CVSA’s 2016 Roadcheck Results

roadcheck-2016-focus-tiresCommercial motor vehicle inspectors throughout North America conducted driver and vehicle safety inspections on large trucks and buses during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) 29th annual International Roadcheck, June 7-9, 2016. International Roadcheck is a three-day event when CVSA-certified inspectors conduct compliance, enforcement and educational initiatives targeted at various elements of motor carrier, vehicle and driver safety.

International Roadcheck is the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial motor vehicles in the world, with around 15 trucks or buses inspected, on average, every minute across North America during the 72-hour period. A total of 62,796 inspections were conducted during this year’s International Roadcheck of that 21.5% of trucks inspected were placed out-of-service (OOS), along with 3.4% of drivers.

Each year, International Roadcheck places a special emphasis on a category of violations. The focus this year was tire safety. Tire/wheel violations accounted for 18.5% of the total OOS violations. In the U.S., tire violations represented 13.7% of OOS vehicle violations. As part of the inspection process and focus on tires inspectors measures tire tread depth, checked tire pressure, checked to ensure no solid objects were logged between dual tires, and examined the overall condition of the tire to make sure no deep cuts or bulges were found on tire sidewalls.

Of the 62,796 inspection performed across North America during the event, 42,236 were North American Standard Level I Inspections, the most comprehensive inspection level. CVSA says the number of total inspection and Level I were down in 2016, and the vehicle and driver OOS percentages are at a record low for the annul Roadcheck event.

Brake violations led the way in vehicle OOS orders, accounting for 45.7%, approximately 4,111 trucks, of all OOS orders issued during the three day event. Other vehicle-related violations included tires and wheels, 18.5% of OOS orders, lighting devices, 11.8%, and cargo securement, 6.1%. Suspensions, steering mechanisms, frames, driveshaft, coupling devices, fuel systems and exhaust systems each accounted for less 5% of OOS orders.

For drivers, hours-of-service and false logs accounted for 46.8% and 16.4% of OOS orders, respectively, for a total of approximately 908 drivers out of the 1,436 total drivers that were places OOS. Drivers shut down for drugs and alcohol were down from 2015’s Roadcheck numbers from 2.1% to 1% this year.  Other driver relates violations included improper endorsement, 7.7% of OOS orders, and disqualifies driver, 6.2%.

“International Roadcheck is an annual reminder of the diligence and dedication of law enforcement officials and commercial motor vehicle safety professionals,” said FMCSA Administrator T.F. Scott Darling, III. “While their tireless efforts every day greatly increase the level of safety on our roadways, it is critically important that everyone do their part to promote a national culture of roadway safety.”

For a complete breakdown of Roadcheck 2016 results, see the handy CVSA breakdown here.

 

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

Zombies And Trucking And a Video Game? Oh, My!

zombie-1Fleet management systems company Omnitracs unveiled a Halloween-timely PR effort in the form of an online game called Zombie Dispatch. And while it’s meant to be for fun, there are serious undertones. Sure, a zombie apocalypse is the stuff of popular fiction. But real emergencies such as the extensive flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew can reach a similar feel very quickly as you’re cut off from things you need, the powers out and you can’t get through on roadways.

“Whether it’s a natural disaster, day-to-day supplies or a zombie apocalypse, truck drivers are critically important,” said Jim Gardner, vice president of marketing at Omnitracs. “That’s exactly the message we wanted to get out with this game. The public needs to recognize not only the professionalism of the drivers, but the critical role they play in the economy in normal times, let alone during natural disasters and emergencies.”

The game touches on driver shortages and the difficulty many fleets have recruiting and retaining drivers as well. “There aren’t as many truck drivers on the road as there were just a few years ago, and the numbers of those still driving have been thinned by the virus,” the game explains as you get started.

The game also manages to fold in a message about the role of technology and fleet management systems, and how they keep trucks rolling and getting through post-disaster. Playing the game, the user gets an occasional humorous message like “Rest in peace, unsafe and inefficient fleets!”

Regarding the day-to-day importance of trucking, here’s the game’s message: “If trucks stopped rolling, in just 24 hours, gas prices would skyrocket and hospitals would exhaust basic supplies. In 2-3 days, supplies of bottled water and non-perishable goods would be exhausted. By the end of the week, hospitals would run out of critical supplies of oxygen and medicine.”

