This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending December 3, 2022.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. Regarding railroad strike, exemption, inspections, Tesla, and predictions:
While I appreciate that a rail strike has been averted (at least temporarily), I bear in mind that the federal government — according to The Constitution of the United States — does not have the authority to clear up this matter. (See the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution.)
Even so, here are some of the most recent articles on this topic:
- American Trucking Associations, others herald Congress for voting to avert rail strike
- ATA, truckers say a rail strike will be “really hard” on the industry
- Biden calls on Congress to prevent rail strike, addresses unions’ sick leave grievances
- Biden signs bill to end risk of a legal rail strike
- Biden signs legislation to avoid railroad strike
- Government Poised to Intervene in Freight Rail Fight
- House passes legislation to avoid railroad strike; gives 7 sick days
- House Passes Rail Deal, Senate to Schedule Vote
- House votes to avert rail strike, impose deal on unions
- House votes to avoid rail strike, guarantee sick leave
- IN-DEPTH: What to know on Congress’ bid to bar rail strike
- Industry Applauds Action to End Rail Dispute
- Lawmakers break rank on rail strike legislation
- Over 400 trade groups plead with Congress to prevent rail strike
- Rail strike averted: Biden signs bill enforcing agreement
- Rail strike could push truckload rates to ‘levels we’ve never seen before’
- Rail strike impact could be quick for commodities like cars, auto parts, beer
- Rail Strike Likely Averted
- Rail strike might rescue spot rates?
- Rail workers frustrated, hopeful as Congress moves to avert strike
- Railroad strike again threatens the nation Analysis
- Railroad unions decry Biden’s plan to block possible strike
- Railroads barreling down tracks toward strike as Biden, ATA call on Congress to intervene
- Railroads Wind Down Hazardous Shipments Amid Strike Risk
- Semiconductor Makers Rely on Truckers as Possible Rail Strike Nears
- Senate Passes Measure to Avoid Rail Strike
- Senate votes to block rail strike
- Senate votes to prevent rail strike, but leaves out paid sick leave
- Shippers Coalition calls for quick action to prevent railroad strike
- Strike Looms As Freight Rail Unions Balk At Latest Contract
- Trucking associations appeal to Congress to act on rail contract talks
- U.S. House passes bill to avoid rail strike
- Unions, shippers, railroads express mixed reactions to averted strike
- We’ve (probably) averted a rail strike. Now what?
Do you find it odd that there are times when the DOT/FMCSA makes exemptions to the federal Hours of Service regulations for emergencies — including bad weather and sometimes for very long periods of time — but they reject requests for exemptions from others?
Here are some of the most recent articles on this topic.
- Another operator seeks individual exemption from certain HOS regs
- Another trucker asks FMCSA for hours-of-service exemption
- FMCSA denies livestock haulers’ hours-of-service exemption
- FMCSA rejects work-rule exemption for livestock haulers
- FMCSA says no to Hours of Service exemption for livestock haulers
- FMCSA: No hours-of-service exemption for livestock haulers
- Livestock haulers’ hours of service exemption request denied
- Livestock haulers request for hours of service change denied: FMCSA
- New Hampshire State Prison inmate requests ELDT exemption
- Veteran trucker asks FMCSA for a personal 5 year exemption from several HOS requirements
If you keep yourself and your truck in perpetual readiness for an inspection, you’ll never be caught off-guard.
- Dig for the Gold Behind CVSA’s Out-of-Service Numbers\
- Eyes on 94′ law enforcement campaign focusing on big rigs along Interstate 94
- Inspectors Issue 26,164 Warnings, Citations During Operation Safe Driver Week
- Making It Count — CVSA Roadcheck 2022
- Multi-state trucker blitz underway on I-94 this week
- Operation Safe Driver Week safety blitz nabbed speeders
- Speeding main infraction during Operation Safe Driver Week
- Speeding Tops Citation List During Operation Safe Driver Week
- Speeding Tops Offenses During Operation Safe Driver Week
Be watching what happens to these Tesla commercial motor vehicles over the long-term.
The reason why I say this is because I have seen photos of “graveyards” full of electric vehicles that are no longer being used because replacement batteries are far more expensive than the vehicles are to replace!
