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  • Are Truckers Quitting Because of the ELD Mandate?

    by Charlotte Freed | Jul 13, 2018

    07.13.18
    The newest house bill would require the Department of Transportation to conduct a study around the number of truckers who have quit their jobs because of the ELD mandate. Kevin Cramer, North Dakota Rep., introduced H.R. 6159 on June 20th to the House’s Transportation Committee. In a Facebook post, Cramer wrote “The hardworking men and women who drive trucks are the lifeblood of our economy. Let’s support our truckers, not burden them.”

    Whether denied, granted, or pending, the flurry of bills continue to pile on top of those from the early days of the mandate’s introduction. There is the HOURS, or the Honest Operators Undertake Road Safety Act, introduced by three House Representatives which would address the split sleeper rule and reduce the number of required supporting documents in an ELD. Then came South Dakota’s resolution asking for a full ELD repeal and Tennessee’s, which would prohibit funds from being used to enforce the mandate. Following proposals from Representatives Greg Gianforte and Collin Peterson each asked for exemption for agricultural sector truckers and businesses with ten or fewer trucks, respectively.

    Inarguably, dissatisfaction and frustration has been widespread surrounding the rule, with company drivers and leased owner-operators both threatening departure from the industry. If passed, Cramer’s bill would allow the Secretary of Transportation 180 days to study and report the results to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Education and the Workforce Committee, and Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives Committee among others.

  • In-Cab Video Could Save Lives and Millions of Dollars

    by Anna Mischke | Jul 06, 2018
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    The National Transportation Safety Board lists 'expanding recorder use to enhance safety' on their list of "Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements". This issue has been on their list since 2016, the organization sharing that no single tool has helped determine cause of accidents as much as in-cab recorders. In-cab video safety systems provide valuable information after a crash, such as what malfunctions occurred, how many occupants died or wounded, and which safety devices and systems were employed, if any.

    A study of over 10,000 crashes estimated that video could reduce fatal crashes by 20 percent and injury crashes by 35 percent. Adding to the death toll and injuries is the negative effect on public perception, employee morale, and trucking jobs. Considering the average cost for a fatal accident is $11 million and $500,000 for injury crashes, the NTSB questions why certain categories of transport – trucks being one of them – are not required to equip their transport with the technology.

    At Central Oregon Truck Company headquarters, Truckload Carriers Association's “2018 Best Fleet to Drive For”, drivers enjoy on-site dorms, a gym, business center, café, and other amenities. They also drive a fleet of 315 Kenworth trucks equipped with in-cab video safety systems. CEO Rick Williams implemented the systems in 2016 as a way to acquit drivers if wrongfully accused of an accident. The footage also helps in making decisions when they encounter mistakes. Williams said, “If we do something wrong, we need to have that responsibility.”

    Following Central Oregon’s lead, what are some benefits fleets and drivers have when using in-cab video monitoring?

    Training
    There are five coaches at Central Oregon who review the videos, triggered by predetermined infractions. After assessing, they have the opportunity to review with the driver. They are able to correct potential issues before they occur again, creating a holistic way of coaching their team of drivers. Risky behaviors like speeding, harsh acceleration, tailgating, and sharp corner handling can be recorded and referenced when training. While possessing driver performance data is important, acting on that data is even more effective. Retraining immediately after assessing at-risk behavior is the step that could close the loop on unsafe practices.

    Crash Reduction and Prevention
    With improved driver training comes the reduction and prevention of crashes. Not only are all motorists’ lives more protected, but the potential for physical and fiscal hits decreases. Specific insights when learning are helpful in all learning scenarios, driving included.

    Crash Analysis
    Video can help managers improve their training while aiding in presenting a clear scenario for a learning driver. Video footage lends an element to the coaching process that driver-scoring reports alone can’t offer. Used in tandem with events listed in these reports, managers and drivers can see exact behaviors tied to triggered events.

  • Spotlight Story: Erika Abrams

    by Charlotte Freed | Jun 29, 2018

    erika abrams quote
    In the past, Erika Abrams was known for her shear skills as a barber. Now, she is known for her sheer skills as a truck driver. A professional trucker for the past three years, Erika was self-employed for the majority of her life. Accustomed to the freedom of working independently, Erika found that working as an employed driver gives her the best of both worlds: a steady income with the flexibility she so appreciates.

