Archive for August, 2010

SPC Christopher S. Wright – Fallen Hero

August 26th, 2010

Fallen soldier SPC Christopher S. Wright was returned to his hometown of Tollesboro, KY this morning.

His body was welcomed by hundreds of people who lined the route between Fleming-Mason Airport Tollesboro Christian Church in Tollesboro.

The jet carrying the body of SPC Christopher S. Wright landed at the Fleming-Mason Airport shortly after 9:00 a.m.

Wright’s body was removed and placed in a waiting hearse. Present were numerous members of the military, family, area law enforcement officials and dozens of Task Force Omega members.

The motorcade – made up of local area Fire, police, military, family and Task Force Omega members – departed the airport and followed Ky. Rt. 11 to Flemingsburg then Ky. Rt. 57 to Tollesboro.

Hundreds lined the roadways as the procession passed. Many of those watching held signs of support for the fallen military hero.

Countless US Flags, signs, and banners had been placed along the roadways throughout Tollesboro, including at Tollesboro Christian Church, where the visitation and services will take place, and at Tollesboro Supply, owned by Wright’s parents Jim and Michele Cochran.

Wright, 23, a graduate of Lewis County High School, died after being injured in a firefight in Konar Province in Afghanistan on August 19th. Wright has several awards to his credit, among them the Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with combat start, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal and Purple Heart.

Visitation will be from 1:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Friday and services will be at 11:00 a.m. Saturday at Tollesboro Christian Church. Burial will follow and be in the East Fork Cemetery.

For love of country they accepted death” – James A. Garfield.

Although, I did not know Christopher I still pray for him and his family to have peace. Rest in peace, you will not be forgotten.

© 2010, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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Hours of Service Rules – Recipe For Disaster

August 24th, 2010

First off this is total speculation – the rules have not changed, yet. I just think that if the rules are changed from 11 hours of driving – to 8 hours of driving – without anything else being changed that this will be a recipe for disaster.

In the recent weeks there has been a couple of “high profile” trucking accidents in Ohio. Both were determined to be caused by fatigue by the truck driver. Changing the allowed time for truckers to drive will NOT help the situation, but will most likely make things worse. Advocates for safer highways such as Truck Safety Coalition, Public Citizen and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety suggest to FMCSA that they believe truck drivers are driving too many hours.

The problems related to fatigue related accidents in trucking starts with “Just in Time Delivery” – a demand driven inventory system in which materials, parts, sub-assemblies, and support items are delivered just when needed and neither sooner nor later. Included in this problem is on the shipping side as truck drivers have to sit on a dock awaiting to be loaded – sometimes for hours – in which “burns” up the hours that a truck driver has available to drive to deliver a load – just in time.

The way the hours-of-service now operate is that a trucker has 14 hours per day to complete that days task – whether it’s loading and then driving to make an appointment – or driving and making a delivery appointment. The drivers “clock” starts as soon as he or she starts their day – by doing their pretrip inspection as required by law. If this happens at 06:00 AM then by 8:00 PM that evening the driver must be parked and off-duty. But, a truck driver is ONLY allowed to drive for 11 hours in that 14 hours. Now if the driver has to wait on a dock to load or unload, then the clock is still “ticking away” at the 14 hour clock. If the driver has to wait – 5 hours, which is not unheard of – to either load or unload then the driver can only drive “legally” 9 hours for that day.

The problem is that when the driver gets delayed at a shipper or receiver the load that is already scheduled still has the same appointment time. The driver is “expected” to still get the load there “just in time” for that appointment – or else. The “or else” can be a punishment by the driver’s company perhaps by firing for too many late loads, or fining the driver for a late load, or just by letting the driver sit somewhere for a few days with no load. The company that the delivery or load is being picked up at can also “punish” the driver by making them sit and wait which in turn messes up the next load – costing the driver money.

So to make sure that this does not happen to a driver they will do just about anything they can to get the load delivered “just in time” for the appointment. Either by running the load illegally by driving over their hours or cutting their break time to get up and make the delivery or loading schedule and then “fudge” their log book to make it “look” legal.

One reason – that is a big concern in trucking – that makes a driver run over on his or her driving hours is the parking situation – or the lack there of – that interferes with truckers today. With inadequate parking available now – the parking problem will only increase with the “shortening” of the driving hours. Cutting the hours a driver is allowed to drive will only be a recipe for disaster if the parking problems are not fixed.

Pay and the lack of is another reason drivers will go over their hours. Most drivers are ONLY paid by the miles that they drive – meaning if the driver has to sit for hours waiting to load or unload they are not making any money – but the clock is still ticking on their 14 hour clock. In order to make up the difference they will drive.

