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30 members of U.S. Senate send letter asking for HOS improvements



WASHINGTON — Thirty members of the U.S. Senate have sent a letter to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Administrator Ray Martinez asking the agency to “explore improvements” in the Hours of Service regulations that would ensure drivers across differing businesses and operations can safely and efficiently comply with such requirements.

The letter was sent on the letterhead of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, although several signees are not on that committee.

The first signature was that of Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., who is chairman of the committee.

The letter was signed by both Republicans and Democrats although the committee’s ranking member, Bill Nelson of Florida, did not sign.

The senators told Martinez that it had become more apparent that HOS rules do not provide the appropriate level of flexibility for the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles, and that because the trucking industry provides for over 3 million jobs in the U.S., and because the industry is the “backbone” of the country’s economy, it is important that HOS regulations provide for a commonsense framework for drivers, rather than a one-size-fits-all model.

“We suggest FMCSA examine a wide range of options to address HOS issues and ensure safety, including, but not limited to, providing certain allowances for unique businesses or driver operations, elimination of unnecessary requirements or improved utilization of non-driving time,” the lawmakers wrote.

The letter comes in the heels of the implementation of the electronic logging device mandate as the industry is calling for flexibility in such areas and sleeper berth rules and the ability to stop the 14-hour clock.

A bill introduced in the House in March permit drivers to pause the 14-hour on-duty clock for up to three hours a day, although the House has not acted on the proposal.

Also introduced in the House in April was an amendment to a larger bill that would allow FMCSA to more quickly enact HOS reforms by skipping a step in the rulemaking process. The amendment was later withdrawn, and a bill to allow a three-hour pause for the 14-hour clock has seen no action.

FMSCA is also preparing to conduct a study on sleeper berth flexibility once it gets the go-ahead from the Office of the Secretary of Transportation.

Current rules require eight consecutive hours in the sleeper berth during a 24-hour period.

Many drivers say they would prefer to break up the eight hours into shorter increments.



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  1. Robert lewandowski

    May 25, 2018 at 2:33 am

    I’m sorry too say but politicians don’t have a clue about truck driving, how about this hire some retired truck drivers too put together a system that works for industry and safety i have 40 years experience with 4 million miles call me i can make this work in a way that’s best for everyone

  2. Anthony Falcone

    May 25, 2018 at 4:14 am

    Is stoppage of a clock would do wonders to make delivering and picking up easier It would also give us time to stop l the day and take a break but not worrying clock running Out

    Thank you Anthony Falcone

    • Todd Brown

      May 27, 2018 at 6:09 am

      I agree with Robert Lewandowski, His statement makes sense. Almost 30 years in the trucking industry we need common sense rules. Every true trucker wants to be safe. I don’t know anybody that wants to jeopardize their career for not being safe.

  3. Angelo smith

    May 25, 2018 at 6:43 am

    Yes go back to the old clock 8 hour’s sleeper berth. Drive for 10.a pause in the clock would only make longer days and hour’s. Fatigue drivers.

  4. Daren Gentry

    May 25, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    It would be nice to not run out of hours before getting to the truckstop around dinnertime. Some of us do not sleep more than eight hours at night. Some do. Let us take our 34 hr break at home, not on the road.

  5. Shana L King

    May 26, 2018 at 1:01 am

    1. Get rid of the 30 min. break for OTR drivers. We stop enough throughout the day! This rule should apply to local drivers only!
    2. Get rid of the 14 hour rule altogether and instead provide a set of options to choose from such as “8 on 2 off 6 on 8 off” etc…
    3. Quit trying to regulate every little thing we do! Off duty is just that! OFF DUTY! The truck is not moving! It shouldn’t matter if we are eating, sleeping, or dancing! We are OFF DUTY!!!
    ON DUTY should include ALL on duty activities including driving!!!
    4. All shippers and receivers should be FCFS (no appointments). This would eliminate the need for drivers to feel rushed. Most companies do not have available parking for drivers to take their 10 hour break. Most companies don’t want us there until our appointment time and make us leave as soon as we are loaded!

    When it comes right down to it, the only HOS rule we should have is 14 on and 10 off every 24 hours! Let the drivers decide when we need to sleep and when we need to drive!!!
    There is not nearly enough safe parking for us and we lose driving time just to find parking!
    God forbid that I run out of drive time 10 miles from a truck stop! Forcing me to stop at the next nearest safe place which could be a hundred miles or more! Causing me to lose almost two hours of driving!

    There is nothing consistent about what we do! All loads are not created equal! How we drive and sleep is dictated by the load we are currently under!!!

    I could say a lot more but my finger is getting tired!

