Ask The Trucker

Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry


On and off the Road Again

Dec
14,
2018
0

A popular phrase of the 1970s was “Keep on Trucking.” Like many catchphrases, this one did not account for all the exceptions to the rule.

While large semis traveling down America’s highways are a vivid symbol of robust commerce and free markets, those freight-bearing eighteen-wheelers are also found stranded at shipping/receiving docks, on roadsides or at truck stops. Through no fault of the drivers, they are delayed by industrial misjudgments, poor vehicular maintenance, and inclement weather. Given all the factors that can slow shipments down, the fact that so many arrive at their destinations on time and intact is nearly miraculous.

When the Truck Arrives, But the Order Is Not Ready
The financial website Investopedia defines a bottleneck as follows: “A bottleneck is a point of congestion in a production system (such as an assembly line or a computer network) that occurs when workloads arrive too quickly for the production process to handle.”

When manufacturers or distributors suffer factory bottlenecks in their operating systems, order fulfillment is postponed until the glitch is identified and remedied. Unless they decide to invest in state-of-the-art CMMS like Leading2Lean , such hold ups are likely to occur again and again, causing chronic delays. The minutes and hours tick by as the truck drivers await their loads. In an era where more truckers are in demand, those on the road can ill afford to be detained by production malfunctions, especially if these delays are common.

When the Trailer Is Full But the Tractor is Failing

Unless the driver is an owner-operator, others must be trusted to maintain the conveyance in good working order. Fleet managers expend millions of dollars annually to repair hobbled vehicles. The many afflictions suffered by highway freighters include:

  • Dead batteries
  • Under-inflated tires
  • Worn-out breaks
  • Electrical malfunctions

As is evident, these disabling occurrences are preventable. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation requires annual passage on each maintenance component of the commercial vehicle.  Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance for Motor Carriers of Passengers – Part 396

Drivers are also advised to keep a copy of this Safety Audit Resource Guide checklist

When Everything Is Working But Nature Intervenes

Trucking delays, unfortunately, are not always avoided even in the best of circumstances. Weather does not consult shipping schedules or manifests. In fact, bad weather  will interrupt shipments with dangerous winds, power failures, poor visibility, and icy or unpassable roads. Depending on the swiftness of public safety responses, freight can remain at a distance from its intended destination for days. For instance, in the wake of the 2017 hurricanes Irma and Harvey, truck routes were re-routed while fuel prices rose. Flooding was one major cause for the revisions.

In addition, shipments have been halted because of downed power lines, mudslides and black ice. Safety should always take priority over timeliness. Reliable weather forecasting and good judgment by traffic managers should minimize truck drivers’ exposure to crippling weather patterns.

Other indeterminate causes can slow down a delivery independent of the driver’s skill and integrity. Miscommunication between shipper and receiver; serious traffic accidents; and unexpected roadblocks can each postpone arrival times for truck deliveries.

Drivers do well to master the variables they can control. However, at the end of the day, other determinants out of their sphere of influence always threaten to interfere with the route. Always be prepared.

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Must-Have Smartphone Apps for Truckers

Dec
14,
2018
1

Whether we like it or not, smartphones and even tablet computers have become essential parts of the road life for truckers. These mobile devices are a great way to keep up with friends and family, stay abreast of regulation laws, monitor inclement weather, and be alerted to traffic jams up ahead. With this in mind, it might be worth it to look at iPhone cases by BodyGuardz before heading back out on the road. That way you’re less likely to find yourself missing out on the benefits of mobile tech in the middle of your over-the-road route.

Here are some of the best smartphone apps for truckers that will improve their quality
of life on the road by providing them with access to information:

NOAA Radar

NOAA Radar is the ultimate weather app for truckers. This is better than
your smartphone’s built-in weather app as it tracks weather and provides
real-time radar and future weather patterns. The weather data is pulled
from the U.S. government’s weather monitoring systems.

It’s one of the most accurate and up-to-date weather apps you’ll ever use. It also includes features such as geographic maps, seven-day forecasts, and information on snow depth. Truckers can get push notifications to alert them of inclement weather.

GasBuddy

Always need fuel? Then keep GasBuddy on your smartphone. When you’re
burning through thousands of gallons of diesel in a given week, the smallest amount of fuel can add up. GasBuddy can help you save money on fuel. It provides you with up-to-date prices for thousands of station across the U.S. and Canada. GasBuddy will become your accountant’s favorite since you’ll always have access to cheap fuel. With this app, truckers can get access to the cheapest gas at nearby gas stations. It allows you to sort by local stations, fuel prices, view gas stations, and see gas stations features.

Waze

Waze is better than Apple or Google’s standard maps applications. This app
has real-time updates on traffic conditions, inclement weather, road
repairs, and car accidents. It also provides you with alternate routes when
the original route has been impacted.

Waze is operated by drivers around the world who help other drivers find
the best routes and improve their driving experience. This community-based
navigation app has become a social interaction tool for drivers of all
kinds. The Waze app is available for Android, iOS, and Windows mobile phones.

Skype

Skype allows you to stay in touch with family and loved ones. With Skype, you can connect to any user around the world. It makes it easier for you to stay connected while you’re on the road. You can even video conference fellow drivers, dispatchers, and family members.

Skype allows you to call landlines and cell phones at low rates. With this app, truckers can get an online number so they make calls on the go. It works like a phone in which you can leave messages, receive and send voicemail messages, and send files and text messages. It’s the ultimate communication application for your work and family life.

Trucker Tools

This app is free for truckers on iOS or Android phones. This app is similar to Groupon, in which drivers can find coupons from over 5,0000 truck stops across the U.S. They’ll find the cheapest fuel prices in local areas. This app also helps you find trucker stops and find turn-by-turn directions to each of the stops.

KeepTruckin

This mobile application is ideal for all truckers. It allows you to stay on top of the government regulations for driving times and scheduling work. KeepTruckin is approved by the Department of Transportation. It allows you to track your miles every time you’re driving.

You can log your mileage safely and accurately each time. This app lets you know when it’s time for a lunch break or a rest stop. While KeepTruckin is free, you should take advantage of the monthly subscription for your electronic logging device. For an additional $20 per month, you can receive hardware support for your device.

