Recent comments

  • Is the technician shortage becoming a catastrophe?   18 weeks 3 days ago    

    Hey Seabee,are you a tech or a manager or a shop owner?I'm a flat rate auto tech and my first year out 32 years ago I made 42k and it wasn't much then.My first day of automotive school we were taught to expect a minimum of 40% of the shop rate as a journeyman after school and a 2 year apprenticeship and 50% for specialty training such as transmissions.I invested in the extra tools and training for a transmission specialty and started at age 19 making 50%.Paying a tech 40-50% of the stated shop rate are ethical service trade standards and a 100-150% labor cost mark up.Apprentices worked under a journeyman and split the 40% with his mentor because the mentor had to check off on their work and were responsible for it.Do you understand how they have bastardized the biz and are over capitalizing on the techs and overcharging the customer now?They try to plug these lower paid less skilled and trained techs in where they can calling them B or C level paying them half as much or less but still charging the customer the same as if a certified journeyman had done the work.We have Mercedes shops charging $158 an hour then will wheel the car in the back room and have a rookie paid $20 an hour do the work when the customer is lead to believe a German scientist had done it.This is a 800% labor cost mark up to the customer and a complete ripoff.They are not wanting skilled and properly trained techs because they have to pay them but still want to charge the public as if they were.They are blowing the trade to Hell!

  • The disconnect between EV expectations and reality   18 weeks 4 days ago    

    I believe Tesla starting to open some charging unit thru out the states. Charging time is also short about 60 mins ti fully charge a vehicle. Read info at 4 Wheel Online.

  • Balancing privacy and safety   19 weeks 2 hours ago    

    this is nice article for privacy. I will follow this guideline.

  • Foxx: Inadequate infrastructure will remain a problem   19 weeks 1 day ago    

    Yes, there will always be a need for improvement in every aspect of our transportation system.

    Mr. Foxx mentions his concern for texting and driving. It is a problem, yes, for your average driver and for any large vehicle driver (Interstate/Intrastate), Transit bus School bus, etc. It is the negative effect of a free culture (I understand some will disagree with my use of the word "free").
    However, the number of deaths he quoted (3,477) while it is correct and frustratingly sad as well, is only a very small number that doesn't come close to addressing any problem we have on the roads as it relates to a drivers attitude and behavior.
    When discussing traffic we focus way too much on the number of deaths that occur. From a training and improvement standpoint these numbers do nothing for anyone. A .03% drop in deaths in a given year means nothing when we are trying to solve this problem, but when this occurs, people jump for joy as if this means that people are driving safer, but this is not the case.

    If you are constantly pushing the idea that we have to "hurry" and "be more efficient", as drivers to make our schedules and "keep things moving" (which is a misnomer. We will always have "things moving", it's just a matter of whether or not you are going to make safety your FIRST priority), you are only exposing, to a great degree, most drivers' inability to apply that to being a "safer" driver.

    This occurs because as a society we are only promoting this silly notion that "time is money" while avoiding putting anywhere near as much time and energy into promoting - Safety First.

    As a trainer, our biggest problem on the roads is the individual. I know this is not news to many people.

    I will always lean on our professional drivers on the road, in other words, our "company drivers" to be the ones to set the examples. Any driver who drives a vehicle with the company name on it, needs to uphold the life-saving techniques they should be taught. Are they being taught this? No. Not to any great degree. It’s not important. We don’t talk about individual driver behavior.

    Any trucker, bus driver, service vehicle driver, in other words, "company driver" who blames their problems on others, needs to look in the mirror for the solution.

    A fatality does not occur unless a collision happens first and a collision happens, 95% of the time, due to driver error, which comes in the form of crowding other drivers (negligent following distance), or retaliating to another drivers mistake instead of compensating safely.

    We don't have to wait for another round of "infrastructure" talks to make our roads safer. It is up to the drivers and what we promote as a society that will determine whether or not anyone is going to care about anyone other than themselves and their schedule when they are on the roads.

  • Buying into safety: One fleet’s view   19 weeks 3 days ago    

    There are some reports that the terrorist attack in the Christmas market in Berlin. Could have being a lot worse if, it wasn't for the truck advance braking system that was automatically activated after it sense a collision. I guess this would be another example of truck safety technology saving the life of more than just the truck operator.

    Thank You Cari & Thank FleetOwner, God knows our industry does not get the gratitude it deserve.

  • Nikola One truck revealed tonight   19 weeks 6 days ago    

    Its great to hear the launching of this kind of technology in our lifetime. A system like this plus the success of autonomous truck delivery will make the road safer against statistics of truck crash and fatalities involved.

