Recent comments

  • A better path to safer roads   6 weeks 6 days ago    

    Mr. Abramson, So very true!! The "pay by the mile" philosophy and business model is a bankrupt system that is costing our society billions of dollars, especially is the social arena regarding driver family stress, driver health issues and especially driver safety issues.

    I believe the technology exists today to alleviate the problems associated with the OTR business model.

    Of course, it takes "thinking outside the box" but given the issues surrounding the driver shortage problems the trucking industry experiences it is time to do just that.

    Need help? After thinking about this since the late 70's (I put myself through the University of Utah driving tractor trailer) and having been exposed to "outside the box" thinking, I am convinced we have the tools available to change this defunct operating model that is used to move goods here in the US.

    Richard LeFrancois, Southport, NC.

  • Driver training rule published   7 weeks 2 days ago    

    We are in the oilfield frac tank rental business
    We are required by state of Texas to have in each Driver Qualification File a Entry Level Driver Training certificate
    Some of our Winch Truck drivers are hired by our company for other jobs and then get there CDL without ever going to a Driver Training School. We do a Road Test on each Driver when get CDL, to ensure they can safely operate our equipment, but these Road Test are never 10 hours long

    We currently use the JJ Keller Entry Level Driver Training program to document training.

    How would we comply with the new ELDT rule?

    I agree with weeding out unqualified drivers, but at what expense?

  • Trucking outlook: Better days ahead   7 weeks 3 days ago    

    Larkin sure is full of doom and gloom. There are ways to recruit quality drivers. Many carriers are properly vetting and hiring qualified immigrants to the US and Canada.
    Larkin predicts higher volumes with lower capacity at end of 2017 into 2018 based on what---ELD's? We all know volumes and capacity can change in 8 months or quicker. The energy sector was still controlling capacity through Q3 2015. Then drilling/ frack fell off the table.
    Why the adversarial language of "Neanderthal practices" and then wonder why there isn't more collaboration between shipper and carrier?
    FSC was never intended to be a revenue stream for carriers. When carriers could attach a FSC percentage to a steadily increasing line haul rate, based on tight capacity, the revenue stream was off and running. Disingenuous at best. Often considered a gouge.
    Larkin is too emotional with his "kick them when they are down" comment. Are shippers obligated to subsidize carriers in a high capacity market? Are carriers obligated to hold prices steady in order to give relief to shippers in a tight capacity market?
    Capacity is a commodity. Contract some future capacity when possible. Buy spot capacity when feasible.
    Shippers have over paid for 5 years while the energy market sapped capacity. Trucking relationships developed over decades dissolved as the carriers sped to all things oil related. Now the trucks are back, shippers have an opportunity to play the market, knowing this too will be short lived. No emotion--just a commodity.

  • PeopleNet: Video will protect drivers and fleets   7 weeks 3 days ago    

    I did not see any mention of how the in-cab DVR protects Drivers.

  • Report: More research needed to connect driver health, safety   7 weeks 3 days ago    

    There's little commentary about the insane driver behavior of the 4 wheelers.

    The onus is always placed on the professional and little if any on stronger driver training requirements, especially as concerns operating around a large slower or heavy vehicle

    Further, there's no culpability on the state managed DMV regulations for the average driver.

    Bottom line the Fed DOT are all too happy to encroach the drivers who are the life blood of the country.

  • Driver training rule published   7 weeks 3 days ago    

    While certainly I would not be against additional training, I would like to see more justification of the need for this. The undue burden placed on companies who have their own driver/trainers would be great. Some companies ( like mine) also have their own state DMV certified driver tester as our DMV is getting away from doing CDL testing.

    The state policy prevents a person who is a DMV certified CDL tester from conducting over the road training. The logic is that while acting as a trainer, they will come to know the student driver's weaknesses. Come test time, they will pretty much be able to know what areas the student driver is less proficient in.

    Now, we will have to have a 2nd person conduct the BTW training ( at 30 hours a pop) and let the DMV certified tester just test.

    We have our own in house CDL class and our most recent class had 5 drivers. This new law would require that I become Federally Certified to do the training and than I have to get 150 hrs of BTW training with these employees within 6 months.

    Not every company with a DOT number is a " trucking company". We are a construction company and don't always drive our bigger trucks every day.

    Overall, while additional training isn't harmful, there needs to be a better way of doing this that doesn't make it HARD to get people licensed.