    Erika’s experience as an independent contractor prepared her well for a career in trucking. She found her leadership skills very useful. Because she had established effective work habits as her own boss, the results of her hard work paid off in her new profession.

    The challenge of getting behind the wheel of an 18 wheeler was one that excited Erika. She says that nothing could have prepared her to know the feeling of driving a semi other than simply doing it. Erika went to trucking school to get her commercial driver license and proved her skills by maintaining a job – something her fellow classmates seemed unable to do.

    Erika has seen changes in the industry like worsened traffic. She hopes that with changes like these, driver pay will improve. “Drivers dedicate their entire beings to their profession” she says. They sacrifice quality time with friends and family to deliver loads on schedule. Erika is keenly aware of the discussions happening in Congress and hopes that trucker voices will be heard across the nation.

    Erika advises new or potential drivers to communicate as much as possible with experienced drivers. Insights from a seasoned trucker are helpful, as different personalities might find that different roles in trucking suit them. Erika knows there are particular demands in all trades, but one thing she can count on in trucking are the rewards and support. It makes it all worthwhile. Erika might not be cutting hair any more, but she’s making trucking look good with her dedication and hard work.

  • Must-knows for Drivers during Brake Safety Week

    by Charlotte Freed | Jun 22, 2018
    6.22.18

    The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) annual Brake Safety Week will use a heavy hand on enforcement with a focus on brake violations in September. From September 16 through 22, the CVSA will return to hosting a full week of inspections after last year’s sole day.

    Inspectors will be examining brake components in depth, and vehicles with defective or out-of-service adjustment brakes will be placed out of service. The CVSA explained in a press release that, “Properly functioning brake systems are crucial to safe CMV operation” and “Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce braking efficiency, posing serious risk to public safety on our roadways.”

    Most inspections performed will be full Level 1 North American Standard inspections and are the most in-depth evaluations of the following:

    • Driver’s license
    • Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate, if applicable
    • Drugs and alcohol
    • Record of duty status
    • Hours of service
    • Seat Belt
    • Vehicle inspection reports, if applicable
    • Brake systems
    • Cargo securement
    • Lighting devices
    • Tires
    • Wheels
    • Rims and hubs
    • Windshield wipers

    …and more. For a full list, visit the CVSA website.

    In 2017, 14 percent of inspected trucks during the one-day inspection spree were placed out-of-service, specifically for brake violations. During this year’s annual Roadcheck the focus was to be on hours of service, but brake-related violations made up the majority of out-of-service violations.

    Operation Safe Driver Week precedes Brake Safety Week, coming July 15 through 21. Drivers can expect added enforcement surrounding speeding, seatbelt usage, and distracted driving.

  • Driverless Vehicles to Benefit Trucking?

    by Charlotte Freed | Jun 15, 2018

    6.15.18
    Artificial intelligence is making its way into all aspects of life, whether we support the movement or not. One of the many industries seeing the influence of AI is transportation, with the introduction and deployment of automated vehicles. As legislation turns their attention to laws relating to autonomy, insurers weigh in on manufacturer claims, and money pours into development - industry stakeholders are asking how autonomy may actually be an advantage to truckers.

    Uber’s product lead for self-driving trucks, Alden Woodrow, is disappointed in the amount of coverage they’ve seen on how self-driving trucks are destined to be a negative for truck drivers. Woodrow and others in the industry see truck drivers benefitting in a number of ways including:


    Locally Focused

    Uber sees a future where autonomous trucks take control during the heavily regulated miles between what they are calling “transfer hubs”. At these hubs, human drivers would take the wheel for the final miles through dense or complex territory where AI could not operate as safely or comprehensively. Researchers see more opportunities for truck drivers to run local routes in areas concentrated around production centers and high consumption.

    Holistically Effective

    With the help of self-driving trucks, the driver shortage may not affect freight rates at so adversely. Freight prices have climbed due to shippers finding need to cover their own increased costs. Lower freight rates could mean higher demand, resulting in more business. Subsequently, more freight would need to be delivered, requiring more local, human drivers. With additional jobs offering the ability to work closer to home, more drivers may join the pool and enjoy their work and quality of life while closing the shortage gap.