    - James
    4wheelonline.com

  • OOIDA requests rehearing on ELD rule   19 weeks 6 days ago    

    Well, here we are in the cusp of the law going into affect and or advocate OOIDA is still fighting on or behalf, but my question is as small fleet owners,O/O, and drivers are we doing enough to help OOIDA? I hear drivers daily saying they think it's a good idea because there isn't anything we can do to stop it and that mindset is the reason they keep trying to force more regulations on our industry which is already over regulated! Why do we continue to give up our rights for fear of standing up against our oppressors because that's exactly what they self proclaim to be, there is no conclusive evidence that ELD's would make the highway any safer but to the contrary they would make our highways much less safe and I'm saying that because it's a fact,I see it everyday right now, every driver I know that already use ELD's are telling me that since they have begun to use ELD's they have increased their speed on the highway because they are and I quote TRYING TO BEAT THE CLOCK, end quote. If mandating the use of ELD's will make drivers with the ability to drive extremely faster than the posted speed limit is going to be the New behavior on the roads then Will someone please make me understand the safety in mandating the use of ELD's in all 3.5million trucks on the road because it's obvious that I'm blind to the safety benefit of this mandate! What I do see is that this is another way to inflict tyranny and strip drivers of their constitutional right to feel secure in their dwelling and another avenue of revenue for these greedy vultures that prey on citizens of this country in every way they can. As professional drivers we can help OOIDA and have our INDUSTRY begin to listen to our voices and it would only take 24hrs to do it. ALL WE NEED TO DO IS GO ON STRIKE AND SHUT DOWN ALL MODES OF TRANSPORTATION from a cab to all public transportation and of course all commercial trucks private and for hire that operates in the daily commerce of this our USA, but sadly I know that people in general are so afraid of the very gov. That's supposed to protect use, which is ridiculous! When a people of any country becomes afraid of their government, then that government is no longer for and of the people it has become a rogue government and that government immediately after learning that their citizens fear the government it immediately begin to inflict regulations which is actually called TYRANNY people!! There are so called third world country's that have been brought its knees by the people because the people were fed up with the tyranny and disrespect from the government and they went on strike bringing change and less tyranny to the people. ARE YOU WILLING TO STAND UP FOR YOURSELF, INDUSTRY, AND FELLOW DRIVER BY SHUTTING DOWN THE INDUSTRY FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES TO HELP STOP THE TYRANNY BEING INFLICTED ON US!!!! If so please do a Google search on countries that have had all drivers to go on strike leaving their vehicles on the roadways blocking traffic and making a DIFFERENCE in their industry, BUT I WILL BET MY LIFE THAT YOU WILL NOT DO EITHER, BECAUSE OF FEAR AND YOUR DEBT!!! What you sacrifice today WILL benefit you tomorrow when you're standing up for what's right!!!! REAL TALK FOR REAL PEOPLE

  • Most wanted safety improvements for trucking   20 weeks 2 days ago    

    "Use technology to monitor driver behavior"??

    WTH? Although there are bad drivers across all modes of transportation there are bad trucking companies who need a bit of technological monitoring as well.

    Case in point: SB on I95. No road hazard high wind signs activated. South of Walker Lake a banshee wind shattered the passenger window and totaled the windshield of the class 8 vehicle I was driving. I limped into Hawthorne and called in. I was instructed to clean up the glass, drive to Sparks for repairs. I told him the windshield was totaled...he didn't believe me even with the photos I sent him. I made a drivers decision and repeated my assessment: the truck was unsafe to drive. It wasn't until the truck was towed to Sparks and the techs told him the windshield was totaled that he believed me?? Do you have technology to monitor over zealous company's that pay lip service to safety but really don't give a damn?? I know I made the right choice. My next move was to quit that company. As a professional driver I do not need that kind of harassment.

    Monitor the big box trucking companies and the mom and pop companies that feel they have to push just to compete.

    Get the cart back behind the horse. Don't let greed trump safety. KISS

    Peace, Lightfoot

  • Of Super Trucks and other envelope-pushing equipment   20 weeks 4 days ago    

    Speaking of "envelope pushing equipment", I'm surprised that you did not mention Hyliion's electric drive axle on the trailer. Even NASA thought it was worthy of an award... contest.techbriefs.com/2016/entries/sustainable-technologies/6789

  • FMCSA takes 'first step' to sleep apnea rule   21 weeks 1 hour ago    

    You are absolutely right, Most IME's work for hospitals or medical facilities. With the new IME rules, they have cut out the lower level MD's that perform that task, The stats for drivers in the trucking industry, has the afflicted drivers at 1 out of 5, yet a hospital in Fruitland, Id, has a PA, that issues these tests to almost every driver who walks thru the door., Why? Because he directs them to his own hospital for the testing. Hence he gets a cut, and the hospital gets the test money, hence revenue creation by fraudulent means. Which is par for the course of most all hospitals.But the the friggin FEDS could give a shit less, because they do not monitor such criminal acts by their agents, yes , the IME's are agents of the DOT. Since DOT made the tests mandatory part of the physicals....

