This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending July 4, 2020.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. Regarding July 4th holiday:
Happy July 4th!
July 4, 2020, is the 244th anniversary of the day when the Declaration of Independence was signed and adopted.
Since this is the July 4th holiday weekend, there are some things you need to be aware of:
- Be on your guard for motorists whose minds are not on driving; and
- Protect your truck, trailer and cargo/freight everywhere you stop and/or park.
Here are some recent articles about the increased potential for cargo theft over this holiday weekend:
- 5 ways you can avoid being July 4th cargo theft victim
- Be alert to cargo theft in Memphis, Tennessee
- CargoNet warns of holiday theft surge
- Cargo theft activity expected to pick up around July 4
- Happy 4th! But Watch Out For Cargo Thieves!
- Prepare for increased cargo theft activity over Independence Day weekend
- Thieves target your cargo as you celebrate 4th of July
On a positive note, you may read about a Truck stop [that plans] to serve free meals to military members on July 4.
2. Regarding trucking insurance:
There have been many articles in the news about the proposed trucker insurance increase to $2 million.
Recent articles on this topic and insurance in general (not necessarily in chronological order) include:
- Amendment to stop trucker insurance requirements from skyrocketing to $2 MILLION fails
- Amendment would remove $2 million trucker insurance hike from highway bill
- ATA Cheers Passage of Infrastructure Bill Which Would Massively Hike Insurance Costs
- Carrier ties bankruptcy to soaring insurance rates, fatal crash
- FMCSA Chief Gives His Take on Raising Insurance Minimum to $2 MILLION
- House approves trucking insurance increase and hours-of-service delay
- House Democrats One Step Closer to Hiking Insurance Costs for Trucking Businesses
- House Passes $1.5 Trillion Infrastructure Plan, But Republicans Say It’s On A “Road To Nowhere”
- House passes highway bill containing huge trucker insurance hike, HOS rule delay
- Insurance Premiums: Are you doing everything you can to manage them?
- Latest amendment to INVEST Act would strip $2 million liability insurance requirement
- Liability insurance minimum increase for carriers a mistake
- Moving Forward Act going nowhere, Senate Republicans say
- U.S. House Passes Controversial Bill to Increase Insurance Minimum, Delay New H.O.S.
- Will INVEST in America Act pause the clock on HOS revisions?
If this concerns you, please get in touch with your two U.S. Senators.
3. Regarding Hours of Service:
The most recent Hours of Service regulations proposal — that is scheduled to go into effect in September — is controversial.
Here are the most recent articles about this topic:
- Inside hours-of-service changes: How driver productivity, safety benefit
- Lawmaker Warns Truckers are in “Imminent Danger,” Calls on FMCSA to Suspend H.O.S.
- Safety activists want FMCSA to delay HoS final rule
- Safety Groups Join Teamsters in Petition to Delay New Hours of Service Final Rule
I wonder if the people and groups who now oppose the proposed Hours of Service regulations spoke up during the time that comments were being taken.
4. Regarding police, protesters and self-defense:
There have been many articles written and videos made about the protests taking place across the country and how those have been affecting truckers.
In these complex situations, truckers may be faced — either on the roads or while stopped — with mobs or individuals who want to:
- harm them personally,
- cause damage to their rigs,
- steal cargo, or
- do a combination of those actions.
For those who want some background on why these protests are taking place, I encourage you to:
Some people are calling for defunding police.
While I certainly disagree with police brutality and the problems associated with the emerging police state, we must:
- understand where police officers have been trained,
- fix the training, and
- deal appropriately with those who have acted in a brutal manner.
Defunding the police is NOT the way to go.
In fact, some groups of police have sensed the animosity toward them and have refused to report for work!
We need to support our local police, not defund them or abolish them!
Here are some of the most recent articles about protests and protesters that affect truckers:
- 43 protesters arrested for shutting down bridge for three hours
- BLM Protest Shuts Down Bridge in Louisville, Police Arrest 43 Protesters
- FMCSA “Concerned” About Rising Violence Toward Truckers, “Actively Reviewing” the Issue
- Lawmaker Says USDOT is “Failing Truckers” Amid Rising Violence, Supports Shutdown
- Suspects throw cinderblocks at cops and truckers during fatal police pursuit caught on dash cam
- Truck Driver Attacked While Making Delivery In Salt Lake City
- Truck Driver Unloading Trailer Suffers “Severe” Injury in Stabbing Attack
- Truck Drivers Targeted By Violent Crime
- Truckers Say “Don’t Go!” as Violent Crime Spikes in Major Cities Across America
You may wish to follow this concentric circle method of protection, working from the outside in:
- Get official instructions from your trucking company’s Safety Director about what to do in the event of trouble;
- Keep your tractor and trailer locked at all times;
- Avoid going to places where there is trouble;
- Do not depend on anyone to show up to rescue you from protesters;
- As long as you are not stopped by law enforcement, keep rolling slowly through a protest but do not stop so as to let protesters climb up on your rig or any open door(s); and
- Protect yourself with appropriate self-defense devices.
Speaking of self-defense devices, you may appreciate this article:
5. Regarding USMCA:
That being said, here are some of the most recent articles about this topic:
- Owner-operators flag USMCA’s scrutiny of Mexican cross-border trucking
- Trucking industry, U.S. border agency weigh in as USMCA takes effect, replacing NAFTA
- Under USMCA, Canada rolls with ‘new NAFTA’
- OOIDA welcomes the official launch of USMCA
6. Regarding autonomous trucks, AI and robots:
There’s a difference between “machine learning” and turning over multi-faceted operations like driving a truck to a machine.