  • Physician: Trucking must get at root causes of fatigue   7 weeks 4 days ago    

    this is a very interesting approach to the sleep apnea issue, one problem I see though is in the initial questionnaire , your taking it for granted that the person filling that out will be 100 per cent truthful, I myself have been driving since 1990, and suffered from sleep apnea my whole life, I found ways to work around the system while trying to get treatment on my own, and since I wasn't the typical person to have sleep apnea, when I would go for my physical it never got discussed, the problem is nothing I did worked. I even went as far as to have the soft tissue removed from the back of my mouth creating a large opening, it was a terrible surgery , and it didn't work, I now have the inspire implant that stimulates the nerve and keeps my airway open. Sleep Apnea is just part of the fatigued driving issue, companies will site the HOS rules to a driver all day long, but they forget about the section of the rules under driver fitness that puts the final say in the drivers corner, drivers if you are feeling to tired, or sick to work don't be afraid to tell your company that you don't feel safe in continuing at this time. Remember we all want to do our job as safely as possible, if your operating in an unsafe manner that family you run off the road my be your own family.

  • FMCSA takes 'first step' to sleep apnea rule   7 weeks 4 days ago    

    First. Apnea is not a disease.

    This whole cpap "need" is built on bogus science and one more huge expense for the driver and another government intrusion.

    Second. So called experts should be made to drive truck for a minimum of 1 yr.

    Third. Where's the truth based evidence that more and more drivers are fatigued.

    Take statistical samples from the yrs where drivers had little or no HOS regulations and drove longer hours.

    Fourth. If there's a breathing problem there's generally a super over weight and under exercise problem.

    That's the root not a monitored machine.

    Some of us have bull necks our whole life and are now carrying more weight.

    But, if we sleep the same as we always have get and stay the F... Out of my life.

    Finally there are simple inexpensive mouth pieces that do just fine.

    Bottom line it's our body our choice. If our driving is on beam who the heck are you or any effing medical person or bureaucrat to get up in our face.

  • Dispatchers to drivers: ‘Don’t blame us’   7 weeks 5 days ago    

    Dispatchers & Load Planners MUST have Driver experience to understand better ... Not the other way around.

  • Darling nomination moves to full Senate   8 weeks 2 days ago    

    Does he have any experience in the industry? Has he ever driven a truck? Does he understand that 70% of truck involved accidents are caused by the car? Does he understand that slowing trucks down will NOT change that stat? If any of these answers are no, find someone else!

  • Could Mitsubishi Fuso's all-electric medium duty blaze trails in U.S. trucking?   8 weeks 3 days ago    

    Slight misunderstanding here. The Fuso "Canter" is a light truck, not a medium truck.

    The Fuso "Fighter" series is the truckmaker's medium truck range.

    This pure-electric light truck has indeed been trialed and proven viable.

  • Ford showcases ‘toughest, smartest, most capable’ Super Duty ever   8 weeks 4 days ago    

    Currently have a fleet of F-650's and if these are engineered any better I wouldn't recommend them. My Fords have constant electrical problems, wires are rubbing through after only 6 months on the road. Starters are dying at less than 30,000 miles, electrical system can not stand up to Michigan weather, many problems with corrosion in electrical components.

  • John Christner Trucking commissions pink, lavender semis to raise cancer awareness   8 weeks 5 days ago    

    In the past, my mother has been affected by breast cancer and finding a cure is really important for me and all the people who have had family members affected by cancer, congratulations to you and your ambassadors.

  • Why truck drivers and technicians matter   8 weeks 5 days ago    

    I see a lot of news talk about technician shortages however at the trucking companies the sole focus is on the driver, All other employee's are generally treated as second class citizens to the all mighty driver.
    I understand the driver is a needed asset however all employee's need to work collectively to get the job done, one tooth in the gear is really no more important than the rest but remove a tooth be it a driver, technician,customer service rep or whomever and the machinery breaksdown.

  • Is the technician shortage becoming a catastrophe?   8 weeks 5 days ago    

    I'm not sure where this starting salary range is coming from but it's unrealistic in my observation. Fleet techs will not start anywhere close to this $55k salary. Averages wages across the country for fleet technicians will run $45-$55k, AVERAGE! with starting wages for rookies around $30-$35k and experienced tech making $55-$65K and in some high cost of living areas very experienced techs will make much more but the tech schools are lying to students telling them they will make $55-60 starting out.
    Employers are not going to pay those wages to inexperienced techs.

