Archive for January, 2011

Truckers say EOBR Technology WILL NOT make Highways Safer

January 31st, 2011

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), which represents small business truckers and professional truckers.

Today, have responded to the announcement today by the U.S. Department of Transportation proposing a rule to mandate electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) for interstate commercial motor carriers.

“EOBRs are nothing more than over-priced record keepers,” said Todd Spencer, Executive Vice President of OOIDA. “This proposal is actually another example of the administration’s determination to wipe out small businesses by continuing to crank out overly burdensome regulations that simply run up costs.”

EOBRs cannot accurately and automatically record a driver’s hours of service and duty status. They can only track the movement and location of a truck and require human interaction to record any change of duty status.

Therefore, such as in the case of loading and unloading time, the device is incapable of determining the actual duty status of drivers without interaction from drivers indicating to the device that they are on-duty. Loading and unloading time should typically be logged as “on-duty, not driving” in order to accurately reflect the hours a driver has worked.

OOIDA also contends that by insisting on pushing for this mandate, the government ignored a federal statute to ensure that EOBRs will not be used to harass vehicle operators.

An analysis conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said that “companies use EOBRs to enforce company policies and monitor drivers’ behavior in other ways.”

On that point, Spencer agreed and said, “Companies can and do use technology to harass drivers by interrupting rest periods. They can contact the driver and put on pressure to get back on the road to get the most of his or her on-duty time. This mandate would be a step backward in the effort to make highways safer.”

The bottom line is: Small businesses are likely to suffer and consumers will pay more for shipping.

© 2011, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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What is the Women In Trucking Association? by Ellen Voie

January 31st, 2011

The IRS defines association as “a group of persons banded together for a specific purpose.” The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) separates associations into two groups, trade or professional. According to the ASAE, a trade association is made up of business competitors. Businesses – not individuals – join trade associations.

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) is a trade organization that represents motor carriers – not drivers.

Associations that represent a profession are called professional societies or individual membership societies because individuals join to learn the most up-to-date information about their profession and share common problems and solutions with others. The Owner Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA) is a professional association that represents drivers – not carriers.

Women In Trucking Association, Inc. is a hybrid of these two types of organizations, as we represent carriers, suppliers, individual professionals and drivers. For this reason, we do not “take sides” on issues that may separate carriers from drivers (speed limits, weight restrictions, hours of service, etc.).

Our mission drives our actions. Women In Trucking was established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry. The board of directors determines what activities fall under our mission statement and should be pursued.

Our efforts align with our mission. Some of our recent goals include creating an anti-harassment policy manual for carriers to use that provides best practices regarding driver trainer-trainee issues. This document will benefit both drivers and carriers by providing policies to prevent harassment in the cab. This publication, prepared by J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. will be provided to our corporate members at no cost.

As an association, our goal is to educate and inform our members. We have mentors available to assist new members who seek careers in trucking and logistics. We rely on our professional members to offer their advice and expertise to members who are new to the industry.

Our efforts to promote accomplishments have resulted in our annual Salute to Women Behind the Wheel ( where we honor female professional drivers and thank them for their service to the industry. This year we will also be acknowledging a professional who has been a pioneer and role model for others with the Influential Woman of the Year award sponsored by Navistar.

These activities are all mission driven and are funded by our members who believe in our mission. With the exception of sponsorship dollars that fund activities, your dues provide the funding for the association.

What we are NOT!

Individuals looking for a job as a professional driver, both new drivers and experienced drivers, often contact us. We are here to help them through the process, but we are NOT here to place them with a carrier. That’s what recruiters do for you; they will help you find the right company for your situation. Look at our website and see what our member carriers have to offer. Please do not call us to help you find a job. We will tell you to contact a recruiter.

We are not arbitrators or intermediaries. Please do not call us and ask us to take sides on an issue between you and your carrier. If you feel you have been treated unfairly, contact your union representative or your company’s human resources department. If you feel that you have been the victim of harassment or discrimination, contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ( We do not have the resources or expertise to insert ourselves in disputes between drivers and their carriers.

Women In Trucking is a non-profit organization. We do not assist other non-profits or individuals with donations. There are many wonderful causes that our members ask us to support. While we encourage our members to help them with their goals, we cannot take the dues our members pay us and use them to fund other non-profits. We stay focused on our mission and they focus on theirs.

Women In Trucking is an association. We have a specific purpose and that is described in our mission statement. Membership dues and our partnership with Frito-Lay and Walmart, provide the funds to help us stay focused on these goals.

Remember our mission, Women In Trucking was established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry.

