Ask The Trucker

Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry

Strategies that target drivers serious health problems


August 13, 2019 – Press Release

Coach Carolyn’s Strategies Target the Trucking Industry’s Most Serious and Costly Problem, Truck Driver Health

Truck Driver Health


  • Driver retention is affected when drivers struggle to stay on the road or pass DOT due to health
  • As truck driver health continues to decline, the need for a solution

At the Great American Truck Show in Dallas, Texas, on August 22-24, 2019, Coach Carolyn debuts her driver-focused strategies as solutions to the crisis of truck driver health. She has been affiliated with the trucking industry for 20 years, which has given her the upper hand concerning on the road struggles. Her strategies target not only the individual driver but also trucking companies who continue to battle driver retention when employees do not pass DOT regulations due to health issues.

Carolyn realized the need to create informative and simple strategies that will improve the health and well-being of the individual drivers as well as assist trucking companies that want to increase retention which in turn improves their bottom line.

After the success of her driver-focused book,Gut Instinct, in 2016, she has been approached by numerous drivers for more. The recently completed strategies are:

  • Driven To Health, a systematic approach to gaining physical
  • Driven To Peace, an in-depth yet simplified journey through the process of emotional healing.
  • Driven To Stop, a step-by-step strategy to stop the use of tobacco for

These (Customizable) strategies will not only support driver retention but will be a solution for the many drivers who are ready to commit to a better lifestyle and quality of life.

Replacing drivers is expensive. Drivers who feel valued stay. Drivers that are in good health are more productive.

Never before in our history has the topic of better health been so popular. In 2017 Amazon bought the largest health food store in the world for 14 billion dollars. The proof is in the pudding. The trucking industry is behind. Why? Are our drivers less important? I think not! We wouldn’t have the products in the health food stores if it weren’t for these drivers.

“My heart is for the drivers,” continued Coach Carolyn, “The way I see it, is truck driver health is a win/win/win situation. Trucking companies improve driver retention, customers are more satisfied with happy drivers, and last but not least, drivers live better lives.”

Carolyn O’Byrne, CHT is the wife of a second-generation truck driver and works with drivers one on one, through her book, and through her online strategies focusing on their physical and emotional health.

For more information about her services and strategies, go here:
Website www.CoachCarolyn.Life

Email info@CoachCarolyn.Life

Social media @CoachCarolynLife


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RWIT ladies share more than just their career in trucking


The title says it all, RWIT ladies share more than just a career in trucking. One is a kidney transplant donor, the other is the kidney transplant receiver.

Two ladies of the REAL Women In Trucking (RWIT) organization lives will be changed forever, as one lady trucker, Elizabeth Sweet, is donating one of her kidneys to her “sister trucker”, Cheryl Lynn Iban-Bean.
Here’s the best part, Cheryl and Elizabeth were strangers when Ms. Sweet read that Cheryl was in dire need of a kidney transplant.


RWIT members share more than their career in trucking

Elizabeth Sweet (left) with Cheryl Lynn Ibana-Bean | Photo by Les Willis, Godspeed Expediters

Elizabeth is doing the hard part- donating a kidney.  We can do the easy part- Make a small Donation to help them during their recovery and lost wages.

How we met Cheryl

Two years ago at the 1st Annual Queen of the Road Cruise, Allen and I had the pleasure of meeting one of the most kind and personable people we had ever met. She was Hawaii trucker Cheryl Bean, a nominee for the 2017 Queen of the Road Award, and winner of the 2018 Queen of the Road Award.  You never would have known that Cheryl was suffering from Lupus,  a life threatening autoimmune disease which attacks  body tissues. In Cheryl’s case it was attacking her kidneys.

Cheryl Ibana-Bean - 2018 recipient of RWIT’s “Queen of the Road” award

Cheryl Ibana-Bean – 2018 recipient of RWIT’s “Queen of the Road” award sponsored by RoadPro Brands

Here is an interview Allen had with Cheryl while we were on the Cruise where she discusses her life in Hawaii as a trucker as well a her struggle with Lupus.  At this time of the interview, Cheryl was on a kidney donor list in Hawaii and had been making several trips the hospital during flare ups and undergoing dialysis.


During all this time, Cheryl remained active in her Ladies of Hawaii Truckin’ Pages on Facebook. The Ladies of Hawaii is a non- profit organization to promote lady truckers and ladies in the trucking industry. The organization is very active in their selected charities: Lupus, Cancer and the Legacy of Life and often give back to their community through the “Benefiting Honolulu Habitat for Humanity.”

After Cheryl moved to Oklahoma, she was able to get on an Oklahoma donor list, increasing her chances for finding a donor.

It wasn’t until fellow trucker, Elizabeth Sweet, noticed the thread on  the Real Women in Trucking Facebook page that the story caught her eye about Hawaiian truck driver Cheryl Lynn Ibana-Bean, who was suffering from Lupus and needed a kidney to remain alive.

