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

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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 The amendment was later withdrawn, and a bill to allow a three-hour pause for the 14-hour clock has seen no action.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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14 Comments

14 Comments

  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

CDL Meals forms partnership with American Association of Owner-Operators

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CDL Meals offers a variety of organic chef-prepared meals that help drivers make healthy eating choices while on the road. (Courtesy: CDL MEALS)

ANAHEIM, Calif. — CDL Meals, the division of Fresh n’ Lean focusing on healthful meal options for professional truck and bus drivers, has formed a partnership with the American Association of Owner Operators (AAOO).

CDL Meals offers a variety of organic chef-prepared meals that help drivers make healthy eating choices while on the road.

“We could not be more excited to launch our first healthy-eating alliance with AAOO,” said Bob Perry, director of CDL Meals. “We believe that people working in all industries deserve to live a healthy lifestyle and have access to the tools they need to ensure overall wellbeing, despite industry standards and limitations. CDL Meals has already made a positive impact on drivers and through this partnership, more operators can benefit from the quality meal plans.”

The American Association of Owner Operators is a nationwide organization dedicated to providing professional truckers and small fleet owners with the latest technology, benefits and assistance to advance in today’s trucking industry.

Perry said through the partnership, members of the AAOO will have access to CDL’s seasonal menus, free nationwide delivery and the promise of fresh, affordable meals on the road.

“We are so thankful the team at Fresh n’ Lean saw an opening to help improve the wellbeing of those in the trucking industry,” said David Huff, CEO of AAOO. “We are committed to helping drivers stay safe while out on the road so they can get back home to their family and friends. “Good nutrition is the most important part of staying healthy and staying healthy is a huge factor in staying safe. That’s why we are so excited to partner with CDL Meals and provide great tasting meals at an affordable price to our members.”

Perry said CDL Meals is a service formulated especially for commercially licensed drivers to deliver chef-prepared food items anywhere within the U.S. using organic ingredients to create balanced, wholesome meals. Each menu option consists of a combination of protein, healthy carbohydrates, and vegetables. All meals are delivered fresh and can be refrigerated for up to seven days. The vacuum-sealed trays can be heated quickly and enjoyed at any time.

Along with the meals, each purchase comes with a 14-page driver wellness education booklet that includes dietary tips, an exercise plan, and suggestions to improve overall health through simple lifestyle changes.

For more information on CDL Meals, visit www.cdlmeals.com.

For more information on AAOO, visit https://aaofoo.com

 

 

 

 

 

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The Nation

NHTSA: Overall traffic fatalities in 2018 decline 2.4%, 2019 drop likely

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NHTSA said the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled decreased by 3.4 percent (from 1.17 in 2017 to 1.13 in 2018), the lowest fatality rate since 2014. (Associated Press)

WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Tuesday released highway crash fatality data for 2018, showing a 2.4% decline in overall fatalities, the second consecutive year of reduced crash fatalities.

“This is encouraging news, but still far too many perished or were injured, and nearly all crashes are preventable, so much more work remains to be done to make America’s roads safer for everyone,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said.

The data, compiled by NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), shows that highway fatalities decreased in 2018 with 913 fewer fatalities, down to 36,560 people from 37,473 people in 2017. The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled also decreased by 3.4 percent (from 1.17 in 2017 to 1.13 in 2018), the lowest fatality rate since 2014.

The 2018 FARS release also clarifies previously released data on large trucks involved in fatal crashes. NHTSA reexamined supporting material and reclassified several light pickup trucks to an appropriate large truck category (10,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR). As a result, the 9% increase in large-truck-related fatalities reported for 2017 has been revised to 4.9%. For 2018, large-truck related fatalities increased by 0.9 percent. The details of the scope of the changes are documented in the 2018 fatal motor vehicle crashes overview research note.

No data was available on Class 8 tractor-trailer combinations.

Other findings from the 2018 FARS data include:

  • Fatalities among children (14 and younger) declined 10.3%
  • Alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities declined 3.6%
  • Speeding-related fatalities declined 5.7%
  • Motorcyclist fatalities declined 4.7 percent.

“New vehicles are safer than older ones and when crashes occur, more new vehicles are equipped with advanced technologies that prevent or reduce the severity of crashes,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator James Owens said. “NHTSA has spent recent years partnering with state and local governments and safety advocates to urge the public to never drive impaired or distracted, to avoid excessive speed, and to always buckle up.”

Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governor Highway Safety Association (GHSA) said the organization was pleased to see the 2018 decline and the estimated 3.4% dip thus far in 2019.

“A decline in 2019 would mark three straight years of fewer fatalities despite a strong economy, which typically correlates with increased traffic deaths,” he said. “However, the only acceptable level of deaths is zero, and we will not rest until that is achieved.”

Adkins said GHSA was glad to note progress in reducing alcohol-related, speeding-related and motorcyclist fatalities in 2018.

“The tremendous investments made today in highway safety have been beneficial, but clearly not commensurate with the need,” Adkins said. “GHSA is committed to working with our partners in the federal government, advocacy community and at the state and local level to accelerate the momentum toward zero deaths on our nation’s roadways.”

NHTSA said the projected 2019 decline translates to an estimated first-half 2019 fatality rate of 1.06, the lowest first-half level since 2015. The estimates for the second quarter of 2019 represent the seventh-consecutive year-over-year quarterly decline in fatalities, starting in the last quarter of 2017.

NHTSA is identifying opportunities to leverage its resources and collaborate with modal partners within USDOT to reduce fatalities among pedestrians and pedalcyclists (bicyclists and riders of two-wheel, nonmotorized vehicles, tricycles, and unicycles powered solely by pedals), among whom 2018 fatalities unfortunately increased by 3.4% (to 6,283) and 6.3% (to 857), respectively.

With the release of the 2018 and 2019 data, NHTSA also introduced its new Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool (FIRST), a modernized crash query tool that lets users not only query fatal crash data but also generate estimates of crashes and people injured in crashes. The upgraded functionalities in the new tool include generating multi-year trends, estimates of alcohol involvement, and charting/tabulation/mapping of query results. The tool, along with instructions on its usage, can be accessed here.

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The Nation

Truckers Christmas Group set to launch annual holiday fundraising campaign

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Since its inception, TGCO has raised more than $90,000 and helped 154 trucking families ease the financial burdens associated with the holiday season. (Courtesy: TRUCKERS CHRISTMAS GROUP)

PARK CITY, Kan. — The Truckers Christmas Group (TGCO), an organization that raises funds to help professional truck drivers and their families in the United States and Canada, has begun its 12th annual holiday fundraising campaign.

TCGO will begin advertising for this year’s campaign on November 18.  Nominations will open on the TGCO website beginning November 21 and will close on December 11.

Families will be notified by TGCO’s very own Santa Claus on December 16-17.

Created in 2008, TGCO supports CDL drivers and their families during the holiday season by raising funds requested through aid applications and nominations.

In 2018, the organization saw record numbers of applications and delivered $8,000 to 16 families during the Christmas season.

Since its inception, TGCO has raised more than $90,000 and helped 154 trucking families ease the financial burdens associated with the holiday season.

Several trucking companies went bankrupt in the first half of 2019 alone, leaving more than 3,000 drivers without jobs. TGCO is anticipating another record year of applications and seeks donations to help provide aid for families in need — not just from unemployment — but from illness and other catastrophic events that can make the holiday season more stressful year-after-year.

“We haven’t even opened the application process yet and already we’ve received recommendations for multiple families that would significantly benefit from TGCO’s efforts,” said Mark Abraham, president of TGCO. “This year has been incredibly difficult for the drivers in our community and the donation of goods and funds will help us make sure each and every driver in our trucking family can support their families during the holiday season.”

Along with monetary donations made on the TGCO website, donors can also purchase items donated to the TGCO online Christmas store opening November 21. Items sold in The TGCO Christmas Store are generously provided by businesses and individuals, and new items will be listed regularly, so donors are encouraged to visit TGCO’s website often, Abraham said.

Donors can also give their time by helping TGCO vet candidates, solicit nominations and raise awareness of the organization’s mission this season and in years to come. New volunteer recruitment begins November 1 on TGCO’s Facebook page in coordination with media partners.

To make a donation or to nominate a driver and his or her family, visit https://truckerschristmasgroup.org/. All nominations are anonymous and open to professional CDL drivers living in the United States and Canada.

Businesses and individuals who want to contribute to The Christmas Store should contact Mark Abraham at mark@truckerschristmasgroup.org. for additional information.

Donors can also visit TGCO on Facebook and Twitter

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