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Archive for January, 2015


Truck parking crisis exposed

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OTR Trucking image

OTR Trucking










When the general public thinks of ‘truckers’, they many times will associate these men and women driving down the highways as those who are deliberately driving as many hours  as they can without sleep, without concern or care about their fatigue, their safety, or the safety of others sharing the roads.  Unfortunately, this is the image that has been portrayed for many years in the past by much of mainstream media. It is sensationalism at its worst and at the expense of others.  It is irresponsible, taking focus away from the sources and root causes which has affected the health, well being and safety of both professional drivers and the motoring public.  This diversion of focus has not just created apathy for drivers, but even worse, almost a loathing of them.  Seen as selfish greedy individuals trying to make as much money as they can at the expense of others.

Truck Drivers Need to RestHere is the simple truth. Drivers want to make a decent wage and they want to REST SAFELY when they are tired. That sounds easy enough, right? Why all the distorted confusion?
As professional drivers however, we know it is not that easy, as was the case for Michael Boeglin and Jason Rivenburg, both murdered because of a lack of safe truck parking.

Drivers are allowed to drive for 11 hours in a 14 hour window.  They are paid only for the hours they drive. That driving window includes all possible scenarios which could occur, such as detours, highway accident delays, delays at shippers and receivers (anywhere up to 14 hours or more), weather conditions, etc….

There are a lot of factors which dictate a drivers driving day. Industry and driver priorities (not necessarily the same) include being on time, using all available hours to drive, remaining compliant (regulations), and most importantly, taking mandated time to rest to avoid Truck Driver Fatigue.

Simply put, in order to remain compliant, rest properly and avoid truck driver fatigue, drivers must be able to park safely.  The serious repercussions of the lack of truck parking, although known for decades to exist, has now become more apparent as the Hours of Service (HOS) rule is strictly enforced, especially since more trucks are equipped with ELD’s. The Truck Parking Shortage had been downplayed in the past, until recently.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) recently posted an article, Too Many Trucks, Too Little Parking. Journalist Betsy Morris took a deep look into the industry and shared a serious issue with millions. She interviewed many within the industry trying to determine the causes of major issues, and truck parking was one of those issues that kept showing up.

Her research included extensive interviews, including one with veteran driver Dave DellaMaggiore, who was selected to share real life experience with the WSJ. Dave and fiancée Robin Search created the FaceBook group, Give Truckers Room, educating drivers of passenger vehicles on how to drive safely around semi trucks. Well known throughout the trucking world, Hope Rivenburg, known for Jason’s Law shared her story and the long uphill battle for more safe truck parking, a story that although known by most within trucking, was not common amongst the general public.

The WSJ article has created an elevated awareness nationally and within the industry, revealing the seriousness and  fatal consequences that the Truck Parking Shortage can  and has caused. It’s not a bunch of drivers complaining, it’s a national safety risk and one that  creating more regulation will not solve.

One article which stood out and came to our attention was from UtraShipTMS. It included a solution for the truck parking shortage, along with this statement to the trucking industry:

“An actively managed yard provides managers with a clear inventory of available spaces which could be used in theory to allow truckers to dwell as they wait – sometimes for hours – for loading or unloading. Extra yard space for those with ample lots could be made available to truckers for overnight parking. Keeping drivers off of public streets, freeway ramps and vulnerable, remote parking places like abandoned lots is a laudable goal. It is also one that logistics as an industry is going to be forced to address.”

A powerful call to action to the industry, and an example of what the newly formed website and coalition North Amercian Trucking Alerts has aimed to achieve: accountability and action, confronting and offering solutions to the issues of the trucking industry.

Join us Thursday 1/29/15 on AskTheTrucker “LIVE” as we have as our guest, President and CEO of UltraShipTSMm, Nicholas Carretta. Mr. Carretta will discuss the truck parking shortage and the need for industry involvement in order to help resolve the issue. He will also share with us their YMS, the UltraShips’ solution to help resolve the shortage within the logistics segment.

