Friday, March 17, 2017

We've Moved!

When we started this little adventure into “blogging” 10 years ago, we didn’t quite know what would become of it. Over the years it’s grown and evolved and so has the way Land Line brings you the news and views on all things trucking.

Now, we’re moving our site to its own place on our main Land Line website umbrella.

Be sure and bookmark TandemThoughts.LandLineMag.com. We think you’ll love the new look of the site. We know you already love the content.



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Senate hearing sells out truckers, caters to anti-trucking agenda

 A Senate subcommittee held a hearing about trucking, without a trucker on the panel. The result was a hearing that catered to the anti-trucking agenda. Managing Editor Jami Jones shares just some of her rage over the hearing.


See the full story at the new home of Tandem Thoughts: http://tandemthoughts.landlinemag.com/congress/senate-caters-to-anti-trucking-agenda/

Friday, March 10, 2017

Traffic-camera ticket turns into constitutional fight

When people receive a traffic-camera ticket in the mail, they likely all react the same way. I’m going to fight it, he says. It’s just not right, she says to herself.

The gut reaction is common, because there are many questions. Was I even driving during that time? Can they prove I was the one driving? Does this still-frame photo that shows my vehicle in the intersection with a red light prove that it wasn’t yellow when I entered, and does it indicate that it wasn’t the safest choice?

Yep. We all dream of fighting these cases and likely envision ourselves delivering an impassioned speech to the court as if we were the main character in a John Grisham novel.

But, in reality, we usually pay the ticket and move on.

However, Adam J. MacLeod, a law professor from Faulkner University in Alabama, didn’t let it go. He lived our dreams for us.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Well, that was embarrassing, wasn’t it FMCSA?

Earlier this week, I could envision truckers around the country saying out loud, “Told you so FMCSA.” The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had to admit that when it abandons a fact-based approach to regulation, the rules likely won’t stand up to scrutiny.

To catch anyone up who missed it, the inspector general signed off on a FMCSA study of the voluntary restart provision. The study shows that requiring two overnight rest periods and limiting the use of the restart did not benefit drivers.

Back in 2013, the agency added these restrictions to the voluntary restart provision. Truckers screamed that it rendered the provision useless. It forced people out on the road at times of peak congestion. It tried to mandate sleep and rest patterns. In the assessment of truck drivers, it failed.

Survey says
We can’t even give the agency credit for listening to this feedback and agreeing to study the changes. That credit goes to Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and members of Congress. They listened to truckers and mandated the study and not just any study.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The power and need for social media

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Google+, Pinterest. With so many social media platforms, it’s hard to keep up with who is where and which platform is best for you. A lot of people choose to stay off social media entirely.

Don’t. Here’s why.

Like it or not, social media is where people go to for real-time information. Although it’s called “social” media, it’s no longer just a place to keep up with friends, family and people you never even talked to in high school.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Remembering Jerry Nerman - trucking magnate, art collector

Jerry Nerman, founder of Arrow Truck Sales and well-known art collector, died Tuesday, Feb. 28, at the age of 97. Services were held March 3 at the Kehilath Israel Synagogue in Overland Park, Kan.

He was a World War II U.S. Army veteran. After the war he went home to Kansas City, Mo., where he founded Arrow Truck Sales. With 18 locations, Arrow is now one of the nation’s largest dealerships for used Class 7 and 8 trucks.

In 1950, Nerman and the late Melvin Spitcaufsky created a small truck lot in Kansas City intending to sell used trucks. Their first trucks were eight vehicles purchased from the Missouri Corps of Engineers. Those trucks wouldn’t even fire up and, as the story goes, the men had to roll them down a hill to start them.

The $8,000 investment, however, turned into a lucrative deal and the two men realized they might be on to something. Arrow Truck Sales Inc. was launched. The Volvo Group bought half of the ownership of Arrow Truck Sales in 1998 and acquired the rest of the company in 2001. Nerman continued to be active until he announced his retirement in February of 2010. Nerman also founded Truck Center of America, which provides pre-owned vehicles to customers. Based in Leawood, Kan., TCA remains a family-operated business.

In the Kansas City metro, Nerman, wife Margaret and their son Lewis are known as being among the Midwest’s most prominent collectors of contemporary art.

The Nermans have also provided financial support for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts in Kansas City, and the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Mo.

