Cold Shoulder

Big trucks can be seen traveling through small towns as well as the big cities. For the most part, they are welcomed, at least until that one driver does something to ruin it for all.

Now, the small to medium towns or cities say, “We welcome big rigs as long as they drop off our goods. You cannot stay past your delivery time and you cannot park in our shopping centers, Walmarts, or Lowes. If you are hungry, you should bring it with you because there is ‘no parking’ for you.” The area may not have a food delivery service like GrubHub or DoorDash, that can deliver food to your truck.

Your time is limited to your delivery or pick up and then you have to leave. The nearest truckstop may be 20, 30, or 40 miles away. You may not have the time to travel to them, anyway.

So, what do you do, because getting the Cold Shoulder ain’t cool.

FMCSA grants CRST exemption request for student drivers By Mark Schremmer, Land Line associate editor | Friday, October 19, 2018

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced on Friday, Oct. 19 that it renewed an exemption for CRST Expedited that allows the Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based trucking company to have student drivers run team with a commercial driver’s license holder.

Current regulations require a CDL holder with the proper class and endorsements to be seated in the front while a commercial learner’s permit holder is driving on public roads or highways. The exemption allows student drivers who passed the skills test but have not yet received the CDL document to drive a CRST commercial motor vehicle accompanied by a CDL holder “who is not necessarily in the passenger seat.”

CRST’s previous exemption from the regulation was granted for two years on Sept. 23, 2016. The new exemption is effective for five years until Sept. 24, 2023.

“FMCSA has analyzed the exemption application and the public comments and has determined that the exemption, subject to the terms and conditions imposed, will achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption,” the agency wrote.

CRST says the exemption allows the company to “foster a more productive and efficient training environment by allowing commercial learner’s permit holders to hone their recently acquired driving skills through on-the-job training and to begin earning an income right away. “

Through the end of 2017, CRST reported zero crashes to FMCSA involving drivers using the exemption.

FMCSA has granted similar exemptions to such fleets as C.R. England and New Prime.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has spoken outagainst such exemptions.

During the public comment period for CRST’s request, Jarrod Hough, an OOIDA member from Indianapolis, questioned the logic.

“Why would FMCSA even consider this? The roads and traffic are bad enough already,” Hough wrote. “Permit holders don’t have the experience to operate a commercial vehicle by themselves without the trainer sitting upfront and in the passenger seat. That is what a trainer is for, to teach and give guidance to the student. Not to be in the sleeper berth while the student is left alone.”

Do truckers pay enough for highways? White House suggests not

|February 27, 2018

A report issued last week by the White House reiterates the Trump Administration’s stance that tolling should be a prime mechanism for boosting highway funding. The report also says that the administration doesn’t think trucking pays enough in taxes to offset “the negative externalities [trucks] generate” relative to highway conditions, congestion and “accident risk.”

The annual Economic Report of the President, which is written by the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, takes aim at gasoline and diesel taxes, which have been the primary funding source for the U.S. Highway Trust Fund since the 1950s. The report says that more fuel efficient vehicles “pay less than the marginal costs generated by their use of roads in terms of wear and tear, congestion and other external costs.” Fuel taxes also create a funding divide between rural roadways and more crowded urban areas, the report claims.

“Furthermore,” the report says, “evidence suggests that heavy trucks in particular do not currently faces taxes and charges that are aligned with the negative externalities they generate, which include pavement damage, traffic congestion, accident risk and emissions.”

Infrastructure fixes running out of gas

We can’t expect tomorrow’s dwindling fossil-fuel-powered vehicles to adequately fund already under-funded highways while the e-powered elite rides free.

Trying to generate more revenue from tolls, the administration asserts, would “counteract” the deficiencies it says exist with the fuel tax.

Since his 2016 campaign, Trump has signaled his intent to try to use private financing, such as tolling, to generate funding for U.S. road and bridge projects. This month, the Trump Administration released an outline for its infrastructure plan, which calls for leaning on tolls and funding from states and localities — rather than federal spending — to bolster highway funding. Trump’s plan also would repeal the current ban on Interstate tolling.

Trucking groups have sharply rebuked the president’s plan for an increase in tolling. The American Trucking Associations, which put forth a bulletin in January lobbying Congress to raise the per-gallon gas and diesel taxes to stabilize U.S. funding for roads and bridges, says tolling is “a road to nowhere.” ATA also noted then that trucking pays 45 percent, via diesel taxes, of the HTF’s annual revenue.

“Study after study shows the shortfalls of tolling and the unintended consequences that tolls impose on motorists and surrounding communities,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear in January.

