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Inside the Issue

Here is what you will find in this months edition!

Will the Autonomous Truck Change a Driver’s Role?

There was a time when the topic of driverless vehicles was only found in works of fiction.

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The Evolution of the Truck Stop

Trucking has changed both structurally and technologically over the years.

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Will Regulation Rollbacks Impact the Trucking Industry?

President Trump voiced his support of the trucking industry during his campaign ...

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Is Trucking Demand Slowly Starting to Increase?

It’s widely accepted that 2016 was a rough year for the trucking industry.

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3 Ways Truck Drivers Can Advance Their Careers

Trucking is the type of job that attracts people from all walks of life.

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Trucking Future Exchange Could Debut This Summer

The trucking driving industry is influenced by a number of different factors.

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Modest Gains Seen So Far from Variable Engine-Driven Accessories

NACFE Confidence Reports are painstakingly researched by truck industry technology leaders

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Lawmakers pushing for smoother transition process for veterans in trucking

Truck driving is the type of job which requires discipline, dedication, and focus.

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New tests being conducted with autonomous vehicles

Embark, a startup focused on technology in transportation, claims their self-driving solutions will help make driverless vehicles more common on US roadways.

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Kill some time with our Trucker themed crossword puzzle.

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Past Issues

January 2017
February 2017
March 2017

Will the Autonomous Truck Change a Driver’s Role?

eMedia Staff Writer

There was a time when the topic of driverless vehicles was only found in works of fiction. But self-driving technology is slowly but surely becoming common in the freight transportation industry. Thanks to technology involving sensors and radar, autonomous vehicles are already completing test runs.

Things got serious when it was announced that Uber purchased Otto last year. The ride-sharing giant’s decentralized model changed the way people think about public transportation and transportation in general. Once they acquired Otto, a startup known for its self-driving kits, the trucking industry began to take serious notice of the trend toward autonomy.

This wasn’t the only business merger that leaned toward driverless technology. Tesla’s acquisition of Solar City also turned heads in both the green community and the trucking industry. The big question concerning autonomy has always been the effect it would have on trucking jobs.

This boom in progress for the driverless truck industry was the product of 2016, which was a rough year for trucking. Though deemed to be an outlier by experts in the industry, last year set the stage for serious steps to be taken in making driverless trucks a regular occurrence on America’s roadways.

But while some carriers maintain that these companies will cost human drivers jobs, not everyone sees it that way. Embark, a startup focused on designing driverless vehicles for use on certain types of infrastructure, maintains that drivers would still be needed in this model. Drivers may have shorter routes, which would involve moving the trucks to and from the roadways they’re designed for.

With Uber, drivers would be in the truck during the full duration but only as a safety measure. While driverless trucks may change a driver’s role slightly in some cases, it is unlikely the technology will pose a serious threat to human labor any time soon.

The Evolution of the Truck Stop

eMedia Staff Writer

Trucking has changed both structurally and technologically over the years. While many of the things associated with trucking are constants, almost all aspects of the field have evolved. Truck stops are no exception to this rule, and their changes mirror the advancements the freight industry has seen through the years.

Truck drivers have a dangerous job, and this doesn’t just apply to the hazards they face on the roads. Trying to find safe areas for rest and food in unfamiliar areas can be very difficult. While truck stops are designed for exactly this purpose, they weren’t always the safest or most reputable of locations. And while truck stops today are not perfect, changes have been made throughout the years.

While truck stops were once thought of as targets, these locations are now designed to be safer and more secure. Likewise, many types of illegal activities which were once common at certain truck stops are now virtually non-existent at these kinds of locations.

It is easy to see how these changes have occurred, given the evolution of the freight industry as a whole. In addition to their largescale economic responsibilities, truck drivers now demonstrate an enormous amount of social responsibility by their adherence to regulations and guidelines designed to improve their industry.

Several apps now exist to help drivers find quality truck stops on the road. Not only can these be useful when planning routes, but they can be very valuable when plans change quickly. Since drivers who have visited truck stops can rate them in many of these apps, drivers are able to network effectively to help promote safe and reputable truck stops. These changes reflect the increased unity in the modern trucking industry.

Will Regulation Rollbacks Impact the Trucking Industry?

eMedia Staff Writer

President Trump voiced his support of the trucking industry during his campaign, and he was also more critical of over-regulation than previous administrations. Though the feedback from companies across the US remains mixed when it comes to his mission to roll back regulations deemed unnecessary, plans are already being put into action.