- Coke’s Electric Renault Trucks Debut Before Tesla’s Pepsi Semis
- Elon Musk claims the Tesla Semi completed a 500 mile trip at 81K pounds
- Musk: Tesla Semi completes 1st journey hauling full load
- NASA’s SWOT, Tesla Semi takes Pepsi plunge and upside-down fleet safety – WTT
- PepsiCo gets first Tesla Semi electric trucks
- PepsiCo will finally receive the Tesla semis it ordered more than three years later than promised
- Tesla delivers its 1st ‘most bad ass rig on the road’ to PepsiCo
- Tesla Delivers Its First Electric Semis to PepsiCo
- Tesla Electric Semi Truck Debuts for Real
- Tesla’ Musk says Semi passes 500-mile, 81K test
- Tesla Semi Completes 500-Mile Loaded Drive
- Tesla Semi completes first 500-mile journey with full load
- Tesla Semi completes first fully loaded 500-mile trip
- Tesla Semi isn’t ready for commercial prime time
- Tesla unveils 1st Semi trucks at PepsiCo delivery event
2. Regarding fuel, autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles, and emissions:
- AAA retail diesel average now $5.215 Fuel prices Land Line
- Diesel Down 9.2¢ to $5.141 a Gallon
- Diesel prices inch downward as fuel supply crunch shows signs of easing
- DOE/EIA benchmark diesel price sees biggest 1-week drop since August
- Fuel supply in Nebraska warrants extension of executive order
- Great fuel economy requires time and money
- Michigan’s Gas Tax Will Increase in 2023
- Texas fuel tax eyed for adjustment on annual basis
- Weekly Fuel Report: November 29, 2022
- Why diesel is so much more expensive than gasoline
I totally oppose the operation of self-driving, driverless, and autonomous vehicles on the public roads with non-commercial vehicles, but share these articles as a courtesy to help you stay current with the topic.
- Focusing on the Autonomous Relay Convoy driver
- Uber Freight Expands Autonomous Truck Pilot with Aurora for Peak Season
- Uber Freight, Aurora add autonomous trucking routes in Texas
One speaker whom I heard on Saturday night, December 3, 2022, said that even if the whole world were to try to go “electric,” there is about forty times less lithium in the world than is needed.
I have not investigated this topic well enough to verify that number, but I simply ask that you do your due diligence before you go all-in on an electric commercial motor vehicle.
At least with fuel-powered CMVs in the USA (at least as of this writing), you know that the infrastructure is in place to supply many types of fuel to run the trucks.
Let the buyer beware.
- EV Charging Infrastructure Potentially Unprepared for Cyberattacks
- Guide From AASHTO, Other Groups Helps States Develop EV Infrastructure
- Last-mile operations slow to adopt EVs, lack sustainability measurement tools
- Lordstown Motors gets OK to ship electric commercial pickup trucks
- Range Energy Brings Electric Trailers to the Commercial Market
- Volkswagen Weighs Foxconn Partnership to Aid American EV Push
- Volvo VNR Electric Trucks Headed to NYC
3. Regarding accidents, fatalities – crush, fatalities – road rage, and clearinghouse:
Please familiarize yourself with the types of accidents described in the articles listed below so that you are not involved in a similar situation.
- Cement truck driver hurt after falling through parking deck
- Semi crash spills steel coils on Michigan highway
- Truck Safety Coalition campaign ‘aims to improve lives of truck accident survivors’
- Trucker of 14 years has first accident with notoriously low KC bridge
- Trucker rescued from water after intense plunge off bridge
- Two semis, 18 cars involved in Sunday’s Florida pileup
- Two trucks topple off side of freeway in separate wrecks
- VIDEO: Semi skids on icy Maine road, walloping multiple cars
Fatalities – crush
Our condolences go to the families who lost loved ones this way.
- Trucker killed by female driver while helping connect truck to trailer
- Woman killed after being crushed between two tractor trailers
Fatalities – road rage
How would one avoid becoming the victim of a road rage incident?
The only way I know of is, if at all possible, to not engage someone intent on road rage.
- ‘Senseless loss of life’ — Tow truck driver sentenced to 50 years for fatal I-88 shooting of semi truck driver
- Tow truck driver sentenced to 50 years for ‘road rage’ killing of truck driver
4. Regarding bids, bypass, chains, and driving behavior:
Please bear in mind that snow chain regulations or laws in various states or local jurisdictions are apt to change or be updated from time to time.
Quote from the article linked immediately below:
“We have very good information on crashes on roads,” Helmut Schneider, executive director of the Center for Analytics and Research in Transportation Safety, said in a statement. “But we don’t have information regarding driving behavior on roads that may lead to crashes. This grant will help to provide information about driver behavior on roads, especially around commercial vehicles.”
The article does not say how much money is being used on this study.
Does this study have any “teeth” in it regarding educational resources to help people stop the types of behavior that leads to crashes?
