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  • FMCSA to Provide Two Webinars Reviewing ELD Mandate

    by Anna Mischke | Jun 21, 2017

    DRIVER NEWS SHUTTERSTOCKThe Supreme Court rejected the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s (OOIDA) petition against the upcoming ELD Mandate slated to go into effect December 18, 2017. The OOIDA claimed that the requirement violates truck drivers’ right to privacy and while driver response was split, the rule will indeed be implemented.

    The FMCSA explains that the rule is intended “to help create a safe work environment for drivers and make it easier and faster to track, manage, and share records of duty status data.” The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will host two, hour-long webinars regarding ELDs in July.

    Live question and answer sessions will take place on Thursday, July 6th from 10-11 a.m. EST and July 13th from 1-2 p.m. EST. You can register on a first-come-first-served basis for the webinar on July 6th here and July 13th here. Each session is limited to 200 participants and registration is required online, the webinar may also be accessed by phone as well. Drivers may also watch a prerecorded webinar as recommended by the National Training Center prior to the live webinars, and email any ELD-related questions in advance to ELD@dot.gov.

  • Proposed Rules Allow Easier Access to CDL

    by Anna Mischke | Jun 16, 2017

    shutterstock_289111436Obtaining a commercial driver’s license may be getting easier, this is thanks to two rules proposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published in the Federal Register on June 12th.

    One of the proposed rules would allow states to issue commercial learner’s permits for up to one year instead of the current six-month limit, this would come with the opportunity to renew for an additional six months. The FMCSA says increasing the limit to a full year opposed to six months with the option to renew will “eliminate unnecessary re-testing and additional fees.” If the CLP holder does not obtain a CDL within the allotted year, the driver would then need to reapply for a new permit.

    The second proposed rule would waive the CDL knowledge test for active duty and veteran military members employed within the last year in a military position that required the operation of a commercial vehicle. The FMCSA granted a two-year exemption of the knowledge test in October of 2016 which would allow active duty military and veterans’ to waive the knowledge test in hopes to enforce the exemption permanently. This rule could be joined with the current rule that allows qualified military members to apply for a skills test waiver allowing them “to transition more quickly from armed forces to civilian driving careers.”

    FMCSA Deputy Administrator, Daphne Jefferson, believes that “taken together, these two proposals will help ease the entry for thousands of qualified individuals into career opportunities as professional truck and bus drivers – a critical occupation facing an acute labor shortage in our country”, adding that “we could eliminate unnecessary burdens to both the applicants and to the states, save time, reduce costs and most importantly, ensure that states only issue commercial driver’s licenses to well-trained, highly qualified individuals.”

    The FMCSA awaits comment on both propositions which can be made for 60 days following the publication on June 12th. Comments can be made at www.regulations.gov ; search Docket No. FMCSA-2016-0346 for commercial learner’s permit changes and Docket No. FMCSA-2017-0047 for the knowledge test waiver. 

  • How to Reduce Stress Behind the Wheel

    by Jesus Rodriguez | Jun 09, 2017

    060817_Driver newsWhether you’re caught in traffic for a few hours or driving across a tricky highway all day, stress can begin to build up. Meeting delivery schedules, constantly being cautious of safety precautions, following regulations, watching other drivers on the road, all that comes with being a good truck driver can be intense. Chronic stress can take a heavy toll on a driver’s wellbeing and cause physical, mental, and emotional complications such as headaches, heart disease, high blood pressure, and depression. Having some basic stress-reducing tools in your arsenal can help combat pressure and decrease negative impacts.

    Snack Wisely
    While it can be tempting to grab a bag of chips and a soda from the store for a meal, a healthy diet can play a factor in day-to-day stress levels. Adding even the smallest amount of healthy foods to your regular diet makes a great difference. When possible, try eating a meal with leafy greens or fresh vegetables and fruit as a substitution for candy. Choosing protein rich foods such as grilled chicken or turkey, nuts, eggs and whole grains will keep you full and satisfied longer. Many times when we feel hungry, our bodies just need water. Before diving into a cheeseburger, try drinking a tall glass of water first. You’ll notice your energy levels increase - which makes your day feel more manageable.

    Get Your Zzz’s
    Something as basic as a good night’s rest can majorly influence your stress levels. Even when it feels difficult to get enough sleep, making it a priority will greatly affect your day. Your body and mind heals and restores during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is absolutely necessary after a long day on the road. Strive to get 6 to 8 hours of sleep and you’ll be better equipped to fight off sickness, and you’ll be well-rested and able to take on the day (or night) while feeling energized. Turning off or putting away electronic devices at least half an hour before going to sleep can also improve quality of sleep and help you fall asleep faster.