 “Seemed  simple to me,” Sweet would later tell writer, trucker, and folk singer Paul Marhoefer. “My blood type makes me a universal donor.”

Well Elizabeth, it may have seemed simple to you, but your decision to help a fellow human being is pretty awesome to us.  You are a hero to many and we are all so grateful to you for coming to the need of our dear friend Cheryl Bean.

We also want to thank another good friend, Les Willis Godspeed Expediters, LLC.  If anyone knows Les, you know he is one of those people who when he hears a call to help someone in need, he is one of the first ones there to step forward.  You’ve probably seen him at GATS where he oversees the schedule and coordination of all activities in the now famous GATS parking lot.

Elizabeth Sweet-Les Willis

Elizabeth Sweet and Les Willis of Godspeed Expediters

Les stepped up once again and sponsored the June trip of Ms. Sweet where she was flown out to the Nazih Zuhdi Organ Transplant Institute in Oklahoma City to undergo three days worth of bloodwork, ultrasounds and multiple evaluations by a team of physicians. As God would have it, Elizabeth is a perfect match. The 2 ladies are scheduled to have their surgery September 9, Lord willing.

If you would like to meet up with everyone; Cheryl, Elizabeth, Les, and the ladies at,  they’ll be at GATS August 22-24.  They’ll either be in the Truck Parking area for the St Christopher Fundraiser, the RWIT booth 1015, or just enjoying the show.

Here’s the Donation Page Again-  Let’s show them some Love

National Foundation for Transplants- Your Donation Can Make a Difference! Cheryl and Elizabeth

Donna Smith




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Truckers can enter to win All Expense Paid trip to Nashville from RoadPro


RoadPro Kicks Off the Ultimate Nashville Getaway Giveaway

RoadPro Nashville Giveaway

Palmyra, PA (July 2019) – RoadPro Family of Brands is pleased to announce
The Ultimate Nashville Getaway Giveaway specific to the professional truck driver.

Drivers can enter to win an all-expenses paid trip for two to Nashville including:
round trip airfare, a 2- night, 3 day stay at the Opryland Resort, tickets to the Grand Ole Opry for a Saturday night show and $250 to spend at the Opryland Hotel Restaurants.

The winner will also be treated to a backstage tour of the Opry hosted by Marcia Campbell, host of WSM’s All-Nighter, where they will have the opportunity to take photos and meet the stars of the show.

Entries will be accepted at now until August 21st.
RoadPro will announce the winner at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas on August 23rd.

GATS will be held Aug 22-24 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas. Those interested in attending GATS can register for free online here.

Nashville Getaway from RoadPro Brands

Road Pro has supported numerous charities including St. Christopher Fund, American Cancer Society. Special Olympics, and the Make a Wish, where they are the presenting sponsor.
RoadPro has also been a strong supporter of Women Truckers and has been the “Queen of the Road” Sponsor for the last 2 years for the organization Real Women in Trucking’s annual event.

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Driver who refused to drive in hazardous weather wins OSHA STAA case


Driver who refused to drive in hazardous weather wins OSHA STAA case

For many years now attorney Paul Taylor of Truckers Justice Center has been standing up for truckers and their rights.  Mr. Taylor won his most recent case for his client Clint Collins. Mr. Collins refused to drive in hazardous weather and got fired for it.  OSHA found the firing violated the STAA and ordered Freight Rite to offer Collins reinstatement without retaliation and awarded the following:

  1. Back pay:  $32,660.40 with interest;
  2. Emotional pain and suffering: $50,000;
  3. Punitive Damages:  $100,000;
  4. Attorney Fees:  $5,871.85
Paul Taylor at Ask-A-Lawyer event at GATS

Paul Taylor at Ask-A-Lawyer event at GATS

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ordered Freight Rite Inc. – based in Florence, Kentucky – to reinstate a truck driver terminated after he refused to operate a commercial motor vehicle in hazardous road conditions caused by inclement winter weather.

U.S. Department of Labor Orders Kentucky Trucking Company To Reinstate Driver Who Refused To Operate Vehicle During Inclement Weather

“Forcing drivers to operate a commercial motor vehicle during inclement weather places their lives and the lives of others at risk,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer, in Atlanta, Georgia. “This order underscores the agency’s commitment to protect workers who exercise their right to ensure the safety of themselves and the general public.”

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of STAA and 21 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, motor vehicle safety, healthcare reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, and securities laws. For more information on whistleblower protections, visit OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs webpage.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

Mr Taylor has one many cases for truckers and has been a speaker at many events, including ( but not limited to)

1st and 2nd annual Truck Driver Social Media Convention,
The 2017 “AskALawyer” event at GATS hosted by Real Women in Trucking (RWIT)
the “Hot Legal Topics for Truck Drivers” at GATS, also hosted by RWIT.
Videos for both events on TruckingSocialMedia

What every truck driver should know Part 1- First introduced at the 2011 Trucking Social Media Convention. This video appeared to kick off his own series of videos to help drivers understand the laws which protect them.