Advocates believe that the science is clear and convincing: excessive working hours, especially in a high-risk occupation like truck driving, promotes sleep deprivation, fatigue, low alertness, and increased frequency of performance errors that lead to crashes, injuries, and deaths. The current rule needs to be reformed to provide truck drivers a HOS regime that demands far fewer hours of work and driving from them and provides them much more time to rest and recover. This will ONLY be accomplished by adding flexibility to the current HOS by allowing drivers to take a break without it going against their 14 hour clock.

If the hours-of-service are reworked by replacing the 11 hour driving limit with an 8 hour driving limit and nothing else is addressed, this will only make the problems worse and cut the pay even further on truck drivers and that is not the answer. The problems of No flexibility in the HOS, the lack of sufficient parking, and the low pay need to be addressed to reduce fatigue related accidents and truckers driving over their allowed hours.

© 2010, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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Kentucky Department of Highways Workers Hosting 100-Mile Benefit Ride September 11

August 23rd, 2010

Kentucky Department of Highways workers are hosting a 100-mile benefit ride on Saturday, Sept. 11, for the Kentucky Employees Charitable Campaign (KECC).

The ride is open to motorcycle riders, antique car and truck drivers or anyone else who wants to join in to raise money for six accredited statewide charities: United Way of Kentucky, Christian Appalachian Project, Community Health Charities, Easter Seals of Kentucky, Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky and WHAS Crusade for Children.

Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 11 at the Kentucky Department of Highways District 9 office, 822 Elizaville Ave., Flemingsburg. The ride will begin at noon. Riders and drivers will follow a course along KY 11, US 68 and other routes. Maps will be provided. Stops will be made in Montgomery County and at Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park before returning to the District 9 office in Flemingsburg for a cookout and prize drawings. Cost is $10 per vehicle and driver, and $5 for each additional passenger. All proceeds will benefit KECC charities, many of which serve Fleming and surrounding counties.

The Kentucky Employees Charitable Campaign (KECC) is a partnership of Kentucky state employees and the six accredited statewide charities, which together work to make a significant difference in the lives of our families, friends and neighbors throughout the Commonwealth. Partner charities represent more than a thousand charitable programs and agencies addressing health and human services needs in Kentucky.

Since 1993, the KECC has provided the opportunity for state employees to contribute to eligible charitable organizations through payroll deduction and through organizing public fund-raisers such as golf scrambles, benefit rides and other events. For more information, visit For benefit ride information, call Carol Harmon at (800)817-2551.

© 2010, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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Some States Want Heavier Truck Weight Limits

August 23rd, 2010

In 1956 Congress legislated maximum axle weight, gross vehicle weight, and width limits for trucks operating on Interstate highways.

Congress adopted the weight limits recommended in 1946 by the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO), now the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO): 18,000 pounds on a single axle, 32,000 pounds on a tandem axle, and 73,280 pounds gross weight.

In 1982 Congress required that all States allow on their Interstate highways loads of 20,000 pounds on single axles, 34,000 pounds on tandem axles, 80,000 pounds total for a vehicle, and enforce the Federal Bridge Formula. The width limits were increased to 102 inches. States were required to allow 48-foot semitrailers and double combinations of two 28-foot trailers.

The vehicle weight limits – 18,000 pounds on a single axle, 32,000 pounds on a tandem axle, and 73,280 pounds gross weight – enacted in 1956 were to protect Interstate System pavements and bridges from damage or premature wear caused by excessively heavy trucks.

What I am trying to show here with this is, the vehicle weight limits enacted in 1956 were done so to protect roads and bridges. In 1982 congress required states to allow heavier truck gross amounts up to 80,000 pounds on the same roads and bridges. Now some states are wanting to raise these limits from 80,000 pounds up to 97,000 pounds. The problem is that they want the increase on some of these very same roads and bridges from 1956 or roads and bridges that are 54 years old.

If heavier vehicles were allowed to operate there would need to be a substantial number of bridge improvements. Heavier six-axle tractor-semitrailers, such as the 97,000-pound vehicle that would, generally exceed bridge formula limits and would cause stresses exceeding bridge design stresses. In 1999 there was a total of 585,542 bridges in the US of which 88,150 were considered structurally deficient by a recent report there are now 603,259 bridges in the US, of which 71,177 are considered structurally deficient. This does not include any roads this is just bridges only.

