Connect with us

The Nation

Keep those comments coming, folks — well, some of those comments, anyway

Published

on

They say ‘the clothes make the man,’ but we’re the ones picking out our wardrobes

For almost my entire adult life, and that’s a lot of living, I have been a consistent gym-goer. Staying fit, and studying how to stay fit, has always been an interest of mine. Very few of you have seen me in person, so let me assure you, I look like a classic Roman statue.

But before I digress, way back at the very first gym I ever joined, there was a trainer who told me, if you want to learn, say, how to build big shoulders, watch the guys who have big shoulders and see what they do.

It isn’t a foolproof strategy, but I’ve always followed the gist of what the trainer was saying. To this day, I pick up training methods I’ve never seen before just by keeping my eyes open at the gym. And then if I see someone with a move that’s intriguing enough, I’ll ask the person about it, and if I’m still intrigued I’ll give it a try. One thing most dedicated gym rats have in common, they love to share their knowledge. I’ve probably learned as much that way over the years as I have reading books and magazines.

Once I got old enough to understand what they mean by “nothing new under the sun,” I learned that I hadn’t invented anything innovative with this strategy. In fact, this is fairly common advice. You can’t be an expert in everything, so surround yourself with people who are, that’s the way I read it in one of those Dale Carnegie, “How to Be a Success at Everything” type books. But you don’t need to rely on experts.

Just like at the gym, wherever you are, you are surrounded by people who have at least a little knowledge about something that you don’t. And just like at the gym, most people like to be the smart one in a conversation, all they’re waiting for is the invitation to share their knowledge.

That’s one of the ways I’m so disappointed in the so-called Information Age. True, the internet has brought the potential to put the accumulated knowledge of mankind at our fingertips. But it’s also opened the door for the collected but unsolicited babblings of untold, anonymous idiots, cranks and just plain nut jobs.

This is especially true in that most insidious of inventions, “reader comments” at the end of news stories. Of course, the practice was invented to create a sense of “interactive reader engagement.” And in theory, the potential is there for the kind of constructive intellectual exchange I’m sure they used at the first pitch meeting when someone was trying to sell the idea of reader comments.

Instead, what do we usually get? Barely intelligible ramblings from people who either didn’t read the article or misunderstood every word of it. Other folks who want to fly in and unload on whatever personal agenda that has nothing to do with the story. And then there are the hardheads whose minds aren’t open to anything they don’t already believe.

And don’t forget the one inevitable idiot who writes “I’m only here for the comments,” like he’s expecting it can get a laugh for the millionth time.

But I have to say, compared to the world at large, the comments I see from truckers on our website and others tend to stay more on point and be far more insightful than the you on the internet at large. I was reminded of that recently after we ran a story about that young driver who lost control of his truck near Denver and caused a 28-vehicle pileup.

That story occurred late in the week, and I recall someone commenting early on how they’d love to get some follow-up on exactly what happened to cause such a horrific crash. I told myself that when I came back on Monday, I’d do that follow-up and report on what had been ascertained over the weekend.

The first place I stopped was our own website, where I found several of our readers had beaten me to it. They’d been following every report they could find, and in the reader comments they were sharing the information, along with their own insights based on experience. In minutes, they brought me up to date and then some. They gave me perspective I’d have never gotten from a news release.

Now, that’s what reader comments should be like.

I’m not saying we don’t occasionally get comments that go off the deep end. Even among rational commenters, I get a sense that if someone could harness the untapped anger that runs through this industry, we could abandon diesel, electric and hydrogen tomorrow and run America’s trucks on pure rage.

Still, I have found that the trucking community is similar to gym culture in that when you open the floor to discussion, there is a lot of insight to be had. I have found that online, and I have found it to be the case in person.

There are endless studies and analyses done about trucking, and I have access to some of the most brilliant minds to dedicate themselves to this profession. Their expertise is been invaluable, but it’s what I pick up from drivers that fills in the cracks the experts and company officials leave behind.

When you watch sports, who has the most interesting things to say, the play-by-play announcer who’s entire sports experience has been in the broadcast booth, or the color commentator who used to play the game? It’s the boots-on-the-ground people who will always have a kind of expertise that comes from living it instead of studying it.

Yeah, some of it is just a bunch of noise, but I’d rather filter through a few of those than some 50-page report analyzing why freight tonnage changed two-tenths of a percent.

So, in case you’re a commenter or have thought about being a commenter and you’ve wondered if anyone is paying attention, keep reading, and I’ll do the same.

Continue Reading
Advertisement Best Truck Driving Jobs at Truck Job Seekers - Ad
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Nation

House endorses adopting California AB5 provisions at federal level

Published

on

U.s. house of representatives passes pro act; endorses adopting california ab5 law at federal level
Owner-operators and carriers are weary of California's AB5 morphing into federal law. Introduced as the PRO Act, the proposed legislation will have far-reaching impacts on all sectors of the trucking industry.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation similar to California’s AB5 law in that it requires employers to prove that independent contractors used in conducting business should not be classified as employees. The controversial California law, as applied to the trucking industry, is currently under an injunction imposed by a U.S. District Court judge that prohibits its enforcement. California-based carriers, the California Trucking Association (CTA) and owner-operators doing business in the state, as well as trucking organizations on national and state levels, have all publicly opposed AB5. The Trucker previously reported that industry leaders feared a law like AB5 would spread beyond California’s borders. With Congress considering the “Protecting the Right to Organize” (PRO) Act (HR 2474), those fears appear credible.

