On August 27, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) granted Transco, a large grocery retailer, their request for 30-minute rest break exemption.
Transco filed a request in October 2018, which the FMCSA has now granted. However, the exemption allows the drivers, “to comply with the 30 minute break requirement while performing on-duty not-driving tasks.”
In Transco’s request for exemption, the company told the FMCSA their drivers are at a higher safety risk with the 30-minute rest break because they operate at lower speeds, make frequent stops, and have set driver schedules.
The FMCSA noted that, “in most cases Transco relies on team drivers who alternate during shift deliveries. Total trip time averages 17.2 hours. However, total driving time for both drivers combined averages just 9.1 hours. Each driver spends, on average, only 4.55 hours or 32.5% of their shift engaged in driving.” Transco argued that the 30 minute rest break actually decreases their drivers safety.
In addition, the FMCSA stated 3,580 drivers who make wholesale deliveries to grocery and convenience stores are eligible for the 30-minute rest break exemption.
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) announced the Starke Truck Route, a four lane truck route implemented to reduce traffic congestion on U.S. 301, will open sometime in September this year.
The Starke Truck Route started construction in August 2016, located on the west side of Starke, Florida. The $90 million, 7.3 mile long, route is constructed between County Road 227 and County Road 23. Which is expected to provide additional capacity for future growth in the area and improve safety.
The route is estimated to carry over 25,000 vehicles per day in 2020, and increase to over 31,000 per day by the year 2040. Despite mixed feelings about the project from the locals, after hearing concerns that the route will negatively impact local business the Florida Department of Transportation assured “the new road was constructed with the safety and needs of residents and businesses alike in mind”.
Truck drivers aren’t praised for their job, in fact they get little recognition. The economy depends on truck drivers to transport freight and other items Americans purchase. As a direct result of the lack of drivers the cost of goods and shipping costs will inflate, but what’s really causing the shortage of drivers may surprise you.
One issue impacting the shortage is age and gender. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average age of a commercial truck driver in the U.S. is 55 years old, that’s just 11 years till retirement, at age 66. What’s surprising is the Department of Transportation requires all professional drivers to be at least 21 years old, which is quite the age gap for the average trucker. So what’s causing the younger generation not to pursue a career in trucking? Well, the unemployment rate for millennials is more than twice the national average, at a soaring 12.8 percent. Millennials aren’t all to blame though, because statistically only 8 percent of truck drivers are female. Companies are so desperate to hire drivers they’re offering signing bonuses, pay raises, and referrals. Some companies even started to offer free online-college tuition for their drivers. If the trucking industry can market to women and the younger generation, it might solve part of the problem.
We need to consider what it’s like to be on the road, then maybe we’ll understand why this is a dying profession. Professional drivers barely get to see their families and the constant trips make it hard to maintain relationships. Leah Fessler, a publicist for Quartz wrote, “ The 50% divorce rate statistic is a myth. Divorce rates vary by factors like race, education level, and employment status.” According to Fessler the divorce rate for truck drivers is 44.2 percent. This doesn’t mean that if you’re a truck driver you’ll get divorced, there’s other factors at play. This occupation is difficult and demands a lot of time away from your loved ones. Becoming a truck driver isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle choice.
Truck drivers don’t get the respect they deserve. People often don’t take into consideration the amount of time it takes a semi-truck to stop, nor do they see all they’ve sacrificed to keep us safe on the road. CEO and owner of Ezlogz, CJ “Sergey” Karman, was in the logistics industry for over 12 years, drove all 48 states, he also owned a trucking company, and was a broker and safety director. His response to the question if his years of experience being a truck driver still has its side effects, CJ responded,
Once a trucker, always a trucker. I’m grateful for having that experience. I do miss it at times, but truckers don’t get the respect they deserve. The extra stress, aside from driving, that’s brought on from paperwork like BOL, lumper and fuel receipts, is why we created the platform Ezlogz. We’ve been able to help drivers be more organized and lead a less stressful life on the road.
Many people like CJ, who used to be drivers, will never forget the life on the road and have the utmost respect for this occupation. It’s a profession America can’t afford to lose.
Crestwood Transportation – a company based out of Texas – are raising their starting pay from 46 cents to 60 cents for all tanker drivers in the central region. The pay raise was said to be effective March 21 of this year.
Image by Crestwood Transportation Facebook Page via [https://www.facebook.com/CrestwoodTransportation/photos] (copyright-free)
According to the company, drivers can now start at up to $80-85,000 per year.
In order to be considered for the position, applicants require two years of experience, a tanker and hazmat endorsement, and most importantly a clean driving record.
The company wants to reward their current and new drivers by receiving load pay, layover pay and detention pay as well as steady safe driving records.
Sources: “Crestwood Transportation Raises Driver Pay by 14 Cpm.” CDLLife, 1 May 2018, cdllife.com/2018/crestwood-transportation-raises-driver-pay-by-14-cpm/.
Anheuser-Busch are reportedly teaming up with Nikola in buying up to 800 hydrogen-electric trucks to replace more than half of their fleet.
The trucks being delivered will be the Nikola Two – also known as the Day Cab version – and have a capability of producing zero emissions, ability to be refueled in 20 minutes and have a range between 500 and 1,200 miles.
