A Senate bill introduced last week in the U.S. Senate calls for truck drivers to be paid by the hour and would take measures to make their job safer.

“Truck drivers work extremely long days to deliver the goods we depend on and keep our economy moving, but too often this comes at the expense of their safety and the safety of other drivers,” said Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who introduced the Truck Safety Act legislation.

The Truck Safety Act not only would implement hourly pay for U.S. truck drivers, it also would raise minimum insurance levels from $750,000 to $1.5 million, bring speed limiting devices in commercial vehicles one step closer to reality, and study the impact of commuting long distances.

Safety advocacy groups praised the bill. In a joint statement Friday addressing the different trucking bills in the Senate, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Truck Safety Coalition, Parents Against Tired Truckers, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways and the Consumer Federation of America said the bill ‘will move the bar to advance commercial motor vehicle safety.

Read the full article here.

Image from www.truckinginfo.com

 

 

A beloved Florida toll booth operator has lost his job after paying a truck driver’s $6 toll.

Sam Samsonov, 77, had worked on the same bridge for 29 years. He was caught on video taking money out of his own pocket to cover for a trucker who was short $6 at the Boca Grande Causeway at Placida in Charlotte County, Fla. The truck driver paid him back the next day, but it didn’t change Samsonov’s job status.

“In my eyes there was no crime committed. I just helped somebody out,” Samsonov told the local NBC affiliate.“They were my family.”

Samsonov had paid the toll for motorists before but had never formally been warned by Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority. This time, he was caught on video reaching into his pocket. Samsonov is missed on the job by locals, even inspiring an editorial in the local paper.

Support for Sam has flooded in,” stated the article. “A Facebook page Support Sam Samsonov has more than 4,800 likes and an Indiegogo page has been started with a goal of funding a holiday for Sam.

Read the rest of the article here.

Image from Facebook

 

Legislation introduced by Republican lawmakers this month would lower the federal truck driving age to 18, according to a July 10 Associated Press article.

 Current federal regulations mandate that people be at least 21 years of age to drive commercial trucks across state lines, but a bill introduced this month by Republican senators would allow contiguous states that join together in ‘compacts’ to drop the age threshold to 18 for interstate trips,” the Associated Press stated in the article.

The trucking industry lobbied for the change in response to the truck driver shortage, which has intensified as truck drivers continue to retire in large numbers.

The American Trucking Associations estimates that the current shortage of drivers is roughly 35,000 to 40,000, but because of retirements and individuals leaving the industry, trucking companies will need to recruit nearly 100,000 new drivers a year over the next decade to keep pace with the country’s freight needs.

The legislation has supporters and opponents in the trucking industry itself, with Jackie Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, saying lowering the driving age is a bad idea.

Allowing teens to drive trucks weighing as much as 80,000 pounds and to work as many as 82 hours a week, as is permitted in the truck industry, is a ‘catastrophe waiting to happen,’ she stated in the article.

Proponents, meanwhile, say lowering the truck driving age to 18 would be good for the industry and the economy.

Read the full article here. What do you think? Is lowering the driving age a good idea?

Featured image from https://en.wikipedia.org

 

 

More U.S. truck drivers stayed with their employers in the first quarter of 2015 and annualized turnover rates declined to their lowest point in four years, reported the American Trucking Associations. The Wall Street Journal covered the issue in a July 14 article, saying:

The turnover rate was down to 84% for operators of truckload fleets with more than $30 million in revenue in the first quarter and 83% among those with smaller fleets. Both measures were 12 percentage points less than the turnover rate in the previous quarter.

Compare that to driver turnover in other recent years, when it’s typically stayed above the 90 percent mark, said Bob Costello of the American Trucking Associations in the article. He told the Wall Street Journal he did not expect to see such a dramatic improvement in the first quarter alone.

I didn’t expect it to go up a lot, but I didn’t expect it to fall to its lowest level for large carriers in four years,” he said.

He and others credit — at least in part — recent raises at some trucking companies for the positive trend, which impacted small and large trucking companies alike.

Read more of the Wall Street Journal article here.

Image from Bloomberg News

 

The driver demographics of the industry continue to show that truck drivers are an aging population. And it raises the question “Where will the industry find its future drivers?” In a recent news article, Overdrive magazine tackled the issue of why younger drivers aren’t signing up to drive a truck.

While the answer of why the population is getting older may do well to include a recognition of the maturity that comes with age and the risk-aversion businesses are feeling more and more of these days, suffice it to say the whole question of how to attract the younger folks to the work of driving truck is one people are talking about — a lot,” the magazine stated.

The magazine asked a man in his 20s who works in a non-driving role at a trucking company why he and others his age don’t drive trucks. The man, Bruce Jenkins, had some valuable insights to share.

We are a generation of leisure,” he said. “Not just leisure, but laziness. There is no piece of information we can’t access in the palm of our hands, and there is no product we can’t acquire by going to a single building that has every single product we could need on a regular basis…. Everything is done for us. No one my age knows about trucking.

Jenkins also talked about hearing stories of the profession’s dangers as a youth and long being encouraged to pursue a college degree.