Related article:

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

With this ring

“People say that love knows no bounds, that it flows through all of us and crosses all definable and indefinable planes of existence.”

Those words are from a recent Facebook post by Ashley Boeglin (pronounced Beg lin) and it’s a message that will resonate with the trucking industry. Most truckers remember when truck driver Mike Boeglin lost his life in an unsafe parking area, his Freightliner set on fire to destroy evidence. It happened almost three years ago.

“I lost the love of my life, my other half, my soulmate,” she posted.

Detroit firefighters found her husband, Mike, age 31, inside his truck in the early hours of June 26, 2014. Mike was parked in an abandoned lot near ThyssenKrupp Steel Plant where he planned to deliver his load. But he was unable to park inside the gated facility as ThyssenKrupp doesn’t allow it.

Mike was 31. Ashley was four months pregnant. Today, she’s a busy mother of a toddler and a committed activist for safe parking and for truckers’ rights to carry weapons for protection.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tony Justice, Thompson Square to perform at MATS

Tony Justice (Photo by Tex Crowley @ Texomatic.com)
Tony Justice, an OOIDA member from Dandridge, Tenn., attended his first Mid-America Trucking Show in 2012. Five years later, the truck driver and country musician is slated to perform in front of thousands of fans at the MATS free concert on Friday, March 24. Justice will open for international country music stars Thompson Square at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.

“Man, it’s a dream come true,” Justice said while hauling a load to Mesquite, Texas, on Tuesday morning. “It couldn’t be possible without God and my wife’s (Misty’s) hard work. I think I’m more excited for her than I even am for me. This has been a big goal for her. We had a lot of drivers and fans who kept going to the truck show website and requesting for us to be there. This is just an awesome deal.”

Justice, a second-generation truck driver, has definitely climbed the ladder in the country music industry. A grassroots effort of sorts started with the release of the album “On the Road” in 2011. Since then, he and Misty have been handing out CDs and spreading the word about his music at truck shows around the nation.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Tennessee DOT tries to make safety ‘pun’

Can a clever – or even not so clever – pun help improve safety on the highways?

The Tennessee Department of Transportation recently started the voting process of a Dynamic Message Sign Contest that aims to cover such safety issues as distracted driving, seatbelt usage, impaired driving, speeding and aggressive driving.

Last year’s winners were:
  • Turn signals, the original instant messaging.
  • Get the cell off your phone and drive.
  • Practice safe text. Don’t do it while driving.
  • You’re in Tennessee. Volunteer to drive safe.
  • Ain’t nobody got time for a wreck. Slow it down.


This year, the Tennessee DOT received more than 2,000 entries for possible safety messages for the overhead signs located across Tennessee.

The entries were narrowed down to 15 finalists:
  • Not buckled up? What’s holding you back?
  • Speeding can lead to skid marks
  • Only bird brains tweet while driving?
  • Use your blinking blinker
  • Avoid a wreck. Don’t rubberneck.
  • Awwww snap – your seatbelt.
  • Shift happens! Especially in work zones.
  • Let your babies grow up to be cowboys. Buckle ‘em up!
  • Signal your intentions.
  • In a hurry? Shoulda left early. Slow down.
  • Nice headlights! Turn yours on during rain or fog.
  • Do your duty. Seatbelt your booty!
  • Ride like lightning, crash like thunder.
  • We’ve upped our road safety, so up yours.
  • Be kind, don’t ride my behind. 

You can vote for your favorite at the Tennessee DOT website. Voting ends on Tuesday, March 7. The winning phrases will be used in a rotation on overhead signs that also alert motorists to lane blockages, hazardous road conditions, or Amber Alerts.

While I cringe at several of these, the corny phrases are worth it even if they lead only one person to drive safer and avoid a fatal accident.

But I feel like we can do better. What would your slogan be to promote safety on the highways? I’m confident we can come up with something while avoiding the use of “Awwww snap.”

Friday, February 24, 2017

Penske brings back ‘Blue Hilton’

Team Penske sold the Blue Hilton in 1983 to George Boyd of
Urbana, Ill., who used it for years to haul his own racecars
before he retired the vehicle to a spot in his yard
It’s hard to believe there was ever a day when having a purpose-built truck haul a racecar from track to track wasn’t standard operating procedure. But back in the early 1970s, the concept was pioneered by Penske Racing. Now one of the pioneering transport vehicles is getting its moment in Victory Lane.

