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Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry


Trucking Charities facing difficult times during Covid-19 Pandemic

May
5,
2020
0

Truckers Non Profit Assistance Fund and Covid-19

Hard times are hitting truckers in many ways.  Not only are freight rates for many owner operators at a level that is almost impossible to make a living, but they face even greater challenges as they attempt to keep their wheels rolling and stay safe during Covid-19. Can trucking charities come to their rescue?
Just some of the obstacles truck drivers deal with:
Parking, difficulty getting decent food, lack of PPE, not being allowed to use bathroom facilities ( with soap and water) at shippers and receivers, waiting excessive hours at shippers and receivers ( many time without pay).  Many drivers are losing their jobs. Many are getting sick while out on the road with inadequate plans to get them home.  And some are even found in their trucks deceased. Who is there to help them during these times?
The answer is Truck driver charities, but now they’re in trouble too.

Trucker Charities exist to help drivers during hard times, and Covid-19 has caused some of the most difficult times for these drivers.  But Covid-19 is now even affecting the  Trucking Charities that help these drivers. They are in trouble folks, and they need help.
The dangers of Covid-19 have caused 2 of the major Trucking Shows to cancel their events, GATS and MATS, as well as other trucking event cancellations.
Trucking charities depend on these shows to raise money to help truckers during devastating times, and now have been devastated themselves by these cancellations.

The Truckers Non Profit Assistance Fund (TAF), a 501c3 charity, recently spoke with the heads of the trucker charities under their umbrella to find out just how badly the pandemic has affected their ability to help truckers.

TAF charities

The following charities are recipients of donations sent to TAF:  Truckers Final Mile, St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund, Truckers Emergency Assistance Responders – T.E.A.R, TrucksForVets, and the Truckers Christmas Groups.

 Truckers Non Profit Assistance Fund was founded by Allen and Donna Smith in order to aid trucking charities who help professional drivers during their most challenging and trying times.
The concept is simple. Donations can be sent to TAF and then these funds are dispersed to the trucking charities under them.  Donations can still be made directly to the individual charities, however, many feel that a “one donation to help all” is a convenient way to donate to ALL of their favorite charities.

When we asked the charities how Covid-19 has affected them and their ability to help truckers, here are excerpts of their replies.

Robert Palm of Truckers Final Mile, “ Yes, this pandemic has affected truckersfinalmile.org in many ways.

With MATS, Wildwood, Kenely, the Joplin 44 Jamboree and now GATS cancelling we lost all that walk up donor opportunity, the face to face interaction with current and potential new sponsors, and any awareness of our Mission and need that may have been accomplished through individual visiting and or media coverage.”

Desiree Wood of Truckers Emergency Assistance Responders – T.E.A.R said, “ The 2020 GATS event was going to be the public debut of the Truckers Emergency Assistance Responders to hit the ground running to the trucking industry. Since our mission is aimed at serving truck drivers in various distress situations , need is year round and growing due to the corona virus pandemic and this has put us in jeopardy since we are primarily unfunded at a time when companies are folding left and right, freight rates are causing some drivers to have to walk away from their truck and just find a way home, if they have a home to go to.

We have received a great deal of exposure because of my early blog posts and social media activity to raise awareness that truck drivers need PPE. The exposure has helped us get a good deal of product donations of PPE to distribute to truck drivers which I am doing personally and will continue to do so with volunteers in the coming weeks. While the exposure for T.E.A.R has been great, it has also brought an increased number of costs associated with distribution of this PPE and an increase of requests for help from truck drivers who are beginning to learn about our existence. Unfortunately, we have already had to decline helping because we don’t have the funding available. GATS was going to be an avenue for us to have some one on one meetings….”

Shannon Currier Director of Philanthropy & Development of St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund told us “We are anticipating an influx of applications for a couple of reasons.  One, because of COVID-19 and its impact on the driving community and second, because of the additional exposure SCF has been receiving from industry and national publications during this time.  With exposure comes increased applications, in general.

MATS and GATS cancelling has definitely thrown us for a loop and is making us evaluate how we might can make up the financial loss and loss of new connections we would normally get from both shows…. we are so grateful for the generosity of every person and company, but we know we still have quite a bit of fundraising to go if we want to meet the need at year-end.  Applications have not slowed down and with the anticipated increase, we are hard at work asking for new and increased donations every day.”

Terry Hall of TrucksForVets replied to us “So far the three corporations that were supposed to help us with our venture have all backed out due to the Coronavirus except for the Ryder company, they have stepped up and donated a 2016 Freightliner with a 72-inch sleeper for training. With the coronavirus going around it’s very hard to get to speak to the right people especially to get in front of them to get the one-on-one contact.”

Tom Kyrk of Truckers Christmas Group -TCGO,  Because of the virus pandemic, we will miss the opportunity to meet “one on one” with folks sharing our mission to help trucking families in need during the holiday season. TCGO depends on events such as GATS and MATS to build relationships with partner organizations and businesses.
TCGO  expects a lot of families in need this year because of Covid-19.

Donate to Truckers Non Profit Assistance Fund

It is at this time of dire need during the Covid-19 pandemic we ask you to please make a donation to these very worthy truck driver charities. Truckers are risking their safety to bring food, PPE, medical supplies, and essential items for us all. Many are limited to basic needs of nourishing food, PPE, and even soap and running water while they do their jobs.
Please DONATE. There is no such thing as “too small” a donation.
Our goal is 1000- $5.00 donations!!
Please Help our Trucking Charities and our Truckers  #GivingTuesdayNow

 

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DriveWeather App helping drivers plan and avoid Bad Weather

Apr
23,
2020
1
DriveWeatherApp

Free Weather App Download for professional drivers.