His active YourTube Channel offers drivers advice on many topics by creating short videos, answering some of truckers most common ( and not so common) questions.

Paul has been a guest on our internet radio show, AskTheTrucker “Live’, a few times, offering legal advice to professional drivers,

Truckers Justice Center is also active on FaceBook and Twitter

Paul O. Taylor- Truckers Justice Center
Direct Dial (651) 454-5800

Taylor & Associates, Ltd. – Truckers Justice Center
5100 Edina Industrial Boulevard, Suite 230
Edina,MN 55439



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Decisions for Long Haul Truckers


Perhaps you currently drive a big rig for a company and want total freedom to transport loads when and where you want. Or, you recently received your Class A CDL license and are anxious to make your first run. Regardless of which applies, a lot of careful planning and thought goes into the decision to either remain as a company driver or start your own business in long haul trucking.

OTR Truckers


If you are considering being a successful owner operator, the first thing to consider is whether you want to have your own authority or lease on to a carrier. Will you be buying your truck outright or leasing it? Since big rigs can cost upwards of $100,000 or more depending on the age, make and model, if you have limited funds, leasing a truck may end up as the better option, but you have to be careful. However, if you planned ahead and have a nest egg secure for this venture, then owning your rig outright may prove to give you more flexibility and work in your favor, including additional tax deductions.  Set up an LLC for your company, an S-Corp is a beneficial way to set yourself up as. It will also help to have a professional help you with your bookkeeping.
One thing to make sure, do not get into a Lease Purchase agreement with a carrier. Many drivers have lose everything to many of these carrier lease agreements. The only company we have recommended for 10 years is Lone Mountain Truck Leasing. There are no hidden fees, tricks, or surprises. When you make the last payment, you own the truck. You can also purchase outright from them with a small down payment.
If you’re getting your own loads, we recommend either the Xypper App or MyRiteLoad as an addition to loadboards.


The trucking business is no different than any other business. In order to be successful and enjoy living a comfortable lifestyle, you need to make money. As a sole proprietor, the burden of marketing yousrelf and your business lies squarely on your shoulders. The good news is that there are several ways to gain name recognition and acquire contracts for jobs. 
The first thing that will help is a website or blog that gives potential customers background information about you, your personal history, your goals, and the types of services you offer. After that, the best way to increase your business is a clean driving record ( which includes CSA scores) and your customer service.

It’s also important to set up a booth or a tent such as those provided by Ins’TenT Industries to attract people and promote your business. Many people promote their business at trade shows, such as GATS, which is right around the corner this August.
You should also have a presence on social media sites such as LinkedIn,Twitter, and Facebook, to get your name out there to a large audience.  Have business cards made with your website, name, and contact info,


For many getting into their semi-truck and driving halfway across the states is a thrill. It gives them an opportunity to see the country and visit many different places they would otherwise not see. However, driving a big rig across the states consumes a lot of time and puts you behind the wheel long hours, and sometimes in extreme weather conditions in order to meet deadlines and make money to live well. Remember, most company drivers are paid by the mile and are exempt from the FLSA overtime. As a result, you might be away from home for weeks at a time if you choose an over-the-road career. If you have a family, this may not be something appealing to you. Another thing to consider is your health. Since time is money, many drivers of big rigs eat, shower and fuel up at designated truck stops. Unfortunately, the food provided is not always the healthiest. Thankfully, there are ways to promote a healthy diet by stopping at a local grocery store and stocking up on fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Big rigs have cabins that contain a fridge and ample storage space to hold your supplies, even a portable grill.

Staying in Motion

The life of an long-haul truck driver is mostly sedentary, and this in itself can cause major health problems. A good solution is to work in exercise regularly to keep your heart healthy, your muscles lean and your weight under control. Use the storage space not only to meet your food needs but also for exercise equipment. Folding bikes and weight take up just a small amount of space, and can prove instrumental in your overall health and well being.

Quality Over-the-road truck drivers are in demand. The money can be good if you work for a “good” company or have a good business sense, however, you will drive long hours and spend a fair amount of time away from home. Deciding whether to become an owner/operator of a big-rig has both pros and cons. Weigh each of them carefully and then discuss it with your family, before making your final decision.

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Cut Through Fog With Good LED Marker Lights

iowa 80 fog light

Cut Through Fog With Good LED Marker Lights

Marker lights on your truck keep you and others on the road safe. Semi-trucks are some of the largest occupants of the road and because of this, drivers need to be able to easily see where the edges of their vehicle are. Similarly, other motorists need to be able to see them.
LED marker lights are the superior choice for semi-truck illumination, especially in heavy weather such as fog.

The Challenge of Fog

In many cases, your truck’s powerful headlights are enough to help you see where your vehicle is and to maneuver accordingly. The difficulty fog poses is that it reflects the light back at you. This can make seeing anything challenging. Fortunately, the right LED marker lights can help solve this.