    Innovative with Job Types

    The McKinsey Global Institute shared in a report that “new technologies have spurred the creation of many more jobs than they destroyed, and some of the new jobs are in occupations that cannot be envisioned at the outset; one study found that 0.56 percent of new jobs in the United States each year are in new occupations. Most jobs created by technology are outside the technology-producing sector itself.” While specific jobs related to autonomous vehicles may not be easily distinguishable yet, it is likely that pioneering driver technology will spur the need for new types of roles that fit existing truck drivers’ needs while appealing to a new group of potential drivers.
  • Gen X as Likely as Millennials to Call it Quits

    by Charlotte Freed | Jun 08, 2018

    shutterstock_150947120Not only has the trucking industry experienced enormous difficulty in hiring drivers, retaining good ones is a whole other struggle. Reports show that when surveying over 100,000 drivers working for 140 different carriers, 60% of all drivers spanning all age groups plan to leave within six months. Preconceived notions of Millennials jumping from job to job have been discredited according to recent research by Stay Metrics, a research-informed solutions provider for problems unique to transportation.

    Drivers aged 21-40 had slightly higher turnover rates than the average at 69%, but only 2 percent higher than the 67 percent of drivers aged 41 through 45. 56 to 60 year old drivers had the lowest turnover rate at 49 percent. Tim Hindes, chief executive officer of Stay Metrics, shared that “Contrary to popular belief, ‘Millennial’ drivers are only slightly more likely than middle-age Gen X drivers to leave their carriers” and that “we don’t see that impulsive decision making we often associate with youth as a leader cause of early driver turnover.”

    With the driver shortage expected to reach 174,000 in the coming decade, Congress continues to weigh the possibility of allowing 18 to 20 year old CDL holders across state lines after Rep. Duncan Hunter proposed the new legislation. As of now, most states do not allow truck drivers in this age range to drive state to state. Proponents of the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy Act, or the DRIVE-Safe Act, say that allowing younger drivers would expand the labor pool However, some argue on the side of the DOT saying that younger drivers would only add turmoil to the lacking market.

    Todd Spencer, president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, wrote to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure that “Young drivers both lack overall experience and are less safe behind the wheel than their older counterpart”, adding that “commercial motor vehicle drivers who are 19 to 20 years of age are six times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes.” Hunter debates that in order to keep the nation functioning, there must be adaptation, stating “There is no downside to doing this because you already have people on the road that are in the ages of 18 to 21. They went through all of the training, all the safety stuff. So they’re already doing it, they just simply can’t driver over the state line.” He followed up by saying “this fixes a dumb issue that Congress needs to fix.”

    Whether or not the legislation goes through at this time, fleets may find it important to consider the Millennial set and the subsequent generation when continuing to face the driver shortage. Those who were previously perceived as undependable or inconsistent may have as much of an impact as their predecessors.
  • Spotlight Story: Nancy Carbins

    by Anna Mischke | Jun 01, 2018

    Nancy CarbinsThe love of travel initially sparked Nancy Carbins’ interest in becoming a professional truck driver. The freedom, privacy, and ability to adventure cemented that interest. A correctional officer for ten years prior, Nancy decided that she wanted a career where she didn’t have to constantly be around people. Trucking has given her the opportunity to explore some of her favorite places in the nation such as Lake Tahoe, sample a variety of cuisines from a host of places (Nancy is a foodie at heart!), begin a new catering project with her three sisters, and integrate into the trucking community.

    Nancy’s natural ability to plan well makes her a perfect fit for her role: she appreciates being able to schedule things in advance and is keen at taking the many variables of deliveries into account. Whether time differences, adhering to ELD regulations, or traffic – she stresses the importance of preparation in advance to optimize time on the road and to ensure she gets the rest she needs to drive safely and effectively.