As widely discussed in trucking-industry circles, AB5 places the burden upon employers when classifying workers as employees or independent contractors. If a worker’s circumstances do not pass all components of a three-prong test, the individual is deemed an employee, a classification impacting company operations and the individual’s ability to choose working status. For this reason, many owner-operators who entered the business for its self-employment opportunities oppose AB5.

The federal PRO legislation incorporates the same tests imposed under AB5 and applies them nationwide. CTA contends that AB5 is prohibited under federal law, an argument with which the judge ruling in favor of the request for an injunction was noted as appearing to agree. With the injunction in place, the PRO Act could be considered a case of amending federal law for the purpose of allowing a state law to be enforceable.

The language in the federal act as included in Section 2(a)(2) defines an employee under the same terms as discussed in AB5. As with the California law, the sticking point relates to the (B) prong of the test. Under the (B) prong, a company cannot hire an independent contractor to perform tasks, inherent to the company’s business, which other employees already perform. A carrier in the business of moving freight and employing individuals who move freight could not hire an independent contractor to perform similar tasks.

Should PRO receive U.S. Senate approval, something political pundits doubt is possible, it would be passed to President Donald Trump to either sign into law or veto. Of the two, a veto seems most likely, as the administration has stated PRO “appears to cut and paste the core provisions of California’s controversial AB5, which severely restricts self-employment. AB5 is actively threatening the existence of both the franchise business sector and the gig economy in California. It would be a serious mistake for Congress to impose this flawed job-killing policy on the entire country.”

Truckers nationwide should remain in tune with further action on PRO. It may impact many careers.

Continue Reading

The Nation

OKC police confirm security guard who shot truck driver at TA has died by suicide

Published

on

police lights stock photo
A security guard who discharged his weapon, shooting a truck driver during an altercation at an Oklahoma City TA Travel Center, has taken his own life.

OKLAHOMA CITY — A security guard who shot a truck driver earlier this month during an altercation with a truck driver in Oklahoma City has died by suicide.

Sgt. Brad Gilmore, assistant public-information officer with the Oklahoma City Police Department, confirmed that 45-year-old George Bischoff went to a local shooting range, Big Boys Guns, Ammo & Range, on Feb. 20 around 1:35 p.m. and took his own life with a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Bischoff had been questioned twice regarding an altercation that took place Feb. 14 around 4:30 a.m. in which he confronted a truck driver, 42-year-old Paul Sisk, at a TA Travel Center in Oklahoma City regarding a reserved parking space.

“Somewhere during that altercation, it became physical and the security guard fired one shot, hitting the truck driver,” Gilmore said. “The truck driver was transported to a local hospital, where he was treated and has since been released.”

Gilmore said the security guard was initially questioned following the incident but at that time, Gilmore said, police had not yet had a chance to talk to the truck driver.

“The security guard was brought back in and questioned again, and we were in the process of discussing the case with the district attorney’s office; and on our end, charges had not been filed,” Gilmore said.

Gilmore could not confirm whether the gun used at the range was rented or owned by Bischoff, but he said local news outlets have reported that the gun was rented.  Gilmore said the incident remains under investigation.

Continue Reading

The Nation

Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse identifies nearly 8,000 substance-abuse violations

Published

on

Fmcsa’s drug and alcohol clearinghouse identifies nearly 8,000 substance-abuse violations in first weeks of operation
FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse program is designed to improve road safety by identifying drivers who are barred from driving commercial vehicles due to drug violations. (iStock photo)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released data on Feb. 21 following the first weeks of operation of its Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. The information released showed the clearinghouse has detected and identified nearly 8,000 positive substance-abuse tests of commercial drivers since Jan. 6. The clearinghouse now has more than 650,000 registrants.

“We’ve seen encouraging results from the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, but there’s still work to do to ensure we identify more drivers who should not be behind the wheel. The clearinghouse is a positive step, and the Agency continues to work closely with industry, law enforcement, and our state partners to ensure its implementation is effective,” said Jim Mullen, FMCSA acting administrator.

The clearinghouse is aimed at improving road safety by providing FMCSA and employers with the necessary tools to identify drivers who have violated federal drug and alcohol testing program requirements and are prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle. The goal of the clearinghouse is to ensure that such drivers receive the required evaluation and treatment before they have the opportunity to resume driving.

Those required to register for the clearinghouse include:

  • Employers of commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders, or their designated service agents, and medical review officers who report drug and alcohol program violations that occurred on or after Jan. 6, 2020;
  • Employers or their designated service agents who conduct required queries that inform them whether prospective or current employees have drug and alcohol program violations in their clearinghouse records. Employers must purchase a query plan before conducting queries in the clearinghouse – query plans must be purchased from the FMCSA clearinghouse website only;
  • Drivers who respond to employer consent requests or would like to view their clearinghouse record when applying for a job; and
  • Substance abuse professionals who report on the completion of driver initial assessments and driver eligibility for return-to-duty testing for violations committed on or after Jan. 6, 2020.

There is no cost for registration. Commercial drivers are not required to immediately register for the clearinghouse but will need to register to respond to an employer’s request for consent prior to a pre-employment query or other full query being conducted. In addition, employers must be registered during the first year of implementation to ensure they are able to conduct the required annual query on all employed drivers.

Combatting drug abuse has been a top priority of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Trump Administration. President Trump has brought attention to the nation’s opioid crisis by declaring it a nationwide public health emergency and has implemented critical federal initiatives to help reduce opioid abuse.

For information about FMCSA’s clearinghouse program, including user brochures and instructional aids with step-by-step registration instructions, visit clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov.

Continue Reading

Trending