It’s evident that roads and bridges were not built to last forever as we see road and bridge construction every year. I have written articles before telling how I used to drive a tractor trailer and the type of trailer I pulled was a dump trailer. I hauled out of coal mines and rock and sand quarries in Ohio and Kentucky. In 1996 most quarries did not have any limits on the weight you could gross when you crossed their outbound scales. Even though the truck I drove licensed for 80,000 pounds only – legally according to the bridge laws it could only haul about 74,000 pounds – but I was paid by the ton to haul and I rarely went out of any place under 100,000 pounds – more weight meant more money for me – as it will for drivers now.

Not only does an increase in gross weight limit destroy more roads – but also will increase roll-over type accidents. Tankers and flat-bed trailers as well as dump trailers have a “high” center-of-gravity which makes them easy to roll-over. Increasing the weight limits will only make this easier – which in-turn will increase accidents. This is something not mentioned – because there is not an easy way to “fix” this.

Some safety advocates say “stability control systems” could prevent trucks from rolling over. It is designed to “override” the system if a driver goes into a corner to fast. I say this is a disaster waiting to happen. Driving a tractor trailer with a “high center of gravity” you slow down before the corner and gradually power out “after” the corner. Nowhere is it mentioned how a “stability control system” would react to a bigger heavier load. So, with more weight comes bigger loads and results with more rollovers.

In reality all these states and the people who want bigger trucks and more gross weight on tractor trailers are only seeing one thing – dollar signs – more weight equals more money – to them not the driver. There is a bill that will actually put a freeze on the weight that is allowed to be hauled. HR1618 will keep the 80,000 pound weight limit as the legal weight. This is the bill that needs to be supported if you are concerned about safety out on the highway.

© 2010, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Strike Force – Strike Force?

August 18th, 2010

FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Strike Force removes unsafe commercial drivers and carriers from the road.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that 109 commercial bus and truck drivers were removed from the roads and more than 175 carriers face enforcement actions as a result of the FMCSA’s annual drug and alcohol strike force sweep that occurred from June 21 through July 2.

Really? I didn’t even know that was a department within the FMCSA. Is this really a problem – that a “task force” is needed? If so, this is funny sad because drugs and alcohol are illegal anyway – within the trucking industry.

Alcohol And Drug Rules from the FMCSA: The FMCSA regulations require alcohol and drug testing of drivers, who are required to have a CDL. The FMCSA rules apply to safety-sensitive employees, who operate commercial motor vehicles requiring a CDL.

Alcohol is a legal substance; therefore, the rules define specific prohibited alcohol-related conduct. This means you MAY NOT DRIVE a vehicle requiring a CDL; While using alcohol. While having a breath alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or greater as indicated by an alcohol breath test. Or within four hours after using alcohol.

The following Alcohol test are REQUIRED:
Post-accident – conducted after accidents on drivers whose performance could have contributed to the accident (as determined by a citation for a moving traffic violation) and for all fatal accidents even if the driver is not cited for a moving traffic violation.
Reasonable suspicion – conducted when a trained supervisor or company official observes behavior or appearance that is characteristic of alcohol misuse.
Random – conducted on a random unannounced basis just before, during, or just after performance of safety-sensitive functions.
Return-to-duty and follow-up – conducted when an individual who has violated the prohibited alcohol conduct standards returns to performing safety-sensitive duties. Follow-up tests are unannounced. At least 6 tests must be conducted in the first 12 months after a driver returns to duty. Follow-up testing may be extended for up to 60 months following return to duty. You can read the rest of all the rules CDL drivers must comply with here. Also here.

Just so you know this about “medical marijuana” The Department of Transportation’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation – 49 CFR Part 40, at 40.151(e) – does not authorize “medical marijuana” under a state law to be a valid medical explanation for a transportation employee’s positive drug test result.

“If you are a commercial driver or carrier operating in violation of federal drug and alcohol laws, we will remove you from our roadways,” said Secretary LaHood. “Parents deserve to know their children are being driven by bus drivers who are drug and alcohol free, and every motorist deserves to feel confident that the drivers of large trucks and buses are safe and sober.”

During the two week sweep, FMCSA strike force investigators examined the drug and alcohol safety records of commercial drivers employed by bus and truck companies, including school bus drivers, interstate passenger carriers, hazardous material transporters and general freight long-haul trucking companies. Their goals were to identify motor carriers in violation of federal drug and alcohol testing requirements and to remove from the road commercial truck and bus drivers who jump from carrier to carrier to evade federal drug and alcohol testing and reporting requirements.

I’m glad the DOT is doing the JOB required of them. It is a sad situation that this is even a problem within the trucking industry. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in any vehicle in the US – especially a tractor trailer. I was under the assumption that it is illegal to even have “drinking” alcohol in the cab of a tractor trailer whether opened or not.