Professional drivers know better than anyone who drives in bad weather is stressful, time consuming, and one of their most challenging and dangerous obstacles while driving OTR.
Truckers now have a solution to help with these potentially dangerous conditions, a weather app that can help their next trip be less stressful, more enjoyable, more efficient and best of all safer.
The easy-to-use departure time slider let’s you predict what weather is expected along your route.
DriveWeather displays the latest forecast data so you can decide when to depart and avoid the worst conditions.
***************************************************************
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FREE FEATURES:
• Weather – Rain, Snow, Fog, Freezing Rain, Thunderstorms, Hail, Smoke, & Haze
• Heavy Intensity Precipitation Indicator
• Temperatures
• Animated Radar
• Cloud Cover – 100 values from grey to blue
• National Weather Service Forecast
• Up to Two Days Weather Forecast
• Time Tweaker for Truckers and RVers
ADDITIONAL PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTION FEATURES
• Wind Speed and Direction
• Night Location Indicator
• 7 Days of Weather Forecast
• Ad Free
• Unlimited Trip Length
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DOWNLOAD FREE VERSIONS HERE
WATCH DEMO for the DRIVE WEATHER APP

Drive Weather Promo from Concept Elements on Vimeo.

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NATSO opposes allowing truckers to be fed at rest areas

Apr
9,
2020
0

Two days ago we wrote about how on April 3rd the FHWA is now allowing food trucks to operate in Rest Areas. The FHWA course of action was taken because of the National Emergency which was put in place on March 13 due to the Covid19 pandemic as well as how the coronavirus is creating hardships and challenges for professional drivers out on the road. Simply put, many drivers can not find hot food.  Commercialized rest areas has been forbidden by Federal law for over 50 years, so this decision was a big deal!

Without Truck Drivers America Stops

Truckers have been working tirelessly on the front lines, meeting the demand for food and supplies for the nation. Unfortunately the challenges drivers are facing are tremendous.
The pandemic has caused difficulty for truckers finding food as many restaurants are closed, and unless a drive through allows the driver to walk up to the window ( which some are now allowing), their ability to obtain hot food is difficult.  Bathrooms and showers have also been a challenge, with most shippers and receivers not allowing drivers inside the buildings.

When we wrote about food trucks being allowed in rest areas during this crisis, we mentioned that this was a more than welcome decision and would help truckers as well as the food trucks who are in need of support. Drivers have been fighting for this for a long time.

Although the National Association of Truck Stop Owners ( NATSO) has vehemently fought in past years to keep any form of commercialization out of rest areas, we never seriously thought they would fight against this recent FHWA decision to allow food trucks to feed drivers during a National Emergency. ( Although I must admit, the thought did enter my mind, but I was almost ashamed for thinking they would actually oppose drivers being fed)

Food Trucks at Rest Aread Allowed

Food Trucks Allowed by FHWA to serve hungry truckers is opposed by NATSO ( National Association of Truck Stop Owners)

According to a Landline article, Profiteering Natso aims to block food trucks at rest areas, Natso has sent out a call to action to its membership asking for help to get governors to block food trucks at rest areas.  Okay, I have to repeat that.  NATSO sent out a call to action to its membership asking for help to get governors to block food trucks at rest areas.

Enough is Enough People!  If NATSO is telling their members to call the governors and tell them to block food trucks at rest areas, then WE MUST ALL call the governors and tell them that they must follow the FHWA announcement to allow food trucks at rest areas to feed truckers.
Notice of Enforcement Discretion by FHWA

Accordingly, for the duration of the national emergency declared by the President on March 13, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, if a State determines that permitting food trucks to operate and sell food in any designated federally funded Interstate Highway rest areas is necessary to support interstate commercial truck drivers, FHWA will refrain from taking any remedial action under the Federal-aid highway program against that State.

How to Call Governors 

 

Related articles

Food Trucks in Rest Areas for CDL drivers during Covid19 National Emergency

Commercializing Rest Areas for Safer Truck Parking

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Trucking Industry

How to Support Truck Drivers during the Coronavirus Crisis

Creating a Covid-19 Action Plan for our Truck Drivers

Does commercializing rest areas lead to more or less parking spaces?

Driver comments needed NOW to improve Rest Area Parking

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Food Trucks in Rest Areas for CDL drivers during Covid19 National Emergency

Apr
6,
2020
2

Notice Allowing for States to Permit the use of Food Trucks in Rest Areas to Serve Commercial Truck Drivers.