    Trained in Columbus, the Michigan native was one of the few that graduated from her CDL class. She appreciates the training she took to become excellent at what she does. Nancy loves the camaraderie of trucking, telling of a time when she teamed up with two other truck drivers in Dallas to protect horses loose on the road. Between the three of them blocking the road and turning on their hazards, the horses galloped away to safety. She finds encouragement from her fellow drivers and likes sensing their connection while on the road as they wave at one another.

    Our country wouldn’t be the same without people like Nancy, driving daily necessities from coast to coast. She summed up the importance of truck drivers perfectly, sharing “We move the world; everything you get from the shoes on your feet to the hat on your head and the food that you eat, a truck had to bring it.” 

  • The Driver Shortage and Your Grocery List

    by Anna Mischke | May 25, 2018

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    Imagine a routine trip to your regular grocery store before heading home after work, only to find that half of the food and beverage you normally purchase isn’t available. It isn’t readily accessible on the shelves because the delivery hasn’t been made to the store yet. Depending on when the next delivery can be made, you’re not sure when you’ll be able to buy that gallon of milk from this trusty shop again. The nation continues to face a growing shortage of commercial drivers and is expected to rocket to 174,000 by 2026 if current trends hold, reports the American Trucking Associations (ATA). The shortage has been deemed at crisis level.

    Sean McNally, spokesperson for American Trucking Associations, shared that roughly 71% of all freight tonnage in the United States is moved via truck, equating to more than 10 billion tons per year. With the trucking industry and economy being “inextricably linked”, e-commerce and the accompanying perks including express shipping only add to the deliveries that already struggle to make it to their destination on time.

    Due to the continually rising truck driver shortage, retailers are experiencing some of the highest rates in history, according to DAT Solutions senior industry pricing analyst, Mark Montague. Retailers saw a 30% rate increase in April of 2018 compared to the previous year. Those heightened rates then cause retailers to increase their own cost of shipping, membership, and products overall while others are forced to delay shipments.

    Drivers, predictably, continue to retire and the crisis only grows worse. With a new generation of workers largely turning away from the trucking industry due to perception of industry lifestyle or they are unable to drive immediately due to regulations, the industry is finding it increasingly difficult to delivery all of the freight necessary to keep the economy moving strongly. In order to continue offering expedited service and maintain with the e-commerce boom, nearly 1 million new drivers will need to join the workforce by 2024 to keep in step with demand.

  • Extra Enforcement Set for 2018 Operation Safe Driver Week

    by Anna Mischke | May 18, 2018
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    Last year’s Operation Safe Driver Week garnered nearly 39,000 citations and warnings given to commercial vehicle drivers. More than 84 percent of violations were for state and local moving violations followed by speeding, failure to use seat belt, failure to obey traffic devices, and mobile phone usage. This year’s enforcement blitz is set for July 15 through 21.

    Sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) along with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and widely supported by industry and transportation safety organizations, Operation Safe Driver Week intends to improve driver behaviors in and around commercial vehicles. Unsafe behavior by commercial and non-commercial vehicle drivers remains the leading cause of crashes; the FMCSA’s “Large Truck Crash Causation Study” cites driver behavior as “the critical reason” behind 93 percent of all passenger vehicle crashes and 88 percent of large truck crashes.

    During the week, increased traffic enforcement by traffic safety personnel will be implemented. To decrease the number of crashes, deaths, and injuries related to commercial vehicles, extra attention will be paid in looking for unsafe driving behaviors such as speeding, distracted driving, failure to use a seatbelt, following too closely, improper lane changes, and failure to obey traffic control devices.

    What can you do to prepare for Operation Safe Driver Week 2018?

    • Review and understand safety policies, practices, and procedures.
    • Confirm that all required materials and documents are ready in your vehicle.
    • Analyze cell phone usage policies within your company and for the states/areas you operate in. Centerline Drivers has a zero mobile phone policy.
    • Exercise safe driving behaviors while working and during personal hours.
    • Ensure you have enough rest; driving while fatigued is dangerous.
  • Number of Women in Trucking Increases

    by Anna Mischke | May 14, 2018
    shutterstock_577979161Research prompted by the Women in Trucking (WIT) Association and conducted by the National Transportation Institute (NTI) indicates that the amount of female over-the-road truck drivers has risen over the past year. Derived from hundreds of trucking firm surveys, numbers show that the percentage of female drivers increased from 7.13% in 2017 to 7.89% by year’s end. In 2000, women made up 4.7% of the trucking payroll.