© 2011, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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Time for Unity! Enough is Enough! Time to Show the FMCSA We Mean Business……..Letter Writers Commence

January 29th, 2011

This is re-posted with the permission of @trkrsvoice.

This industry has to listen, and adhere to, at best a shady governmental group. Scratch that, groups. The first group is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

They are awesome at cooking documents, tests, polls, and results to “fix” them in their favor. They also have been recorded taking bribes. This isn’t the only stuff they’ve done in my opinion.

For more information on what they’ve done, please read this article, and others that I have written on the same subject Strike Two! – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. They would rather spend money replacing the world’s street signs than take care of the true issues in trucking. The federal DOT is hand in hand with the FMCSA. They are totally disorganized.

The federal DOT and state DOT’s have got things so mixed up as far as laws that you don’t know whether to come or go. Example, Oversized? Don’t run your strobes if you have an escort in California. It’s an automatic OOS, according to the Banning scale. Yet, every other state requires it. Don’t run your 4-ways in California either.

Utah won’t allow jaking in the Salt Lake City area due to a golf course. Real safe in the mountains without jakes! These are a few of the things that make me scratch my head daily. We need one set of federal laws carried out throughout all the states, and all the old, outdated rules need to be taken off the books. We also need all weigh stations to be formatted the same. A lot of drivers get confused because the lights are different, the signs are different, etc. this is a big problem.

We need total government transparency! Something for us to understand better and make it where there is no confusion. Do to President Reagan being a smart man, the government has to really act up before we can do a strike. A strike would then turn the general public against us even more, due to the damage it would do to them. We need the general public on our side, not against us. So, we will write! We will email! We will call! This is our first forceful baby step for forceful baby steps get heard, and forceful baby steps start a stampede! With close to 4 or 5 million truck drivers on the road, we could have ONE POWERFUL VOICE…….if we unite.

Here is an example of the letter to send. (If you do your own please keep in mind to sound intelligent, professional, and nice! DO NOT go in their sounding like a super trucker! They won’t listen to you cuss, demand, sound narcissistic, etc)

Dear Congressman/Congresswoman/Senator _____________________________,

Hello, my name is _________________________. I will first apologize for taking up your time, but there is a huge issue bothering me. I am concerned for my future, my friends’ futures, my family’s future. I am hoping you will read my letter and help our industry with the action needed.

I have read the recent issues with the FMCSA and DOT. I am highly concerned. I am part of the trucking industry and everything they decide affects not only me, but my friends, and everyone who lives in the country, for we haul most of the goods everyone needs.

We are asking for a congressional and senatorial review of the entire FMCSA and federal DOT. If the FMCSA is constantly under scrutiny, I do not believe they should be making laws and determining how we should live. This is a group of law makers who do not understand trucking, and haven’t been out here year after year. They also refuse to listen to those with experience. How can you honestly make laws concerning something you know nothing about? It would be the same as me telling an astronaut how to fly a rocket; it just wouldn’t work. Next, the federal DOT has their own rules, and then every state DOT has their own rules. We need a set of rules for the entirety instead of the guessing game for every state. It would be helpful to have all the scale houses/weight stations to be made the same. Find a time efficient way, and make it nationwide. Also, there are a lot of rules that have been around since the start of trucking (like white sheets in trucks due to exhaust leaks in the old trucks) that are wasting time in the books. We would also like transparency from the FMCSA and DOT. We want to know what our government is thinking when it comes down to our livelihoods.

Please help us get a congressional and senatorial review of the FMCSA and DOT. It is needed for all of us to be able to work more efficiently together. Thank you for your time, patience, and understanding.



(printed name)

(phone number)


(email address)

You can go here for addresses for your elected official.

This is just an example letter to help people see how to write this more effectively. Please, even if you aren’t a driver, a co-pilot, a trucking wife, etc get involved. Canadians, you’re driving here and can send letters also. BTW, this is also posted on Truck Drivers News Facebook Page in the discussion section.

© 2011, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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FMCSA to Hold Public Listening Session on Hours-of-Service

January 28th, 2011

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced it will hold a public listening session.

For its regulatory proposal that would revise hours-of-service (HOS) requirements for commercial truck drivers on February 17, 2011 in Arlington, Virginia.

The public listening session will be held at the Crowne Plaza Washington National Airport Hotel, 1480 Crystal Drive, Arlington, Virginia.

To encourage maximum public participation, the entire listening session will be live webcast at

Additionally, as part of the webcast, FMCSA officials will take online comments and questions from the public starting at 12 noon until 12 midnight EST.

