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  • Grants from FMCSA Focus on Safety and Streamlining CDL Process

    by Anna Mischke | Oct 12, 2017

    Driver News 101117The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently gave millions in state-level grants with the purpose of improving driver safety, and accelerating the commercial driver’s license process for drivers.

    $30.7 million was dedicated to the Commercial Driver License Program Implementation and divided among 43 recipients on Sept. 26. The grant provides funding to state and organizations with the intention of improving compliance with FMCSA regulations surrounding the standards of commercial driver licenses. Tom Keane, director of the FMCSA, shared that compliance projects vary from monitoring of third-party testers, upgrading IT systems, and hiring data entry analysts and test examiners.

    Keane also explained that compliance at the state level will make the licensing system increase efficiency while “streamlining the processes” and “yield safety benefits…which indirectly benefits the drivers who apply for CDLs and are trying to get jobs. It removes, to some degree, those barriers to getting your license and being able to work.”  While improving the process is important, Keane stresses that safety is the “main focus”.

    The FMCSA says that CDL compliance has improved since the grant program was introduced over a decade ago, with Keane stating that “with the maturation of the CDL regulations, it’s all trended in a manner in a manner that’s resulted in a much more uniform process…partially due to this grant program.” 

  • Trained for Rain: Driving Safety Tips

    by Anna Mischke | Oct 09, 2017

    Driver News 092117When driving in the rain and inclement climates, it’s important to remember that severe weather significantly increases the risk for dangerous driving conditions. While professional drivers should always practice safe driving on the road, extra care and attention should be paid in situations that are potentially dangerous for other drivers as well. Give your full attention when behind the wheel and focus on your surroundings.

    Slow Down

    Avoid hydroplaning by slowing down, especially right after it begins to rain when oil makes roadways particularly slick. Slowing down and delaying a trip by a few minutes will be far less time consuming than dealing with an accident.

    Give Space

    Allow a few extra seconds of follow time when driving in inclement weather; this gives you more time to react. Allow other vehicles and yourself a wide breadth. Slow down early to stop, for intersections, making a turn, or adjusting to traffic.

    Don’t Panic

    If your truck does begin to hydroplane, try not to panic; hitting the brakes too hard can make it difficult to regain control of your truck. Slow down and continue to steer in the direction you want to go. Take deep breaths and concentrate: you will be grateful for that extra space you gave yourself.

    Lights On

    Poor visibility for drivers can be at its worst in heavy rain. Make sure your headlights are on: other vehicles should be able to clearly see you, even with a cushion of space. Some states require lights to be on in the rain, even in daylight.

    Be Aware

    Keep a keen eye on your surroundings, particularly other large vehicles; they are more prone to have difficulty staying in their lane during high wind.

    Two Hands on the Wheel

    Keep both of your hands on the wheel as gusts of wind can move your vehicle. Give yourself maximum control of the truck and avoid any type of distraction like drinking or eating. Also remember that Centerline has a zero tolerance cell-phone policy.

    We can’t control the weather, but we can use our best judgment as professionals behind the wheel. Prevent dangerous situations by thinking ahead, communicating well with your team, being attentive and alert, and using your best judgment.

  • Centerline Shines a Spotlight on Ron Senceses

    by Kelsey Stafford | Sep 28, 2017

    There is no ‘I’ in Team

    Centerline Driver Ron SencesesCenterline is beyond fortunate to work with some of the greatest drivers on the road; Ron Senceses is an ideal example of that. Ron’s positive attitude matched with unparalleled work ethic make him an exceptionally valuable part of the team. Ron’s reputation for being a hard worker follows him from the time he served in the Army, where he was promoted quickly for his dedication, focus on teamwork, and fierce desire to do the job right.

    When Ron left the army due to shrapnel severing his Achilles heel, he decided in his down time to enroll in EMT classes. During the course, Ron’s natural leadership style led him to teach and train others, ultimately landing him a job offer from the class captain; Ron declined. Rather than joining the EMT team or spending his time in a cubicle in an office job elsewhere, Ron decided to attend trucking school where he described himself as a “sponge”, taking his learning very seriously. He quickly rose to the top of his class and was soon training others. At one point, his CDL instructor asked Ron if he already knew how to drive commercial vehicles as he picked up his coursework so quickly!

