This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending February 20, 2021.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. Regarding FMCSA declaration, HOS, and ELDs:
In response to a February 17, 2021, Facebook post about the “Regional Emergency Declaration Under 49 CFR § 390.23 No. 2021-001,” I wrote the following comment:
Quote from the “Emergency Declaration”:
“By execution of this Emergency Declaration, motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the emergency in the Affected States in direct support of relief efforts related to the severe winter storm are granted relief from Parts 390 through 399 of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations except as restricted herein.”
Just wondering how much good this will do if the winter weather is **so bad** that roads are gridlocked
– either by vehicles involved in accidents
– or by no vehicles moving due to ice.
Not long ago, I spoke on the phone with a trucker whose company was gouging him for a late fee that was never even mentioned in the dispatch.
During the phone call, he referenced how far “above and beyond” the call of duty he had gone during the transport of goods in 2020 (driving outside the regular Hours of Service due to one of the “emergency declarations” that the FMCSA issued).
It was obvious that by going “above and beyond” the HOS at that time that he was tired (not well rested) and I told him that it was a wonder that he hadn’t gotten involved in an accident.
While this current “emergency declaration” includes “an exemption from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety (FMCSRs)” — and Part 395 covers “Hours of Service” (links below) — please do not cut corners on safety.
Please make sure that you’re getting sufficient sleep and doing all of the things necessary for safe travels.
More about the FMCSA’s Declaration was written here:
- COVID-19 emergency declaration extended through May
- COVID-19 HOS Exemption Extended, Maybe For The Last Time
- FMCSA Extends COVID-19 Relief Exemption
- FMCSA Extends COVID-19 Relief Waivers For Expired CDLs, CLPs, and Medical Cards
- FMCSA Extends Emergency Declaration Through May 31
- FMCSA Extends Emergency Hours of Service Exemption for COVID-19 Relief Carriers
- FMCSA extends historic 50 state COVID-19 waiver through May 2021
- FMCSA issues 33 state emergency declaration due to fuel shortages
- Fuel Shortages Prompt FMCSA to Declare Emergency in More Than 30 States
- Storms prompt FMCSA emergency declaration for 33 states & Washington D.C.
- FMCSA declares waiver for fuel haulers in wake of storm
- FMCSA extends national HOS waiver through May 31
- FMCSA issues winter storm emergency declaration
- Winter storms prompt FMCSA to issue emergency declaration for 33 states, DC
2. Regarding winter: accidents, chaining, death, delay, delivery, demand, forecast and weather reports, fuel, parking, removal, restrictions, road closures, safety, snowplow, stranded, and who may be responsible:
Winter – accidents
- 15 Big Rigs Reportedly Involved in Pileup Along West Virginia Interstate
- 6 killed in 130-vehicle pileup on icy Texas interstate
- Caught on camera: Semi takes a wild slide down icy hill towards home
- Crash Involving Three Tractor-Trailers Shuts Down Stretch of I-25 For Hours
- Crashes Involving Tractor-Trailers Shut Down Portions of Icy I-70 in Indiana
- Death toll in huge Forth Worth pileup increases
- I-40 in Arkansas at a standstill, seven semi crash reported
- I-70 in Indiana shut down for ‘multiple accidents’
- Iowa State Patrol releases new video from 40 vehicle pileup on I-80
- Multiple truck crashes in Texas, Oklahoma as winter storm pummels region
- Political Pundit Faces Backlash After Using Deadly Fort Worth Pileup in Joke Against Trump
- Texas “Super Lawyer” Calls Out Truckers in the Wake of Horrific Fort Worth Pileup
- Trucker Gives Firsthand Account of Horrific 133-Vehicle Pileup in Now Viral Video
- Victims Identified in Deadly Fort Worth Chain Reaction Crash, Unclear if Charges Will Be Filed
- VIDEO: I-35W Pileup in Fort Worth on February 11, 2021 (Viewer Discretion Advised)
- Watch a trucker lose control and jackknife on an icy Texas roadway
Winter – chaining
Please make sure that you put chains on your truck’s tires only in approved locations.
To do otherwise invites the opportunity for you and others to be injured.
Winter – closure
There are different kinds of closures listed below.
When truck stops lose power, truckers also lose the ability to pick up fuel and eat a cooked meal there.
Also see the sections on food and fuel below.
