trucking industry

TD148: Being A Chemical Oilfield Truck Driver

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to drive a chemical truck in the oilfields, then you’re going to love the interview we have with Cannon Bryan on today’s show. For the record, oil is NOT the slickest thing Cannon deals with. LOL

We’ve also got surprisingly few news stories including the 14-hour rule, futuristic Michigan roads, what to look for in a used truck, what to do when your employer blacklists you, some trucker health help, and hey, what do you know; yet another safety blitz. yay.

Ryan is going to point us to some good Indian food in the Trucker Grub segment and we’ll hear from Rob, Steve, Goose, and Maurice, on topics such as scary CDL school situations, trucks stuck on railroad tracks, and the slim chances of any trucker ever needing a gun.

Be sure to check out the 50% off ebook combo pack for Trucking Life and How to Find a Great Truck Driving Job while you’re here. Limited time only and only available here!

This episode of Trucker Dump is sponsored by:

Links mentioned in the news segment:

Another Truck Inspection Blitz Is Coming from TheTruckersReport.com

FMCSA enforcement chief details how drivers can pause 14-hour clock under new regs from OverdriveOnline.com

Shorter 14-clock pauses: FMCSA wants feedback on pilot test from OverdriveOnline.com

Michigan Plans Connected, Autonomous Vehicle Corridor from TruckingInfo.com

Trucking Law: Your remedies when a fleet blacklists you from OverdriveOnline.com

What to look for when buying a used truck from OverdriveOnline.com

Check out EquipmentExperts.com for used trucks

Check out a used truck’s history with RigDig.com.

Take a survey about trucker exercise habits (or lack of)

Major truck stops celebrating truckers throughout September from OverdriveOnline.com

Trucker Grub segment:

Ryan Moede tells us about the Bombay Grill and Buffet in Gallup, NM. All they have is a Facebook page so hopefully everyone can follow this link. If not, sorry… 😐

Links mentioned in the interview:

TD129: 4 Ways To Become A More Efficient Trucker

Links mentioned in the Feedback segment:

Rob Pinnick listened to TD147: Be Careful Choosing A Truck Driving School and writes in with a funny anecdote about his first day at truck driving school.

I share an “OH CRAP!” story told in the Trucker Dump Slack Group by Ben Dickens – de Geus, aka Goose.

Stephen Highfill wrote in wanting to join the Trucker Dump Slack Group. And he also took advantage of the 50% off discount price for the trucking ebook combo pack. Two books for the price of one!

Maurice listened to TD146: Personal Safety Tips For Truckers and brings up a good point about the slim chances of ever needing to defend ourselves as truckers. He also takes me to task about Volvo. LOL

Show info:

You can email your comments, suggestions, questions, or insults to TruckerDump@gmail.com

Join the Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Join the Trucker Dump Slack Group by emailing me at TruckerDump@gmail.com

Got a second to Rate and/or Review the podcast on iTunes?

Download the intro/outro songs for free! courtesy of Walking On Einstein

TD147: Be Careful Choosing A Truck Driving School

The topic of today’s show is CDL Farms and why you should be careful when choosing a truck driving school. I interview a driver who went to one and you won’t believe how bad his school was!

But before that we’ve got stories about safety blitzes and recalls, electric truck expectations, and of course, more COVID-related news, including the death of a trucking icon.

We’ll also hit on the upcoming new split sleeper berth rule, we’ll issue a warning about CBD products, the FBI warns about ELD hackers, and bringing the issues of truck parking and detention pay into the spotlight.

We’ve even got a Trucker Grub segment for you foodies!

Be sure to check out the 50% off ebook combo pack for Trucking Life and How to Find a Great Truck Driving Job. Limited time only!

This episode of Trucker Dump is sponsored by:

  • Volvo Trucks– Check out the new Volvo Dynamic Steering on the VNL and VNR series and watch the all the videos on the Volvo YouTube page
  • Pilot Flying J app– Check out all the awesome features of the Pilot Flying J app and sign up for Push 4Points to earn up to 4 points per gallon

 Links mentioned in the news segment:

CVSA Schedules Brake Safety Week for Late August from TruckingInfo.com

DTNA, Navistar Announce Voluntary Safety Recalls from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

Remembering the ‘Midnight Cowboy,’ Bill Mack

Masks Are Now Mandatory At All Of The Largest Truck Stop Chains from TheTruckersReport.com

Hazmat endorsement renewal waiver extended through October from OverdriveOnline.com

States enter pact to ban truck emissions from OverdriveOnline.com

OOIDA presses regulators on detention time pay, truck parking

Truck Drivers Should Beware of CBD, Drug Policy Expert Says from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

FBI Warns ELDs Could Let Hackers Control Your Vehicle, Steal Your Information, And More from TheTruckersReport.com

Rolling the 14: How to pull off the new split-sleeper under the hours of service come September from OverdriveOnline.com

Trucker Grub segment:

Ryan Moede tells us about the Red Arrow Diner in New Hampshire

Links mentioned in the Listener Feedback segment:

Eric Lindeau enjoyed the “golf swing” joke from TD146: Personal Safety Tips For Truckers

John Bergsing is a smart aleck (as always).

Andrew Farmer bails me out by using my Amazon Affiliate links from TD146: Personal Safety Tips For Truckers

Show info:

You can email your comments, suggestions, questions, or insults to TruckerDump@gmail.com

Join the Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Join the Trucker Dump Slack Group by emailing me at TruckerDump@gmail.com

Got a second to Rate and/or Review the podcast on iTunes?

Download the intro/outro songs for free! courtesy of Walking On Einstein

TD146: Personal Safety Tips For Truckers

We are living in a world full of nut-jobs. Maybe there’s something floating around in the air beyond COVID-19? Maybe we’re seeing the beginning of a zombie apocalypse of sorts? Not the laughably slow Dawn of the Dead zombies, but those really scary fast ones from 28 Days Later that are infected by some sort of rage virus. 

Whatever the cause, there is no doubt that it’s a crazy time to be a truck driver. If you pay attention to the trucking industry news at all, you will have seen far too many stories of truckers pulling guns on each other, trainees stabbing their trainer to death, various muggings, and beatdowns by security guards. 

If that weren’t bad enough, now we have to worry about protesters blocking roadways and yanking innocent truckers out of their cabs and mobbing them. 

Let me take a quick tangent here to address the current Black Lives Matter protests.

I have no problem with folks protesting against police brutality. If a cop is abusing their power, then they need to lose their job and not be protected by their fellow cops. Doesn’t matter what color the victim of that abuse is. So, yeah, keep it up if you’re going about this in a peaceful way. 

However, if you’re “peacefully protesting” by blocking a public roadway, then you’re out of line. The First Amendment clearly gives you the right to assemble and protest, but only to the extent that you don’t violate someone else’s rights. All motorists, including truckers, have a right to use that roadway without having to worry about running over people standing in the middle of traffic. 

As for those who are looting in the name of Black Lives Matter, you are an embarrassment and a distraction to the real cause. You are thugs and thieves looking for a way to justify your actions. Unless of course you can explain the logic behind looting and trashing innocent local businesses and retailers like a Nike store, which has always supported your heroes like Colin Kaepernick. Makes no sense. 

And back to truckers, how does looting freight from innocent truckers further the cause of weeding out bad cops? It doesn’t. So just admit what it is; an excuse to steal.

For the record, you don’t need to steal if you go out and get a job. Have you ever considered truck driving for a living? There are plenty of jobs to be had out here. Of course you haven’t. That would require some ambition and real work. Okay, rant over.

So with this new threat to truckers coming from an unexpected source, I started thinking about personal safety tips for truckers.  

What can you do to prepare yourself for these dangerous times?

I’ll share some of my ideas on the subject and I also reached out the Trucker Dump Facebook Group and the Trucker Dump Slack Group to find out what some of your tips are. 

Disclaimer: Finding information on what kind of weapons are allowed in a commercial vehicle is difficult at best. I’ve always been a company driver and I’ve asked many of my employers and really the only universal truth I’ve found is that 100% of them prohibit firearms in their trucks, but tire thumpers are okay. 

When asking about knives, Tasers, pepper spray, and the likes, I’ve always gotten wishy-washy answers that aren’t really answers at all. You can tell they’d just prefer you curl up into a ball and not defend yourself when attacked than to approve you having anything resembling a weapon in your truck. Feel free to ask your company what they will allow and if you get a solid answer, please email me at TruckerDump@gmail.com to let me know.  

You’d think the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA would want to weigh in on this, but they are remarkably silent on the subject of weapons in commercial vehicles. The only place I’ve found the word “weapon” in the DOT regulations is when it’s talking about the truck itself being used as a weapon by terrorists. So they’re no help on the subject.

So with that being said, let’s brainstorm this subject and hopefully you can make some smart decisions that will work for you.

Firearms

Let’s start out with the obvious and debunk a longstanding trucking myth. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT illegal to carry firearms in your truck, provided that you abide by all state and local ordinances. That right there is the problem; these rules vary from state-to-state and it’s not easy to keep up with. 

I mean, honestly, are you really going to pull over at the state line and unload your handgun until you get to the other side of the state? Or put it in a gun safe while crossing a state? Probably not.

So instead you leave it loaded all the time, which is effectively illegal in many states. So now you’re breaking the law. Toss in the differing rules for those truckers with Concealed Carry Permits and now your head starts spinning. But hey, an unloaded gun is about as useless as a styrofoam pickaxe, right?

This “no guns in trucks” myth gained ground largely because most trucking companies do not allow their employees to carry firearms in their trucks. I’ve never seen a stated reason why this is, but I suspect it is simply a matter of not wanting to hassle with their driver employees keeping abreast of all the state firearms laws.

Also, they probably want to avoid getting into any situation where you have to use the firearm and the lawsuits that would likely point at them for allowing you to have it in the truck. Like many restrictions in the trucking industry, it ultimately comes down to an issue of reduced liability.

Should you carry a firearm?

If you are an owner/operator, the choice is yours. Carrying a gun is only a matter of learning the different state laws and following them to the best of your ability.

Company drivers have a bigger choice to make. You can choose to carry a firearm because technically it isn’t illegal to do so. But since it is usually against company policy, you’ll likely get fired if you ever have to use it to defend yourself. But as a friend of mine likes to say, “I’d rather be judged by twelve than carried by six.”

That’s a great point. I mean, if you find yourself in a position where you just saved yourself from personal harm or possibly death, do you really give a crap that you just lost your job?

I’m not telling you it’s okay to break company policy. But I’m also telling you that in my 23 years of truck driving, I’ve never had a company representative search the truck I’m driving for anything; let alone a firearm. At least not to my knowledge.