It’s a well known fact for truckers is that commercialization of Rest Areas is not allowed on the Federal Highway Interstate System. As a result, many states have been forced to close their rest areas as funding has not been adequate and these rest areas are not sustainable. More importantly, actions have impacted motorist and trucker safety and exacerbated the ever-increasing problem of inadequate truck parking.
Add to that the worldwide Covid19 pandemic where professional drivers are finding themselves with limited basic human needs of food, bathroom facilities, and parking, and a crisis is brewing.
Under present Federal Law, only restrooms and vending machines are allowed at Federal Rest Areas. The Covid19 National Emergency is changing that.

federal highway administration

COVID-19 public health emergency allows food trucks at rest areas for truck drivers

On March 13th 2020 the President declared a National Emergency in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

In  Early April came the Announcement — The Arkansas Trucking Association and Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) are working to bring more food options to truck drivers at two state rest areas during April. According to a release by the Arkansas Trucking Association, ARDOT will be issuing temporary permits to certified food-truck operators to serve truck drivers at four locations in Arkansas.Normally, these types of commercial vendors are forbidden on state property such as rest areas.
Also, Arkansas Department of Transportation to Continue Maintaining Rest Area Restrooms

On April 3rd The Federal Highway Administration Issued Notice Allowing for States to Permit the use of Food Trucks in Rest Areas to Serve Commercial Truck Drivers.
FHWA  issued a notice to State Departments of Transportation that the agency is suspending enforcement measures under the Federal-aid Highway Program for States that choose to permit commercial food trucks to operate and sell food, in accordance with state laws, in designated federally funded Interstate Highway rest areas.

“America’s commercial truck drivers are working day and night during this pandemic to ensure critical relief supplies are being delivered to our communities,” said FHWA Administrator Nicole R. Nason. “I am grateful to our state transportation partners for bringing this idea to the Department and for their leadership in thinking outside the box. It is critical to make sure truck drivers continue to have access to food services while they’re on the job serving our nation during these challenging times.”

By statute, commercial activity in the federally funded Interstate right-of-way is prohibited with limited exceptions. However, given the extreme and unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, Administrator Nason is choosing not to take remedial measures against States that allow food trucks to provide food in rest areas off the federally funded Interstate right-of-way for the duration of the national emergency declared by the President in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis.

Since these actions are temporary, States must come back into compliance with federal law once the Presidentially-declared emergency ends

Notice of Enforcement DiscretionU.S. Department of Transportation-Federal Highway Administration
Operation of Commercial Food Trucks in Federally Funded Interstate Highway Rest Areas During the Public Health Emergency (COVID-19)

The time is now to contact your states’ Department of Transportation and tell them they must address the trucker  Covid19 crisis and allow food trucks to service our nations commercial truck drivers. Tell them the  FHA has Issued Notice Allowing for States to Permit the use of Food Trucks in Rest Areas to Serve Commercial Truck Drivers, but it’s up to them to announce it for their state.

Here is the link to contact your state DOT

Here is a form letter to write to your state created by Food Truck Army

Another important note is that a letter was sent to AASHTO requesting that Rest Areas stay open.
Federal Highway Administration letter asking states to keep rest areas open for truckers.

FHWA urges state transportation officials to keep rest areas open

Trucking Organizations and Social Media groups fighting for Truckers human rights and safety during Covid19.

TEAR

The Truckers Emergency Assistance Responders (TEAR) has been on the front lines since the beginning of the Covid19 pandemic educating the public and government agencies about the dangers that truckers are facing as well as the repercussions the nation will experience if something isn’t done to resolve these critical circumstances drivers are facing.  TEAR is also a charity under the Truckers Non Profit Assistance Fund (TAF).

Desiree Wood,one of the founders of TEAR, has also created the Facebook page
Covid-19 Trucker Support Page

The page was created to assist us truckers during this corona virus crises and includes valuable information regarding food, parking, shower facilities, truck stop and rest area alerts, and the latest information pertinent to drivers regarding the corona virus.

Another Facebook Group is Emergency Driver Services– This group is to be used as a resource to support drivers on the road and letting them know places offering parking, food & help

RoadPro Cares– Coronavirus Resources

Another Facebook page is Food Truck Army  created by Eric Normand

Driver Resources-  Are you helping drivers?  Created to make the task of finding parking, food or even a shower a little easier on you during the Covid19 crisis

Food Truck Army

Up to date Source for  COVID-19:  by OOIDA & Land Line

Federal Highway Rest Area Background

Although it has been a continuing battle to allow commercialization for Federal Highways, opposition has been strong.  . In 2003, President George W. Bush’s federal highway funding reauthorization bill contained a clause allowing states to start experimenting with privatized rest areas on Interstate highways. The clause was fiercely resisted by the National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO) and others, who argued that allowing such rest areas would shift revenue to state governments (in the form of lease payments) that would have gone to local governments (in the form of property and sales taxes).

Closed Rest Area
The NATSO research and analysis conclusions is in  response is to the Trump administration infrastructure plan which includes the commercialization of interstate rest areas. NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings has said, “We urge the Administration to refrain from widespread tolling of America’s infrastructure and the commercialization of interstate rest areas.”  Read more. Does commercializing rest area parking lead to more or less parking spaces? 

Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1938 that stated “the States with the aid of Federal Funds may include such sanitary and other facilities as may be deemed necessary to provide for the suitable accommodation of the public . . . “The intent of the Act was to increase motorist safety and comfort by providing facilities for stopping and resting.” Subsequent legislation enacted throughout the years placed prohibitions on commercializing rest areas with the exception of toll roads that receive no federal aid.

23 U.S. Code § 111 – Agreements relating to use of and access to rights-of-way—Interstate System

Conventional Rest Areas provided by the states’ Departments of Transportation and found within the Federal right-of-way accommodate limited expectations. They offer a quick route for motorists to find restrooms, refuge/safety and limited snack and beverage services ( vending machines) at any time of the day or day of the week. Commercial Travel Stops provided by the private sector and found outside of the Federal right-of-way at interchange/exit points of the Interstate Highway System also accommodate these motorist expectations. While these commercialized facilities offer motorists a choice in finding restrooms, safety, fuel and an expanded array of food and beverage choices at varying times of the day, the motorist is required to exit the Interstate System in order to utilize these services.

