Friday, December 18, 2015

Video: Nebraska deputy’s daring leap onto moving tractor

A Nebraska sheriff’s department has released dashcam video of a deputy’s dramatic attempt to aid a trucker who was having a diabetic episode while behind the wheel of his moving truck.

The deputy, Sgt. Todd Volk of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, was one of several officers who responded to a 911 call on Dec. 2 about a reckless tractor trailer heading northbound on Highway 81 near the Platte County line.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Rearview: Big dreams, adrenaline and sore knuckles

Editor’s note: We’re looking “in our rearview” to bring you some of our favorite stories, columns and items from Land Line’s 40-year-history. The lifting of the 40-year-old oil export ban has some significance for truckers. Looking in our rearview mirror – here’s a story from October 2010 about trucking in the early days, during the Arab oil embargo and just before the export ban was initiated.

After the Christmas of 1973, a trucker named Al Hannah skipped two truck payments, bought a 1973 Mercury, and equipped it with a CB. Along with another trucker named Jim Johnston, he hit the road to get something started.

In the 37-year history of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the organization has been steered by only three presidents. In July, two of them got together at OOIDA’s Missouri headquarters for the first time in more than three decades. The conversation quickly turned to a story with details that can only be told by Al Hannah and Jim Johnston.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

FAST Act: What didn’t make it into the highway bill

One of the provisions that came close, but didn’t make it into the highway bill – now the FAST Act – was an amendment from U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) that would have packed a huge wallop to trucking operations. The amendment would have essentially stepped in and established federal law over a number of states (California being one) that have very old state laws that require meal and rest breaks for workers. 

Denham’s amendment would have assured that federal law in this situation pre-empted state law. But Denham’s amendment went even further. It also would have introduced language that would limit compensation for truck drivers to mileage pay only. No detention, no hourly, no other kind of pay. Mileage pay only. Naturally, OOIDA opposed this amendment quicker than David chunked that rock at Goliath, issuing a massive member call to action.

It was good news, and gratifying, to find out the final FAST Act did not include Denham’s language.

In addition, as OOIDA reviews the ins and outs of the new appropriations bill – not to be confused with FAST Act – I am advised that nothing has been slipped into the T-HUD (Transportation, Housing and Urban Development) either.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Cheating on logs, not just for paper anymore

What does an eggshell “baby” have to do with cheating on electronic logs? A high school “adult living” project is just another example that technology is not failsafe.

The buzz over the weekend, and I’m sure that will continue in weeks to come, is the debate over the ability of electronic logs to prevent falsifying logs. Technology, those in favor of electronic logs say, will put an end to the cheating. Forgive me if you must, but it’s pretty naïve to think that way.

My daughter brought home my grand “egg baby” last week. It’s a low-cost high school project to show kids that parenting isn’t easy. Students hollow out, decorate and name an egg that they must carry around and care for in the following week or two.

We won’t talk about Princess Jones crushing her first “baby” during the decorating phase the very first day; the teacher gave her a free pass and another egg.

But I will move on to the family introductions and the ensuing quizzing of her obligations as an egg baby parent. The proof of her parenting does not end with presenting an intact egg baby at the end of the project. The students must take selfies with the egg at four-hour intervals over the course of the project.

Immediately, her older brothers pointed out that time stamps can be faked on both her phone and camera, and she should take a whole bunch at once.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Mirror, mirror on the truck

A Michigan company wanted to replace truck mirrors on its 15-vehicle fleet with a camera-based system. But FMCSA rules require that “every bus, truck, and truck tractor” be equipped with rearview mirrors.

So in April of 2013, the fleet operated by Atwood Forest Products of Big Rapids, Mich., applied to the FMCSA for an exemption. The FMCSA ruling came down this month. The answer was “no.”

Is this a setback for the march of progress?

Doesn’t look like it. Cameras are coming on, if not quickly, at least steadily. Last year the National Highway Traffic Administration mandated that all cars built after May 1, 2018, be equipped with rearview cameras – backup cameras like those already standard on some car models.

No mandate yet for trucks, but Daimler Trucks North America last year applied to NHTSA for an exemption from current mirror requirements. Daimler wants to use a camera-based system instead of mirrors for the on-highway Super Truck it featured at the Mid-America Truck Show earlier this year. Daimler says the camera system will reduce wind drag and provide greater safety benefits.

Well, maybe.