So if you don’t leave your Glock laying out on the passenger seat in plain view while you’re at a company terminal then hey, whatever trips your trigger…

Knives

Next on the list of fatal weapons would be knives. Another long-time myth is that you can carry a knife as long as the blade isn’t longer than 3 inches. I can’t find anything online or in the regulations to back that up.

As far as I can tell, this again is up to each state. For instance, I read that Texas will allow a blade up to 5.5 inches as long as it’s carried in a pouch on your belt. So that blows that myth.

My thoughts here are that, much like a firearm that is out-of-sight out-of-mind, having a small blade would be a good thing to have.

I keep a small pocketknife with a stout blade similar to this one (Amazon affiliate link) in my pocket that that will lock when the blade is exposed. It probably wouldn’t kill anyone unless I stabbed them in the eyeball, but it will certainly deter them if they see it or I give them a good jab with it. 

If anyone ever jumps onto my running board, that will likely be one of the first things I grab for. If they stick an arm or their head through my window I’ll cut them like a sushi chef with a tuna filet.

We have to be reasonable here folks. If a DOT officer ever asks you if you have any weapons, I doubt they’re going to get too bent out of shape if you have a pocketknife with a 3-inch blade, but they might question your motives if you’ve got a machete mounted to your driver’s seat. 

Another way to justify a good knife to a police officer is to have something that would serve a trucker as a safety device like this cool 3-in-1 tactical knife that has a window glass breaker, a seat belt cutter, and a serrated blade like this one (Amazon affiliate link). This one is on my birthday wish list. How could they argue with you wanting to rescue yourself from a fiery wrecked truck?

And remember, a screwdriver will jab into an eyeball just as well as a knife will… possibly better. Boy will that guy be screwed (sorry – I couldn’t help myself).

Tasers

The great thing about having a Taser as part of your arsenal is that you can disable an attacker before they get too close to you. The bad thing is that if you miss your target, you’re out of ammo. 

Tasers work by shooting two darts at the assailant which are connected to the pistol-like grip by two thin cables. These cables transfer enough electrical current to immobilize a grown man long enough for you to get away. Hopefully he pees his pants in the process. 

Another bad thing is that a few states don’t allow them to be used by average consumers unless you have a concealed carry permit. Others like Massachusetts don’t allow them at all. Check out the Taser website for state requirements.

But perhaps the worst thing about Tasers is the cost. Even an older model is over $400 on Amazon (Amazon affiliate link). Ouch! I’m not sure what would hurt worse; the price or getting zapped by one! 

Stun guns with powerful flashlights

Let’s hear this from our first Trucker Dump Facebook Group user: 

“They sell stun gun flashlights that have both use and protection.”
Adrian Shipek
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Why yes they do, Adrian. Yes they do.

Stun guns like this one (Amazon affiliate link) are definitely an option  that truckers can consider. Like Adrian said, many models include a standard flashlight, but if you want to double your fun with Doublemint gum, make sure you get a stun gun/flashlight combo with a really bright light like this one (Amazon affiliate link).

This product is a double whammy. If you’ve ever been blasted in the eyes by a bright light, you know how disorienting it can be. That might be just enough time for you to evade a thug’s grasp and run away while he’s seeing spots!

Stun guns are also easier to deal with than Tasers because most states allow them without any special permit. Obviously you need to be aware of the state Taser guidelines. But in all seriousness, if I’m being attacked, my mind isn’t really focused on the legality of the weapon in my hand. I’d zap that sucker and deal with the consequences later. 

Another advantage of the stun gun over the Taser is the cost. You can pick up a good stun gun with a bright flashlight for under $50 (Amazon affiliate link). That’s about 1/8 the cost of a Taser!

One disadvantage the stun gun has to the Taser is that in order to stun an attacker, you need to be close enough to make contact with the person. Hopefully, it will never get to that point, but if it does, light that sucker up!

Pepper spray

Pepper spray is a great option for the cost-conscience trucker who still wants some personal protection. You can get it quite readily for under $10 (Amazon affiliate link).

Pepper spray is a chemical agent that when sprayed near the face will cause pain, burning, and temporary blindness, which is a result of inflammation of the eyes. It also causes burning of the lungs which leads to shortness of breath, which is something that will come in handy as you’re trying to run away with your own shortness of breath caused by sitting on your trucker butt for 11 hours per day.

Furthermore, pepper spray is legal in all 50 states, although some have certain restrictions such as the size of the spray bottle or an age requirement to carry.  

What’s great about pepper spray is it’s inexpensive and you can use it from up to 10 feet away. Just make sure that nozzle is pointing away from you when you start the hose-down!

Speaking of stuff that sprays, Adrian Shipek from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group says: 

“I hear wasp spray hurts. An aerosol can of something and a lighter too.”
Adrian Shipek
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Ya think, Adrian? 😉 Well I guess if you’re desperate you can go all MacGyver on a bad guy. But ouch… just ouch. LOL 

Tire thumpers

This is probably the weapon most truckers already have. But don’t settle for any old tire thumper! Let’s get creative!

Paul Derkatch from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group says:

“I keep one of those wooden tire thumper baseball bats in the bunk for protection.”
Paul Derkatch
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

I just wonder if Paul is going to yell “BATTER UP” before he uses that bad guy’s head as a baseball! Get this awesome baseball bat tire thumper here (Amazon affiliate link).

Or if you want to add a little extra punch to your baseball-themed “tire thumping,” you can always upgrade to an aluminum version (Amazon affiliate link). Batta-batta-batta, saaaah-wing, batta. 

Other trucker “tools”

Cannon Bryan from the Trucker Dump Slack Group says:

“I like to keep a framing hammer or a tire club near me while in the truck.”
Cannon Bryan
Trucker Dump Slack Group

Sure, why not, Cannon. I mean, we do need to pull nails from the trailer floor now and then, right? It’s just a pleasant perk that either end of that bad boy framing hammer (Amazon affiliate link) could be used to bash in a criminal’s skull, as proven several times over by The Walking Dead television show.

Speaking of nails, sometimes those really long ones require a crowbar. They make little crow bars (Amazon affiliate link) but why settle when you can get the full size version (Amazon affiliate link) for serious tire thumping, nail removal, and jaw breaking. 

And of course, every flatbedder has a pry bar (Amazon affiliate link) to tighten their load straps. Be careful with that pointy thing now. You could put an eye out!

If you’re going for the ultimate trucker tool (Amazon affiliate link) you should check out this hammer/pry bar/axe tool that looks like it belongs in a dungeon of a medieval castle or maybe something you might want to take to a ceremony to sacrifice a virgin by a volcano. 

I can hear it now, “Why yes officer, I realize there’s an axe blade on there. You never know when you might be stranded in North Dakota and need to chop down a tree to build a fire, right?” Nevermind the fact that you’d be hard-pressed to find a tree in North Dakota.

Fire extinguishers

I have to admit that this next one kinda snuck up on me. 

Dave White from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group says: 

“The fire extinguisher would make a good deterrent to persuade that nasty person to leave you alone.”
Dave White
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Trucker Dump Facebook Group member Andrew Aycock put it a bit more bluntly by suggesting: 

“That fire extinguisher will work both spray to the face or used as blunt force.”
Andrew Aycock
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Cheesy blunt pun intended by me. Andrew played no part in the cheesiness. 

Jeff Hardy from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group agrees:

“I've brought my fire extinguisher into the bunk with me for shady areas. If somebody gets in, spray them in the face and club them over the head.”
Jeff Hardy
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

I pity the fool that messes with these guys!

Paul Derkatch from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group has yet another use for it:

“I keep a small fire extinguisher in the bunk. The way these new plastic trucks burn, I want a fighting chance to get out.”
Paul Derkatch
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

According to 49 CFR Part 393.95, the minimum requirement for a commercial vehicle not hauling hazardous materials is one fire extinguisher with a minimum rating of 5 B:C, while a hazmat load requires one with 10 B:C minimum.

For the record, the number stands for how many square feet of fire the device is capable of extinguishing. As you can see, 5-10 square feet isn’t much, so you may as well not bother putting on your toy fireman’s helmet the next time you see a trailer engulfed in flames on the shoulder of an interstate. You might as well go up and pee on it for all the good it will do.

The B and the C stands for what kinds of fires can be put out. The B means flammable liquids can be quenched and C is good for electrical equipment. So that’s good to know. Click here for more on how to read a fire extinguisher.

You know, that weapon… I mean fire extinguisher, has been sitting beneath me for 23 years and never once had I thought to use it as a weapon. But it would clearly work for every trucker.

Not only is it free to every trucker, but the spray causes just enough discomfort to an attacker for you to escape without causing them permanent damage. Not that they deserve that nicety. But hey, that dent in his skull from swinging it down on his head could be another story entirely.

Perhaps best of all, Paul Derkatch from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group reminds us that:

“Fire extinguishers are also no problem with border security or DOT officers as they can’t call it a weapon.”
Paul Derkatch
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Heck; if they’re anything like me for the past 23 years, they won’t even see that as a possibility.

How about a few trailer hacks now…

Red F. Griffin from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group has a good one:

“When you park, put tension on the king pin. Set the trailer brakes & pull a little before setting the tractor brakes. You can't pull the fifth wheel when there's pressure on the jaws.”
Red F. Griffin
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Well Red, we all know that from trying to unhook a stubborn fifth wheel, but I never thought of it as a personal safety tip. But it would certainly work.

We’ve all seen the videos of these “protestors” trying to unhook the tractor from the trailer while it’s slowly trying to make its way through a crowd of people. They could just as easily try it while you’re parked. Good luck with that if you use Red’s tip. Thanks Red!

Dave White from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group has another tip on parking:

“Be careful where you park, and write down truck numbers and plates of people that look suspicious, especially if they’re parked near your truck. If in doubt, just leave and find another truck stop, or Walmart.”
Dave White
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Well I don’t know about the Walmart with all the truck booting that’s been going on lately, but I get the gist of what you’re saying, Dave.

Adrian Shipek from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group has yet another trailer hack:

“Put zip ties or clamps on the glad hands if you stay hooked to one trailer or don't mind the work of redoing them every disconnect.”
Adrian Shipek
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Excellent tip, Adrian. This one reminds me of putting a home security sign in your front yard even though you don’t really have a security system installed. The thieves will always go for the point of least resistance. Hopefully they’ll see your zip ties/clamps and move on to the next truck… not that we wish anything bad on the next trucker. But hey, better them that you, right?!

