Here is what you will find in this months edition!
With a new year comes new hope and new worries.
Do drivers have a good reason to be concerned about autonomous vehicles?
Technology may prove to be the biggest difference-maker in the year to come.
CEO Chris Spear has been named as a member of the Department of Transportation’s new advisory committee.
More women than ever are proving that gender doesn’t limit a person’s ability to make their living behind the wheel!
Truck driving remains the most popular occupation in about 60% of US states.
Graffiti or art. Where do you stand.
2016 has seen more than its share of regulations that didn’t sit well with everyone.
One of the main issues being addressed is the need for upgraded infrastructure.
Kill some time with our Trucker themed crossword puzzle.
Never be bored with our Trucking word search puzzle.
Are you good with numbers?
Everyone loves a good laugh!
With a new year comes new hope and new worries. For truck drivers, a new year means hoping for better conditions for freight transportation and delivery. A rocky 2016 put many truckers and carriers in a tough position, causing them to cut back on hours in order to slash costs and get by as demand and pricing both slumped.
Help for the industry didn’t come from Capitol Hill, as a plethora of new regulations also put pressure on carriers and drivers. Couple this with the impending emergence of driverless vehicles making many drivers worry about their livelihood, and it is easy to see why the past twelve months have been tense for those who make their living in the freight industry.
“a new year means hoping for better conditions for freight transportation...”
But driverless vehicles are still years away from becoming a mainstay on US highways, as a number of technical glitches and problems have caused regulators to rethink autonomy in the commercial freight industry. And a new trucker-friendly administration may help get the regulatory rush pulled back so truckers can operate without as much pressure.
As for the sluggish economic conditions in the industry, many experts are calling 2016 an outlier. A number of unusual factors in the general economy hindered the trucking industry, but all signs point to 2017 being a year of slow but steady improvement and growth. While things can change at any time in a complex industry like trucking, many experts are looking forward to a better and brighter year.
2016 will go down in history as the year when driverless vehicles went from being an idea to a reality. After a self-driving truck made a delivery and many other autonomous vehicles also went on test drives across the country, it become clear that this new technology was here to stay in the freight industry. But many wonder whether or not the frequency of driverless commercial vehicles being used in the industry will continue in 2017, or whether they will continue being tested at a slower pace.
Drivers have a good reason to be concerned about autonomous vehicles becoming a mainstay in the industry. After all, this type of technology could very well put jobs at risk once it is perfected. That being said, there are still a number of problems with driverless commercial trucks that need to be resolved before they will be seen in greater numbers.
“It is worth mentioning that driverless vehicles do currently have a driver...”
Concerns about the safety of these vehicles was the main thing that kept them off the road for so long – and it turns out some of these concerns were founded. A number of accidents have already been reported involving commercial driverless vehicles, with some of them being fatal. In addition, driverless vehicles are still not optimized to stop for traffic lights or pedestrians.
It is worth mentioning that driverless vehicles do currently have a driver and, in some cases, other personnel inside. It will be a long time before driverless vehicles are able to reliably make regular trips without assistance. It is likely that the technology will still be pursued throughout 2017, but these vehicles are not primed to replace human drivers any time soon.
Truck drivers have always been affected by technological changes in their eld, as carriers have a vested interest in upgrading equipment to get better performance. But while much discussion has been given to electronic logging devices and driverless vehicles, another type of technology may prove to be the biggest difference-maker in the year to come.
A serious effort was made to limit fossil fuel emissions from commercial vehicles (as well as other sources) in 2016. With the green movement becoming more prominent, trucking has bene ted from the emergence of new technology. From low-emission engines to electric trucks, there are plenty of options for those carriers looking to leave a smaller carbon footprint in the future.
“A serious effort was made to limit fossil fuel emissions from commercial vehicles (as well as other sources) in 2016”
But the environmental bene ts of this new equipment are only part of the deal – many carriers see economic perks in making the switch. While adopting new equipment is often considered to be an expensive task that many carriers would rather avoid if possible, fuel efcient technology can lower fuel costs. Given that fuel costs can make up anywhere between 20-35% of the average carrier’s budget, it is easy to see why this new equipment is gaining popularity.
With new engines and vehicles being unveiled at recent trucking shows, many carriers have already put in their orders. As more carriers become interested in eco-friendly equipment, it is likely that newer models will be developed.
American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear has been named as a member of the Department of Transportation’s new advisory committee. The committee will be focused on automation in the trucking industry and the steps needed to administer these changes safely. Gloria Boyland, FedEx Corporate Vice President, Operations and Support Services, has also been added to the committee.