Manager Editor, Brian Straight reported:
” The cab is designed with “surround vision” and features a 15 in. touchscreen that gives the driver a virtual aerial view of the area around the truck and trailer in real time, eliminating blind spots. A panoramic windshield and a forward position for the driver provides improved visibility. That view is complemented by high-definition cameras combined with radar, sonar and computer software. The result is a complete 360 deg. view of the vehicle.
The mid-cab design features a sliding entry door to reduce the dangers of climbing into and out of the cab.
Inside the cab, there is a touchscreen where some of the most advanced productivity tools are located. Nikola aims to make the vehicle an “all-inclusive” model, giving drivers all the tools they need to do their jobs. This includes standard readouts such as battery levels, ranges, wheel torque and cabin controls, Bluetooth-enabled phone, calendar, integrated logging and driver/vehicle performance data and more. It also includes navigation and vehicle data as well as “Nikola Shipments.”
Nikola has plans for converting 100% of their fleets in the future.
Sources: Straight, Brian. “Anheuser-Busch to Buy up to 800 Nikola Hydrogen-Electric Trucks.” FreightWaves, www.freightwaves.com/news/green-trucking/anheuser-busch-to-buy-nikola-hydrogen-electric-trucks.
With most families having to provide with multi incomes for one household, a big trend in mid 2017 to present day is “Online Ordering.”
Most people feed off of the convenience you get from ordering your groceries online and picking it up within the hour down at their local grocery store. Another big trend is meal prep – or meal kits like BlueApron or Hello Fresh! – that has changed the game with having the option to just pop a pre-made meal in the oven or on the stove.
With the growing amount that online ordering has created for convenience will be a much higher demand for refrigerated items.
Sources: “How Home Delivery and Fresh Foods Are Changing Refrigerated Transport.” TopNews – Drivers – TopNews – TruckingInfo.com, www.truckinginfo.com/channel/fleet-management/article/story/2018/04/how-home-grocery-delivery-and-the-focus-on-fresh-are-changing-refrigerated-transportation.aspx.
As discussed in previous posts, the future of the trucking industry was brought with bespoke aerodynamic designs created by Shell and AirFlow Truck Co.
Image by The Trucker via [http://www.thetrucker.com/News/Story/BespoketrucksShellandAirFlowTruckCohavedesignedandbuiltone] (copyright-free)
It is designed and built as a hyper-fuel-efficient Class 8 truck with the capability for reducing the energy usage associated with the transportation of goods. The body of the proposed tractor is made of carbon fiber from the side skirts, to the hood, and front end.
The Trucker News Publisher states:
” The truck will use a number of full synthetic Shell Lubricants products including Spirax S6 GXME 75W-80 transmission oil, Spirax S5 ADE 75W-80 differential oil and Spirax S6 GME 40 wheel hub oil. In addition, Shell Rotella Extended Life Coolant will provide excellent high-temperature protection and heat transfer. Shell Rotella Diesel Exhaust Fluid, a high purity diesel exhaust fluid, will also be in the truck. ”
The efficiency and lesser fuel costs could really make positive and growing changes for both Shell, AirFlow Truck Co. and the trucking industry altogether.
Sources:“’Bespoke’ Trucks? Shell and AirFlow Truck Co. Have Designed and Built One – TheTrucker.com – America’s Trucking Newspaper.” The Trucker, www.thetrucker.com/News/Story/BespoketrucksShellandAirFlowTruckCohavedesignedandbuiltone.
Image by unknown via [https://gajitz.com/if-batman-were-a-trucker-hed-drive-this-cool-future-rig/] (copyright-free)
Amazon discussing future ideas for autopilot drones that make their own deliveries, Tesla creating a self driving car, and companies like XPO Logistics Inc making the move with the use of robotic machines to raise mass production in their warehouses, what are plans for the future in the trucking industry?
It’s a possibility that one day in the future, trucks will have self driving deliveries that make it from destination A to B or robotic machines that can make deliveries themselves, with technology and innovation rapidly growing every day, anything is possible.
Sources: “The Future of Freight: What’s Your Vision?” Transport Topics, 5 Apr. 2018, www.ttnews.com/articles/future-freight-whats-your-vision.
“Profit, Revenue Grow at XPO as It Invests in Tech.” Transport Topics, 3 May 2018, www.ttnews.com/articles/profit-revenue-grow-xpo-it-invests-tech.
The Trucking Alliance – The Alliance for Driver Safety & Security – are reportedly pushing congress for drug testing to ensure there are no prior opioid addiction or illegal use of substances while going behind the wheel.
Image by unknown via [http://www.truckinginfo.com/channel/drivers/news/story/2018/05/trucking-alliance-pushes-congress-to-tighten-truck-driver-drug-testing.aspx] (copyright-free)
If Congress decide to push for drug testing, verification for no opioid addiction or illegal drug use will be required at least 30 days prior to employment to anyone applying for safety sensitive related jobs in the trucking industry.
Sources: “Trucking Alliance Pushes Congress to Tighten Truck Driver Drug Testing.” TopNews – Drivers – TopNews – TruckingInfo.com, www.truckinginfo.com/channel/drivers/news/story/2018/05/trucking-alliance-pushes-congress-to-tighten-truck-driver-drug-testing.aspx.