Here’s another tip for those times when you’re sleeping…

Dave White from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group has an idea:

“I’ve thought of using a ratcheting load strap, with hooks, from door handle to door handle inside the cab to keep nasty people out.”
Dave White
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Well apparently that works because Gwyn Vela from the Trucker Dump Slack Group says:

“I use a strap to double secure my doors shut from the inside so people can’t open my doors while sleeping.”
Gwyn Vela
Trucker Dump Slack Group

Trevor Dunkel from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group has an idea for a variation on that:

“You can use the seatbelts as a secondary door lock.”
Trevor Dunkel
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Yes, you can, Trevor. I’ve been known to loop the seatbelts through the door handle and latch them when I’m in a seedy area. Gives me just a bit of extra security knowing that there will be an extra step for a perp to swing that door open.

But Travis Jellison from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group (and also the subject of the previous episode TD145: Being An Oversize/Overweight Load Truck Driver) makes a point when he rebutted with:

“Just an observation, but if you are seatbelting or strapping your doors it might hinder getting out of the truck in an emergency; like a fire. Don’t lock yourself in. Plus, bad guys can break a window and cut the strap or seatbelt.”
Travis Jellison
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Well honestly, the chances of anyone breaking into your truck are probably as slim as your truck catching on fire, but that is something to think about, so thanks Travis. And yes, a bad guy can break a window and cut a strap or seatbelt, but again, that’s one extra step they have to take before getting to me. 

Also, if you’ve watched any of these videos recently, it’s apparently a lot harder to bust out a window than the movies make it out to be. You can where they are throwing stuff and the windshield and the side windows and I didn’t see anything shattering. 

How about some safety tips for outside the truck…

Paul Derkatch from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group says:

“Swallow your pride and wear a high visibility vest when crossing the parking lot.”
Paul Derkatch
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

That’s a good idea, Paul. Sometimes it isn’t a criminal who does you harm, but a careless trucker going too fast in a truck stop parking lot. I have a co-worker who was hit by a yard truck at one of our terminals. He’s had hip damage and pain ever since. It’s a possibility that some high visibility clothing might have prevented that.

Andrew Aycock from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group reminds us to:

“Keep your head on a swivel while at the truck stop and shippers/receivers etc. Make eye contact with possible threats so they know you see them.”
Andrew Aycock
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Yep. Again, criminals look for easy targets. If you show awareness and look them in the eye, they’re far less likely to choose you as their next victim. Unless of course, you’re giving them the stink-eye

Jeff Hardy from the Trucker Dump Facebook Group concurs:

“Leave the Bluetooth in the truck and get off the phone. You can't possibly pay attention to everything around you when you're distracted. Super sweats with the Bluetooth on gabbing away is an easy target as he waddles across the truck stop paying no attention to anything. He's also not going to pay attention as he walks out in front of that truck going mach stupid through the parking lot.”
Jeff Hardy
Trucker Dump Facebook Group

I’m going to agree with everything you said, Jeff, despite the fact that you just described me. LOL Seriously though, that’s a great tip and great way to end this blog post. And by the way, I don’t waddle… yet. 

Don’t forget the obvious

Folks, we just need to make a little effort to prepare ourselves for the worst. I and everyone else guilty of phone distraction needs to pull our heads out our keisters and focus on our surroundings. 

Don’t forget the obvious things like parking in well-lit areas and parking close to the building. Choose to walk around the row of trucks instead of through the dark walkways between trucks. 

Also there is strength in numbers. You’re far more likely to get mugged while you’re parked on a side street in an industrial park than you are at a well-lit truck stop or rest area. 

Yes, I realize that I stated in TD129: 4 Ways To Become A More Efficient Trucker that I like to park at shippers/receivers to save my driving hours, but you have to be smart about that. Park inside their gate if you can and don’t park near the road if you have that option. Out-of-sight, out-of-mind, you know. 

Final thoughts on personal safety tips for truckers

Listen; there are nut bags everywhere out here nowadays. Keep a low profile and avoid confrontation like I talked about in TD132: Should We Call Out Bad Truckers. An inconsiderate truck driver being a butt munch just isn’t worth your life or your well-being. 

As for these thugs, well, just be prepared by following some of these tips you’ve just read. That way when some worthless excuse of a human being tries to enter your truck, you can break their arm with your tire thumper and spray them in the face with your pepper spray. 

If they keep coming after all that, well, what the heck, go ahead and get out your aerosol can of Aqua Net hairspray and a Zippo and light them up! But then be a sweetheart and use your fire extinguisher to put out the flames. We aren’t animals, you know. 

But wait. Maybe you’d better go ahead and zap them with your stun gun a couple of times… just to be on the safe side. 

Do you have more personal safety tips for truckers that we didn’t cover? Please share your comments below or send me an email at TruckerDump@gmail.com and I’ll share them on a future episode of the Trucker Dump Podcast!

Podcast show notes:

Boy oh boy, have we got a good show today. We’re going to talk about personal safety tips for truckers and some of you are going to be a part of it.

But before that we’ve got news stories about truck drivers and protestors, inspections and ELD coercion, more deadline extensions, and electric trucks.

We’ll also talk about health issues including sleep apnea and amputees getting CDLs. Marijuana use is on the rise too, which makes sense with the insane changes to liability insurance the government is trying to make.

We’ll also discuss the government owning part of a major trucking company through a controversial bailout deal and how changes in routing could change the future for truckers.

Top it off with a few emails from you and we’ll wrap it up.

Listen to the podcast version or read the full article and the podcast show notes on AboutTruckDriving.com or search for Trucker Dump in your favorite podcast app.

Be sure to check out the 25% off ebook combo pack for Trucking Life and How to Find a Great Truck Driving Job while you’re there.

This episode of Trucker Dump is sponsored by:

Links mentioned in the news segment:

Surviving a Level 3 driver inspection: Are you ready? from OverdriveOnline.com

Truck driver safety a top priority amid nationwide protests from FleetOwner.com

‘He didn’t get the signal’: Trucker arrested for driving into MN protests released without charges from OverdriveOnline.com

Staying safe during civil protests when avoidance not possible from OverdriveOnline.com

Wyoming DOT closing 10 rest areas, eliminating 80 truck parking spaces from OverdriveOnline.com

The irony of e-logging and coercion: Complaints on a steady rise since mandate from OverdriveOnline.com

FMCSA Says Congress Can’t Make Them Delay HOS Changes, Expects Rollout To Proceed As Planned from TheTruckersReport.com

Truck Driver Training, License Renewal, Medical Certification Waivers Get Another Extension from TheTruckersReport.com

Evidence emerges of stricter approach – and confusion – around sleep apnea screening from OverdriveOnline.com

Trucking Law: Severe physical setback might not end career from OverdriveOnline.com

For further information on the SPE, call the program in Washington, D.C., at Call 1-202-366-4001 or email FMCSAMedical@dot.gov.

Marijuana Use Top Finding in First Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse Report from TruckingInfo.com

Rise in marijuana use among truckers expected to continue from OverdriveOnline.com

Amendment Passed To Double Mandatory Insurance Minimums for Truckers To $2 Million from TheTruckersReport.com

Liability insurance hike: Guess who would benefit? from OverdriveOnline.com

YRC getting $700 million government bailout for nearly 30% stake in fleet
from OverdriveOnline.com

Trucking Company Charged With Defrauding Defense Department Gets $700 Million Bailout Just 12 Days After Former CEO Confirmed In New Federal Post from TheTruckersReport.com

California passes ‘first-in-the-world rule’ to ban sale of all new diesel trucks by 2045 from CDLLife.com

House Democrats Will Call for 100% Clean Cars by 2035 from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

West Coast Utilities Offer Plan for Charging Stations Along Interstate 5
from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

DOT Launches AV Test Initiative from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

FHWA Grant Supports Automated Truck Corridor on Interstate 70 from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

Industry Trends, Driver Preference Pave Way for Hub-to-Hub Routes from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

Links mentioned in the main topic:

Learn more about Tasers

Taser requirements state-by-state

Stun gun guidelines by state

Pepper spray laws by state

49 CFR Part 393.95 explaining DOT fire extinguisher requirements

What do the numbers/letters on a fire extinguisher mean?

TD145: Being An Oversize/Overweight Load Truck Driver

TD129: 4 Ways To Become A More Efficient Trucker

TD132: Should We Call Out Bad Truckers?

Below are all the Amazon Affiliate links mentioned in the show. And a reminder that the seller pays my meager referral fee, not you.

A small pocketknife similar to the one I own (Amazon affiliate link)

3-in-1 tactical knife with window breaker, seat belt cutter, and serrated blade (Amazon affiliate link)

Taser (Amazon affiliate link)

Basic stun gun with flashlight (Amazon affiliate link)

Stun gun with super-bright flashlight (Amazon affiliate link)

Pepper spray (Amazon affiliate link)

Wooden baseball bat tire thumper (Amazon affiliate link)

Aluminum baseball bat tire thumper (Amazon affiliate link)

Framing hammer (Amazon affiliate link)

Small crow bar (Amazon affiliate link)

Large crow bar (Amazon affiliate link)

Flatbedder pry bar (Amazon affiliate link)

3-in-1 trucker tool with a hammer, and axe, and a pry bar (Amazon affiliate link)

Links mentioned in the listener feedback segment:

JJ Perkey asked to join the Trucker Dump Slack group and explains why he prefers to park his truck than to run at a slight loss.

Truitt Ficklin writes and guesses where I work. Uh oh.

Michael Mazur, Jake Ritchie, Pete Ryall, and Austin Anderson all sent quick emails asking to join the Trucker Dump Slack Group. Done deal, guys. Thanks.

Mark Wihowski shares a bit about his driving career and asks to joins the Trucker Dump Slack Group.

Gabriel Ibanez Romero heard me being interviewed on the Payload Podcast by Truck Driver Power and asked to join the Slack group. Listen to that episode on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

Chris Sanzone sells truck insurance and asks to join the Trucker Dump Slack Group. A follow-up email prompts some talk about video games I’m playing.

Show info:

You can email your comments, suggestions, questions, or insults to TruckerDump@gmail.com

Join the Trucker Dump Facebook Group

Join the Trucker Dump Slack Group by emailing me at TruckerDump@gmail.com

Got a second to Rate and/or Review the podcast on iTunes?

Download the intro/outro songs for free! courtesy of Walking On Einstein

TD145: Being An Oversize/Overweight Load Truck Driver

If you’ve ever been interested in how oversize/overweight loads work, you’re in luck. Today we talk to Travis Jellison, who has pulled loads as heavy as 230,000 pounds, 16 feet wide, 15.5 feet tall, and 120 feet long. Yikes!

