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  • Centerline Shines a Spotlight on Ben Fakes

    by Anna Mischke | Aug 18, 2017
    2 Million Miles Safely and Counting

    ben fakes

    Most drivers can’t say they’ve driven 2 million miles, and of those drivers even less can say they’ve driven 2 million accident-free miles in a truck: Ben Fakes can.

    The incredible driver, with Boise since 1995 and Centerline since 2012, reached 2 million accident-free miles this May, a feat to be proud of. He said, “I may not be the safest driver on the road, but I am certainly trying to be.”

    Ben’s experience in the army kick-started his passion to learn. His First Sergeant would ask Ben questions that he knew Ben didn’t know the answer to: Ben wouldn’t stop searching until he found the answer. This mentality has crossed over into his driving career. When he sees an accident on the road Ben will take the time to consider how the accident may have occurred, and how he would avoid a similar situation. Ben constantly drinks-in his surroundings, checking for new road signs, paving, and other factors that play into driving safely. While he learned the rules of the road on the Autobahn where there is no general speed limit and the environment posed numerous challenges, he continued to absorb insights from new drivers that he eventually began to instruct. Ben shares that he is never too proud to learn from others: no matter how little experience someone has, they may have some insight that could be helpful like a safer route.

    Though safety may be second nature for Ben, it isn’t necessarily always easy. He says that it takes energy to stay alert and maintain safety on the road. He constantly assesses his surroundings and heightens awareness if in a more precarious area. Whether in challenging weather or high risk environments, Ben focuses 100% of his attention on driving. He finds that it’s crucial to plan your route correctly, and many times driving a few miles further has gotten him to a delivery location more safely and often faster. Breaks are Ben’s best friend when it comes to maintaining focus, he recommends stopping for five minutes to refresh even if it’s simply getting out of the truck to walk around. He finds that helps to bring his focus back to the road. If he wants to make a phone call or have a coffee or eat a snack he’ll pull over to the side of the road, never allowing distractions in his cab. Ben said, “You will never find me eating a sandwich in heavy traffic. It is just not the time or the place to do that.”

    The independence on the road allows Ben freedom to truly enjoy his work. Driving past a pond at dawn, mist floating above the water, encountering a majestic moose similar to an image from a magazine, or witnessing an airborne Volkswagen (due to hitting an alligator), you can understand Ben’s appreciation for life behind the wheel.

    Humbly, Ben admits that there is no denying that luck plays a part in his safety achievement. He understands that conditions vary for everyone and some may face more hazardous roads, but he doesn’t allow that to impact his discipline of continuous learning and safety awareness. Support from the client management team at Boise has also bolstered Ben’s ability to safely navigate the roads; if he ever feels unsafe driving anywhere, the team wouldn’t ask him to carry on. The reasons to be safe are worthy: the community, his company, and his family. 

  • Hundreds of Drivers Out-Of-Service After 2017 Roadcheck

    by Anna Mischke | Aug 11, 2017

    Driver News 081017In Texas alone, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Roadcheck pulled 1,938- or 23.6 percent- of commercial vehicles and buses off the road. From June 6th through the 8th, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) inspected 8,182 commercial vehicles. Brake issues proved to be the most prevalent violation, according to the department, with faulty vehicle lighting contributing to the out-of-service orders.

    The DPS issued 1,994 citations and 22,346 warnings over the three day blitz. These numbers may reflect what truckers in other areas of the country experienced during the roadcheck as well. Some of the busiest highways in the nation are in Texas, and last year 22.5 percent of inspected vehicles were displaced during the Roadcheck while inspectors nationwide ordered 21.5 percent of inspected vehicles out-of-service.

    Hours-of-service violations, false logs, and improper endorsement led to 225 (3.4 percent) drivers being placed out-of-service for non-compliance with federal and state laws.

  • Hands Raised in Concern over Autonomous Vehicles

    by Anna Mischke | Aug 03, 2017

    Driver News 080417A study by the Center for Global Policy Solutions estimates that introducing autonomous vehicles too rapidly could result in a loss of 4 million jobs in the United States. Truck, taxi, and bus drivers would be the groups most impacted.

    As legislations fast track toward self-driving vehicles being allowed on the road, labor leaders are advising against their rapid movement - urging lawmakers to keep in mind the potential negative effect on many union jobs and the mass unemployment it would cause for some industries. Additionally, worker safety is at the forefront of their concerns as driverless vehicles hit the road. 