Also joining us is veteran trucker Dave DellaMaggiore, the driver interviewed by the WSJ and an advocate for the industry. He will be sharing in the discussion his suggestions as well.

Truck Parking Shortage Receive National
Call In Number 347-826-9170

Related Articles and Info:
North American Trucking Alerts

Tim Taylor and NetworkFOB lead the way in support for Jason’s Law and Trucker Safety
Parking shortage hits the mainstream
Supply Chain News: Forget the Driver Shortage – Parking Spots for Truckers Increasingly Hard to Find

© 2015, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: AskTheTrucker Live, Dave DellaMaggiore, hope rivenburg, Jason’s law- H.R.2156 S971, Michael Boeglin, Nicholas Carretta, truck driver fatigue, truck parking shortage, UltraShipTMS, wall street journal

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Category : Ask The Trucker | Blog

Truckers working together to reclaim professional image

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Drive for Freedom

Drive for Freedom

In years past, professional truck drivers were known as the “Knights of the Road”, looked upon as highway heroes crisscrossing the country in their donation toward the greatness of America. In the fifties and sixties, their pride in the profession was well noted by their shiny-kept rigs while dressed in sharp uniforms. It was a vocation that was respected by all, including the trucking companies which employed them.

The history pertaining to the fall of this once factual image is a long one; much too long for a simple blog post. The many aspects within the trucking industry which has contributed to its decline is well known among the veterans, and although there are still those drivers who work toward displaying the same pride and self respect from decades gone by, the past “image” of the “truck driver” is in large part, a sad one.

Brian Carlson

Brian Carlson

Among those striving to regain that long-lost illustration of the conveyor of our nation’s cargo, is Brian Carlson, founder of the Drive for Freedom (DFF) organization. A non-profit advocacy organization under section 501(c) (3), the DFF takes driver image seriously, believing that “one must take responsibility and lead by example if professional drivers are going to be able to accomplish positive change for their industry.”

The DFF is much more than a social media group and page, although it does share much info on social media platforms: it is an established foundation with directly settled programs which are aimed at achieving its goal in providing positive change and solutions to those issues faced by drivers and the industry.

The Team Field Advisor Safety Program is one such example which is based on driver commitment in achieving three positive goals: reducing accidents, improve public’s view of drivers’ image and a drivers-support-drivers initiative.

The image portrayed within any industry plays an enormous role in the success of its employees and business status. The image which comes across to customers, business partners, consumers and the general public as a whole, can affect the outcome of many important aspects related to personal and business accomplishments. For the trucking industry, these will include such issues as driver wages, FMCSA safety ratings, driver skill classification, truck parking concerns, and even regulations.

To achieve regaining the honor and respect which was once naturally interpolated among the professional driver, will take the full collaboration of all involved within the industry: drivers, brokers, shippers, receivers, motor carriers et al.

Brian Carlson was our recent guest on the Ask The Trucker “LIVE” program, discussing the driver image issue further, along with the goals of the Drive for Freedom organization. Among callers were other drivers within the industry working toward reclaiming the “Knights” title and representing drivers in leading by example:

Rick Ash and Henry Albert of the Trucking Solutions Group and Tom Ingraldi, contributing member for the North American Trucking Alerts (NATA), were a few joining in on the conversation. Also sharing in the conversation was Richard Wilson of TCRG Consulting, who is also on the advisory council as Regulation and Compliance Representative for NATA. We are proud and honored to also have Rick, Henry, Rich, and Brian as members and contributing authors for NATA.

The truck driver “image” is a serious problem for the industry and organizations such as these see the importance in addressing the issue and working toward the solution, as well as other important aspects such as driver health, etc.

To learn more about the Drive for Freedom organization or to become a supporting member, visit: drive4freedom and speak directly with Brian or Jennifer Carlson.