5. Regarding economy, employment, fees, furlough, and lottery:
These are some of the most recent articles about the economy from the trucking industry’s perspective:
- ACT Research: Weak economic numbers, high interest make little impact on commercial vehicle sector
- Black Friday, Cyber Monday defy inflation, set e-commerce records
- Carriers seeking stronger ties with reps while embracing digital future
- Cyber Monday Sales on Track to Break Record Despite Inflation
- Freight markets are feeling an early freeze
- Industrial property sales volumes plunged in past 2 months, report says
- Truck tonnage saw significant drop in October
- Truck transportation jobs move little in November, but trend still upward
- White Paper: State of the Industry — December 2022
Although the term wasn’t used in this article, the system described in the article linked immediately below sounds a lot like a “VMT” or Vehicle Miles Traveled type of taxing or fee-based system.
It also sounds a bit like a backdoor method of needing to have an Electronic ID on a truck and trailer.
Please be on your guard.
Quote from the article:
FedEx Freight, the nation’s largest less-than-truckload carrier, will begin furloughing an undetermined number of drivers on Sunday [December 4, 2022], the FedEx Corp. unit confirmed Wednesday.
The voluntary furloughs will run until March 6, with drivers getting a guarantee to return to work, the unit confirmed.
FedEx Freight is offering drivers a $300 weekly incentive to accept a furlough. The total payments will be made when the drivers return to work, according to the FedEx (NYSE: FDX) unit.
OK, so let’s say that a driver goes on furlough on December 4 through March 6 at $300 per week.
Looking at the calendar, that looks like about 13 weeks (about one-quarter of a year).
I researched “how much fedex freight truckers earn per week” and found:
- FedEx Freight salaries: How much does FedEx Freight pay? | Indeed.com
- Fedex Freight Truck Driver Salary ($60,906) ZipRecruiter
Selecting the salary for a “Long Haul Driver” from the Indeed.com article — $84,322 per year — let’s divide that number by 52 weeks, which results in around $1,621.58 per week.
So, $300 / $1,621.58 = 18.5%
The ZipRecruiter.com article puts the “Fedex Freight Truck Driver Salary” at $60,906, which calculates to be around weekly wages of about $1,171.27 and a percentage at:
$300 / $1,171.27 = 25.6%
Would either of those amounts be enough to keep you hanging around waiting to go back to work with that company?
Also, please look at the comments under that article and understand how easy or difficult it would be to “qualify” for this program.
Two questions that I think must be answered are:
- Will the truckers be able to supplement their furlough pay with other types of income?
- Given this quote from the article — “The total payments will be made when the drivers return to work” — will truckers have enough to make it through the quarter financially without any pay at all?
Without having some financial discipline in place first, some lottery winners turn out to be bigger financial losers after the fact than they were beforehand.
So please be on your guard.
6. Regarding drugs, theft, predatory towing, and legal:
It is never right to haul illegal drugs, no matter how big of an incentive you’re offered.
- ‘Massive meth takedown’ — $8.3 million worth of drugs seized from big rig at Texas port of entry
- Texas border agents seize $8.3M in meth from big rig
- Trucker claims he was “obligated” to smuggle cocaine after “an accident”
Please don’t engage in dishonest practices.
- Borderlands: Mexico mulls using national guard to combat cargo theft
- How company culture can prevent cargo theft ‘inside jobs’
- Indiana man sentenced to 6 years for embezzling $14M from trucking company
- Man hired to manage trucking company sentenced to prison for embezzling $14 million to fund ‘lavish lifestyle’
- Trucking companies take proactive stance to thwart theft during holiday season
According to a November 28, 2022, news release:
Predatory towing is any incident in which a tow truck operator egregiously overcharges, illegally seizes, damages by use of improper equipment, or withholds release of a truck and/or cargo. Recognizing its persistent negative impact on the industry, ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee (RAC) identified the need to better understand this problem as a top research priority earlier this year.
The news release says: “Motor carriers and drivers are encouraged to complete the survey by clicking here.”
Some other articles on this are listed here:
- ATRI Seeks Input on Predatory Towing Practices
- Drivers called to weigh in on negative impact of predatory truck towing
- Drivers, carriers asked for opinions in predatory towing survey
- New research: Predatory towing explored, spot freight rates bottoming out
- Predatory towing input sought via online survey Land Line
- Researchers seek information on predatory towing in the trucking industry
- Court sides with Swift in meal, rest break lawsuit
- Hockey players’ parents suing truck driver responsible for horrific bus crash
- North Carolina trucking company owner awaits $40K refund from police
- Protection From Nuclear Verdicts: Why Compliance Isn’t Enough
Quoting the last article in the section immediately above:
The trucking industry has not been immune to this trend. In fact, it’s an exemplar of the destructive effect that nuclear verdicts can have on an industry essential to the national economy and to basic, everyday life. The fact is, we are living in the Nuclear Verdict Age and it impacts all of us.
