Campaign Seeks To Improve Trucking Industry’s Image
By Tom Kelley
After multiple efforts with varying results over the past few decades, some key players in the trucking industry have come together to launch a new campaign to improve the industry’s image. What makes this effort different is the diversity of the players involved. The big reason that past efforts have come up short, is that most have been organized by a single group or single industry segment, with only that group’s concerns in mind.
Those behind this newest effort have launched TruckingMovesAmerica.com to serve as an online resource for the image campaign, with creative materials, messaging and social media links available to all elements of the industry, as well as the public.
According to the website, “The mission of ‘Trucking Moves America Forward’ is to establish a long-term industry-wide movement to create a positive image for the industry, to ensure that policymakers and the public understand the importance of the trucking industry to the nation’s economy, and to build the political and grassroots support necessary to strengthen and grow the industry in the future.”
Among the movement’s key messages is informing the public about the new trucking technology that has an increased focus on safety, sustainability, efficiency and reliability. There is also a major focus on just how critical trucking is to the national economy. Supporting almost seven million jobs, it is one of the largest and growing industries in the country.
The full movement launch will be in March 2014 at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, KY. To help fund the outreach program and development of materials, the campaign’s goal is to raise $1 million per year for the next five years.
“We’re extremely excited for the fundraising effort of this movement to have launched,” said John Conkin, GE Capital SVP and Allied Committee for the Trucking Industry (ACT 1) President. “The trucking industry serves America’s economy, its families and businesses in a way no other industry does. Trucking is essential to the every day lives of all Americans. Our mission today is to make that message stronger and connect our good work with the rest of America.”
Initial members of the Trucking Moves America Forward movement include ACT 1, Allison, Bendix, Bridgestone, Castrol, Cummins, Dana, Detroit Diesel, Eaton Roadranger, GE Capital, Goodyear, Great West Casualty, Hendrickson, International, J.J. Keller & Associates, Kenworth, Love’s Travel Stops, Mack Trucks, Meritor, Michelin, Pegasus, TransTech, Peterbilt, Omnitracs, Randall Reilly, TRW, and Volvo Trucks, among others.
“This movement won’t be a one-time deal,” said Mike Card, fundraising chairman for the movement and president of Combined Transport. “It involves every single part of the industry, from rest stop owners to drivers to manufacturers, and everything in between. Our hope is every individual involved in the industry – along with their families and supporters – will get involved in one way or another.”
The TruckingMovesAmerica.com website provides links to the movement’s social media profiles and to related news articles. Over time, the site is intended to serve as a library of image campaign resources such as advertising materials, brochures, graphics and videos. Two YouTube videos are already available at the site.
Check it out at TruckingMovesAmerica.com on the web, or TruckingFWD on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Thoughts From A Trainer: Thoughts From a Trainer, Part One
By Timothy D. Brady
You got your CDL, got hired, and are training. Ever wonder what the trainer’s thinking behind those sunglasses? We asked one.
“I’ve worked for my company a long time. I wonder whether the trucking schools now are just teaching people to pass the test. One of my new drivers couldn’t make a right turn – took out a traffic light, mailbox, bus bench. He’d only look in his mirror once, never lowered my window so he could see without the glare. I made him practice nothing but right turns until he got it.
I know a retired householder who swears he took out an entire row of mailboxes once. Said he should’ve gotten out and looked before he started turning. That’s another thing that gripes me – a new driver won’t get out of the dang cab and go check the area.
Some drivers think if they’re driving team with an experienced driver they’ll be okay. Not in my book. The new driver should do his share of the PTIs, fueling and after-delivery walk-arounds, and all of the hooking and unhooking – under supervision. Not knowing how to do that correctly can get you killed.
One driver that really irritated me was a guy who couldn’t back his trailer. I don’t know how he got his CDL; the regular examiner must’ve been sick that day.
Anyway, he tried for over an hour to back into a straight-shot dock in a totally flat parking lot. Finally I told him what a thirty-year veteran trucker had taught me: ‘Put your hands down at the bottom of the steering wheel, at 6 o’clock. Then whichever way you turn the wheel, that trailer’s going to go too. Push the wheel left, it’ll go left. Turn it to the right, and the trailer swings right.’