© 2015, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: ask the trucker, brian carlson, DFF, drive for freedom, drive4freedom, driver image, FMCSA, Henry Albert, North American Trucking Alerts, regulations, Richard Wilson, Rick Ash, TCRG Consulting, Tom ingraldi, truck driver, truck driver wages, trucker image, Trucking, trucking companies, Trucking Solutions Group

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Category : Ask The Trucker | Blog

Costs of ELD mandate addressed by Pivot Technology Resources

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It is no longer a question as to “if” the mandatory use of Electronic Logging Devices (ELD’s) is coming to the trucking industry, but a matter of “when.” The exact final rule date for the FMCSA Electronic On-Board Recorders rule has yet to be established (expected to be 2015), but according to a recent report by Overdrive Magazine, the effective date will not likely be until 2017 (2 years after final rule).

Either way, the ELD mandate was one of the hottest topics among professional drivers last year, and remains as such as 2015 moves forward. For owner operators and independents, cost played the major factor in voicing their opposition to the rule, with carrier harassment issues following close by.

Although the FMCSA added a proposal within the rule-making process adding the “measures to address concerns about harassment resulting from the mandatory use of ELDs”, many drivers continue to see this impending ELD mandate as further evidence to the deterioration in the ability to earn a living wage within a truck driving career; with 71% of independent and small-fleet owner-operators reporting that they would quit over-the-road trucking should ELD’s become mandatory.

Pivot Technology Resources

Pivot Technology Resources

As a measure to assist in lowering the cost of such regulations and continuing technology,  Pivot Technology Resources has been helping independents and small fleet carriers since 2008, becoming recognized as the trucking industry’s most reliable source for quality new and used mobile communications and asset tracking equipment.

By obtaining the latest technology of working in-cab computers from various sources, they are able to offer a brand-new in-house warranty on ELD’s and other mobile devices at a price for about half the cost, as well as offering other money-saving services to both driver and carrier.

All of the equipment represented by Pivot Technology Resources is thoroughly tested, cleaned, and backed with a new warranty before it is sold on the secondary market.

© 2015, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: ELD mandate, ELD’s, electronic on-board recorders, FMCSA, mandate, pivot technology resources, Trucking

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Category : Ask The Trucker | Blog

2013 HOS restart rule projects increase in total truck crash stats

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As the Hours of Service (HOS) rule was published in the Federal Register on December 27, 2011, the trucking industry wasted no time in fighting back against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforcement.

With an effective date of February 27, 2012, and a complete provision compliance date of July 1, 2013, the primary concern of the industry focused on the requirements of the 34-hour restart  provision in the HOS rule. The new rule called for drivers to include two rest periods between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. during their 34-hour restart, and limited use of the restart to once a week. In addition, drivers were required to take a minimum 30 minute break before they could begin driving again if they had been on-duty for eight hours.

The reasoning behind the change was the belief by the FMCSA and various safety advocacy groups that this would allow drivers additional time to rest as the goal was to reduce the number of truck crashes along the nation’s highways. Those within the industry including both organizations and drivers to a large degree, believed this would send more drivers out on the road during the periods of higher congestion since a large majority of drivers perform their driving duties during night hours.

Controversies over the trucking industry’s HOS rules have been debated for nearly twenty years, with the most recent 2013 HOS restart provision at the top of the list. As the industry continued to argue their case against the provision, former FMCSA Administrator, Anne Ferro testified November 2013 before the House Small Business Subcommittee, providing additional information about the 2013 Restart Rule and the 2012 FMCSA Field Study. Concerning the impact of the HOS final rule, Ms. Ferro stated:

“We estimate the new requirements will prevent 1,400 crashes, 560 injuries, and save 19 lives each year.”

On June 3, 2014 FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro faced criticism over the agency’s hours of service (HOS) rules before a Senate Surface Transportation Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill. Ferro defended changes made last year to the “34-hour restart” provision of the HOS regulations. Also at the June 3 hearing, subcommittee members Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) challenged Ferro on the economic and safety impacts of the rule.

The Senators questioned Administrator Ferro on whether FMCSA had done adequate research to support FMCSA claimed benefits for their rule changes. It was also brought up during this hearing that many truckers complained the changes required them to drive more during highly congested morning hours.