In short, the country would quickly grind to a halt without trucking.

To check out the game, go to http://playzombiedispatch.com.

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

FMSCA Eases Requirments On Military Personnel Looking To Obtain A CDL

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announces a final rule (Docket No. FMCSA-2016-0051) on Oct. 12 that simplifies the process of obtaining a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) or Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) for current and former military personnel. 23085Military members who drove commercial vehicles (CMV) in the service will now have a full year to apply for a skills test waiver instead of just 90 days after they leave the service.  The rule also allows a state to accept applications from active-duty military personnel who are stationed in that state and to administer the written and skills test for a CLP or CDL. FMCSA had been granting states temporary exemptions that extended the time of the waiver since 2014. This action would make the waiver extension permanent. FMCSA said the proposed rule will accomplish the following:

  • Demonstrate FMCSA’s commitment to serving veterans and assist in efforts to attract and retain skilled CMV drivers.
  • Provide military personnel with a time extension to apply for a skills test waiver and also permit active duty military personnel to apply and be tested for their CLP and CDL in the state where they are stationed.
  • Establish a process that allows veteran operators to obtain their DOT medical certification exams from their Department of Veterans Affairs physician.
  • Provide CMV Operator Safety Training grant program that will provide grant funds to commercial driver training schools that train veterans to transition into civilian motor carrier careers.
  • Enable a federal military pilot program that will allow select military personnel between 18-21 years of age to operate a CMV in interstate commerce.

“FMCSA believes that this would give former military personnel a better opportunity to obtain a CDL in a way that will not negatively affect safety,” the agency stated in its proposal. The agency also said it is has concluded that lengthening the waiver period permanently “would ease the transition of service members and veterans to civilian life.” Making CDLs more accessible for veterans has been a priority by many industry trade organizations and is seen as a promising way to recruit more drivers into the industry who can help alleviate the ongoing driver shortage. The FMSCA estimates this change could result in up to $7.7 million in new benefits over the next 10 years.

Additionally, the FAST Act, passed in December, requires FMCSA to (1) exempt certain ex-military form the CDL skills test if they had CMV driving experience in the military, (2) extend the skills test waiver to one year and (3) credit the CMV training military drivers receive in the military toward applicable CDL training and knowledge requirements. This rule would take care of the first two of the three requirements. FMSCA has said the third requirement will need additional rulemaking.

According to the agency, more than 10,000 separated military personnel have taken advantage of the skills-test waiver.

 

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

Operation Safe Driver Week Oct 16-22

osd-sm-1The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Safe Driver week will begin this Sunday on October 16 and run through Saturday, October 22. Law enforcement agencies throughout North America will engage in heightened traffic safety enforcement and education aimed at combating unsafe driving behaviors by commercial and passenger vehicles.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s “Large Truck Crash Causation Study” cites driver behavior as the critical reason for more than 88% of large truck crashes and 93% of passenger vehicle crashes. CVSA’s operation Safe Driver program was created to help to reduce the number of crashes, deaths and injuries involving large truck, busses, and cars caused by such behaviors.

Law enforcement will be on the lookout for speeding, failure to use a seat belt while operating a commercial vehicle, distracted driving, failure to obey traffic  control devices, traveling too closely, improper lane change, and other unsafe driving conduct.  Last year’s Operation Safe Driver Week pulled over 21,000 commercial and passenger vehicles and conducted 19,480 roadside inspections.  The good news: Last year’s effort resulted in passenger vehicle drivers being cited at a 3 to 1 rate compared to commercial vehicles.  Ultimately, 3,929 warnings were given out to commercial drivers along with 4,062 citations. The top five warnings and citations issued to commercial drivers in 2015 were:

  1. Size and weight
  2. Speeding
  3. Failure to use a seat belt while operating vehicle
  4. Failure to obey traffic control device
  5. Using a hand-held phone

Now is the time to make sure that you’re ready for Operation Safe Driver Week.  A lot of the top warnings and citations are easy things that you can fix yourself. Here are some tips to make sure you’re prepared:

  • Be Ready For a Level 1 Inspection. Ensure that all your paperwork is valid and accessible. One of the most effective ways to stay compliant and to protect yourself from violations is to do a pre-trip inspection.
  • Practice Safe Driving Habits. Always use your seatbelt when operating your vehicle, follow posted speed limits, and drive for the conditions.
  • Avoid Distracted Driving. Answering your phone, sending a quick text message, playing with the radio, eating while driving, etc. are all examples of distracted driving and things you should avoid. Pull over, do what you need to do, and then get back on the road. It might add a couple more minutes to your trip but it could save a life.
  • Obey Hours-of-Service Regulations. HOS violations accounted for nearly half of all driver related violations in 2015. Always ensure that you’re running in compliance with the rules and regulations required for the industry.