In the news segment, we discuss how the coronavirus is affecting the trucking industry with regards to the loss of work and restaurants, and Hours-of-Service adjustments, including the upcoming HOS changes. We also look at technology such as electric vehicles and it’s lack of infrastructure, CDL skills testing, and how 5G networks could help the trucking industry.

Freight brokering gets its fair share of talk time, and we hit on truck parking, truckers and medications, toll hikes, and gross injustices like the prison release of a bad trucking CEO and what is considered a preventable accident when it comes to the CSA.

In the feedback segment, we hear from Daniel, Evan, two Davids, and Aron all join the Trucker Dump Slack group. Driver Dave has an encounter with a duck, and Ben talks about buying grass. We also hear from Robert, who tells us about his unique trucking job.

Our guest Travis Jellison has been driving trucks since 1995. The vast majority of that time has been spent pulling a variety of oversize/overweight loads. His current setup is an 11-axle combo that is 120-foot long!

Born and raised in Washington, he now resides in Colorado, where he enjoys spending time and exploring nature with his partner. 

Podcast show notes:

This episode of Trucker Dump is sponsored by:

Links mentioned in the news segment:

FMCSA Extends HOS Emergency Declaration for Second Time from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

Trucking Sheds 88,300 Jobs in April from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

TD144: Is Truck Driving A Recession-Proof Job?

A third of small fleets shut down as COVID-19 guts freight market from OverdriveOnline.com

Iowa Driver Among First in US to Use Technology for CDL Skills Test from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

Next Generation of Wireless Technology: 5G Holds Promise from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

Coming hours of service reforms skip 14-hour pause, include 7/3 off-duty split and 30-minute break changes from OverdriveOnline.com

TD139: Understanding The 2019 Proposed Hours-Of-Service Changes

Updated HOS regs to take effect late September from OverdriveOnline.com

Infographic: What’s changing in federal hours of service regs from OverdriveOnline.com

Quick takes: Readers mixed on hours of service changes’ impact on their own operations from OverdriveOnline.com

Carriers’ right to review what the shipper paid for a brokered load from OverdriveOnline.com

FMCSA: Brokers Aren’t Technically Breaking The Law, And We Might Not Do Anything Even If They Were from TheTruckersReport.com

Amazon, already a mammoth middleman, squeezes into trucking brokerage from OverdriveOnline.com

Electric Truck Integration Poses Challenges for Fleets, Study Shows

Electric-Vehicle Charging Startup Amply Power Secures $13.2 Million from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

Truck Crashes That Weren’t Preventable Won’t Count Against Your Safety Score, But What’s “Preventable” May Surprise You from TheTruckersReport.com

Crazy crash eligibility examples from fmcsa.dot.gov

Trucking Law: When meds can sideline your commercial driving

Contact Dr. Alexander E. Underwood of the KT Health Clinic by email at mail@kthealthclinic.com or at Call 1-417-832-8678.

Infamous Arrow Trucking CEO Released From Prison Early from TheTruckersReport.com

New Jersey Highway Tolls to Rise up to 36% from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

TravelCenters of America begins reopening dine-in restaurants from FreightWaves.com

Government Groups Launch Truck Parking Survey for Northeast Region from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

Take the Northeast Truck Parking survey

Links mentioned in the interview:

If you have more questions about over-dimensional trucking, you can talk to Travis Jellison directly by emailing him at trjelli@gmail.com

Links mentioned in the feedback segment:

Robert Terry has a really unique job driving a food trolley named Clementine. Check out the photos.

Driver Dave has a run-in with a duck.

Ben Dickens – de Geus, aka @goose tells a story about his boss sending him to buy some grass.

Jon Sinclair, aka @mouse wants to talk about free audiobooks from your local library.
Congratulations to Aron Nero, aka @Aron for starting truck driving school!

Evan Jon Kooker, @2017EJ is planning to get into trucking after he retires.

David O’Neil, aka @Junior is new Canadian driver.

David Schmidt, aka @davidschmidt just finished binge-listening to every Trucker Dump episode. I don’t know if I’m happy or if I’m sorry. 😉

Show info:

You can email your comments, suggestions, questions, or insults to TruckerDump@gmail.com

Join the Trucker Dump Podcast Facebook Group

Join the Trucker Dump Slack Group by emailing me at TruckerDump@gmail.com

Got a second to Rate and/or Review the podcast on iTunes?

Download the intro/outro songs for free! courtesy of Walking On Einstein

TD144: Is Truck Driving A Recession-Proof Job?

At this point, the term COVID-19 has reached the level of being a curse word. Many have lost their jobs, lives are being lost, and many financial experts believe that another recession is on the horizon. But perhaps the most catastrophic dilemma of all; people are losing their ever-loving minds about what they are going to wipe their butts with. So this bring a question to mind…

Is truck driving a recession-proof job?

I Googled the term “recession-proof jobs” recently and the top result was an article called “Top 27 Recession-Proof Jobs & Careers – Do They Exist?” Surely this list would include truckers along with the obvious health care workers, law police officers, and morticians, right? Wrong! Believe it or not, the closest they got was with the #27-ranked Public Transit Workers, which to be fair, does include some Commercial Drivers License (CDL) holders. But still, bus drivers are a tiny portion of what constitutes truck drivers at large.

Even more flabbergasting was that this article listed Grocers at #21. Yes, grocers are important and recession-proof, but HELLOOOOOOOO… McFLYYYYYY, you can’t keep a grocery store stocked without truck drivers bringing the freight! You’d think that would’ve been made abundantly clear when even normal, non-prepper types started hoarding everything from soup, to dairy products, to frozen goods, to paper products, to cleaning supplies.

Perhaps I’m overreacting though? I thought, “Maybe this is just an old article?” Nope. It was written in March 2020; smack dab in the middle of what I’m sure will be eventually be written up in the history books as The Great TP Shortage of 2020. Like I said earlier, that’s flabbergasting considering that with all those empty shelves came a newly-found appreciation for the truckers of the world.

For the record, I shot off a stern email to this website, scolding them for their oversight. Hopefully they’ll either add Truck Drivers to their list or replace it with one of the other recession-proof jobs like #21 Librarian. Seriously… librarian? Ugh. To be fair, the rest of this list is spot-on. I just found it a farce that truck drivers were left off the list. Rant over.

So we’re back to the question; Is truck driving a recession-proof job?

A lot can be learned from history; which, by the way is something that should be considered by anyone who thinks America can make Socialism work where other countries have failed; e.g. Russia, Cuba, or Venezuela, just to name a few. But I suppose if you’d like to see which jobs are truly recession-proof, by all means proceed with your Socialism madness.

The most recent recession in the United States started in December 2007. The Great Recession, as it is now known, was primarily caused by greedy finance companies who would give home loans to people who couldn’t afford them. Much like a giant teenage zit, the economy expanded until one day it just popped, leaving a gooey mess of yuckiness.

I remember it well, because for us it seemed to happen overnight. At that time, The Evil Overlord (my wife and ex-codriver) was in an orientation class at a trucking company. For those who don’t know the story from reading Trucking Life: An Entertaining, Yet Informative Guide To Becoming And Being A Truck Driver, she was getting back into trucking after a few years off in an effort to get me off the road and out of trucking for good.

Obviously that never happened and part of that can be blamed on The Great Recession. The event I speak of happened on a Friday, which was the last day of her orientation. I had been solo trucking for the past few years and was eagerly on my way to the terminal to pick her up so we could go back to team trucking. That’s when her orientation leader walked in and said the company had initiated a company-wide hiring freeze. They promptly put everyone on a bus back to their homes. Well, everyone except her.

The Evil Overlord only escaped the axe after reminding them she was going to be teaming with me and I was due to arrive that evening. Long story short, our miles SUCKED for the next 1.5 years. When we had worked as a team for this carrier previously, we had regularly gotten between 5,000-6,000 miles. Fast forward to The Great Recession, where now we were lucky to get 3,000 miles between the two of us. 2,500 wasn’t all that uncommon either. In context for you non-truckers, 3,000 miles is a number most of us solo drivers can easily attain if our dispatcher is willing and able to give us that many miles.

Trucking freight is in constant flux

Freight goes up and down all the time in the trucking industry. Sure, there are good times and bad times; but the point I’m trying to make is that there is always freight. Maybe not a lot of certain types of freight, but there is always some. Take The Great Recession as an example.

As I mentioned earlier, that recession started primarily due to the real estate industry. Once all those homeowners lost their homes, the market was flooded with houses that needed to be sold. We’re back to the law of supply and demand now. When there is a large supply of something, the price goes down. And since many of these homes were foreclosed on, the prices on these abundant houses went waaaaaaay down.

So why would anyone want to build or buy a brand-new house when they could get a slightly-used one for peanuts? They wouldn’t; which is why the construction industry came to a screeching halt. Truckers who hauled construction materials and equipment suddenly had less freight to deliver.

So that means that trucking jobs are NOT recession-proof, right?

Not so fast, Speedy Gonzales. One thing that drives The Evil Overlord nuts about me is how I nitpick over words. The group of guys that I work with at my LTL (Less-Than-Load) company also immediately honed in on this little annoyance when I started there 13 months ago.

For instance, one of my co-workers might say on the phone, “Man! That 4-wheeler literally ran me into the ditch!” Before I can stop myself, I’d often say, “Don’t you mean figuratively? You wouldn’t still be tooling down the road right now if you were literally put in the ditch.”

Or The Evil Overlord got in the habit of saying “my bedroom” when she meant “our bedroom (understandable since I was usually on the road).” She does quickly correct herself now, but only after pointing out the fact that if I didn’t rein in this annoying little quirk of mine, I would soon both alienate all my new co-workers and find myself eating a knuckle sandwich with a big diamond ring on it. But I admit I still have to bite my tongue on a regular basis.

Now let’s relate this back to trucking. Here’s the notion I’m going to put forth:

Truck driving is recession-proof, but all trucking jobs are not

Do you see the subtly there? Much like the construction industry during The Great Recession, my current job is suffering from the same lack of need. The LTL company I work for hauls a lot of B2B (Business-to-Business) freight, meaning that we deliver a lot of products to keep businesses running.

For example, we don’t haul the toilet paper or frozen pizza to the grocery store, but we do haul the shelving units and freezers where those products are displayed. And we don’t haul the widgets a factory makes; we haul the machines that make those widgets.

We all know there is an unprecedented number of businesses closed right now due to the Coronavirus pandemic. With so many businesses closed, there is no one to produce the widgets. Sure, the factories that produce essential products such as food, fuel, and cleaning/medical supplies are still going full-bore, but again, that’s only a small portion of the supplies we would normally deliver.