LED: The Trucker’s Answer to Fog

Good quality LED marker lights do an excellent job of cutting through the fog. You can easily see the light illuminate above you to check clearance and along the side, so you can always keep an eye on your truck’s position. Furthermore, they are easily seen by others on the road. That way you can be confident you aren’t going to surprise any other motorists in the fog.

These are some top choices for marker lights:

  • Millennium 1 Marker Lights: These high-quality LED lights are sealed and watertight. They look great and are easy-to-install.
  • Magnum 1 Marker Light With Double Bullet Plug: Give your truck a sleek look. These powerfully styled lights feature a double bullet plug.
  • Peterbilt Style LED Clearance Marker Light: These clearance lights offer a familiar style. They will cut through the fog and help you see what’s above you.

Illuminate Your Truck

The right marker lights for your truck make driving safer for you and others on the road. Fitting yourself out with Iowa 80 semi truck accessories including lights and other items will help you have a safe, comfortable and efficient trucking experience.

FMCSA Part 393 Section § 393.24: Requirements for head lamps, auxiliary driving lamps and front fog lamps.

Here’s the law, according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (49 CFR Section 392.14):

There’s a duty of “extreme caution” on truck drivers of commercial motor vehicles whenever any conditions negatively affect visibility or traction.  This includes rain, snow, fog, ice, smoke and other conditions.

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Making Health a Priority as an Over the Road Trucker


Making Health a Priority as an Over the Road Trucker

Over the Road Trucker Health

Making Health a Priority as an Over the Road Trucker

The lifestyle of a long-haul truck driver isn’t the healthiest by a long shot.
Being responsible for hauling loads hundreds of miles away, truck drivers spend a great deal of time on the road. Sitting for hours at a time, eating from the closest rest stops, and sleeping most often in their trucks for weeks at a time comes with the territory and becomes part of the lifestyle. It doesn’t take long for habits like these to start wearing on their physical and mental well-being.

Admittingly so, it is challenging prioritize your health when you spend so much time alone, in a truck, away from any resources. To maintain a healthy lifestyle as an over-the-road trucker, you’ll need to come up with strategies such as those listed below:

Avoid Rest Stop Food

Rest stops are convenient destinations for truck drivers and other commuters to stop and take a break. Generally, you’ll find things like a gas station, restrooms, and restaurants. The only problem is, most of the food served at these stops is fast food. Consuming too much of unhealthy junk can lead to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other health issues.

Instead of hitting a rest stop to grab some food, look for a nearby grocery store. There you can stop in and get fresh fruits, vegetables, salads, sandwiches, and other healthy food options to consume. If you purchase a mini fridge and a crockpot you can make and store your own healthy meals.

Try Not to Smoke

Rigs without cigs

Many truckers pick up smoking as a habit. Smoking may start off as something to relieve the stress of being on the road or to socialize with other truckers at stops, but it’s harmful to your health. Not to mention, smoking in your truck leaves a ton of residue around for you to breathe in.

If you can’t kick the habit for good, perhaps start out using a vape pen. Vape systems don’t contain any tobacco which makes it a bit better for you. It’s also odorless and a bit more socially friendly. They have tons of vape juice flavors on you can choose from for a more enjoyable experience.

Get in Some Exercise

trucker exercise

Sitting for too many hours a day can have an enormous impact on your health. You could end up suffering from diabetes, obesity, heart disease, deep vein thrombosis, and increase your chances of developing dementia. Sitting all day also shortens your lifespan.

Though your job as an over-the-road trucker requires you to drive several miles without stopping, you should make use of the time you have free. You can throw on some running shoes and go for a jog, get out of the truck and do a few squats, jump rope, and other little exercises to get the blood flowing.

Stay Mentally Stimulated

The mind is a terrible thing to waste. Being on the road for hours by yourself is a surefire way to turn your brain to mush. Lack of socialization and being disconnected from your family and friends can result in mental health problems including chronic stress and depression.

It is important to stay mentally stimulated. Reach out to your family via phone or video chat just to check in. When you do have some downtime, read a book, watch something informational on television, keep up with trucking issues, play a game, do a puzzle, or read a blog. This keeps your mind sharp and your mood intact.

Trucker Prioritizing their health goals

Truckers Prioritizing Health Goals

Long haul or over-the-road truckers have a very difficult job, however, transporting loads cross-country is the easy part. Being away from all you know and are familiar with, sitting for days, and not having access to healthy food is the real challenge. To avoid living a lifestyle that will result in a multitude of health problems and a shortened life span, start prioritizing your health by using the solutions described above.


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Recent crash test demo and GAO study strengthens Underride debate


1969 Federal Register- Underrides

Written 50 Years ago in Federal Register Vol 34 No 53- pp 23 & 24 “It is anticipated that the proposed Standard will be amended after technical studies have been completed, to extend the requirement for underride protection to the sides of large vehicles.”

The General Accounting Office (GAO) confirmed in their most recent report, claims what MANY have been saying for 50 years regarding truck underride fatalities.
“There are many and they are under reported.”