- 3 big truck stop chains detail diesel outages in Texas; prices up again
- Big Three truck stop chains report widespread closings
- Here’s a list of major chain truck stop closures/power outages
- Most dangerous highway in Colorado shuts down, adds 208-mile detour for drivers
cdllife.com/2021/most-dangerous-highway-in-colorado-shuts-down-creates-208-mile-detour-for-drivers/ (no longer online)
- Over 100 Stuck Tractor-Trailers on Icy Stretch of Louisiana Interstate Leads to Closure
- Pilot Flying J Close Stores Across Texas Due to Widespread Power Outages
- TDOT working around the clock to clear roads ahead of next winter storm
- Texas blackouts cost Mexican manufacturers $2.7B
- Truck Stop Giants Battling Widespread Power, Diesel, and Water Outages
- Turner Turnpike shut down for fiery multi-vehicle pileup
- UPDATED: Here are your major chain truck stop closures, power outages, and fuel outages for Wednesday
- Winter storm interrupts services at some truck stops
- Winter weather shuts down railroads, roadways and power
- Winter weather, power outages force closures of many national-chain truck stops
Winter – death
Winter – delay
- Medically Necessary: Winter storm delays, FEMA vaccination sites, supply chain for superspreaders
- Winter storms still stalling supply chains
Winter – delivery
- VIDEO: Texas man says he’s moved to tears to see semi trucks lined up at a H-E-B location amid devastating winter storms
Winter – forecast and weather reports
- Follow-up wallop of winter weather hitting the South
- Hazardous travel reported on Arkansas roads, portions of Interstate 40 closed
- New round of icy weather hits Deep South as polar vortex creates frigid conditions through much of US
- Second winter storm further disrupts transportation in South and Northeast
- Wild weather grips most of the country — Midday Market Update
- Wintry weather blanketing US making rare dip to Gulf Coast, creating hazardous travel conditions
Winter – fuel
Because the electricity was out in many locations, taking on more fuel became impossible, even if one schedules delivery of fuel via DoorDash.
- Arctic Blast Cuts US Oil Output by 2 Million Barrels a Day
- Experts say US’s Gulf freeze may boost gas prices, but only briefly
- Oil Production Slumps by Record 40% as Permian Freezes
- Texas Frozen Chaos Becomes Global Oil Market Nightmare With 40% Of US Crude Production Offline
- Texas’ Gas-Export Clampdown Shocks Market as Blackouts Continue
- The Daily Dash: Fuel prices feeling the heat from deep freeze
A Facebook post by Trooper Tracy stated:
Attention interstate travelers:
Fuel is NOT available at all exits directly along the interstate system in Illinois. I’m also gonna venture to say that is the same across all the state’s interstate systems.
Drivers with zero fuel are finding themselves out of luck and stranded on the interstate which can be extremely dangerous.
Please ensure if you drive on the interstate you keep your tank at least half full, or preferably all the way full.
Tow companies do provide services for a fee to bring fuel if you find yourself with zero fuel.
Now when y’all hop on the interstate system and think to yourself, I’ll just fuel up when I get to my destination or closer to it, think again. You see, something could happen between when you hop on the big road and when you plan to get fuel. There could be a crash which shuts the lanes down for 3-4 hours. Then there you sit with fumes and then zero fuel and you begin to wish you would have filled up before you got on there with no fuel station to get to.
Apparently it’s become quite a topic of discussion amongst the Troopers lately because people keep finding themselves stranded on the interstate system in subzero temperatures during the middle of a winter storm with zero fuel.
Don’t have zero fuel.
Winter – parking
When weather becomes exceptionally rough, you may not have your preferred choice of truck parking.
Please choose as best you can.
Winter – removal
If you are a company driver, ask your driver manager or safety director how they advise you to safely remove snow and ice from the top of your trailer.
- Video footage of ice flying off highway-speed semi trucks prompts officials to reiterate ice removal protocol
Winter – restrictions
Please stay continually updated about the end of old restrictions and the posting of new ones.