So while the trucking industry in general is considered an “essential” service, the trucking job that I have has had to cut back on staff. Much to my chagrin, one of those folks was me. I reported in the last podcast, TD143: Coronavirus Trucking, that I had just missed the first round of layoffs. Well, two weeks later they got me too. So now, for the first time in my life I’m unemployed. So there; it’s definitive. Truck driving is not recession-proof! Wait! Not true!

Truck driving is recession-proof

Let the word nitpicking begin! I stand by my statement: some trucking jobs are not recession-proof (like mine), but truck driving as a profession is! I actually knew this long before the whole Corona crisis, but it got cemented in my mind once I started working here.

If you read/listened to, TD136: The Emotions Of Changing Truck Driving Jobs, you’ll know that one of my biggest fears in taking this LTL job was the threat of layoffs. In my previous 22 years of being a trucker, the term “layoff” had never even crossed my mind. But my new co-workers put my mind at ease since most all of them had been through it when they were low on the seniority list.

Every one of them knew at least one or two other trucking companies that would hire me immediately, even knowing it was only temporary until I got called back. So that was a major load off my mind. Anyway, back to the point.

Back in 2008, when the economy got so bad for a couple of years, The Evil Overlord and I continued to drive truck. Granted, we had lower miles than we would have liked, but we continued to have a job. There were a few layoffs within the OTR (Over-the-Road) trucking companies, but for the most part everyone kept their jobs, their families insured, and enough money coming in to survive. And that’s really what it’s about, isn’t it; weathering the storm until things get back to normal?

But just like is happening now, the LTL industry back then was being slammed way harder than the OTR companies. There were layoffs galore; and these weren’t short layoffs either. These were 12-18 month or longer layoffs. This is what my co-workers had gone through and they managed to come out the other end. As one of the guys said, “I’ve never missed a meal due to a layoff.”

But here’s the beauty of being a truck driver during a recession

Just because I’m laid off right now because my LTL carrier doesn’t haul enough “essential” products to keep me employed, that doesn’t mean I’m worried about my livelihood. You see, being laid off means that I can go find other work until my employer calls me back, just like my co-workers did back in 2008. That means I can keep working. Maybe not in the LTL industry, but I can keep on trucking.

All I would have to do is switch the type of carrier that I drive for; one that hauls more essential products. And the great news is that there is always someone hiring in the trucking industry. Always! This was true back in The Great Recession of 2008 and it’s true now during The Great TP Shortage of 2020. So in the end, I stand by my statement:

Truck driving is recession-proof, but all trucking jobs are not

Truth be told; I’d love to be working right now. I was actually enjoying that short little crappy Kansas City bid for the two weeks I was forced to do it. The money was still as good as my best year as an OTR driver, but it was a nice change of pace being back home in my own bed every day before I had to take my stupid 30-minute break.

I’m not thrilled about being laid off, but it’s better than the option of not being laid off and staying home without any loads most of the week where I’m not making any money (which is happening to some of our drivers). Being laid off means that I have the option to go get another trucking job if I want. With my 23 years of experience, I could be starting another job Monday morning if I so choose. But I don’t.

As I was crawling into bed after a long day of video gaming the other day, I told The Evil Overlord, “Man, that felt like a useless day,” to which she responded, “You haven’t taken any vacation time in 15 years (a true statement). Go sit on the couch, relax, and play video games for a change of pace. I’m making chocolate chip cookies.” Gratefully, I’m able to do that thanks to the combination of our savings account, my health care provider extending coverage for eight weeks, the $2400 stimulus check, and the $600 extra unemployment money provided by the CARES Act.

Hopefully things will get back to normal before the health insurance gives out and I have to start looking for a fill-in job until I get called back to work.

For now, you can still expect a new Trucker Dump podcast/blog every month. Jut don’t expect the release frequency to increase. I will be spending some of my extra time fixing my website and exploring some other trucking-related projects instead of needlessly raising your expectations of me. But for the most part I’m just going to do what I do best … obey The Evil Overlord.

TD143: Coronavirus Trucking

Well, you can probably guess what today’s podcast is all about, and unfortunately it ain’t fluffy kittens. Nope, for today’s main topic I’ll be rebroadcasting an episode of the Payload Podcast where JT Peters talks to an epidemiologist about Coronavirus and how it relates to us truckers.

But before that, we’ve got lots of news on how this pandemic is affecting the trucking industry; including suspended and forced rules, how truckers are gaining new respect, and some clarification on the $2.2 trillion stimulus plan. And of course, what you should do if you think you’ve got the virus.

But it’s not all about the Corona. We’ve got an update on new HOS rules, autonomous trucks, truck parking, and new high-tech maintenance ideas. Also, a major data breach and tips for being in an accident.

In the feedback segment, we’ll talk about ignorant commenters, under 21 truckers, tailgating, and kitchen utensils.

Listen to the podcast version or read the full article and the podcast show notes on AboutTruckDriving.com or search for Trucker Dump in your favorite podcast app.

Be sure to check out the 25% off ebook combo pack for Trucking Life and How to Find a Great Truck Driving Job while you’re there.

This episode of Trucker Dump is sponsored by:

Links mentioned in the podcast:

Paccar Recalls 35,671 Peterbilt Trucks for Fire Risk from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

Worldcometers COVID-19 statistics

Multiple Hits to Economy Likely to Trigger Recession, Analysis Shows from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

Chinese Plants Ramp Up Again as Rest of World Reels from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

Senate OKs Historic $2.2 Trillion Coronavirus Rescue Package from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

All You Wanted To Know About Those Tax Stimulus Checks But Were Afraid To Ask from Forbes.com

US Department of Transportation Expands National Emergency Declaration for Commercial Vehicles Delivering Relief in Response to the Coronavirus Outbreak from FMCSA.gov

Frequently Asked Questions Related to the FMCSA Emergency Declaration 03/19/2020 from FMCSA.gov

States Suspend Weight Limits for Trucks Involved in Coronavirus Relief from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

FMCSA demands truck stops must stay open 24 hours from TruckNews.com

FMCSA waives CDL, medical certification renewal regs until June 30 from OverdriveOnline.com

Risk Remains Low for Coronavirus Transmission on Packages from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

Step by step: What you can do if you suspect COVID-19 symptoms on the road from OverdriveOnline.com

Options on the road for a speedy coronavirus consult from OverdriveOnline.com

Showers of Praise Greet Busy Truckers from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

How America Is Thanking Truckers During the Coronavirus Crisis from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

CVSA Postpones Roadcheck Due to Coronavirus Crisis from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

TWIC card now satisfies requirements for hazmat endorsement from OverdriveOnline.com

Final Trucking HOS Rule Sent To White House For Approval from TheTruckersReport.com

Truck Parking Bill Could Mean $755 Million For New FREE Truck Parking from TheTruckersReport.com

Starchy Robotics ends remote truck experiment, shuts down operations from FreightWaves.com

Autonomous Tech Company Locomotion Signs Deal With Wilson Logistics from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

TuSimple Expands Autonomous Trucking Program With UPS from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

How Smart Tire Technology Is Changing Fleet Management from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

Fleets Move Toward Predictive Maintenance to Prevent Breakdowns, Reduce Expenses from ttnews.com (Transport Topics)

Trucking Law: When trying to help at accident scene can hurt you instead from OverdriveOnline.com

News roundup, Feb. 27: TQL data breach potentially exposed carriers’ bank account numbers from OverdriveOnline.com

Check out the Payload Podcast and subscribe!

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Map from Johns Hopkins University

Links mentioned in the Feedback segment:

Greg tells us about his 20-year old pots and pans that he uses to cook in the truck. They have folding handles, which is perfect for small storage space like the cab of a semi. You can buy them on Amazon using this affiliate link.

Scott enjoyed listening to TD142: Being An Expedited Truck Driver but he writes about some hateful comments made about TD95: 4 Reasons That Trucker Might Be Tailgating You. He believes that I shouldn’t give haters the time of day by sharing their vile comments on the podcast. What say you?

New listener Rico also shares his thoughts on TD95: 4 Reasons That Trucker Might Be Tailgating You.

Zachary tells us about learning to drive truck at an early age and relates it to the current under-21 debate.

Show info:

You can email your comments, suggestions, questions, or insults to TruckerDump@gmail.com

Join the Trucker Dump Podcast Facebook Group

Join the Trucker Dump Slack Group by emailing me at TruckerDump@gmail.com

Got a second to Rate and/or Review the podcast on iTunes?

Download the intro/outro songs for free! courtesy of Walking On Einstein

TD142: Being An Expedited Truck Driver

On today’s show, we’ll be continuing the series where we highlight unique trucking jobs. This time Joshua Knode will tell us about expedited trucking and how it differs from a typical truck driving job. Lots of great information and fun stories in here, including rock bands, mercenaries, and a late night talk show host!

But before we get to that, we’re going to learn about a new trucking podcast, truck-only lanes, truck-only tolls, dangerous parking, and an early roadcheck safety blitz this year.

We’ll also hear about a new trade agreement, ELD yard moves, internet scams, 18-year-old truckers, trucks with no drivers, and how $50 and some elbow grease could save your life.

And we’ve got a few quick emails about recruiting and of course, tailgating.

This episode of Trucker Dump is sponsored by:

Links mentioned in the podcast:

The Trucking Podcast has changed it’s name to Trucking After Hours

The ‘Over the Road’ podcast from Overdrive and PRX’s Radiotopia

Thieves Are Breaking In To Truck Cabs So Often At These Two Truck Stops So Often That Truckers Are Being “Urged” To “Use Extra Caution” from TheTruckersReport.com

Roadcheck inspection blitz set for early May from OverdriveOnline.com

Georgia planning first-in-nation truck-only interstate lanes from 11alive.com

Connecticut guv temporarily backs off truck tolls from OverdriveOnline.com

Supreme Court won’t hear OOIDA’s challenge to increasing PA Turnpike tolls from OverdriveOnline.com

Trump’s USMCA trade pact retains cross-border trucking program, expected to bolster freight demand from OverdriveOnline.com

No Steering Wheel, No Driver, No Problem: Feds Approve First Ever Truly Driverless Vehicle from TheTruckersReport.com

US Senate Bill to Allow Interstate Truckers Under 21 Touted at Hearing from TTNews.com

Cybersecurity 101: Hackers aim for owner-operators with malware attacks from OverdriveOnline.com

Trucking Law: How to properly log a yard move from OverdriveOnline.com
Contact Paul O. Taylor from TruckersJusticeCenter.com or at Call 1-855–943-3518.

$50 and a little install work could save your life: Trucker Scott Carlson’s close call from OverdriveOnline.com

Trucker Grub: The Outpost Cafe

Links in the Feedback segment:

Eli has few thoughts on recruiters after reading TD135: Trucking Recruiters… Friend Or Foe?