The March 26 Crash test Event in D.C. demonstrated how the fatalities can be prevented.

Underride crash test event

An underride crash occurs when a car slides under a large truck, such as a semi-trailer, during an accident. When these accidents happen, a car’s safety features are rendered useless because most of the car slides under the trailer and the truck crashes straight through the windows and into the passengers. The passengers in the car often suffer severe head and neck injuries, including decapitation. These accidents are often fatal, even at low speeds.

Studies and pilot programs show that a simple barrier attached to the lower area of a truck, called an “underride guard,” would help prevent a car from sliding underneath a truck in an accident. Under current federal law, underride guards are not required to be on the sides or front of trucks. Underride guards are already required for the back of a truck, but the standards are outdated. The bipartisan Stop Underrides Act would require underride guards on the sides and front of a truck and would update the outdated standards for underride guards on the back of trucks.

March 26th 2019 Crash Test Demonstration

The GAO report follows a crash-test demonstration in Washington D.C. 
On March 26, 2019, the crash test was hosted by Marianne and Jerry Karth and Lois Durso to demonstrate the efficacy of side underride guards. The tests used Chevy Malibus as the bullet car, striking the side of a tractor trailer at about 30 mph, with and without side underride guards. Industry representatives, and staff members from the Department of Transportation, the Senate commerce committee, and the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee watched as the side underride guards engaged the Malibu, crushing the front end, but leaving the windshield and roof intact

About the above Video
Side Underride Crash Test. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) ran two 35-mph crash tests impacting a 53 foot dry van trailer at a 90 degree angle: Video on bottom has  an AngelWing side underride protection device from Airflow Deflector Inc. a
Video on top shows crash test with a fiberglass side skirt intended to improve aerodynamics, not to prevent underride.

The GAO released results of a study to support the consideration of the STOP Underrides Act (S. 666 / H.R. 1511), which would, among other things, require the trucking industry increase its installation of these protective guards. The title of the GAO report, Truck Underride Guards- Improved Data Collection, Inspections, and Research Needed, summed up the report’s central conclusions.

The GAO report contains 46 pages of eye opening information, but what I found most stunning was the number of underride fatalities which were under reported at the scene of the accident. ~Allen Smith~

According to the March GAO report:
From 2008 through 2017,  an average of about 219 fatalities from underride crashes involving large trucks were reported annually, representing less than 1 percent of total traffic fatalities over that time frame.  However, these fatalities are likely underreported due to variability in  state and local data collection. For example, police officers responding to a crash do not use a standard definition of an underride crash and states’ crash report forms vary,  with some not including a field for collecting underride data.
Further, police officers receive limited information on how to identify and record underride crashes.  As a result, NHTSA may not have accurate data to support efforts to reduce traffic fatalities.

Comparatively, the FARS (Fatality  Analysis Reporting System) data show an annual average of about 34,700 total traffic fatalities and approximately 4,000 fatalities involving large trucks over the same period. Therefore, “reported” underride crash fatalities on average accounted for less than 1 percent of total traffic fatalities and 5.5 percent of all fatalities related to large truck crashes during this time frame.
If all underrides were counted accurately, these figures would no doubt be significantly higher.

GAO recommends that DOT take steps to provide a standardized definition of underride crashes and data fields, share information with police departments on identifying underride crashes, establish annual inspection requirements for rear guards, and conduct additional research on side underride guards. DOT concurred with GAO’s recommendations.

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and U.S. Representatives Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) reintroduced on March 5th 2019,bipartisan, bicameral legislation, the Stop Underrides Act, to help prevent deadly truck underride crashes.
Stop Underride Act Senate bill S.665 
Stop Underrides Act House bill H.R. 1511

The bill was first introduced in the Senate in December 2017
S.2219 – Stop Underrides Act of 2017

AsktheTrucker has written about Underrides in the past and will continue to encourage conversation between truckers, the industry, and proponents for Underrides.

Unknown facts about underride crashes and prevention

Underride Guard Mandate: A Counterargument to Industry Opposition

More about the March 26th live crash testing event

The Stop Underrides team of volunteers pulled together to create a memorable live crash testing event a few miles from the nation’s capital.  The multi disciplinary group of safety advocates and engineers illustrated how simple semitrailer guards can truly turn what would have been fatal collisions into minor accidents.

Safety engineers and professionals shared their knowledge and thoughts in a Panel Discussion on the underride issue at the D.C. Underride Crash Test Event on March 26, 2019:

March 26th D.C. Underride Crash Test Event Panel Discussion in D.C.