    Over the course of Ron’s trucking career, he has worked with a variety of equipment: he can operate flatbeds, has a specialty in heavy haul and steel hauler, and holds a heavy equipment license. He recognizes his father for the encouragement to become a jack of all trades. Ron thanks his father for the work ethic he instilled in him and his siblings, showing his love and support by being an example of strict discipline and giving them the tools and resources to become successful. He shared that if his father saw that something wasn’t done correctly, he would make sure that the task was remedied- even if it was the middle of the night- and that his father explained “if you are in the public eye doing a job, your employer is going to want you to do it right.”

    Now, Ron is the father of three; a dream after his time in Iraq. After being in the war, he appreciates every little aspect of life from “the simple liberties” he has to “seeing all the wonderful landscapes this country has to offer” as he drives. On the road, Ron appreciates the ever-changing environment as he drives and he listens to a favorite playlist and comedy and Jiu-Jitsu podcasts to stay focused. When he’s not driving, Ron will spend time in the gym to relieve stress and stay in shape.

    Ron’s motto is, “There is no ‘I’ in team.” He displays evidence of this through the advice he offers to new drivers: always keep an open mind and be prepared to listen and learn from those who are in charge of teaching. “It doesn’t matter if you are older, younger, or the same age as your trainer. It doesn’t matter if you have more, less or the same amount of experience as your trainer. A person should always be open. That way, the trainer and trainee have an opportunity to learn from each other.” It looks like we could all learn a lot from Ron Senceses; he is truly an esteemed part of the industry.

  • Vitamins for Vitality

    by Anna Mischke | Sep 21, 2017

    Driver News 092117_2With the seasons shifting and a particularly busy time of year coming, maintaining your health is a top priority. As flu viruses and colds make their rounds, having a strong immune system will help combat the illnesses attempting to wear you down. When you’re in the midst of a demanding season and time won’t stop for a sore throat or runny nose, you’re going to want to avoid getting sick by any means possible. Of course a healthy diet, adequate sleep, and exercise are the best ways to combating sickness- but living in the real world, we know getting all three isn’t necessarily easy. This is when you can turn to vitamins to help boost your immunity, lend extra energy, and protect yourself from potential fevers, coughs, and aches.

    The easiest way to ensure you are getting the adequate amount of vitamins throughout your day is through the form of a supplement. The best, most natural way of getting the vitamins the body needs for healthy functioning is adding foods to your diet that help nourish the body and taste delicious. Start by adding a multi-vitamin to your daily routine and try your hand in the kitchen: you may be skipping the cough syrup this year!

    Vitamin C

    According to Harvard University, more than 2 million sailors died of scurvy due to lack of vitamin C. While it’s unlikely you’ll fall prone to the grasp of scurvy in this modern age, vitamin C helps in the production of tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and protein in your bones while protecting you from free radical damage. Foods rich with vitamin C are citrus such as oranges and grapefruit along with broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale.

    Find a favorite vitamin C-rich recipe here.

    Zinc

    The common cold is pesky- and you have a much better chance of fighting it off with zinc in your diet. In small amounts, zinc helps with hormone production, growth, and digestion. It is also an anti-inflammatory that can help aid chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Good sources of zinc are spinach, pomegranates, lean grass-fed beef, shrimp, chickpeas/garbanzo beans, and cashews.

    Find a favorite Zinc-rich recipe here.

    Vitamin E

    This fat-soluble antioxidant protects cell membranes and may even prevent LDL cholesterol from forming into plaque on arteries. Vitamin E may also aid in eye disorders like cataracts. Sunflower seeds, tomatoes, tofu, almonds, avocado, and salmon are strong sources of Vitamin E.

    Find a favorite vitamin E-rich recipe here.

    Vitamin B

    The group of 11 B-complex vitamins include riboflavin, biotin, and folate as well as B-6 and B-12; vital in helping the body metabolize protein, fat, and carbohydrates. B vitamins help with the production and repair of DNA and others help with mind-related matters such as mood and migraines. You can find the various types of vitamin B in fortified whole-grain cereals, dark leafy greens, ham, chicken, eggs, peanuts, potatoes, pasta, shellfish, and bananas.

    Find a favorite vitamin B-rich recipe here.

    Vitamin D

    Vitamin D, usually associated to the sun, helps the body absorb calcium and works toward supporting the immune, muscle, and nerve systems. It can also help aid against depression and cystic fibrosis. Vitamin D can be absorbed through the skin, from food, and from supplements. Since staying in the sun for too long can lead to dangerous skin cancer and it can be difficult to come by in the winter months, eating vitamin D rich foods such as egg yolks, fish like sardines and canned tuna, mushrooms and some fortified cereals can be a great source of this important vitamin.