  • FMCSA takes 'first step' to sleep apnea rule   21 weeks 1 hour ago    

    Sure, there are some isolated instances where an accident may have occurred because of a tired Driver. Sleep Apnea? Maybe, Probably not. But then if you add up the accidents caused by any & all licensed drivers, you will more than likely see a big issue with tired drivers. So why focus on just the trucking industry?. Here is why! The idiots at MADD & MATT pay lobbists to attack a single group to get their agenda's passed a bit at at time. 95% OF Duii & tired drivers accidents are not caused by the Trucking industry, but of the general driving industry of the world. But they know they can not further their agenda attacking the worlds drivers, to much resistance there. Once they get you by the balls on one agenda, they feel the need to control more people, so they go further to the next area. But truck drivers and the trucking industry are just like a bunch of dumbass ranchers and farmers, they have the ability to control the rules, but they are to friggin stupid to stand together, so you hang seperately. I believe an founding father once said that. Take a stand, and drop the country to its knees, and you will see a reversal in this bullshit,,All truckers and companies need to stand up, and shut down for 1 week, no one will go broke in the trucking industry by shutting down a week, but the country would have no food, no fuel and would be dead in the water. only way to control this out of control regulations. Remember, you control your own destiny.

  • How Generation Z might change trucking   21 weeks 5 days ago    

    This is an excellent article full of interesting research on 18-24 year olds. Unfortunately they are probably not Gen Z, they are more likely "late" Millennials. The Millennials span from around 1983 to 2002 or so, according to the most scholarly work on generations (see Stauss and Howe books: "Generations" and "The Fourth Turning"). The oldest of them by that research is between 14 or 15. The idea that Gen Z is older came from a more recent book and was based on market research, not historical analysis of generational patterns.

  • Most wanted safety improvements for trucking   21 weeks 5 days ago    

    Dear NHTSA The first step is to get management's attention. Show them a video of a large group of dispatchers, ranting and raving to push a driver past their fatigue limit. Then show another batch of them blythely falsifying the driver's ELDs. A couple of high fives for solidarity......and then shoot them. Have a John Wayne look alike walk into the carnage and scowl at them. Alright pilgrims............I don't much like ya walkin all over my guys, ya see? These here drivers are kinda friends of mine, see, and I'm here to tell ya, from now on you do right by them, or I'm comin back. And if I have to come back, it's you'alls butts will be on the floor, got it? Once dispatch gets "the WORD" a decent day will be had by all, drivers will stop for lunch and supper like they used ta and maybe even the buffalo will come.

  • Speed limiters: Safety groups want mandate—ASAP   21 weeks 5 days ago    

    When the RSA gets it head out of the sand, wait forget it, that will never happen. Of the "over one million crashes" that occurred over 994,499 were caused by the automobile drivers that were injured or killed in the crash. Because THEY did not use common sense; Speeding, cutting off trucks, cutting in front of trucks then jamming the brakes, weaving in & out of traffic, texting while driving, talking on a non hands free phone, playing with the radio, reading books, magazine, working on computers, putting on make-up, shaving, eating or drinking, just a few that happen every minute of every day around a large truck.

  • Speed limiters: Safety groups want mandate—ASAP   21 weeks 5 days ago    

    I have been driving a class 8 vehicle with the speed limiter set at 62mph for the last 8 months.

    In states where the maximum speed limit is 65mph presents little frustration on interstates. Two lane highways are a different story. Because most truck drivers will consistently move at 5mph over the posted speed they tend to tailgate and become impatient and to take unnecessary risks to pass. Four wheelers will do the same.

    States where posted truck speed limits are 65+ mph can be frustrating and unsafe for a driver with a truck that will only move at 62mph. Tailgating and unsafe passing practices tend to increase with increased posted speed limits.

    It seems a limiter mandate at this point in the game is putting the cart ahead of the horse. Many trucking companies have voluntarily installed speed limiters to whole fleets. Some as low as 60mph. Trucking companies should not be allowed to lower fleet speeds to any less than 68mph or states and Feds should agree to lower speed limits nationwide and monitor vehicle speeds closely and to the letter of the law. No mercy for speeding, aggressive drivers translates to lives saved.