The world wide Covid19 Pandemic affecting Trucking

Presently the United States is experiencing horrific effects of the world wide Coronavirus pandemic with almost 350,00 confirmed cases and almost 10,000 deaths.  These numbers are rising as we write this article.

Those at the front lines are risking their lives daily. Doctors, nurses, and all medical professionals are treating patients with a shortage of PPE ( personal protective equipment), including goggles, face shields, gloves, gowns, and most importantly N95 masks.

Truck drivers are also on the front lines and facing some of the most dangerous situations in the country. Rest area and service plaza closures, truck parking restrictions, fast food limitations that discriminate access to truck drivers, the lack of bathroom and shower facilities and availability of PPE are additional stressors that the women and men who work as truck drivers.

Drivers are working sometimes 100 hours /week in the midst of a pandemic and they are limited to food availability, bathrooms with running water, showers, and PPE.
Imagine being a truck driver on the road while rest areas are closing, shippers and receivers denying basic bathroom facilities, limited food, and not even a plan to be tested for coronavirus or or a plan of what to do if they become infected and sick while hundreds of miles from home.   There has been a demand for truckers to be protected, or there may not be truckers providing food, medical supplies of essential supplies.

Sign the Petition Protect Truckers Through Covid 19  

Related Articles

Commercializing Rest Areas for Safer Truck Parking

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Trucking Industry

How to Support Truck Drivers during the Coronavirus Crisis

Creating a Covid-19 Action Plan for our Truck Drivers

Does commercializing rest areas lead to more or less parking spaces?

Driver comments needed NOW to improve Rest Area Parking

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4 Winter Tips to Keep Fleet Drivers Safe

Apr
1,
2020
1

4 Winter Tips to Keep Fleet Drivers Safe
Driving long distances during inclement weather is difficult for everyone. Even the most experienced drivers can find winter driving a serious challenge.

Winter driving

Winter Tips to Keep drivers safe

Many potential hazards can make navigation difficult, such as ice, fog, snow, and slush. Accidents can be dangerous for your drivers, and costly for your company. Of the estimated 5,891,000 vehicle crashes that happen in the U.S. each year, 21% are weather-related.

This is why drivers must take winter weather seriously. During the winter months, shorter daylight hours may also have an impact on driving conditions as well.

In order to prepare fleet drivers for the upcoming adverse weather conditions, your fleet managers need to discuss winter travel with your drivers. Providing them with driving safety tips and solutions can help prevent accidents in challenging weather conditions. This will keep your drivers safe on the road in any weather.

Here are four fleet safety tips to keep your drivers safe in the winter:

  1. Take an Assessment: Analyze your Previous Driver and Driving Data

One of the most important steps to ensuring fleet driver safety during winter conditions is to identify patterns in driving data from previous years. By reviewing both driver and driving data you will be able to spot any trends in your drivers’ behavior and performance. You will also be able to note the frequency of road accidents and if they reoccur on specific routes. Once you’re armed with this information, you can avoid past mistakes and forecast new outcomes.

Driver Data

To ensure that your driver and vehicle review can be performed as quickly and accurately as possible, you can use a fleet management solution such as Driveri. The software collects your drivers’ data as they are en route. It not only gives the drivers safety alerts and updates, but it also records their performance and can detect trends and details, so you can make informed decisions about your drivers’ safety.

It’s also a good idea to talk to your drivers about their winter performance and discuss any issues they may have faced. Questions you may want to ask your drivers include:

  • Did you log any complaints during last winter’s operations?

  • Did you experience more vehicle problems during the winter months?

  • Do you feel your driving performance declined during the past winter?

  • How do you think we could improve driver safety during the coming winter?

The next step is to examine data relating to the routes your fleet drivers took during the previous winter.

Route Data

Tracing the routes your drivers traveled last winter and pinpointing where challenges arose will help you and you and your team plan safer and more efficient routes in the coming winter. Preferable routes will be those which have no history of severe conditions such as ice, snow, and thick fog. It’s also beneficial to look for weather-related crashes that were not related to your drivers. This will highlight the most problematic routes and help your drivers avoid delays. Use all the information available to you to help you plan more efficient routes, such as past weather data and traffic analysis.

  1. Take a Review: Reinforce Training and Policy with Drivers

Don’t limit driver training to new drivers. Be proactive. Each year, before the winter season starts, it’s a good idea to go over fleet safety policy and the specifics of winter driving. Develop an annual training course that’s geared specifically to navigating severe weather conditions such as heavy snow, thick fog, icy roads, vehicle breakdown, and road accidents.

Place emphasis on specific behaviors that can heighten the risk of accidents in winter weather, such as:

  • Distracted driving

  • Sleepiness

  • Speeding

  • Aggressive driving

  • Intoxication while driving

You should also discuss driving techniques for road handling in severe conditions such as:

  • Safe following distances

  • Safe braking

  • Making quick stops

  • Handling a skid

  • Taking corners

  • Dealing with icy roads

  • Dealing with a breakdown

Create a culture of safety within your driving fleet, one that reflects your company ethos and shows how much you care about the safety and wellbeing of your drivers.