  6. Fred Samuelson

    May 26, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    I have 36 years driving, 5 million miles. The biggest problem has always been the shipper,and the consignee. They give you an appointment time that they NEVER keep. That makes following the DOT rules nearly impossible. All of the changes that have been made in an effort to be SAFER really have just the opposite effect.

  7. Craig Matte

    May 26, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    As above, eliminate the manditory 30 minute break. It makes no sense. First, you break a driver’s rhythm so that, once his break is over, now he is tired. He has lost his running edge. Second, you put the driver further away from his sleep period which induces even more fatigue. It is irrational and incompetent rule making.
    Give the driver 14 driving hours and if he stops for more than 2 hours, the HOS stop as well. His work day should not be eaten up by his taking a nap (smart) to assure that he is awake and alert. That would enhance driver safety, not detract from it. Keep in mind the young driver with a wife and 2 children who needs to maximize his income so he is tempted to keep on driving and perhaps do harm to himself and/or others when, in fact, he should lay down for awhile. But he can’t because he can’t afford to. Rules need to be rational, not arbitrary the way they are currently. The current rules do NOT encourage safe operation. Quite the contrary.

  8. Jeffrey R. Smith

    May 28, 2018 at 7:34 am

    When you are sitting at the shipper or receiver waiting for them to load or unload you it shouldn’t count on your HOS. How about letting us catch a snooze and not count it against us while we wait up to several hours for them to get to us.

  9. That is probably the reason they want to pause the clock. Then they can say the driver doesn’t need to be paid for loading/unloading.

  10. Richard Davis

    May 31, 2018 at 10:05 am

    The 70 hour rule needs to be done away with. Drivers are doing this job and being away from home to make money. They don’t need to be setting in a truckstop for 34 hrs. catching up on their hrs. 10 hrs. a day is enough rest for most.

  11. Bob Fredrickson

    May 31, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    I agree with Richard Davis. I’ve thought for a long time that there is no reason to keep track of on-duty and sleeper berth. It should be just either driving or OFF. If you have had a 10 hr break, you should be able to drive for 10 hours. The 70 hour rule makes no sense.

  12. William

    May 31, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    This is what we have when nobody wants to stand together and strike. I’ve heard company drivers and owner operators both say “I can’t afford to shut down for 3 days or let alone a week, but you can let the government control when you drive and when you get home.” Maybe one day everyone in this industry will stand up for our rights without being afraid of the government.

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The Nation

Former NASCAR driver and Talladega’s iconic trucker John Ray dies at 82



Former nascar driver and talladega superspeedway’s iconic trucker john ray dies at 82
John Ray whose diesel big rig sporting the giant American flag became iconic during the track’s national anthem performances, has died. (Courtesy: Talladega Superspeedway)

TALLADEGA, Ala. —John Ray, whose big rig sporting a giant American flag became iconic during Talladega Superspeedway’s national anthem performances, has died, according to a news release. The former NASCAR driver was 82 years old.

Since 2001, Ray had driven his gold, brown and chrome Peterbilt with a large American flag down the Talladega frontstretch prior to the start of races.

“National anthems at Talladega Superspeedway are the most iconic, and it’s because of our great friend John Ray,” said Speedway President Brian Crichton. “What he brought to our fans can’t be duplicated. He was an incredible, passionate man who supported the track and all of motorsports with everything he had. His spirit will live here forever. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ray family.”

For more than 40 years, Ray was a member of the White Flag Club, a dedicated service group of local businessmen from surrounding communities that assist during race weekends.

In 2001, after the 9/11 terror attacks and the tragic passing of his longtime friend Dale Earnhardt Sr., Ray, along with then Talladega Superspeedway Track Chairman Grant Lynch, looked to boost the morale of a country, and a fan base that had gone through tough times.

“I had a crazy idea to run my rig out on the track with an American flag attached to the back,” said Ray, who lived down the street from the track in Eastaboga, three years ago. “It started off as a tribute to the country and to Dale.

“I never thought it would become the heart-felt moment that it has over the past some-odd years, but I’m glad it has become a tradition that means so much to the fans and the Talladega family. It represents such a sense of pride that we all share together as a nation and as a community. It is my honor and privilege to do it,” added Ray, who eventually gave up the driving duties of his big rig and handed them off to his late friend Roger Haynes, and last year to his son Johnny.

That wasn’t Ray’s first time at the 2.66-mile track. Ray, who owned “John Ray Trucking Company” since the early 70s, actually set the world speed record for a semi-truck and trailer around the mammoth track at 92.083 mph in 1975 — in a powerful Kenworth.

“We were testing brakes for a company out at the track,” Ray said. “One thing led to another — and there I was truck, trailer, and all — making my way around the track, trying to set a speed record. It was something else.”