    Move It!
    It can be tough to find time to exercise when you’re driving all day, but you don’t need to have an intense full-body workout to reap benefits. When you have the opportunity, choose the stairs instead of an elevator. Take a brisk walk around the truck stop or parking lot. Even light stretching can make a difference. Exercise releases endorphins in your brain which simply put, makes you feel happy.

    Just Breathe
    Learning a few basic breathing exercises can provide relief immediately when faced with a stressful situation. Convenient and free, sometimes the biggest hurdle can be remembering to do them. Practice your breathing exercises throughout the day and eventually they will become second nature.

    Say “Cheese!”
    It can almost feel impossible to put on a happy face when you’re dealing with something trying or stressful, but studies suggest that even going through the motions of smiling can reduce stress. If you’re able, take a moment to watch a funny video you like or look up a joke or two; laughter can make stress evaporate!

  • Truckers Helping to Drive Down Human Trafficking

    by Anna Mischke | Jun 01, 2017

    shutterstock_11738911 [Converted]The effort against human trafficking is enlisting the help of a group that knows a thing or two about traffic: truck drivers. Truckers Against Trafficking, a non-profit organization, is serving as the “eyes and ears” of our nation’s highways by rallying the trucking industry to fight human trafficking.

    Acute eyes on the lookout for suspicious activity can make a vast difference, particularly in a transient place where many are passing through, such as truck stops. TAT urges truck drivers to stay alert and be aware of children and young adults on the road who look hopeless or out of place, are wearing revealing clothing, and tattooed with bar codes or names that may indicate ownership.

    Kendis Paris, executive director of TAT, stresses the importance of driver diligence explaining that “at any given time in the United States there are more truckers out on the road than law enforcement officers.”

    If a driver knows how to spot and differentiate trafficking from prostitution and knows what to do when witnessing potential trafficking, more leads are directed to support agencies and law enforcement resulting in more criminal arrests.

    Acute eyes on the lookout for suspicious activity can make a vast difference, particularly in a transient place where many are passing through. This is where Truckers Against Trafficking decided to step in and take action against sex trafficking by raising awareness and serving as the “eyes and ears of our nation’s highways.” The TAT website was created to “inform members of the trucking industry and travelers of the basic issues involved in human trafficking” and provide “a summary of ways you can help.”

    The organization’s social media platforms share news stories of perpetrators, provide resources, functions as a place for a community to join together in working against the trade, supports victims, and voices out against trafficking crimes. TAT stickers, posters, and wallet cards with a sex trafficking hotline number can be found more prevalently within the trucking industry.

    Human trafficking is reported in all 50 states targeting individuals regardless of age or gender. Victims are recruited - or sometimes kidnapped - out of schools, malls, streets, and online. The Department of Homeland Security defines human trafficking as a “modern-day form of slavery involving the illegal trade of people for exploitation or commercial gain.”

    Sexual exploitation is the most commonly identified form of forced labor according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center released numbers showing more than 4,000 cases of sex trafficking in the United States. Worldwide, the horrifyingly lucrative industry pulls in more than $150 billion every year.

    While Paris admits that TAT is only “one piece of the puzzle,” they are committed to working with the trucking industry toward diminishing the devastating industry.

    For more information about Truckers Against Trafficking, visit the website here.

  • Road Check Inspections June 6-8, 2017: Secure Your Cargo

    by Anna Mischke | May 25, 2017

    052517 driverThe annual Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) road checks are looming; ensure you are prepared for the roadside inspection spree from June 6th through June 8th. Approximately 17 trucks and buses will be inspected every minute.

    During last year’s road check, 62,796 inspections were held with 42,236 being North American Standard Level 1 Inspections. These inspections resulted in placing 3.4 percent of the drivers and 21.5 percent of the vehicles out of service. The Level 1 Inspection is a thorough 37 step process which includes driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness. Drivers may be required to provide a driving license, hours-of-service documentation, shipping documentation, motor carrier registration, medical examiner’s certificate, and hazardous material paperwork. Vehicle inspections may include brake systems, coupling devices, driveline/driveshaft, exhaust systems, frames, fuel systems, lighting devices (required lamps), steering mechanisms, suspensions, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels, rims and hubs, windshield wipers, and emergency exits (on buses). Extra attention will be paid to cargo securement.