“FMCSA is committed to ensuring that only safe commercial drivers and carriers are allowed to operate,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “Our annual drug and alcohol strike force is just one of the ways we weed out those ‘bad actors’ and make our roads safer for everyone.”

The 109 commercial drivers identified in the sweep face the prospect of a monetary fine and being barred from operating a commercial motor vehicle for failing to adhere to federal drug and alcohol regulations. Additionally, 175 commercial carriers face pending enforcement actions for violations, such as using a driver who has tested positive for illegal drugs and for not instituting a drug and alcohol testing program. Both drivers and carriers will have an opportunity to contest the alleged violations and the amount of the civil penalties.

© 2010, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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Truckers Say Obama Should Stand Up to Mexico’s Illegal Tariffs

August 17th, 2010

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) calls upon the Obama Administration to stand up to Mexico’s bullying tariff tactics and start fighting for the livelihoods of Americans.

Mexico Economic Minister Bruno Ferrari announced yesterday his government would be adding tariffs to more U.S. exports.

“If the U.S. trade representative had called out Mexico for their illegal tariffs more than a year ago, we would not be in this situation,” said OOIDA’s Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “It was irresponsible to allow it to go on for this long.”

More than 18 months have passed since the tariffs were first imposed by Mexico because the U.S refuses to open its borders to Mexican trucks.

“These bullying tactics should not be tolerated. The onus is on Mexico to raise safety, security and environmental standards for their trucking industry,” added Spencer. “We should not allow ourselves to be blackmailed into lowering our standards.”

Trucking companies in the United States are required to comply with ever-increasing safety regulations that significantly increase their costs of operations. Mexico does not have a similar regulatory regimen and therefore its companies do not contend with the corresponding costs that encumber U.S. counterparts.

Thanks OOIDA for all you do for Truck drivers.

© 2010, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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Some Food For Thought – Concerning Truck Related Accidents

August 16th, 2010

I have recently been seeing lots of truck vs car related accidents showing up in the news. I especially am keeping an eye on these accidents as it seems everybody and their brother is just looking for another excuse to add another regulation to truck drivers. When I was on the road I would see thousands of accidents every year and a lot of them looked like suicide attempts by the car drivers.

I mean really how many of all these accidents that happen do they really look into and investigate? I know they claim to investigate these accidents by recreating them, but really how can you recreate what a person is thinking – if they are dead? Times are tough and people have a lot of stress these days and suicide happens in many different ways.

Here are some good facts from Land Line Media Blog:

Number one: If a truck and car crash into one another, it is far more likely to be the car driver’s fault. Previous U.S. studies have shown that in at least 75 percent of fatalities involving cars and trucks, the truck driver is not at fault. The data continue to confirm that, despite driving far larger vehicles with 20 to 40 times the weight of small cars, and while driving far more miles annually, truck drivers are responsible for far fewer wrecks and fatalities than other drivers.

4,000 annual deaths tied to commercial vehicles (including buses, delivery vehicles, and farm equipment), the vast majority aren’t the fault of the commercial vehicle driver. That figure, by the way, has continued to drop in recent years – and is far below the 40,000 to 200,000 annual deaths caused by medical physician errors.

Here is another lone fact that safety advocates won’t tell the general public about “all these killer trucks” on the highways. When a motorcyclist or pickup driver speeds into the back of a trailer and dies that fatality is counted among the 4,000 annual deaths tied to commercial vehicles. Here is an example of this that happened today:

The driver of a Toyota Prius died after apparently rear-ending a tractor-trailer carrying an oversize load of rebar, which extended beyond the end of the flatbed. An eyewitness said that the driver of the Prius did not appear to slow down before the impact.

An just so you naysayers out there the trucker felt a “jolt” and looked in his mirror and saw that obviously there was a car behind him and it had rear-ended him. The truck driver immediately pulled over to the berm and ran back and tried to render aid to the victim – but the person was already deceased. This is a fatality that will be included into a statistic as a fatality involving a tractor trailer – but in no way the trucker’s fault. This could have been a “suicide by way of a truck accident.”

41,000 to 45,000 traffic deaths occur every year within the U.S. Walkers and bikers account for 15% of the total traffic deaths each year. Fewer than 9% of those deaths involve commercial vehicles. More than 80% of those accidents are the fault of the non-commercial driver. Of those death related accidents only 4% of trucks are fatigue related. Drinking related accounted for .06% of those accidents.