    I have been driving class 8 vehicles for 20+ years. No accidents, no speeding tickets. I recently left the trucking company with the 62mph speed limiter. They consistently sent me to states where the posted speed limit for trucks is 70mph and routed me to two lane roads in these states. You do the math.

    An almost exponential increase in the number of trucks in the US and an increased population of inexperienced drivers indicates a dire need for more state and federal control. I have observed truck drivers squeezing an 80,000 pound vehicle in front of a four wheeler at distances and speeds that only inexperience and a lack of driving knowledge would allow. Speed limiter mandates alone will not increase an inexperienced drivers safety knowledge.

    Start with driver education. 4 weeks "training" is simply not enough time. Safety is paramount. And a genuine concern for public safety on the highways. My observation has been that limiters alone increase aggressive driving. Education is the starting point any trucking company and any state and federal control MUST start with. Teach the inexperienced driver his/her truck is a tool of the trade. That it is not to be used as a weapon of aggression.

    Education, education, education. All the trucking technology in the world will not teach a new inexperienced driver that safety and a respect for human life are the strongest tools of our trade.

    Peace, Lightfoot

  • Most wanted safety improvements for trucking   21 weeks 5 days ago    

    Why do drivers speed? To increase income and to cover poorly planned loads by the companies or dispatch.
    Why do we have fatigued drivers? A dispatch system that expects drivers to work during the day on one day and at night on the next. The good old boy system of expecting drivers to log off-duty while waiting to load, unload, or for their next dispatch. Dispatch system that expects drivers to run 11 hours straight with only a half hour break with no meal breaks or you get a message from dispatch to why you stopped when they check your OBC. A dispatch system that is only worried about miles covered per day or hour with no insight on safety. A bonus system for dispatchers that pays more for more miles per truck per day with no regard for safety. Very few rules for dispatchers to handle a driver that calls in and is too sick or tired to drive, except to say the load has to be there on time.
    Trucking companies, shippers, and receivers DO NOT want safe drivers. They DO NOT want drivers that will stop when too tired or sick to drive.
    They DO NOT want drivers that will stop when the roads are slick.
    They DO NOT want drivers that will log legally by the FMCSA rules.
    They DO NOT want drivers that will refuse to drive unsafe or illegal trucks by FMCSA rules or laws.
    Want to increase safety. Increase pay for drivers per mile pay. Pay drivers for detention time. Pay drivers to park when too slick to travel. Punish dispatchers for dispatching an illegal load. Punish safety managers for allowing illegal trucks on the road. Jail time for safety managers and CEO's when a fatality accident is caused by a driver that has a record of running illegal logs or equipment. Instead of putting all of the blame for accidents on drivers find out how dispatch and the safety department allowed the driver to be unsafe. Merry Christmas to all.

  • Most wanted safety improvements for trucking   21 weeks 6 days ago    

    Part of being the SAFE driver is to actually look for and give extra room to those who aren't being safe. Certainly, you don't have to yield to someone who has a red light to your green light but if you see a potential problem coming at you , wouldn't you do what you can to avoid it ?

    When you see a Road Rage situation , keep your distance and just avoid it altogether. It isn't a matter of fault, it's a matter of being safe and not getting into an accident.

    When you see a tailgater or a Reckless/Careless Driver, let them go. It is better than they get past you and move on in traffic than you try to deal with them on your own.

    Certain drivers don't care and seem to have their own set of rules. Good , safe drivers don't let themselves get tangled up in these peoples lives. Get over, get back and don't get drawn into what could be an unsafe and unhappy ending.

    Know you did the right thing by being even safer than the other driver. You will be rewarded with fewer ( and hopefully no) vehicle incidents. At the end of the day , you will have done YOUR part to make the roads a better place regardless of other less than safe drivers.

    Andy Blair dotinspector@gmail.com

  • Speed limiters: State agencies question federal role, safety, roadside details   21 weeks 6 days ago    

    There is tremendous wisdom and common sense in the state comments. A one size fits all speed limiter setting is just plain bureaucratic nonsense. Among other problems, it fails to do anything to increase safety on busy inner-city interstates where 55 might be more appropriate. Having a truck cruise at a low enough speed to help safety on typical busy sections of four-lane interstates implies a ridiculously low, traffic-clogging, churning-causing speed on faster, emptier open roads. Unless the limiter is flexible and changes its setting according to the posted speed limit, the whole concept must be abandoned. Only an bureaucrat who spends his whole life behind a desk would ever impose such a problematic regulation.