Richard scolds me very gentlemanly about TD95: 4 Reasons That Trucker Might Be Tailgating You.

jj perkey left his thoughts about TD95: 4 Reasons That Trucker Might Be Tailgating You, but wound up making us all think about treating each other with civility when we have differing beliefs.

Show info:

You can email your comments, suggestions, questions, or insults to TruckerDump@gmail.com

Join the Trucker Dump Podcast Facebook Group

Join the Trucker Dump Slack Group by emailing me at TruckerDump@gmail.com

Got a second to Rate and/or Review the podcast on iTunes?

Download the intro/outro songs for free! courtesy of Walking On Einstein

TD141: Women In Trucking With Ellen Voie

Today we’ve got an interview with Ellen Voie from the Women in Trucking Association, which is a non-profit organization that aims to help and promote women truckers. Dudes, don’t tune out. This is a discussion you need to hear too.

But before we get to that, we’ve got a month’s worth of news to catch up on that includes a major southern corridor opening back up, mirrorless trucks, deaf truckers, and sexual harassment. We’ll also look into what happens to your ELD data and what happens after a trucker has a stroke or seizure. Of course, we’ll also catch up with what the government is up to, including truck tolls, GPS apps, EPA guidelines, and I’ll give you an update of the California Lease-Operator debacle. And we’ll finish up with a couple of stories that involve truckers in pain.

To close out, we get a two-fer yummy Trucker Grub from driverchrismc and we only have a few quick emails from Daniel, Brandon, and Steve since we knocked out most of the feedback in the last mega-episode.

Be sure to check out the 25% off combo pack for Trucking Life and How to Find a Great Truck Driving Job while you’re there.

This episode of Trucker Dump is sponsored by:

Links mentioned in the podcast:

I-59/20 bridges in Birmingham set to reopen from OverdriveOnline.com

Senators call for more truck info on phone GPS apps from OverdriveOnline.com

Connecticut governor proposes trucks-only tolls plan with Rhode Island tolls lawsuit still unresolved from OverdriveOnline.com

FMCSA grants waiver for mirrorless camera systems from OverdriveOnline.com

ABC test laws are coming: Can the owner-operator model survive? from OverdriveOnline.com

In push for stricter truck emissions regs, EPA also presses for ’50-state’ program from OverdriveOnline.com

EPA wants public input on new emissions rules from FleetOwner.com

Hurry to submit your comments about the new emissions rules by February 20, 2020!

A gold rush for ELD data from OverdriveOnline.com

New research under way on prevalence of sexual harassment in trucking from OverdriveOnline.com

Group seeks regulatory relief for deaf truckers from OverdriveOnline.com

Trucking Law: What happens after a stroke or seizure from OverdriveOnline.com

Trucker Attacked By Security Guards Beats Assault Charge, Keeps Fighting Back from TheTruckersReport.com

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TD139: Understanding The 2019 Proposed Hours-Of-Service Changes

Heck yeah! The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, has finally proposed the new Hours of Service changes! All I can say is, IT’S ABOUT FRIGGIN’ TIME! Seriously, they’ve been promising to make things happen quicker this time around, but it sure doesn’t seem like it. 

I suppose we really shouldn’t complain too much about the wait. After all, it’s only been about a year since the FMCSA first asked for public comments on the current hours-of-service. By government standards, this is Flash-like supersonic speed.

In reality, we truckers should probably be grateful that they’re proposing changes at all. If you’re looking in from the outside, everything was running smoothly. But apparently (and I know this is going to surprise you as much as it did me) our FMCSA overlords were actually listening to all us complaining truck drivers. Who knew?

So what were all of us truckers complaining about? I think U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao summed it up nicely when she said, “This proposed rule seeks to enhance safety by giving America’s commercial drivers more flexibility while maintaining the safety limits on driving time.” And just as before, the FMCSA Administrator, Ray Martinez is asking for public comments until October 7 October 21, 2019. 

Flexibility is the key word here.

What say we get on with all the gory details of these proposed hours-of-service changes?

There are five changes, so let’s start with the easy ones and work our way up.

Proposed hours-of-service change #1: Short Haul Exception 

Driving under the current Short Haul rules, you must start your driving and return to the same facility every day within 12 hours and not drive beyond a 100 air-mile radius of that facility.

Honestly, I was sort of surprised when I saw this rule. That’s because fellow Trucker Dump Slack member and friend Trevor (@koolaid in Slack) has a local job and I know for a fact he can work up to a 14-hour day. So what’s up with that?

Upon further research, I discovered that the 12-hour workday relates to Commercial Drivers License (CDL) holders who operate within 100 miles of their home terminal and who also DO NOT run log books, which is yet another perk of the Short Haul Exception. And now it all makes sense again since I know Trevor runs a log book. At least I think I’ve got that right. If you know better, email me at TruckerDump@gmail.com. 

The new Short Haul Exception would increase that distance to a 150 air-mile radius and it would also increase the drive time from 12 to 14 hours.

It’s important to keep in mind that you still cannot drive more than 11 hours per day. The extra two hours is designed to let you drive your full 11 hours if you’re delayed by traffic, weather, loading/unloading, mechanical breakdown, etc.

If you’re seeing both good and bad in this new rule, you’re not alone. Stick around until the end and we’ll be discussing these concerns. But for now, let’s keep this big rig rolling.

Proposed hours-of-service change #2: Adverse Driving Conditions

I thought this one was pretty straightforward, but as The Evil Overlord often tells me, “You’re wrong.” Sadly, she’s often right. Grrrr. I think I’ve got this figured out though. It’s a subtle change, but an important one if you find yourself in adverse driving conditions. 

First, let’s define the term Adverse Weather Conditions. According to part 395.2, the FMCSA website defines it as “… snow, sleet, fog, other adverse weather conditions, a highway covered with snow or ice, or unusual road and traffic conditions, none of which were apparent on the basis of information known to the person dispatching the run at the time it was begun.”

So technically, if you found out about icy roads before you left the shipper and yet you still decided to hit the road “knowing” you could claim the Adverse Driving Conditions exception, you’d be wrong. Now how anyone could prove you knew before you left without obtaining a warrant for your Internet browsing history, that’s a different story. LOL

Now that we’ve got that settled, let’s move on to the current rule, which states that you may extend your DRIVING time up to two hours due to adverse driving conditions, but you cannot drive past your 14 hours (15 for passenger-carrying vehicles). 

The subtle difference in the proposed new rule is that the two hours of extra allowable drive time DOES extend your 14 hours (15 for passenger-carrying vehicles). 

For example, under the current rule, let’s say you’re 13 hours into your workday and you’ve driven 10 hours so far. You’ve got one hour left to drive on your 11 and one hour left on your 14 to find a good parking spot for the night. Perfect!

But then you encounter adverse driving conditions, a.k.a. an icy road that’s greasier than Danny Zuko’s Elephant trunk. You can drive two more hours now because of the weather, right? Wrong. Two more hours would put you one hour over your allowed 14.

That’s the difference in the current rule and the new proposed rule. Under the new rule you’d be able to drive the two more hours because your 14 hour rule is extended too. Nice!

Clear as mud now?

Proposed hours-of-service change #3: 30-Minute Break

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but as I reported on the last Trucker Dump Podcast, the stupid 30-minute rule is here to stay. I’m still not sure why they’re so adamant about keeping it, but whatever. It is what it is. At least they’re trying to alter it a bit to give us some more flexibility.

We’ve got another subtly here. The current rule states that you need to take a stupid 30-minute break (Off-Duty or Sleeper Berth) if more than 8 hours has passed since your last Off-Duty or Sleeper Berth break of at least 30 minutes. Obviously I’ve added the word “stupid” there, but I can’t bring myself to say “30-minute break” without adding “stupid” to it.

As most drivers know, this rule is especially frustrating when you’re almost to the spot where you’ll be shut down for 10 hours, but since it’s been 8 hours since your last stupid 30-minute break (or longer), you now have to find a spot to park while you stare out the window for 30 stupid minutes (please tell me you aren’t blocking a fuel bay).

As I’ve said about a kerjillion times (props to @Furiosa in the Trucker Dump Slack group for that word), I can’t recall one single instance where a stupid 30-minute break didn’t make me MORE tired instead of energizing me. Seriously. If you don’t believe me, just go back and read my Twitter feed for the last few years. Grrrr. Any who, the proposed new rule only has a slight modification.

You will still have to take a break if it’s been more than 8 hours since your last one, but now the slightly less stupid 30-minute break can be taken using any duty status other than Driving. 

While this doesn’t fix the idiocy of the rule in general, it should help. After all, the purpose of the stupid rule is to keep us from driving more than 8 hours straight. right? Then why in the name of John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt did the stupid 30-minute break always have to be logged as Off-Duty or Sleeper Berth? 

Am I driving while I’m fueling? No. Am I driving while I’m counting freight on a customer dock? No. Am I driving while I’m standing in line to get a delicious Steak Chalupa at Taco Hell? If I am, then I’m doing it wrong. 

The fact is, most truckers get a stupid 30-minute break in without even trying. Maybe we fuel and run into the truck stop to grab a coffee. That’s going to take close to 30 minutes right there. Say 15 minutes of On-Duty, Not Driving time, plus 15 minutes of Off-Duty time. As long as it’s 30 continuous minutes of a combination of Off-Duty, Sleeper Berth, and On-Duty, Not Driving, then you’re golden for another 8 hours. Sweet!

One of the immediate benefits most of us will see is that the pretrip inspection will no longer count towards the 8 hours. Typically after a 15-minute pretrip, I’ll only have 7.75 hours to drive before I need to take the stupid 30-minute break. So if the new rule sticks, that 8-hour countdown won’t start ticking until I go onto the Drive line. Woo-hoo! 

While it stinks worse than a teenage boy’s feet that the stupid 30-minute rule still exists, it’s better than it was before. Sad; because now I’m going to have to keep saying the word “stupid” far more often than I’d like to.

Proposed hours-of-service change #4: Split-Sleeper Berth

Let’s be clear; I’m not a fan of the Split-Sleeper Berth, but I don’t think it’s stupid, unlike another rule we won’t mention again. The problem is, it’s too darn confusing to do a split. 

Just the other day in the Trucker Dump Slack Group, two truckers with over 50 years of combined experience were having a disagreement about how the split sleeper berth was calculated. If they have a hard time with it, how the heck are new truckers supposed to understand it? 

To be honest, any time I absolutely had to do an 8/2 split to pickup or deliver on time, I always called the safety department to get help. Hey; better to ask than to do it wrong and screw up!