    The FMCSA has specific conditions that must be met; ensure you are adhering to these specifications by reading the official FMCSA’s Driver’s Handbook on Cargo Securement and review their flyer for useful information. According to the CVSA, “Regulations require tie-downs to be attached and secured in a manner that prevents it from becoming loose, unfastening, opening or releasing while the vehicle is in transit.” Damaged tie-downs may cause improper securement; special attention should be made to tie-downs experiencing normal wear and tear and all cargo securement devices including webbing, steel strapping, and wire rope. Any damaged pieces should be replaced to avoid citation.

  • New regulations to impact freight brokers

    by Anna Mischke | May 17, 2017

    05 10 17_Truck Working resized2Five regulations have been added that should be on freight brokers’ radar.

    Carrier safety fitness determination halted

    The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was paused as of March 23rd after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) announced postponement. The revised method for issuing Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) for carriers received backlash from carriers because the safety data may have been inconsistent and flawed. Brokers continue to experience frustration with the lack of clear guidelines for safe carriers.


    FDA mandates new food safety rules

    The new rules apply to brokers, shippers, and carriers holding shippers equally responsible for safely transporting food. Compliance for large companies began April 6, 2017 and other companies are given an additional year to conform. Large companies are defined as:

    • Carriers with $27.5 million or more in annual receipts
    • Brokers with 500+ employees
    • Shippers with 500+ employees

    There are some exceptions. See the Fact Sheet issued by the FDA.  

    The new rules fall under four main categories:

    1. Vehicles and equipment - The design and maintenance of vehicles and transportation equipment must ensure that it does not cause the food that it transports to become unsafe.
    2. Operations - Measures must be taken during transportation to ensure food safety, such as adequate temperature controls, preventing contamination of ready-to-eat food from touching raw food, protection of food from contamination by non-food items in the same load or previous load, and protection of food from cross-contact, such as the unintentional incorporation of a food allergen.
    3. Training - Requires training of carrier personnel in sanitary transportation practices and documentation of the training. Training is required when the carrier and shipper agree that the carrier is responsible for sanitary conditions during transport.
    4. Records - Maintenance of records of written procedures, agreements, and training (required of carriers) for up to one year.


    2013 hours-of-service rules out of effect

    Added restrictive hours-of-service initiated in July 2013 were then suspended December 2014, and have now been permanently eliminated. With 3-5% productivity loss after the rules were enacted, freight brokers are seeing this as a positive. Rules required truck driver’s restart to include two rest periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. and restart was only available once per week.


    Final stage removing MC numbers postponed

    After a long wait with multiple postponements, the final phase of the new Unified Registration System that would eliminate docket and MC numbers, was suspended in January. The length of the suspension is unknown and while the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) can petition for reconsideration, it is not clear how President Trump’s executive orders on increasing regulations will influence the URS rules. 

    New carriers and brokers are still required to use the URS, existing carriers and brokers follow the final phase.

    From the FMCSA:

    "FMCSA is extending the implementation date of the final stage of the URS 1 final rule beyond January 14, 2017 because additional time is needed to securely migrate data from multiple legacy platforms into a new central database and to conduct further compatibility testing with its State partners."


    ELD compliance approaching deadline

    The ELD mandate begins December 18, 2017. Only eight months remain before all heavy-duty trucks (with some exceptions) are required to use electronic logging devices (ELDs) to log hours of service and there are those concerned with predictions of 3 to 5 percent of the industry’s capacity being pushed off the road. Some believe that these numbers could reach as high as 6 to 10 percent. While many large carriers have been using ELDs for years, paper logs are still the majority for smaller fleets and owner-operators. Initiation of ELDs is recommended as early in the year as possible.

  • Proper Usage of Pallet Jacks Decreases Injury

    by Anna Mischke | May 17, 2017

    pallet jacksA manual pallet jack allows us to move material quickly from one point to another. Despite the time saved, improper usage of pallet jacks is one of the leading causes of injury in the industry. Common injuries include back, shoulder, and arm strain. When using a pallet jack, remember these key points to avoid injury.

    Inspect the equipment and path of travel

    Inspect the pallet jack before using to ensure that it is defect free. Report any issues discovered to your supervisor or dispatcher before use. Check to ensure the path is clear: cracks or spaces in the floor can cause wheels to get stuck. Avoid travelling along any slopes or wet floors; if necessary use an alternate route.

    Limit the capacity

    Take a moment to determine the weight of the load that needs to be moved. Overloading a pallet can cause strain to your body that could result in an overexertion injury. Take the appropriate measures to ensure you are not overloading the pallet and if necessary, reduce the amount of material loaded on a pallet and take multiple trips if necessary.

