This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending August 15, 2020.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. Regarding police, protests, planned protest in Chicago:
I continue to be astounded regarding the number of protests, riots, effective road closures, and calls for defunding local police departments have been going on around the country.
When my husband Mike and I drove together as a professional truck driving team in the 1990’s, we heard over and over again, “No load is worth your life.”
And that statement is still true today!
If your trucking company asks you to travel to or through a place where there is either no or very limited police presence, please realize that you may be putting yourself in harm’s way and risking injury to yourself and damage to your truck, trailer and cargo.
One such article this week is:
Seattle Becomes the Latest City to Defund its Police Despite Warnings From Truckers
Please be ultra-careful about traveling in the Chicago, Illinois, area this weekend, per these articles:
- Big Rigs Come Under Attack in Chicago Amid Widespread Rioting
- Chicago Officials Agree to Help Social Justice Protesters Shut Down Interstate
- Group warns truckers to avoid Chicago protest Saturday
- Protest to Shut Down Parts of Chicago’s Dan Ryan Expressway
- Scheduled protest will shut down Illinois interstate this weekend
- Second Chicago protest scheduled – group calls for shut down of Eisenhower Expressway
- Social Justice Groups Plan More Highway Protests as Shutdown in Chicago Draws Near
- CCJ Daily Dispatch, Aug. 14: Help drivers navigate around planned Chicago protests this weekend
- Chicago protest expected to shut down Dan Ryan Expressway Aug. 15; truckers urged to avoid I-94 | TheTrucker.com
- Truckers Urged to Avoid I-94 in Chicago as Shutdown Looms, FOP President Calls for Arrests
- Protest planned for Saturday along Chicago’s Dan Ryan Expressway
- Roads shut down after widespread civil unrest in Chicago
Other articles about protests and violence done toward truckers include:
- I-5 shooter still at large, more than a dozen vehicles targeted
- Oregon governor considering historic interstate travel ban to slow COVID-19 spread
- Protesters Pull Guns on Pickup Truck Driver They Say Was Trying to Run Them Over
- Shooter still at large after firing at least 10 shots at semi truck
- Suspects finally identified for July’s windshield-shattering, brick-throwing cases
- Truck driver jailed for assaulting driver with a sledgehammer during road rage incident in 2016
- Trucker Comes Under Gunfire Attack Just Off Kansas City Interstate, Big Rig Hit 10 Times
- Video shows truck looted in Chicago
Many of us have been wondering why U.S. federal agencies in charge of transportation (USDOT) and motor carrier safety (FMCSA) have refused to see to it that roads are free of protesters and truckers are protected from violence.
According to an August 13, 2020, article — USDOT Says it Does Not Have a Duty to Enforce Law Protecting Truckers — we read:
The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) is in U.S. District Court arguing it does not have a duty, but rather “absolute discretion,” whether to investigate, arrest or prosecute individuals suspected of violating federal laws.
The USDOT is locked in a legal battle with the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) after the SBTC filed suit last month against Secretary Elaine Chao.
In response to this article, I commented in a Facebook group:
Quote from article:
Further, the SBTC asserts Sec. Chao has a “clear duty to act” pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 301 which states: “The Secretary of Transportation shall – (1) under the direction of the President, exercise leadership in transportation matters, including those matters affecting national defense and those matters involving national or regional emergencies.”
Is she waiting for Trump to *tell* her to act?
Even if she has no “duty” to act, why doesn’t she use some of that “absolute discretion” to which she refers?
Seems like she’s splitting hairs.
The only question is “why.”
Has she been ordered not to act — or paid off?
If so, by whom?
Late on Friday afternoon, August 14, 2020, I received this news:
- BREAKING: FMCSA Acting Administrator Jim Mullen to Step Down, Replacement Named – Transportation Nation Network
- BREAKING: FMCSA boss to step down
How very interesting!
Will we see more shake-ups on the federal level?
2. Regarding insurance and damage:
In one of the truckers Facebook groups to which I belong, I saw this entry from Paul Roberts, owner at Motorcycle And Car Shippers LLC:
Found this in my cargo policy.
Might pertain to losses in a riot or protest.
Something to consider
And he posted this image.
I took the liberty of having the image transcribed:
WAR AND CIVIL WAR EXCLUSION CLAUSE
(Approved by Lloyd’s Underwriters’ Fire and Non-Marine Association.)
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained herein , this Policy does not cover Loss or Damage directly or indirectly occasioned by , happening through or in consequence of war , invasion , acts of foreign enemies , hostilities (whether war be declared or not) , civil war , rebellion , revolution , insurrection , military or usurped power or confiscation or nationalisation or requisition or destruction of or damage to property by or under the order of any government or public or local authority.
1/1/38 N.M.A. 464
I also came across this infographic:
So be on your guard!
3. Regarding inspections:
Even though there are “blitzes” of inspections from time to time, remember that trucks can be inspected at any time, even on side roads and temporary weigh stations with portable scales.
- Another Truck Inspection Blitz Is Coming
- Be Prepared For CVSA’s Upcoming Week-Long Brake Inspection Blitz
- CCJ Daily Dispatch, Aug. 11: Roadcheck inspection blitz rescheduled for next month
- CVSA’s Roadcheck Moved to Early September
- CVSA’s Roadcheck returns to duty in just 30 days
- Roadcheck inspection blitz rescheduled for Sept. 9-11
- Three-Day Inspection Blitz is Coming Next Month, Will Focus On “Driver Requirements”
- Tips for avoiding brake-related out of service violations
- You have a month to prepare for Roadcheck inspection blitz
4. Regarding HOS, “truck-hiker” and underride guards:
Here are some of the most recent articles about the Hours of Service regulations:
- Emergency HOS Suspension Reinstated For Groceries As Pandemic Surges
- Hours of service explained on latest ‘Live From Exit 24’ program
- Hours of service questions answered during GATS Week session
- Pausing the 14 clock: Video explains split-sleeper logging
- POLL: Which major hours change will most benefit your operation?
