Trucker

MEGA-CARRIER SAFETY GROUP RENEWS CALL FOR ELDS, SPEED LIMITERS, AND MORE

Washington D.C. – The Alliance for Driver Safety & Security, commonly known as the Trucking Alliance, is once again urging U.S. Congressional leaders to take new action in order to “reduce large truck crash fatalities and injuries.”

The safety group, comprised of some of the trucking industry’s largest and most powerful carriers, submitted comments for the record today to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Sub-Committee on Highways and Transit at a hearing entitled “Under Pressure: The State of Trucking in America”

Pointing to the recent rise in the number of fatalities involving large truck crashes (4,761 people in 2017, including more than 600 truck drivers), Steve Williams, Chairman and CEO of Maverick USA in Little Rock, Arkansas, and president co-founder of the Trucking Alliance said the trucking industry simply “has too many accidents.”

“More truck drivers lost their lives in 2017 than in any year in the previous 10 years,” Williams lamented. “We must aggressively address these tragic figures.”

Williams believes the adoption of more “progressive safety reforms” will aid in reducing crashes.

“Support progressive safety reforms that make sense for our country and citizens first, our industry second, and our companies third,” Williams urged lawmakers.

Williams said the Trucking Alliance is determined “to fully eliminate all highway accident fatalities within 30 years.”

To accomplish this goal, Williams implored leaders to consider the following safety priorities.

1. “NO INDUSTRY SEGMENT SHOULD BE EXEMPT FROM INSTALLING ELECTRONIC LOGGING DEVICES (ELDS)”

The Trucking Alliance is asking lawmakers to reject recently introduced legislation that would provide relief from the ELD mandate to certain segments of the trucking industry (H.R. 1673 and H.R. 1698), as well as carriers with 10 trucks or fewer (H.R. 1697).

“ELDs should be required in all large commercial trucks, regardless of how many trucks are owned, the commodity being hauled, length of trip, or whether the truck driver operates in interstate or intrastate commerce,” the statement said.

Arguing these new legislative efforts would endanger public safety because “paper logbooks are easily falsified,” the group said thousands of truck drivers cannot be allowed “to operate ‘off the grid’ and without a reliable way to verify whether they are in compliance with on-duty regulations.”

2. “THOUSANDS OF COMMERCIAL TRUCK DRIVERS ARE ILLICIT DRUG USERS”

The safety group is once again arguing for the adoption of hair follicle testing to be required by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) in the pre-employment screening of commercial driver applicants.

“Drug use in the trucking industry is a public safety crisis,” the group said.

According to a recent survey conducted among its members, the safety group said of the more than 150,000 applicants tested by both urinalysis and a hair follicle analysis, the “urinalysis missed 9 out of 10 actual illicit drug users.”

The survey noted that “almost all” of the applicants currently held a CDL at the time of their testing.

The group estimates that more than 300,000 truck drivers should be “purged” from the industry due to drug use.

“These illicit drug users must be identified and taken out of commercial trucks and off the nation’s highways,” the group urged.

The Trucking Alliance said the industry has “no greater safety issue than to aggressively address illegal drug use among commercial truck drivers.”

3. “TRUCK DRIVERS SHOULD BE 21 YEARS OR OLDER TO OPERATE COMMERCIAL TRUCKS IN INTERSTATE COMMERCE”

The group is also imploring lawmakers to reject the new push to lower the interstate driving age for commercial truck drivers from 21 to 18.

Newly re-introduced legislation known as the DRIVE Safe Act is supported by industry groups like the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), while opposed by groups like the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA).

“The nation’s public highways should not be used as a proving ground to determine if teenagers can operate Class 8 tractor-trailer combinations safely,” the Trucking Alliance said.

Citing a lack of data on the issue, the group argued that operating a big rig cross-country requires “elevated skills, considerable experience, maturity and self-discipline.”

Not only would putting 18-year-olds behind-the-wheel of big rigs operating across the U.S. be a safety concern, the group argues it would also be a financial one for many carriers.

“The industry’s property and liability insurance rates, for incurring the additional risk of teenage truck drivers in interstate commerce, would assuredly go up,” the statement said.

4. “LARGE TRUCKS SHOULD ADHERE TO A REASONABLE MAXIMUM SPEED OF 65-MPH”

The Trucking Alliance wants big rigs governed at 65 mph.