- ALERT: Northeastern States Impose Big Rig Travel Restrictions Due to Winter Storm
- Approaching winter storm prompts tractor-trailer restrictions in New Jersey, Pennsylvania
- Heavy snow triggers commercial vehicle restrictions in New Jersey, Pennsylvania
- Inclement weather shuts down highways in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
- Truck travel bans announced in New Jersey & Pennsylvania for major winter storm
Winter – safety
- Don’t skate past safety precautions on icy roads
- Ice storms slam truckers
- In the wake of late deliveries, truckers explain they’d rather be safe than sorry when it comes to treacherous weather
- Latest winter storms in several states cause troubles for truckers
- Major Louisiana Highways reopen after more than 3 days, but truckers say they still aren’t moving
- Major winter storm keeps trucking across the South
- No single standard for truckers to avoid winter driving
- Think you know how to drive in snow? This old school Alaskan trucking video might have you thinking differently.
- You need to see this trucker’s message about driving in bad weather
Winter – snowplow
- Here’s why you don’t pass a plow truck
- Multiple snowplows hit on Wyoming interstates, highways over five-day period
- WYDOT Urges “Don’t Crowd The Plow!” After Big Rig Totals Snowplow
Winter – stranded
There are supplies that you will need to have with you in the event that you are ever stranded.
You may wish to review the information on our Emergency Kit page.
- Multiple pile-ups, 10-mile long backups leave truckers stranded on Ark. I-40 for nearly 12 hours
- Truckers stranded after ice shuts down multiple Mississippi interstates
- Truckers trapped in 19-mile long backup on I-40
Winter – who may be responsible
This is one author’s take on how the winter storm came into being:
- TEXageddon: A False Flag Geo Terrorist Operation With Multiple Nefarious NWO Goals
Quote: “How could such an historic weather calamity not be the product of very stealthy weather manufacturing after highly sophisticated atmospheric manipulation?”
beforeitsnews.com/weather/2021/02/texageddon-a-false-flag-geoterrorist-operation-with-multiple-nwo-goals-2447448/ (no longer online)What are your thoughts? Please share them through the form below.
3. Regarding accidents and near misses:
Please learn what you can from these articles and seek never to be involved in an accident or near-miss.
- VIDEO: Police ask drivers to move over after semi nearly takes out squad car
- VIDEO: Truck driver takes his chances at a railroad crossing — and pays the price
- Trooper’s Oh-So-Close Call With Merging Big Rig Has Social Media Playing the Blame Game
- VIDEO: Missouri trooper leaps out of the path of an out of control semi
- VIDEO: Truck driver’s close call with an Ohio trooper earned him a citation
4. Regarding drugs, smuggling, and COVID-19:
- Canadian Trucker Arrested in Recent Border Drug Busts Valued at More Than $5 MILLION
- High Trucker Arrested Following Crash And Discovery of Marijuana and Synthetic Urine
- Huge Load of Marijuana Seized From Big Rig Entering U.S. Hauling Auto Parts
- Troopers say they found drugs, synthetic urine, in cab of truck driver who allegedly left crash scene
- Deputies search for 100+ immigrants who fled truck in botched smuggling attempt
- U.S. Trucker Indicted and Facing Ten Years in Prison For Smuggling 119 Illegal Immigrants
- Amazon Sues N.Y. Attorney General, Claiming Excessive COVID Demands
- N.Y. Sues Amazon Over Worker Safety During Pandemic
- Trucking associations question new Covid-19 requirements at border
5. Regarding trucking companies, retention, employment, predictions, trends, and truckers matter:
- Trucking Bankruptcies Surged in 2020 as Pandemic Hit Small Carriers
- ‘No stress, no B.S.’ — Here’s why more drivers are choosing this family-owned trucking company
- Carrier failures mounted in ’20, but so did new entrant carriers
- 5 reasons drivers will work for you, and how to keep them
- Safety, compliance important for driver retention — Taking the Hire Road
- Lessons learned from 2020: Trucking industry analysts on what’s ahead
- Pilot chief merchant: ‘full speed ahead’ for 2021
6. Regarding autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles, and fuel:
I am totally opposed to fully autonomous (driverless or self-driving) trucks, but am sharing these as a courtesy to help you stay informed:
- Alabama’s Auburn University unveils sophisticated autonomous vehicle research facility
- Drilling Deep: Getting regulation right to push ahead on autonomous vehicles
- Gatik to deploy electric-powered autonomous vehicles in New Orleans
- So, where did all the autonomous trucks go?
- Truck Talk: Autonomous range-finding edition
Given that the winter storm knocked out power to millions of consumers (residential and business) for an extended period of time, some people have experienced for themselves the frailty of being in or driving an electric-only truck.