Team Penske is one of the most decorated racing teams in the world, with its cars and drivers having captured more than 440 wins in stock car, open wheel, and sports car racing competitions. The original “Blue Hilton,” a customized 1972 International Fleetstar, was thought to be lost to history’s scrapyard. Turns out, it was just in retirement in a yard in Urbana, Ill.

The transporter helped change the landscape of auto racing, serving as a precursor to today’s impressive closed transporters that carry cars, parts and equipment to race tracks all over the globe, according to a news release from Team Penske. Designed by champion racecar driver Mark Donohue, the payload area of the truck was based on efficiency and functionality. The “Blue Hilton” nickname came from its royal blue exterior and the sleeper area above the cab, now a standard feature in today’s transporters.
The fully restored Blue Hilton is on display at the Team Penske
headquarters in Mooresville, N.C.

The folks at Team Penske spent over 8,000 man-hours restoring it to mint condition, just in time for team owner Roger Penske’s 80th birthday on Feb. 20. The restoration is “complete down to the smallest detail, including authentic PPG paint and hand lettering,” according to a news release from Team Penske.

In its heyday, the Blue Hilton served the race team from 1972 to 1983, and transported the No. 66 McLaren that Donohue drove to victory in the 1972 Indianapolis 500 – the first of the Penske team’s record 16 wins in auto racing’s premier event. In conjunction with its sister transporter, “The White Hilton,” it was also used to transport the championship-winning Porsche 917s that dominated the landscape of the Can-Am Series in the early 1970s with Donohue and George Follmer.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

We’re gonna need a lot of bubble wrap

Amazon wants to deliver by parachute. Yup. That’s what they've proposed in a patent application with a little sketch that shows the path of a parachute gently lowering a package to the ground from a drone.

The description says the parachute, which includes a little fan, can be guided from the drone to avoid stuff like trees and wires. It will be so accurate it can steer the parachute to an apartment building terrace.

You can't do that with a Peterbilt 389 and a 53-foot Great Dane – at least not yet – but don't worry. You won't be in competition with Amazon's parachute division. Their drones can only handle 5-pound packages – at least right now.

Yeah, I’m hedging. I laughed at the drone idea when it first leaked in 2013. Now these guys are starting to scare me.



Amazon has been building massive distribution centers and hiring van drivers for local deliveries. No worries there. But a couple of years ago, Amazon began buying its own dry van trailers. Then they leased 40 big jet liners, and reports say they'll be going into the logistics business. If that happens, and it probably will, we'll soon be doing business with Amazon brokerage. Maybe that should make us feel good, but for some reason that doesn’t work for me.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Speed limiters dead in the water? Not by a long shot

There’s some buzz going around that speed limiters are dead in the water thanks to an executive order signed by President Trump.

The order says that for every new proposed regulation, agencies must identify two for repeal. The point of the order is to get a handle on the money it costs to implement and comply with regulations.

Having been around this industry for more than a minute, I can tell you to be careful putting too much stock in anything, and I mean anything, being dead in the water. It doesn’t even matter if the agency abandons a regulation before making it official. It’s never a done deal.

Case in point: electronic logs.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Potential employers looking you right in the FACEbook

Be careful what you say on Facebook; the world is watching. And so is Austen Mance. ... Austen has launched a tech startup called Enlistics. It’s a tech company that describes itself as "a comprehensive hiring system for the trucking industry." Enlistics uses data to analyze driver candidates and recommend who a carrier should hire and who they should not.

How does Enlistics gather data?

According to an Enlistics press release, the company "automatically scrapes applicants' social media posts for phrases known to predict future success or failure."

Social media in this case means Facebook, Austen explained. If your profile is public, Enlistics looks for words and phrases that might indicate your prevailing attitudes. For instance, Austen’s release says, “one such ‘bad’ phrase known to correlate with employee turnover is ‘I’m so drunk …’”

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Couple’s love proven on cross-country haul

If you really want to get to know a person, travel the country together in a truck. You’ll find out quick whether or not you can keep a conversation going, or if you both can be comfortable with silence for a while. You’ll learn about each other’s annoying habits and whether or not you can tolerate them.

There’s no escaping each other in a big rig, so it shouldn’t take long to find out if two people are compatible.