I’m glad I caught him before he’d driven very long. Most of us trainers don’t want to get someone fired, especially when they’re trying to support their family. But when you can’t do something, admit it and get help. Don’t just fake it. Your best bet is to practice, practice, practice.”
Intro To Trucking: What it’s really like trucking, part 27
Luck on the Road -Truth or Blarney
By Timothy D. Brady
Happy St. Paddy’s Day! How much has luck got to do with trucking? Let’s ask our two road warriors if it’s truth or blarney.
What was the luckiest event that happened while driving a truck?
Naomi:Watching road conditions change as another driver did not. It’d been raining; then freezing rain, then snow. A truck passed me; he was still hammering. I’d turned off my cruise and Jake brake and slowed down. About two miles up the road, it was a solid sheet of glare ice. I kept my ‘slow go’ up. He, on the other hand, was in the ditch.
Ben:Iwas on my way to Texas on 30, almost to Texarkana. It was starting to get dark, and raining. A Jeep Grand Cherokee crossed the median sideways, then backwards, coming straight for me. He/she came within inches of slamming into me, but luckily, missed me and other traffic. I guess they were the lucky ones. If they’d hit me, I don’t think it would have been a good outcome for them at all.
What skills came into play that helped this event be positive?
Naomi: Recognizing that the conditions were changing; temperatures cooling, loss of spray. And no sudden movements. I made it through with no big issues. It was just extremely slick.
Ben: I kept ‘er straight and steady; didn’t panic. Not much else I could do. Any superstitions you believe help bring you luck or keep you safe from harm? Do you read your astrological forecast?
Naomi: I have a set routine in which I hook and unhook from trailers. My biggest fears are dropping a trailer or high pinning a trailer.
LOL; yes, I read my forecast. Sometimes it’s right on, others it’s not. Depends on my mood if I believe it or not.
Ben: I pray daily for not just me, but everyone around me, to make it home safely. It has been working really well so far.
I don’t read my horoscope.
What about a special prayer to keep you safe?
Naomi: I have both a small wooden cross my grandmother made me and a small metal angel my mother-in-law gave me on my visor. My prayer every night when I start to drive is this… “Do NOT swerve. Watch for changing conditions. If tired, take a nap. Keep us safe. Thank you.”
Ben: I like the Lord’s Prayer. I also like Psalm 25, a prayer of guidance, pardon, and protection. New challenges? Naomi: Being sick on the road sucks. Being sick in the truck is worse. I had stomach flu; it first hit me as I was climbing Cabbage Pass in Oregon in a snow storm with nowhere to pull over. Just grabbed the trash can and hurled until I could get to a safe place to stop.
Ben: I had a run through Illinois during the first storm this winter. It was rough. I helped another trucker and a 4-wheeler who’d run off the road get back onto the highway. A day later I needed help because I was stuck on ice at a truckstop in La Salle, IL. It was a stressful time but I made it through the ice and snow, using prayer and luck. Interesting experiences?
Naomi: I lost someone I thought was a close friend. Women are so harsh on each other. We should be supporting each other as we’re the minority in this industry. Instead, every woman I know is critical of each of us to a degree I’ve never seen in any other industry.
Ben: Iwas stuck on a sheet of ice. Being empty was the main reason I couldn’t get any traction. I rocked it and rocked it, still no luck. Another driver came with cat litter and was throwing it under my tires while they were spinning. It took some time and patience, but it finally caught and I was off the ice. Advice for someone just finishing school about keeping luck on your side when OTR? Naomi: Pay attention. Watch conditions. Follow a routine. Do NOT get into a hurry. Be nice to each other. We’re all doing the same job. PAY IT FORWARD.
Ben: During the winter, always keep a bag of sand or cat litter on the truck. It may get you rolling again. Remember if the snow plows aren’t out clearing the roads, it’s not a good idea for you to be out there going 15 miles per hour either. Think Safety Always!
Here’s to your future great loads and great roads.