ATA has called for a the per-mile gallon on gasoline and diesel taxes to be increased 20 cents — 5 cents a year over the course of four years — to ensure the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund. Gas and diesel taxes were last increased in 1993. These flat rates, 18.4 cents a gallon for gasoline and 24.4 cents a gallon for diesel, have become more ineffective due to inflation and more fuel efficient vehicles, which have crimped the Highway Trust Fund’s revenue stream.

More tolls or no tolls? Two-thirds of readers say no

Just a third of readers favored any liberalization whatsoever in the ability of government to toll interstate routes, whether current or new routes or expansion …

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association last month also pressed for an increase in fuel taxes. “The heart of it is a fuel tax with revenues collected going to roads and bridges. It’s simple, efficient and it serves the very real needs of our country and its people,” said Todd Spencer, acting president of OOIDA. “If elected officials think a fuel tax increase would be unpopular, wait until Americans encounter more and higher tolling.”

The Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates calls tolls “wildly inefficient.”

“In addition to the diversion onto secondary roads which causes congestion and public safety issues, tolls will do unimaginable harm to businesses, as shipping and manufacturing prices skyrocket to account for these new costs,” the group said in a statement earlier this month.

FMCSA wants to track what truckers do in their personal vehicles

Steve Wilcox
about 19 hours ago

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has filed a request to investigate what CDL truck and bus drivers do during their home time. Specifically, the agency aims to study the effects of “excessive commuting” between a drivers home and work terminal.

If the request for the study is approved by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB), then the FMCSA plans to survey up to 12,000 drivers to perform their research.

In the proposal, the FMCSA states that long commute times [between a commercial driver’s home and work terminal] “can lead to excessive fatigue while on duty, creating safety concerns for both the CMV driver and other drivers on the roads.”

Although no new rules or regulations are being proposed, the study could become the foundation for future regulations.

In order to complete the study, the FMCSA will ask 12,000 registered CDL holders to complete a 20-minute online survey. The FMCSA will pay drivers a $10 incentive to complete the survey.

The agency is currently accepting public comments on the proposed study.

As of January 6th, the proposal has received 18 public comments. A majority of the comments oppose the proposed study.

Driver Tammy Dodge wrote the following public comment:

This is not required to subject truck drivers to this. This is a violation of their privacy it seems to me. First this ELD thing which these electronic devices have been unreliable at the very least and follow no common sense approach to everyday circumstances that are dealt with daily by the drivers. These regulations seem to be unfairly aimed at the truck driver to make their jobs almost impossible to work. This is just another bad regulation aimed at the truck driver that might live a ways away from their terminal. Now the FMCSA wants to penalize them even more for having to drive to work. Will it ever stop? It just keeps going on and on with bad regulations aimed at the everyday, hard working, family supporting, tax paying truck driver. Not to mention without these hardworking individuals this country would not be able to enjoy all the essentials needed for basic daily life. The government and the FMCSA needs to stop targeting this group that keeps America running, and stop continually listening to the giant fleet owners and every group that has to blame someone for something that happens on the road. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH FMCSA!!!

Another driver, Brandon Kisamore, stated the following:

FMCSA needs to find something better to do than make our lives harder. I’ve had my fill of your nonsense and if it continues, this industry will be one more driver short.

In order to post your own public comment, click here, or search for Docket ID: FMCSA-2017-0313 on the Regulations.gov website. The public comment period will close on January 26th, 2018.

Hooked Up

There’s nothing more embarrassing than to have your truck on the hook! Some say it’s no big deal, but for me, it’s embarrassing.  I recently left home to take a load to Lynchburg, VA when my truck started making a weird knocking noise. My truck started losing power and the noise got louder. I was travelling route 360 and just entered Amelia county when I slowed to the point I had to turn my flashers on. I barely made to the burned out truck stop on the left. 
I contacted my dispatch and it took him 14 hours to get someone out there! 14 hours of freezing my buds off, starvin’ like Marvin, and sleepy as a cat!! Even though the temperature outside was 48°, it felt like 30° in the truck. There was no place to go and get warm or to eat.

The next morning, my boss called to say a wrecker was coming for me. I said, ‘Yes,thank you because I am really cold.’ Well several hours later he called again to give me the name of the wrecker company ant to find out where exactly I was located. Another few hours later, the man with the wrecker called and said he will be out within the hour. He arrived 4 hours later! Ughhhh!

He arrived and told me my boss called him around 12 noon to inform him of my breakdown. 12 noon… I called him at 2 a.m.!!! Men!!! I asked the driver to drop me at home on his way to Chesapeake. He did and there I stayed for 3 weeks. 