  • David Friedman, Consumer Reports, VP, Advocacy, formerly the CR Director of Cars and Product Policy and Analysis, former NHTSA Acting Administrator
  • Malcolm Deighton, engineer with Hydro, which supplies aluminum for manufacturing underride protective devices and trailer parts and which produces comprehensive underride protection technology in Europe
  • Glen Berry, Safety Director for Thomas Transport Delivery, AngelWing installed since 2017, truck driver
  • Perry Ponder, inventor of AngelWingengineer with an accident reconstruction engineering company
  • David Dorrity, worked for Stevens Transport for years and testifies all over the country on safe trucking practices.
  • Aaron Kiefer, forensic engineer & crash reconstructionist, inventor of SafetySkirt

Moderated by Andy Young, truck litigation attorney and CDL holder.

MGA Research provided crash test dummies and high speed video footage while Collision Safety Consulting (Aaron Kiefer’s company) conducted the tests themselves via custom vehicle tow systems.  Hydro NA (OEM supplier to trailer manufacturers) donated engineering personnel and expertise while AnnaLeah and Mary for Truck Safety ALMFTS and conceived and anchored the event.  Andy Young MC’d while Glenn Berry donated round trip delivery of a trailer and a power unit for the testing.

The team put together three consecutive side collisions using Chevy Malibu sedans into 53 ft semitrailers.  The vehicles were towed into the “T-bone” collisions at or near 30 mph.  In order,  they crashed a trailer guarded with the Angelwing, a trailer protected by the SafetySkirt, and then an unguarded trailer.

The Angelwing is a steel lattice that fits between the landing gear and dual trailer axles.  It is designed by Perry Ponder, manufactured for Airflow Deflector, and currently available for purchase.   This guard has been tested during 40 mph collisions, and likely will prevent underride at even higher collision speeds.

The Safetyskirt is a laminated panel that combines a traditional trailer skirt with a woven textile backer that anchors at the landing gear and the rear corner of the trailer to prevent an underride.  The system is in development by Aaron Kiefer of  The system looks and feels like a full length skirt that encloses the rear axles for safety and aerodynamic benefit.  Testing indicates additional drag reduction (fuel savings) of 2-4% above and beyond current trailer skirts and no issue with negotiating across curbs, medians, or into loading docks.  Engineers are working on designing in sufficient access around the axles and wheels for pre trip inspections and tire changes while preserving fuel savings.  An owner operator will be conducting over the road testing this summer of a SafetySkirt equipped dry van trailer.

Well engineered guarding solutions are a win-win for drivers and for freight carriers.

 NO side underride protection: 

All 3 crashes simultaneously

On Saturday April 27th at 6PM et we will be having an interview and open discussion concerning Underrides.  Guests on the show will be:

Jerry Karth and Marianne Karth and Lois Durso are advocates for Underrides and have lost loved ones due to Underride crashes.  Contrary to what many may speculate, these underride deaths were not the fault of either 4 wheeler.  One was an improper truck lane change, and the other was icy roads.  You can read their stories here.
Karth family and Lois Durso

Perry Ponder, inventor of AngelWingengineer with an accident reconstruction engineering company
Aaron Kiefer, forensic engineer & crash reconstructionist, inventor of SafetySkirt
Andy Young, CDL holder and truck litigation attorney

We will address with the panel some of trucking’s major concerns and will be taking calls 347-826-9170

  1.  Cost
  2. weight
  3. maximize cargo space
  4. damage to skirting
  5. energy absorbent materials
  6. Incline grades- Traveling up and then down grades
  7. Ability to access under trailer
  8. maintenance and installation costs
  9. Are underrides a one size fits all?
  10. What are the conclusions of the NHTSA regarding underrides?
  11. Better training for CDL drivers and 4 wheelers

More Info

  1. Media Reports & Video Footage Unveil Highlights of the Successful D.C. Underride Crash Test Event If you were not able to witness the Underride Crash Tests in D.C. in person on March 26, then the next best thing is to see the media coverage of this important event and to view the video footage of all three tests of a car colliding at approximately 30 mph with the side of a tractor-trailer. . .Read more here.
  2. Video of the Underride Panel Discussion at the D.C. Underride Crash Test Event, March 26, 2019 Safety engineers and professionals share their knowledge and thoughts in a Panel Discussion on the underride issue at theC. Underride Crash Test Eventon March 26, 2019. . . Read more here.

Media Coverage of the march 26th D.C. Underride Crash Test Event:

Truck Underride Guards Abbreviations

CVSA Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance
DOT Department of Transportation
FARS Fatality  Analysis Reporting System
FMCSA Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
IIHS Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
MMUCC Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria
NHTSA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
NTSB National Transportation Safety Board
NPRM notice of proposed rulemaking
ANPRM advance notice of proposed rulemaking

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FMCSA controversy and the flip flop dilemma


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is an agency in the United States Department of Transportation that regulates the U.S. trucking industry and is  the lead government agency responsible for regulating and providing safety oversight of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).

FMCSA’s mission is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.

United States Department of Transportation

Now I don’t know about you, but I believe we must be able to have confidence in those who are in charge of developing and enforcing laws, especially when it comes to my life and the lives of others who depend on these laws for their safety and livelihood.