7. Regarding holidays, guarantee, rates, and tolls:
- Container shipping rates still sinking, no sign yet of market floor
- Falling freight rates shutter Iowa trucking company after 24 years
- Fed to Keep Rates High for Longer to Combat Inflation
- FreightWaves SONAR breaks down borders with rate benchmarking into Canada
- OmnisTMS integrates FreightWaves TRAC spot rates
- Oregon DOT considering adding tolls to Interstates 5, 205
- PA Turnpike Commission approves 5% toll increase for 2023
- Toll increase proposed by N.Y. agency called ‘outrageous’
- Truckers will pay more in tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in just a few weeks
8. Regarding technology, electronic IDs, and recalls:
- 3 Things I Learned About Trucking Tech in 2022
- ACT Research’s Class 8 Tractor Dashboard drops 6th time in 7 months
- Amazon cloud computing unit rolls out supply chain application
- Daily Infographic: Xpede launches on-demand delivery of keys, cellphones, wallets and more
- Driver’s dashcam captures crash after attempt to avoid box on I-75
- How Trucking Companies Can Up Their Cybersecurity Game [Podcast]
- IntelliTrans TMS Feature Reduces Trucker Waiting Time
- Keep the Hackers Out: How Trucking Companies Can Up Their Cybersecurity Game
- New de-icing facility speeds up FedEx cargo flights at Memphis hub
- Red-light cameras coming to an end in Texas?
- White Paper: The Ultimate Buy vs. Build Guide for Freight
Please note that I wrote and submitted my own comments on this as documented here.
- Daily Infographic: The Case for Vehicle Tracking
- Truckers Blast FMCSA Over Proposed Wireless Tracking Device Mandate
- Trucking groups cite privacy concerns over electronic ID proposal
- Trucking Stakeholders Express Concerns Over Electronic Identifiers
- Mack Trucks asks NHTSA to overlook signal recall
- Navistar recalling nearly 26,000 vehicles
- Navistar recalls more than 31,000 trucks and buses
9. Regarding high winds, insurance, training, transition, and weather:
You may find value in our article:
- Effectiveness of In-Cab Coaching for Trucking Fleets
- Florida Colleges Get Funds to Boost CDL, Technician Jobs
- Melton Truck Lines launches driver influencer program
Quote from the article linked immediately above:
Owner-operators are often characterized by their rugged independence. These skilled and experienced professionals provide their own equipment, set their own rates, and make their own rules. Owner-operators who are wary of the changing market can align with larger carriers as contractors, allowing them to keep their trucks and still preserve control of their businesses.
Are you an owner-operator who has had to pivot?
Please contact us through the form below to share your story with us. Thanks!
10. Regarding last mile, LTL, medical clinic, medical episode, and safety:
- Daily Infographic: Share the road safely this winter
- Driver Safety Report Coming to Select Trucks With Lytx
- PrePass Safety Alliance teams with trucking industry and public sector to improve highway safety, reduce emissions
11. Regarding oversized, parking, ports, service, and supply chain:
- Bill to expand truck parking introduced in US Senate
- Bipartisan Truck-Parking Bill Introduced in Senate
- House’s Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act gets Senate version
- Senate proposes $755 million for truck parking
- Senators Introduce Truck Parking Bill
- Truck parking bill introduced in Senate
- Truck parking expansion bill introduced in Senate
- Truckers Call for Safe Parking at Women in Trucking Conference
- Truckers Tasked with Decisions as Ports Slump Heading into 2023
- Georgia Ports Authority puts customers, drivers first as demand surges
- Daily Infographic: Building a supply chain roadmap in the face of a downturn
- White Paper: Building a supply chain roadmap in the face of a downturn
12. Regarding recognition and freebies:
- Holiday Heroes: 5 Stories of Commercial Drivers Making a Difference
- Show greater appreciation for your drivers this season
You may wish to familiarize yourself with what is involved in getting a freebie before you attempt to get it.
- Love’s celebrates 12 Days of Christmas with daily prizes for drivers, donation to St. Christopher
- Love’s hosting 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway for truckers this season
My husband Mike and I wish you — and all professional truck drivers — safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.