  1. Take a Safety Check: Make Sure all Vehicles are Winter Weather Prepared

Vehicle safety checks should be performed before and regularly throughout the winter season. Preventative measures can help your team avoid breakdowns and prevent unnecessary accidents. This is also a good time to make sure all vehicle policies are up to date. For additional safety, make sure each of your drivers is carrying the following items:

  • First aid kit

  • Fire extinguisher

  • De-icing kit

  • Jumper cables

  • Road flares and warning signs

  • Flashlight and spare batteries

  • Shovel

  • Blanket

Drivers’ vehicles should be equipped with tires that can operate in heavy snow and ice. All winter tires should bear the three-peak mountain snowflake symbol on the sidewall. This indicates that the tire meets the required standards for snow performance.

Vehicles should also be stocked with winterized wiper fluid that contains an antifreeze component so that drivers can maintain maximum visibility at all times.

  1. Take a Tech Review: Examine Areas Where you Could Use Technology to Enhance Safety

When used properly, technology can be a valuable tool for ensuring driver safety during adverse winter road conditions. Driveri is a good example. This safety system captures every moment of driving time using a smart, vision-based approach that functions in real-time. The software enhances driver safety in three ways:

  • External view: cameras identify key risk factors such as safe following distance and speed.

  • Side views: cameras enable real-time views of the vehicle’s complete surrounding area.

  • Internal view (optional): inside cameras keep an eye on your drivers to make sure they don’t get distracted or violate company policies.

With a combination of cameras and artificial intelligence, Driveri can assist fleet drivers by alerting them of any dangers in real-time and preventing potential accidents. Monitoring your drivers consistently during the winter months not only helps them improve their driving performance, but it also helps you ensure their safety.

Driveri also provides you with a rating system that is driven by real-time driver performance updates. This can be used to provide feedback to your drivers and will enable you to offer rewards and incentives for optimized performance.

Keep Drivers Safe and Mitigate Risk

Managing the safety of your fleet drivers during the winter is crucial if you want to ensure optimum driver safety, reduced risk of road accidents, and minimal company downtime for repairs. Minimizing these risks also means saving your company money by avoiding lost business, heavy repair bills, and high insurance premiums.

Although there is no way to reduce the risks of accidents or breakdown during the winter months 100%, you can reduce these risks as much as possible by taking the right measures to give your drivers the best chance of staying safe.

Driveri enables fleet drivers to make informed decisions in any conditions, wherever they are.

 

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The Impact of COVID-19 on the Trucking Industry

Mar
31,
2020
3

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Trucking Industry

The impact of coronavirus is there for all to see. It has affected almost every industry around the world, and people are now wondering which industry will be left standing. The trucking industry is the last one to be affected, which could signify danger for both truckers and people waiting for goods. There is no doubt that people might be wondering how COVID-19 has impacted the trucking sector. This article highlights some of the effects that the spread of the Coronavirus is bringing to the trucking industry.

Covid 19 obstacles for truckers

Maricela Rodriguez/Valley Morning Star
The precautions in place for COVID-19 are causing problems for truck drivers, with some states closing rest areas and truck stops and limiting access even when they are open.

Professional Truck Drivers

At the best of times, truckers face many challenges including lack of parking, long hours, difficulty eating healthy meals, high stress, and being paid by the mile rather than for all time.  During the Covid-19 pandemic, truckers are facing even more strenuous challenges as they struggle to bring the nation vital grocery, medical supplies, and essential needs.

Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, there are now rest area and service plaza closures, even more truck parking restrictions, further food limitations and availability, lack of bathroom and shower facilities and the availability of PPE.  They are also battling with the fear and guidance of what to do if they get infected on the road.
These are additional stressors that truck drivers do not need right now, but find themselves facing.

Creating a Covid-19 Action Plan for our Truck Drivers

How to Support Truck Drivers during the Coronavirus Crisis

RoadPro®Provides Resources for Truck Drivers During Covid-19 Outbreak

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to the pandemic.  This means for drivers that some stress is relieved, however, most company drivers still are only paid for the miles they drive.

1. Truckers Losing Jobs

Although there is tremendous demand for truckers delivering food, pharmacy, and medical supplies,  many drivers are currently losing jobs in other sectors as their trucking companies slow down or even close their operations until further notice. This has led to considerable financial distress to most of these drivers who have been depending on these trucking sectors for income generation and sustainability.

The 2 Trillion dollar CARES Act, the Covid-19 stimulus bill relief package, will be a tremendous relief for company drivers as well as Owner Operators, however  to sustain their financial well-being in the meantime, we might see an increase in the number of online loans Texas truckers (and those in other states) are applying for in the coming months. This is the only source of income for drivers before they can see receive aid or resume their trucking duties.

Covid-19 Impact on trucking

2. Demand for Drivers

In the trucking industry, some trucking companies are cutting down on the number of employees, while others are looking for drivers. Trucking companies working in the transport of food, medicine, medical equipment, and other essentials have experienced a boom in their sector. All these essentials are in huge demand across the world, which explains why there is an increased demand for drivers who can help the companies in these sectors with meeting the growing demand.

3. Limited Movement

Trucking companies are known for long-distance services that they have been offering in the United States. Most of them have been providing coast to coast services for many years. However, the fact that the concentration of virus spread is restricted in specific cities, most of the trucking companies are choosing where to transport products and where not to transport. In as much as these companies want to remain in operations, they do not want to expose their essential employees to the virus. A March 25 report from the Supply Chain Analysis Network found that truckers “have been much more likely to reject offers to deliver” to the New York metropolitan area.