 

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

Davis Transport Now Offers A Discount Program

abenityDavis has teamed with Abenity to provide our office staff, company drivers and owner operators with an elite collection of local and national discounts from thousands of hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, retailers, florists, car dealers, theme parks, national attractions, concerts, and events – all powered online by Abenity.

Vendors include Costco, Sprint, Firestone, DirecTV, T-Mobile, Dell, Target.com, PODS, LifeLock, Verizon Wireless, Overstock.com, Brooks Brothers, Bally Total Fitness, Olive Garden, Red Lobster and Outback Steakhouse. Offers are also available from over 150 national attractions and theme parks including the Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal Studios®, SeaWorld, Cirque du Soleil, and Six Flags!

Some features of the program are:

  • 300,000+ discounts in for hotels, dining, movie tickets and more.
  • Free mobile app for IPhone, Android and Windows devices, with “Near me” offers.
  • Mobile coupons that do not require access to a printer, simple “Show and Save”.
  • Health and wellness savings.
  • 24/7/365 phone help desk support and weekly perks 101 webinars.

Discount offers are redeemable in-store through printable and mobile coupons, online, and over the phone.

 

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

Can’t Find Parking? There Is An App For That

huhuhuA new resource was made available Monday for truck drivers looking for available truck parking with the launch of the Park My Truck mobile app.  Park My Truck, which was created with the support of the National Association of Truck Stop Operators and its foundation (NATSO), the American Trucking Association (ATA) and the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), covers some 150,000 truck parking spaces across the country.  With the app, public and private truck parking providers, including truck stops, rest areas and more, can update the number of available parking spaces available at any time to help drivers determine if there are open spaces at a given location.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations prohibit nonemergency stops along side of the road because of the severe hazard they present to commercial motor vehicle drivers and other motorists. But Truckers often park roadside when they need a nap or have hit the mandatory limit on the number of hours behind the wheel because they are unaware of the nearest rest area or truck stop. Now, with the use of Park My Truck the user has the option to search for parking spaces within a certain distance of their current location, up to 250 miles or to search by state or along the interstate.

Commercial drivers ranked truck parking as their No. 4 concern in the “Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry” report for 2016, which was released this week by the ATRI. Complying with the electronic logging devices rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; the hours-of-service rules; and the cumulative economic effects of trucking regulations ranked above finding a place to park, according to the report.

“Finding a safe place to park is a consistent issue for drivers in our industry,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “While we would love to see the number of spaces increase, tightening state and federal highway budgets will limit the opportunity to expand parking capacity for the foreseeable future. It is important we have ways to let drivers know where the spaces currently exist, which is why this app, developed in cooperation with ATRI and NATSO, is so important. Directing drivers to safe parking spaces will give them opportunity to get the rest they need and the off-duty time they are required to have.”

The app is free to download on both iPhone and Google Play.

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

Driver Fatigue: Tips On How To Prevent It

Trucking often demands little opportunity for rest due to long irregular work hours, early start times and night shifts, often sacrificing good, quality sleep causing driver fatigue. Fatigue is the result of physical or mental exertion that impairs performance. As stated in 49 CFR 392.3, “No driver shall operate a commercial motor vehicle, and a motor carrier shall not require or permit a driver to operate a commercial vehicle while driver’s ability or alertness is so impaired, or likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or any other cause as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate the commercial vehicle.”albany-truck-driver-fatigue-300x200

In the Consensus Statement: Fatigue and Accidents in Transport Operations compiled by Dr. Torbjornakerstedt, states that “fatigue is the largest identifiable and preventable cause of accidents in transport operations, surpassing that of alcohol or drug related incidents in all modes of transportation.” Research from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has confirmed that fatigue was the most frequently cited cause of heavy truck accidents, accounting for 30-40% of them, and was also the cause of 31% of the 182 fatal-to-the-truck-driver accidents studied. Driver fatigue poses a serious risk to public safety and should be prevented in every way possible. In order to reduce fatigue the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recommends following these tips:

  • Get enough sleep before getting behind the wheel. Be sure to get an adequate amount of sleep each night. If possible, do not drive while your body is naturally drowsy, between the hours of 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Driver drowsiness may impair a driver’s response time to potential hazards, increasing the chances of being in a crash. If you do become drowsy while driving, be sure to choose a safe place to pull over and rest.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. Skipping meals or eating at irregular times may lead to fatigue and/or food cravings. Also, going to bed with an empty stomach or immediately after a heavy meal can interfere with sleep. A light snack before bed may help you achieve more restful sleep. Remember that if you are not well-rested, induced fatigue may cause slow reaction time, reduced attention, memory lapses, lack of awareness, mood changes, and reduced judgment ability.
  • Take a nap. If possible, you should take a nap when feeling drowsy or less alert. Naps should last a minimum of 10 minutes, but ideally a nap should last up to 45 minutes. Allow at least 15 minutes after waking to fully recover before starting to drive.
  • Avoid medication that may induce drowsiness. Avoid medications that may make you drowsy if you plan to get behind the wheel. Most drowsiness-inducing medications include a warning label indicating that you should not operate vehicles or machinery during use. Some of the most common medicines that may make you drowsy are: tranquilizers, sleeping pills, allergy medicines and cold medicines.
  • Recognize the signals and dangers of drowsiness. Pay attention: Indicators of drowsiness include: frequent yawning, heavy eyes, and blurred vision.
  • Don’t rely on “alertness tricks” to keep you awake. Behaviors such as smoking, turning up the radio, drinking coffee, opening the window, and other “alertness tricks” are not real cures for drowsiness and may give you a false sense of security.

 

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

Girl Scouts Introduce A Transportation Badge

Young women have long been able to earn Girl Scout badges in areas ranging from crafts and the outdoors to digital arts, healthy living, and financial literacy. Now, those offerings have been expanded to include a program aimed at educating scouts about job opportunities in the trucking industry.

Ellen Voie, president and CEO of Women in Trucking (WIT), teamed up with the Girl Scouts to create a Women In Trucking patch. “There aren’t a lot of role models for young women looking into transportation,” Voie said. “There isn’t a truck driver Barbie yet, but I’m working on it. Young girls are a part of the trucking industry’s future, and this is a gr20160929inbound_girl_scout_patcheat way to expose them to the impact of trucking on their lives, since everything they have has been transported at some point by a truck.” In 2014, Ellen approached the Girl Scouts about starting the program, Trucks Are For Girls, for troops to offer a transportation patch for their members.

“Women In Trucking Association’s mission includes the goal to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry,” said Voie. “The opportunity to reach young women in the Girl Scout program to tell them about career opportunities in transportation supports this objective. The Girl Scouts who earned their patch in transportation learned about an important segment of our economy while getting an up close view of a tractor trailer in a fun filled day of learning.”

Now in 2016 Trucks Are For Girls events are spreading across the nation. These events allow the girls to try out a truck driving simulator, to explore the interior of a truck, and to hear from female professional drivers. The Girl Scouts are always looking for ways to empower young women, to expand rather than decrease options; these events are a prime example of that. Driving a truck has always been considered a “man’s job,” but that’s not the way it has to be.  And since the Boy Scouts already offer members a Truck Transportation and Safety merit badge, it’s only fair that the Girl Scouts have something similar. That’s why attendees at these events receive a Transportation Patch.

“I didn’t know that it was for girls, too,” nine-year-old Jaedyn Roemhildt told WIT’s Redefining the Road magazine after a recent event. “I thought those trucks weren’t fun, but I got in one and it was really fun. I didn’t even know they had a horn,” Roemhildt said.  Eleven-year-old Emily Schaefer put what she learned about transportation into context of her life by saying, “We’re Girl Scouts, and we do Girl Scout cookies. Wheat starts at the farm and travels all the way to the factory. I think that’s cool. If we didn’t get the wheat, we wouldn’t get the Girl Scout cookies.”

 

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

Wildlife Crossing: Tips To Avoid Animal-Vehicle Collisions

Any good trucker knows that sharing the road is important. This is especially true on the highway, where every vehicle deserves its space. But that awareness doesn’t just extend to fellow drivers – there are other occasional highway travelers that truck drivers should be on the lookout for: animals.