The goal of the listening session is to gather a broad range of comments, ideas and relevant data as the agency analyzes responses to its HOS regulatory proposal issued on December 23, 2010. Hours-of-service requirements are designed to help prevent commercial vehicle-related accidents, injuries and fatalities by prescribing on-duty hours and rest periods for commercial drivers.

Crowne Plaza Washington National Airport
1480 Crystal Drive, Arlington, Virginia 22202
9 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST / Live Webcast FMCSA officials take online comments and questions from 12 noon to 12 midnight EST

To learn more about federal HOS requirements, please visit the FMCSA website at Interested persons may also contact David Miller, FMCSA Office of Policy Plans and Regulation at (202) 366-5011.

I would hope that someone will address the question of why did the FMCSA feel the need to manipulate HOS fatigue factor so as to elevate driver fatigue as a cause of truck crashes? In other words they “exaggerated” the numbers to “fit” their need. Plus, we found out yesterday that an FMCSA field supervisor has pleaded not guilty to a bribery charge, despite recordings of him agreeing to delay a carrier review or audit for cash.

© 2011, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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Strike Two! – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

January 27th, 2011

Well, this really is beginning to look bad for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) with strike number two against them for 2011 already.

I just wonder how much more will be dug up on this so-called safety group?

And what is really scary is this is the same group who will be in charge of the Mexican trucks if they ever get turned loose in the United States.

15 days ago, it was reported by the – ATA -anti truckdriver association of all places that the FMCSA liked to manipulate reports to make them in their favor.

that in an effort to rationalize a change in federal Hours of Service (HOS) requirements for professional truck drivers, the U.S. DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) misapplied its own crash numbers so as to elevate driver fatigue as a cause of truck crashes, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) said today.

So, we now have the FMCSA making things up just so they can add or take away from regulations as long as they get what they want. That doesn’t sound like a safety group to me, does it you? Although, this does not surprise me as we already knew they like to “mold” or “fudge” reports into their favor. When the real facts are supplied they ignore them because the real facts tell a very different story than the manipulated reports they use do.

Now is reporting that a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) field supervisor has pleaded not guilty to a bribery charge, despite recordings of him agreeing to delay a carrier review or audit for cash. What is the deal with these two accusations against these lawmakers? Lying, and cheating to get what they want, sound familiar?

On Jan. 19, U. S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr., for Western District of New York filed the criminal complaint in Buffalo federal court. The next day, Delevan, N.Y., resident James H. Wood, 44, entered a not guilty plea to the felony charge of accepting a bribe in his official duties.

A safety consultant for Canadian carriers recorded telephone conversations with Wood, who allegedly agreed to delay a compliance review or safety audit of a Canadian trucking company.

So, if the FMCSA is conducting this kind of reviews and safety audits, what will come about when they do this for the southern border? More than likely this is how these companies keep popping up once the Department of Transportation shuts them down – money talks.

I guess now the government will have to hire a third party to audit FMCSA to make sure the audit that the government did was legit. Or maybe the “claims” that these government agencies use to “make it seem worse than it really is” are in fact – made up? It’s getting to the point that these morons need to stop playing their games, and get serious. Is the next time going to be strike three and your out? If this is true and is taking place – then an investigation needs to be done – and the trash needs taken out!

FMCSA official pleads not guilty to bribery – e-trucker
Truck drivers News – BREAKING NEWS: The Government Lies!

© 2011, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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Obama: “Our own Engineers Graded our Infrastructure, gave us a D”

January 26th, 2011

Last night in the State of the Union speech that Obama gave this stuck in my mind, and I have been thinking about it over and over.

He actually admitted that our OWN ENGINEERS graded our own infrastructure and ALMOST FAILED it.

The engineers gave the US infrastructure a grade of “D” which is really close to failing, and yet nothing is being done – except a lot of talking.

But what is an infrastructure?

Infrastructure is the basic physical and organizational structures needed for the operation of a society or enterprise, or the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function.

Okay so how many different infrastructures do we have in the United States?

Well, we have transportation, energy, water management, communications, solid waste management, earth monitoring and measurement networks, institutional, industrial, social, cultural, sports and recreational infrastructures in the US.

So which one did we get a D in? Obama didn’t say for sure, but I’m guessing he meant transportation. In my honest opinion I believe we are at the brink of failing on the transportation side, because we have allowed our roads and rivers and all the means of transportation to “wear out” when we should have been doing preventative maintenance on it. Now, we are in a critical state with no money to waste – but a government that knows nothing but to waste it. Our infrastructure used to be the best, but our lead has slipped.

