Trucking Remains One of the Nation’s Deadliest Jobs

Truckers occupy one of the nation’s deadliest jobs. Last year, 786 drivers were killed while working.

That’s an increase of 5.5 percent from 2015, after falling the previous year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual census of fatal occupational injuries, published Tuesday.

Since 2011, the annual number of driver fatalities has jumped 17.3 percent.

Opinions differ on what makes trucking so deadly.

“The underlying theme is two-fold for commercial vehicle drivers, fatigue and inattentiveness such as distracted driving,” said Collin Mooney, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, a nonprofit coalition of North American government agencies.

“It’s hard to pinpoint it to one thing,” said Norita Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which represents more than 160,000 independent truckers.

Regulators focus on rules that aren’t safety related, Taylor said.

“We still don’t have enough training or crashworthiness testing,” she said.

As could be expected for an occupation that puts people on the road for days or weeks at a time, the vast majority — 80 percent — of heavy-duty truckers’ work-related deaths involved transportation incidents, according to the BLS.

The job is one of the 10 deadliest for the year.

In 2016, truck drivers had a fatal injury rate of 24.7 per 100,000 full-time employees. Other dangerous occupations include logging, with a fatality rate of 135.9 per 100,000; fishermen, at 86 deaths; and aircraft pilots and flight engineers, at 55.5, according to the bureau.

tractor deaths graph The agency’s data underscores other recent federal transportation safety agency findings of increased trucking-related crashes and deaths.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported 722 truckers killed in traffic crashes in 2016. That’s up 8.6 percent from the prior year, according to the agency’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System annual census published in October.

The number of truckers who died in 2016 was 47 percent higher than in 2009, which registered the lowest number of fatalities since federal agencies began collecting fatal crash data in 1975, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute.

All are possible outcomes of a booming economy that’s resulted in increased highway miles for vehicles of all types and surging demand for e-commerce that’s seen a steady rise in freight volumes.

In addition to work-related deaths, truckers are more likely than the average U.S. worker to get injured or sick on the job.

Workers across all U.S. private- and public-sector industries in 2016 sustained work-related injuries or illnesses at the rate of 3.2 per 100 full-time employees, according to separate BLS data on nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses published last month.

By contrast, long-haul truckers sustained work-related injuries or illnesses at the rate of 4.4 per 100 full-time employees. In 2016, regional drivers were injured or got sick at the rate of 3.7 per 100, and moving van drivers at the highest rate: 7.6.

Work-related injuries and illnesses led long-haul truckers to take off a cumulative 47,560 days from work in 2016, according to the BLS.

Drivers Feel Slightly Less Safe Than in the Past

The uptick in work-related deaths, injuries and illnesses could be one reason drivers feel slightly less safe on the job than they did six years ago, according to StayMetrics, a South Bend, Ind., driver-retention technology company that polls truckers on issues such as job safety.

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “strongly disagree” and 5 being “strongly agree,” drivers’ average response to the statement “I feel safe on the job” was 3.88 in 2017, compared with 4.12 in 2012, StayMetrics found. The company’s 2017 data are based on responses from 9,575 drivers.

trucker Safety feelings“There is erosion on how safe drivers feel about the profession,” said StayMetrics Chief Executive Tim Hindes. “I can only surmise that increased traffic congestion and lack of access to safe, predictable parking would be leading causes.”

Within the industry, there’s widespread disagreement over how effective electronic logging devices will be in combating driver fatigue. Some believe fatigue contributes to unsafe conditions and leads to crash-related injuries and deaths.

A federal mandate requiring carriers and independent drivers to install ELDs in trucks to track driving time went into effect Monday. Regulators believe the devices will help enforce a federal hours-of-service rule limiting truckers to 11 hours of driving within a 14-hour workday.

Differing Opinions on ELDs’ Potential to Curb Crash-Related Deaths, Injuries

ELDs are “one approach to address the fatigue issue,” said Mooney.

Fatality rates should drop as a result of the new mandate, he said.

In addition to keeping truckers out of harm’s way, Mooney said ELDs will reduce non-trucker fatalities caused by truck-involved crashes.

In 2016, two-thirds of people who died in truck-related collisions were occupants of passenger vehicles hit by trucks, according to the IIHS’ Highway Loss Data Institute.

Truckers accounted for 17 percent of truck-related fatalities, and 16 percent were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists, according to IIHS.