Fall is here, signifying the beginning of deer mating season. Unfortunately, that means more deer crossing roads and more deer-vehicle collisions. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimate there are 1.6 million deer collisions in the U.S. every year. Amongst these accidents there have been more than 200 fatalities, tens of thousands of injuries and more than $4 billion in property damage.  Deer crossing sign in Idaho.

Deer aren’t the only large four-legged hazard you have to worry about. In some regions elk and moose populations also pose a crash risk. During the autumn months of October, November, and December the likelihood of colliding with a large animal more than doubles, and in the states of West Virginia (1 in 41), Montana (1 in 58), Pennsylvania (1 in 67), Iowa (1 in 68), and South Dakota (1 in 70) the odds are even higher. Chris Mullen, director of technology research at State Farm, reminds us that “we know there is an increased risk of collision with deer around dawn and dusk, and also during the October-December breeding season. However, drivers should be engaged, alert and on the lookout at all times because you never know when you may need to react to a deer or any other obstacle that may suddenly be in your path.”

As such, here are a few ways truckers can avoid hitting animals:

  • Slow down and drive at a safe speed since excessive speed reduces reaction time and increases braking distance. Keep this in mind especially at dusk and dawn as that is when deer and other animals are the most active.
  • Deer typically travel in groups, so if you see one deer be prepare for more deer to cross the road.
  • Pay attention to “deer/animal crossing” signs. Decrease your speed in those areas and drive with caution especially in wooded areas, farmland, and near water.
  • Always buckle up, every trip, every time.
  • When driving at night use your high beams, as much as you safely can, to illuminate the sides of the road where animals may be. Be sure to watch for the glint of light reflected in an animal’s eyes. Also, look for animals’ silhouettes in back-lit conditions.
  • Do not rely on products such as deer whistles, deer fences, or reflectors which are not proven effective. Don’t rely on them to keep you safe.
  • Focus on the road, scanning for hazards, including animals. The sooner an animal is seen on or approaching a roadway, the greater your chance of avoiding a crash.
  • Slow down when approaching a deer or other animal standing on the side of the road. The animal may “bolt” or change direction instantly, possibly onto the road.
  • If a collision with the animal cannot be avoided, then brake firmly and don’t swerve to avoid striking it. Swerving increases the risk of injury by hitting another vehicle or fixed object.
  • If you strike an animal, do not try to touch it. The frightened or injured animal, when attempting to move, could hurt you or further injury itself. The best procedure is to get off the road, and contact the local law enforcement.

 

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.

With Speed Limiter Proposed, Drivers Respond

A proposed rule to mandate the use of speed limiting devices on heavy-duty trucks was published in the Federal Register on Sept. 7, 2016, officially opening the 60-day comment period on the rule. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released the proposed rule Aug. 26, which would require trucks weighing more than 26,000 lbs. to use speed limiting devices. The DOT did not specify a speed to which trucks should be governed, but did suggest three possibilities: 60 MPH, 65 MPH or 68 MPH. Overall, the proposal offers little in the way of guidance toward Truck07awhat a final version of the rule could look like, and the DOT is mainly looking for feedback from the trucking industry and equipment manufacturers about the technical aspects of requiring speed limiters on new trucks as well as those already on the roads.

The key argument among supporters of the mandate is that capping truck speeds will reduce the number of truck-involved crashes. Proponents of a speed limiter mandate also push limiters as a means to increase fuel economy, which would cut carriers’ costs and reduce emissions. Opponents of the rule argue the opposite stating that by setting maximum truck speeds would increase crash risk by creating unsafe speed differentials between cars and trucks, putting truckers and the motoring public at greater risk. Industry stakeholders on both sides of the fence intend to convince the DOT agencies responsible for the rule their side is right during the comment period and subsequent development of a final rule to mandate speed limiters.

Many of the more than 300 public comments already submitted have come from independent truckers who contend that speed limiters would put them at an economic disadvantage, while also producing more traffic congestion, road rage incidents and accidents. Wisconsin-based driver Steven Brown makes his argument against speed limiters in his letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives.  The letter to his Congressman follows:

It has been brought to my attention as well as others in the trucking industry that the American Trucking Associations has lobbied to restrict the speed of vehicles weighing more than 26,000 lbs. I and other drivers are very concerned about the future of our employment. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have said that the cost of accidents would be greatly reduced if commercial vehicles were restricted to a lower speed limit and would also be a greener substitute for the environment.

