Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Road Rumor Alert – Pokémon Go causes fatal Tennessee crash?

If you’re a trucker with a Facebook account, chances are you’ve seen or at least heard about a post last week about a wrong-way driver who struck and killed a tanker hauler on Interstate 40 near Knoxville on July 20.

The post, purportedly from the driver’s grieving daughter, claims the errant four-wheeler was distracted by Pokémon Go and didn’t realize he was going the wrong way until it was too late for both him and the truck driver, Carroll Trent. Both men died in the crash.

We almost got caught up in the headline rush-to-judgment ourselves last week, when our social media maven Kerry Evans-Spillman was tagged in the post. Trouble was, we couldn’t verify that Pokémon Go was the cause of the crash anywhere besides the Facebook post. In fact, when we started scanning the local headlines looking for boots-on-the-ground reports, like this one from the local CBS affiliate in Knoxville, they said just the opposite. The local newspaper reports also say police aren’t sure what caused the crash, but they’ve ruled the game out as a cause.

Monday, July 25, 2016

This is why speed limiters are a bad idea

It seems there is a great divide between those who live in and around trucking and those who don’t when it comes to whether speed limiting of trucks should be mandatory.

The arguments for speed limiters – by the anti-trucking groups and large motor carrier groups – are tied up in pretty wrapping-paper arguments of highway safety and saving the environment for the most part.

It’s pretty easy to throw common sense out the window and play to these emotional arguments, and unfortunately lawmakers and regulators seem to be doing their damnedest to buy in and push a mandate through.

To drive my point home, I’ll just share a video I came across this weekend as Exhibit A of what will be happening more and more on the highways if all trucks are speed limited.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Tesla’s vision for the future includes big rigs, buses

Tesla’s vision for the automotive future now includes commercial vehicles.

Elon Musk, the company’s co-founder and CEO, outlined the plan on July 20 in his most recent blog titled, “Master Plan, Part Deux.”

“In addition to consumer vehicles, there are two other types of electrical vehicles needed: heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport,” he said. “Both are in the early stages of development at Tesla and should be ready for unveiling next year. We believe the Tesla semi will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate.”

However, Musk offers no specific details about the Tesla semi.

Other parts of the second phase of the plan include:
  • Integrating energy generation and storage
  • Increasing the development of autonomous vehicles
  • Creating the ability to share vehicles 

Much of the plan comes off as a work of science fiction, and it will be interesting to see how many of the ideas work in the real world.

In May, there was a fatality crash involving one of Tesla’s Model S self-driving cars. Regardless, Musk says autonomous vehicles will drastically improve safety. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

New dock delay survey echoes controversial study 17 years ago

Waiting to load or unload while earning not a cent is the curse of our industry. Everybody talks about the problem, but that’s about it. Just talk.

Earlier this month, Land Line Staff Writer Tyson Fisher reported on a survey conducted by DAT Solutions, the load-board company. According to the survey, “nearly 63 percent of drivers spend more than three hours at a shipper’s dock waiting to get loaded and unloaded.” DAT’s press release noted that of 257 carriers surveyed, 9 percent said delays of five hours or more were common.

Trucking veterans know there’s nothing new about such delays. Some may remember a more startling survey conducted by the Truckload Carriers Association. That 1999 study said truckload drivers spent an average of 33.5 hours a week loading, unloading, or simply waiting.

Not an impressive number? Try this one: Drivers of refrigerated trucks spent 44 hours a week at loading docks.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

37th Walcott Truckers Jamboree a success

Owners of the Iowa 80 Truck Stop wanted to say ‘thank you’ once again to truck drivers across the nation. In return, an announced attendance of 43,233 truck drivers and their families showed up for the 37th annual Walcott Truckers Jamboree.

Visitors traveled from 23 states and Canada to display their trucks, to listen to live music, and to celebrate the trucking industry last week in Walcott, Iowa.

The 37th annual Walcott Truckers Jamboree had an attendance
of more than 43,000 during the three-day event last week at the
Iowa 80 Truck Stop. (Courtesy of Iowa 80 Group)
“My family has been serving the trucking industry for 52 years,” said Delia Moon Meier, an owner and senior vice president of the Iowa 80 Group. “We appreciate the hard work drivers do. The Jamboree is our way to say thank you. It is also an event that allows us to promote trucking to the general public.”

During the three-day event, guests had the opportunity to enjoy more than 150 exhibits, a Super Truck Beauty Contest, an antique truck display with more than 150 vehicles, an Iowa pork chop cookout, a Trucker Olympics, a carnival, fireworks displays, truck light shows and free concerts by Sammy Kershaw, Lindsay Lawler and Clare Dunn.