Numerous smartphone apps can handle all of your trucking needs. This list only represents some of the dozens of apps for truckers  available for download. With a few of these apps, your life will be easier.

Just remember one thing: never use the phone while driving! Practice safety whenever you’re on the road.





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Truckers Christmas Group reaches out to families going through difficult times

Dec
10,
2018
0

TRUCKERS HELPING TRUCKING FAMILIES IN NEED AT CHRISTMAS. TCG is a 501(c)(3) registered charity

The Truckers Christmas Group (TCGO) began in 2008 by Truckers who wanted to help Truckers and their families that have fallen on bad times, have a better Christmas.  Christmas Group has raised $82,000  and helped 138 trucking families in need  over the last 10 years.  This year their goal is $20,000 and so far as of December 10th 2018 they hve raised 4,237.00.   You can donate to this worthy cause at the TCGO Donation Page.

There are many ways to be a part of Helping Families via TCG

1 Nominate a Family in Need by December 16th !! 
Do you know a trucking family in need?  Nominate them today, time is running out. NOMINATIONS FOR THE 2018 SEASON ARE NOW OPEN AND WILL CLOSE AT 23:59 ON DECEMBER 16TH 2017
SUCCESSFUL NOMINATION WILL BE NOTIFIED ON OR ABOUT DECEMBER 21ST 2018.

Nominations must be submitted using this TCGO FORM only!

Qualifying Nominations include the following.
1) They must have been employed as a trucker within the last calendar year and have the intention of getting back into the trucking industry.
2) If off due to a disqualifying medical disability but have driven in the previous three years
3) If deceased must have been driving and passed away after Christmas of the previous year.

A complete list of Nomination Qualifications can be found here

JOIN US FRIDAY DECEMBER 14th at 6PM eastern as we will discuss some of the details during the show on AskTheTrucker Live
Our guest will be Idella Hansen, Mark Abraham, and possibly Greg Manchester ( Santa Clause)

2- Donate to the Truckers Christmas Group with a small donation. Think of it as just one more  Christmas Gift  on your list and give and receive a blessing.!

3- Purchase gifts from the TCG Store

4- Sponsor a Family

5Join the Truckers Christmas Group on Facebook and Share the notifications
Truckers Christmas Group Fan Page ( Like it!)

Truckers Christmas Group Members Page  

Truckers Christmas Group (TCGO) helps Truckers and their families that have fallen on bad times and they need our help.Please be a part of this charity drive

 

 

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Staying Healthy as a Truck Driver

Nov
29,
2018
1

The truck driving life can be fun for those who have a passion to pursue the open road. That being said, it’s easy to pick up some unhealthy habits in this profession. Driving all day and sleeping in the truck, along with eating only at truck stops can mean that your health can suffer if you aren’t careful.

However, there are a few ways that truckers can remain healthy even while they are on the road. Doing this means that you need to change any habits that aren’t healthy and be extremely disciplined.

Realize There is a Problem

Realize that if you aren’t healthy, you will need to do something about it. As is the case with many bad habits, you need to admit that you have a problem and you also need to have the desire to change it. For example, if you are making it through the day only because of the opioids you are taking, you might want to get opioid treatment before your next trip out. This isn’t just for your safety, but for the safety of everyone you share the road with. If you smoke, quit. Once you have established this mindset, it will be much easier for you to stick to a plan of action allowing you to first achieve and then maintain good health.

Plan Your Day

Make sure that when you’re planning your day, you’re including things like time to stop for rest, exercise, snacks, and food. When you make and stick to a schedule, you won’t be as likely to overeat, and will be more likely to stick to a plan for exercise. This is what needs to happen for healthy living on the road.

Have Healthy Snacks

Believe it or not, snacking can be good for you. Just be sure what you’re snacking on is healthy and that you snack on a schedule. Your snacks should include things like protein bars, nuts, and fruits. Get your snacks from a farm stand or a grocery store as opposed to convenience stores or drive-thrus.

Have Water on Hand

You should always keep a supply of water in the truck and make sure to drink the recommended amount every single day. Making sure that you remain hydrated is critical and the best way to stay hydrated is by drinking water.

Rest is Key

Make sure that you get plenty of rest so that both your body and your mind will be rejuvenated. Rest is also a critical component when it comes to building an immune system that is healthy. Make sure that you schedule enough time for you to rest so that you will be refreshed and ready to start driving towards your destination.

Vitamins

Vitamins should also be part of your daily routine. These will assist in filling any of the potential gaps in your diet.

It might seem as if you are rushed and don’t have time for these things if you are to remain on schedule. The thing is, your work schedule won’t mean much if you aren’t healthy enough to drive.

 

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Modern Logistics Companies Use Big Data to Enhance Fleet Performance

Nov
29,
2018
0

Customers who rely on modern logistics firms to ship cargo seamlessly from one place to another sometimes fail to appreciate the sophistication of real-time logistics and supply chain monitoring technologies. Many firms utilize tracking to obtain “Big Data” inputs. This automated process ultimately contributes to the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the enterprise.

Why Real-Time Tracking Matters

Why have cutting-edge logistics enterprises invested so extensively in tracking systems? The ability to monitor fleet operations in real time supplies a variety of benefits. Just consider a few of these advantages:

  • Real-time tracking helps identify high traffic routes and peak demand periods;

  • This process significantly reduces pilferage;

  • Managers utilize real-time tracking systems to respond quickly to unexpected delays or problems along the road;

  • Real-time tracking permits greater employee and manager accountability;

  • Feedback from real-time tracking systems optimizes the performance of logistics software (ultimately enhancing revenues).

  • Radio calls and other communications documented with transcription services can be synced to tracking data to scrutinize incidents and zero-in on exact time frames.

An Illustration

Perhaps one of the clearest examples of the benefits of the use of so-called “Big Data” stems from the adoption of real-time tracking inputs within the trucking industry. Today, new generations of robust GPS truck tracking software programs enable fleet managers to maintain close contact with drivers along the road. This technology enables dispatchers to direct drivers away from routes experiencing weather closures or accident-related delays towards alternate roads before slowdowns occur in a delivery pipeline. This increased safety cuts down on accident rates and delays, thereby helping to reduce costs ranging from general liability insurance premiums to refunds for damaged goods.