    WIT also reports that more companies are monitoring the percentage of female drivers and managers, showing growth of 19% over the past two years. With this data, more companies may benchmark with other carriers in the industry. As the driver shortage continues to press upon all facets of the industry and with the average truck driver age at 55, the industry is more readily turning to women as a hiring resource; fleets are seemingly focusing attention on ways to grow female participation.

    In another study, WIT partnered with Memphis University to determine the percentage of women in management roles and on boards of publicly traded carriers. Of the 16 organizations, 12 (75%) have female directors, an increase from 10 out of 15 (67%) in 2016.

    NTI Chief Operating Officer, Leah Shaver, said that data and names of survey participants are not shared without their permission and guaranteed confidentiality. Companies may share their company profile through the NTI’s website. Contributing carriers will receive a copy of aggregated results by region and fleet size.

  • Roll Over Prevention Tips

    by Anna Mischke | May 08, 2018
    Rollover Infographic
  • FHWA Revisits Truck Parking Survey

    by Anna Mischke | May 04, 2018

    Driver News 050418The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) plans to survey truck stop operators, enforcement personnel, and state DOT officials on the lack of available truck parking. A 2014 truck driver survey, “Jason’s Law”, prompted by 2012’s MAP-21 highway funding law concentrated on state-to-state parking availability. The law called for federal funds being set aside to increase and research truck parking.

    The FHWA will pursue further data on states’ truck parking situations and will ask respondents about demand for parking in their state, truck parking information systems, number of parking spaces, truck parking plans, and “any impediments to providing adequate truck parking capacity” such as “legislative, regulatory or financial issues” and zoning, public and private impacts, approval and participation, availability of land, and insurance requirements.

    The shortage of truck parking remains a top industry concern and the recently implemented ELD mandate has seemed to exacerbate the issue. More than 75% of truck drivers and 66% of logistics personnel reported frequent difficulty finding safe parking locations. There have been reports in some states of illegal parking, sometimes alongside main transportation passages and metropolitan areas, typically between 7:00 pm and 11:59pm.

    Public input on what types of questions should be asked and information collected is welcome through May 23rd. Public comments from industry stakeholders can be shared via the agency website.

  • Prevent a Roll Over: Safety Tips

    by Anna Mischke | Apr 23, 2018
    Rollover Infographic

  • Safety Groups Unite to Promote Safe Driving

    by Anna Mischke | Apr 13, 2018

    Driver News 041318Distracted driving has caught the nation’s attention, particularly that of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the National Safety Council (NSC) and the Emergency Responder Safety Institute (ERSI). The groups are turning their efforts onto raising awareness around distracted driving in April, National Distracted Driving Month. NHTSA data shows that a staggering 3,450 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted driving in 2016. 9% of these crashes were reported as distraction-affected accidents.

    NHTSA estimates that 660,000 drivers are using electronic devices while driving during the day.  Hoping to decrease this number, the administration rolled out a $5 million national media buy for the ‘U Drive. U Text. U Pay’ enforcement campaign targeting motorists aged 18-34, the population most likely to be killed in distracted driving related crashes. The campaign includes multi-lingual television spots, digital ads, and radio time.

    The NSC and ERSI started #justdrive on social media, reminding drivers “to put away their phones and #justdrive”, said president and CEO of the NSC, Deborah A.P. Hersman. 

    Their message reminds motorists that staying alert when driving is extremely important when operating around emergency scenes. Responders working to help injured victims and clearing the roadway are particularly susceptible to distracted drivers on the road along with other drivers, their passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists.

    Even with the high amount of fatalities tied to distracted driving, the majority of states do not have texting while driving or total mobile phone bans for teens and novice drivers.  The NSC shared in their State of Safety report that only 16 states have laws in only one of the two areas.

    The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Operation Safe Driver week has been set for July 15th through the 21st. Supported across the country, law enforcement, the transportation industry, and safety organizations work together to call out unsafe driving behaviors by commercial and passenger drivers while educating all drivers in how to improve safety through educational and traffic enforcement strategies.