Finally, I am back at work in a different truck and dealing with the dreaded ELD’s! Crazy, huh?

Time to Say Goodbye

I’m coming up on 23 years as a professional truck driver. 23 years!! Wow, never thought that I would be doing this for that long.  My initial plans were to drive a truck for 2-3 years then open my own trucking company. Well, needless to say, that didn’t happen. I thought about it for a long time but decided that having my truck leased to a company would be better.

I spent weeks out on the road away from my kids for years. I would come home on the weekends and they would come running when I pulled into the yard with the truck.  The first thing my daughter would ask me is how much is the check. I’d laugh and tell her  something maybe $500 less than what it really was.  My son, on the other hand, would jump into the driver seat before I could get out. He’d sit there for about an hour, pretending to be going through the gears, making engine noises with his mouth.  My daughter showing the things in a magazine, hoping I would agree to purchase it for her.  Of course, I have burst her bubble and tell her, “Bills first.”

During my many years of travel (work), I took a lot of pictures. At one point, I teamed up with a friend and went further than I ever would solo.  Who would have thought I  would be in Washington state or Oregon? I have picked up and delivered in 46 states. North Dakota and Maine are the only ones I have not traveled in.

Music has taken me across the U.S. and back. Don’t know how I could have made it without it!  I have tried to take as many pictures as I can in each state. Most of the pictures were taken with a little 3 mega pixel camera, which took some amazing pictures. I have added some of my many pictures below.

 

 

I have enjoyed being out on the road. I’ve met some very interesting people. I’ve been close to a lot of vacation spots and historical monuments but did not have the chance to stop and enjoy.  I had hoped that once I slowed down a bit that I would get the chance to actually travel to them. Well, I haven’t made it back yet, but its something I am looking forward to once I stop.  I have always said, “You don’t have to leave the country to find a beautiful vacation spot. Just look out your back window!”

Oops: Appropriations bill may have done away with 34-hour restart entirely

CHANNEL 19

 

Todd Dills|February 12, 2016

Turns out the 34-hour restart-related item inthe late-2015 Congressional appropriations bill may have done a little more than was intended. The intent of the item was to reinforce the stay of enforcement of limitations on use of the 34-hour restart that were implemented in 2013 and which the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrationcontinues to study as to their effectiveness, as required by law.

But read what the appropriations bill actually states relative to the restart, and it becomes clear that not only did it extend that stay and put limitations on FMCSA’s ability to reinstate the restrictions — once-per-week use of the restart and inclusion of two 1-5 a.m. periods — it essentially nullified the restart entirely.

None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act or any other Act may be used to implement, administer, or enforce sections 395.3(c) and 395.3(d) of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, and such section shall have no force or effect on submission of the final report issued by the Secretary…

 

RELATED

 

Required 34-hour restart study finished, advances to next step, says FMCSA boss

That’s the key part of this, and what exactly does 395.3(c) and 395.3(d) refer to? Those are, essentially, everything in the regulations pertaining to the restart. And since the appropriations bill’s language doesn’t specify an alternative to those regulations, as the Truckload Carriers Association noted this afternoon in a message to members…

 

…then there is no restart provision to abide by.

 

That’s DOT’s recent interpretation at least, according to TCA. Now, before you go back to recapping entirely, take note of the rest of that message from TCA:

 

As discussions around this issue remain fluid, we are instructing our carrier members to keep their fleets operating as they have always been as members of Congress seek to reach an agreement on the best way to proceed. In an email to its Executive Committee, of which TCA is part, ATA has put forth options which they can use to negotiate with lawmakers. Of those options, the parties involved, including TCA representatives, have selected what ATA perceives to be the most flexible option on the table. The selected option consists of the following:

 

Total weekly cap of 75 hours in any 7 calendar days Retains 60/7, 70/8 rules.Taking an off-duty period of 34 consecutive hours or more allows the driver to exceed the 60/7 & 70/8 limits, up to the 75-hour, 7-calendar-day cap.

We’ll update more when we have word of any final solution, as changes wouldn’t go into effect until certified by DOT in concert with lawmakers. As TCA noted, “as of today, we are continuing to operate as we did yesterday.”

At once, reminds me of Tom Strese‘s sage words from about a year ago as the exemptions to the milk-and-cookie break really started to pile up: If we’re not careful, Strese said, “pretty soon our HOS rules are going to look like the tax code.”

Can you live without the restart? Keep it simple, so to speak — or as simple as recapping can be? Stay tuned for more…

Rollback of 34-hour restart regs further entrenched by Congressional budget deal.

FMCSA will have to prove its 2013-implemented rules are better for driver fatigue and highway safety than previous hours rules before they can go back …