A total of 25 people were named to the committee, all of which are knowledgeable and experienced in the field of transportation. With a goal of determining what rules and regulations should be put in place as autonomous vehicles begin appearing on roadways more often, the insight this committee provides will be very important for the future of truck driving.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said: “During my time at the department, we have fostered some of the most significant technological changes to ever take place in transportation, and we did so while keeping our focus on the safety of the American people. This new automation committee will work to advance life-saving innovations while boosting our economy and making our transportation network more fair, reliable, and efficient.”
Staffing aimed to include a mix of political officials, business experts, and field specialists. The committee chair will be Mary Barra, chairman and CEO of General Motors with the co-chair being held by Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti. Vice chair will be held by Dr. J. Chris Gerdes, Professor of Engineering at Stanford University.
Though truck driving was once thought of as a man’s profession, more women than ever are proving that gender doesn’t limit a person’s ability to make their living behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle. And given that women are joining the industry in greater numbers, a new way of calculating exactly how many female drivers are in the field at any given time.
The Women In Trucking Association recently created the WIT Index to help track the number of working women in the freight transportation industry. The organization partnered with the National Transportation Institute to help gain more accurate data. This move was brought on by concerns about the way the Department of Labor was reporting the number of women in the trucking industry.
It was discovered that the DOL was including some employees as truckers despite the fact that they did not participate in customary, over-the-road driving positions. This combined with a questionable increase in the number of reported female drivers by the DOL led to the development of the WIT organization.
Leah Shaver, NTI’s COO said: “We know that women represent a largely underdeveloped minority group in our industry. We also know, from recent conference discussions and media coverage, that benchmarking gender distribution in our industry is necessary to quantify progress. We’re going to help trucking companies do just that.”
If you’re like most people, you set goals for yourself whenever a new year rolls around. One of the most popular goals a person can have is to enter a new career eld. Truck driving remains the most popular occupation in about 60% of US states – but is this year a good time for you to enter the eld?
A lot of people either left the industry or held off on entering it during 2016. As economic conditions, new regulations, and a number of other factors caused the freight industry to struggle, a driver shortage was well-documented. But with demand expected to increase over the next year, carriers will need new talent.
Because of the increased demand for freight transport as well as the predictions of improved pricing, it is likely that newcomers to the eld will be able to nd worthwhile positions that simply weren’t there in the past.
“Truck driving remains the most popular occupation in about 60% of US states.”
Those who have had no luck nding jobs previously may see their luck turn around in the coming year.
If you’ve struggled to nd trucking jobs that caught your eye before, you may see a change soon. Though a large amount of great jobs popping up at once is unlikely, the slow and steady improvements predicted for trucking over the next decade are likely to be accompanied by job growth as well. This makes 2017 a great time to start your trucking job search.
“Please respect our property. Do Tnot write on any of the signs.”
ot write on any of the signs.” There it was. As big as I’m talking about something as day on the side of the temporary as writing in the dirt on truck were the words, “Be a irt, lift your skirt.” Sure, we truckers have seen this more times than Kim Kardashian’s butt has been photographed, but this was the rst time I had ever seen it as part of the actual paint job. As pathetically desperate as this guy is, I believe he has every right to express himself. But that’s not always the case.
The reason why it’s okay for this driver to express his belief in the Science of Pervertology is because this guy was an owner operator. But for those of us drivers who don’t own the equipment, it’s my belief that we have no right to express ourselves on company owned trucks.
And I’m not just talking about permanent expressions either.
I’m talking about something as day on the side of the temporary as writing in the dirt on the back of the trailer too. In my opinion, I’ve always considered this an act of vandalism.
Now before you go accusing me of just being a prude, I don’t think it matters if it reads, “Show your hooters” or “Jesus loves you.” The content doesn’t matter. As a God-fearing Christian, I’d love to do the latter. I just find it hard to believe that the disciples went around tagging that on the synagogue walls... let alone a bathroom stall. And that brings us to the more permanent kind.
Using a sharpie, or even worse a knife, to scribble your opinions on a bathroom stall isn’t appropriate either. You might be able to argue your case that writing in the dirt on the trailer door isn’t vandalism, there is no getting around the fact that doing on a bathroom wall is.
“If you want respect from your company, shippers/ receivers, and truck stops, quit disrespecting them...”
Again, it doesn’t matter what the content is. “Obama sucks” or “Bush sucks” are both inappropriate, as is yet another inspired “Here I sit...” poem. So are Bible verses. And or Pete’s sake, quit practicing your porno graphic novel skills while you’redoing your business. Kids use those stalls too, you know!
On the flipside, a gay owner of a trucking company would have every right to put rainbows stickers all over his/her trucks. Some people wouldn’t think that is cool, but others will think it’s fabulous. And it’s likely that those who think it’s fabulous will also think it’s fabulous that I used the word fabulous. They run the same risks as Covenant does.