This Operations Supervisor followed a varied career path to management at J.B. Hunt
hile trucking may be your passion, it doesn’t have to be your life. In fact, life has a funny way of twisting and turning through the decades, and drivers with J.B. Hunt are fortunate that the company offers plenty of options to fit various life situations. Maybe you started out as an over-the-road driver and loved being out for extended periods of time. But then, you met the girl of your dreams, settled down and started a family. Now you can transition into a regional or local driving job and be home for baseball games and dance recitals. As the kids grow up, you think you may want to own your own truck, so you explore the possibilities of J.B. Hunt’s Lease Purchase program. Now, you drive along in your own rig, and you notice the younger guys look to you for driving advice. That’s when you begin to consider management or transitioning into a safety director position. Later, when the nest empties, you may decide to go back out on the road again.
Once you factor in J.B. Hunt’s affordable benefit options and its well-appointed, late-model equipment — not to mention a wide variety of local, regional and over-the-road driving jobs — you can see why many drivers choose the company. Drivers like that J.B. Hunt provides flexibility and the opportunity to take different positions based on their own personal life stages.
Stan Hampton, a 20-year J.B. Hunt veteran, says he’s seen drivers move between positions as their interests and circumstances change. In fact, Hampton has had multiple positions with the company himself — he began as a part-time worker and then moved on to dispatcher, logistics manager, field fleet manager, dedicated division account manager, then regional operations manager before settling in his current position of Vice President of Corporate Driver Personnel.
“There’s really no limit to the possibilities within the company,” Hampton says. “You can transition to the job that fits with your season of life, and J.B. Hunt supports your choices by offering opportunities and training to help you succeed.”
Here is one J.B. Hunt employee who has moved through various paths over his professional career:
Name: Marco Torres
Location: Odessa, Texas
Position: Operations Supervisor
Time in Trucking: 19 years
Time with J.B. Hunt: 19 years
Hampton’s friend and colleague Marco Torres couldn’t agree more. Torres describes himself as the kind of person who always needs a challenge, and he says that’s what makes J.B. Hunt the perfect company for him.
“I like to think of myself as unique,” Torres says. “I’m adventurous, always chasing the next challenge. And J.B. Hunt is very versatile as a company, so that’s why I’ve stayed with them so long. I don’t think I’ll be getting bored here.”
Torres started his trucking career in 1994 as a driver for J.B. Hunt. He drove intermodal, regional and over-the-road before moving to train other drivers. Then he decided he wanted to give management a try.
“My only regret is that I didn’t do it earlier,” says Torres.
Torres says he made a point to get to know people, and he asked for advice. Most importantly, though, he followed that advice. And after completing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in operations management, he let people know he was interested in applying for a management position. It wasn’t long before he was coming off the road to become a management trainee.
“Initially, it was a bit of a step down because drivers are paid so well,” says Torres. “But eventually you get past that, and there are a plethora of challenges.”
Today, Torres is an operations supervisor for J.B. Hunt, and he says he couldn’t be happier. “One of my biggest goals is that I want to enjoy what I’m doing — and I do,” says Torres. “I want my job to matter at my company, and at J.B. Hunt, I know it does.”
“J.B. Hunt doesn’t treat their employees like a number,” adds Torres. “They have never treated me like that. Anything they say or promise, they follow through with.”
Torres says it doesn’t matter whether someone is a new hire or a company veteran — there is always opportunity for everyone to find his or her niche.
“They want to find a place for you,” says Torres. “And they are a big enough company that there is a place for everyone.”
Drivers who are interested in management already have a head start on advancing, he adds. “J.B. Hunt can use the knowledge and experience that drivers have and put it to use in management,” says Torres. “Drivers can actually do it easier than a regular management grad because they already know the field.”
However, drivers aren’t the only ones that can succeed at J.B. Hunt. “There is ample room for everybody, and not just in trucking and operations,” adds Torres. “J.B. Hunt is a big company, so there are jobs in IT, marketing, recruiting … and that’s just to name a few.”
“I would tell a new hire at J.B. Hunt that they just made the best decision they ever made,” says Torres. “Stick with it. Learn as much as they can. Seriously consider it to be a lifelong career, because J.B. Hunt will take care of you.”
Torres says he intends to stay with J.B. Hunt as long as he can. After all, in a company that emphasizes furthering your education so you can develop your career, the only limiting force at J.B. Hunt is you.