And for 51-year-old truck driver Gary Overstreet, the time on the road was enough proof for him that he had found the love of his life.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Eyes on the Ninth Circuit court

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has been in the headlines this week because of the riveting decision tasked to a three-judge panel regarding the White House’s now-blocked travel ban. But the storied court in San Francisco is certainly no stranger to America’s front page news.

Not only has the legendary Ninth Circuit got the most districts and the most judges, but it also hears by far the most cases. The docket is a monster.

Currently, the court has appellate jurisdiction over the 13 district courts in seven western states, plus Hawaii and Alaska. It also has jurisdiction over Guam and the District of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Sidney Runyan Thomas is chief judge of this huge circuit, which currently has 29 active judgeships. Of those, 68 percent were appointed by Democratic presidents – which lends to its reputation for liberalism. It was established in 1869 and is headquartered in the historic James R. Browning Building (court house and post office). The building itself is magnificent. The design is influenced heavily by Italian Renaissance style, lavish with white Sierra granite and described as palatial. In 1906, when an earthquake devastated the city, the courthouse remained standing.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Hashknife riders sharing Arizona roads

Courtesy of Hashknife Pony Express 
“Hell-bent for leather” – don’t tell me you’ve never heard that expression. If you are driving between Holbrook and the East Valley, Ariz., in the next few days, you may see an authentic example of what that old saying means. 

Pony Express re-enactment riders will be carrying mail along state highways through Friday, Feb. 10, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation, mail pouches, real letters and all.

The Hashknife Pony Express riders left Holbrook Wednesday with plans to stop at post offices in Heber-Overgaard, Payson and Fountain Hills on the way to their final destination in downtown Scottsdale on Friday.

The Navajo County Hashknife Sheriff’s Posse leads the ride every January/February. Riders travel 200 miles from Holbrook to Scottsdale, and deliver 20,000 first-class letters by horseback. They’ve been doing this for 60 years. According to the website, this event is the oldest officially sanctioned Pony Express in the world.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Will more safety laws decrease traffic deaths?

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety recently released its annual Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws after the United States came off its second consecutive year of increasing traffic deaths. Their solution to traffic deaths: more safety laws.

Before we get into the advocacy group’s report, let’s establish the undeniable facts. More than 35,000 people were killed in crashes in 2015, the largest percentage increase in nearly half a century. Preliminary data for 2016 is not faring any better. More people are dying on the roadways. We can all agree on that.

There are many theories regarding how we as a nation can solve this problem. Here’s Advocates’ solution: “…we cannot forget that state adoption of comprehensive traffic safety laws is the most effective countermeasure to avert crashes, save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce economic costs to the public and to the government.”

More specifically, Advocates argues that more state laws need to be enacted. The group claims that “states are missing 376 traffic safety laws,” including seatbelt, helmet, child restraints, teen driver training, impaired and distracted driving laws: 

Friday, February 3, 2017

PSA – Don’t pass the plow

After the second snowplow in as many weeks was run off the road by a truck driver, it seems like a good time to review a few best practices when operating around the plows. Multiple crashes between commercial trucks and snowplows in the mountains out west suggest that it is time for young and even experienced drivers to review guidelines for safe traveling around those work vehicles. Maybe veteran drivers can share these with some of the younger guys and gals they mentor.

The latest crash occurred around 12:34 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 31, on Interstate 84 near Pendleton, Ore. According to reports, 38-year-old Bryon Kilmer, of Sweet Home, Ore., was cited for unsafe passing on the right after he attempted to pass an Oregon DOT snowplow and instead ended up knocking the vehicle off the road.

Earlier last month, a Utah DOT plow driver was seriously injured when another tractor-trailer passed a plow on the right and struck the vehicle, sending it careening through a guardrail and 300 feet down a snow-covered canyon.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

What Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch wrote about a freezing trucker

Seems Judge Neil Gorsuch, nominee for the Supreme Court, was on a panel of judges who heard a trucking case while he served on the federal appeals court in Denver. The carrier, TransAm, appealed a ruling by the Labor Department that was favorable to a driver who said he was unjustly fired.

Last August, the court found in favor of the Labor Department and thus the driver. Judge Gorsuch did not like the decision and wrote a dissent.

The case goes back to 2009 when a TransAm driver was fired for dropping a trailer on I-88 in Illinois and driving away. Those are the bare facts; there’s more to it.