Additionally, by permitting the tracking of cargo loads with specificity, many logistics programs optimize the use of resources. A trucking company with the capability of monitoring trucks on the road more easily evaluates opportunities to combine partial loads at designated locations to increase revenues. Just a few decades ago, many trucking firms could not always determine reliably whether or not their dispatched trucks had deviated by several miles from the anticipated pickup and delivery routes, a situation which might make accepting a partial load more expensive. Today, many companies know the exact locations of cargo and vehicles at all times with the assistance of accurate GPS tracking software, and they can evaluate profitable pickup and delivery stops.

Real-Time Inputs Contributing to Big Data

By compiling accurate real-time tracking inputs from multiple vehicles transporting cargo, today’s fast logistics software programs create huge streams of data. These feeds contribute to the preparation of “Big Data” intelligence databases, which in turn assist a multitude of systems users. Consider many fleet managers maintain tracking systems: trucking companies, railroads, marine vessels, and air cargo carriers. The feedback from these diverse sources helps inform logistics programs serving freight shippers and their customers.

The results of data tracking permit shipping companies to supply realistic estimates for customers concerning anticipated shipment delivery dates, for example. They also promote more cost-effective services. For instance, managers can evaluate any “bottlenecks” which occur in modern transportation networks and arrange for additional or alternative freight carrying services more easily.

Real-Time Tracking and “Big Data” Benefit Customers

The ability to respond quickly to transportation problems enhances the dependability of logistics firms today. They utilize the combination of real-time tracking and “Big Data” computerized analysis to assist customers in obtaining less expensive, more efficient, and more dependable shipping services. Customers (and freight transportation companies themselves) both ultimately benefit from this improvement.

 

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Divide and Conquer as ATA reaches out to Independent drivers

Nov
1,
2018
0

Is a new Independent Trucker program about to be unveiled by the ATA ?  According to American Trucking Association President Chris Spear, the ATA will be announcing the formation of the Independent Contractor Ambassadors Program, a program which appears to be designed to bring independent truckers into the fold of the ATA.

This announcement was part of the Annual ATA meeting ( Oct 27-31)  where many ATA concerns for the trucking industry were discussed according to FreightWaves article
Spear speech to ATA reveals organization plan to reach out to independent drivers

The trade association OOIDA has long been thought to represent professional driver, however, some drivers feel that their efforts are focused more towards Owner Operators, Independents, and small fleets, not company drivers.

When the article announcing the ATA’s Independent Contractor Ambassadors Program  hit the Social Media scene, the reactions were swift and fierce by  all truckers, including Owner Operators and Independents.   The most common of all replies by drivers  to this announcement of recruiting independents into the ATA was ” The ATA does not represent me.”
Many of these comments included expletives which we won’t include in this article, but it displayed the shear disdain drivers have for the ATA.  Most believe the ATA represents the interests of large carriers, not company drivers, owner operators, or independent truckers.

Our immediate Social Media response after reading the article was:

“Reading this article I can see what the ATA plan is, the writing is on the wall.
ATA wants to pin the owner ops against the company drivers to give them more leverage in their fights with FMCSA, Congress, etc…; Example; Denham Amendment, ELD’s and ATA Meal & Rest Break Petition……
These are the same owner operators they screw with their lease purchase programs.
The reason they want to do this, is becausc they need “drivers” to push their agenda.
Their war is on company trucker wages: Denham Amendment and” paid for all time “
What o/o’s need to understand is that when company drivers wages suffer, all wages suffer, including o/o profits.
ATA will use independents like foot soldiers to fight against the interest of company drivers and for the interest of the Mega’s, shooting themselves ( the independents) in the foot while doing so.”

Another response which came out immediately was from TruckerNation.org, a trucker advocacy group founded by Tony Justice. This group and organization is best known for its’ fight against the ELD mandate where they introduced  a Petition to the recent FMCSA ANPRM for Revising Current Hours-of-Service Regulations for Interstate Truck Drivers

TruckerNation FB group response to article:
“There is only one organization that represents truck drivers whether they are O/O or company drivers, either or, we are all truckers… Its been in our mission statement (TruckerNation.org) from day one! Its funny watching these other organizations now trying to make themselves appear as though they represent opposite sides of the industry that they work for???
Prime example right here of how to gauge when you doing something right.
Don’t let this snake in your garden!!!”

For years the ATA has lobbied for more regulations against the interest of professional drivers, including introducing the ELD mandate in Map21.  Among other differences, the ATA has fought for speed limiters,  the Denham Amendment to Override State laws which protect driver wages and safety, increasing Federal truck size and weight, lowering age for interstate drivers to 18, and trucker wages.

Company drivers vs Independents

Trucker wages are not directly being lobbied per say, but by introducing legislation to Congress, specifically the Denham Amendment, the ability to control how and when truckers have to be legally paid, would impede the long sought possibility of wage reform, which includes being paid for all time working, including detention time.

Federal Preemption update against Trucker Wages -The fight to be paid for all time

The Denham Amendment is written in such a way, that if passed, it would result in revised Federal law which would relieve carriers from the obligation of having to pay drivers for anything other than their piece work wages or the miles they drive, no matter how many hours they work.
The Denham Amendment does not affect owner operators or Independents directly, but indirectly it does greatly, creating industry standards and establishing how all drivers’ time is valued and compensated.

The more unpaid hours you work, the less valued you are

ATA Strategy

Company drivers are paid primarily for the miles they drive, not the number of hours they work.   Because of this, ATA understands well that drivers want as many miles as possible  so they can earn more. It’s called piece work wages. You only get paid for what you produce.

Now, it is well known throughout the industry that  drivers are delayed at docks for hours and hours, sometimes more than 24 hours, and many of them are not paid. Not only are they not getting paid for these hours, but their hours on their 14-hour clock are ticking, limiting
1) Their ability to drive more miles to earn more money
2) Limiting their time available to find parking

Driver Pay

ATA and carriers relish the fact that drivers are only paid for the miles they drive. It keeps them hungry, fighting for as many hours as that they can get, especially since their wages have NOT significantly increased in 4 decades while the cost of living has skyrocketed in that same amount of time. ATA knows all this and wants to keep it that way.
But what does this have to do with Independent Truckers?