Obama also made a ridiculous proposal in his SOTU last night. “So over the last two years, we’ve begun rebuilding for the 21st century, a project that has meant thousands of good jobs for the hard-hit construction industry. And tonight, I’m proposing that we redouble those efforts.” If you have followed this blog for a while, then you know I have written a lot this past year about the billions of wasted dollars Obama and his cronies threw away.

Here is some information taken from the last Infrastructure Report Card that was made in 2005:

For the first time since World War II, limited rail capacity has created significant choke-points and delays. This problem will increase as freight rail tonnage is expected to increase at least 50% by 2020. In addition, the use of rail tracks for intercity passenger and commuter rail service is increasingly being recognized as a worthwhile transportation investment.

Congestion relief, improved safety, environmental and economic development benefits result from both freight and passenger market shifts to rail creating a rationale for public sector investment. The freight railroad industry needs to spend $175-$195 billion over the next 20 years to maintain existing infrastructure and expand for freight growth. Expansion of the railroad network to develop intercity corridor passenger rail service is estimated to cost approximately $60 billion over 20 years. All told, investment needs are $12-13 billion per year.

Poor road conditions cost U.S. motorists $54 billion a year in repairs and operating costs – $275 per motorist. Americans spend 3.5 billion hours a year stuck in traffic, at a cost of $63.2 billion a year to the economy. Total spending of $59.4 billion annually is well below the $94 billion needed annually to improve transportation infrastructure conditions nationally. While long-term Federal transportation programs remain unauthorized since expiring on Sept. 30, 2003, the nation continues to shortchange funding for needed transportation improvements.

Our current electric grid (part of our energy infrastructure) has its origins in the 1960s. One article I read noted that our current grid dates from the time when Frank Sinatra was in his prime, before a man walked on the moon, and before cell phones were invented. The U.S. power transmission system is in urgent need of modernization. Growth in electricity demand and investment in new power plants has not been matched by investment in new transmission facilities. Maintenance expenditures have decreased 1% per year since 1992. Existing transmission facilities were not designed for the current level of demand, resulting in an increased number of “bottlenecks” which increase costs to consumers and elevate the risk of blackouts.

But yet this administration feels that we NEED high-speed rail – when we have not maintained the infrastructure we already have now. Obama said in his SOTU that “to attract new businesses to our shores, we need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information – from high-speed rail to high-speed Internet.” I’m not sure how HSR would attract a new business but I have to agree with the need for affordable high-speed internet, and one not controlled by the government.

Its time for the 112th congress to make two list. One list they can name it “Wants list” the second list will be named the “Needs list” and these two list need to be read before anymore ludicrous spending ideas/bills go running amok this coming year. It’s time to tighten the belt and remove that visa card from this administration and put them on a very strict allowance. They talked about how the republicans got the keys to the car and wrecked it, what would you call last year’s spending spree?

The U. S. electric grid: will it be our undoing?
2005 Grades for our Infrastructures
Infrastructure – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Remarks by the President in State of Union Address

© 2011, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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Women In Trucking Association Releases Cookbook

January 24th, 2011

Many drivers are trying to stay healthy by preparing food in their trucks.

The Women In Trucking Association has created a cookbook for use in the cab and at home.

Sandy Long, a charter member of the association and a professional driver for a regional carrier in Kansas City, has a passion for cooking and created the cookbook to assist in fund-raising efforts.

“This cookbook was the result of the hard work from one of our supportive members, Sandy Long,” said President/CEO Ellen Voie.

“Sandy mixes recipes with advice for women on the road and presents the information in an easy to read publication that would be a great gift for drivers and their families,” Voie added.

The cookbook includes recipes for main dishes, appetizers, meats and desserts, including how to create the Women In Trucking signature chocolate fountain.

Sandy took over the responsibility of cooking for her family of seven at the age of nine, but helped out in the kitchen before that. “I started short order cooking in a family operated business at age eleven, cooked for work crews a couple of years and was a breakfast and back up cook in a cafe for awhile,” Sandy said. “I also worked as a back up chef in a convention center/motel/supper club, along with being a waitress and washing dishes along the way at times,” she added Sandy cooks from scratch and when she’s not driving, she cans, preserves and dehydrates food.

In addition to the cookbook, Sandy has written for numerous publications and has a book and website dedicated to helping drivers stay safe on the road, “Street Smarts: A Guide to a Truck Driver’s personal Safety.” ( The Women In Trucking cookbook can be ordered for $12.50 by calling 888-464-9482 or visit

Women In Trucking ( was established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry. Women In Trucking Association, Inc. is supported by its members and the generous support of Gold Level Partners, Frito-Lay North America and Walmart.