    Distracted driving doesn’t only involve mobile phones and technology, either. Doing anything that diverts attention while driving such as eating, drinking, looking in the mirror, or selecting music can cause a distraction-affect accident. Focused, distraction-free driving is of utmost importance for all motorists – and particularly imperative when operating commercial vehicles as a professional.

  • Centerline Shines a Spotlight on Melody Nave

    by Anna Mischke | Apr 06, 2018

    062817 Customer NewsMelody may only have six years of professional driving under her belt, but her skill, dedication, and attitude make her someone to admire in the industry. One of the only two graduating students from a class of twelve, she sees herself as a future truck driver running her own company and creating a family business. With influence from her brother, Frederick, and insight from her instructor, Dan, she’s made trucking a career that allows her to explore the country, become self-sufficient, and enjoy the freedom that is so important to her.

    After moving to Tennessee, Melody was recruited by top transportation companies, hoping to add the skilled driver to their ranks. While taking the time to go through the application process with four other companies, Melody decided Centerline was the strongest fit and would get her working the quickest due to her recruiter’s swift connection.  Since then, she has appreciated the support she receives from the people around her and has had so many positive experiences while on the road. She explained that being a driver is satisfying because there are so many facets to the industry: you can work for great companies, begin your own business, or even move into the logistics side.

    Previously an avid and skilled basketball player, Melody enjoys watching Kobe Bryant and the LA Lakers, and exercising daily. When she’s not behind the wheel, on the court, or with family – she might be found enjoying a birthday surf and turf dinner at Red Lobster. Centerline is fortunate to work with such capable and dynamic people on a daily basis and thanks Melody for her commitment and being part of the team.

  • Are Fleets ELD-Ready?

    by Anna Mischke | Mar 30, 2018

    shutterstock_642736369As fleets and drivers prepared for the ELD mandate, compliance rates rose 10 points to 92% the week before full regulation execution. Drivers who have not made the implementation by the April 1st deadline will experience a 10-hour service outage penalty before being allowed to proceed to their delivery and potentially additional consequences if they refuse to comply.

    Although the industry as a whole creeps closer to full compliance, there is still expected to be a high number of drivers out of compliance. A survey conducted by CarrierLists shows that roughly 10% of smaller fleets – less than 20 trucks - have yet to equip their trucks with electronic logging devices.  Many owner operators were late to adopt ELDs, with more than half (53%) of those utilizing ELDs only installing in the past three months.

    There is concern surrounding the late implementation of the technology; like any new process, ELDs will take some familiarization and likely trial and error. While the devices come with manuals and tutorials, understanding how to properly operate the ELD in terms of rules and regulations generally takes additional guidance in person or over the phone.

    Still, a recent poll conducted by DAT Solutions reports that the “vast majority” of owner-operators are ready for the mandate, although “unhappy” about the regulation – saying they decrease productivity, cause more difficulty in locating parking for trucks, and a reduction of income.

  • Self-Driving Vehicle Involved in First Pedestrian Fatality

    by Anna Mischke | Mar 23, 2018

    Driver News 032318On Sunday, March 18th a self-driving Uber fatally struck pedestrian, Elaine Herzberg, in Tempe, AZ. Since then, Uber has pulled their self-driving vehicles off public roads in the Phoenix metro area, San Francisco, Toronto, and Pittsburgh. Tempe’s mayor, Mark Mitchell, called Uber’s decision to suspend autonomous testing a “responsible step”.

    The vehicle, a Volvo XC90 SUV, was in autonomous mode traveling around 40 miles per hour in a 45 mph speed zone; officials said the vehicle did not appear to slow down before impact.  A human safety driver was behind the wheel and the car was not carrying any passengers. Neither driver nor victim showed any signs of impairment. At about 10pm, Herzberg was struck as she pushed her bicycle across the road near Mill Avenue and Curry Road and was transported to the local hospital where she died from her injuries.

    Tensions are high surrounding the accident as lawmakers, automobile manufacturers, and many others effected by the event scramble to state their cases on the safety or dangers of autonomous vehicles. While self-driving cars are widely expected to be safer than human-driven cars, there are many ways hardware and software can fail.

