TDMST Weekly Round-Up 2021.07.24

This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending July 24, 2021.

We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.  


TDMST Weekly Round-Up

1. Regarding weather and insurance:


Please be ultra careful regarding driving in severe weather.

Never attempt to drive in floodwaters, through fires, in dense smoke, or during blizzards.



2. Regarding electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles:

Electric vehicles

There’s an aspect about pushing more trucking companies and other businesses to buy electric vehicles that I haven’t seen discussed in a while (possibly ever):

How to pay for road maintenance and repair.

If a lot of states are currently getting fuel taxes to pay for road maintenance and repair — and if electric vehicles by their very nature don’t use fuel — their operation represents fuel tax not charged or collected.

Some states may charge a special tax or fee for hybrid or electric vehicles up-front at the time of purchase, but we don’t see that offsetting an entire vehicle’s lifetime worth of fuel tax “missed.”

I see the push toward electric vehicles as a means to implement electronic tracking of all miles driven — AKA “Vehicle Miles Traveled” (VMT) — for the purpose of implementing a VMT tax.

Once those in positions of power know where vehicles are being driven, don’t you think that will be a step toward controlling where vehicles can can be driven — if they can be driven at all?

Before you invest in an electric vehicle, please consider the potential privacy and tax implications.

Autonomous vehicles

I am totally opposed to driverless, self-driving, or autonomous trucks, but am sharing this information to help you stay current on the topic.

As I have stated before, I am in mortal dread of the time that there is a fatal crash involving a driverless truck and motorist.


3. Regarding accidents, near miss, roads, and bridge:


This week, it seems as though numerous truck accidents were caused by other motorists.

Please do your best to anticipate the actions of others so as to avoid accidents.

Also, numerous reported truck accidents were totally preventable by the trucker.

Here are some basic trucker safety tips:

  • Stay on truck routes as are marked in a Motor Carriers Atlas (aka truckers atlas).
  • Do not neglect low clearances.
  • If you are driving/hauling an overdimensional truck, trailer, or load, stay on your permitted route.

Now, for the articles about accidents…

Near miss

This is another example of a motorist making a poor decision.

Even though we don’t know how fast the trucker was going, one can clearly see the ramp speed limit sign in the video.

Our kudos to the trucker who was able to avoid an accident!


Kudos to everyone involved in fixing the I-16 bridge so quickly!


Just wondering… If the bridge/overpass over I-16 was able to be rebuilt so quickly, why is the Memphis bridge taking so much longer to repair?

Are things complicated because the Memphis bridge is bigger, more extensive, over water, what?


4. Regarding economy, capacity, taxes, tolls, and inflation:




If this topic concerns you, please contact your federal elected officials to express your concern.


If these tolls are instituted and collected on the state level — and if this matter concerns you — contact the right people on the state level to let your voice be heard.


  • Extending Truck Driver Emergency Hours of Service Waiver Could Combat InflationQuote from article:”Although the agency was tasked with reviewing the hours exemptions on July 1, a non-decision could spell trouble for rising inflation. Part of the reason that families are getting stung by high prices involves a supply chain logjam. With communities largely reopened, the increased demand for goods continues to lag. Not re-approving extended hours for vital truck drivers beyond August will only exacerbate soaring inflation. American families need medical supplies, paper goods, and groceries such as meat, poultry, and produce, moving quickly to meet demand and combat inflation.”


    1. Is the only reason for a “supply chain logjam” and inflation due to the Hours of Service regulations?

    2. If the Hours of Service waiver has been needed this long, why not just make the waiver permanent or let truckers guide themselves regarding when to drive and when to park for sleep?


5. Regarding technology, chips, and maintenance:


Please regularly evaluate — and increase as needed — the level of security as it concerns your technology.


The White House does not have the constitutional authority to insert itself in the chip shortage situation.



6. Regarding fuel and fuel in South Dakota:


Fuel in South Dakota


7. Regarding retention, detention, and employment:


  • After MCSAC, retention focus shifts to Driver Subcommittee
  • Is There a High a Demand for Truckers?
  • MCSAC Day 1: A possible solution to driver retention problemQuotes from article:”One of the key problems identified by Belzer’s research is something that should be obvious to anyone familiar with the trucking industry: drivers work long hours for low wages, especially when most don’t receive any compensation for nondriving duties.”

    “Half of all truck drivers work more than 60 hours a week. Twenty percent of drivers work more than 4,000 hours per year — more than two full-time jobs. Most truck drivers earn little or nothing for non-driving labor, which averages out to about 25% of their work time.”

  • Safety panel: Government conflict on pay rules hurts driver retentionQuotes from article:”A long-standing gap between how the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Labor view driver wages must be bridged before the trucking industry will have a shot at curing its chronic driver retention problem, according to a university researcher.”

    “MCSAC took up the discussion because driver pay and retention can have a direct effect on driver safety. At a low pay rate, drivers work as many hours as necessary to reach target earnings that allow them to pay their bills, Belzer said. Drivers earning higher pay will rest rather than work extra hours that damage their health, risk their safety or keep them away from their families, he pointed out.”


  • MCSAC Day 2: ‘Truck drivers need to be paid for their time’ Land LineQuotes from article:”Other members of the committee expressed their support for paying truck drivers for more than just the miles they drive, a position advocated by economist Michael Belzer, who presented to the committee on Monday.”

    “Costello said ATA’s research has found instances where drivers are taking jobs that pay less per-mile but provide a more consistent schedule with predictable home time. He also noted that some of those fleets are offering guaranteed minimum weekly pay models to entice drivers.”



8. Regarding inspections and safety:


You’ll never be surprised if you always keep your truck in a perpetual state of readiness for an inspection.



9. Regarding emissions, lawsuit, AB5, and last mile:



It’s always good to read when a trucker whistleblower is vindicated!


Last mile


10. Regarding shortage, HOS, and investigation:



  • The Dangers of Reducing Hours-of-ServiceQuotes from article:”As for drivers who work for a company, the danger is that the company could order a tired driver to deliver a load outside of the driver’s hours or risk losing his or her job.”

    “In addition to making driving more attractive with better benefits, companies should look at their own driving rules and make sure that their rules, combined with federal and state regulations, are not so overbearing that it makes it difficult for truckers to do their jobs.”



11. Regarding distraction and smuggling:


  • Study: The Dangers of Distracted Truck DriversQuote from article:”The most distracted truck drivers are nearly 72% more likely to be involved in a ‘near collision’ than other drivers, according to new data insights released July 22 by Omnitracs.”


Never transport people like they are livestock, no matter how much money you are promised!


12. Regarding award:

Congratulations to all truckers who have been recognized and rewarded!


My husband Mike and I wish you — and all professional truck drivers — safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.

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