Setting standards among company driver wages and how they are paid directly affects freight rates and owner operator profits.

Recent ATA Meal and Rest Break Petition
Since the ATA has lost the fight to include the Denham Amendment into 5 different pieces of legislation, they have now gone back to the FMCSA to petition them again ( they lost this petition 10 years ago) to Preempt State Labor labor laws in order to control how and when drivers are to be paid.
Basically, CA state labor laws require carriers to provide Optional Meal and paid Rest Breaks to their drivers as well as paying them for all non driving tasks, including detention time.   These laws do not affect single truck owner operators or Independents.

Both the Denham Amendment and the Meal and Rest Break Petition were a topic of discussion for ATA.

So Is the ATA in the best interest of Independents?

The fact is that when Company drivers wages remain stagnant and are only paid for their production, owner operators and independents profits will remain limited.  It is a race to the bottom, as owner operators try to keep up with large carriers and their low wage employees as well as their” Mileage Only” pay scheme and free waiting time.  By allowing company drivers to stay waiting for hours at the docks without pay, it sets a standard for independents to do the same in order to compete.

Many owner operators refuse to be a part of the race to bottom however, setting their own demands, winning the battle by maintaining high quality scores and credibility within the industry.

Detention Time- Bringing it all together-

At the ATA annual meeting, ironically was the topic of detention time.  As mentioned earlier, an objective of carriers is to keep wages low, not have to pay for all time worked (Denham Amendment) and keep drivers hungry for more miles since all other time worked is mostly not compensated.

With that said, the mention of  HOS and detention time was brought up by ATA.  Spear said that ELD data coming in would allow “common-sense improvements” to existing rules, and that it would “allow us to tighten the reigns on detention time.”
But then the article continued with an alarming statement regarding split sleeper berth and the possible FMCSA and ANPRM and HOS changes

A scenario, that if a driver was going to be laid up at a distribution center for a lengthy period of time, an allowable 6-4 split on the 10 off-duty hours would enable a driver to possibly spend all of his detention time in the sleeper berth—or elsewhere on the truck—rather than being limited to the 2 hours of the currently mandated 8-2 split.

Is this one more way to preserve hours, to drive more, rather than be paid for all time worked? This may be appealing to Independents, but for a company driver, being told to use their sleeper berth while waiting at the docks, rather than be paid, may not be as persuasive.

Does this mean that a driver should use “sleeper berth” rather than on duty not driving in order to preserve hours?  And why do drivers want to preserve their hours?

Because their wages are low, they are paid by the mile, and are governed by a clock
This formula does not work.

ATA knows drivers want more hours because they’re only paid by the mile so according to this article, it appears that a revision of HOS sleeper berth, although we agree with the idea of Split Sleeper,  could be used as just another way for the ATA to avoid  paying detention time and push drivers to drive more.
PRODUCTIVITY would EXCEED Safety once again

Instead of offering paid detention time, once again their solution appears to be for the driver to use other options while waiting at the docks.  I wonder  how  the FMCSA feels about this?

Our opinion is that the only reason the ATA wants to bring Independents into the fold of the ATA is to bring them on board to fight ATA agendas against company drivers such as the Denham Amendment and the Preemption of States Rights.
Their tactic to do so is FEAR.  Fear that “the states labor laws are coming after Independents next”   This is not true. Labor laws are to protect drivers.

When company drivers wages go up, so will rates and Independent Profits. We are at a time when  company drivers are at the threshold of real driver wage reform, and paid in supplement to their miles driven.
Divide and Conquer may be the answer for the ATA, but it would be a disaster for Independents and ALL drivers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Only 2 Days Left to Comment on ATA Petition against truckers

Oct
27,
2018
0

Only 2 Days Left to Comment on ATA Meal and Rest Break Petition against truckers.
A Guide- Facts to Make Comments to ATA Meal and Rest Break Preemption Petition to FMCSA 

Drivers, we have been informed by TruckerNation.org  that the 3 requests to extend comment period for the Petition to FMCSA from ATA addressing California Meal and Rest Break ( a smokescreen for the Denham Amendment goals against trucker wages) HAS BEEN REJECTED.  The Comment Period ENDS OCTOBER 29th!!

We need ALL drivers to make a comment NOW
Comments to California’s Meal and Rest Break Rules; Petition for Determination of Preemption
https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FMCSA-2018-0304

Comment NOW! ATA Petition Against Trucker wages and safety-Docket ID: FMCSA-2018-0304 California’s Meal and Rest Break Rules; Petition for Determination of Preemption

We have created A Guide- Facts to Make Comments to ATA Meal and Rest Break Preemption Petition to FMCSA 

This guide will aid you in how to comment. Many drivers are confused about what exactly the Meal and Rest Break Petition has to do with Trucker Wages. The guide will explain.

In addition to sending in a comment to FMCSA, Please sign the OTRSayNO Letter to Administrator Ray Martinez of FMCSA.  http://www.otrsayno.com/

If you cannot make a comment, please, sign the letter. It will take 30 seconds.  OTR SAY NO  

OTRSAYNO

INTRODUCTION to Meal and Rest Break  ATA seeks FMCSA approval to Preempt state laws which protect trucker wages”

 The ATA Petition regarding California Meal & Rest Break Laws is a direct attack against trucker safety and wages. The ATA has muddied the waters with their Petition to FMCSA. Just the title itself “Comments to California’s Meal and Rest Break Rules; Petition for Determination of Preemption” suggests that the petition itself is specific for California drivers and only has to do with not wanting to inconvenience drivers with “meal and rest breaks”.  WRONG!
This Petition is about Preempting State Labor Laws which protect piece work wage employees from being exploited!

Here are a few facts.
Drivers do not like stopping to take breaks, and the ATA knows this. They use the “meal and rest break” as a scare tactic, implying to drivers that California is forcing them to stop every few hours.

