Recent comments

  • Driver retention greater among private fleets   12 weeks 6 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   12 weeks 6 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   12 weeks 6 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   12 weeks 6 days ago    

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

  • How truckers protect themselves on the road   13 weeks 17 hours 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   13 weeks 17 hours 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?

  • Emergencies by the book; the ERG book that is …   13 weeks 1 day ago    

    The ERG 2016 hasn't been released yet. The PHMSA's site claims it will be released in the "spring of 2016" !

    Steve
    thatsmystapler.com

  • ELDs: The transition starts now   13 weeks 1 day ago    

    what about private carries? same rules aply?

  • Worst Trucker in the World: Thanks, FMCSA?   13 weeks 1 day ago    

    The problem was not the FMCSA posting a report on one driver in the news or the fact that the database is not operational until June to post a driver that failed a drug test or refused a drug test. The problem is the failure of the safety departments across this country failing to their job. Since I have not seen the name of the company that employed this driver I would guess that it has a with a poor safety record of their own along with low pay. This is the type of company that hires drivers that should not be on the road. Safety departments are failing to do their jobs at the majority of companies.

  • Truck driving no longer route to the 'American Dream'   13 weeks 2 days ago    

    Joseph - agreed, that is a blanket statement and there are a number of important variables. The book is focused on long-haul truckload and the statement refers to that segment. I didn’t look at local hauling of say, gravel or things like that. But I did talk with lots of people in LTL and private fleets. Geography certainly does play a role in truckload, but other factors, like what you haul, are far more important. I can imagine an exception to the rule, such as a driver who lives in a very remote area and can't get a company to hire them as an employee, but for nearly all drivers as they get more experience the opportunities available to them as an employee pay significantly more per hour worked than they can earn as a contractor. Of course, contractors netting 55k, 65k - even 75k a year - are earning more than the average for-hire OTR truckload employee. But the typical employee for those companies has less than 2 years experience. That experienced contractor can do far better elsewhere. Walmart's first year drivers make 82k, get vacation, contributions to benefits, and they work far fewer hours than the average contractor and are home most nights. To equal that a contractor would have to net (after what would have been the employer's portion of self-employment taxes) 90-100k consistently year after year while working 50-60 hours a week and being home most nights. There might be a truckload contractor out there doing that, but in the ten years I spent interviewing drivers I definitely didn't meet one.

  • FMCSA unveils final ELD rule   13 weeks 2 days ago    

    this is not a good ruling foe every one!

  • Physician: Trucking must get at root causes of fatigue   13 weeks 3 days ago    

    As a 46 year, 6 million mile accident free veteran, I feel like I am more of an "expert" than any of you doing this fatigue study.
    It's not about "sleep apnea" near as much as it is about shippers & receivers being totally oblivious to HOS.
    If a guy sets 8 hrs waiting to be loaded and then is expected to deliver on time in 11 hours he must drive like his hair is on fire and not take any breaks.
    Or, if he gets sleepy while doing his 11 hr shift, he can't stop because dispatch is on his qual-com raising hell because he stopped to take a nap.
    Screw all of you. I'll run how I damn well please.
    My safety record says I'm right. I don't need a fat ass, corrupt politician taking bribes from big medical to make rules about how I drive my truck.

  • Report maps road ahead for global freight transport   13 weeks 3 days ago    

    Freight transport is not an easy business and of course its always challenging. Even though it will put more pressure on global cargo connection it still a good chance to build more trade.

  • Truck driving no longer route to the 'American Dream'   13 weeks 5 days ago    

    I just want to comment about your findings on independent contractors not making any more money then company drivers. There are many different states in this country and all of them have different opportunities for truck drivers. It's like saying there isn't good money in selling swimming pools when you live in Alaska lol.. If you go to Texas though there would be quite different results in selling swimming pools being how hot it gets there. Applying such a blanket statement to such a complicated question with so many variables is less then accurate to be polite..

  • Driver retention greater among private fleets   14 weeks 18 hours ago    

    Private fleets can select the best drivers because they attract a lot of applicants. They attract a lot of applicants because driving jobs for private fleets are a lot easier and typically have regular predictable home time. The job is easier due to the lack of diversity and flexibility required to service hundreds or thousands of different customers. Everything is predictable about the job. Most times when I hire a driver that came from a private fleet, they don't cut it because they have become too accustomed to having it too easy.

    Most truckload carriers do all their recruiting, screening and hiring without even setting eyes on the applicant until the driver walks in the door for orientation. And for every approved application, there are 8-10 that were declined. So the statements about screening and hiring better drivers is not coming from someone that understands the reality of this situation.