© 2011, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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E-logs: A Second Look

January 23rd, 2011

I knew it would happen sooner or later. I finally got the warning on my e-log unit telling me I had one hour of drive time left. This was bad, because I was fully aware that I wasn’t going to make it to my delivery point before my time ran out. What would happen?

What? You didn’t really expect me to answer that right now, did you? Sucker. If you want to get caught up with my ongoing journey with e-logs, check out Fear and loathing of electronic logs, where I speculate about my fears of e-logs long before I had them.

Next up was my last post, E-logs: My first impression, which was written after I’d had been using e-logs for a few days. Fast forward to this post. I’ve now been using the system for a little over three weeks. As I’ve already said more times than Angelina has returned from overseas with a new baby on her hip, it’s clear to me that e-logs can be as good or as bad as the company makes them. 

Guys like my Twitter friends, @Dean0806, @DroidTrucker, and @darkstaff, don’t have the same issues that I have with mine. Perhaps that’s because my company is aspiring to be as flexible as those open-minded fellows in the Gestapo. As seen in my last post, one of my first and biggest concerns has already reared its butt-ugly head… twice. Or three times, depending how you look at it.

As I arrived at the gate to a shipper, I was expecting the e-log system to sense where I was and ask me if I wanted to show arriving there. It didn’t. Our trainer had warned us this might happen every now and then. No biggie. I just manually entered my arrival and changed my duty status to On-Duty. Now I don’t know about you other drivers, but when I’m only dropping one trailer and grabbing another, I can be in and out of there faster than a bunny rabbit can copulate.

Since my company requires me to show 15 minutes at every customer, I’ve gotten in the habit of going to the On-Duty line as soon as I arrive. I usually still end up sitting around for a few minutes while my e-log catches up with me.

This brings up a point of contention. If dropping/hooking a trailer and fueling are both considered On-Duty work, why is it okay for me to show my actual time when I’m fueling, but I have to show 15 full minutes on my e-logs when I’m at a customer? I’d be curious to know if this is a DOT rule or just another case of my e-logs being set up crappier than a daycare’s Diaper Genie. You drivers with e-logs let me know how yours are set up. I’m guessing I’m not going to like what I hear.

So back to my drop/hook. I’m at a fairly large warehouse. It’s not gargantuan, but my trailer is on the far side of the building. As I mentioned in my last post, our system is set to automatically put you on the Driving line after you go one-half mile. If you remember, I thought that my system was still set at 1 mile (the previous set-up), but I was as wrong as a mustard sundae. It’s .5 mile for sure.

Anyway, I made it half-way around before the system automatically moved me to the Driving line. Okay, in reality it asked me if it’s okay to put me on the Driving line. “Well, of course it’s not okay, you hunk-o-junk e-crap machine, but there’s only one option that says OK!” Even if I don’t hit the “OK” button, it puts me on the Driving line anyway. I drove on, hooked up my trailer, and waited until my retarded mandatory 15 minutes were up.

Now I had known this was going to happen sooner or later, so I took the opportunity to test something on the way back to the guard shack. One of my Twitter friends suggested I try to stop before I got the warning, pull the brake for a few minutes, set myself back to On-Duty, and then take off again. I tried it and it worked after I had set still for a few minutes. Still, what a pain. So there was the first time it happened.

The second and third time I got nabbed happened a few nights later. Because these two happened in the middle of a 10-hour break, they had the potential to be much more costly if things didn’t work as planned. I was told to wait for a dock, so being the seasoned trucker that I am, I went onto the Sleep Berth line. You never know how long it’s going to take and you may as well get your break started. Good thing I did, because it was four hours later when I finally got a dock.

As fate would have it, my dock was on the far side of the building. While my e-logs still showed me being in the bunk, I got about 3/4 of the way to the dock before my beloved unit dropped me down to the Driving line. I ignored it, docked the trailer, and put myself back on the Sleeper Berth line. When I was unloaded, I drove back to the front office, which of course, nabbed me for the third time.

Even though this movement to and from the dock broke up my 10-hour break, I wasn’t too worried about it. Our trainer had told us situations like this would pop up now and then, and that the Safety Department would be happy to fix it, providing of course that they could verify all this moving around had taken place on-site.

But here’s where I goofed. I had moved while my e-logs showed me in the bunk, which, of course, is physically impossible unless your name is Shaq. Safety said I should have moved to the Off-Duty line to move my truck to the dock. I hadn’t known this so I asked if they would change it anyway. They did, but only reluctantly and with a mini-lecture. So lesson learned there.