4. Cargo Selection Headaches

Previously, most of the trucking companies did not think much about the type of cargo they were transporting unless it was hazardous. However, everything has significantly changed since the emergence of COVID-19. Specific types of cargo are in much higher demand than others. Van and reefer are in demand while flatbed has fallen significantly. Companies and sole proprietors are in a race to secure the contracts for transporting these essential products. Those who traditionally found themselves transporting non-essential items must find new suppliers in order to stay operational.

5. Warehouse Closures

Warehouses are essential in the trucking industry as they act as distribution centers for most of the trucking companies. However, in the last few weeks, many of these warehouses are closing down including an Amazon facility in Kentucky. These closures are either due to the lack of consistent cargo to sustain their operations or in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. It is essential to highlight that most of the cities have instructed companies to close down and encouraged workers to move into self-isolation as a method of preventing the spread of the virus.

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, most of the sensitive industries will directly or indirectly be affected. The trucking industry is one of the essential sectors in the United States because it helps in the transportation of the necessary commodities to various corners of the nation. As it stands, the transport and the logistical industry is bleeding, and no sooner, people may experience an acute shortage in the supply of various products.

 

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RoadPro Provides Resources for Truck Drivers During Covid-19 Outbreak

Mar
30,
2020
1

RoadPro®Provides Resources for Truck Drivers During Covid-19 Outbreak

RoadPro®Provides Resources for Truck Drivers During Covid-19 Outbreak

RoadPro®Provides Resources for Truck Drivers During Covid-19 Outbreak

News Release
Palmyra, PA(March 2020)– RoadPro Family of Brands, dedicated to bringing the comforts of home to the road, realizes that the current situation with the Corona virus has impacted truck drivers as travel centers scale back food offerings as well as essential services.

RoadPro wants to help and remains committed to serving the on-the-go needs of America’s truckers to keep them safe, comfortable and connected, especially at this critical time and has created a specific webpage that will serve as a one-stop information center featuring the latest news from travel centers, links to the CDC page and government updates specific to the virus.

There will also be a section for related articles and links providing state by state updates, organizations that are providing services for drivers and stories of those that are making a difference by distributing meals or offering safe places to park.

There is also a link to RoadPro’s Brake Time community where truck drivers will find discussion groups specific toCovid-19 and where to find food and essentials.
To access the RoadPro Cares page go to https://www.roadprobrands.com/roadpro-cares .

In addition, RoadPro is well aware that many drivers are now seeking other food alternatives including the ability to prepare meals in their truck.
Until April 30, RoadPro is offering a solution by providing a $10 digital gift card offer on the purchase of the following 12-Volt cooking appliances:
the RoadPro 12-Volt Portable Stove RPSC-197, the RoadPro 12-Volt Roaster RPSC200, and the RoadPro 12-Volt 1.5 Quart Slow Cooker RPSL-350.
This will be in addition to any other current promotional offers on these products.

To receive the $10 digital gift card drivers can visit RoadProRewards.com or text keyword RoadPro to 80160 and then follow the instructions to register and submit your receipt image. A confirmation will be provided within 48 hours advising that the point value has been added to their RoadPro Rewards account. Those points can then be redeemed for a $10 Visa® digital gift card or other digital rewards.

The receipt must be uploaded within 30 days of purchase to qualify.
To find recipe solutions visit RoadProBrands.com and select Cooking with RoadPro under the Video Library tab.

Truck drivers are a vital part of this country and we at RoadPro truly care and recognize their value and importance. We hope the RoadPro Cares page, as well as the additional product discount, will help truck drivers while they are moving America and helping us through this national crisis.

RoadPro Family of Brands•724Lawn Road•Palmyra, PA 17078
717-964-3642 •Toll Free 800-233-7009 • www.roadprobrands.com

Contact: Charles White Vice President, Brand & Marketing(717) 964-3642

About RoadPro® Brands
RoadPro Brands is a division of DAS Companies, Inc. It designs and manages the proprietary RoadPro Family of Brands, distinctly created to bring the comforts of home to the road. With truck & auto supplies, travel gear, and mobile electronics, our brands offer safety, convenience, comfort, and connectedness to on-the-go consumers. The RoadPro Family of Brands delivers product quality at a great value—distributed exclusively through DAS divisions.
The RoadPro Family of Brands includes; RoadKing®, Wilson®, MobileSpec®, PowerDrive®, RoadPro®, K40, Astatic®, Francis®, LUMAGEAR®, and BlackCanyon Outfitters. RoadPro brands are sold at most Travel Centers across the country. To learn more about the RoadPro Family of Brands, please visit www.RoadProBrands.com

About DAS Companies, Inc.
DAS Companies, Inc. is a full-service marketing and supply chain portfolio company. Privately held, DAS Companies, Inc., designs, imports, and distributes truck & auto supplies, travel gear, and mobile electronics that offer safety, convenience, comfort and connectedness to on-the-go consumers, through a series of channel partnerships, including: Travel Centers, Convenience Stores, Heavy Duty Trucking, Electronics & Specialty Retailers.

For further information, please contact DAS at 717-964-3642 or online at www.DASinc.com .

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Why Truckers Need to Take preventive Maintenance Seriously

Jan
29,
2020
0

trucking maintenance

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Roadcheck will take place May 5-7.