    Find a favorite vitamin- D rich recipe here.

    Omega-3 Vitamins

    Commonly known as Fish Oil, omega-3s are important in maintaining a healthy heart and strengthening brain productivity. Omega-3s aren’t necessarily easy to come by in natural foods (such as fish and walnuts), but the vitamin helps reduce inflammation, lowers triglyceride levels, and improves gastrointestinal functionality. Omega-3s can be found in Mackerel, Herring, Tuna, Sardines, Anchovies, and flaxseeds.

    Find a favorite Omega-3-rich recipe here.

    Vitamin A

    Vitamin A helps the body regulate its cells and is a powerful antioxidant. Overall health is effected by this vitamin as it helps reduce inflammation, builds stronger bones, and supports immunity by helping the body produce white blood cells to fight away illness and infections. Add vitamin A in your diet by eating carrots, cabbage, goat cheese, hard-boiled eggs, sweet potatoes, cod liver oil, and liver (lamb/beef/goose).

    Find a favorite vitamin A-rich recipe here.

    As always, make sure to speak with your doctor if you are on any other medications before adding any new supplements or vitamins to your diet. Every individual reacts differently to different substances, natural or not.

  • ELD Mandate to be Phased-In Through April 2018

    by Anna Mischke | Sep 15, 2017

    DRIVERS NEWS 091517The ELD mandate will go into effect starting December 18th. The new rule moves forward full-steam ahead despite pushback from numerous opponents, drivers will have time to adapt to the new implementation; truckers will not be put out of service (OOS) until April, 2018 due to the ruling by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA).

    Collin Mooney, executive director of the CVSA, shared a letter to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration deputy administrator, Daphne Jefferson. The letter stated that the association opposes delaying enforcement, the group hopes that the deferral will “ease the transition” and “help those motor carriers that have not prepared for the ELD requirement. While the delay aids in the changeover, Mooney makes it clear that “It is time to move forward with this regulation.” He added that “despite what opponents of the mandate may argue, the enforcement community is ready to begin enforcement of the requirements on December 18, 2017” and that “inspectors and roadside enforcement personnel will begin documenting violations on roadside inspection reports and, at the jurisdiction’s discretion, will issue citations to commercial motor vehicle drivers operating vehicles without a compliant ELD.” The CVSA also notes that “a motor carrier may continue to use a grandfathered automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD) no later than Dec. 16, 2019.”  

    The FMCSA studies report that the utilization of ELDs reduce motor carriers’ crash rates by 1,844, saves 26 lives annually, and prevents 562 injuries along with hours-of-service violations and has cut back more than $1.6 billion in paperwork costs for motor carriers and law enforcement.

    Starting April 1, 2018, inspectors will begin placing commercial drivers without an ELD out of service. 

  • Celebrate Driver Appreciation Week with Centerline

    by Anna Mischke | Sep 08, 2017

    NTDAW LOGO_px resizedTruck drivers are the thread that weaves the economy together daily, and seldom do they receive the recognition earned. During National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (NTDAW), this year from September 10th through September 16th, these unsung heroes will receive the gratitude deserved.

    The American Trucking Associations (ATA) revealed a new National Truck Driver Appreciation Week logo earlier this year. ATA Chairman, Kevin Burch sharing that “National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is an opportunity for America to show our gratitude to the core of the economy, our professional truck drivers, and to set aside this week for them as they have earned it through their hard work and commitment to the industry.”

    Whether over the road or last mile, each driver plays a strong role in ensuring that day-to-day needs for the entire country are met: over 70% of all freight tonnage is transported via trucks. We’ll be showing our appreciation for the 3.5 million professional drivers with the rest of the nation during a week-long celebration. How can you make sure to enjoy every bit of it as much as you can?

    Find Your Supporters

    Understanding the organizations that truly value your service as a driver can help you feel like your work is genuinely acknowledged. Getting to know the groups that recognize drivers is the first step in finding involvement in the community. The ATA kick started the annual NTDAW, the non-profit provides research and insight into the trucking industry throughout the year. The largest national trade group in the United States for trucking, the group is comprised of trucking associations for every state and work toward recognizing truck drivers and advocating for them on a nationwide level.

    Enjoy Freebies

    Treat yourself to some of the perks offered by various restaurants, companies, and truck stops over the course of NTDAW (and many throughout the entire month of September). Many truck stops boast free food for truckers along with discounts and sales.