About 11 p.m. on an extremely cold January night, the driver pulled over for 10 minutes or so, enough time for his trailer brakes to freeze. He called in and was told to wait for assistance. Then he discovered his APU wasn’t working; there was no heat in the cab. The driver fell asleep only to wake up two hours later unable to feel his feet. So he called in again and was told to “hang in there.” Half an hour after that, the driver called again to say he was taking the tractor and going for help. He was told not to leave the load, but left anyway. He came back, presumably with his feet unfrozen, to find the trailer repaired. A week later, TransAm fired him for abandoning the load.

The case has caught some attention in the trucking media again after Gorsuch was nominated to the Supreme Court.

Friday, January 27, 2017

AXS compiles Top 10 trucker tunes list

People love lists. In fact, “listicles” were a thing for a while thanks to websites such as Buzzfeed. One type of list that always sparks debate is the “Top 10 (fill in the blank) Songs.” For example, a recent blog over at AXS listed the “Top 10 trucker tunes.”

It’s not too often you see people not associated with trucking talking about trucker tunes. AXS, a ticket merchant you have probably purchased concerts tickets through, dipped their hand in the trucking tune jar, and here’s what they came out with:

Friday, January 20, 2017

‘Death by a thousand cuts?’

Countless words have been written or spoken about the electronic logging device mandate and if this tracking technology – due to be in effect in December – should have been a choice. This jack-booted rule has been grabbing headlines, driving industry talk and aggravating drivers for several years. And it’s one that’s been in the legal cross-hairs of OOIDA for as long.

OOIDA won a round in court to stop it, but in a second battle, a federal court in Chicago decided it didn’t see the wrong in allowing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to force it on everyone. OOIDA requested for a rehearing but was denied. It seems to me it was just easier for the court to defer to the government agency rather listen to the needs and rights of the people.

It just doesn’t make sense that a federal court would agree that electronic logging devices be forced on all trucks. A simple solution to the controversy is that ELDs need to be voluntary, not a fist-smashing, no-exception decree. But that wasn’t considered here.

OOIDA is now planning to take the ELD case further – which is, of course, to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider hearing it. Because buried in the thousands of words is one simple one that makes the Association go on. That word is mandate. Nothing here justified a mandate. The minute ELDs become a rigid way of life for three million commercial truckers, the industry is headed down an irreversible and completely unbending path that runs afoul of the Constitution.

This suddenly becomes so much more than ELDs.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

(VIDEO) Trucknado

I started my career analyzing and reporting on natural disasters several years ago. When I arrived at Land Line, I was excited to explore opportunities to use that knowledge in relation to the trucking industry. Needless to say, I was not disappointed.

In last year’s August/September issue of Land Line Magazine, I wrote a story about truckers driving through the hellish scenes of a wildfire. On the other end of the spectrum, I pay attention to winter storms and the chain laws associated with them.

Last June, Associate Editor Greg Grisolano and I wrote a cover story exploring the options (or lack thereof) truckers have when coming face-to-face with a tornado. Some officials actually told me it was very unlikely to happen. Well, tell that to this guy:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Identifying Canada’s worst bottlenecks

Canadian motorists and professional truckers spend a collective 11.5 million hours per year stuck in the country’s 20 worst bottlenecks and burn up nearly 6 million gallons of fuel, according to a new study by the Canadian Automobile Association, their version of AAA.

The study analyzed speed and volume data on urban highways and roads to identify the worst bottlenecks, which CAA claims are “the single biggest delay for motorists, outpacing traffic crashes, bad weather and construction delays.” The study’s authors hope it will be used by lawmakers at the federal, provincial and municipal level to target areas for infrastructure investment and environmental policy.

The study defines a bottleneck as a stretch of highway that is “routinely and consistently congested throughout the course of a weekday” as opposed to stretches that are congested only at limited times of the day or the week. The study compared actual average hourly speeds to a baseline speed on each segment for each hour of the day.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Watch CHP escort a jackknifed FedEx tractor down a snowy hill

It’s a nightmare scenario for a truck driver – jackknifing at the top of the grade on a snow-covered mountain road.

This played out for one unfortunate FedEx driver at 8:30 a.m. yesterday on Interstate 80, just above Floriston, Calif. Faced with an extended shutdown of the interstate to wait for a tow truck, the California Highway Patrol instead made the bold decision to escort the tractor down the slope, and into a turnout near Floriston.