One recent article addressed “How machine learning improves the efficiency of freight operations.”
Then there’s this revelation (which made me smile):
Bearing in mind that 5G is dangerous, here are some of the most recent articles about autonomous trucks and AI (artificial intelligence):
- Driverless truck company launches ‘World’s First Autonomous Freight Network’
- Mega Carriers Partner with TuSimple in Historic Deal to Run Driverless Trucks Nationwide
- Self-Driving Truck Company With Plan to Replace Truckers Seeks $250 MILLION
- TuSimple launches ‘5G network’ for autonomous trucking
- TuSimple, UPS, Penske Plan Autonomous Freight Network
- TuSimple’s New Autonomous Freight Network Lays Groundwork for Self-Driving Trucks
I hate to say it, but it is only a matter of time before someone has an accident with a driverless, self-driving or autonomous truck — and there will be a major lawsuit.
On another AI front, robots are being used in warehouses:
- Amazon building first robotics fulfillment center in Australia
- Report: Warehouse robotics investment surges 57% in 2020
7. Regarding trucking numbers:
I’m going to separate some of these facets of trucking numbers.
- ECONOMIC WATCH: Shippers enjoyed most favorable conditions ever in April
- ECONOMIC WATCH: Truck orders bounced back in June
- Feds invest to improve goods movement in B.C.
- How sustainable are current trucking volumes?
- Per-mile spot market rates jumped in June
- Per-mile spot rates jumped and trucking added 8,100 jobs in June’s economic uptick
- Scorching volumes lead to double-digit tender rejections
- Spot rates soar into the holiday NOW
Could this be because many people were stuck at home under quarantine, shut down, lock down, shelter-in-place, etc.?
If so, will traffic-related fatalities rise again when those orders are lifted?
Then I read about how this is being addressed by one entity in the trucking industry that wants customers to donate to a group by “rounding up” their purchases.
Please note that there are “round-up savings apps” that one can install on one’s Smartphone.
If you have and use a round-up savings app on your Smartphone, would you please review the service?
Bear in mind that due to the panic over the coronavirus, many were laid off from their jobs in the trucking industry.
Still, here are some most recent articles about employment in the trucking industry:
- Breaking news: Trucking jobs rose by 8,100 in June
- Purolator to add 1,100 jobs
- Transport employment experiences largest spike in more than 20 years
- Trucking adds jobs for second straight month
- Update: Trucking jobs up by 8,100 in June; still below year-ago levels
I will believe that trucking is truly on the mend across the board when it recovers to — or zooms past — the place where it was “pre-COVID-19.”
8. Regarding things illegal:
A record “drug bust” happened at the Peace Bridge Port of Entry (the Canada-U.S. border), news articles of which include:
- Nearly 10,000 pounds of marijuana confiscated in largest drug seizure at northern border, CBP reports
- Record Drug Bust at Peace Bridge Port of Entry
- Trucker arrested in $20M marijuana bust at Canada-US border
- Trucker arrested in record drug bust
- Trucker busted at U.S.-Canada border with $20 million in pot
- Trucker busted with $20 million worth of marijuana at U.S.-Canada border
- Trucker Busted With Record $20 MILLION Load of Drugs
- Trucker denied knowing about $20M in marijuana in border bust
I have asked this question in the past and never received an answer:
Is it possible for a trucker to have illegal drugs on board his/her truck/trailer without knowing?
I could see that potentially happening if a trucker picked up a sealed trailer.
What other circumstances exist?
Please comment through the form below.
Other illegal moves made by truckers recently include:
- Truckers could lose CDLs and semis after California accuses them of recycling fraud
- U.S. Trucker Arrested After 66 People Discovered in Big Rig Smuggling Bust
Don’t endanger people’s lives.
Keep your doors locked!
9. Regarding COVID-19, masks and discrimination:
Here are some recent articles about COVID-19:
- $64,000 question: Can the trucking industry emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than before?
- Becoming an Owner-Operator in the Age of COVID-19
- Becoming an owner-operator in the age of Covid-19
- Coronavirus-related declines spur Port of Oakland budget decrease
- Latest reports from ACT Research show COVID-19 impact continues but market shows signs of recovery
- Owner-op couple trying to climb out of coronavirus hole
- Some States Shutting Back Down, Truck Drivers Share Their Concerns
I am very much opposed to wearing face masks because they do not work to prevent becoming infected with coronavirus/COVID-19 and they endanger the wearers’ health.
Still, here are a few recent articles on this topic:
- Texas makes face masks mandatory in public settings and gatherings
- These four states issued new statewide mask requirements as second wave fears spike
- Truck Driver Arrested For Refusing to Wear a Mask in Oregon
10. Regarding various aspects of truck operations:
I’m going to break these up into sections, too.
- Partners in Business tip: Driving habits and tire life
- Preparing for Times of Crisis: 4 Ways to Lower Your Fleet’s Operating Costs
- CBSA collecting personal information from truckers
- Large jury verdicts against trucking fleets are increasing
- Law expert: Focus on safety to avert nuclear verdicts
11. Regarding YRC:
What impact will this have on the trucking company — and their competitors?
- America’s 5th largest trucking company to receive $700 million loan from Trump administration
- Covid-19 bailout funds give U.S. Treasury stake in YRC
- YRC getting $700 million government bailout for nearly 30% stake in fleet
- YRC gives government 30% stake in its latest financial bailout
- YRC receives $700 million CARES Act loan from Treasury
12. Regarding DEF giveaway:
If you won a year’s supply of DEF, how much money would that save you?
Please answer through the form below.
My husband Mike and I wish you — and all professional truck drivers — safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.