  • Truck driving no longer route to the 'American Dream'   8 weeks 5 days ago    

    Dr. Viscelli -- It sounds like you're following in the footsteps of Michael Belzer, Lawrence Ouellet, and Shane Hamilton. You're in good company.
    I look forward to reading your book, which I've pre-ordered. Have you read "Truck Stop" by Marc F. Wise and Bryan Di Salvatore or watched "They Drive By Night," the 1941 film with Humphrey Bogart and George Raft? You can find it on YouTube.
    All best / Marc Mayfield

  • Dispatchers to drivers: ‘Don’t blame us’   8 weeks 6 days ago    

    COMMUNICATION ! When planners book loads and shove them off to a dispatcher,it is the dispatchers responsibility to ask and make sure the driver has the hours available to take the load. If not then dispatch should relay info to the load planners to make other arrangements.
    Now that elogs will be mandated, the days of the driver"making it look good on paper" and taking loads to help cover the planners and dispatchers collective behinds, are coming to an end.

    I'm not the one who drives the train.
    the whistle, I don't blow.
    I'm not the one who says how fast
    Or far the train will go.
    I'm not allowed to work the brakes,
    or even ring the bell.
    But let the damn thing jump the track;
    Then see who catches hell.

  • Dispatchers to drivers: ‘Don’t blame us’   9 weeks 2 days ago    

    The best dispatchers that I have had in the last 38 years are the ones that will not lie and has the experience to know when an appointment is impossible to make and makes changes before dispatching a driver on that load. I have worked within the office walls and over the road and the lies and deceit that goes on between trucking companies managers, dispatchers, drivers, shipper, and receivers are unbelievable at the best. And the drivers get to see all of these lies and deceit every day because they are the only ones that get to deal with all parties day to day and on a personal basis.
    A person's true personality and morality comes out when they believe they will never get caught.

  • The case for the $100,000 a year trucker   9 weeks 2 days ago    

    I drive for a private fleet and depending on which program a driver works, week-on week-off, 3-2, 5 day a week, or 5.5 days a week, he can make anywhere from 60,000 to 115,000 a year. Turnover rate about 5 percent per year. You are right if a company paid their drivers top dollar they would have a waiting line at their doors. I am getting close to retirement and if I lost this job I would retire now because I would not put with the lack of respect and the pay at the large and small companies of today.

  • Driver retention greater among private fleets   9 weeks 3 days ago    

    "According to the federal database, there are more than 1.3 million U.S. DOT carriers – 97% of which operate with 20 or fewer trucks. Petty added that the top 10 carriers represent less than 3% of market share."

    The 97% mentioned here is only nominal, not real in terms of the number of trucks and drivers controlled. In this treatment, Swift for example, with over 18,000 trucks is equal to any other authority operating as little as a single tractor. One authority each, right?. Well, "one" does not equal "one" here. Large motor carriers are classified as generating above $30 million of revenue annually according to the ATA and the Avondale Partners Report. This roughly translates to having 100 or more trucks according to Transport Topics "Top 100" rankings (we are discounting equipment diversity and intermodal capabilities hence the term "roughly"). In this treatment, large motor carriers represent closer to 50% of the for-hire segment. Carriers with fewer than 20 trucks represent less than 10% in terms of equipment, drivers, and revenue. We must be clear on terms and categorizations. Still I agree, more discriminating hiring practices are essential and should be paired with programs that develop drivers as an asset the carrier plans to keep for more than a season. Clients of motor carriers need to view truck drivers as a shared asset and do their part in improving retention as well. I am currently formulating the best solution I can, complete with social theory, an understanding of the broad logistics industry, and personal experience as a long haul driver.

  • Physician: Trucking must get at root causes of fatigue   9 weeks 3 days ago    

    Sleep apnea tests are scams by so-called fatigue professionals to make money off drivers. I know of a company that paid for drivers to take a voluntary apnea test and 95 percent failed this test. The sleep apnea test was bringing in $3,000 per driver. The majority of drivers that is now forced to use a breathing machine every night has said that they are not getting any better rest than before and some even less due wearing the mask and the tubes.
    The cause of driver fatigue is caused by the trucking company that the driver works for not the shipper or receiver unless you are an O/O and then you are causing your own problems.
    A poorly trained dispatch system along with bonuses for Dispatchers that can get the most miles out of each driver and safety departments that fail to do their job every day is the cause of driver fatigue. You would have to be a fool to think that Dispatch and safety managers don't know that their drivers are running illegal on their logs.
    And we cannot forget the driver that allows himself to be used by his company or afraid to speak up. Drivers need to wise up and figure out that if they have a serious accident that it will not be their Dispatcher or safety manager that will lose everything and go to jail but you the ignorant driver. Your company will not have your back if the crap hits the fan, they will run like cowards and hit behind their lawyers and the papers that you signed in orientation that you would be legal at all times.
    Too tired to drive then turn off all communications with your company and take a nap. Make sure you keep notes on all communications with dispatch when it comes to them asking you to run illegal and record conversations with all managers.