I also believe that a government agency should maintain their purpose and integrity at all cost.  Decisions should be based on safety without favor or bias.

Again, FMCSA is to to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.

  • When the DOT was established on October 15, 1966, the ICC’s regulatory authority over truck and bus safety was transferred to DOT, delegated to FHWA and designated the Office of Motor Carrier Safety.
  • In 2000, Congress established FMCSA as a stand-alone DOT agency pursuant to the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999.

 It is imperative that when you are an agency of the Federal Government you should remain consistent and not be biased towards any one group or entity, but rather remain loyal to your purpose of safety.

The FMCSA stakeholders include Federal, State, and local enforcement agencies, the motor carrier industry, safety groups, and organized labor on efforts to reduce bus and truck-related crashes.

The ATA does not represent Professional Truck Drivers

Many truckers believe that there are rules and regulations that have heavily leaned in favor of the appeals of the American Trucking Association (ATA).  One such example is that of the electronic logging device (ELD)   which is a bone of contention for many truckers.
Another example is FMCSA granting exemption request to C.R. England so that a learner’s permit holder who has documentation of passing the CDL skills test does not need to have a CDL driver in the front seat. New Prime and CRST also were granted exemption.

The ATA will give the impression that they represent the entire trucking industry. They do not.  The ATA does not represent the views of most professional truck drivers.

The Big Flip Flop-  ATA Meal and Rest Break Preemption Petition

Recently there has been a huge controversy regarding the ATA Petitions for Determination of Preemption: California Meal and Rest Break Rules. submitted to FMCSA  in October of 2018 and then granted after only 3 months on Dec 21, 2018.

In spite of losing in Courts and Congress FMCSA grants ATA petition

The reason for the  Meal and Rest Break Petition controversy

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 in order to Preempt States Right. They failed.

1. The ATA Petition was submitted to the FMCSA after four years of losing in courts and Congress as they tried to Preempt State Labors which allow truckers 30 minute meal breaks and 10 min paid meal breaks. These states also require carriers to pay drivers for all non driving tasks, including detention time.

So, after motor carriers lost in the courts, the battle to preempt state rights went to Congress, as the well known Denham Amendment, designed to deny truckers meal & rest breaks and pay for all working time, was struck down  5 times.
Denham Amendment defeated in FAA bill BUT it’s not over- ATA sends petition to FMCSA

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

The First Flip Flop
Although the MRB petition was granted, The FMCSA  had denied this same petition 10 years ago, however, a decade later and different appointments within the agency, they had a change of heart” towards the ATA.
Although the petition was granted, there was no mention that drivers pending court cases would be affected by their decision to grant the petition.  Thus the decision was not retroactive.

2008 Rejection of the ATA Petition:
ACTION: Notice of rejection of petition for preemption.

2018 FMCSA Granting of ATA Petition
FMCSA Order; grant of petition for determination of preemption.

3  Then, the FMCSA sent out an array of confusing statements. On Jan 7th 2019 FMCSA confirming that their determination of the Meal and Rest Break Petition does not have retroactive effect on driver pending court cases.
On January 18, 2019, the FMCSA attorney states that FMCSA is giving the retroactivity issue further consideration

But then, on March 22, 2019, FMCSA decides that yes, all pending court decisions would be retroactive, even if those lawsuits by drivers were acted upon prior to the December 21st granting of the ATA petition.
THIS was another flip flop, as initially the FMCSA decision DID NOT include pending court cases by drivers to be affected. So what changed their mind?

You can read the comedy of errors yourself here
California Meal & Rest Update: March 2019

Final FMCSA Decision of March 22, 2019
FMCSA Legal Opinion on Applicability of Preemption Determinations to Pending Lawsuits

FMCSA Conclusion

“For all of the reasons discussed herein, FMCSA’s legal opinion is that an FMCSA preemption decision under Section 31141 precludes courts from granting relief pursuant to the preempted State law or regulation at any time following issuance of the decision, regardless of whether the conduct underlying the lawsuit occurred before or after the decision was issued, and regardless of whether the lawsuit was filed before or after the decision was issued.”

March 22, 2019
Charles J. Fromm
Deputy Chief Counsel

1 This opinion is issued by the Deputy Chief Counsel because the Chief Counsel is recused from the particular preemption determination that gave rise to the question addressed herein.

Conflict of Interest

Jim Mullen- Chief Counsel-FMCSA

This conclusion by the FMCSA was supposed to have been determined by the Chief Counsel Jim Mullen, however, he recused himself from the determining opinion.  Could it be because he worked for Werner Enterprise for so many years, or maybe because he helps Motor Carriers in his own business? We don’t know, however, we do know that the opinion was then written by Charles J. Fromm, Deputy Chief Counsel at Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
But who is Charles J Fromm? No work history, images, or profile on FMCSA website.

The biggest controversy of all includes not only flip flop decisions of the ATA Meal and Rest Break Petitions of 2008 and 2018, and then the later  flip flop of deciding if court cases were to be retroactive or not, but a question of Conflict of Interest.