A smartphone-obsessed society that’s led to more distracted driving-based crashes could be a contributing factor, Mooney said.

“Distracted driving is an issue for all drivers,” he said. “You see it every day; people are on their phones, they’re not watching the road.”

Better driver training and crashworthiness testing will do more to curb driver deaths and injuries than ELDs, said Taylor.

“I don’t think they’ll make a difference in terms of safety,” said Taylor, whose organization actively battled ELD implementation in the months leading up to the mandate’s start date.

ELDs track a truck’s movement and location and do nothing to address fatigue or ensure compliance with hours-of-work regulations, she said.

Original Source:

Original Date: Dec. 26 2017

Original Author: Michelle Rafter

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Trucking in 2017: Major fleet merger, 34-hour ‘restart rollback,’ anti-regs push, ELD compliance highlight busy year

Truck Driver on ELD

The ELD mandate and its December compliance date dominated headlines in 2017.

2017 started with President Donald Trump being sworn into office in January and ended with the electronic logging device mandate going into effect in December.

In between those two major events were plenty of headlines regarding both, along with other stories that affected the trucking industry in 2017, including the end of the Safety Fitness Determination rule, the end of some of 2013’s 34-hour restart regulations and more.

Below is a monthly look at the biggest stories of the year.


President Trump

President Donald Trump wasted no time putting a hold on new regulations after taking office in January.

Trump freezes regulations:In his first order of business as President, Donald Trump issued a regulatory freeze pending further review by him and his team. The order stifled a few trucking regulations in the works under the prior administration (see more on those below).

Trump orders “two for one” on regsFollowing his first order to freeze new regulations, Trump issued another order that directed federal agencies to eliminate two existing regulations for every new one put into place. The move was intended to help small businesses, Trump said. This order seemingly hasn’t yet affected the trucking industry.

FMCSA uses new techniques for on-site compliance reviewsThe U.S. DOT began expanding how it conducts on-site compliance reviews of trucking companies by expanding the number of interviews performed with carrier employees and checking carriers’ social media accounts.


18-Wheeler on Highway

The speed limiter mandate that had been considered by FMCSA was likely put to bed with Trump’s regulatory freeze.

FMCSA clarifies ELD ‘grandfather’ clauseCarriers using older ELDs that don’t meet the compliance requirements of the mandate were given two more years to fully comply with the mandate, FMCSA clarified in February.

Trump’s regulatory freeze likely kills speed limiter mandateJoe Rajkovacz, head of regulatory affairs for the Western States Trucking Associations, said he believes Trump’s order to freeze new regulations would be the end of any potential speed limiter mandate in the works. Rajkovacz was proven right later in the year, when FMCSA did place the speed limiter rule on the backburner, though it did not rescind the rule outright, meaning it could resume work on the rule at any point.

ELD compliance all about the dataWhile complying with the ELD mandate from a device standpoint may not be too difficult, knowing what to do with the data is another story for carriers.


Safety Fitness Determination Rule

The Safety Fitness Determination rule was withdrawn in March.

34-hour restart regulations permanently rolled backA study by the DOT revealed the some of the changes instituted by the 2013 hours-of-service rule showed no additional safety benefits. The results of the study meant truckers’ 34-hour restarts no longer required two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods and would not be limited to just once a week — the conclusion of a saga four years in the making.

FMCSA withdraws Safety Fitness rule: The Safety Fitness Determination rule meant to revamp FMCSA’s carrier rating system was withdrawn in March. The rule had drawn concern over its reliance on the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program’s Safety Measurement System.


ELD Buyers' Guide

CCJ’s ELD Buyers’ Guide was a comprehensive guide to give fleets information on ELDs.

CCJ’s ELD Buyers’ GuideCCJreleased its comprehensive guide to give fleets the information they need to purchase the right device for their operation.

Swift, Knight announce mergerTrucking giants Swift Transportation and Knight Transportation announced a merger that would give Swift shareholders 54 percent of the company and Knight shareholders the remaining 46 percent.

FMCSA issues update on split sleeper berth flexibility studyFMCSA’s Kelly Regal told attendees at the Managing Fatigue conference the agency’s study on split sleeper berth flexibility would likely enter the data collection phase in 2017.


Uber Freight Mobile App

Uber Freight entered the trucking industry with its load matching app in May.