The Senate Appropriations Committee on June 5 approved legislation rolling back a portion of controversial changes made in 2013. An amendment was attached to the committee’s FY 2015 DOT appropriations bill that would effectively stay for one year changes that limit use of the “34-hour restart” to once in a seven day period and require that it include two off-duty periods between 1:00 am and 5:00 am, essentially reverting back to pre-July 2013.

The amendment would also require additional study of the safety efficacy of the new rules.
The amendment, proposed by Senator Susan Collins (ME), received strong bipartisan support. While the amendment has always been supported by the trucking industry and much of the business community, the provision to roll back HOS changes, known as the “Collins Amendment” for its sponsor Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), has strongly been opposed by the Obama Administration, safety advocacy groups, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and state truck enforcement officials.

DOT Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx has expressed “strong objection” saying the rollback of the restart will “put lives at risk.” After long and much heated debates, the rest period requirements were suspended via The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015, enacted on December 16, 2014. All other hours-of-service rules, including the 30-minute rest break provision, remained unchanged with carriers and drivers maintaining compliance. This will remain until next fiscal year, Oct 1,2015.

FMCSA posted an Updated Notice: Hours of Service of Drivers.

The bill states: “Section 133 temporarily suspends enforcement of the hours-of-service regulation related to the restart provisions that went into effect on July 1, 2013 and directs the Secretary to conduct a study of the operational, safety, health and fatigue aspects of the restart provisions in effect before and after July 1, 2013. The Inspector General is directed to review the study plan and report to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations whether it meets the requirements under this provision.”

Since the Collins Amendment requires FMCSA to conduct a study to compare the safety experience of fleets under both sets of rules, many believe the study results will support the trucking industry position. However, if the data generated by the study indicates otherwise, the 2013 HOS restart rule could be a returning.

Truck Crash Extrapolation

Truck Crash Extrapolation — click to enlarge

With the recent release from the FMCSA Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCIMS) summarizing the crash record statistics beginning from 2010, the numbers include data up to August 31, 2014. By extrapolating the current information, it is possible to extend the application to cover the remaining four months of 2014. In doing so, one can reach a reasonable conclusion to what extent the change in HOS rules were successful in meeting the goals of reducing truck crash statistics in eight different categories:

  1. Number of vehicles involved in fatal and non-fatal crashes
  2. Number of vehicles in fatal crashes
  3. Number of vehicles in non-fatal crashes
  4. Number of fatal and non-fatal crashes
  5. Number of fatal crashes
  6. Number of non-fatal crashes
  7. Number of fatalities as a result of a crash
  8. Number of injuries as a result of a crash

As of August 31, 2014, the number of vehicles involved in fatal and non-fatal crashes (1) was 104,132. By extrapolating the figures to continue through the four months remaining, the final variable reached would come to 156,198. This number would exceed all previous years between 2010 and 2013:

  • 2010: 136,817
  • 2011: 138,567
  • 2012: 138,326
  • 2013: 149,367

As of August 31, 2014, the number of fatal and non-fatal crashes (4) was 97,501. Extending forward to the year’s end, the projected number would reach 146,251.  Again, this number would exceed all previous years:

  • 2010: 129,656
  • 2011: 130,890
  • 2012: 130,551
  • 2013: 140,928

Other factors that would conclude a rise in yearly percentage would include the number of vehicles in non-fatal crashes (3): 152,298:

  • 2010: 132,668
  • 2011: 134,459
  • 2012: 134,012
  • 2013: 145,055

And the number of non-fatal crashes (6): 142,764:

  • 2010: 125,821
  • 2011: 127,115
  • 2012: 126,643
  • 2013: 137,068

Decreasing Numbers

Factors concluding a decrease in annual percentage would show to be the number of vehicles in fatal crashes (2), the number of fatal crashes (5), number of fatalities as a result of a crash (7):

Analysis 1

The number of injuries as a result of a crash (8) for 2014 would appear to show a decrease in numbers from the previous year of 2013, but still higher than 2010 through 2012:

Analysis 2

So what conclusion can be drawn by the projected estimated statistics? Was the FMCSA’s 2013 HOS restart rule successful in reducing fatal crashes, and if so, what is the explanation to the increase in the overall total number of crashes?