- The Daily Dash: Tax penalties, HOS exemptions and a better way to price insurance
The FMCSA has extended another waiver to the Hours of Service regulation, but only for some kinds of loads:
- CCJ Daily Dispatch, Aug. 13: Grocery, paper product restocking added back to COVID hours waiver
- FMCSA adds grocery products back into extended COVID emergency hours waiver
- FMCSA extends COVID-19 emergency declaration again
- FMCSA Extends COVID-19 Relief Exemption, Expands to Include Food and Paper Haulers
- FMCSA extends emergency declaration until Sept. 14
- FMCSA Modifies Relief Extension, Adds Groceries Back to the List
- FMCSA reinstates groceries, paper products in latest HOS waiver
- Historic 50 state HOS waiver extended & expanded to cover truckers hauling food and paper
This is the second article like it that I’ve seen in the last few months, where someone jumped on the back of a trailer and took a ride:
Unless you have a camera installed on the back of your trailer that shows the back of the trailer, how would you protect yourself from this?
[Mocking] In the name of safety (of course!), here’s what may be coming down the pike:
If you’re tired of being required to add this and add that to your truck — just to protect other motorists from not keeping their own vehicles under control — contact your federal elected officials to voice your opinion.
With all of the changes that have happened in recent years, we have seen no significant decline in traffic deaths, except due to unconstitutional lockdowns, quarantines, and the like.
5. Regarding operations, KPIs, and staged accidents:
These are some assorted articles:
- How to determine engine wear before it’s problematic
- Fully automated vehicles won’t happen any time soon
- US border closures with Mexico, Canada extended through Sept. 21
- Tips for tracking safety and productivity KPIs
- ‘Ringleader’ of scheme to stage truck crashes pleads guilty
6. Regarding taxes:
These articles concern taxes:
- IRS list of 2290 tax filing companies flawed for truckers
- IRS to truckers: Time is running out to file tax
- The Daily Dash: Trucking’s payroll tax problem, Nikola’s surprise order and trucker sentenced
- Trucking companies caught in Trump’s payroll tax deferment order
7. Regarding violations, drugs, smuggling:
Remember that Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse?
Well, an August 10, 2020, article states:
8. Regarding electric and zero-emission trucks:
Here are the most recent articles:
- $27 Million for Zero-Emission Trucks in California
- J.B. Hunt makes delivery with all-electric Cascadia
- J.B. Hunt makes first company delivery using the all-electric Freightliner eCascadia
In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of an all-electric truck?
Please comment below.
9. Regarding accidents:
There have been many, many reports about accidents and problematic driving in the news lately.
Regarding the article — Driver injured as their truck hits 3 fire trucks on I-85 — I made the following comment on Facebook:
The top tweet in the article is time stamped 6:40 AM.
If that is accurate, the accident happened prior to that time, most likely meaning that it occurred before sunrise (while it was dark).
I’m speculating that the trucker may
– either have been drowsy at that time
– or simply relied too much on cruise control, possibly having gotten distracted.
This is very sad.
This article is about the same accident:
Can you spot the preventable accidents?
- Dump truck entangled with highway sign in Arizona
- Pain at the pump – truck driver forgets to set his brakes
- Semi loses massive load of lumber across Washington highway
All of these articles are about the same preventable accident — and the sentence that the trucker received for the fatalities he caused:
- Truck driver – 5 years for 2017 accident that killed 5
- Trucker gets maximum penalty for role in 2017 fatal crash on I-70
- Trucker Sentenced to Prison in Fiery I-70 Crash That Killed Five People
- Truck driver gets maximum sentence for crash that killed 5 on I-70
Here is some helpful information:
10. Regarding the economy:
Recent articles about the economy and trucking include:
- ECONOMIC WATCH: Trucking conditions roared back in June
- Improved truckload demand drives increase in freight rates
- Predicting the Unpredictable: Attempting to plot out the economic recovery
- Truck arrivals fall 4% during Aug. 3-9
- Unemployment falls under 1 million claims, chassis pool debate, and HOS changes (with video)
- Used truck values down but moderating: Ritchie Bros.
- How last mile has changed in the shadow of coronavirus
- Next stimulus bill will shape the freight recovery – DAT
11. Regarding tolls:
Many toll roads are or are going cashless, now including Maryland.
If you’re trying to avoid a recent toll raise on a West Virginia interstate, don’t just blindly follow your GPS in Beckley, because you might end up getting a ticket!
12. Regarding fake texts and data hacking:
There have been reports of fake COVID-19 texts being sent to truckers:
- Agency warns of fake COVID-19 texts being sent to truck drivers
- Covid-19 text scam targets cross-border truck drivers
- FBI warns of phishing email trying to scam SBA loan recipients
- Truckers warned of fake quarantine text messages in Canada
Protect your personally identifiable information at all costs!
Hackers are looking for your data:
13. Regarding fire:
Fires can shut down roads, so stay alert!
- Grizzly Creek Fire shuts down I-70 near Glenwood Canyon, Colo.
- I-70 remains shut down for massive fire, truckers warned not to take some detours
- Part of I-70 remains closed due to Colorado wildfires
14. Congratulations, awards, and trucker appreciation:
Congratulations to these two truckers:
Here are some assorted articles with good news:
- Poll reveals trucker-appreciation is up 27% thanks to coronavirus
- Know a great company driver? Nominate them to win $25,000
- Jubitz Driver Appreciation Event continues with a few key differences
My husband Mike and I wish you — and all professional truck drivers — safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.