Recent comments

  • A better path to safer roads   15 weeks 2 days ago    

    I agree with you that management is a key element in the problem. Fleets want the loads delivered as fast, and as cheaply, as possible. And that puts the driver in the middle. If pay-by-the-mile goes away, fleets are going to have to also change how they charge shippers.

  • A better path to safer roads   15 weeks 2 days ago    

    Mr. Rajkovacz, I'm certainly not looking to place "total and complete blame" for truck-involved fatalities on the trucking industry. What I'm saying is that certain industry practices create an environment where some drivers are encouraged to engage in unsafe practices in order to make a living. Pay-by-the-mile places too much burden on the driver, making him/her pay for things not under the driver's control, such as congestion, weather or uncooperative shippers. I believe we'd all be safer if drivers could depend on a steady income stream for their efforts.

  • Vehicles as mobile living rooms   15 weeks 2 days ago    

    With advancements in technology and the concept of autonomous cars there will definitely be a fall in the number of accidents. This will surely save the precious lives of people as many a time because of emotions and mental distress drivers lose their control and get distracted which results in severe accidents. I work with and we came to know about a lot of severe accidents because of distracted driving. For teens specially and people who want safe driving and are not perfect in their driving skills such AV’s are best for their use. I read an article also that self driving cars could reduce accidents by 90 percent. I liked the concept of Volvo cars and will surely share it with my friends. I hope they will like it as this concept gives the freedom to drive whenever the driver wants to drive and by changing the modes to create and relax they can do other activities.

  • Trucking company involved in deadly crash has history of safety violations   15 weeks 2 days ago    

    Seriously accidents are very distressing

  • Safety drives Australia to end pay-by-the-mile   15 weeks 2 days ago    

    Trucking fleets will not come off the cents per mile pay for drivers. If they went to percentage pay,drivers would actually know the rate companies are getting and refuse to haul "cheap freight".
    Hourly pay ? Not as long as trucks sit for hours at shippers and receivers..
    The ATA has the industry right where they want it.
    EOBR mandated by the Gov't (Gets rid of O/O)
    Sleep Apnea testing (Gets rid of old drivers)
    Get the new rookies in,train them to run exactly like the company wants ,at a reduced pay rate from the older more experienced driver.

  • A better path to safer roads   15 weeks 3 days ago    

    Rhetorical flourish seems to be the currency Mr. Abramson uses in writing about the trucking industry. For example, “This has led to a number of unsafe driving behaviors, especially speeding, and to widespread falsification of work logs.” There is no evidence of this other than the constant talking points from safety advocacy groups, Teamsters, and their political allies on Capitol Hill all intent on demonizing the trucking industry.

    It is tiresome hearing so called “safety advocates” lay total and complete blame on the trucking industry for “4,000 fatalities per year” pretending all fatality crashes are 100% the fault of truckers. Worse is when truckers themselves buy into this falsehood. Besides the fact all accidents are attributed to trucking regardless of “fault,” the annual total includes commercial motor vehicles (greater than 10,001 pounds) – such as pick-up trucks not directly regulated by FMCSA and a huge population of CMV’s only engaged in “intrastate” operations – again not directly regulated by the feds in many ways (CDL req - under 26K. HOS req. drug/alcohol testing req.). When proper discounts are made, the number of fatalities that can be characterized as interstate trucking’s fault is quite small but we have a bureaucracy and political system pretending they can impact it all with more regulations/legislation.

    Based on legal payment methods for truck drivers in the state of California, most all “intrastate” drivers are paid by the hour already and I suspect that is true for many "intrastate" operations around the country – yet those operations are still involved in a proportional amount of crashes that truck haters, unions, and politicians constantly yoke exclusively to “long-haul trucking.” Payment by the hour hasn’t changed those numbers.

    Bringing pay issues into the “safety equation” is nothing more than a red herring designed to promote a socio/economic agenda – not improvements to highway safety.

    Joe Rajkovacz, Upland, CA.

  • A better path to safer roads   15 weeks 3 days ago    

    I'm sorry but I have to disagree with you, on that the current pay-per-mile system is causing the safety issues in the U.S. It's the incompetent leaders that thank "maximization of profits" is a real thing. There is no way to test for "maximization of profits" but only compare them to the cost needed to operate each day.
    You know its funny that you mentioned how Australia has such a safety record. That's a combination of how workers obtain their MC (multi-combination) license. It takes four years from the time you start driving commercially to achieve your MC license.
    I do agree with you that today's truck drivers are not compensated well due to the amount of work performed. But it's not all their faults as to running over hours, it's the companies pushing the driver to perform more in the time frame. But hey it's a free world, and there's a crook everywhere. Even in trucking.

  • A better path to safer roads   15 weeks 3 days ago    

    I appreciate Mr. Abramson sharing his opinion on how our roads can be made safer. A single crash is a crash too many, if you are the one who becomes entangled with a vehicle much larger than your own. So all comments should be welcome when safety is at stake.

    It is a fact, in most fatal truck collisions, that a number of factors are always present and it's not always clear from later investigations, which specific factor was the primary cause of the collision. In some cases, the true root cause will never be known.

    Mr. Abramson's theory of hourly pay seems to be based on the assumption that most drivers (or their employers) value pay over performance or even professionalism. While that could be true for a small minority, in the long run, those unsafe organizations will put themselves out of business.

    The facts speak for themselves: most, if not all, municipalities' and state's heavy vehicle drivers are paid by hourly rates. I don't believe their safety record is any better; they still have fatal crashes and crashes with serious injuries.

    So do private fleets that pay their drivers by the hour.

    Insurance companies insure trucking companies based on random probabilities. The odds are fairly even, statistically speaking, whether you pay drivers by the hour or by the mile, that their crash rates will be about the same, in my opinion.

    If there are any studies on this so-called pay vs. safety issue, now would certainly be the appropriate time to make them known.

  • A better path to safer roads   15 weeks 3 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   15 weeks 6 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   15 weeks 6 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   16 weeks 1 hour ago    

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

  • Report: More research needed to connect driver health, safety   16 weeks 2 hours 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   16 weeks 8 hours 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   16 weeks 19 hours 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   16 weeks 23 hours 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’   16 weeks 2 days ago    

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

  • Darling nomination moves to full Senate   16 weeks 6 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?   16 weeks 6 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   17 weeks 1 day 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   17 weeks 1 day 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   17 weeks 2 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?   17 weeks 2 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'   17 weeks 2 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’   17 weeks 2 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.

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