  • Support for taxing vehicle miles grows   9 weeks 3 days ago    

    The primary justification used by those who advocate a VMT tax is that hybrid and electric vehicle owners aren't paying their fair share for road improvements. Easy, easy fix: Impose a surcharge on these vehicles when the owners renew their plates each year; have one surcharge level for hybrid vehicles, and a higher surcharge for fully electric vehicles. If you like, throw in another surcharge for vehicles over a certain weight, as they cause more wear to the pavement. Problem solved.

    Yes, we do need more money going toward highway and infrastructure funding. I like having decent roads and bridges to drive on and I don't mind paying more to do so. But all we need to do is raise the existing gas tax; it's already in place, and you can start collecting that extra revenue right from day one. No one has offered a sound reason why a VMT system is superior to raising the existing gas tax. And if we were to switch to a VMT system, understand that that would involve creating a government bureaucracy from scratch. Take a moment to consider the millions of dollars that will be diverted away from highway funding just to create and sustain this new bureaucracy.

    In the VMT pilot programs across the country, there are multiple schemes floating around for collecting our mileage data, and none them are particularly appealing…

    Smartphone apps: This is completely unworkable, and by far the worst idea of the lot. How will this app know which vehicle I'm in? How will it know if I'm the driver or a passenger? How will it know if I'm in a rental car, or an Uber car, or a train, or a taxi, or a bus, or on a bike, or walking? Just because my phone is in motion doesn't mean I should be charged for mileage. If you successfully address that issue, consider that I don't use my phone's location services. Some people leave them on all the time (personally, I think that's silly), but I'm quite capable of getting around without the help of GPS, and I don't need everyone on social media knowing my every move. Mainly, I keep the location services off because they are a colossal drain on the phone's battery. Also, consider how easy it would be to cheat this system. I could leave my phone at home or put it on airplane mode while I run errands around town. Boom…tax-free mileage. Finally, consider the number of drivers who don't own smartphones. There are plenty of them out there. How will you collect their mileage data?

    In-vehicle GPS device: Better idea than a smartphone app, but still has plenty of drawbacks. I travel thousands of miles annually in very rural areas where there is no cell signal. What happens when there are reception gaps in the tracking history of a vehicle? If you think satellite tracking is the answer, it's not. Satellite GPS signals are far weaker than cell signals and are easily blocked by trees and buildings. Also, consider classic car owners. There are thousands of vintage machines on the road. How will you track them? My car, made before 1980, has no computer, no electronics, no data port. And I'm not about to let anyone hardwire a GPS unit to this classic vehicle that I've worked so hard to restore. As for those vehicles that will have VMT tracking devices installed, who pays for those devices? Who pays for their installation? Who pays for maintenance or replacement when they malfunction?

    Preset annual distance fees, odometer readings: These are the least objectionable methods being considered, but what I've yet to hear from anyone is how VMT will be handled across jurisdictions. Will we have one national VMT system or a patchwork of state systems that will surely have trouble communicating with one another? I drive all over North America…will I have to separate my mileage totals for each state that I pass through? Will I have to send an annual check to every state I've visited? What about all of the miles I log in Canada each year? Income tax preparation is already complicated enough…do we really need more record keeping added to mix?

    All of these issues will need to be addressed before you can roll out VMT to the masses. And, for the record, any of the above methods for collecting mileage data are open to fraud and abuse, some more so than others. Thousands of people will find ways to under-report their mileage. But you can't cheat the existing gas tax; it's already built in to the cost of the fuel. You pump the gas, you've paid the tax.

    Let's assume for a minute that all of the issues I raised above can be successfully addressed. Fine. Now, answer the big question: Why? Why should we, as a nation, undertake the tremendous effort and expense of creating a VMT tax bureaucracy when we can quickly and simply achieve the same end result by raising the existing gas tax and placing a registration surcharge on hybrid and electric vehicles?

    When you encounter anyone who advocates the VMT tax, be they ordinary citizen or state legislator, ask them if they've actually considered all of the costs and logistics of creating a workable VMT tax system.

  • Platooning trucks: A virtual reality   9 weeks 3 days ago    

    How does it handle passenger cars that move in between the trucks?

  • How truckers protect themselves on the road   9 weeks 4 days ago    

    If Debra keeps shutting down two hours early to find parking, how is she making any money?

  • The case for the $100,000 a year trucker   9 weeks 4 days ago    

    Right you are. I would willingly live the long haul lifestyle for several years, even though I have a large family, if I could make that kind of money. Wouldn't do it forever, but certainly long enough to cut the turnover rate in half for the industry. Can you follow up with an article with suggestions or proposals about how it would even be feasible to approach that kind of pay from the angle of employers?

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