  • Speed limiters: State agencies question federal role, safety, roadside details   21 weeks 6 days ago    

    I have been driving a class 8 vehicle with the speed limiter set at 62mph for the last 8 months.

    In states where the maximum speed limit is 65mph presents little frustration on interstates. Two lane highways are a different story. Because most truck drivers will consistently move at 5mph over the posted speed they tend to tailgate and become impatient and to take unnecessary risks to pass. Four wheelers will do the same.

    In states where posted truck speed limits are 65+ mph are frustrating and unsafe for a driver with a truck that will only move at 62mph. Tailgating and unsafe passing practices tend to increase with increased posted speed limits.

    It seems a limiter mandate at this point in the game is putting the cart ahead of the horse. Many trucking companies have voluntarily installed speed limiters to a whole fleet. Some as low as 60mph. Trucking companies should not be allowed lower fleet speeds to any less than 68mph.

    I have been driving class 8 vehicles for 20+ years. No accidents, no speeding tickets. I recently left the trucking company with the 62mph speed limiter. They consistently sent me to states where the posted speed limit for trucks is 70mph and routed me to two lane roads in these states. You do the math.

    An almost exponential increase of the number of trucks in the US and an increased population of inexperienced drivers indicates a dire need for more state and federal control.

    Start with driver education. 4 weeks "training" is simply not enough time. Safety is paramount. And a genuine concern for public safety on the highways. Limiters increase fuel mileage and aggressive driving.

    Peace, Lightfoot

  • Married team truckers jailed after baking soda wrongly tested positive as cocaine   22 weeks 6 hours ago    

    cjones53....there is no taste test for drugs. That was something seen on TV but it is not real life.

  • Married team truckers jailed after baking soda wrongly tested positive as cocaine   22 weeks 3 days ago    

    I want to know how in hell you mistake baking soda for cocaine. I've never tasted cocaine but I'm pretty sure it doesn't taste anything like baking soda.

  • Retention: It’s not just a trucking problem   22 weeks 3 days ago    

    Great article. The companies that solve their retention challenges also solve their recruiting challenges. We are seeking driver Recruiting and Retention Managers that want to beta test a brand new product that deals specifically with improving driver retention. Email cdlapply@outlook.com for details.

  • BMW, Toyota, and diesel   22 weeks 4 days ago    

    BMW is one of the most iconic car and has extra ordinary features. It depends on the people to choose their own cars and maintain properly. BMW features are cruise control, reverse controlling system, airbags, defogger, Anti lock braking system, head restraints, traction control, adjustable comforts etc. BMW is specific for its features and its driving is smooth. I am having a BMW car since 5-6 years. I feel comfortable while driving my car as it is the lightest car. When I have purchased my car first I have taken for a test drive there I got my car little crashed. So I have given it to the BMW Service Oxnard for repairing as its servicing is on time and price is less than other.

  • Is the technician shortage becoming a catastrophe?   22 weeks 4 days ago    

    You are absolutely correct, I was and adjunct instructor for 12 years and to keep enrollment up they wanted us to coddle students instead of teaching the skills needed. As well the recruiters from various outfits filled the heads of students with visions of grandeur.

  • Diesel technicians: Is the shortage real?   22 weeks 4 days ago    

    I am a tech of 25 years and a shop owner for 15 of those. I have hired many techs some of which didn't deserve the title and others I hated to see go. As a tech yes I've spent 100k on tools and as an owner I've spent 200k on technology scanners,programming equipment etc, and every new tech has cost money to bring them up to speed more than they would make back in there given time employed. Older experienced techs seem to lack the drive to continue the learning required to keep up with the times. Please keep in mind this is not a blanket statement for all techs regardless of experience. But I've tried the buying lunch, steak dinners, spending time after hours to boost confidence, giving money to help out for bills when "things happen" and none of these have netted gains in performance or abilities. I've overpaid techs and still to no avail. Keep in mind I have no issue paying someone for an excellent skill level, but I have yet to see the skill level needed to deserve paying 50k a year yet. The vocational schools, tech colleges, and universities are all lacking in the teaching of skills needed to allow students to perform at a level commiserate to what the industry requires. Even the computer diagnostic skills that most believe the newer guys are so good at fail miserably when put into functional practice.
    I don't know what the answer is and I'm open to suggestion. Economics dictates how much a tech can earn and if they are unable to produce enough the money can't be paid in wages to necessitate paying more than they can make in billable hrs. As well customers will not pay for repairs that won't fix they're vehicle, truck or equipment. I wish I had the solution for everyone but til then its business as usual.

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