    Push, don’t pull

    Pulling a loaded pallets causes strain on shoulders, arms, and back that can lead to an overexertion injury. Push the pallet jack in a slow and steady movement. If travelling downhill, be sure to keep the pallet ahead of you and maintain a slow speed downwards.

    Other pallet jack safety rules

    • Use proper lifting techniques when loading and unloading the pallet jack
    • Pay attention and never exceed the manufacturer’s maximum load rated capacity (the capacity should be marked on the pallet jack)
    • Keep your back straight and use your legs when pushing the pallet jack
    • Keep the load under control at safe speeds and slow down when turning
    • Start and stop gradually to prevent the load from shifting position and minimize strain on your body
    • Use both hands when raising a manual pallet jack to prevent muscle strain
    • Pulling allows better maneuverability but strains the back, always try to push the load rather than pulling
  • The ELD and Speed-Limiter War Continues On

    by Anna Mischke | May 17, 2017

    ELDandSpeed-Limiter_4.20The controversy over new proposed regulations for the transportation industry is reaching new heights as both the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and the Trucking Alliance compete for Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao’s attention. In late March, the OOIDA, the National Association of Small Trucking Companies and others, signed a letter addressed to Chao urging the DOT to delay implementation of the ELD and Speed-Limiter rules for lack of sufficient data supporting its benefits. Together the two rules will cost the industry over $2.845 billion to implement and not everyone is convinced the return will be worth it. The letter argues that both rules may increase congestion and accidents due to the speed differentials it will cause between cars and trucks. It also foresees a negative impact on businesses as more trucks will be needed to move the same amount of goods. Their nail in the coffin is pointing out that the rule proposal itself even acknowledges there is no discernible benefit to the regulation.

    The leaders of the Trucking Alliance fought back in favor of the rules which were included in their own letter to Secretary Chao. It states that the delay of these rules would be “counterproductive to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s mission to improve transportation safety for all Americans.” The letter continues on to present reasons why these rules should continue forward:

    Electronic Logging Devices

    • Those who utilized ELDs saw an 11.7% reduction in crash rates and a 50% reduction in hours-of-service-violations 
    • It improves driver quality of life by removing the pressure to operate beyond safe conditions
    • It transfers the focus to improving the supply chain and eliminating waste  

    Speed-Limiters

    • The Alliance supports a 65 mph speed limit for large trucks, feeling it will reduce the severity of injuries and fatalities in large truck accidents. 
    The debate continues as all pieces are considered for these rules. The OOIDA has taken their quest to stop the ELD rule to the U.S. Supreme Court. Time will tell what the outcome will be as the new administration reviews the options. 
  • American Trucking Association Represents the Industry at the White House

    by Anna Mischke | May 17, 2017
    ATAWhiteHouse_300x240Last week President Trump hosted the American Trucking Association (ATA) as well as members of America’s Road Team at the White House. While the ATA was present, they made a major effort to raise the profile of trucking with Americans. One way they are accomplishing this task is by using ATA’s Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF) program. For the past three years, TMAF has made an effort to educate the public by designing attention-getting trailer wraps promoting trucking and the role of drivers in the economy. The wraps depict truck drivers as everyday people, while showing the value trucks deliver by being on the road. To date, 149 trailer wraps have been sold, with a goal of reaching 200 buy the end of the year. 

    In addition to the wraps, TMAF also seeks to engage the media in writing about trucking and connecting with the public by social media. However, breaking down the “us vs. them” mentality with trucking and the motoring public is no small task, many people are unaware of trucking’s critical contributions to society.  For instance, according to ATA’s President and CEO Chris Spear, “we employ one in 16 people in the U.S. [and] driving a truck is the top job in 29 states. Trucking moves 70% of the nation’s freight and 56% of GDP [gross domestic product].” The ATA also hopes to engage and work with President Trump and his administration on issues that affect the trucking industry, these issues include the pending negotiations to NAFTA, healthcare plans, and infrastructure funding.

    Image Source: FleetOwner
  • What Are The Benefits Of Being A Truck Driver?

    by User Not Found | Mar 24, 2017

    03.23.17_BenefitsToDrivingWhen you are choosing a career you have a lot of factors to consider. You might consider the working environment, the location, the pay, the longevity, your work ethic, and the fringe benefits. Based on these factors, is truck driving possibly the right choice for you? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, trucking employment will growat about a 5% rate from 2014 to 2024. Here are some more job benefits of being a truck driver: 

    1. Open Road Life and New Scenery 
    Being a trucker means getting paid to travel whether you are working as an OTR or LTL. Every day is a change of scenery, and you get to enjoy the outdoors. Research showsthat nature-based workplaces lead to stress reduction, lessening of depression, less of a need for medications, and faster healing times. In addition to the open road, truck driving also means different views every day with your different routes. If cramped offices and crowded factories do not sound appealing, trucking may be for you. 