The Chief Counsel of FMCSA, Jim Mullen, an appointed position, held positions at Werner Enterprises at various levels for 10 years; Executive Vice President and General Counsel and Vice President and General Counsel of Litigation.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Mr Mullen also continues to operate his Consulting firm as he remains as Chief Counsel of FMCSA.

His Consulting firm, Jim Mullen Consulting, where he resides as president.
Provide professional services and advice to large motor carriers and transportation trade associations in the areas of federal regulatory and legislative government relations advocacy, legal matters, and risk and claims management. With over a decade of experience as the General Counsel and Executive Vice President of 1 of the nation’s largest motor carriers, Mullen offers a wide range of expertise in transportation related areas of advocacy in Washington DC, legal and compliance matters, and risk and claims management.

The fact that Mr. Mullen recused himself and had Charles J. Fromm sign the Meal and Rest Break Opinion, give little to no satisfaction, since we don’t even know who Mr. Charles J. Fromm is, where he comes from, or who he worked for prior to being Deputy Chief Counsel at FMCSA.

Charles J. Fromm- Deputy Chief Counsel- FMCSA


So the question I’d like to ask is, just how many ATA members or prior MEGA carrier employees work at the FMCSA? What influence do they have on decision making? But the most concerning question of all is, how can an agency representing the entire trucking industry determine rules and regulations affecting drivers, if those making the decisions could be biased toward the motor carriers, the employers of those drivers?

Just note, drivers Meal and Rest Break cases are still being heard in the courts and the courts will decide if the FMCSA opinions hold water or not.
But I’m sure they will take into consideration the following.

First the FMCSA rejects the ATA petition in 2008. Then they grant it 2018. FMCSA lawyer then  writes that the new MRB rules are not retroactive in response to an inquiry. Then they say they are reconsidering if they’ll be retroactive. Then the Chief Counsel recuses himself. Then the Deputy Chief Counsel says it is retroactive.

I don’t think courts should defer to incoherent agency opinions written by interested parties. It’s called separation of powers for a reason. 




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Safety Tips for Driving Alongside Tractor-Trailers


Safety Tips for Driving Alongside Tractor-Trailers

As a big rig driver, it’s common to get asked to reveal some of the craziest stories of other drivers on the road. Unfortunately, all too often there are many safety concerns when it comes to sharing the road with semi tractor trailer trucks that can make these stories more concerning than entertaining. For this reason, we’re working with everyday drivers to share some great safety tips that can be used when driving alongside bigger vehicles to ensure the safety of both vehicles.

Blind Spots

Dangerous driving around trucks starts with a vehicle being in the trucker’s blind spot. While there are several semi vs. car collision scenarios where a truck accident attorney can place the blame squarely on trucker negligence, many incidents begin with a motorist getting into the trucker’s blind spot. We’re sure you’ve experienced a moment where you thought it was a good idea to change lanes only to hear a horn honking and suddenly realize there’s a car coming up in your blind spot. In a larger vehicle, the blind spot can be even bigger. For this reason, it takes effort on both driver’s parts to ensure the blind spot is avoided. This means car drivers taking the blind spot into consideration and truck drivers taking a few extra moments to double check for cars before switching lanes.

Passing a Big Rig

Passing big rigs may be a necessity from time to time depending on the flow of traffic. To ensure safe travels, it’s a good idea to first signal the turn. Give it a few moments and then start to pass. Be sure to maintain a consistent speed when passing a semi-truck. You never want to linger in the side lane next to the big rig as this is a potential blind spot for the big rig driver. It’s also a good idea to identify if the big rig driver is visible in their side mirror. If you can see them, it’s likely they can look back to see you.

Give Big Trucks Enough Time to Stop

If you’ve ever driven a bigger vehicle, you know that they don’t stop on a dime. In fact, loaded semis take about 20-40 percent longer to stop than the average automobile. This means they’re going to need a bigger cushion of space between the car in front of them than an average driver would need. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to stay a safe distance away from the front of the big rig. This includes when passing the rig, make sure you’re giving it a good bit of cushion. You never want to cut it really close as the big rig may not stop in time if they’re going faster than you anticipated.

Anticipate Wide Turns

It’s no surprise that bigger vehicles make wide turns. Anticipating the amount of space a big rig driver is going to need to turn can help you to position your vehicle at a safe distance. It’s common for truck drivers to utilize both the middle lane and the turning lane when in confined areas. It’s never a good idea to try and sneak into the turning lane as you may be putting yourself in the blind spot for the big rig. Instead, simply let the rig use both the lanes and take the wide turn to ensure the safety of both vehicles on the roadway and the property at the intersection.

Be Educated and Know How to Drive around Big Rigs

Being safe on the roadway starts with understanding more about big rigs and how they operate. Knowing what to expect on the roadway when driving near a big rig can help both drivers to better navigate around one another. Be sure to understand the above safety tips and start implementing them in your daily driving.


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