I have read in trade magazines that there will be public discussions regarding this matter. It appears to me, based on the time and location of these meetings, that the NHTSA and the FMCSA really could not care less about what drivers think — because drivers in this industry are rarely home.

As a professional truck driver for 15-plus years, never having had a moving violation or accident on a public road while operating this equipment, this makes me believe there is more to this than safety. If anyone understands economics, it is obvious there is an underlying agenda. I make income based on cents per mile, just like [many] other truck drivers in the industry. When this restriction goes into effect, I can guarantee most, if not all, will not be compensated for what is lost. If I were to stay in the career of driving commercially over the road, my time at home would be virtually non-existent. It is just another way to tax the working class or create a simulated tax break for businesses.

This also creates another problem, and you really don’t have to look very far from your back window in Janesville, Wis., [to see it]. On any given night, there are trucks all over the country trying to fight for that last parking spot — or an illegal one. My only solution is to shut down earlier or park sometimes 50 to 100 miles away just to make sure I’m parked safely. But I still have problems finding adequate parking. I have even been kicked out of D.O.T. scales near Seattle, Wash., with minutes to spare trying to find safe and legal parking. These scales have been built with federal monies supposedly to keep the general public safe. There is a driver shortage now; just wait and watch the parking problem explode along with an abundance of new inexperienced drivers.

Since I live in Wisconsin and drive all over the country I have spoken to many other professionals in the trucking industry. Most of us (the working class) may not agree with each other about our political beliefs, but we do agree on one item: It’s all about the giant conglomerates. The large companies want to keep as much for themselves as they can. If I decided tomorrow to buy my own truck and this specific regulations would go into effect, this would absolutely destroy my business and other small businesses. This would create a pseudo-monopoly.

Safety is important to me and my family, as I am sure it is to yours. The untold truth, which I have witnessed firsthand, not only in the trucking industry but in other industries as well, is as follows: Safety is only discussed when it costs companies money. If highway safety is truly a concern, states would not have raised the speed limits. Also, with technology, texting and data services wouldn’t operate while a vehicle is in motion. (Rest assured if a truck is moving slowly, someone will rear-end it while texting at a higher speed, most likely an automobile. Often, when an accident occurs with a truck, the general public blames the truck driver. Moreover, whether it is the truck driver’s fault or not, it negatively affects the safety [record] of the truck driver.) Let’s have a zero tolerance for drunk driving for automobiles, too. This hasn’t happened — telecom and alcohol companies have deep pockets and lobbying firms.

I was hoping to retire doing what I love, but I have to be honest and say that I should have chosen politics instead. At the end of the day I am sure somehow this will fall on deaf ears and/or blind eyes, since I don’t have a super PAC or a lobbying firm to back this up. I also can’t promise a politician at my organization a position when someone decides to hang up a political career. Both political parties are guilty of this.

A few final thoughts: “The path to hell is paved with good intentions.” The next time you vote, please think of this — are you voting for your own personal interests, the lobbying interests, or those of Joe Common American? Be thankful that I pay my fair share, because without it politicians would not have their excellent benefits. Hopefully I can retire and receive my retirement wristwatch or golf bag, since my 401k will be depleted by unknown fees. If somebody could profit by making the First Amendment illegal, it would have been done already.

We will agree that big government isn’t the answer, but neither is big business. They are practically identical. If bankers were truck drivers, there would not be income-restricting regulations.

Be a politician for the people. Take 15 minutes and ask one truck driver anywhere what his/her thoughts are. I have. The sentiments contained in this letter are agreed to by truck drivers all across this land.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. –Steven Brown

A final rule could take months or years to develop, and the DOT outlines a three-year implementation period once the final rule is published. The 60-day public comment period for the Sept. 7 published Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ends Nov. 7.  Comments can be made by searching Docket No. FMCSA-2014-0083 or NHTSA-2016-0087 at www.regulations.gov, or by clicking this link directly

 

While Davis Transport Inc., is one of the leading flatbed freight carriers in the nation, we consider ourselves a company built for flatbed owner operators by flatbed owner operators. Our flatbed lease purchase program has facilitated hundreds of truckers’ transition from employee to business ownership. To learn more about our flatbed lease purchase program lease click here.