    2. Earnings can be Better than College Graduates with Student Loan debt 
    The median annual wage for a trucker is $36,200, with an average CDL training cost of $1000-$7000. The average starting salary for college graduates with a Bachelor’s degree is $48,127, with an average student loan deb of $34,800. In addition to the costs and salaries, truckers typically start working in 4-6 weeks, whereas completing a Bachelor’s degree could take 4 or more years. 

    3. Benefits 
    If having medical benefits is important to you, consider trucking. Industry wide, 72% of truckers have medical, 46% have vision, and 57% have dental. 

    4. Bonus Pay 
    Dependent on the company, truckers can also earn bonuses for: 

    • Maintaining a certain fuel economy 
    • Taking more difficult loads 
    • Driving the most miles in a quarter 
    • Safety records 
    • Seniority  
    • Health and wellness tests 

     

    5. Flexible Schedule and Control  
    As a truck driver you have more control over your schedule than a person who works 9 to 5. You can also have the choice of which kind of loads you want to take. If you want to do various types to increase your experience, you have that option. Or if you want to go with the one that offers most pay and least aggravation. The more experienced you become, the more prepared you will be to make these choices and more. 

    5. Job Security 
    Trucking isn’t going away anytime soon because of its specialty. Moving freight by truck is cheaper and faster than by rail, trucking cannot be outsourced to another country, and despite rising fuel costs the trucking industry will not be affected because those costs are passed on to the consumer. 
  • Trucking Industry’s February Payrolls

    by User Not Found | Mar 17, 2017

    03.17.17_FebJobsThe trucking industry rolled forward and up this past month by increasing its February payrolls. The Department of Labor (DOL) reported on March 10th that for-hire trucking added 10,600 jobs, and overall payrolls increased by 235,000. This increase follows a rise in January as the overall unemployment rate fell to 4.7%, according to Bloomberg News.
     
    The transportation and warehousing sector, which includes trucking, added 8,800 positions. The trucking industry in particular is expecting to benefit from an increase in online sales and retail in 2017. Unlike the overall gross domestic product growth (GDP), which decreases from imports, the trucking industry benefits from both imports and exports of goods. And for 2017, imports and overall Truckable Economic Activity (TEA) are off to a strong start.

    Ryan Sweet, an economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc., claims the economy is “getting closer and closer to full employment.” He also believes with inflation accelerating, growth in wages will be even stronger in the future. The boost in payrolls may be attributed to the mild weather thus far, as well as the President’s first full month in office. Since President Trump’s time in office, Americans’ confidence in the economy has reached the highest point in a decade, and shows confidence in the buying climate. In addition to economic confidence, the comfort index showed that household spending may be on the rebound, after a slow start to 2017. As the transportation and freight industry moves forward, it is a great time to be a driver, supplying the demand of transportation.

     

  • New Development in the 34-Hour Restart Regulations

    by User Not Found | Mar 09, 2017
    03.06.17_34HourRuleThe Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued a report concerning the 34-hour restart rule, ending a four year period of uncertainty. The controversy began in 2013 when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued the following two controversial restart requirements for hours-of-service: the 34-hour restart must include two 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. periods, and limiting the use of restart is to once every 168 hours. 

    In 2014, as part of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, Congress suspended these two requirements and directed the FMCSA to conduct a study on the impact of the rules. The study was completed in 2015, but not released to the public. However, the DOT’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) wrote a letter to Congress last week stating, “The DOT’s study met the act’s requirements. We also concur with the Department’s conclusion that the study did not explicitly identify a net benefit from the use of the two suspended provisions on driver operations, safety, fatigue, and health.” In summary, the two controversial requirements did not improve the safety of those who complied over those who did not. Now that the OIG has finished reviewing the study, the DOT must review and transmit the report to Congress, they are in the final stages of reviewing now.

    There were over 220 drivers that contributed to the study with over 3,000 duty cycles, with data captured using electronic logging devices (ELDs). The results of the study come as a relief to the American Trucking Association (ATA) and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) who have fought against the restrictions since 2013. On the contrary, The Teamsters union is strongly against the conclusion, and believes the regulation would help prevent accidents and reassure proper rest.  Although drivers have been operating under less restrictive regulations since 2014, but the FMCSA will need to issue a notice to permanently remove the rules.
     