  • FMCSA's DeLorenzo: Upcoming "messy" period for ELD use   14 weeks 1 day ago    

    Has anyone in congress or the FMCSA ever taken in consideration the small trucking companies that do local airfreight and drayage in large metropolitan areas.

  • The Gig Economy Comes to Trucking   14 weeks 1 day ago    

    MBATrucker

    I would advise getting a tax attorney to review this whatever this is that they are trying to sell. Basically, it looks like they think in their sole discretion they believe they have the ability to determine a workers employee status. There is nothing new about this, its called a job board, what is new is a company believing they have the ability to redefine what an "employee" is contrary to US/State code. Who is going to pay the piper, probably the driver and carrier as this company probably doesn't really have any assets for the IRS to attach to anyway.

    Their comparsion to Uber is quite telling, as they didn't even address what I even said. Uber eliminates then middleman, this does not, it just adds a $55 per run fee which is going to come out of the driver's butt one way or another. They trying to run on the coat tails of Uber, but its not Uber, its just plain dumb. $55 per run for access to a job board. Whatever you do, please consult a tax attorney, if you are using their equipment, well, chances are you are an employee, and eventually the tax agencies are going to catch up.

    Even with Uber some of these people are being classified as employees of Uber, and they are using their own cars, what do you think is going to happen if you use someone else's truck? We all know how that works out in this industry.

  • The Gig Economy Comes to Trucking   14 weeks 1 day ago    

    user-433142

    Since you appear to be either the man in the article or represent the company in some kind of way, you really should properly identify yourself.

    " Yes, they need to pay taxes as the site directs and even includes an instructional video and free tax consulting. Yes they are self employed in this capacity and responsible for their own benefits."

    Sorry but you have no authority to determine an "employees" status, this is done under existing statutory laws of the specific State or under U.S. statutory law. For instance, for income tax purpose your company should refer to Title 26, furthermore, the IRS provides written additional guidance on employee status via their website as well. Many small carriers have been shutdown by not properly determining a so called contractors status, which were later to be deemed "employees". If the motor carrier is providing the equipment, right of the bat they are going to be determined to be an employee. The IRS will then come in and enforce the tax law in a very rude way and imposes penalties, late fees, additional taxes and in this case on the driver and motor carrier, and possibly this third party.

    " But the main reason a driver chooses to work this way is to be their own boss."

    The driver can choose to be his own boss when the specific circumstances warrant the ability to do so, in this case, if the driver is using someone else's truck, well, they better get ready to pay the piper because that is huge IRS flag, let alone a huge danger to the carrier.

    " You may enjoy working for someone as a W- 2 employee and it may meet your goals."

    How I choose to work is irrelevant, what is relevant is your company believing it has the authority to make legal determinations for the carrier and drivers, you don't.

    " This is designing a new way to operate."

    There is nothing new about it, its a job board. What is going to happen is all these guys are going to be fined and penalties imposed. No thanks.

    " As for UBER comment...UBER replaces the cab company by empowering independent contractors and allowing those drivers to utilize their app to locate customers and the customer pays the driver and a fee to UBER ...hmm sounds familiar."

    Its not Uber at all, which what the comment was about. Uber eliminated a middleman, this adds another middleman. Duhh.

    "but your facts are incorrect"

    You presented none of my facts, let alone pointed out which ones are incorrect.

    My advise to the truckers and drivers signing up for your job board, you better hire lots of legal help as when the IRS amoung others comes knocking don't be surprised. This company thinks it can redefine an employee a contractor by putting a job board... wow, why didn't anyone else think of that? The thought did occur, then they thought about going to prison for tax fraud.

  • Truck Driving Would be a Great Job if You Got Paid   14 weeks 2 days ago    

    I agree, I'm currently with an organization that allows me minimal overtime, so I work less then 50 hours a week, and I make more than I've ever made working for other organizations working 70 hours a week.

  • The Gig Economy Comes to Trucking   14 weeks 2 days ago    

    I've been signed up with Blue Bloodhound for two months now as an independent driver, and no work has ever come my way. According to the US laws there is a fine line between an independent contractor and employee.
    I do like the model, I thank that if trucking companies could adopt this model of picking loads, (instead of forced dispatch)it would help retain employment. Studies show employees don't leave their job, they leave their managers. It's time figure out whats wrong with the industry, we need an innovator.