Here’s the way the current split sleeper berth works (Dear Lord: Please help me to not sound like a moron. Amen.)

After 11 hours of driving, a trucker is required to log a continuous 10-hour rest period before they can drive again. Or they can split that into two breaks of 8 and 2 that total 10 hours. By the way, it doesn’t matter if you take the 2-hour part of the break or the 8-hour part first. 

Under current rules, one of those two breaks needs to be 8 continuous hours of Sleeper Berth, while the other can be 2 continuous hours or more of Off-Duty, Sleeper Berth, or a mixture of the two. So for instance, you could log Off-Duty for 30 minutes then log in the Sleeper Berth for 1 hour, and finish it off with 30 more minutes on the Off-Duty status. 

The 8-hour portion of that break DOES EXTEND the 14 hour rule, but the 2 hour break DOES NOT. This can really come in handy if you’re delayed at a loading dock for 8 hours. If you do a split, you haven’t lost any of your driving hours. 

As if this weren’t confusing enough as is, now let’s talk about how long you can drive while using the split sleeper berth option. Ugh. I’ve already prayed so let’s dive right in.

Let’s say you drove for 6 hours. You arrive at a shipper and it takes them 8 hours to load you. Now normally 6 hours + 8 hours = 14 hours, so you’re done for the day thanks to the 14-hour rule. But if you log that 8 hours all in the Sleeper Berth status, you’ve just started an 8/2 split. 

So how long can you drive now? The best way I’ve had this explained to me is that if you add the two Driving sessions BEFORE and AFTER one of the breaks, that combined total cannot exceed the 11 hours allowed. 

Therefore, in this example you’ve driven 6 hours. Now that you’ve logged 8 hours in the Sleeper Berth, you now have up to 5 more hours to drive (6 hours BEFORE + 5 hours AFTER = 11 hours) before you need to take another break.

At this point, you have two options. First, you could save your sanity by taking a full 10-hour break and getting back on a normal 11-hour driving/10-hour rest period schedule. Or if you’re a complete nut-job, you can take a 2-hour break (as described above) and keep going with the split. You can even run like this continuously if you’ve completely lost your marbles. Again, I’m only going to hassle with this if it’s absolutely necessary to get the job done.

Okay, so you’ve taken the crazy pill and you’ve completed a 2-hour break to keep going with the split. How long can you drive now? Another 11 hours? Nope; that’s for sane people, not you. Let’s do the math.

Let’s say you drove the full 5 hours you had available. In that case, you’d have another 6 hours available to drive after the 2-hour break. Remember the guideline from above about counting driving time on both sides of either of the split breaks? So 5 hours of driving BEFORE the 2-hour break + 6 hours of driving you’re getting ready to do AFTER would total 11 hours again. Yeah! You now know how to stay legal!

But let’s change that scenario a bit. Now let’s say you only drove 3 hours instead of the full 5 hours you had available. Now if you do the math, you drove 3 hours BEFORE the 2-hour break, which means you now have 8 hours to drive again AFTER the break. Because 3+8=11. Yes? 

Do you see now why I say only crazy or desperate people do the 8/2 split? And believe it or not, it get’s even more confusing when you start figuring that the 8-hour break doesn’t count toward the 14, but the 2-hour break does. But we won’t get into that, largely because it confuses me more than when Kate Hudson married that ugly dude from The Black Crowes.

Now the proposed new Split-Sleeper Berth. 

Thankfully, this will be easier to explain. First, they want to add an option to do a 7/3 split to the already-existing 8/2. Again, the longer 7-hour break would need to be logged all in the Sleeper Berth and the 3 hours can be logged as any continuous combination of Off-Duty and Sleeper Berth. 

This wouldn’t change our Driving hours math at all. All driving hours BEFORE and AFTER the 7-hour or 3-hour break would still need to total 11 hours of driving or less. 

The second change to this rule is now both of the rest periods would extend the 14-hour clock. Remember, under the current rule only the 8-hour break would extend it. Under the new rule, the 8, 7, 3, or 2-hour breaks would extend the 14 hours. 

Honestly, I haven’t used the split sleeper rule enough to know how the changes in this new rule will affect the way we drive. I know the 7/3 wouldn’t mean that much to me because if I was delayed for 7 hours on the current rule, I would simply wait until the 8-hour mark so I could count it as a legal split break. But I guess anything that extends the 14 hours is a good thing. To be continued.

Proposed hours-of-service change #5: Split-Duty Provision

Just you aren’t confused like I was when I read “Split-Duty,” everyone in the trucking world has been calling this the “14-hour pause.”  

We actually just discussed the current 14-hour rule in the previous section. Basically, once you start your day, you have 14 hours to complete it. The only thing that can extend the 14 hours is an 8-hour Sleeper Berth break that will be used in a split sleeper berth scenario. 

After that 14 hours is up, you CANNOT drive again until you take a legal 10-hour break. However, it’s important to note that you can still WORK after the 14 hours is up. So if it takes you 14 hours to get loaded and arrive at your delivery point, you can still do a post-trip inspection or even unload a trailer for 3-4 hours after the 14 is over. Just as long as you don’t start driving again until you get that 10-hour break in. 

The problem with the current 14-hour rule.

The 14-hour rule has haunted truckers ever since it was enacted in 2003. Actually, before that there was a 15-hour workday basically since 1938 when the hours-of-service started. I think it’s odd that I never heard anyone complaining about it when The Evil Overlord and I started driving in 1997. I can’t imagine having one measly hour more would make much of a difference, but I digress.

In general, drivers have been screaming that the unrelenting 14-hour clock makes the roads less safe, not more-so. The reasoning is that we often don’t have time to pull over to take a nap or get off the road during rush hour if we want to get the most out of our driving hours. We aren’t wrong. 

Let’s look at it. You’ve got 11 hours to drive and 14 hours to do it. That leaves 3 hours to play with. That seems like sufficient time, right? If you believe that, clearly you haven’t been trucking for very long. I’m talking to you, FMCSA rule makers.

Okay. You use at least 15 minutes at the beginning of your day for a pretrip inspection. You probably lose another 15 minutes fueling, possibly more. Most carriers require you to log at least 15 minutes checking into and out of a customer, so if you have both a pick up and a delivery on the same day, there’s another 30 minutes gone. Add that up and that’s one hour minimum of the 14 eaten up right there. Now you’ve got 2 hours to play with. 

But loading/unloading takes time. Sometimes LOTS of time. You could easily waste 2 hours at one of those customers! Heck, a lot of carriers allow a customer 2 hours before they even start charging them for detaining their driver. Some still don’t charge them at all! Seriously, it’s not uncommon at all for a trucker to waste 4-5 hours of their day loading/unloading. Not cool.

So now you’re “eating into your 11 hours drive time.” Every trucker already understands this term, but I’ll explain it for the non-truckers.

Let’s say you wake up after a 10-hour break and you’re ready to roll at 8 AM. You do a pretrip inspection, fuel, drive 8 hours to the delivery and sit around for 3 hours getting unloaded. That’s 11.5 hours total. So you still have 3 more hours to drive, right (11 hours maximum drive time minus the 8 hours previously driven = 3 hours drive time)? Well, you would if the 14-hour rule didn’t exist. Instead, you actually only have 2.5 hours to drive.

You see, you started your day at 8 AM, which means your 14 hours is up at 10 PM. But we said you’ve used 11.5 hours of your time with driving, fueling, inspections, and loading. So now it’s 7:30 PM (8 AM + 11.5 hours = 7:30 PM). Remember, we said you must be done driving by 10 PM, therefore you actually only get to drive for 2.5 more hours, not 3 hours (10 PM minus 7:30 PM = 2.5 hours). This is how we drivers lose drive time, aka “eating into our drive time.” 

So basically, we just lost money because we couldn’t drive all 11 hours we had available. Yes, it’s only 30 minutes of our drive time lost in this scenario, but imagine if it had taken even longer to unload. If we were there for 5 hours instead of 3, that would’ve been 2.5 hours of lost productivity. Not only am I losing money, but  my employer also lost the revenue I could’ve been making for them with those unused drive hours. And don’t forget the safety factor. 

A driver may want to take a nap or get off the road to avoid rush hour, but remember, any time spent not driving is money they aren’t earning. So drivers can’t always sleep when they’d like to, nor can they avoid heavy traffic if they’re butting up against the 14-hour rule. Well they could, but in reality we all know what’s going to win that battle when there’s money on the line. 

According to their website, “The primary mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.”

How exactly does that mission statement line up with what you just heard/read? We can’t always sleep when we want to and we can’t always avoid heavy traffic either. I’m so confused.  

Enter the 14-hour “pause.”

Sticking with the FMCSA’s “adding flexibility” goal, the newly proposed rule allows for up to a 3-hour “pause” in the 14-hour workday, which basically results in the 14 hours being extended into a 17-hour workday under certain circumstances. Yes, that sounds awful. We’ll discuss that bit of controversy in a bit. 

Under the new rule, it would add the option to “pause” the workday with one continuous Off-Duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than 3 hours continuous. The length of this break relates to how long the 14 hours is extended. So a 30-minute break (pause) would extend the 14 hours to 14.5 hours. But if you took the full 3 hour break, you’d get to extend out to 17 hours!  

Now let’s have another look and see how our earlier 14-hour scenario would’ve played out if we could’ve used the new “pause” feature. 

If you recall, you took a 3-hour break at the delivery location. Under the new rule, you could claim that 3 hours as a 3-hour pause, which means the 14 is magically extended to 17 hours. Voilà! Not only are you not losing any of your valuable drive time, but you would still have 2.5 hours to stop and take that nap or avoid the loop from Hell, commonly known as Atlanta rush hour!

And that finishes up the 5 new proposed hours-of-service changes. But of course, that’s not the end of it.

The controversy

In a surprise that I don’t think any trucker in-the-know would’ve anticipated, both the American Trucking Association (ATA) and the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) quickly praised the newly-proposed rules. If you’re not in-the-know, these two industry trade group rivals often clash because one is speaking for owner operators and the other represents many of the large carriers.

But like anything in trucking, not everyone agrees that the proposal is so great; and for good reason. 

So what are some of the main concerns?

The ups and downs of the new proposed hours-of-service changes.

There’s really not much downside to the Adverse Driving Conditions, the new 30-minute rule, or the added 7/3 sleeper berth. But of course, there’s always something to complain about. 

Again, the FMCSA sees all this as “adding flexibility.” I guess that really depends on your point of view. The first complaint has to do with the time extensions associated with both the Short Haul Exception and the “Pause” feature. 