  • FMCSA Clarifies ELD Compliance Extensions

    by User Not Found | Mar 03, 2017
    03.02.17_ELDExtensionThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued new guidance last week on the use of older logging devices and their compliance extension date. Although they are out of compliance, carriers that use older devices will have two extra years to comply with the ELD mandate, pushing their date to December 2019. This rule is part of the ELD mandate’s “grandfather” clause which has been included in the mandate since it was published in December 2015.

    Automatic Onboard Recording Devices (AOBRDs) can be transferred to a new truck and remain compliant as long as new AOBRDs are not purchased for new vehicles in a fleet after December 2017. ELDs and AOBRDs are different in a few ways. For example, AOBRDs aren’t required to automatically record location or operate with a truck’s engine, whereas ELDs are synchronized with the engines’ electronic control module for data. The shift to use ELDs will mostly be a change in software updates not a change for end users.

    In addition to this grandfather clause, the FMCSA said that carriers using non-compliant devices after the December 2019 cutoff date will have eight days to replace the device with a compliant device. There is a registry list of certified devices provided by the agency for carriers to choose from. However, the ELD suppliers on this list will not be required to notify carriers if their device is removed from it.

    More information can be found on the ELD agency’s FAQ section on its website.
     
  • Black History Month: Innovators in Transportation

    by User Not Found | Feb 24, 2017
    02.24.17_BlackHistoryMonthBlack History Month is celebrated every February to recognize the achievements of African Americans, and their roles in U.S. history. The celebration started in 1926 as Negro History Week by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), has been honored since 1976 by U.S. Presidents, and is even celebrated in other countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom. African American’s have been recognized for many achievements in various industries. Centerline would like to acknowledge key African American’s and their impact on the transportation industry. 

    Charles Richard Patterson
    Patterson was the founder of C.R. Patterson & Sons, a carriage building firm and first African-American owned automobile manufacturer. He was born into slavery in 1833, escaped, and settled in Ohio. After working as a blacksmith he bought out a business partnership and reorganized the company. Charles Richard Patterson passed away in 1910 leaving the company to his son. Once the era of automobiles started, Patterson’s son changed gears and manufactured the first Patterson-Greenfield car in 1915. 

    Frederick McKinley Jones
    If you have ever drove a refrigeration truck, you are doing so because of Frederick McKinley Jones. Although he patented more than 60 inventions in his lifetime, 40 of them were in the field of refrigeration. His most infamous invention was the automatic refrigeration system for long haul trucks and railroad cars. Before this invention the method was to load them with ice. Frederick McKinley Jones received the national Medal of Technology in 1991, the first African American inventor to ever receive such an honor.

    Garrett Morgan
    Garrett Morgan was the inventor of a tool that we all use every single day, and perhaps take for granted: the three-position traffic signal, also known as a stoplight. Morgan patented the item in 1923; it was not the first traffic signal, but was the first to have the middle “warning” position. His desire to make a three-position traffic signal stemmed from witnessing a bad accident at a regulated busy corner, that is when he realized carriages and automobiles needed more time between “stop” and “go”. He eventually sold the rights to the invention to General Electric for $40,000.

    Lois Cooper
    Lois Cooper began working as an Under Engineering Aide in 1953 with the Division of Highways. She was the first African American woman to be hired in the Engineering Department at the Division of Highways - currently CALTRANS, the California Department of Transportation. She worked on several major projects including the I-105 Century Freeway, the San Diego Freeway, the Long Beach Freeway, the San Gabriel River Freeway, and the Riverside Freeway. In addition to her career accomplishments, she participated in a program visiting schools to talk to students about considering engineering as a profession, and advocated for math and science in schools. Thanks to Lois Cooper the future of transportation has been paved for the next generation.
     
  • “Machine Vision” Video Systems: New Technology to Improve Truck Safety

    by User Not Found | Feb 17, 2017

    Lytx_activevision_300x240Technology in the trucking industry continues to advance with the rest of the world; now revealing in-cab camera and video systems with the ability to use “machine vision” to improve safety. This technology enhances safety measures by tracking lane markings, detecting other drivers, detecting travel time compared to traffic, and recognizing if a driver fails to stop at a stop sign or run a red light. The cameras can “see” the truck’s surroundings. These systems also work with other sources, such as accelerometers and the engine’s control unit, for data with the hope of alerting drivers when dangerous situations arise, such as drowsy driving.

    Lytx Inc. is a supplier of one video-based program, and offers the machine vision service, ActiveVision, as an enhanced service. The technology can track the environment both inside and outside the cab with data points. If repeated safety signs happen, such as swerving repeatedly in a period of time, the driver will be alerted via in-cab audio and visual alerts. 