“Coming to J.B. Hunt was the best decision I ever made,” Torres says.
For your opportunity with J.B. Hunt, call 1-800-297-4321 or visit www.jbhunt.jobs. You can also connect with J.B. Hunt at Facebook.com/jbhuntdrivers.
Intro to Trucking: What it’s really like trucking, part 26
Love On the Road
By Timothy D. Brady
It’s February – Valentine’s Day. What must truckers do to keep the ‘love fires’ burning?
Three challenges when it comes to keeping home and family relationships vibrant while on the road for extended periods?
Naomi: A. Not being there to help in a crisis situation.
B. Time differences
C. Touch – I’m extremely touchy-feely. I miss hugs and kisses. Or even seeing expressions.
Ben: We don’t get to spend the time we used to around the dinner table or a campfire. We don’t get to watch our favorite shows together like we did before I started trucking. And, well, what used to happen behind closed doors now doesn’t happen that often. What are you doing to minimize these challenges?
Naomi: Lots and lots of phone calls; pictures hanging in my truck and an album. Having learned to cherish every single moment I’m with them. Family is everything to me. My dispatcher knows if I’m anywhere close I am going to see them for at least my 10-hour break.
Ben: I spend a lot of time on the phone, when I have the chance. And when I’m home, I make sure I spend the time wisely and not take it for granted. You are not promised tomorrow.
Which relationship becomes the most challenging the longer you’re on the road? (children, parent, significant other/spouse)
Naomi: My children and grandchildren. My children understand my life. But my grandchildren are small yet and aren’t getting to know me. I’m not able to be there like I want to be.
That’s the thing I cry about most. I love my girls. I especially love my grandchildren. I hate watching them grow up in pictures and short videos.
I’m recently married and with my husband all the time now.
Ben: All of the above. It’s all hard. When you have people you love and are close to, it’s hard to say goodbye, even for a week at a time.
What special thing(s) do you do from the road to express your love to the important people in your life?
Naomi: Post cards at every stop!!! Yes, I snail-mail my children and grandchildren. I also bought each of them an album to put the post cards in. I put the date at the bottom of each one so we can all look back at where I was. I also look for unique things at out-of-the-way shops.
I sneak cards and notes to my husband: his shower bag, shoes, under the pillow, clipped to the visor…. Written on my arm/foot/leg/hip/ belly so he has to search me. Hehehehehe (I use an eyeliner pencil.)
Ben: I pick up souvenirs all the time and I take pictures of different places. New challenges?
Naomi: I was recently married and we team-drive. It’s an amazing experience, having your friend/lover/cohort-in-crime with you.
Ben: Recently I got to travel through the northeast. I made sure I traveled at night to avoid traffic. Weather was OK. Just different from what I’m used to driving.
Interesting experiences? Ben: I was pulling into a truckstop for fuel and a state trooper flew around a parked truck and almost plowed into my truck. He had his nose in a phone. I rolled the window down and called him a few choice names and didn’t care if he heard me. It was a long day and a lot of stupid had been happening around me.
Advice for someone just finishing trucking school about keeping the ‘love fires’ burning when on the road?
Naomi: LOL phone sex. Just kidding. Not really. My new hubby and I would criss-cross the nation, only spending a night here or there together.
CONTACT CONTACT CONTACT – DO NOT FIGHT AND ARGUE ON THE PHONE!!!
The one at home needs to understand and appreciate what the one on the road is doing; the sacrifices being made.
Make sure you can be on the phone or computer to spend time with family.
NO OUTSIDE INTERFERENCE!!!
When you are with your sweetheart, make him/her the center of your world. To hell with dirty clothes. You should spend every moment reminding him or her just how much you love and how much you miss him/her. Cook him dinner. Draw her a hot bath. CHERISH EVERY MOMENT YOU DO GET TOGETHER.
Ben: Make the time at home you have as special as you can. Avoid arguments if at all possible. Choose your fights wisely; not every argument is needed or necessary.
Here’s to your future great loads and great roads.
