Friday, August 12, 2016

Canada has lost its mind trying to justify ELDs

Editor’s note: OOIDA Senior Member Johanne Couture has more than 20 years’ experience as a truck driver pulling freight throughout the U.S. and Canada. In addition to her service as a member of OOIDA’s board, she’s also a member of the Canadian Council of Motor Transportation Administrators’ compliance and review board.

I am truly baffled by Canada’s latest attempt to convince people that we need an electronic log mandate. The cost-benefit analysis, the study that supposedly shows the benefits outweigh the costs, is nothing more than a smoke screen.

The cost-benefit analysis for Canada’s national ELD mandate claims the mandated use of the devices will prevent two crashes annually. That’s two crashes, not necessarily two fatalities and not necessarily even injuries. Just crashes.

So here we have a financially burdensome mandate, intruding on the privacy of all mandated drivers nationally, that will potentially prevent only TWO crashes annually?

Two crashes annually. Think about that.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Chiropractors qualified to give DOT physicals

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration removed New York chiropractors from the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners without providing any criticism for the work they had done.

The FMCSA said their hands were tied, pointing to the New York State Education Department’s interpretation of state law that DOT physicals are outside a chiropractor’s defined scope of practice. The decision was based on scope and not competency, they said.

Regardless of the reason, the action decreased the already limited number of DOT doctors in the state. Early reports suggest that some doctors have increased the price of DOT physicals now that the competition has decreased and the demand has increased.

What’s worrisome is that the dilemma may not stay contained to New York. The Safe Drivers, Safe Roads Coalition believes New York may only be the start. The coalition says there are groups attempting to remove chiropractors from the registry state by state.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Is drinking coffee considered distracted driving?

We see it all the time, and we are all guilty of it to some degree. Some offenders are more egregious than others. There are amateurs and there are “pros.”

I’m talking about distracted driving.

Distracted driving can range from such objectively dangerous activities as playing Pokémon GO to seemingly mundane actions like changing the radio station. Problems with distracted driving have become so bad that the U.S. government has an entire website dedicated to the issue,

Recently, a New Jersey bill sponsored by Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski and Assemblyman Nicholas Chiaravalloti proposes amendments to an already existing distracted driving law. As it stands, the law prohibits drivers from using a “wireless telephone or electronic communication device” while operating a moving vehicle. Bill A1908 wants to add this part:

Monday, August 8, 2016

CMT’s ‘The Bandit’ shares story of classic trucking film

The film “Smoky and the Bandit” is as big of a part of the trucking culture as biscuits and gravy at a truck stop or the CB Radio. Heck, the DVD of the 1977 blockbuster starring Burt Reynolds might as well be passed out to everyone who earns their commercial driver’s license. Even though the movie’s depiction of trucking strays hilariously from real life, the action-comedy is beloved by most people who have sat in the driver’s seat of a big rig.

Plenty of you have probably seen the movie a dozen or more times. You most likely know a majority of the lines by heart. You may even mimic Reynolds’ iconic laugh and gum chomp from time to time. But do you know the story of how this underdog film written and directed by a stunt man evolved into a classic that grossed almost $127 million, spawned two sequels and remains beloved almost 40 years later?

On Aug. 6, CMT premiered “The Bandit,” which is a behind-the-scenes look at how the film came to fruition.  

You can watch it below once you log in with your television provider.

Hal Needham, who was a longtime friend of Reynolds and worked as his stunt man on such movies as “The Longest Yard” and “Gator,” wrote the film about truck drivers trying to haul beer across country. Needham showed his script to Reynolds and asked him to star in it. Reynolds, who liked the story but thought the dialogue didn’t work, said he would if the actors were allowed to improvise.

While agreeing to star in a film written and directed by a longtime stunt man seemed extremely risky at the time, the success of the movie did nothing but increase Reynolds’ status as a movie superstar. It also allowed Needham to direct nine more feature films, including “Smoky and the Bandit II” and “Cannonball Run,” which also featured Reynolds in the leading role.

A contributor to the success was likely due to Needham’s perspective on the film he was making.

“I had no fear going in,” Needham, who died in 2013, was quoted as saying in the documentary. “I mean we’re not doing “Gone with the Wind” or “Fiddler on the Roof.” It’s action-comedy. Let’s just light it for the color and shoot it. Speed, speed, speed.”

The 80-minute documentary discusses the formation of the cast that includes Sally Field, Jerry Reed and Jackie Gleason, as well as how the Firebird Trans Am was chosen as the Bandit’s signature vehicle, and how Reed made “Eastbound and Down” the film’s trademark song.

If you’re a big fan of “Smokey and the Bandit,” you’re sure to enjoy the interviews from the cast and crew, rare behind-the-scenes footage, and a great story of how two friends struck gold with a small-budget buddy film with fast cars and big trucks.