    • Denny’s is hosting a month-long giveaway from a $1,000 Denny’s gift card to scratch cards with prizes to free Denny’s Grand Slams for a year while giving a 10 percent discount to truckers every time they visit until the end of the year.
    • Love’s Travel Stops celebrates the entire month of September with My Love Rewards points prizes and sweepstakes at each location.
    • Rudolph’s Southern Recipe is offering $1,000, pork rinds, and gear for their ‘Rig on the Road’ daily trivia
    • Select TA and Petro locations present CDL wellness consultations: more info here.
    • Pilot Flying J will award drivers with a combined 100 million myRewards loyalty points- valued at $1 million- and give away more than 65,000 prizes to drivers along with local in-store celebrations

    Take Time for Self-Care

    The tasks of the job can be strenuous. Make sure to give yourself some time- whether a few minutes or a full day- to pamper yourself. Enjoy your favorite food, take a stroll somewhere that makes you happy, or watch that movie you’ve been eager to see! It’s important to take the time to appreciate yourself and the hard work you put in every day. The finest things in life don’t necessarily cost anything: call a friend that you haven’t spoken with in a long time or spend some quality time with your trusty pet. Reflect on this past year and all of your achievements- big and small: they make a difference.

    Spread the Love

    Connect with other individuals who know how important your role on the road is to everyday life. Whether your fellow drivers, familiar faces at your long-time carrier, or a friendly dispatcher- each of these people have their hand in the trucking industry alongside you. Share your appreciation and show a fellow driver your gratitude. Send a quick text saying “thanks for all you do” or a dozen cookies to the people in your life who make your job possible and profitable. When we support each other, the industry only becomes stronger.  

  • Nationwide Inspection Blitz Slated for September 7

    by Anna Mischke | Sep 01, 2017

    Driver News 090117The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Brake Safety Day, is approaching quickly as part of the Operation Airbrake Program and is set to take place on September 7th. Sponsored by CVSA with the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the goal of the inspection spree is to reduce the number of crashes caused by faulty brakes. Mechanical roadside inspections to identify and remove vehicles with critical brake violations is the main goal during the weeklong run of inspections.

    Law enforcement agencies across North America will predominantly conduct Level 1 inspections- a 37-step procedure- and Level IV brake inspections for truckers, checking for out-of-adjustment brakes and brake-system and antilock braking system (ABS) violations along with malfunction lamps. Inspections will review brake system components to look for missing and/or loose parts, leaks, worn linings, pads, drums or rotors and other faulty brake system components.

    The CVSA reports that brakes violations are the biggest cause for out-of-service violations and represent 45.7 percent of all out-of-service violations during last year’s International Roadcheck. 2016’s Brake Safety Week, now replaced by Brake Safety Days in May and September, pulled almost 4,000 trucks out-of-service for violations.

    Brake Safety Day activities intend to “educate drivers, mechanics, owner-operators and others on the importance of proper brake maintenance, operation and performance” shared the CVSA and that “proper functioning brake systems are crucial to safe CMV operation.”

    Over 3.4 million brakes have been inspected since the initiation of the Operation Airbrake Program in 1998.

  • ATRI Requests Driver Involvement in 2017 Survey

    by Anna Mischke | Aug 24, 2017

    Driver News 082317The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) annually requests insight into commercial driver experience through the Top Industry Issues Survey, first released in 2005 and commissioned by the American Trucking Associations (ATA). Understanding the most crucial difficulties drivers face allows the research firm to conduct studies, which focus on the issues such as highway safety and infrastructure.

    Driver feedback helps identify the strongest points of concern and Rebecca Brewster, ATRI president and COO described driver involvement as “critical” in the organization’s research, stating “We encourage drivers to spend a few minutes completing the online survey so that driver opinions are included in the research on these timely issues.”

    The top concerns in trucking according to the survey last year was the ELD Mandate, Hours of Service Regulations, The Cumulative Economic Impacts of Trucking Regulations on the Industry, Truck Parking, and The Economy. CSA Scores, The Driver Shortage, and Driver retention were also raised as major areas of anxiety. The results of this year’s survey will be shared during the ATRI Management Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, FL from October 21 to 24.

    Over 500 driver surveys were collected at the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS), drivers are also urged to share their thoughts on crucial problems via online survey.

    Share your thoughts with the ATRI here.

  • 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.

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