This is the time of year when Americans reflect on the things for which they are most thankful. Earlier this week, I was reminded of how thankful our country should be to have people with purpose like Morrill and Karen Worcester, founders of Worcester Wreath Company, who began the non-profit group Wreaths Across America in 2007 with the goal of honoring military veterans by placing wreaths at the grave sites of fallen soldiers.
Wreaths Across America’s mission of Remember, Honor, Teach is carried out in part by coordinating wreath laying ceremonies on a specified Saturday in December. For years, this occurred only at Arlington National Cemetery, but has recently expanded to veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond.
Part of Wreaths Across America rapid growth is the result of the generosity of the trucking industry, and this year they’re counting on truckers for a little more help. That assistance will come in the form of the trucking industry’s first annual rolling tribute, which kicked off this Tuesday (November 26), when the Worcesters teamed up with Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and Pilot Flying J to hand out 100s of free wreaths to any professional truck driver who wanted one at the Pilot Travel Center in Milford, Conn.
Karen and Morrill Worcester are on a mission to place a wreath on every fallen soldier’s headstone at Arlington National Cemetery.
Pottle’s Transportation’s Bob Sousa, an Army veteran, delivered several pallets of wreaths to Connecticut for the event, where local volunteers joined in the efforts to reach as many drivers as possible. I was in Washington, D.C. on Monday for the unloading of the 2013 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, so I decided to make the trek up I-95 as well.
In between trips back and forth to the fuel island to talk to drivers, Morrill Worcester told the various media outlets present that we wouldn’t enjoy the freedoms we have today if it wasn’t for what the veterans have done. “They’ve stepped up time and time again, all down through history,” Morrill stated.
I asked Karen Worcester why they chose to drive to a location nine hours away from their headquarters in Maine instead of choosing a truck stop that was closer. “We knew this was a busy truck stop and are trying to get as many wreaths as possible to veterans’ graves,” Karen said. “We wouldn’t be doing trucking or anything else we do without the sacrifices of those men and women, so embracing those families at the holidays is important for us to do.”
Nationwide, donations to Wreaths Across America are up by 20%, but the Worcesters said support for Arlington has dipped as more people get involved with wreath-laying ceremonies in their local communities. The rolling tribute was a way to create more awareness for Arlington National Cemetery, where the Worcesters will travel for this year’s Wreaths Across America Day on December 14.
There was a steady flow of traffic all day at the Pilot Travel Center in Milford, where drivers received zip ties to attach a wreath to the grill of their truck onsite as an immediate show of support. Many drivers were shocked that the wreaths were free, but all were appreciative of the efforts to honor our veterans.
Morrill Worcester attaches a wreath to the grill of a truck as the driver was fueling.
“We gave the wreaths away with one stipulation – that on National Wreaths Across America Day they take that wreath off their truck and find a veteran’s grave to place it upon. This idea started after seeing many of our volunteer professional drivers participating in the annual escort to Arlington remove the wreaths affixed to the grill of their rigs, and place it on a headstone once we made it to the cemetery,” Morrill said. “This very personal expression of gratitude was shared in pictures and online and became a symbol of how dedicated the trucking industry is to supporting our nation’s military.”
Drivers participating in the rolling tribute were also asked to photograph and share their experience online using #rollingtribute. Each driver’s wreath is one half of a Patriot Pair, with an additional remembrance wreath donated by the Worcesters set will be laid at Arlington National Cemetery. Worcester Wreath Company is donating the first 2,000 wreaths in the hopes that all professional drivers will want to become part of the rolling tribute.
Another new option of support for all professional drivers this year is called Trucking’s Patriot Pair, which can be ordered online at http://www.truckloadofrespect.com and shipped directly to the driver’s specified address. With a donation amount of $30, drivers will receive one wreath and fasteners for display on the grill of their tractor, and a second wreath will be placed on a veteran’s headstone at Arlington National Cemetery. In addition, all drivers who donate will receive a Wreaths Across America window decal.
I truly believe that Thanksgiving is the one day that is purely American, and I left Connecticut with a renewed sense of patriotism, as did hundreds of truckers that are now using their big rigs to deliver a strong message this holiday season.