Trucking is one of the industries commonly cited when it comes to the dangers of excessive regulations. But an executive order aimed at making organizations eliminate or simplify unnecessary regulations may make it easier for companies to do business in the future.

The order affects all executive agencies, meaning the Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are not exempt. This may result in certain complications since trucking regulations are mandated congressionally, and it remains to be seen how many regulations will be simplified and how many will be completely eliminated.

The task force which will be handling the process of repealing regulations may be required to report periodically about the impacts of their decisions. This can in turn help provide information about which regulations are the most burdensome.

The trucking industry has been changed significantly by regulations over the years, and changes continue to occur in the present. Not only are drivers being forced to change the way they log miles, but heavier vehicles are being considered for more stringent limitations in terms of speed.

Many of these changes were widely opposed by smaller drivers and carriers, though it is unknown whether or not these recent mandates will be removed. In some cases, this may be exactly what the trucking industry needed to recover fully from a year where hiring numbers and demand were both unusually low.

Is Trucking Demand Slowly Starting to Increase?

eMedia Staff Writer

It’s widely accepted that 2016 was a rough year for the trucking industry. Numerous factors culminated to create a slump that experts are now calling an outlier. With negative trends bottoming out last December right after ATA officials predicted a gradual increase in demand over the next decade, many people have been monitoring trucking activity closely in 2017.

It seems that this prediction may be coming true. Certain areas across the US are already showing the need for more freight transport, and the demand for qualified truckers is increasing. Many things can influence how trucking companies perform in a given area – one of these is the amount of economic activity a location usually sees.

Busy areas, and especially areas which serve as central “hubs” for various locations, are likely to see an increase in trucking demand. One example is West Central Ohio, as Lima County and Allen County are located in a prime shipping destination. Located near large cities like Dayton and Toledo, this area gets a larger amount of business from all directions. Both U.S. 30 and Interstate 75 handle high volumes of traffic, making nearby destinations like this spot in Ohio more conducive to freight demand.

This type of activity may be the starting point for more widespread and consistent demand across the country. While some areas will always have a larger need than others, the fact that the market is now ready for more drivers is a good sign for truckers.

3 Ways Truck Drivers Can Advance Their Careers

eMedia Staff Writer

Trucking is the type of job that attracts people from all walks of life. The field has become more diverse over time, and truck driving remains the most popular occupation in a majority of US states. While some people do enter the industry only as a part-time venture, others are committed to making a stable, lifelong career in the freight industry. Here are three ways truck drivers can advance their careers.

The first step any trucker should take to advance their career is to put together an impressive resume. This involves taking many steps, including getting a quality trucking school education. Having a name like this on a resume can greatly increase a trucker’s chance of landing better jobs. Likewise, solid references also provide the reassurance hiring managers need when they’re considering new drivers. Sometimes temp positions are great for getting these kinds of references built up.

Another step drivers can take to advance their career is to earn endorsements on their CDL. Certain positions pay more because they are more complex than standard truck driving jobs. Examples include pulling multiple trailers or hauling hazardous waste. Not surprisingly, these positions require additional training. Completing these training requirements and earning endorsements can help a driver gain the specialization they need to get better-paying positions.

The final step a truck driver can take to advance their career is to look into the administrative side of things. While many people enjoy working in the freight industry, long hours on the road can wear on a person – especially as they get older. The logistical and managerial aspects of trucking are extremely important, and those who have experience working within the field (even as a driver) may be able to transition into aspect of the job smoothly.

Trucking Future Exchange Could Debut This Summer

eMedia Staff Writer

The trucking driving industry is influenced by a number of different factors. Given that things can change course so quickly in terms of the demand and costs in a given area or industry, those who make their living in freight transport have a vested interest in planning for the future.

Being able to make predictions based on accurate information allows carriers and drivers to adjust properly – even when the timeframe to do so is limited. The first ever Trucking Future Exchange, a system made for use by truckers, logistics professionals, administrators, and other industry experts, may be on its way sooner than expected.

DAT Solutions and TransVix have teamed up to offer a futures exchange which could affect the way the trucking industry responds to uncertainty and unclearness in market conditions. Similar to exchange or trade boards, the system may be ready to debut this summer.

There are still certain parts of the idea which are under consideration. Those who are putting together the system have not released all the details, but they have reported that carriers in the top 250 to 500 would have the necessary scale to use the system.