When the charge on one’s electric vehicle runs down and there’s no way to recharge it, one is going nowhere until a charge is provided.
As I recently wrote in a comment on Facebook:
The momentum within the trucking industry is toward more and more electric commercial motor vehicles.
People may not like idling, but as long as there is fuel, motors [running] on good old diesel can stay warm when batteries discharge and the power grid isn’t working.
Here are some of the most recent articles about electric vehicles:
- California Sets Example For Helping Fleets Move Toward Electric Vehicles
- Electric truck rebates expanded in Massachusetts
- Ford to Go All Electric in Europe by 2030
- Another week, another increase in diesel prices
- Diesel Climbs 7.5¢ to $2.876 a Gallon
- DOE/EIA diesel price up 15th straight week; diesel market higher on refinery outages
- Fuel tax rate changes possible in 11 states
- Higher diesel prices likely as freeze shuts down Gulf Coast refineries
- Is heavy-duty fuel cell trucking almost ready for prime time?
7. Regarding economy, rates, tolls, and final mile:
- Lockdowns impact domestic spot market freight volumes
- More retail earnings, more blaming shipping costs for miss
- Trailer Orders Fall in January
- Industrial Production Climbs 0.9% in January
- Cold weather, hot rates — #WithSONAR
- DAT: January Truckload Rates Fall
- LTL carriers continue to issue general rate increases
- Rates surge, no ‘significant rate relief’ in 2021, Cass says
- U.S. spot rates down, and expected to dip further
- Will Postal Service parcel rate hikes cause a shipper rethink?
- PennDOT Begins Process to Start Tolling Bridges
- Tolls planned to fund Pennsylvania initiative to replace, upgrade bridges
8. Regarding owner-operators, insurance, issues, and deadhead:
- Top 5 strategies for successful freight bidding
- Owner-operators remain in crosshairs of DOT’s offsite reviews
- PRO Act would be harmful to owner-operators, OOIDA says
- OOIDA Foundation releases latest educational video
This is not the same list as the one ATRI publishes.
9. Regarding regulations and repair:
- DataQs crash and violation appeals process in Minnesota
- OOIDA supports FMCSA plan to end duplicative regulation
- 4 Ways Washington May Change Trucking Laws and Regulations
10. Regarding parking:
- Lawmaker Revisits Truck Parking Concerns at US House Hearing
- TruckPark partnership with ParkMyFleet adds more safe parking locations
11. Regarding technology, supply chain, and tires:
- AI breaking down silos and improving e-commerce experiences
- California DMV warns of ransomware attack on address verification contractor
- Canadian trucking groups pushback against ArriveCAN app mandate
- Eight states pursue rules on ticket cameras
- How Drivers Are Using Mobile Apps To Make Life on the Road Easier
- Technology startups learning from trucking industry
12. Regarding awards and winter helpers:
Congratulations to all those who received recognition for their skill and thanks to all who received recognition for helping others.
- Tanker company names driver of the year
- Truck driver from Louisiana honored for helping man who fell
Thank you to everyone who helped even one other person.
- Crew of jeep-drivers help to unstick truckers, transport people in wake of serious winter storm
- Don’t forget about these people — Good Samaritans feed stranded truckers
- Trucker goes the extra mile to deliver dog food to local shelter
- Woman brought home cooked meals to dozens of truckers stranded on Mississippi I-20
A recent post in a private Facebook group related help from a stranger and reminded me of loving one’s neighbor as one loves oneself:
Listen to what happened to me today. The weather in memphis and Southaven Mississippi has been less than pleasant. By that I mean snow and ice everywhere. Well I had to go run a couple of errands today bobtail. When I was leaving my last errand, I got stuck at the exit in snow and ice and I couldn’t get out. I used every trick I knew to get free to no avail. A good Samaritan came by me in a Silverado Z71, put on his flashers and walked up to my window and asked me if I needed help. When I replied yes, he took a couple straps out of his bed, attached them to the front of my truck and pulled me out of the mess. I tried to give him $20 and he wouldn’t accept it. He unhitched and drove away. It’s rare to find those kind of people among the 4 wheeler community and I am greatly appreciative of his willingness to help a trucker in need. I had to share this. Thank you for reading.
My husband Mike and I wish you — and all professional truck drivers — safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.