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.