So… back to my original fear. I was almost to the customer, but time was counting down. My e-log unit beeped at me again at the 30-minute mark, the 15-minute mark, and started beeping at me every minute starting at the 5-minute mark. The countdown dropped to 1 minute when I was still 5 miles away from the customer.

What was going to happen? I had heard that the unit would beep constantly until you managed to pull over. I was also fairly certain that I’d feel an uncomfortable “tightness” around my neck as a hologram of Darth Vader silently rose from my screen.

Good lord! It felt like that final minute had lasted longer than a Jane Austen film festival! And just when I thought the suspense would kill me, it happened. Nothing. Absolutely… friggin’… nothin’. The counter read “00 minutes.” That was it. No beeping. No flashing red lights. Not even one Vader sighting. I’ve got to admit, I was a little disappointed. Guess I’ll have to try it again soon. You know, strictly for experimental purposes.

I’ve got lots more to say about e-logs, but I’ll do so in some future blog posts. For now, I’ll just say that I hate the .5 mile limit. If they would only boost it back up to 1 mile, the majority of these false starts could be avoided.

When I asked Safety about this, they said they had received about 10 times the reports when it was set at 1 mile. Since each report had to be examined by a real live person, it was more efficient to field the few calls that were coming in. And that’s precisely why I’m telling every driver I see to call into Safety every time their system screws them, even if it’s for only one minute. Heck, you never know when you’ll need an extra minute or two.

Last time I went home, I pulled in with two minutes to spare. As for the second problem, there is absolutely no leeway with e-logs. On paper logs, if I was going to get to a customer a few minutes after my time was up, I just took my time because I knew a few minutes could be accounted for. Heck, I could even make 15 minutes over work. Now, if I pull in at the 11 hour and 15-second mark, I’ll be given a log violation, which goes against my CSA rating.

Of course, it’ll go against the company’s too, but I find myself not really caring about that. That’s good for the company’s reputation, right? I can tell you one thing, I’m a different driver when that clock is ticking down on me. I’ve talked to other drivers who say the same thing. I try not to care about the load and the customers, but I guess the fact that I do is now considered a flaw in my character.

I find myself doing 65 mph on 55 mph back roads, taking exit ramps a bit too fast, and shifting gears like I’m trying out for a spot on a Formula 1 team. None of this is good and I’m a smart enough driver to know it. I’ve just got to convince myself that the load isn’t as important as my driving record or my life. In other words, I have to learn to fail at one aspect of my job in order to excel at the other. Gee, that should bring my job satisfaction level to an all-time high.

© 2011, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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Cross Border Trucking with Mexico means more US Jobs LOST

January 22nd, 2011

Obama signed the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which included a provision to end the Department of Transportation’s trucking project.

Which was supposed to allow 100 Mexican carriers to do business beyond the border zone in the United States, and a reciprocal number of U.S. carriers to do the same in Mexico. This was a trucking plan started by the Bush administration.

Job creation:
Now this same administration is trying to put in another cross-border plan for trucking. With a unemployment rate still above 9% it’s hard to imagine Obama wanting to implement another cross border trucking plan with Mexico to eliminate even more jobs.

The Obama administration keeps claiming it is creating jobs, but where are they? “While Democrats promised their 2009 stimulus would create 3.7 million jobs, the reality is far different, to date, 2.6 million jobs, including 2.5 million private sector jobs, have been lost.” This was posted August 21, 2010.

The United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood “touts” that this new cross-border trucking plan with Mexico is going to create jobs. But, it does not take a genius to see that by allowing Mexican trucks into the US will cut jobs.

Steve Russell, chief executive officer of Indianapolis-based Celadon Group Inc., which serves the U.S., Canada and Mexico said, “The theory behind cross-border trucking is that one tractor would replace three.” in a recent article. I know my math is not perfect, but that looks like it will remove jobs from the trucking industry in both countries.

This new cross-border trucking plan with Mexico seems to me like is only going to help Mexico truck drivers, and lesson the cost on imports and exports. “U.S. truckers that want to take advantage of a cross-border accord also may able to reduce labor costs by hiring Mexican drivers, who earn about half of what their U.S. counterparts are paid,” Femsa Logistica’s Theissen said in another recent article.

Environmental issues:
The US trucking industry is strict on environmental issues that deal with exhaust from the US trucks. So strict that it put many owner-operators out of the trucking business, and caused many companies to have to renew their fleet of trucks to meet the standards also putting some companies out. Plus, it has also caused many states to impose very costly “No-Idling” laws for truck drivers – some without regard to the drivers rest necessities.