Because of the efforts of Morrill and Karen Worcester, these specially-adorned trucks are rolling down America’s highways with wreaths to pay tribute to service members who made the ultimate sacrifice.
For that, we should all be thankful.
Trucking Law 101: Make an Additional $100,000 Driving a Truck
There have been many studies and surveys over the years by both the American Trucking Association and the Truckload Carriers Association looking at the cost of driver turnover. The studies have found companies spend on average more than $8,000 to replace each lost driver. It also costs the average driver more than $ 100,000 in lost wages and benefits over a 30 year span. Drivers who changes jobs 8 times in 30 years will lose not only medical insurance, but 401k, vacation and income. The same driver will be unemployed for 4 months, go 21 months without medical insurance and lose 84 months of 401k eligibility according to the studies. Notice this information is for eight (8) job changes over 30 years, have many have you had in your driving career?
CSA is making a profound change to professional truck driving as is all the other FMCSA rules and regulations. Some of the most noticeable are the new Hours of Service, CDL driver training, cell phone use, electronic logs, sleep apnea, and medical card being incorporated into your CDL among others. Drivers can now view their own driving record through their PSP (Pre-employment Screening Program) and contest it just like their credit scores. The PSP is a big surprise to many drivers as they are not familiar with it and how it impacts their ability to get a job. The carrier is required to screen all potential drivers through FMCSA regulations and the PSP is quickly becoming the industry standard to verify a driver’s record.
Word of caution, the PSP is your driving record as it is stored in the CDL databank. Similar to your credit score, it can also contain mistakes and stop you from getting a job just like your credit score can stop you from getting a loan or buying something on credit. My experience over the life of the CDL is there is a twenty percent (20%) error rate so you should make it a priority to check both your PSP and your credit score. Before you even think about changing jobs, look at your PSP to see if you will qualify at the carrier you wish to work for.
Changing jobs can have a hidden cost to a driver. The immediate loss of cash flow is the first thing the family notices. The driver will have orientation at a new company and the lost cash flow is hard to overcome, not to mention the loss of any bonus program at the old company.
Also there may be a break in medical insurance coverage. Many companies have a waiting period for your coverage to start if they offer it at all. Very few things can get a family in such huge debt as fast as doctor or hospital bills. In fact a lot of bankruptcies are due to the inability to ever be able to pay off the doctors or hospitals if you or a loved one has a major illness or accident.
The hardest thing to teach a man without any money is how he can save money. Many drivers fail to realize how simple saving money really is. You do not have to save much money each month to end up with a bunch of money at the end of the year. This is why you should put every penny you are allowed to into an IRA or 401k program with your company, these monies are pre-tax which means you do not have to pay tax on that money when you put it in the IRA or 401k.
Keep in mind that by changing companies, you may be losing any money your old company has contributed to your IRA or 401k, depending upon the company’s vesting requirements. Plus your new company may have a waiting period before you will be allowed to participate in their programs. I am not a CPA or financial advisor, but I sure recommend that you talk with one to determine what kind of financial future you want for yourself and your family.
I do not think every driver can work for every carrier. But I do know that one of the first things I look for when I interview a prospective employee is their job history. Have they stayed with the job a reasonable amount of time or do they job hop. Have they increased their position and responsibility with each job? Have they grown and matured in each job? Sure as a driver, you will probably always be able to find a job, but will it be the kind of job you really, really want with good pay and good benefits? Do you want a job with a respected carrier where you will be treated with respect; in fact, a career instead of a job?
A good way to keep a job or to get a better one is to insure that you protect your MVR. Companies have minimum requirements they will accept for drivers and a good MVR is first and foremost on their list. Carriers may be required by their insurance companies to terminate drivers with a bad MVR. DOT is now fining carriers huge amounts for drivers that violate logs or who have a MVR in violation of their rules. With the insurance premiums going up for carriers, they have to make sure they do not increase their exposure to liability by having a driver with a messy MVR. So my advice to you is to fight every citation you receive that could damage your MVR. You never know when you will receive a citation, so make sure you do not convict yourself just by paying the fine. You may need your good MVR after all.
This loss of wages and benefits makes the driver and his/her family the focus in the driver turnover story. Who really gets hurt when a driver changes jobs? The answer seems to be the driver.