  • The Gig Economy Comes to Trucking   14 weeks 2 days ago    

    Well Truckerman as this is the second post I have seen of yours regarding Blue Bloodhound, I am not sure of your motivation but your facts are incorrect. This is a free market place for drivers to become self employed independent contractors there is no deception here. Yes, they need to pay taxes as the site directs and even includes an instructional video and free tax consulting. Yes they are self employed in this capacity and responsible for their own benefits. They also can utilize expenses and write offs to lower their tax exposure. But the main reason a driver chooses to work this way is to be their own boss. Freedom to choose when, where and how they work. It may not be for everyone. You may enjoy working for someone as a W- 2 employee and it may meet your goals. Great! But dont comment negatively and incorrectly about others who may want to operate in a legal and different manner. This site is not about turning small carriers' employees into 1099s. Its about empowering drivers to leverage their much needed skills into more freedoms if that is their goal. I realize there are alot of negative situations out there in the industry and skepticism is well earned. This certainly is not skirting legal or even FMSCA regulations. Drivers work within their HOS, maintain a driver qualification file, keep themselves compliant and up to date. This is designing a new way to operate. Everyone would love high pay, job security, consistency, appreciation, great equipment, variety of work etc. Well thats rare to find ...so we created BBH to at least allow you to create some of those things for yourself. As for UBER comment...UBER replaces the cab company by empowering independent contractors and allowing those drivers to utilize their app to locate customers and the customer pays the driver and a fee to UBER ...hmm sounds familiar.

  • Sprinter expands portfolio with Worker Model   14 weeks 6 days ago    

    Once upon a time I purchased a Sprinter Cargo Van to drive all over North Amercia. I had to wait for my van to come from the east coast, after I agreed to purchase it. I have to say I was pleased for a number of reasons but what I felt Mercedes could have done, was to give more thought in the design of this vehicle and what it should have been able to deliver for the men and women using it as a work unit, as transport businesses using it in their fleet.
    The tires that are part of the purchase deal are the worst one could have. Just because of the road conditions. The lights are full-time on, when a driver needs to sleep and run the diesel engine, the head lights in my opinion should be easy to shut off. The bulkhead that is in it does not allow the driver to go into the back easily. The driver has to physically get out of the truck and use another door to get into the cargo area. Seriously folks You engineers truly need to hear from drivers of these vehicles whats important to them, not to Mercedes. They will be still selling a good work horse, however they will be listening to their customers and build an even better truck that suits the drivers of this class.
    I loved almost everything about my Sprinter but I still had to spend tons more money in order to be better for my career.
    Sincerely: HB

  • Legal battle ahead if Rhode Island passes truck-only toll plan   14 weeks 6 days ago    

    FUNNY DID YOU THINK THEY WOULD NOT PASS THIS , HIT THE TRUCKING COMPANY'S AGAIN . CT WILL BE NEXT WITH TOLLS ALSO .

  • FMCSA's DeLorenzo: Upcoming "messy" period for ELD use   15 weeks 15 hours ago    

    The "somewhat messy, mis-mashy" ELD transition period started when trucking companys randomly installed various ELDs onboard trucks a couple of years ago. In my experience driver "training" is nil because most trucking companys do not know how to use ELDs either. Driver to driver training is commonplace and absolutely useless. Then there is the 'step by step' documentation a trucking company will throw in the truck or it is located in the ELD these are hit and miss at best. All cheap training methods for company Bottom-Liners.

    I am somewhat technology literate and what I see is until one ELD is used by all trucking companys across the board it's going to be a big mess.

    The 30 minute break:
    In company driver safety meetings the safety director will pay adamant lip service to compliance. "Use the DOT 1/2 hour break for resting, taking lunch etc." The reality is you work during the 1/2 hour break. You are verbally instructed/intimidated to work. Don't move the truck because the ELD tells all, BUT load, unload, stack pallets, break down racks for that 1/2 hour. I am not afraid of hard work but bullying just chaps my hide. This type of intimidation adds up to this, solo drivers will work 14 hours out of every 24 hours until they run out of hours and team drivers face the same or worse fate. If you refuse the punitive response is you sit, your hours or loads are reduced. A great work around the law for Bottom-Liners dontcha think?

    FMCSA will never overcome this culture with unenforceable laws and ELDs. Drivers will never come together to end this treatment because they have families to support and remember we have been placed at the bottom of the trucking industry dog pile.

    ELDs are pretty in graphs, pie charts, and as law but lack of viable ELD training will slow down the hard working drivers and offer up new back-handed punitive ways for a company of Bottom-Liners to harass us.

    Thanks a lot.

    It appears to me there has been a great deal of consideration and loop holes made for trucking companys and very little thought given to the drivers. If we had the big $$$ and lobbyists on the Hill...

  • Trucker mocked for warning on CB radio about pile-up   15 weeks 18 hours ago    

    Hey Joe. I agree with the comment that this CB situation isn't new. Have been out here since 1977. The only difference between then and now is there's MORE of 'em. You keep up your good work. I know a lot of us would rather the CB challenged keep their thoughts on the bathroom walls where they belong. It's just more bad trucker PR to the motoring public with CBs. We sure don't need that.

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