“Most trucks in Mexico, whether owned by U.S. companies or Mexican carriers, don’t meet the proposed air-quality requirements to cross the border,” said Salvador Saavedra, president of the automobile industry sector of the National Manufacturing Industry Chamber, a Mexico City business group.

So are Mexican trucks able to meet U.S. environmental standards? Not according to Juan Carlos Munoz, the president of Mexico’s National Chamber of Motor Transport of Freight, in a recent article he said, “Mexican trucks cannot meet U.S. environmental emissions standards, which effectively shuts them out of the market. Mexican oil companies do not have sufficient capacity to supply the diesel suitable for these new technologies that is required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”

Safety and Security:
The fact that a cross-border program is in any stage of development does not sit well with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) leadership. “With all the talk about the need for every initiative to create jobs, it’s absolutely shocking,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “The only jobs this ill-conceived idea can create are for non-citizens who will take jobs away from U.S. citizens.”

Coupled with the fact that the program would threaten U.S. trucking jobs, Spencer is equally concerned about the safety and security of truckers and U.S. highway users alike. “It’s a pipe dream that the safety and security issues can be resolved, given the general state of disarray or war that exists in Mexico,” he said.

So how is this all suppose to create jobs, again?

Diesel Price increase; results more job losses:
I have not even mentioned the fact that the White Houses continuing drill moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, will undoubtedly cause fuel prices to continue to sky-rocket, which will likely cause even more truck drivers to go out of business, and more companies to close resulting in even more jobs lost.

What I don’t understand is we need to QUIT BUYING foreign oil, but Obama has stopped drilling in the Gulf of Mexico – which is our oil. Obama has been obsessed with passing a “clean” or renewable” energy bill since he took his oath of office.

The first manifestation of that desire was the poorly drafted and ill-fated “cap and trade” bill rushed through the House early in his presidency. The legislation was so flawed that it never was brought up for a vote in the Senate. After running into other energy policy dead ends, the Obama administration tried a new gambit.

By executive order he reopened the door for some expansion of drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and used that action as leverage to try to get members of Congress from energy-producing states to assist him in passing what he could claim to be a “clean energy” bill.

That idea was upset a month later when the Deep-water Horizon erupted in the Gulf. Obama then shifted his strategy. He tried to use the spill to build public pressure on Congress to pass an aggressive “green energy” bill. That went nowhere, and the Obama administration shut down OCS drilling. The president still seeks his Holy Grail of a renewable energy bill. His problem lies not just with Republicans. His energy policies mean disasters to many Democrats from energy-producing states as well.

So we see Obama’s agenda to make us greener, but he is also costing millions of jobs in the process. Going green is a good idea, just not now. Right now we can not afford to go green, but we could gradually change, but to do it over-night is a ludicrous idea.

Obama’s intentions may have been for the good, but his failed attempts are putting the US deeper and deeper in debt. And now with this cross-border trucking plan coming into the picture – he is going to be putting you and me in danger on the roads. With fuel prices going up, and “CHEAP” labor being allowed into the US by way of Mexican truckers – who do you think these companies are going to want to hire to haul their freight? Expensive US truckers – or the “El-Cheapo trucking” company from Mexico.

Mexico is not even within the same planet in comparison to Safety regulations that US truckers endure. So, how much safety do you imagine goes into a Mexican trucking fleet? Congress needs to hear from you about this cross-border trucking plan.

There are many different reasons why a trucking program with Mexico is a bad idea. The following are just a few things that public officials need to know:

  • The burden should be on Mexico to raise the regulatory standards of their trucking industry, not on the U.S. to lower ours or find ways to accommodate their trucking companies and drivers.
  • Every year, U.S. truckers are burdened with new safety, security and environmental regulations. Those regulations come with considerable compliance costs. Mexico-domiciled trucking companies and drivers do not contend with a similar regulatory regime in their home country nor must they contend with the corresponding regulatory compliance costs that burden U.S. truckers.
  • To date Mexico has failed to institute regulations and enforcement programs that are even remotely similar to those in the United States
  • To ensure the safety and security of U.S. citizens, Mexico-domiciled trucking companies and truck drivers must be required to comply with the same level of safety, security and environmental standards that already apply to U.S.-based companies and drivers, NOT ONLY WHILE OPERATING IN THE U.S. BUT ALSO IN THEIR HOME COUNTRY.
  • Without a level playing field with Mexico, thousands of U.S. jobs will be lost if a cross-border trucking program is initiated at this time.
  • You can read on how to contact congress about this issue here.