Although the focus of the inspections will be on driver qualifications, inspectors will still mostly be conducting full 37-point North American Standard Level I inspections during the three-day blitz.

During the vehicle portion of the inspection, law enforcement will be checking brake systems, cargo securement, driveline components, exhaust systems, frames, fuel systems, lights, steering, suspension, tires and more.

Take preventive Maintenance Seriously

Enjoying the open road as a career is something that is not for everyone,but, for those who love it, life doesn’t get much better than owning your own big rig and picking which runs you want to make. However, preventive maintenance tends to be one of those areas that drivers tend to push off until the future. Here are five important reasons that you should take your preventive maintenance seriously going into the future.

Your Safety Matters

First and foremost, your safety matters when driving over the road. If you don’t take care of the maintenance of your truck regularly, you can find yourself stuck in some unsafe driving situations. Whether it’s a brake line blowing or simply losing a windshield wiper, they can be detrimental. Think of times when the weather is adverse and you find yourself dealing with the avoidable problems. preventive maintenance of your truck requires little effort when you look at the bigger picture of your safety as a trucker over the road.

To Avoid Legal Issues

Failure to properly maintain your truck is considered a form of negligence in the eyes of the law. If you knew that your tires were getting bald and you didn’t replace them to a safe level, then you can find yourself faced with a failure to maintain truck lawsuit. This can lead to big financial woes as you can be held liable for any damages and injuries that your rig caused due to a part that was not properly maintained by you. Not only will your financial future be on the line but so will your CDL license.

Keep Your Rig In Service For Longer

It’s no surprise that the better you maintain your rig, the longer it’s going to last. There’s no denying the fact that rigs are an expensive purchase. So, investing a little time and money on a regular basis to ensure that your rig lasts for a long time is nothing compared to the price of buying a new rig way before you should need to.

Your Paycheck Depends On Your Rig

At the end of the day, you only get paid once your load gets safely delivered on-time. If you don’t do preventive maintenance on your rig, you can find yourself broken down with a load that won’t get delivered on-time. The more time it takes to fix the issue will just be decreasing your payday hour by hour.

It Allows You Time To Save For Expensive Parts

One great benefit of having regular preventive maintenance performed is that the mechanic can check for potential future issues that will occur. Wear and tear are a big problem for big-rig truckers and replacing parts on a rig is much more expensive than doing so for a standard motor vehicle. When you have your truck in for maintenance, the mechanic can alert you of parts that are worn and will be ready to fail in the future. This way, you can set aside money to replace those parts in the near future before they leave you sitting alongside the road.

As a big rig trucking professional, preventive maintenance is not an option. It’s a much-needed task that should be completed regularly for the various reasons above. Although it can cost money to have done, compared to the cost of unruly lawsuits and expensive towing and repair bills, it’s a walk in the park. If you don’t have a preventive maintenance plan already, it’s time to get one setup.

 

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Truckers to be paid overtime in Washington state

Jan
17,
2020
0

Over the Road Truckers have been battling for higher wages, paid detention time, and even pay for all time for some time now.  But it’s not just OTR truckers who have consistently battled for higher wages. Many states, including Washington state, have created laws to protect employees from wage abuse, specifically truckers.

Washinton State Drivers

There are many classes of truckers; long haul over the road, interstate, intrastate, local, and the means by which they are paid differ and are regulated differently by law, including Federal and state laws.

Most OTR truckers are paid by the mile (cpm), but many argue that their time is also valuable, not just the miles they produce. Piece work wages has been a bone of contention for drivers as drivers claim they can work 100 hours in a week ( includes waiting time and other non driving tasks) and still only gross $1250.00 ( based on 50cpm and 2500 miles driven)
This comes out to $12.50/hour.  There is no regard for how man hours the driver worked, just how many miles he/she produced.
Note, OTR truckers are exempt from overtime per Fair labor Standards Act.

Washington state ensures that drivers who are paid hourly receive overtime after 40 hours.

In Bostain v, Food Express  Inc, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that Washington-based truck drivers are entitled to overtime pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

Washington CDL-holding truck drivers are entitled to overtime pay under Washington’s Minimum Wage Act, even if they drive outside of Washington State.

  • Washington resident, Washington CDL truck drivers who are paid hourly are entitled to overtime pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
  • The case that entitles Washington-based truck drivers to overtime pay under Washington State’s minimum wage laws (not federal law) is Bostain v. U.S. Express (2007).
  • Trucking companies must include all compensation in the regular rate of pay when calculating overtime for Washington-based truck drivers. This means that any mileage bonuses, accessorial pay, and any other non-discretionary bonuses or payments must be included when calculating the overtime rate (the employer can’t just make up an overtime rate).

Driver claims can go back as far as 3 years from today. Thousands of Washington truck drivers have been awarded back pay checks.

If you believe you qualify to receive back wages owed to you, then we encourage drivers to be proactive and inquire.  Find out more at Washington Truck Driver Rights

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Trucking HOS Safety Regulations confused with Department of Labor Wage and Hour Laws

Nov
19,
2019
0

We’ve all heard the continuous discussions regarding Safety, ELD’s, FMCSA Hours-of-Service, Compensable time, Non-Compensable  time, On Duty, Off-Duty, On Duty not Driving, Sleeper Berth, 14 hour Clock, Split Sleeper, More driver Flexibility, and the controversial issue of detention time pay.