    Netradyne is another company that has joined the video system market with its Driver-i program. Their core technologies are based on artificial intelligence and deep learning rather than human review, distinguishing them from the competition. Whereas other programs gather video that is sent to a human review center and then to the fleets once reviewed, the Driver-I gathers video and does all the computation and sends the information to the fleet manager within minutes. The artificial intelligence allows for quicker feedback to customers.

    The overall goal of this new “machine vision” technology is to improve driver safety. Many of the programs are focused on fatigue management to help employers and drivers create plans to combat undue risk. The hope is to also identify and document good driving behavior. This gives companies the opportunity to recognize those drivers and create best practices.

     
    Image Source: ttnews.com

  • A Woman among the List of this year’s America’s Road Team

    by User Not Found | Feb 13, 2017
    Rhonda300x240The 2017-2018 American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) ‘America’s Road Team’ has been chosen. This year’s list features 19 men and one woman and that woman is Rhonda Hartman. Hartman is the 16th female driver that has been selected since the team’s inception in 1986. The 20 team members are selected among a pool of 2,200 applicants after many interviews and recommendations.

    Hartman will have the honor of serving as a trucking industry ambassador, while remaining a full time trucker. She will tour North America in ATA’s Interstate One Image Truck over the next two years  for a national public outreach program. This program focuses on sharing the message of safety, essentiality, sustainability, and professionalism in the industry. 

    Hartman joined the industry after growing up driving heavy equipment on farms in Iowa. Hartman has been trucking for 34 years now, estimating 2.7 million accident-free miles. Her colleagues say she is a great role model. 

    She hopes that her involvement will encourage more women to consider trucking as a career choice. The Women in Trucking (WIT) organization also has its own Image Teamthat serve as trucking ambassadors but would like to see more women on the ATA team. Currently, it is estimated that female drivers account for 5.1 percent of the more than 3.5 million truckers on the road.

    The other 2017-2018 America’s Road Team Captains are:

    Steve Brand, FedEx Freight
    Jon Brockway, Walmart Transportation LLC
    John Gaddy, Carbon Express, Inc.
    W. Scott Harrison, K Limited Carrier Ltd
    Rhonda Hartman, Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc.
    Gary Helms, Covenant Transport, Inc.
    Bill Krouse, YRC Freight
    David Livingston, TCW, Inc.
    Charles Lobsiger, Walmart Transportation LLC
    Timothy Melody, ABF Freight System, Inc.
    James Moore, Saia LTL Freight
    Chris Outen, FedEx Freight
    Charlton Paul Jr., UPS Freight
    Jeffrey Payne, Reddaway, Inc.
    Stephen Richardson, Big G Express, Inc.
    Michael Sheeds, Werner Enterprises
    Steven Smalley, ABF Freight System, Inc.
    Gary Smith, Garner Trucking, Inc.
    Earl Taylor, Penske Logistics
    Tim Taylor, FedEx Freight

    Image Source: Trucks.com
  • FMCSA New Driver Training Rule Delayed

    by User Not Found | Feb 03, 2017
    01.31.17TrainingThe rule concerning minimum training requirements for entry-level Commercial Vehicle Operators  has been delayed to March 21, 2017. The delay was made to comply with Trump’s executive order to halt federal rules published but not yet effective. 

    The delay will postpone the Training Requirements by 60 days, but could be delayed further pending White House review. The February 7, 2020 compliance date will not be delayed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) even with the postponement of the rule’s implementation.

    The new rule has the following standards for any drivers receiving their CDL on or after the compliance date:
    • A core classroom curriculum, no minimum time requirement currently
    • Behind-the-wheel training, no minimum time requirement currently
    • Different standards for Class A and Class B CDL trainees
    • Requirements for endorsements such as hazmat and passenger

    In addition to these standards the rule will establish a registry of FMCSA-approved trainers that new truck drivers must receive their training from. The training will be deemed complete when “all elements of the curricula [are] proficiently demonstrated while the driver-trainee has actual control of the power unit during a driving lesson,” the rule states. Many organizations, such as the Owner-Operated Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and American Trucking Associations (ATA), support the entry-level driver training rule as it will create more efficient drivers, lead to fewer crashes, and lower maintenance and repair costs. 
     
  • Athlete-Turned-Trucker Improving Truckers’ Health

    by User Not Found | Jan 27, 2017

     

    trucker-health-2_300x240

    The truck driving community is constantly trying to find ways to protect their most valuable commodity—the driver. As with many sedentary occupations, truck driving can lead to obesity and high risk for other health conditions. Whether a driver spends 8 hours behind the wheel or 12, they can improve their regiment with both diet and exercise all while on the job.  