There is nearly 4 million truck drivers out on the road driving millions of accident free miles per year. These are professional drivers – yes there are a few “bad eggs” out there too – but the vast majority of truckers actually know how to drive. I’ve seen some statistics that say when a truck versus a car accident happens 90% of the time the driver of the car instantly dies and more than 80% of the time it is the car drivers fault. Suicide by way of a truck happens and I bet I would be safe in saying it happens a lot.

© 2010, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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Life Changes

August 15th, 2010

Growing up, I didn’t know what I wanted to be. I guess I probably had the same thoughts as any young boy did, the thoughts of being a super hero, or a fireman, police officer. I did at one time want to follow in my father’s footsteps to become a farmer – but I soon grew out of that notion as there is a lot of work involved for very little money. I never dreamed of becoming a truck driver.

I grew up on the farm doing most jobs that are required to have a successful farming business at a very young age. We were a long way from being rich with money, but we survived and my parents made sure that we had what we needed. I say “we” because there were six of us kids and I was the “baby” of the family. All my brothers and sisters went to college. They are all successful people with families and good jobs. I never went to college I consider myself the “black sheep” of the family.

I worked for my father on the farm and was paid minimum wages – with no taxes held out – because I lived at home up until I met my wife. We moved in together before getting married. After getting married – I decided it was time to get a real job. I began working as an EMT – but only lasted for a few months – I got tired of really long hours with very little pay.

I decided after looking through some newspapers that I was going to give trucking a try. I enrolled into truck driving school, and completed the school at the top of my class – which amazed me as I had never been in or around a tractor trailer before arriving at the school. After graduation, I got hired with a company and went out with a poor trainer who used the opportunity to run like a team – and me as the nighttime driver – so he could sleep. I soon quit the company after an argument with the trainer at the TA truck-stop in Gary, IN.

I made it back home in Kentucky and ended up going to work locally for a guy that lived up the road from driving a truck pulling a “coal bucket” – I must say that was probably the best driving job out of a few different jobs that I had. It really taught me a lot about trucking – because I had to treat the truck as if I owned it – or I wouldn’t be working. I learned how to be easy on the truck and still be very productive. I also learned how to repair my truck if it ever broke down. It was not like most people today that work for companies – If I broke down I had no break down department to call into – I had to fix it myself – if possible.

I went on to a few other driving jobs that all taught me even more about trucking and life. I have pulled all different types of trailers and loads in my career as a truck driver. Trucking has taught me that the happiest of people do not necessarily have the best of everything, they just make the most of everything they have. I loved trucking – because I was good at it. I could sit and drive and drive and drive and it was fun.

July 1st of 2009 my career ended. And after March 2010 it was official I was ordered by a law judge in good standing in the state of Kentucky that I would never drive another tractor trailer again. So, I have also learned that life changes without a moment’s notice. Everything works out in the end. If it hasn’t worked out, it’s not the end. Never regret your past, only regret it if you have not learned from it.

I will end this article with assurance that I will be around – God willing – to still act as a watchdog and activist for truckers. Be safe on the highways and always remember you are needed even though it may seem like nobody cares – you are needed.

© 2010, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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Safe & Secure Trailer Lots Opening Nationwide – Sangar Cargo Security

August 15th, 2010

With Cargo Theft on the rise, truckers and fleet managers are facing higher risks than ever before.

We all know the stats, we all know the cost of the load that goes missing time and time again.

We all know the danger of stopping for just a cup of coffee. We all know that peace of mind is hard to find when on the road.

John Glavin, of Sangar Cargo Security, wants to provide the answer to cargo theft. Glavin, whose background stems in investigations, insurance and security, has a vision: that someday, all trucks on the road will be protected by Sangar Cargo Security. Lofty ambition? Maybe not.

With the state of the art surveillance team and equipment, unparalleled security procedures and the drive to make it happen, this may soon become a reality. On Aug. 1st, Sangar Cargo Security opened it’s 5th location, Dallas, TX. Next month opening a secure trailer lot in both Atlanta, GA and Fontana, CA with these 3 safe havens leading the way for a total of 30 locations throughout the US in 2011.

Surveillance and security of the load is the most important thing at Sangar Cargo Security. Defending your property takes precedence over everything. The Sangar Cargo Security team works around the clock to protect its customers and is trained in all levels of security measures.

To have all this at a nice price doesn’t hurt either. Glavin and the Sangar Cargo Security team are committed to making this high level service accessible to both fleets and owner-operators. With daily rates starting at $17 a day and fleet managers or owners that need multiple locations and multiple slots can work with the Sangar Cargo Security team to customize a package that is right for the route and the budget.

For more information visit or – National Sales Director at 972-989-2474

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