Short Haul Exception concerns

Obviously, jumping from 12 hours to a 14-hour workday could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your viewpoint. 

First the good. If you’re paid hourly, that’s an extra two hours of pay, isn’t it? And if that 2 hours puts you into overtime-land, then that’s some major extra bling-bling for your neck. You’re going to be so totally gangsta if this new rule goes into effect. 

Likewise, if you’re paid by the mile or per load, having an extra two hours to play with might let you squeeze in a few more miles or cram in one extra load before the 14-hour clock ticks down. You know, it really is such a helpless feeling when your paycheck is affected by something that is completely out of your control (think traffic or mechanical failure). 

The downside is that if you simply don’t want to work the extra two hours, you may be screwed. I think the verdict is still out on whether a driver will have any choice in the matter. Well, I suppose they always have a choice. It’s just that their choice might be to find a new company who won’t force the extra two hours on you. 

The “Pause” concerns

Much like the Short Haul Exception, the “Pause” rule has a lot of potential to be abused by shippers/receivers and trucking companies alike. Will a carrier expect you to take the “pause” to maximize your workday? Probably. Their logic will be that if you can use the pause, then you should use the pause. Many drivers will disagree.

I’m going to have to side with the truckers here (surprise, surprise). Nowhere in these proposed rules did I see where it says this pause is mandatory, so I think we can expect to have to continuously lock horns with our dispatchers about it.

Having said that, it’s important that you have this discussion with them. Don’t just do what they tell you to do because you don’t want to get in trouble. That’s a rookie mistake. 

Remember that someone is always hiring in the trucking industry. That means they need you more than you need them. If you don’t want to utilize the “pause,” then don’t. If they keep trying to force it on you, find another employer who won’t. It’s really that simple. Believe it or not, there are carriers out there that will do the right thing. 

But hey, if you’re willing to do a pause to maximize your earning potential and your opportunity to control your time, then have at it. I know I would. Although to be honest, most of these proposed rules won’t make a lick of difference to me with my new LTL job. 

I think the shippers/receivers are a bigger concern. They already show a blatant disregard for a trucker’s time. I fear that their attitude now will be “Hey, we have an extra 3 hours to play with.” Again, much like the carriers, they’ll think we’ll want to use the pause feature. 

In reality, no trucker wants to work even a 14-hour workday, let alone a 17-hour day! But many of us will if it will maximize our efficiency. 

Obviously, if you’re an owner operator, you have the option to avoid customers who abuse the “pause” feature, but my guess is most company drivers will have to suck it up like buttercup.

How can you make your voice heard?

Now it might be tempting to stand on the sidelines thinking you don’t have any control here. But remember the horrible 34-hour rule from 2013 that required two breaks between 1 AM and 5 AM in order for it to be legal? And what about the fact that you could only use a 34-hour break once per week to reset your 70 hours? Yeah, both of those stupid rules were suspended in 2014 due to lots of criticism from drivers like you. 

Here’s your chance to do it again. Is there something you’d like to see changed with these new rules? If you need an easy guide to the proposed changes, then go here. Then when you’re all loaded up with knowledge and a bucket full of opinions, go and submit your comments! You only have until October 7, 2019!

 Summing up…

In general, I think these proposed changes are good for truckers… as long as you don’t let anyone force you into working longer hours just because you legally can.

As much as I hate to admit it, the FMCSA actually came through with their promise to add flexibility to the current hours-of-service. All five proposed changes do just that. Now we just have to see what ultimately makes the cut. 

Listen, some drivers are going to love these new rules. Some will hate it for good reasons. Others will hate it simply because it’s yet another change. 

I think trucker Logan Tarr put it best on Facebook when he asked complaining truckers, “Sounds good to me, I don’t really know what y’all want? They take away flexibility (ELD mandate) and you complain, they try to add flexibility and you complain.”

I simply recall the old joke: 

What’s the difference between a puppy and a trucker?

The puppy quits whining eventually.

Podcast show notes:

In today’s show, I’ll explain the newly proposed hours-of-service rules so you can go leave your comments for the FMCSA. And speaking of safety issues, we’ve got a couple of truck recalls, yet another inspection blitz, more about ELD compliance, more about platooning, and you better watch out in Minnesota.

We’ll also discuss the laws behind drug and alcohol screening and sleep apnea, then we’ll hit on deceptive factoring, yet another carrier shutting down and leaving drivers stranded, whether you should be paid for sleeping, and finally your chance to be a superstar on TV.

Trucker Grub is going to point us to some yummy cajun food this time around.

In the feedback segment, we’ll hear a tailgating story of a guy stuck in a truck sandwich, a funny story about sleep apnea, taking a large dog on the road, and what the heck is Slack?

This episode of Trucker Dump is sponsored by:

  • Volvo Trucks– Check out the new VNL series and all it’s awesome features

Links mentioned in the podcast:

Pilot Flying J gearing up to celebrate Truck Driver Appreciation Week

More than 25,000 Volvo trucks recalled over transmission issues

Certain Freightliner Cascade tractors recalled over brake airline issue

Brake Safety Week inspection blitz set for Sept. 15-21

Your Comprehensive Guide To The Proposed HOS Reform Rules

As industry groups laud FMCSA’s hours proposal, truckers offer mixed reactions

FMCSA Proposes Removing Another CDL Testing Regulation

FMCSA begins to explore harassment of female, minority truckers

The mandate’s last roundup: The AOBRD-to-ELD shift

The AOBRD-to-ELD shift: Data/edits and visibility at roadside

Hours edits: Drivers in full control with ELDs

FMCSA FAQ for ELD rule

Trucking Law: Drug and alcohol regs are tighter than most know

Trucking Law: Adapting to sleep apnea’s most common treatment

Bucking court rulings, DOL argues drivers aren’t owed sleeper berth pay

Caution urged regarding deceptive factoring practices

One driver, two trucks — Peloton aims for Level 4 platooning platform

Got A Speed Limiter? MN State Police Are Ticketing Slow Drivers!

Carrier Shuts Down, Leaves 300+ Drivers Stranded

Wanna Be On TV? Casting Call For Skilled Truckers!

For the Trucker Grub segment, Nick Mack features cajun food at the Tiger Cafe on I-10 Exit 139.

Links in the Feedback section:

Lenny read TD95: 4 Reasons That Trucker Might Be Tailgating You and tells his harrowing experience with big rigs.

Driver Dave is back with a funny story about sleep apnea.

Christopher has a question about taking a large dog on the road with him.

Brad is a new listener and asks how to join the Trucker Dump Slack group.

Show info:

You can email your comments, suggestions, questions, or insults to TruckerDump@gmail.com

Join the Trucker Dump Podcast Facebook Group

Join the Trucker Dump Slack Group by emailing me at TruckerDump@gmail.com

Got a second to Rate and/or Review the podcast on iTunes?

Download the intro/outro songs for free! courtesy of Walking On Einstein

   

TD138: Being A Rental Equipment Truck Driver

In today’s episode, I’m starting a new series where I talk to truckers who have a speciality. Every now and then I’ll interview a driver who does something different than the average trucker. Today, you’ll hear from my good friend and fellow Trucker Dump Slack Group member, Shannon Holden about his job as a rental equipment hauler.

But before that we’ve got lots of news to cover including more truck recalls, lots of new legislation, ELD privacy issues, and some stupid things truckers do, which means I’m pissed off through half the news segment. But we lighten the mood every now and then with an odd quarantine, seven of the best companies to work for (according to Forbes), a couple of cool new products, and a chance for a free trip to Nashville.

I didn’t think we’d have a Trucker Grub segment, but an old acquaintance stops in to talk about Nancy’s Pizza in Litchfield, Illinois. You’ll never guess who it is in a million years.

In the listener feedback section we’ll discuss the sleep drug Ambien, refresher courses, the importance of asking questions, and I’ll have my sanity questioned. ‘Bout friggin’ time.


This episode of Trucker Dump is sponsored by Volvo Trucks. Learn more at volvotrucks.us.

Links mentioned in the podcast:

I got a chance to co-host the May 29 episode of The Trucking Podcast with Buck Ballard when Don the Beer Guy couldn’t make it. Lots of stories and laughs in this one!

I got interviewed by Niki from the Truck Boss Show about the Trucker Dump Podcast.

I spoke with Niki from the Truck Boss Show on starting your own podcast.

The Truck Boss Show is giving away some free swag. First person to email me at TruckerDump@gmail.com wins the loot!

Brake Safety Week inspection blitz set for Sept. 15-22

Paccar recalls nearly 7,000 Kenworth, Peterbilt trucks over various issues

Mirror issue prompts recall of 4,000 Kenworth, Peterbilt tractors

Daimler issues recall for brake air supply capacity issue

CDL Mills And Bad Trainers Will Love This FMCSA Rule

Senate bill would force DOT to institute speed limiter mandate, set 65 mph limit

Bill in Congress would restore drivers’ per diem tax deduction

New Montana law will raise truck speed limits

DOT seeking input on regs around autonomous driving

FMCSA’s proposed HOS changes now expected July 31

DOT funding bill would force 30-minute break to remain in hours regs

Trucker faces 40 criminal counts stemming from deadly I-70 crash near Denver

Plenty blame to go around in Colo. tragedy, when the damage is done

Truckers’ 90-Mile Road-Rage Battle Kills Woman, Companies To Pay $26 Million

ELD data handling: ‘Privacy is paramount,’ but practices vary

Permit required for truckers in insect quarantine area beginning May 1

New TruckPark app allows drivers to reserve parking spaces

TruckPark app on Apple App Store
TruckPark app on Google Play Store

VSA PlugSaver is a cool device to keep your trailer lights from flickering.

Isela from the Truck Boss Show interviews trucker/inventor of the the VSA Plugsaver.

Seven fleets named to Forbes’ ‘Best Large Employers’ list

Truckers can enter to win free trip to Nashville with the RoadPro Ultimate Nashville Getaway Giveaway

This Trucker Fell Asleep At The Wheel After Falsifying His Logs. A Jury Awarded Him $80 Million

Links in the Feedback section:

Doug (Missouri Miller Boy (who did the May Trucker Grub segment) challenges the concept of me claiming to be both a cheapskate and an Apple-loving, cat lover and I attempt to explain the dilemma.

Joe questions a wreck involving a trucker taking Ambient, a drug used for insomnia.

Ambien on Drugs.com

Author Lisa Nowak offers congratulations for my new job and I spin it into a lesson that has been recently reinforced that should be a part of every trucker’s life.

David is considering renewing his CDL and wants to know the best path to upgrading from a Class B to a Class A.

Show info:

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Photo by Shannon Holden