Jim C. Klepper is President of Interstate Trucker Ltd., a law firm entirely dedicated to legal defense of the nation’s commercial drivers. Interstate Trucker represents truck drivers throughout the forty-eight (48) states on both moving and non-moving violations. Jim is also president of Drivers Legal Plan, which allows member drivers access to his firm’s services at greatly discounted rates. Jim, a former prosecutor, is also a registered pharmacist, with considerable experience in alcohol and drug related cases. He is a lawyer that has focused on transportation law and the trucking industry in particular. He works to answer your legal questions about trucking and life over-the-road and has his Commercial Drivers License.
800-333-DRIVE (3748) or www.interstatetrucker.com and www.driverslegalplan.com
Tomorrow’s Trucks: Study Says Zero-Emission Trucks Could be Part of I-710 Zero-Emission Corridor
A just released study says that zero-emission trucks, such as hybrid-electric trucks receiving power along major roadways (similar to light-rail trains and buses in some cities), could be in demonstration in the next few years and eventually be part of a zero-emission corridor along the busy I-710 Freeway leaving the Ports of Los Angeles.
The findings by CALSTART, an independent California-based organization that evaluates and works to commercialize clean transportation technology, supports assumptions that have been presented at community meetings for the I-710 Corridor Project.
Long a problem area for traffic congestion and poor air quality, the busy I-710 Corridor is the principal path for goods movement — and therefore big-rig trucks — between the ports and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe/Union Pacific rail yards in the cities of Commerce and Vernon. Among key community concerns is how proposed transportation projects address and/or improve diesel particulate emissions from diesel trucks.
A Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIR/EIS) for the I-710 Corridor, which was released at the end of June, presents transportation alternatives that can improve future conditions in the I-710 Corridor. This effort is conducted by Metro and six partner agencies and is focused on 18 miles of the 710 between the Ports of long Beach and Los Angeles and the Pomona Freeway (SR-60).
The I-710 Draft EIR/EIS contains alternatives that address air quality, safety, mobility; two alternatives include a freight corridor to be used by trucks with zero tailpipe emissions (zero-emission trucks). In an effort to better inform the public on zero-emission trucks, CALSTART was tasked to evaluate if zero-emission trucks are technically feasible and if they are, how soon could they be commercially available. Funding for the report was provided by Metro and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
The CALSTART report found that the technology needed to produce zero-emission trucks already exists and that there are a few zero and near-zero emission truck demonstration projects throughout the country currently being evaluated. Furthermore, if an alternative requiring zero-emission trucks is selected, commercial production of zero-emission trucks can occur between the years of 2018 and 2034.
The study, “Technologies, Challenges & Opportunities I-710 Zero-Emission Freight Corridor Vehicle Systems” is available via Metro’s Countywide Zero-Emission Truck Collaborative web page: http://www.metro.net/projects/countywide-zero-emission-trucks-collaborative
Think It Over: Don’t Be Afraid To Ask
By Dan Baker
One thing all good students know is that they don’t know. That’s why they are a student. People who don’t know that they don’t know are usually poor students.
So, one of the things I want you to promise yourself is that you don’t have to convince anybody that you know anything. Go to class with the attitude that you are a student, and not an expert. You don’t have to convince anybody that you’re smart, or that you already know something you don’t.
Go to class like an empty glass. You are there to get filled up. You are there to learn. So ask a lot of questions, even if they seem stupid at the time. we’ve all heard our instructor tell us that there are no stupid questions, and I will go further and tell you that the most stupid thing you can do is to not ask a questions you need to ask.
There’s the story of this old farmer that is pulling a calf, and this kid comes up and is watching the farmer slowly pull the calf out of the mama cow, and he asks the farmer, “Mister Farmer, can I ask you a question?” And the old farmer says, “Well, sure, what is your question?” And the kid says, “How fast was that calf going when it hit that cow?”
Yes, there are questions that seem so stupid that they are funny, but I don’t care. You are going to be out here on that road, responsible for a lot more people than just yourself. And I want you to be as smart and knowledgeable and informed as any driver out there sharing that road with you.