Department of Labor

Department of Labor- U.S. Wage and Hour Division

Question:  When we look at all of the above, what do they all have in common?
Answer:Trucker Wages. How truckers are paid could solve, or at the very least, ease, many of the serious and controversial arguments existing today.

One must note: The FMCSA and Hours of Service are SAFETY Regulations NOT Wage & Hour Regulations.  The Department of Labor determines wages.  It is the ambiguity of how a driver logs his/her time that is causing such an uproar of extensive confusion within the trucking community. And the ATA wants it like that.

While the U.S. DOT dictates drivers’ hours of service and duty periods, the U.S. Department of Labor abides by different definitions of on-duty vs. off-duty time, despite using the same phrasing.

Department of Transportation seal

Department of Transportation seal

In order to understand this confusion, we must make it clear.  The professional driver is regulated by the clock ( FMCSA) but paid by the mile. If a driver is ONLY paid by mileage  (piece work wages), any driving obstructions (Detention time, weather, mechanical failures, paperwork, traffic, and even left waiting for another load.) that interferes with that drivers’ regulated clock, limits how much a driver can potentially earn.

So for example, if a drivers waits 1 week for a load he/she supposedly earns nothing because no miles were driven.
Is that legal?  According to the department of labor, No, it is not.  But for decades carriers have been getting away with not paying drivers for scenarios just like this.

A 2018 court decision changed all that as a Judge in Arkansas ruled correctly as he presided over the Pam Transport case.

In a Class Action lawsuit in Federal court against PAM Transport, an Arkansas based company, the court ruled against PAM Transport, for alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, a federal law that requires employers to pay truck drivers at least minimum wage.

District Judge Timothy Brooks reaffirmed that PAM Transport violated federal labor laws when they didn’t pay their truck-driver employees at least minimum wage for every non-sleeping hour spent in their truck.  It was determined that drivers are to be paid for 24 hours less 8 hours sleeping time.

In October 2018, Brooks ruling made a commotion within trucking when he ruled that PAM Transport would have to pay their truckers at least minimum wage for 16 hours each day that they work. Unofficially this has been dubbed the “16 hour rule”

Timothy Brooks wrote in his Oct. 19 memorandum on the PAM case:
According to Judge Brooks,  “There is no ambiguity here, then, as to whether an employer must count as hours worked the time that an employee spends riding in a commercial truck while neither sleeping nor eating: time thus spent “is working” and “any work” performed “while traveling must… be counted as hours worked.”
Please read: “Court decisions are turning the tide in favor of Truckers Wages

GOALS;  ATA’s goal is to get as many hours and miles from drivers at the lowest possible cost to the carrier.
The drivers goal is to make as much money as possible, accumulating as many miles as they can within their limits of the 14 hour clock and the 60/70-Hour Limit (drivers may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.)

When you first look at the goals, they may appear similar. Both drivers and Carriers want drivers to get as many miles as possible.  The difference is, the carriers do not care how many hours a driver must “work” in order to achieve their mileage, and frankly, the drivers have been conditioned to believe their time is not valuable, only the miles they produce.
Work means not only “driving”, but also “on duty not driving” The issue comes up with HOW the driver logs, especially when drivers log “sleeper berth” or “off duty” rather than “on duty not driving” in order to save their 70.

A drivers’ life is spent waiting, not just driving. Therefore, “relieved of all duty” rarely is a part of their job.

On July 22nd 2019 the DOL issued an opinion letter on whether the time spent in a truck’s sleeper berth is compensable hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
A lot of controversy was raised over this letter.  The main issue is how the driver logged his time and the term “relieved of all duty”

U.S. Department of Labor Issues New Wage and Hour Opinion Letter

These letters were most likely triggered because of the PAM case and Judge Brooks ruling in favor of drivers, and the DOL opinion was obviously leaning in favor of the carriers.

No doubt, driver wage court cases will be even more controversial now that there are conflicting DOL statements, specifically  The DOL Wage and Hour law vs. the recent DOL opinion.

Truckers should be compensated for ALL their time less 8 hours sleeping time just as Judge Brooks decided, determined by the Department of Labor and the FLSA.
The opinion by Judge Timothy L. Brooks, of the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Arkansas, says that, under the FSLA, drivers’ total compensation, once divided by the total number of hours worked, should equal at least the federal minimum wage of  $7.25 an hour. This is the MINIMUM, not a standard.

Food for Thought

Questions:  How many hours may a truck driver drive?
Answer:  FMCSA limits the number of hours that can be spent driving, as follows:

  • Drivers of property-carrying commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) are limited to 11 hours of driving after having 10 consecutive hours off duty. However, this is not a “daily” limit. Under this provision, a driver could hypothetically drive for 11 hours, take 10 hours off, and drive for another 3 hours before the end of the 24-hour day.

Question:  How are company drivers paid?
As long as drivers are continued to be paid piece work wages, most often being cents per mile, the hours a drivers is regulated and allowed to drive will affect their ability on how much they may earn. They will always be chasing the carrot.

The  DOT and the DOL need to make clear how a drivers logs according to safety vs.how a driver to determine wage compensation.

Whether you are a company driver or an independent owner operator, the way company drivers are paid affects everyone.  Driver wages affect freight rates and freight rates affect o/o’s profits.
All Truckers are dependent on how many miles he/she can drive legally in order to get from Point A to Point B, unless they are paid for all time.

 

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