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 The amendment was later withdrawn, and a bill to allow a three-hour pause for the 14-hour clock has seen no action.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

Drivewyze adds new mountain corridor safety notification service

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With the mountain alerts, Drivewyze subscribers will have their drivers receive in-cab alerts of upcoming safe locations to pull over for brake check inspections, and see prompts to gear low while showing suggested maximum speeds down steep grades. (Courtesy: DRIVEWYZE)

GOLDEN, Colo. — Drivewyze has added to its Drivewyze Safety Notifications service with the launching of mountain corridor safety alerts.

The new service, free to current Drivewyze customers, was released in conjunction with a Colorado Department of Transportation’s news conference that launched its “The Mountain Rules” truck safety campaign.

The conference was held Tuesday near the Mount Vernon Canyon runaway truck ramp, near Golden.

“It’s no secret that our mountains create immense challenges for semi-truck drivers,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew.  “The Mountain Rules has a simple mission – to get everyone home safely and this campaign, which supports CDOT’s Whole Safety – Whole System initiative, is a major step towards achieving that goal.”

“I want to dispel any misconceptions, myths or rumors about truck ramps for all commercial carriers who travel our mountain corridors,” said Col. Matthew Packard of the Colorado State Patrol. “Commercial carriers will not be cited by law enforcement for using truck ramps. Should your brakes fail, please save lives and use the ramps.”

With the alerts, Drivewyze subscribers will have their drivers receive in-cab alerts of upcoming safe locations to pull over for brake check inspections and see prompts to gear low while showing suggested maximum speeds down steep grades. It will also alert drivers of upcoming runaway ramps. Colorado is Drivewyze’s first state in the new alert program. Seven Colorado mountain passes are part of the Drivewyze Safety Notifications package, with 22 more states to follow by the end of August.

According to Brian Mofford, vice president of government experience at Drivewyze, Colorado’s I-70 west, which goes from Vail Pass from the west, through Eisenhower Tunnel (elevation 11,158) to Mt. Vernon Canyon to the east, represents 60 miles of difficult driving.

“It’s a challenge for truck drivers, with steep grades and heavy traffic, especially for those new to mountain driving,” Mofford said. “Drivers have to be in tune with their surroundings, check their brakes and be prepared for constant downshifting and speed control. Brakes can get hot and fail for those who are not ready. It’s why we also have notifications for runaway ramps as a last resort safeguard for a safe stop. Our alerts will help keep preparations top of mind to help keep truck drivers and the motoring public safer.”

I-70 is known as having one of the country’s most difficult passes for truck drivers. A runaway truck in April slammed into stopped traffic near Lakewood, killing four people. Other tragedies have been averted thanks to truck drivers using the corridor’s five runaway truck ramps along the route. The Lower Straight Creek runaway truck ramp along westbound I-70 at milepost 211.83 is the most used truck ramp in the United States, being used once a week on average during the summer months.

“The goal is to not have to use the ramps at all, by having drivers better prepared,” Mofford said. “Our alerts will keep safety front and center and prompt drivers to check their brakes, allowing them to cool down, and remind them to downshift to a lower gear.”

In addition to I-70, Drivewyze is providing alerts for Rabbit Ears Pass, Loveland Pass, Monarch Pass, Slickrock Pass, Wolf Creek Pass and Coal Bank Pass.

The mountain corridor alerts join two other Drivewyze Safety Notifications that were introduced last month. Rollover alerts, on targeted exit ramps and curves, are geofenced at 500 locations in 32 states, while l,500 low-bridge warnings are given to drivers approaching bridges in the United States, with 300 more just added on Canadian roadways.

Both the Drivewyze PreClear weigh station bypass application, and the Drivewyze Safety Notifications service, are available to carriers on supported ELDs and other in-cab devices, through the Drivewyze partner network. Subscribers interested in deploying the Drivewyze safety notifications service should contact their ELD or in-cab device provider, or their Drivewyze customer success manager.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Nation

CDL Meals offering special promotion for driver appreciation week

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CDL Meals are chef developed using wholesome, organic ingredients and offer a flavorful balanced meal that includes protein, carbs, and vegetables. (Courtesy: CDL MEALS)

ANAHEIM, Calif. — CDL Meals, the division of Fresh n’ Lean that focuses on nutritious offerings for truck drivers, is offering a special promotion to help transportation companies celebrate National Driver Appreciation Week.

For National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (NTDAW), fleet operators can purchase discounted meals and receive free Hot Logic heating bags.

There is a minimum purchase of 50 meals required to receive the free bag. Purchases of 100 meals receive two free bags.

Companies can also purchase gift cards for drivers to buy meals at their convenience. Orders are being taken through August 30.