We grew up being told to go to college before we even knew the word education,” he told the magazine. “If you don’t continue your education you cannot be successful. This is the idea we grew up with.

You can read more of what he told Overdrive here.

Image from Overdrive.com

NTSB logoThe National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday said it wants commercial trucks to carry event data recorders. The news follows the end of an investigation into a California crash between a truck and motorcoach that caused 10 fatalities in April 2014.

The investigation revealed inadequacies in fire performance standards for motorcoaches. However, the lack of event data recorders on the truck and motorchoach made the investigation more difficult to conduct, according to NTSB chairman Christopher Hart. The truck’s ECM was destroyed in the crash and subsequent fire.

Had the NTSB had access to event data recorders, Hart said in the article, the agency may have determined why the truck in the accident crossed the median.

[It] could have enabled us to make recommendations to prevent it from happening again,” Hart said.

Flight data recorders have been an asset in the aviation industry, Hart said in the article. Yet, he lamented, even with longtime recommendations from the NTSB, commercial trucks and motorcoaches today are not required to have data recorders. Time will tell if that will change in the future.

Read the full article here.

 

Image from: Iowa 80 Truckstop
The 36th Walcott Truckers Jamboree last weekend was a major success, attracting nearly 41,000 attendees to the World’s Largest Truckstop in Walcott, Iowa.

The Jamboree takes place annually at Iowa 80 Truckstop, just off its namesake in Walcott, Iowa. In its recap of the event, Truckerslogic.com wrote:

Since it’s inception in 1979, the Truckers Jamboree has been celebrating America’s Truckers. This event is a great place to celebrate and learn about trucking and those big rigs. “It’s our way of saying thank you to the millions of truck drivers that deliver the goods we consume, whether it’s groceries, gas, clothes or cars — you can bet it was delivered by a truck.”

We here at Drive My Way attended the show as well and were equally impressed by the turnout. Read more of the Truckers Logic article here — and follow Drive My Way on Facebook and Twitter to see how we launched at the Jamboree (Ooooh yeah!).

 

 

Understanding what fatigue is and how to manage it – through rest, diet and other methods – is vital to fostering what Tom DiSalvi, vice president for safety and loss prevention at Schneider, calls the “safety payoff” in trucking operations.

“The biggest piece of truck transportation planning is how to insure drivers are well rested so they can stay alert,” DiSalvi told Fleet Owner magazine. “For us, that starts with education through driver training: gaining an understanding about the sleep cycle, sleep debt, sleep hygiene, and proper fatigue management,” he explained.

DiSalvi touted the importance of truckers finding safe overnight parking. He also suggested truckers do what they can to make their tractor interiors more comfortable for sleeping. Taking such small but important steps will help drivers stay more alert, DiSalvi reasoned.

“It’s about helping drivers be more prepared so they understand the warning signs of fatigue and also know how to counteract it,” DiSalvi said. “We then help tie that into our safety expectations. The whole idea is that the driver is the ‘captain of the ship’ and the need to have the right information to know if they are too tired to drive.”

Better managing fatigue at the wheel ultimately can have lasting benefits, such as improving a fleet’s safety profile and increasing driver retention.

“It develops a stronger and more [positive] relationship between drivers and front-line managers,” DiSalvi noted.

Some trucking companies are becoming proactive in combatting on-the-job fatigue. Southeastern Freight Lines (SEFL), for instance, implemented a sleep apnea interdiction program designed by FusionHealth back in 2011. Learn about the positive results they saw and read more of the article here.
Image from www.fleetowner.com

Clinton Blackbunew-herorn of Morehead, Ky., is one of 18 winners of the Carnegie Medal. The medal is awarded quarterly by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. Honorees receive a financial grant for their efforts.

Blackburn, 44, is credited with saving the life of Darrell Herndon, a jailer from Spencer County, Ky., who was being strangled by a prisoner he was transporting along a Kentucky highway in March 2014.

Herndon was transporting a prisoner who had escaped his handcuffs and was strangling Herndon from the back seat. Herndon stopped the car on an interstate median and opened his door, attracting the attention of Blackburn, who pulled over and began trying to free the officer from the prisoner.

Blackburn remained modest about his heroism, however.

“I just thank the good Lord for putting me where he did,” Blackburn said. Read more here.

Image from Transport Topics

 

 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s June jobs report shows that the  number of jobs in the for-hire trucking industry reached an all-time high in June.

The sector added 7,400 jobs,  for a total of 1.4585 million. That’s 5,100 more jobs than the record for trucking set in January 2007.

That’s also the third monthly gain in a row after the surprise loss of 7,300 jobs in March, the biggest drop in two years, states a July 2 article in Fleet Owner magazine .

The for-hire trucking sector is showing promise in more ways as well.

The industry has recovered 225,300 jobs since the low point in the recession, March 2010. Compared to June last year, for-hire trucking has added 43,300 jobs, an increase of 3.1%.

The U.S. Department of Labor report shows that the transportation and warehousing sector added 17,000 jobs in June.

Read more here.

Image from Thinkstock