ATA also understands that drivers are trying to get as many miles as they can, so they can earn more money since truckers are paid for the miles they drive, not the number of hours they work.

 Trucker Wages – HUNGRY for MORE MILES- ATA and carriers relish the fact that drivers are only paid for the miles they drive. It keeps them hungry and therefore they fight for as many hours that they can get, especially since their wages have NOT significantly increased in 4 decades while the cost of living has skyrocketed in that same amount of time.
ATA knows all this and wants to keep it that way.

DRIVER WAGE DESIGN –California state labor laws are a threat to the driver wage design that carriers find most profitable.

Pay drivers for miles only
Control how many miles drivers get
Pay them 1980 wages
Do not pay them for all other non driving tasks ( such as detention time)
Keep them hungry for more miles in order to make a decent paycheck.

California laws threaten this wage design. California requires carriers:
Provide drivers with optional PAID rest breaks.
Provide drivers with optional meal breaks.
Pay drivers for all time worked, including non-driving tasks and all waiting time.

Drivers must understand the underlying effects of how this petition ultimately affects ALL driver safety and wages, not just drivers who drive solely in California.

Make no mistake, if the ATA is successful at Preempting a States’ Labor laws which protect employees from optional Meal and Rest Breaks, it would also open the door to Preempting ALL of California labor laws, including their law that requires carriers to pay drivers for all time working, including Detention Time. It would open the door to ALL states who have similar wage protection and safety laws.

meal and Rest Break

ATA Petition Against Trucker Wages- Meal & Rest Breaks- Make Your Comments NOW- Deadline October 29th

THE PETITION 

The ATA Petition for Determination of Preemption- California’s Meal and Rest Break Rules 

California’s Meal and Rest Break Rules; Petition for Determination of Preemption Docket ID: FMCSA-2018-0304  https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FMCSA-2018-0304

Based on 49 U.S.C. 31141, California Meal and Rest break law should not be preempted.

Overview

According to 49 U.S.C. 31141, the Secretary shall review State laws and regulations on commercial motor vehicle safety. The Secretary shall decide whether the State law or regulation meets the criteria to be enforced or to be preempted.
Clearly, California State Labor Laws is compatible with regulation prescribed by the Secretary under section 31136

The American Trucking Associations, Inc. (ATA) petition to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) must be rejected based upon 49 U.S.C. 31141.
California’s Meal and Rest break laws should not be preempted, as the Meal and Rest break laws, along with other California labor laws, were created to protect employees from wage abuse and to promote safety. These laws are compatible with present Federal Law, and do not cause any unreasonable burden on interstate commerce.


California Labor Laws meet requirements in 49 U.S.C. 31141 to be enforced by DOT

If the Secretary decides a State law or regulation is additional to or more stringent than a regulation prescribed by the Secretary under section 31136 of this title,
the State law or regulation may be enforced unless the Secretary also decides that

(A) the State law or regulation has no safety benefit;
(B) the State law or regulation is incompatible with the regulation prescribed by the Secretary; or
(C) enforcement of the State law or regulation would cause an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce

CA labor laws should be enforced because
1) They do Increase safety
2) CA State laws ARE compatible with the regulation prescribed by the Secretary
3) CA State laws do not cause an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce

 Reasons for rejecting the ATA Petition for Preemption

  • The ATA falsely claims that California state labor laws will “force drivers off the road” to take their 10-minute rest breaks and 30-minute meal break. This is not true.  Drivers are not forced to take these breaks.
    CA law does however require that Carriers provide the option for the driver to take their paid rest breaks.
  • ATA claims that that the Federal HOS addresses truck driver fatigue better and offers more flexibility because HOS permits drivers to take breaks when needed, not when they’re told to do so.
    Again, this is FALSE. CA law requires carriers to provide the driver with the option to take rest breaks after 4 hours, meal breaks after 5 hours (which can be waived) but does not prevent them from taking additional breaks when they feel the need to.
  • Truck Parking -ATA states truck parking would be greatly exacerbated if drivers take their breaks that the carriers are to provide. Again, this is false. First, CA laws have been on the books for many years, there is no indication of this or a study that has even remotely suggested that the lack of parking in CA is increased because a driver is allowed to rest if needed.  Again, drivers are not forced to take these breaks, but the carrier must provide the option.
  • Paid for all Time – Note that CA Law also requires employers to pay employees for all time worked. This includes detention time. California Labor Code Section 226.2 – Truck drivers in California who are paid by the mile or by the load must be paid separately for time that they are not actually driving.  This means that companies that pay their drivers by the piece must also pay them an hourly rate for time spent doing things like vehicle inspections and detention time.

If the ATA Petition for Meal and Rest Break is granted it would open the door for preempting ALL of State labor laws, including, ”Paying drivers for all time worked”.  This is something that drivers have been continuing to fight for.
Driver wages have not significantly increased in decades.
Drivers work many hours without pay, performing other non-driving tasks (including detention time). CA law requires that drivers be paid for all time working, including detention time.
Drivers are primarily paid for the miles they drive, but are also limited to how many hours they may drive. Hours of Service https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-of-service
In other words, they are paid by the mile and regulated by the clock.
It is well known throughout the industry that drivers are delayed at docks for hours and hours, sometimes more than 24 hours, and many of them are not paid. Not only are they not getting paid for these hours, but their hours on their 14-hour clock are ticking, limiting
1) Their ability to drive more miles to earn more money
2) Limiting their time available to find parking as many times drivers hours run out waiting to be loaded or unloaded at the Shippers and Receivers docks.  If they do run out of hours at Shippers or Receivers, many times these facilities do not allow them to park.
AGAIN-California laws require carriers to pay drivers for waiting time and all non-driving work.

  • ATA Argument of Patchwork of State Labor Laws– This is another absurd claim.  There are other states which require drivers to be provided rest breaks.  CA has the strictest requirements, therefore, if carriers comply with CA law, it will also satisfy all other state laws.