The group points, in part, to an estimation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that setting a truck speed limiter at 65 mph, “could save as many as 214 lives and prevent approximately 4,500 injuries from large truck crashes each year.”

In the statement, the group contends, “Slowing the top speed of tractor trailers will greatly reduce the number of fatalities and the severity of injuries from large truck crashes.”

Obviously unhappy with the Trump Administration’s actions to thwart the mandating of speed limiters, the Trucking Alliance wants action now.

“Congress should support legislation that would direct the Secretary of Transportation to issue a final rule requiring truck speed limiting devices and for those commercial vehicles currently equipped with the technology to engage the devices,” the group said.

5. “COLLISION MITIGATION SYSTEMS SHOULD BE REQUIRED ON NEW COMMERCIAL TRUCKS”

The safety group argued that collision mitigation systems can and do help to prevent truck crashes.

Technologies such as lane departure warning systems, video-based onboard safety monitoring, automatic emergency braking systems, and air disc brakes should all be deployed, according to members of the Trucking Alliance.

The group said its member carriers are committed to continuing to test these technologies and more, but urged Congress to “require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to set a minimum performance standard and issue a final rule requiring that commercial motor vehicles are equipped with automatic emergency braking systems, as standard equipment.”

 

 

 

PILOT SUES SHUT-DOWN TRUCKING COMPANY OVER $800,000 IN UNPAID FUEL CHARGES

A recently shuttered trucking company is facing more bad news as truck stop giant Pilot has filed suit over hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid fuel charges.

On Tuesday, June 11, Pilot Travel Centers LLC filed a civil suit against the now closed Youngstown-based trucking company Falcon Transport LLC in the Mahoning County Common Pleas Court in Ohio, according to a report from the Youngstown Vindicator. Counterpoint Capital Partners, which bought Falcon in 2017, was also named in the lawsuit.

The suit claims that Pilot would invoice Falcon for fuel purchased by its drivers, but that when the company suddenly closed down on April 27, 2019, invoices from April 11 to April 25 were not paid. The invoices total $796,983, according to the lawsuit.

The suit seeks the unpaid fuel costs plus interest and litigation costs.

When Falcon closed unexpectedly, they informed their 585 truck drivers via email and text message to let them know that the company was closing down and that they must stop working immediately. More than 100 office and administrative workers were also laid off. At the time, many drivers reported being stranded out on the road with no way to get home.

Falcon later said that they didn’t inform their drivers about the mass layoff because doing so would have hurt their chances of obtaining further funding.

Arizona, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office

Preliminary info – Cornville Road collision today-

*** Please note that it was personnel from the Verde Valley Fire District that did the commendable job of removing the driver from his crushed vehicle. ***

 

Just before 9:30 AM today, deputies were dispatched to a collision on Cornville Road near mile marker 3 in an area known as the ‘switchbacks.’ The driver of a 1993 Cadillac sedan passed in a no passing zone driving west, going uphill in the switchbacks, and crossing the centerline of the roadway. A semi-tractor rig heading east could not avoid the oncoming vehicle and a head-on collision occurred.

 

 

The driver of the Cadillac was pinned behind the wheel and it took a fair amount of time for Verde Valley Fire personnel to extricate him from the car. Once removed, he was transported by ground ambulance to Verde Valley Medical Center for apparent non-life threatening injuries. Deputies noted the truck driver exited his vehicle after the collision and used a fire extinguisher to control potential flames involving the Cadillac.

 

Several witnesses provided accounts on the actions of the Cadillac driver and his illegal passing maneuver.

There was no indication of DUI on either party.

Cornville Road was closed until about 2 PM as a result of the investigation and road clean-up.

Justin Hubley’s Afternoon in Kentucky

So there was a big rig accident this afternoon in KY, and they were diverting us off the highway through this town. While sitting in traffic a man and his wife were on their porch. My window was down, we made eye contact and I flashed a smile and a wave. I moved up a bit and this gentleman (he was older maybe late 50s) comes walking up to my truck. He said thanks for waving where you from? I told him Texas and he hands me this soda. It’s called Ale 8 and he explains how they are made about 15 miles from there. Then he thanks me for being kind and says tell Texas was cool here in Kentucky too and walks off. Made my day! #startedwithawave