    James P. Hoffa, general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters- which touts 1.4 million members - stated “If anyone needs to be at the table for a discussion on self-driving technology, it’s the package car driver, the long-haul truck driver and the taxi driver.”

    Larry Willis, President of the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Division, an alliance of 32 unions, believes “While the committee has tried to improve this bill, more needs to be done to make sure we adopt the right regulatory and labor policies governing the introduction of autonomous vehicles into the economy” and that autonomous vehicles “are likely to cause massive job dislocation and impact worker safety.”

    As unions successfully lobbied a bill to include a 10,000-pound weight limit that precludes autonomous semi-trucks and commercial vehicles from being dispatched in the same way as passenger vehicles, many are concerned about the stage driverless passenger cars set for commercial transportation. Willis explained that “once you set the precedent in this bill, I think it’s very likely that you are going to see the same type of regulation migrate to commercial vehicles more broadly.”

    While officials in the auto industry expect that it will be decades before autonomous vehicles are widely used, many companies have begun planning for deployment. 

  • Bill Presented to Delay ELD Mandate

    by Anna Mischke | Jul 26, 2017

    Driver News 072617As implementation of the ELD mandate nears, attention is being focused from all directions toward this new game-changing rule. While the FMCSA tours the country for a six-stop educational event series, a bill named The ELD Extension Act of 2017 was recently introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. If passed, the bill would delay the compliance date by two years to December 2019, allowing owner-operators two years to make the move to mandatory usage of electronic logging devices.

    Texas Republican Representative and member of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Highways and Transit Subcommittee, Brian Babin, presented the bill after the U.S. Department of Transportation was urged by a House panel to study whether a “full or targeted delay” of the mandate is necessary. The panel also addressed the encumbrance of the new mandate for small carriers in addition to questions targeting technological concerns and following up on execution. Babin stated, “While technology like ELDs have great promise, I didn’t come to Washington to force those ideas on small businesses… If trucking companies want to continue implementing and using ELDs, they should go right ahead. But for those who don’t want the burden, expense, and uncertainty of putting one of these devices into every truck they own by the end of the year, we can and should offer relief. ”

    The Extension Act has a long way to go before becoming law and must be approved by the House and Senate in addition to being signed by President Trump. The bill can be attached to larger regulations or passed as a standalone bill as well.

  • The FMCSA Begins Countrywide Tour on ELDs

    by Anna Mischke | Jul 19, 2017

    060817_Customer NewsIn anticipation of the ELD mandate going into effect December 18th, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a six-stop tour across America beginning mid-July. The tour aims to provide insight to carriers and drivers, the goal is for participants to fully understand the mandate and how to comply. The ELD Implementation National Tour features “subject matter experts [leading] driver-focused presentations and panel discussions on ELD implementation.”

    With heightened concern and confusion regarding the mandate, the FMCSA is aiming to deliver clarity surrounding the rule. FMCSA staff members are partnering with industry trade events to answer questions and provide compliance-related materials.

    The upcoming five ELD Implementation National Tour stops include:

    August 24-26: Great American Trucking Show (Dallas, Texas)

    September 25-27: North American Commercial Vehicle Show (Atlanta, Georgia)

    October 14-15: California Trucking Show (Ontario, California)

    October 21-24: American Trucking Associations Management Conference & Exhibition (Orlando, Florida)

    November 6-8: Women in Trucking Accelerate! Conference & Expo (Kansas City, Missouri)

    As this shift takes place, it is vital for all to understand their role in remaining compliant. It is recommended to visit the FMCSA’s registry of approved devices, compare pros and cons, stay communicative with vendors and other drivers, and remain up-to-date on ELD news.

  • Hands Free for Safety: Cell Phones on the Road

    by Anna Mischke | Jul 14, 2017

    Driver news 071417With numerous rules surrounding cell phone use on the road, it can be difficult to understand what applies to you as a professional driver. Can you use your phone while stopped at a light? What about texting with one hand only? Does it matter if you read a text even if you don’t respond?

    Safety comes first when you’re behind the wheel- read on for a breakdown of cell phone usage.

    • Don’t use a hand held mobile communication device while operating a commercial motor vehicle that is in motion. If you’re able to initiate and terminate a call by using a single button you’re using a hands free device, and it’s safe to continue use.
    • Only use a hand held mobile communication device if you can make or end a call using only one button.
    • You may use a voice activated, hands free device to make and end calls.
    • Always make sure that it is safe to make a call, even if it is on a hands free device or only requires one button to call/end.
    • Never text, email, or use social media (Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, etc.) on a hand-held mobile for any reason when on the road: driving or stopped.