6) The ATA claims California’s rules impose an immense burden on interstate commerce as they entail an enormous loss in driver productivity by requiring carriers to provide far more off-duty time within a driver’s duty window than the Agency has deemed necessary under the federal rules.
This is the most ludicrous claim of all. Optional meal and rest breaks will not decrease productivity. Drivers are professionals and comprehend their routes, obligations, and schedules. If they are tired and need to break they will. If they are not, they won’t,
By saying that CA laws causes a loss in driver productivity, designed to promote safety, the ATA is saying that driver productivity is more important than safety.

“Denham Amendment defeated in FAA bill BUT it’s not over- ATA sends petition to FMCSA”

Note: Denham Amendment-  ATA has lobbied Congress to include a provision into major bills which would override state labor laws. The provision created was the Denham Amendment, introduced by Jeff Denham (R-Ca)

Denham Amendment claims that the true intent of Congress in 1994 FAAAA was to be able to preempt state laws such as California and other states who have similar labor laws protecting employees.

Denham is written in such a way, that if passed, it would result in revised Federal law which would relieve carriers from the obligation of having to pay drivers for anything other than their piece work wages or the miles they drive.

This amendment was first introduced in the 2015 FAST ACT and failed. ATA continued to reintroduce Denham to 5 other pieces of legislation and failed, including the latest FAA reauthorization bill, which also failed.

ATA lost the Denham Amendment battle in Congress. Now they are going to the D.O.T to achieve the same outcome.

Please make your comment to https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FMCSA-2018-0304

If you cannot make a comment, please, sign the letter. It will take 30 seconds.  http://www.otrsayno.com/

Thank you,
Allen Smith- AskTheTrucker.com
Truth About Trucking, LLC

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How Truckers Confront Dangerous Situations Daily

Oct
24,
2018
1

How Truckers Confront Dangerous Situations Daily

 

Whether handling local deliveries or operating over the road, truck drivers have a reputation for being a particularly spirited group of men and women. The conventional truck driver, in the minds of many, is someone unphased by situations and circumstances that would make most of us turn the other direction. They exhibit grace under pressure and, as they say,keep on trucking.

But to think truck drivers are a bunch of fearless road warriors would be going a bit overboard. It is their skill and ability to confront dangerous obstacles on a daily basis which prepares them to face situations that would be terrifying to most others, thus becoming among the safest drivers on the highway.

Here are several examples of how truckers confront dangerous situations on a daily basis:

Bad Weather

Truckers are constantly on the lookout for bad weather and routinely adjusting their driving to account for changes in precipitation. When an owner-operator looks for a Mack sleeper or a Peterbilt day cab for sale, he makes a point to research how it will maneuver in inclement weather. Learning how a particular rig behaves in wind shears and icy conditions, as well as how certain types of loads affect the situation compared to others, is a requirement for becoming an ace trucker.

Bad Drivers

Efforts to crack down on drunk driving, such as installing a breathalyzer in your car, have helped to make the roads safer, as have laws prohibiting the use of cell phones while driving. But the fact remains that bad drivers are always on the roads. Truckers have to be constantly paying attention to the vehicles around them in the event a bad driver decides to make a dangerous maneuver. The time it takes for a big rig truck to come to a complete stop is significantly longer than that of a passenger vehicle, so truckers have to be able to react exceptionally fast to unpredictable situations on the road.

11 Foot 8 Inches

There’s an infamous railroad bridge in Durham, North Carolina nicknamed the Can Opener, which is only 11 feet, 8 inches high and subsequently can’t be accessed by trucks. Almost like clockwork, the bridge is the site of at least one truck colliding with the overpass every month. While this the extreme example of a low overpass, not making the clearance under a bridge is something many truckers have to take into consideration on their routes, especially those just starting their trucking careers. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways for truckers to avoid low overpasses, mainly by sticking to major roads and interstates. With that said, every truck driver knows they’re out there somewhere, just waiting for an inadequately trained greenhorn or negligent driver to ram into it.

New York City

If you’ve ever looked at employment opportunities in trucking, you may have encountered the following statement in more than one job posting: “No New York City.” So what’s the big deal about the Big Apple? The reasons why it takes a certain type of trucker to make a delivery to New York extends to most major cities throughout the American northeast. Not only is there usually no place to park, taking a wrong turn can take an hour to correct due to the traffic density, one-way streets, and block sizes in a city like New York. With that said, those who are able to rise to the challenge of taking trucking gigs in major urban centers are certain to make a good living due to the demand for qualified operators. In other words, the ability to drive a truck in and out of Lower Manhattan on a Friday afternoon is a badge of honor among truckers.

Truckers are known for being hard to intimidate, but it is their abilities and skill that allow them to overcome the obstacles that most drivers would be afraid of facing. Fortunately for all of us, they manage to keep on safely trucking.

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ATA seeks FMCSA approval to Preempt state laws which protect trucker wages

Oct
11,
2018
1

With the help of thousands of truckers and supporters calling their lawmakers, determined members of Congress standing up and fighting for drivers, once again  the Denham Amendment has been defeated and failed to make it in the Final FAA bill H.R. 302.
FAA Reauthorization & Disaster Program Reforms Signed into Law

BUT IT’S NOT OVER
Denham Amendment defeated in FAA bill BUT it’s not over- ATA sends petition to FMCSA

After 3 years of numerous failed ATA attempts to override and preempt states labor laws which protect employees from wage abuse, the ATA has taken one more desperate attempt to Petition the FMCSA based on 49 U.S.C. § 31141 -stating  that the State of California’s Meal and Rest Break rules are preempted by Federal law ( According to ATA Petition)
ATA seeks FMCSA approval to Preempt state laws which presently protect trucker wages.

ATA believes that offering meal and rest breaks to drivers is an issue that impacts PUBLIC SAFETY.

California’s Meal and Rest Break Rules; Petition for Determination of Preemption
Docket ID: FMCSA-2018-0304

This next attempt by ATA, this time to FMCSA, is a petition to preempt state labor laws using “meal and rest break” as a back door to ultimately accomplish the “Denham language goals” against trucker wages.
In a nutshell: ATA wants Federal Law to ensure drivers only have to be paid for miles driven. Whether it be through Denham Amendment or FMCSA Petition.