Modest Gains Seen So Far from Variable Engine-Driven Accessories

eMedia Staff Writer

The Technology and Maintenance Council and The North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) go together like peas and carrots, as a certain cinematic shrimp entrepreneur likes to say. So it's no surprise that NACFE operational leader Mike Roeth chose the TMC meeting here to release the organization's findings and a Confidence Report on the fuel efficiency of Variable Engine-Driven Accessories that many OEMs are evaluating today as possible fuel economy enhancement systems on future powertrains.

These technologies include waste heat recovery systems and high voltage electrical systems, which OEMs and component suppliers are currently evaluating and have been testing on various OEM SuperTruck incarnations.

NACFE Confidence Reports are painstakingly researched by truck industry technology leaders and examine existing or emerging technology to give North American fleets baseline information on how a technology works,and what kind of fuel economy benefit or ROI they can expect to see whne using it in real-world operations.

The Variable Engine-Driven Confidence Report is NACFE's second look at an emerging trucking technology, coming on the heels of its Two-Truck Platooning report last year.

Because the technology is so new, and very much in early stages of development, Roeth said initial findings were modest in terms of eventual deployment and the potential for fuel savings and ROI. But, he stressed, much work was being done to improve these systems and advised fleets to continue to review advances in this area of powertrain development as further advances possible.

The entire NACFE Variable Engine-Driven Accessory Confidence Report can be dowloaded here.

That said, the NAFCE's current report found the following on Variable Engine-Driven Accessories:

  • Fuel economy gains are modest
  • Fleets are concerned about complexity and reliability
  • Payback is currently insufficient for high levels of adoption
  • High voltage and waste heat recovery systems offer the best potential now for improved ROI

Additionally, Roeth said NACFE is recommending the following policies as development of Variable Engine-Driven Accessories continues:

  • Fleets should continue to review and study these systems
  • Manufacturers should continue to develop these systems
  • Fleets should monitor the improvements driven by Greenhouse Gas Regulations
  • High voltage systems will enable payback -- but accessories will not be the driver for higher voltage systems

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Lawmakers pushing for smoother transition process for veterans in trucking

By: eMedia Staff Writer

Truck driving is the type of job which requires discipline, dedication, and focus. This has made the freight industry a prime target for returning military veterans who are seeking work. Given that more veterans are looking to enter the field as the number of carriers hiring increases, lawmakers have urged companies to make this type of transition process easier.

Many military veterans who look to enter the trucking industry do so because they drove trucks during their service. This often involves driving in rough conditions, which is why some believe that additional training shouldn’t be required under these circumstances.

In some cases, this seems reasonable. Being able to bypass these types of state and federal training requirements would help returning veterans transition into paying jobs quicker and with greater ease.

However, not everyone is in favor of this move. Some maintain that the roadways, infrastructure, and traffic conditions military veterans have driven in aren’t the same as the ones they’ll be asked to drive on for work. Since these kinds of differences could be hard to adjust to on the fly, some administrators are still on the fence when it comes to waiving traditional licensing requirements.

New tests being conducted with autonomous vehicles

by: eMedia Staff Writer

Embark, a startup focused on technology in transportation, claims their self-driving solutions will help make driverless vehicles more common on US roadways. The CEO has already spoken at length concerning the impact these types of vehicles could have. The purported benefits of this move include things like reduced emissions and fewer accidents.

The company is currently conducting tests on a Peterbilt truck. The tests, which were approved by regulators in Nevada, involve using Embark’s self-driving system to gauge a vehicle’s performance and handling when carrying larger loads. Otto tests in California, but the Uber-owned self-driving startup is allowed to exceed the 10,000-pound weight-limit for driverless vehicles because in the case of Otto, a driver is still onboard.

One of the main questions about driverless technology is the type of impact they may have on the truck driving job-market. While many believe that this would be an automatic job-killer, administrators at Embark don’t necessarily see it this way.

One of the main ways the company envisions driverless trucks operating is via a system of infrastructure designed for them. The truck would be driven to this area, where it would self-drive to the end of this area. Once it reached that destination, a driver would complete the trip. This could result in more short trips for drivers and help them avoid the longer routes which can lead to fatigue and accidents.

The self-driving systems the company uses depends on radar, sensors, and even a laser-based form of radar. While Otto’s vision differs from Embark’s in that the former wants to have drivers onboard for long trips, it is clear truck drivers will still be needed regardless of how this technology develops.