Friday, February 12, 2016

Spirit of the law vs. Letter of the law

I read court cases involving truckers all week. It’s part of the job. Everything from noncompliant carriers busted by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General to lost wages due to misclassification.  

Earlier this week I received an email from a lawyer giving me a heads up about a case involving a truck driver who was fired for refusing to accept an overweight load. The complainant claims that it was illegal for him to haul the load. Under the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA), the complainant was protected from repercussions for what is essentially coercion to violate regulations. He won the case and was awarded back pay, mental pain damages, attorney fees, and $50,000 in punitive damages. In addition, the carrier was ordered to put him back to work.

Sounds like a slam dunk case against a carrier committing coercion. But then I read the full court document.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Where are the safest drivers in America?

On my way to the Land Line office the other day, I passed two vehicle crashes in the middle of Interstate 70. My Waze app is always notifying me of crashes up ahead with the dreaded red line indicating delayed traffic. I’m a chill guy (seriously, I’m the quiet person at work), but my road rage is cranked to 11 on a daily basis as result of awful drivers. People in Kansas City do not know how to drive.

I could not be more wrong, according to Allstate’s America’s Best Drivers Report.

The same day I passed those two crashes within a few miles of each other, I noticed a Facebook post from a local friend applauding Allstate’s report that was released last September. Kansas City, Kan., was ranked the safest driving city in the U.S. with Kansas City, Mo., ranked No. 17.


I began to wonder what on Earth is going on in the rest of country that makes Kansas City drivers among the safest. Perhaps I’m in a delusional bubble of perceived danger as someone who has lived in Kansas City his entire life and has experienced limited road travel. Perhaps someone from Boston, ranked dead last, would drive along that same stretch of I-70 and marvel at the fact that only two crashes occurred.

Here are the top 10 safest driving cities, out of the 200 largest cities, according to Allstate:

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Trucking has many more good eggs than bad apples

Hundreds of thousands of tractor-trailers travel U.S. highways every day, and they do so in a professional and safe manner.

However, those safe trucking professionals are often edged from the spotlight by the most dangerous.  

Case in point, check out this recent quote from National Transportation Safety Board member Dr. Robert Molloy:

“I’d like to live in a world where everybody cared about safety, but that’s not the world of trucking,” he said.

The reality is that the motor carriers who choose to disregard regulations and put others on the road at risk are not indicative of the trucking industry as a whole. The majority of truck drivers and motor carriers want those fleets off the highway just as much as any safety board.

Osburn soon to be on the road again

Jon Osburn has received the thumbs up from his doctor, so OOIDA’s “Spirit of the American Trucker” driver will soon be at a truck stop near you.
Osburn suffered a tear in his knee that required surgery and several weeks of rehabilitation. That meant Osburn and his co-pilot, Sassi the dog, were forced to cancel tour trips to California, Arizona and New Mexico in January and early February.

But Osburn received clearance from his doctor ahead of schedule, so he will be back on the road beginning Thursday, Feb. 11.

His first stop will be Feb. 14-16 at the Henry Albert Travel Center on Interstate 35 and Beltway Parkway in Laredo, Texas.

Osburn and the Spirit’s following stops include: 
  • Feb. 18-20                   T/A, San Antonio, Texas        I-10, Exit 583
  • Feb. 22-24                   Petro, Beaumont, Texas          I-10, Exit 848
  • Feb. 25-27                   T/A, Lafayette, La.                 I-10 and State Rd 182
  • Feb. 28-March 1          Petro, Hammond, La.             I-12, Exit 40 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Big rigs help MLB ‘play ball’

Baseball season is almost here. Pitchers and catchers for Major League Baseball teams begin reporting for spring training next week.

The Cleveland Indians' equipment truck is loaded with bats,
balls, and other equipment on "Truck Day" before leaving
on a 2,000-mile journey to Goodyear, Ariz.
If you’re a baseball lover like me, you can almost hear the crack of the bat and taste the hot dogs.

But let’s not forget the role tractor-trailers play in helping the baseball season get started.

This week, most MLB teams are celebrating the annual tradition of “Truck Day,” when 18-wheelers are loaded with equipment before leaving for either Arizona or Florida to begin spring training.

According to, the Cleveland Indians loaded two 53-foot trailers with bats, balls, bikes, golf clubs, exercise equipment, bottled water, sunflower seeds and stadium mustard. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Texas Rangers were hauling nearly 6,000 new baseballs, six pitching machines and fun items for the players, such as Sony PlayStations and dominoes.