The CHP office in Truckee has a video of the truck, which still had engine power. Watching it wind its way down the hillside is the sort of thing that will make even a seasoned driver’s blood run cold. The good news is the maneuver was successful and the highway reopened to traffic within an hour, according to the CHP office’s Facebook post.



In the words of one CHP officer at the end of the video: “I cannot believe that worked.”

Tell us what you think, drivers. Any critiques on this technique? Ever have anything similar happen? What did you do?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New gadgets move us closer to a world of ‘RoboTruckers’

Gadgets and other technological devices can be fun, useful and make our lives easier.

Having access to GPS can save time and reduce stress when driving for the first time in an unfamiliar area. Other smartphone applications can allow truck drivers to stay better connected to family and friends during another lonely night parked at a truck stop.

But where do you draw the line to decide whether or not a gadget is helpful or a hindrance? When do we reach the point that there are too many contraptions in the truck, and when do those gadgets begin to deter a responsible and experienced truck driver from doing his or her job in a safe manner?

It seems to me that we may very well have reached that point.

Mercedes recently announced it’s working on a vest for professional drivers that would monitor their heart rate and other vital signs. The idea is that the vest would know if the driver was on the brink of a heart attack and would stop the truck automatically.

Obviously, there are a ton of questions here. Do we really trust the vest to be that accurate? What if a driver has an irregular heart beat but isn’t in immediate danger? What if the truck is in the middle of a steep climb in the mountains? What if the truck is going through a busy intersection?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I didn’t get health insurance in 2016. Will I have to pay a penalty?

Pending any potential repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, the law at this time still requires most Americans to have some form of qualified health care coverage. Absent such coverage, the law levies tax penalties against those who do not have employer-provided health insurance and who elect not to enroll in a plan offered through a state, federal or private insurance exchange.

But there are several key exemptions people may be eligible for that will allow you to waive the penalties come tax time. The website HealthCare.gov has a handy primer on what those exemptions are, how to apply and what happens after. Those exemptions are based on a number of circumstances, including certain hardships, some life events, financial status, and even membership in certain groups. Click here for various exemption forms from HealthCare.gov.

If you were homeless, if you faced eviction or foreclosure, filed for bankruptcy, or even had medical expenses you couldn’t pay, you may be eligible for a hardship exemption under the law. Other hardship exemption categories include the following: if you experienced domestic violence; if you were the victim of a flood, fire or other natural or human-caused disaster that substantially damaged your property; or if you experienced the death of a close family member. You may even be able to claim an exemption if you had an unexpected increase in expenses due to caring for an ill, disabled or aging family member.

The HealthCare.Gov website lists a number of exemptions as well as the forms needed for you to apply for one.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Sharing the road could get dicey

Things could get dicey when human drivers start mixing with self-driving vehicles, at least according to a report from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

“During the transition period when conventional and self-driving vehicles would share the road,” the report says, “safety might actually worsen, at least for the conventional vehicles.”

That’s not what I expected to read.

Written by researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle, the report is dated January 2015. I found it on a Research Institute web site under the heading “Recent Publications.”  

2015? Recent?

I called the university for clarification. Turns out the website isn’t updated as often as it should be.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

OOIDA by the numbers

Like anyone else, truckers have their own, individual opinions and can certainly speak up for themselves. But when it comes to getting significant changes made that affect their rights, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has ensured a strident, unified and collective voice since 1973.
 
Having grown from just a handful of truckers 44 years ago, the Association steadily sustains a robust membership. In 2017, we begin with 158,712 active members. As far as membership, Texas is number one with 17,313, followed by Florida with 9,927 and Georgia with 8,736.

On Capitol Hill and at statehouses all over the nation, the Association continues to represent members in a number of ways on critical trucking issues. OOIDA’s national headquarters in Grain Valley, Mo., has 333 employees. The Association also maintains a fully staffed permanent office in Washington, D.C., for our government affairs people and for our director of security operations.

In 2016, OOIDA filed 29 official comments on rulemakings and info requests in the works at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and an alphabet soup of other agencies like AASHTO, NHTSA, NIOSH, EPA and FHWA. That’s one fully researched statement of position every other week.

And I think it’s safe to say we had an active year of members filing comments, especially on speed limiters and sleep apnea. We also had a Call to Action for Canadian members on electronic logging devices and got a great response.