The thread that joins Denham Amendment and ATA’s FMCSA Petition

ATA goal of “anti-trucker” Denham Amendment
1)  Regulate driver wages based on changing the meaning and intention of 1994 FAAA
2) Preempt State Rights-and not have to pay drivers for all time ( including detention time) but rather only miles driven.
3) Preempt state labor laws which require carriers to offer optional 10 minute rest breaks and 30 minute meal breaks.

To understand more about the Denham Amendment

1This year at GATS, RWIT hosted “Hot Legal Topics” Here is a Video with experts Craig Ackermann and Aashish Desai explaining the negative effects that Denham purpose can have on Truckers. VIDEO Truck Driver Wages (Denham Amendment)

2STOP New Legislation-Truck Driver Wages at Risk

ATA goes Full Circle once again- Back to FMCSA

Listen to the Replay explaining the ATA Petition to FMCSA- Includes Timeline on how we got here!!!

This is not the first time the ATA has petitioned the FMCSA for this purpose. They tried in 2008, however the petition was rejected.  Read more:

Petition for Preemption of California Regulations on Meal Breaks and Rest Breaks for Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers; Rejection for Failure To Meet Threshold Requirement

Since 2008 rejection, it’s has gone full circle.  After the failed petition attempt they then took their case of “preempting state rights” to court and lost all the way up to the state Supreme Court. When the U.S. Supreme court refused to hear their case, they then took the next step… LOBBY LAWMAKERS to change law. That’s when the Denham Amendment, introduced by (R-Ca) Jeff Denham, was first introduced in 2015. “How to Ensure Fair Trucker Wages in the 2015 Transportation Bill”

It’s now back to the FMCSA for another petition. So what has changed since 2008?

 ATA Letter to Administrator Ray Martinez- Requesting Exemption/Rulemaking

truckerwages

The ATA Lost in Court. Lost in Congress 5 times to pass Denham Amendment. Now they are petitioning FMCSA to preempt states who protect- #truckerwages

 

AskTheTrucker Comment on the FMCSA website:

Truth About Trucking, LLC aka “AskTheTrucker” ( Allen Smith) requests that the FMCSA deny the ATA Petition– California’s Meal and Rest Break Rules; Petition for Determination of Preemption based upon 49 U.S.C. 31141.

The Meal and Rest Break Preemption is another attempt to override states who protect workers from being exploited. The courts have agreed ( all the way to the Supreme Court) and Congress also agrees, as they have refused to add the Meal & Rest Break provision (known as the Denham Amendment) in multiple final bills, the latest being the recent FAA reauthorization bill H.R. 302  signed into law Oct 5th 2018.

We believe the meal and rest break requirements of California law should not be preempted, as applied to commercial motor vehicle drivers, as preemption of states right do not meet criteria as defined by 49 U.S.C. 31141

This is the second time the ATA has applied for such an exemption from the FMCSA. Nothing has changed since their 2008 petition. Why another attempt at this petition?

The California Meal & Rest Break does not cause unreasonable burden on interstate commerce. The courts have clearly ruled this based on Congress intended meaning of the 1994 Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) The only burden it places is on the carrier who can no longer have “free work” in states that require employees to be paid for optional breaks and for all their non-driving tasks such as detention time.  Read rest of the comment here.
http://askthetrucker.com/denham/FMCSA_Meal_And_Rest_Break_Petition_2018.pdf

AskTheTrucker comment posted on FMCSA website

California’s Meal and Rest Break Rules; Petition for Determination of Preemption
Docket ID: FMCSA-2018-0304

ATA Meal Rest Break Petition

If Preemption of states labor laws are accomplished through this FMCSA petition by ATA, it would most likely preempt all state labor laws which protect truckers from being exploited.

MAKE YOUR COMMENT NOW Due Oct 29th

************************************************************************************

§31141. Review and preemption of State laws and regulations

Section 31141 of title 49, United States Code, prohibits States from enforcing a law or regulation on commercial motor vehicle safety that the Secretary of Transportation (Secretary) has determined to be preempted. To determine whether a State law or regulation is preempted, the Secretary must decide whether a State law or regulation:

 Review and Decisions by Secretary.

(1) Review.—The Secretary shall review State laws and regulations on commercial motor vehicle safety. The Secretary shall decide whether the State law or regulation—

(A) has the same effect as a regulation prescribed by the Secretary under section 31136;
(2) Regulations with same effect.—If the Secretary decides a State law or regulation has the same effect as a regulation prescribed by the Secretary under section 31136 of this title, the State law or regulation may be enforced.

(B) State law or regulation is less stringent than such regulation;
(3) Less stringent regulations.—If the Secretary decides a State law or regulation is less stringent than a regulation prescribed by the Secretary under section 31136 of this title, the State law or regulation may not be enforced

(C) is additional to or more stringent than such regulation.
(4) Additional or more stringent regulations.—If the Secretary decides a State law or regulation is additional to or more stringent than a regulation prescribed by the Secretary under section 31136 of this title,
the State law or regulation may be enforced unless the Secretary also decides that

(A) the State law or regulation has no safety benefit;
(B) the State law or regulation is incompatible with the regulation prescribed by the Secretary; or
(C) enforcement of the State law or regulation would cause an unreasonable burden on interstate commerce

Request for Comments due October 29th

 

 

 

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Denham Amendment defeated in FAA bill BUT it’s not over- ATA sends petition to FMCSA

Sep
29,
2018
2

Denham Amendment defeated in FAA bill but it’s not over- ATA sends petition to DOT

Petition from American Trucking Associations sent to FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez on Sept. 24, 2018, regarding meal and rest break requirements.

Docket ID: FMCSA-2018-030  Make Comments
California’s Meal and Rest Break Rules; Petition for Determination of Preemption

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

************************************************************************************

Since 2015, the American Trucking Associations, and the Western States Trucking Association, along with the 50 ATA-affiliated state trucking associations, the National Private Truck Council, the Truckload Carriers Association and the Truck Renting and Leasing Association , have been lobbying Lawmakers to include the Denham Amendment in major pieces of Legislation and have failed.