But what if either of these companies wanted to put their opinion on your personal vehicle? Would that be okay? If you disagree with their statement, it certainly wouldn’t be acceptable. Even if you do agree, that still doesn’t give them the right to use your Toyota as an advertising billboard. Don’t touch my stuff, bro!
But this doesn’t just apply to controversial subjects. Would you be okay with your company putting one of their recruiting bumper stickers on your personal vehicle? I think not. So is all this starting to make sense yet?
Now I’m sure some of you are saying that your company doesn’t care what kind of stickers you put in the window or what you write on the back of the trailer, but I bet you’d be wrong about that. I don’t know though. Maybe Covenant Transport wouldn’t mind you drawing three enormous crosses in the dirt. But I’m pretty sure they’d frown on you if you went with the whole “Be a irt, lift your skirt thing.” But I’m betting if you were driving the Girls Gone Wild trailer, they probably wouldn’t mind.
It all comes down to this. If it’s not your property, don’t express yourself on it...anywhere... temporary or not. Period. If you want respect from your company, shippers/receivers, and truck stops, quit disrespecting them, dillmunch.
I was reading a billboard in a shipping of ce the other day while waiting for my paperwork. They had the normal signs providing drop/ hook info, live load procedures, yard maps, etc. Then there was one little sign right at the bottom that read, “Please respect our property. Do not write on any of the signs.” On that sign someone had inked in the words, “Okay. I won’t.” I didn’t laugh. I didn’t even grin. It wasn’t cute. And it certainly wasn’t clever.
What it was is a sign of what is wrong with truckers today. Drivers don’t have respect for anyone or anything. And that just seems odd to me for a group of people who are always whining about not getting respect.
So here’s what I propose. Just as the FMCSA now has a National Registry of Certi ed Medical Examiners, we should start a National Registry of Drivers Who Deface Other’s Property. Once the list is complete, the rest of us can divvy up the names, hunt you down, and begin scratching our personal beliefs into your car doors and scribbling our best genital drawings onto the mirror of your kids’ bathroom.
What? According to you that’s just a-okay. Right?
I’ve been truckin’ since 1997. Sometimes I love it and sometimes I hate it. Speaking of being fickle, my wife, affectionately known as The Evil Overlord, was my co-driver for 9 of those years... and yet somehow she managed not to smother me with a pillow. ;-) And it’s also imperative that you realize I take myself very, very seriously.
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Truckers maneuver large, heavy vehicles in close proximity to the motoring public. Because of this, they are used to operating in accordance with numerous regulations created speci cally for their industry. And while most drivers and carriers are in favor of a safer industry, 2016 has seen more than its share of regulations that didn’t sit well with everyone.
For starters, the upcoming ELD mandate continued to make headlines by creating big changes in the way drivers log miles and rest breaks. In addition to this, many carriers also faced pressure to reduce the amount of emissions created by their vehicles. Even new maximum speed limits for heavy vehicles was discussed, meaning 2016 was packed full of regulatory measures that greatly affect the ability truckers have to do their job.
“...after the results of the 2016 elections, it seems that legislation may be kinder to the trucking industry”
While some trucking groups are in favor of these mandates, others call them arbitrary. Some have even gone as far as to say that these measures are designed to impact smaller carriers in a negative fashion, in order to eliminate competition for the industry giants.
But after the results of the 2016 elections, it seems that legislation may be kinder to the trucking industry in the future. A Republican-controlled Congress may allow drivers and carriers more freedom to do their job without an overabundance of capricious legislation affecting them. While it is not likely that the regulations already in motion will be repealed, pending and future mandates may have more opposition. This could mean good things for the trucking industry, and could also make things much easier for smaller carriers.
Truckers have a vested interest in the results of US elections, as a pro-trucking or anti-trucking leader can greatly affect the freight industry. While many legislators claim to be in favor of helping trucking, not all of them address the important issues that play a big role in how easy a driver’s job is.
One of the main issues the new president-elect has announced intentions to address is the need for upgraded infrastructure. Better roads and bridges allow truckers to travel at faster speeds, have safer trips, and complete their routes with a smaller chance of damaging their rig.
“One of the main issues the new president- elect has announced intentions to address is the need for upgraded infrastructure.”
In the past, small upgrades to infrastructure in certain locations have bene ted drivers who deliver in those areas, but a nationwide focus on improving infrastructure has been something that has been put off for a while. A dedicated approach to improving infrastructure may prove to be exactly what the trucking industry needs, as the next decade is predicted to show a slow but steady increase in demand.
While it is not likely that all areas of the US will see major improvements to infrastructure, a solid effort at repairing current roads and bridges is a welcomed in the trucking industry.