    Recent studies show that the odds of being involved in a safety-critical event such as a crash or unintentional lane deviation are 23.2 times greater for drivers who text while driving, and those dialing a call on their mobile phone while driving are six times more likely to be involved in a safety critical event. Texting drivers take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, this equates to a driver travelling the distance of an entire football field without looking at the roadway!

    Some states have additional rules in place so make sure you fully understand all laws pertaining to cell phone use while driving.

    Centerline has a Zero Tolerance Cell Phone Policy and if violated, may cause up to $2,750 in fines and termination.

  • Pack It Up: On the Road Essentials

    by Anna Mischke | Jul 06, 2017

    Driver News 070517Even if you’re on a shorter trip, ensuring you have some key items on hand when driving can make a huge difference, day-to-day. Keep these essentials with you so you’re well prepared for the trek ahead!

    Cleanliness is Next to godliness

    When making a delivery, you encounter all types of bacteria and germs whether from the things you touch (door handles are the worst), the people you shake hands with, and simply sitting in your truck. While washing hands with warm, soapy water is the most effective way to keep germs at bay - you won’t always have a sink handy. Keep illness away with an occasional squirt of hand sanitizer throughout the day.

    Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

    Staying hydrated is key in feeling energized, alert, and healthy throughout the day. While it may be tempting to quench your thirst with a sugary, carbonated beverage or another cup of coffee, be sure you’re drinking at least eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day (two liters or a half gallon). Your body and mind will thank you!

    Snack Attack

    If you prepare yourself with healthy snacks at the ready, it’s less likely you’ll stop for a greasy burger or sodium rich chips when your stomach starts to growl. Smart snack choices will give you longer lasting energy, keeping you from feeling lethargic (no more food coma), and fills you up for hours. Some favorites for easy carrying and full flavor:

    • Trail mix
    • Bananas
    • Hard boiled eggs
    • Whole grain cereal bars
    • Nuts
    • Yogurt or cottage cheese
    • Turkey jerky

    Protected Peepers

    Tired eyes can be a safety hazard on the road; arming yourself with professional grade sunglasses are important for your safety. Choose a pair that have quality lenses, 100% UV ray protection (preferably polarized), stiff frames that don’t bend, scratch resistant lenses, glare reduction. This one seemingly small addition to your drive can make an enormous difference.

    Wipe It Away

    You never know when you’ll need to clean up a spill, wipe your hands down, or additional backup in a restroom emergency. Make sure you’ve got a pack of baby wipes with you: a small investment for so many uses!

  • The Importance of Three Points

    by Anna Mischke | Jun 29, 2017

    062817 Driver NewsClimbing in and out of your truck is part of your daily routine, but special care and attention should be paid each and every time to avoid injury. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) finds that nationwide, falls account for roughly 15% of workplace fatalities, only second to auto accidents. Unsurprisingly, 70% of falls from equipment occur at the bottom step which is easily preventable when caution is taken. Many of the injuries that occur to the back, knee, and ankle occur when jumping onto uneven ground and/or objects.

    Following the 3 Points of Contact Rule greatly decreases the risk of falling: always have one foot and two hands, or one hand and two feet in contact with a handle, piece of equipment, or ladder.

    The 3 Points of Contact Rule gives maximum stability and reduces the potential of slipping or falling.

    In tandem with the 3 Points of Contact Rule, here are additional basic safety tips to follow that help prevent injury.

    • Evaluate every truck and piece of equipment prior to using
    • Inspect climbing surfaces for ice, snow, grease, mud or other hazards
    • Give extra care when working in inclement weather
    • Always look at the ground before stepping down
    • Never jump down: follow the 3 Points of Contact Rule when mounting/dismounting
    • Always mount or dismount facing the truck/equipment
    • Never mount or dismount with anything in your hands
    • Take your time when climbing in and out of your truck
    • Ensure you have a strong grasp on handles and rails
    • Do not use the doorframe or edge as a handhold
    • Do not use tires or wheel hubs as a step surface
    • Wear proper footwear for support and slip resistance

    Ensuring that you follow these basic safety guidelines could help you avoid unnecessary injury, literally a pain in the neck!

  • 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.
     
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