This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending December 19, 2020.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. Regarding CDL testing, accidents, and staged accidents:
I see the issue of the FMCSA allowing third party examiners to test CDL skills sets as very problematic because no matter how poor a student driver‘s skills may be, a third party examiner may think, “I promised this kid a CDL and he’s going to get one!”
Recall the incidents associated with CDL-fraud in the past.
If you’re currently going through a truck driver training school or have been hoodwinked into getting a “free CDL” by a company that eventually wants to exploit you, be aware that you need to learn basic skills before you go out on the road.
To be passed into getting a CDL when you are under-prepared to drive professionally will lead to problems, possibly huge accidents!
- Despite opposition, FMCSA changes CDL test rule
- FMCSA Final Rule Adds Flexibility to CDL Skills Testing
- FMCSA issues final rule streamlining CDL skills-testing process
- FMCSA Lifts CDL Testing Restriction on Third Party Examiners Despite Concerns About Fraud
- FMCSA looks to renew study on CDL skills test delays
- FMCSA now allows CDL instructors to give skills tests to their own students, despite fraud, bias concerns
- FMCSA Plans Information Collection for CDL Testing Delays Survey
- FMCSA relaxes rules to help drivers get CDLs
- FMCSA streamlines CDL testing process
- FMCSA to permit third-party examiners for CDL skills test
- The Daily Dash: FMCSA eases CDL restrictions; Schneider boosts pay
- Third-Party CDL Testing From Trainers OK, Says FMCSA
Is it that reporting is better than it used to be or are there actually more trucking accidents happening from truckers plunging off overpasses?
If the latter, what is causing these types of accidents?
Please learn from all of these accidents and actively work to prevent being in one.
- Crash involving oversized load sends wind turbine blade into cattle trailer, pilot vehicle
- Driver, passenger walk away from truck that plummeted off interstate
- First-responders use wrecked ambulance as warning about the importance of slowing down
- Pennsylvania troopers say deadly I-80 pileup involved 55 trucks, 11 cars, interstate remains closed
- POLICE: Saturday night saw 1 weather-related crash every 10 minutes in Wisconsin
- Semi passes on the shoulder, hits WSDOT snowplow and then flees
- Truck crashes remain a cause of concern
- Truck driver in critical condition after plunging off Texas overpass
- Two dead in I-80 pileup involving 30 – 60 vehicles
- What Factors Will Help Reverse Trends In Large Truck Crashes?
May the Lord let justice be done for all who were involved in this scam!
- Four plead guilty in New Orleans staged-crash fraud scheme
- Quartet of Louisiana staged accident ‘slammers’ and other participants plead guilty to federal charges
2. Regarding COVID-19:
I am totally against truckers getting a COVID-19 vaccination for many reasons — the primary reason being that there are natural means of staying healthy and well — but I am sharing these select COVID-19-related articles as a courtesy to keep you informed:
- COVID Drives Trucking Industry Consolidation
- Effect of COVID-19 on Trucking Monopolizes 2020 Top 10 Stories
- More than 3,000 sites to receive Moderna COVID vaccine
- Poll finds most truckers will not get COVID vaccination
- US-Canada-Mexico border closures extend to Jan. 21
Regarding the article Trucking Seeks Liability Protections as Congress Debates New COVID-19 Aid, I feel compelled to ask:
- If government officials had not taken unconstitutional actions earlier this year, would “trucking” even be seeking “liability protections?
- Assuming the “liability protections” are given to “trucking,” what strings will be attached to them — and are they worth it?
Regarding Uber, Others Jockey for Early COVID-19 Vaccine Access for Workers, please be on your guard regarding any company anywhere — including gig economy hustles — that requires you to receive any coronavirus injection as a condition of employment!
Informed consent and due diligence are absolutely essential!
3. Regarding operations, de-icing, delays, and winter:
- As traffic declined, truck speeds increased
- How to Prevent Drowsy Driving in Your Fleet
- Rejection rates begin seasonal Christmas climb NOW
- Santa says it’s crunch time for peak delivery
- South Carolina bill targets left-lane slowpokes
- The Daily Dash: Truck drivers are speeding up; autonomous truck maker ditching the driver
- Truck lane restrictions focus of FDOT campaign
- Trucking speeding events on the rise | Broker margins update
- VIDEO: This is why load securement is so, so important
- Aero Mag unveils hybrid de-icing truck
- Organic additive nears approval to test clearing Michigan roads
- 5 Winter Maintenance Tips to Get the Most from Your AGM Battery
- How to chain your tires
- The ABCs of winter prep: Bendix offers guidance on readying your truck for inclement weather
- Trucking Law: Can you refuse to drive in poor weather?