It will be interesting to see the actual final numbers of 2014 for the FMCSA Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCIMS) crash record statistics, and even more so, the Field Study the FMCSA will be conducting, comparing the safety involvement of fleets under both sets of HOS rules required by the Collins Amendment.

© 2015, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: 34 hour restart, Collins amendment, drivers, drivers HOS, fatal non-fatal, FMCSA, hos, hours of service, MCIMS, regulations, statistics, truck crashes, Trucking

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Hope Rivenburg to speak on Jason’s Law at ITEA Conference

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Hope Rivenburg

Hope Rivenburg

Hope Rivenburg, crusader of Jason’s Law, will be one of the guest speakers at the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association (ITEA) Conference in Glen Ellyn, Illinois on Wednesday, January 7th, 2015.

The conference will be held at the College of DuPage, Suburban Law Enforcement Academy (SLEA) in the Homeland Education Center.

Via the ITEA, “the theme for the event this year revolves around the expression Protect The Industry, and is open to law enforcement and the trucking industry.”

Although 2014 was a “frustrating year” for Jason’s Law, Hope advises that the Jason’s Law non-profit 501(c)(3) foundation has some “great ideas we are working on to make Jason’s Law truly be implemented in 2015.”

The issue concerning the shortage of safe and secured parking areas for the nation’s three million plus truck drivers has been ongoing for decades. Signed into law by President Obama on July 6, 2012, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) is the most recent funding and authorization bill to govern United States federal surface transportation spending, with the bill going into effect on October 1, 2012.

Jason’s Law, a provision successfully incorporated into MAP-21, allows funding for additional safe truck parking. Jason’s Law also made state truck parking projects eligible for federal funding through the National Highway Performance Program (NHPP), Surface Transportation Program (STP), and Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP).

As part of the bill, the Department of Transportation (DOT) was directed by Congress to conduct their own study and assessment for the need of additional truck parking facilities within each state. The DOT study was to be completed by April 1, 2014, although verification of the completed study is currently unclear.

Ms. Rivenburg launched her own study via the National Truck Parking Survey which collected data directly from professional truck drivers regarding the availability of safe truck parking. The Federal Highway Administration welcomed the survey, urging professional truck drivers to participate in order to help identify areas across the country experiencing a critical shortage of truck parking areas.

Nearly 4,000 professional truckers shared their knowledge and expertise in the survey which was also provided to the DOT to assist in their assessment mandated by Congress.

In March of 2014, Hope spoke with Wendy Parker of The George and Wendy Show via teleconference, to provide an update on the progression of Jason’s Law:

In July of 2014, Hope was one of our special Guests on our Truth About Trucking “Live” broadcast: Truck Parking Shortage: Drivers at Risk, as the heated discussion of truck parking shortages, once again surfaced when OTR driver Michael Boeglin was fatally shot in Detroit, Michigan as he waited to load.

ITEA Conference

ITEA Conference

Hope made many points on the show as reported in Overdrive Magazine, including the fact that Jason’s Law and the funding it makes available for creating further parking alternatives for trucks at the state level, also competes with maintenance and upkeep of roads and bridges.

She also noted that making the parking safety issue a priority at state DOT levels, should now be the primary concern. Drivers can find a full listing of state DOT websites via the Federal Highway Administration’s: State Transportation Web Sites.

Invited to speak before the ITEA, Hope will be addressing the attending representatives of the law enforcement, motor carriers and professional driver’s community. For more information on the 4th Annual ITEA Conference, please visit their webpage: Illinois Truck Enforcement Association.

© 2015, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: DOT, Federal Highway Administration, FHA, hope rivenburg, illinois truck enforcement association, Jason’s law- H.R.2156 S971, MAP 21, overdrive magazine, state transportation

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Category : Ask The Trucker | Blog