other dairy products as once they did?
13. Regarding looking ahead positively:
- A British Columbia trucker has started a 3D printing group to make face shields and mask straps. (A related article was written here.)That’s a great example of finding or creating a solution to meet a need!
- An April 3, 2020, article stated: “Pilot Flying J announced a new program, Push4Points, allowing drivers to earn more points on diesel fuel purchases that can be used to save money on food, drinks and items in stores.”Furthermore, “Love’s Travel Stops wants to hire 2,000 additional workers.”
- A study found that in large part because of the “stay in place” order issued by the Governor, “vehicle collisions and resulting injuries/fatalities” have been “cut in half on California highways.” (A related article was written here.)
- Registration has opened for the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Texas, which is scheduled for August 27-29, 2020 — and I sincerely hope that the event will be allowed to take place!
My husband Mike and I wish you — and all professional truck drivers — safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.