    Uber is cooperating with the local authorities, and upon investigation, Tempe Police Chief, Sylvia Moir, says the crash was “unavoidable” and that “Uber would likely not be at fault in this accident.” This accident appears to be the first pedestrian fatality caused by an autonomous vehicle on a public road. Sarah Abboud, Uber spokeswoman, said in a statement “Our hearts go out to the victim’s family.” 

  • Employment Numbers Soar in February, Wage Gains Trickle

    by Anna Mischke | Mar 19, 2018

    Driver News 031618The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in February the trucking industry added jobs at the fastest rate since 2015. Overall, employers added a substantial 313,000 jobs with strong gains in retail, construction, and manufacturing and the trucking sector provided 5,600 jobs.

    However, the industry remains to face the ubiquitous challenge of the driver shortage and near 100% turnover rate. Additionally, average hourly earnings increased a mere .1% from January and only 2.6% higher than this time last year and amid discord due to some regulations, that rate does not seem to be keeping pace with the need for drivers in a tightening labor market.

    The unemployment rate endures at a 17-year low of 4.1% for the fifth consecutive month with labor participation rates climbing back to the 63 percent mark. While the report figures will be revised twice more, the U.S. economy is wholly seen as fundamentally strong.

  • OOIDA Survey Shows Negative ELD Impact

    by Anna Mischke | Mar 12, 2018
    Driver News 031218

    Following the soft enforcement of the ELD mandate implementation in December 2017, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) released a survey to gather direct feedback and examine the initial consequence of the rule. In less than two weeks, nearly 2,000 responses were received from owner-operators under their own authority (39%) or leased on to a motor carrier (40%) and others described as company drivers and fleet owners. Roughly 35% of respondents have yet to purchase and install an ELD in their truck.

    The basis behind the ELD Final Rule is to increase compliance around hours of service, presumably decreasing the risk of fatigue-related crashes. According to the OOIDA, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) “constructed their entire regulatory impact analysis by using data from two carriers who had voluntarily installed AOBRDs because of their poor HOS ratings, and three carriers who agreed through settlement agreements to install AOBRDs in lieu of paying civil penalties for their habitual HOS compliance violations.”

    According to the survey, 79% of respondents said that the ELD mandate has decreased safety overall, 75% felt more pressured to speed, 72% were more fatigued, and 44% felt more harassed. Some members shared that they feel forced to drive longer hours and at a faster pace than before the rule went into effect while others felt pushed to operate even in dangerous conditions.

    In addition to perceived decreased overall safety, members have reported experiencing financial strain and “economic adversity”. Due to expenses directly tied to electronic logging devices and loss of gross income due to missed loads and delays, 54 percent of members overall were restricted from expanding their businesses. 

  • Self-driving Cars Allowed on California Roads

    by Anna Mischke | Mar 02, 2018
    Driver News 030518

    Starting April 2nd, self-driving cars with no human backup physically behind the wheel will begin trialing and transporting the public legally in California. Jean Shiomoto, Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) director, shared “This is a major step forward for autonomous technology in California.” Autonomous vehicles have been approved to drive on the state’s public roads since September 2014 as long as a trained safety driver is seated behind the wheel and prepared to take manual control.

    While test vehicles may be on the road without a human located in the car, a human operator will still be required to oversee remotely and “must be able to communicate with law enforcement as well as passengers in the event of an accident”. For public transport, the car is required to have a data recorder, defenses against cyber-attack, and “false vehicle control commands” along with “the ability to display or transfer vehicle owner and operator information in the event of a collision.”

    Shiomoto assured that “Safety is our top concern and we are ready to begin working with manufacturers that are prepared to test fully driverless vehicles in California.” The DMV has issued permits to 50 auto-makers and tech companies, including Tesla, Honda, Ford, BMW, Apple Inc., Subaru, and Lyft, Inc. Companies interested in testing autonomous vehicles on public roads will be required to secure a permit from the DMV and currently only apply to consumer passenger vehicles. According to Reuters, the remote-control technology is currently being employed by NASA and the US military and “seen as a way to more quickly usher in the commercial rollout of self-driving cars.”  

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