    Siphiwe Baleka, a swimming champion turned truck driver, has made drivers’ health his priority by speaking to new recruits on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle in this occupation. His method incorporates short bursts of exercise to boost metabolism, with diet changes such as cutting carbs and increasing protein intake. 

    Here are some health and wellness dos and don’ts for all drivers based on Baleka’s method: 

    • DO enjoy comfort foods, but be aware of your overall diet – make sure your comfort foods are in the right portions and coupled with healthier options. 

    • DO realize small changes make a difference – instead of grabbing macaroni and cheese, grab low sodium soup and a salad. Most restaurants (even the fast food ones) have healthier items on the menu to save you the calories. 

    • DO exercise activities that also decrease stress to improve mental health – if you don’t like running or walking, find an alternative method to get your heart rate up and blood pumping.  All you need is at least 15 minutes a day. Some simple tools to store in your truck or bag are a jump rope, resistance bands, and/or exercise mat.   

    • DO eat after working out, and keep eating – to build muscle and feed your metabolism.  

    • DO keep a log – and review at the end of the week to see where you can improve. You can even use an app to help with logging or planning (such as Baleka’s app or these other free options). 

    • DON’T settle for convenience – take the extra step to grab foods that aren’t prepackaged. Keep healthy snacks on hand in your truckso only the good foods are at reach. 

    • DON’T wait, start now 

     

    Image Source: NPR
  • ELD Court Hearing Denied: What this Means for Drivers

    by User Not Found | Jan 19, 2017
    shutterstock_521249434_300x240The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s (OOIDA) denied request to have their case reheard means the compliance deadline of nearly all truck drivers’ adoption of ELDs will remain December 18, 2017. The OOIDA plans to appeal the case in the Supreme Court, but no date has been set as of yet. In order to succeed, four of nine justices will have to vote in favor - one of the justice spots is currently empty. They also plan to work with the incoming Trump administration to reevaluate the rule, but optimism is low due to Republican support of the mandate in 2012.

    The OOIDA has been battling the ELD mandate since March 2016. The association’s primary argument is that the rule violates truckers’ Fourth Amendment rights to privacy.

    So what does this mean for drivers?

    All truck drivers outside of the exempt category will be required to use ELDs to track duty status, discontinuing the use of paper logs. They will have to comply by the 2017 deadline. 

    Complying means one of three things: carriers and drivers currently using automatic onboard recording devices may continue using AOBRDs through December of 2019, switch to ELDs, or attempt to become exempt to the rule.

    With many drivers reluctant to the change, some are considering buying older trucks to be exempt from the new technology. A rule is in place that states pre-2000 model-year trucks will be exempt from having to use ELDs. For those drivers that own pre-2000 model trucks, some expect demand and price to rise if they put their truck up for sale. In a survey conducted for readers by Overdrive, 39% said they are, or will be in the market for a pre-2000 truck to avoid ELDs. 
     
  • Safety and Updated Infrastructure are Keys to Elaine Chao

    by Charlotte Freed | Jan 13, 2017
    Untitled design (26)On January 11th, Elaine Chao had her first Senate confirmation hearing. For 3.5 hours, senators from both sides of the floor questioned Chao on how she would carry out President-elect Donald Trump's infrastructure plans. Though she did not share much trucking specific insight, it is clear that she is well regarded by congress.

    Chao is not new to high profile positions in government. She has experience in the cabinet, having served as George W. Bush's secretary of labor for both terms. Due to her experience and connections in Washington, Commerce Chairman John Thune believes she's the "idea candidate" to lead the DOT for the next four years.

    During her hearing, Chao advocated for increased investment by the private sector in public infrasturcutre. She also stated that she is willing to implement any practical solution for funding infrastructure spending - public, private, or mixed. This will be necessary to carry out Trump's trillion dollar infrastructure plan, a plan which Chao did not share much details about.

    On infrastructure, Chao believes strongly that the nation's prosperity is jeopardized by "infrastructure in need of repair, the specter of rising highway fatalities, growing congestion, and by a failure to keep pace with emerging technologies."

    On regulations, Chao stated that she believed federal rules should be rooted in analysis and data built around sound science. Chao also believes that risk-based analysis will prevent accidents before they happen, and suggests considering both the costs and benefits of new rules and regulations.

    With that being said, Chao acknowledged that safety should remain and will remain the top priority of the DOT if her nomination is confirmed.

    Image Source:
     NPR
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