The FMCSA Hours of Service proposal is currently in its comment period. While they had fast tracked that proposal, a number of groups have requested more time to make comments. The new deadline for comments is now October 21. An unlikely coalition of divergent interests came together to request this extension. The ATA and the Teamsters as well as other "safety" groups want more time to study the proposal and make informed comments. While this can be a good thing, the comment period extension will push back the implementation date of any rule that they do make. I certainly don't expect to see any rule put in place before late winter or even early spring at the soonest. We will have to contend with drivers taking their break on the fuel island or on the shoulder of the road until then. By the way, please stop taking a 30 minute break on the shoulder. No matter what the rules are it is always up to us to be safe. Stopping on the shoulder of the interstate for a 30 minute break is illegal and unsafe. HERE is an article about the delay.
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The California Bill AB5 looks like the governor will sign it. This is meant to change the gig model for Uber/Lyft and those but it will also change the Owner/Operator model. Many in the industry are upset about this but the reason this is coming is because many, many companies abuse this and force drivers into a 1099 situation when they are actually company drivers. Will this change the industry there and eventually around the country. The trucking industry has preyed on drivers by making them an "independent contractor" when they are actually drivers for decades and many of these same players are not happy that this is now coming home to roost. There are forever changes going on in every industry. Could this be a real problem for many people? Yes. There are several industry groups that are opposed to it and are gearing up their members to fight it but it looks like at this time it will pass. It will then become law on Jan 1. Get ready.
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Now, finally, if you leave your disgusting trash full of human waste you will be ticketed, at least in California. The CHP is now ticketing drivers for leaving their bottles and other "solid" waste along the highway, in rest area parking lots and in any other public place. This is long overdue. There is absolutely no excuse for leaving this type of trash. Really there is no excuse for littering at all, anywhere. Would you want to be the person who has to pick this trash up? I mean, really. The industry has a bad enough reputation to the general public. You cannot go around calling yourself a professional and leave a poo bag in a parking lot. Do you think professionals in other fields do this? Do you think Bill Gates leaves full Gatorade bottles along the road during his travels? I highly doubt it. I don't want to hear the excuses of no parking, full rest areas or anything else. No one should have to clean up human waste in a plastic bag. No one. It is disgusting and people doing it should be ashamed of themselves. Don't try to just blame new drivers or mega carriers for this one, either. It is all experience levels and all companies. You can read the article HERE.
See you on the clean road!
There has been much talk lately about autonomous trucks and if they are going to take our jobs. The answer is yes, eventually. It will be decades before there is widespread use of these self-driving vehicles, though. There are even some groups trying to ban autonomous trucks entirely. I get it, you are scared but stopping technology is not the answer to anything. Did you know there were people who attempted to ban surgery because doctors "had no right to go in there and mess things up". If they would have won where would we be now? I think a better question is this: Do you have a right to your job no matter what technology comes along during your lifetime? Can we go to the government and demand that our job be kept no matter what happens around us? I think not.
Why decades for these self-driving trucks? There are several problems to overcome. They need to be able to work in all weather situations. As we know, the current systems shut off in a rainstorm and in snow, forget it. The sensor gets anything on it and it doesn't work. With no driver, they will need a system to keep this clean 24/7. The trucks need to talk to the infrastructure and to each other to tell the other vehicles what they are going to do. How long do you think it will take to replace all the road signs with signs that broadcast a signal to the trucks? Heck, it is 2 months to get a pothole filled. This will also require a reliable 5G network which is just now rolling out in a few cities. They also need to be able to program the computer to tell the difference between a stroller and a paper bag. That is not near as easy as it sounds.
How will all this start? It will start in the southwest where there are already trials that include a driver in the cab. Long routes on southern interstates are first. There will be pull off spots where a local driver will bring the trailer and hook up the autonomous truck. The truck will then take the load on the preplanned interstate to another pull off spot close to the destination. A local driver here will unhook the load and deliver it and the process starts over. Solo OTR drivers are the first to go. Teams will be next. Why solo first? They cost the company more money. Yes. That truck sits every night and costs the same as a team truck but brings in half or less of the revenue. This will slowly spread north until much of the interstate system is covered. Remember, reliable ultra-fast 5G service is required. Look at the signal you get away from populated areas now. The final part will be dock to dock service. This is by far the most difficult part of the deal. Docks near the interstate are first. Companies may move to these areas to lower shipping costs. The beginnings of this are decades away and not every load will work with this. Flat, oversized, cattle and specialty trucks may never be automated as it would be too difficult because of the actual labor involved in the load. More on this in anther blog.
See you on the road!
Recently a 76 year old truck driver was killed in Georgia when the load of steel beams he was carrying slid forward during hard braking and impaled him to death. The question of course is about the age of that driver. At 76, are you too old to drive a semi? Heck, are you too old to drive a car? Those steel beams were large and do you think it is possible that the driver did not have the strength necessary to properly secure that load? Is it possible at that age you missed something crucial to the safe movement of the truck? Sure, you may pass a DOT physical. We have a driver that is 450 pounds who passes the physical with a cane so that doesn't really prove anything. It is a valid question to be sure. Should there be an upper age limit to driving a truck? There is in other fields like aviation. Your commercial license expires permanently at a certain age because we all know that we are not as sharp or as fast as we get older. So, what do you say. At what age should a CDL no longer be issued? Read the article HERE.
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Hi! Welcome. I'm Mark and I've been a professional truck driver for over 33 years, the last 19 years at the same company. It is time that drivers got paid for every minute that we work and we are treated like the licensed professionals we are.