Ray drove in the NASCAR Cup Series from 1974-1976. He competed in eight races, four at Talladega (where his best career finish was 22nd in 1974), but an accident at Daytona in 1976 ended his driving career. He continued as a car owner and essentially gave one of the sport’s greatest legends one of his first opportunities: 10-time Talladega winner Earnhardt. It would be Earnhardt’s third career start.

To read the full release, visit Talladega Superspeedway’s website.

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The Nation

Dependable and daring truckers recognized for driving excellence by National Carriers



Dependable and daring truckers recognized for driving excellence by national carriers
Reggie Ely, left, and Ernie Garcia have been chosen by National Carriers Inc. as Drivers of the Month for November and December. (Courtesy: National Carriers)

IRVING, Texas — One is steady as a rock. The other’s a risk-taker, but both are Drivers of the Month for National Carriers, Inc.

The company named Ernie Garcia and Reggie Ely as the award winners for November and December respectively. Each receives a $1,000 bonus and a chance to win a $10,000 Driver of the Year prize at NCI’s annual banquet in Arlington, Texas.

Garcia, hails from Lytle, Texas, and has been trucking for 40 years, the last nine of which have been with NCI. He focuses on delivering freight throughout the Southwest.

“I’ve worked with Ernie for four years, and he always keeps a pleasant attitude toward life and work,” said his driver manager, Barbara Armstrong. “He’s committed to knowing his lanes and providing on-time service to every customer.”

While Garcia keeps steady, his fellow winner, Ely, says, “Give me a challenge!” Joining the Elite Fleet in 2018, he quickly established himself as a can-do driver.

“Reggie does whatever I need him to do. He drives safe, but never shies away from a demanding delivery,” said Mike Holloway, his driver manager. “He even loves running deliveries to New York City!”

“I try to do things that challenge me and make me feel like I’ve accomplished something,” said Ely. “I wanted to be a trucker who would deliver anywhere. I was scared the first couple of times I went into New York, but it got easier and easier. I just had to face my fears.”

Of course, any driver taking on a challenge needs a great team backing him. “I think a driver is only as good as his driver manager,” said Ely. “At my last job, I went through many dispatchers. My driver manager, Mike, knows his job and has been my only dispatcher at NCI, and I’m grateful for him.

“What makes me a successful driver?  Good equipment, good freight, and a team effort. I had no idea I could be treated this great by a trucking company,” concluded Ely.

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The Nation

‘Disruptive’ major freeway project planned to begin in spring 2021 in central Phoenix



‘disruptive’ major freeway project planned for spring 2021 in central pheonix
Interstate 10 is a travel artery corridor for commuters, shipping freight and access to Sky Harbor Airport and will undergo a major reconstruction, with most of the work on the 11-mile corridor estimated to begin in the spring 2021 and end in the of summer 2024.

PHOENIX — Transportation planners are spreading the word that the start of a multiyear project to rebuild a critical freeway corridor in the heart of the metro area is only about a year off.

The project includes adding traffic lanes and building new bridges on parts of an 11-mile stretch of Interstate 10. That stretch extends northward from the junction with the State Route 202 freeway in Chandler to where I-10 meets Interstate 17 in central Phoenix near Sky Harbor International Airport.

“This is going to be the most disruptive project we’ve had in this region from a transportation perspective,” warned Eric Anderson, executive director of Maricopa Association of Governments.

Construction work for the project is expected to begin in spring 2021 and take about four years to complete, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Primary funding for the $700 million project comes from a half-cent sales tax approved by Maricopa County voters in 2004, ADOT spokesman Tom Herrmann said Friday.

Herrmann said department officials anticipate completing the final environmental assessment and receiving a favorable finding of “no significant impact” within the next 60 days.

The heavily traveled stretch is often jammed mornings and late afternoons with commuters and long-distance travelers, though the recently opened South Mountain Freeway ringing part of metro Phoenix is expected to divert some traffic either heading across the metro area or just passing Phoenix and its sprawling suburbs.

Anderson told Phoenix City Council members recently that the project could save up to 2 million hours of travel time a year, KJZZ-FM reported.

Much of the reconstruction will center around a segment where five bridges will be built in the vicinity of State Route 143, a short north-south freeway. Its alignment east of Sky Harbor.

In the the northern part of the project area, a collector-distribution road system will be built to reduce the number of lane changes on the main portion of I-10 and improve traffic flow, the Arizona Department of Transportation says.

Other work includes expanding interchanges with SR 143 and U.S. 60, another freeway that connects with I-10.

John Bullen, MAG’s transportation program manager, said a dynamic traffic simulation model is being developed to help plan the construction work.

“So based on the real world inputs, we’ll be able to develop ‘what if’ scenarios to understand how construction might impact traffic and what tools really we have at our disposal to be able to mitigate some of those impacts, to make things smoother,” Bullen said.

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