These proponents of the Denham Amendment claim Federal Government law should supersede all state laws, including state labor laws which allow for optional paid rest breaks and unpaid meal breaks as well as requiring employers (carriers) to pay drivers for all time worked such as waiting time/detention time.
In other words, the ATA and alike, believe drivers should only legally have to be paid for the miles they drive, no matter how many hours they work.

NOTE:  2015 Truckload drivers paid only miles run. A study in 1998 by
Martin Labbe Assoc commissioned by the Truckload Carriers Assoc. reveals truckload drivers spend about 40 Hrs. per week waiting loading and unloading.

How to Ensure Fair Trucker Wages in the 2015 Transportation Bill

ATTENTION Truckers: Tell Congress to Remove Section 134 of the House T-HUD Appropriations bill in the final spending package

Anti-Trucker wage language in 2 bills to ensure cheap labor and high profits

ATA’s Myths and Facts about Denham Amendment Busted

A legislative package disclosed by Congress this past week to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration bill does not include the Denham Amendment which means that carriers will remain obligated to follow state labor laws, offering drivers optional meal breaks and rest breaks and also requiring them to pay drivers for all time worked.  Since 2015 this is the 6th time the ATA has attempted to have the Denham Amendment added to major legislation. They have failed to do so.

The new bill, H.R. 302 (the Aviation, Transportation Safety, and Disaster Recover Reforms & Reauthorizations), is scheduled for consideration on the House and Senate floors this week.

Proponents of the Denham Amendment base their claims of
“State Preemption Rights” on
the 1994 FAAA ACT.

TITLE VI—INTRASTATE TRANSPORTATION OF PROPERTY
SEC. 601.

PREEMPTION  OF  INTRASTATE  TRANSPORTATION  OF  PROPERTY..
Except as provided in subparagraph (B), a State, political subdivision of a State,or political authority of 2 or more States may not enact or enforce a law, regulation, or other provision having the force and effect of law related to a price, route, or service…  page 38 Sec 601

1994 faa bill

1994 FAA bill

The 1994 FAAA  was NOT meant to preempt state labor laws. It was meant to regulate Transportation of Property. ( Freight)

The purpose of the “anti-trucker”Denham Amendment
1)  Regulate driver wages based on changing the meaning and intention of 1994 FAAA
2) Preempt State Rights-and not have to pay drivers for all time ( including detention time) but rather only miles driven.
3) Preempt state labor laws which require carriers to offer optional 10 minute rest breaks and 30 minute meal breaks.  Read more: “The Truth about Meal and Rest Breaks”

To understand more about the History of the Denham Amendment
STOP New Legislation-Truck Driver Wages at Risk

FAA Reauthorization bill

How it all started?  The U.S. Supreme Court had denied motions filed by trucking companies seeking to overturn  lower court rulings that upheld a California statute requiring carriers to offer  a paid 10-minute rest break every four hours and a 30-minute meal period every five hours for truck drivers. These breaks were optional to employees.  However, even if the trucker waived their 10 minute rest break, the carrier still had to pay them for it.  But what the carriers really didn’t want to do, is to have to pay drivers separately for all time worked, including waiting time, aka detention time.

The carriers took their case to court and lost all the way up to the state Supreme Court. When the U.S. Supreme court refused to hear their case, they then took the next step… LOBBY LAWMAKERS to change law. (Just as the ELD in Map 21.)

The most recent attempt in major legislation to include the Denham Amendment was passed by the House in the  FAA reauthorization bill, H.R.4.,April 2918. The Senate had not included Denham language in their version of the bill.
Read more Truckers claim small victory for Denham Amendment House vote as they continue their fight on to the Senate.

Now, according to the preview, the chances of the Denham Amendment in the most recent multi-year FAA bill ( H.R.302) are almost zero, with the bill hailed as a last-minute effort by lawmakers in the Senate and the House to “get it done” before the Sept 30th deadline.

An earlier version of the FAA reauthorization bill ( Hr.R. 4), which was passed by the House in May, included the Denham Amendment.

So is the war on Trucker wages over?  According to the ATA CEO manning…NO! The ATA believes that offering meal and rest breaks to drivers is an issue that impacts PUBLIC SAFETY.

The ATA’s next move is a direct appeal to the Department of Transportation.

“We think this is a public safety issue because it’s documented that truck parking is very difficult to find,” Manning said. “In fact it’s very unsafe where trucks are required to park.”

American Trucking Associations (ATA) has petitioned FMCSA administrator  in an attempt to preempt States Rights which protect drivers.

Petition from American Trucking Associations sent to FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez on Sept. 24, 2018, regarding meal and rest break requirements.

The ATA is trying to preempt state labor laws (overriding with Federal law, to limit trucker wages). These state laws protect employees ( truckers) and require employers ( Carriers) to pay drivers for all time worked, including detention time. They also allow for truckers to take a 10 minute paid rest break and 30 minute non paid meal break, which the drivers can waive.  The ATA is hiding behind the words “safety” and “meal & rest break”, which we have written about on AskTheTruker since 2015.

ATA California Meal Rest Break Preemption Petition

SUMMARY: FMCSA requests comments on a petition submitted by the American Trucking Associations, Inc. (ATA) requesting a determination that the State of California’s meal and rest break rules are preempted by Federal law. Among other things, FMCSA requests comments on what effect, if any, California’s meal and rest break requirements may have on interstate commerce.

Comment Docket ID
:
FMCSA-2018-0304 Agency: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Parent Agency: Department of Transportation (DOT)Summary:  California’s Meal and Rest Break Rules; Petition for Determination of Preemption

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ATA convinces House and Transportation Leaders that preempting states’ labor laws is in the name of safety and is burdensome to the trucking industry’s economy. 

In a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao obtained by Transport Topics ( The ATA), a bipartisan group of House and Senate transportation leaders expressed support for a review by U.S. DOT on the impact state meal-and-rest-break requirements could have on the trucking industry.

This is the letter sent to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on Sept. 25, 2018 in support of American Trucking Associations’ petition regarding the meal and rest break rules.

So the War on Trucker Wages is not over drivers.
Read the PDF thoroughly and then make your comment 
https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FMCSA-2018-0304

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