  • Pig Farmers May Top Truckers’ Gains on Mexico Border Rule: Freight Markets
  • Mexican truckers say they can’t meet U.S. environmental standards
  • SPECIAL REPORT: Cross-border trucking concept unveiled
  • Oil Drilling Off Louisiana, Gulf of Mexico Will Never Be The Same
  • 2.6 million lost jobs under Obama
  • Emission Standards – United States – Heavy-Duty Truck and Bus Engines
  • © 2011, Truck Drivers News Blog. All rights reserved.

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LaHood Reaffirms Distracted Driving Commitment – How much ‘fudging’ will be involved?

January 20th, 2011

In an analysis of 7,000 crashes released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2010 concluded that 30% involved some type of distraction but found that of 14 sources of distraction in a car, texting while driving was the only one that was NOT A FACTOR. That is interesting fact given by NHTSA, Ray LaHood must have missed that memo.

At an event marking the one-year anniversary of Focus-driven, the first national nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for victims of distracted driving, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today reaffirmed his commitment to putting an end to the deadly epidemic of distracted driving.

Like we didn’t already know he was going to do this. When will Ray LaHood demand that people driving be confined to a space big enough for the driver only, and have a box built around them, so that they cannot be distracted by other occupants in the car? Or when will five point harnesses be required? Oh let’s not forget the HANS device that Nascar drivers use. Helmets and flame retardant suits are said to come later.

“Distracted driving is a deadly epidemic and when it comes to road safety, we will not take a backseat to anyone,” said Secretary LaHood. “That’s why distracted driving will continue to be a major part of DOT’s robust safety agenda. Together with advocates like FocusDriven and NETS, and employers like Safeway, we can put an end to this deadly behavior and save lives.”

The above can be translated in different ways. Firstly, could be that more “feel good” regulations would be added. Secondly, cars will be built like race cars, with the driver off to themselves sitting in an enclosed compartment. Thirdly, we will pay dearly to reconstruct ALL ROADS so that the cars can drive themselves. And finally they could be talking about another “cash for clunkers” failure they had before, but adding a mandatory call for ALL vehicles and then forcing everyone to buy a new computerized car that doesn’t speed and drives itself.

To show the devastating, real-life effect of distracted driving, the Department unveiled the latest in its “Faces of Distracted Driving” video series, which explores the tragic consequences of texting and cell phone use while driving. Wait! Stop the presses! Let’s back-up to the beginning of this post, where NHTSA which is a government office under the direction of Secretary Lahood says: In an analysis of 7,000 crashes released by the NHTSA in 2010 concluded that 30% involved some type of distraction but found that of 14 sources of distraction in a car, texting while driving was the only one that was NOT A FACTOR.

If the NHTSA which is under the direction of Ray LaHood is saying that texting while driving is NOT A FACTOR related to these crashes – then why is he so focused on Texting and cell phone use while driving?

It’s all about money folks. The DOT and FMCSA have announced rules that prohibit professional drivers from texting while driving or face HUGE FINES like $2750.00 for drivers and $11,500.00 for companies.

Shannon Campagna, Vice President of Federal Government Relations for Safeway grocery stores, spoke about the policy that prohibits Safeway’s 1,525 truck drivers from talking or texting on cell phones, or from using hands-free devices while driving.

“The safety of our employees, customers and residents in the communities where we operate is and always has been of the utmost importance to Safeway,” said Campagna. “This policy not only helps keep our employees and customers safe, but we believe it is a good business practice as it ensures that our products arrive safely and on-time. Implementation of policies limiting use of phones and mobile devices by more private companies will help minimize distractions for drivers and keep Americans on the road safe and healthy.”

I wish these people would really speak the truth about why they put these policies in place to begin with. Obviously, they were not thinking about this a couple of years ago, now were they? The HUGE FINE and the number of drivers they have tell me why they have these policies in place.

Here is the full release of what Ray LaHood spoke about and the others that spoke also.

I think it is ironic though that the DOT and even Obama have implemented these distracted driving rules for federal employees, but still can’t even control them.

Not long after they put the rule into effect Shirley Sherrod received a career-ending cell phone call from her department while driving home from work. After several failed attempts to contact Ms. Sherrod, the caller, presumably Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack himself, finally reached her because he asked Georgia state troopers to issue an Amber Alert on electronic road signs asking her to call the office immediately! She was told to pull over to the curb and asked to resign or be fired before the six o’clock news cycle began.

I know for a fact that DOT workers here in Kentucky use their cell phones while driving. The same as the police, fire, and ambulance workers. I can understand the police, fire, and ambulance workers being exempted from these rules.

But why pick on THE SAFEST drivers on the highways? Answer is MONEY. How much ‘fudging‘ will be involved – this year?

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