The annual NTDAW, taking place this year September 8-14 commemorates and honors all professional drivers for their hard work and commitment to one of the country’s most demanding jobs.

“We are proud to support drivers across the country with delicious food that encourages better health,” said Bob Perry, director of CDL Meals. “This special promotion gives fleets a chance to support their drivers with something that’s good for them, too.”

The nature of truck driving can also lend itself to a less than healthy lifestyle, which is why CDL Meals focuses solely on this underserved profession.

CDL Meals are chef developed using wholesome, organic ingredients and offer a flavorful balanced meal that includes protein, carbs, and vegetables. The meals are delivered fresh and can be refrigerated for up to seven days. The vacuum sealed trays can be heated quickly and enjoyed any time. Along with the meals, CDL provides a driver wellness education booklet with tips and suggestions to improve your health with easy lifestyle changes. Meals are $10 each for purchases up to 100 meals, with cost savings when purchasing more than 150 meals.

CDL Meals was launched earlier this year and was a beneficial part of the healthful transformation for Danny Jewell, 2018 Owner/Operator of the Year, who lost more than 25 pounds with the meal plan and coaching from Bob Perry, the Trucker Trainer.

With more than 50 years on the road and 6 million miles without an incident, Jewell was recognized for his professionalism and commitment to the industry.

 

 

 

 

 

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Safety council says motor vehicle deaths in 2019 projected to go below 40,000

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The estimate for 2019 caps a three-year period in which roadway deaths topped 40,000 each year for the first time since the mid-2000s. (©2019 FOTOSEARCH)

ITASCA, Ill. — Preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council indicate the four-year upward trend in motor vehicle deaths that began in 2015 is ebbing with the number of fatalities in the first six months of 2019 dropping 3 percent compared to the same six-month period in 2018.

An estimated 18,580 people died on U.S. roadways between January and June of this year, compared to the council’s revised estimate of 19,060 during the same period last year. An additional 2.1 million people are estimated to have sustained serious crash-related injuries during the first six months of 2018 – a 1 percent drop from 2018 six-month projections.

The estimate caps a three-year period in which roadway deaths topped 40,000 each year for the first time since the mid-2000s.

A total of 118,315 people died on the roadways between 2015 and 2017, and an estimated 40,000 additional people perished last year.

However, drivers still face the same fatality risk this year as they did when fatalities were eclipsing 40,000 annually, because the estimated annual rate of deaths per miles driven has remained stable – NSC estimates 1.2 deaths per every million vehicle miles traveled, unchanged from 2018 rates.

“While the numbers indicate a slight improvement, the rate of deaths remains stagnant, and 18,580 deaths so far this year is unacceptable,” said Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “We cannot accept death as the price of mobility. We urge all drivers to slow down, buckle up, pay attention and drive defensively.”

The council’s early estimates indicate significant progress in some states. In the first half of this year, several states have experienced at least a 10% percent drop in motor vehicle deaths, including Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma and Utah. A sample of states with increases through the first six months include Kentucky (6%), Hawaii (20%), Oregon (6%) and New Mexico (15%).

A complete list of state results is available here.

To help ensure safer roads, NSC urges motorists to:

  • Practice defensive driving. Buckle up, designate a sober driver or arrange alternative transportation, get plenty of sleep to avoid fatigue, and drive attentively, avoiding distractions. Visit nsc.org for defensive driving tips.
  • Recognize the dangers of drugged driving, including impairment from cannabis and opioids. Visit StopEverydayKillers.org to understand the impact of the nation’s opioid crisis.
  • Stay engaged in teens’ driving habits. Visit DriveitHOME.org for resources.
  • Learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them. Visit MyCarDoesWhat.org for information.
  • Fix recalls immediately. Visit ChecktoProtect.org to ensure your vehicle does not have an open recall.
  • Ask lawmakers and state leaders to protect travelers on state roadways. The NSC State of Safety report shows which states have the strongest and weakest traffic safety laws.
  • Get involved in the Road to Zero Coalition, a group of more than 900 organizations across the country focused on eliminating roadway deaths by 2050. Visit nsc.org/roadtozero to join.

The National Safety Council has tracked fatality trends and issued estimates for nearly 100 years. All estimates are subject to slight increases and decreases as the data mature. NSC collects fatality data every month from all 50 states and the District of Columbia and uses data from the National Center for Health Statistics, so that deaths occurring within one year of the crash and on both public and private roadways – such as parking lots and driveways – are included in the estimates.

Supplemental estimate information can be found here.

The NSC defines “serious” injuries as those requiring medical attention.

The National Safety Council uses data from the National Center for Health Statistics – an arm of the CDC – when calculating its estimates, because these data are the most comprehensive and inclusive numbers available.

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