4. Regarding economy, employment, and turnover:
- 2021 trucking outlook comes into focus
- Commercial vehicle outlook strong heading into 2021: ACT Research
- Container imports spike to record levels in November
- Demand for commercial vehicles expected to remain strong heading into 2021, ACT says
- Dry van pandemic-related freight myths debunked
- ECONOMIC WATCH: November trailer orders double year ago tally
- Flatbed market loses steam
www.dat.com/blog/post/flatbed-market-momentum-loses-steam (no longer online)
- ‘Freight hangover’ could loom, but rates pressures remain
- Increased freight, tight capacity to provide trucking tailwinds in 2021
- Net trailer orders for November stand at 39,500 — more than double last year’s figures
- No big change in truck arrivals
- November 2020 trailer orders reflect ‘growing optimism’
- November Trailer Orders Double a Year Ago
- November Trailer Orders Remain Strong
- Retail Sales Fall 1.1% in November for Biggest Drop in Seven Months
- Spot market freight rates before the holidays
- Strong Freight Rates Drive Demand for Leased Trucks
- Trailer orders dip in November but strong demand continues
- Trucking Emerges Strong After Challenging Year
- As trucking industry recovers, driver turnover increases
- Driver Turnover Rises in Third Quarter
- Perspective: Value Feedback to Aid Driver Retention
- Truckload turnover rate hits double digits during 2020’s third quarter
5. Regarding drugs and legal:
- “Extremely high level” of meth found in driver responsible for death of five bicyclists
- Nearly $3M in drugs seized in carpet shipment, beer bottles
- Over a ton of meth recovered from US-bound semi truck
- Drivers getting caught in FMCSA’s drug clearinghouse net
- What Is a DOT Audit and How to Pass It
- Indiana trucker busted in NY for carrying weapons and ammoYou have to read the article to see that the trucker was “taken into custody” for the guns/ammo issue, but the reason why he was arrested was because he was a convicted felon in another state.Furthermore, the article clearly states, “Upon interviewing the driver, probable cause to search the interior of the vehicle was established…”
So, it was probably what the trucker said that led to the search and the arrest.
Did he need to be arrested? Most likely.
But the bigger question is: If he was a convicted felon, how was he able to drive a CMV professionally?
6. Regarding ELDs, technology, and autonomous vehicles:
- ELD annotations to avoid violations, and more hours Q&A
- How to stay compliant if your ELD goes down
- What you need to know about the Canadian ELD mandate
- Digital LTL Council ready for launch, electronic bill of lading first on the agenda
- DOT may not be ready to take on automation safety
I see this as a bad move:
7. Regarding electric vehicles and fuel:
- Billions of dollars up for grabs electric truck race
- CARB to provide $28M in zero-emission trucks incentive program
- Economics of Electric Trucks Remain an Adoption Challenge
- Getting US to Zero Carbon May Cost $2.5 Trillion by 2030
- New electric delivery vehicle to hit the market
- Canada lays out $1.5-billion strategy to develop hydrogen economy
- Challenges remain in path for fuel cell electric trucks
- Clean Energy Fuels Adds RNG Contracts
- Clean Energy Signs Deals For Over 58 Million Gallons of RNG
- Diesel Rises 3.3¢ in Sixth Straight Increase
- LNG Surges to Six-Year High
- Neste expands green fueling network in California with two new stations
- New Toyota Fuel Cell System Close to Being Available to Class 8 Makers
Also, be aware of:
8. Regarding inspections and insurance:
Please learn from these articles to keep your truck in inspection-passing, safe and compliant condition at all times!
- CCJ Daily Dispatch, Dec. 18: Brake violations top Roadcheck out-of-service conditions; COVID CDL waivers extended
- CVSA Issues More Than 15,500 Out-of-Service Violations During 3-Day Inspection Blitz
- CVSA Roadcheck Shows 20.9% Vehicle Out-of-Service Rate
- Hours of service, brake systems top Roadcheck violations
- More than 15,500 out of service violations discovered during three day inspection blitz
- One Quarter Of Inspected Trucks Placed OOS During Roadcheck Inspection Blitz
- Over 15,000 trucks, drivers sidelined in 2020 Roadcheck
- Roadcheck blitz sidelined more than 15,000 trucks, drivers for OOS violations
- Roadcheck Week results: ELDs may have slightly boosted HOS compliance
- Truck inspection on NYS Thruway leads to driver arrest on weapons charges
9. Regarding theft, phishing scam, taxes, tolls, and pay:
Also be aware of this projection: Expect to see about 25% fewer holiday travelers on the road.
I saw the title of this article — C.R. England drivers could get a 25% pay increase and dug for details, examples of which include:
- C.R. England: “Over-the-road solo drivers received an average 15.5% increase in base pay as of Dec. 1.”
- “Earlier this week, Covenant announced its largest pay increase in company history, boosting line-haul team drivers an average of 9 cents per mile, with the top rate for those with more than a year of experience seeing a 16 cents-per-mile increase.”
- “KLLM Transport Services also announced “one of the largest” pay increases in its history. The Jackson, Mississippi-based carrier said over-the-road and regional independent contractors would see more than a 9% increase in base pay.”
- “Stevens Transport boosted pay as much as 14% for its over-the-road drivers, with starting pay now as much as 54 cents per mile, based on experience.”
I feel compelled to share these thoughts:
First, why are the companies offering pay raises in such large amounts?
Second, are the companies having trouble keeping drivers and if so, why?
Third, what “extra” work will their drivers have to do in order to keep earning the increased income?
Fourth, let’s ask the same question as is documented on our Inflation Calculator page:
“If 25,000 women were earning $500 [per week] in trucking in [May] 1977, how much would their income have to be today to have kept up with inflation?”
According to the CPI Inflation calculator, $500 in May 1977 has the same buying power in November 2020 (the most recent month for which information is available as of this writing), of $2,157.79.
Figuring this in reverse, let’s say that a trucker covers an average of 2,500 paid miles in a week.
$2,157.79 / 2,500 miles = more than $0.86 per mile!
So, don’t let these numbers fool you.
The raises still aren’t keeping up with inflation.
10. Regarding safety:
- Family of deceased driver looking to educate driving public on truck safety
- Florida warns truckers to stick to the correct lane — or face a $120 fine
- Safety experts: Use driver coaching to lower risk, turnover
- Video shows truckers driving the I-70 Mountain Corridor how to arrive alive
- Colorado DOT Releases Truck Safety Video for I-70 Travel
My husband Mike and I wish you — and all professional truck drivers — safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.