For a lot of people, stupidity and ignorance is ok. They don’t hurt anybody with it. But a professional driver cannot afford to be a know-it-all kind of person who feels like he or she is too smart to be told anything.
One of the most valuable lessons you will ever learn is the willingness to ask questions. A good question is hugely important. There is the story of this guy asks his lawyer, “How much would you charge to answer three questions?”
And his lawyer says, “Oh, about $500.” And this guy says to the lawyer, “Well, that’s a lot of money isn’t it?” And his lawyer says, “Yes it is. What’s your third question?”
What’s the point of that joke? The right question is a valuable thing!! And I want you, as a student, to promise yourself you will remain a student and never quit learning, asking, and continuing on to learn more. There is an old one-liner that says, “We grieve the lateness of our learning and go on to learn more.”
I love that. I love it when I can put aside my own ego and my own pride and just ask anything I want to ask. I don’t have to worry about whether you think I’m smart, or cool or better than anybody else. The world is full of information you can use, and you’ll never get that information until you ask.
Road Ready: Biodiesel Basics
By Tom Kelley
Produced from a variety of organic feedstocks such as plant oils, fats, recycled grease, and algae, biodiesel is one of the most diversely sourced fuels available. In North America, most biodiesel is derived from soybeans. While biodiesel has come a long way in the past few years, truck operators must still heed the admonition of “caveat emptor” with this alternative fuel, as some of the marketing and messaging used to promote biodiesel can be a bit ambiguous.
The main issue is what concentration of biodiesel is being discussed. If one adheres to the existing naming conventions used with ethanol and other fuels that are subject to blending, the term biodiesel, when used by itself, would refer to 100 percent biodiesel, or B100 for short. At the lower concentrations used in commercial truck operations, there’s typically no more than 20 percent biodiesel mixed with 80 percent petrodiesel, the appropriate designation at the 20/80 mix would be “B20 biodiesel” or just “B20” for short.
The ambiguity comes in two opposite directions. When a B100 attribute is favorable compared to petrodiesel, criteria-pollutant emissions for instance, the B100 spec will be quoted under the generic mention of “biodiesel,” even though the product actually being discussed is B5, B10 or B20.
Conversely, when a B100 attribute is unfavorable compared to petrodiesel, cold weather flow for instance, the spec for B5 to B20 will be quoted under the designation of “typical blends of biodiesel.” The bottom line is that if a claim doesn’t make a direct reference to the blend concentration (B5, B10, B20, B100) actually being used, you could be mislead.
Apart from the ambiguity regarding concentration levels, there is another area where biodiesel messaging gets a little . . . creative.
This would be the claim of CO2 reduction. The level of CO2 emissions measured at the tailpipe for biodiesel is virtually indistinguishable from that of petrodiesel.
However, when “lifecycle emissions” math gets applied to that similar amount of CO2 emitted from the biodiesel tailpipe, the CO2 is magically reduced by 60-80 percent, reportedly because the plant matter turned into biodiesel was alive more recently than the plant matter that turned into petrodiesel. The similar amounts of CO2 are both in the atmosphere until consumed again by some form of plant matter – an important consideration for atmospheric CO2 levels.
Semantic antics aside, there are plenty of positive aspects to biodiesel, whether it’s served blended or neat. From the economic perspective, B100 is produced near its point of consumption, keeping jobs local and avoiding the stability/security issues related to imported fuel sources. Unlike corn-based ethanol biofuels, biodiesel feedstocks are not typically competitive with food production. The soybean feedstock used in North American biodiesel still provides soy meal for animal feed, albeit lower in fat, after the oil is extracted.
All major U.S. engine manufacturers accept the use of blends up to at least B5. Many major engine manufacturers have stated that the use of “high quality” biodiesel blends up to B20 will not void their parts and workmanship warranties. Cold weather can make it difficult to run B-20 year-round, so many cold-climate operators cut back to B-5 from December through March.
We accept the challenge of supporting drivers uniquely. We have immediate needs for Co. Drivers, Haz-Mat Teams, Students. We have a variety of dedicated positions open. Call now, talk to a recruiter & join our team. If home is East: 866-569-3318, if home is West: 866-620-4897