Covenant subsidiary asks courts to limit liability in cargo theft claimCovenant Transportation Group’s Southern Refrigerated Transport asked a federal judge in May to reconsider a judgment that put the carrier on the hook for $6 million for a claim against a stolen load of pharmaceuticals.

Supreme Court to decide whether or not to hear ELD lawsuitThe Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its lawsuit against the ELD mandate. The nation’s high court, as noted below, declined to hear the lawsuit, leaving in place the lower court’s ruling to uphold the mandate.

Uber launches Uber Freight brokerage appThe ride-sharing giant launched officially entered the trucking industry with a freight matching app aimed at the owner-operator market with a focus on dry van and reefer loads.


ELD on Dashboard

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case in June against the ELD mandate, handing a major win to the DOT.

Supreme Court declines to hear OOIDA’s ELD lawsuitThe U.S. DOT earned another victory in June in the ongoing ELD saga when the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear OOIDA’s case against the mandate, upholding the mandate’s Dec. 18 compliance date.

Department of Labor rescinds memo affecting owner-operators: The Trump administration rescinded a 2015 memo that classified leased owner-operators as employees, allowing carriers to classify them as independent contractors.

Class-action lawsuit over pre-employment reports stallsA class-action lawsuit brought by six truckers against FMCSA and the pre-employment reports it distributes to carriers was refused by the U.S. Supreme Court. The lawsuit alleged FMCSA shared too much information about drivers’ violation history to prospective employers in the Pre-Employment Screening Program reports.


Trucker with Sleep Apnea

DOT’s July regulatory calendar update indicated it would not further pursue a sleep apnea rulemaking for truckers.

Legislation introduced in House to delay ELD mandateTexas Rep. Brian Babin filed the ELD Extension Act of 2017 that, if enacted, would delay the ELD mandate for two years until December 2019. The bill ultimately saw no action in 2017.

House bill shields carriers from court-ordered payouts to driversThe U.S. House unveiled a bill that would, if passed, prohibit states from requiring carriers to give drivers paid meal and rest breaks, as well as exempt livestock and insect haulers from the ELD mandate. Congress will likely resume work on the bill in the upcoming months.

Trump administration backs off of speed limiter, sleep apnea rulemakingsThe U.S. DOT signaled it would no longer pursue a rulemaking to mandate the use of speed limiters for the trucking industry. The DOT’s regulatory calendar update in July also hinted at the end of a sleep apnea rulemaking that had been in the works. The agency later rescinded the sleep apnea rulemaking, though it did not rescind the speed limiter rule, meaning the DOT can resume work no it at any point.


Walmart Truck

Walmart began charging extra fees for loads delivered early or late in August.

Walmart institutes new fees for early, late deliveriesWalmart began a new policy in August called “On-Time, In-Full” in which carriers will be charged extra fees for deliveries that are late, mispackaged or delivered earlier than the scheduled delivery time.

Navistar ordered to pay fleet $31M over MaxxForce enginesNavistar was ordered by a Tennessee jury to pay trucking company Milan Supply Chain Solutions $30.8 million in damages related to alleged defects in the company’s MaxxForce engine line. The jury concluded Navistar violated consumer protection laws by selling the engines without proper testing.

FMCSA holds impromptu meetings on trucking regsFMCSA began a three-stop tour to gather input from the industry on regulations, including CSA, ELDs and more, without informing the public the meetings would be taking place. Questions swirled around whether the agency had given proper legal notice for the meetings.


Car Wreck

The NTSB determined both the Tesla driver and the trucker involved in a fatal crash were at fault.

Attempt to delay ELD mandate flops in HouseAn amendment to a 2018 appropriations package to stall the ELD mandate for at least 10 months was voted down by the House, therefore it was not added to the package. Rep. Brian Babin filed the amendment as a follow-up to his standalone bill from July.

Natural disasters lead to suspension of hours regs in 26 statesFMCSA suspended hours-of-service regulations for truckers in 26 states hauling gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel, propane and other home heating fuels in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana.

Trucker partly to blame in fatal 2016 Tesla crashThe National Transportation Safety Board determined that while the Tesla driver’s reliance on the autonomous driving mode was mostly to blame in the high-profile crash, the trucker had also failed to yield the right-of-way to the oncoming car.


Glider Kits in Warehouse

The EPA rescinded its glider kit emissions regulations in October.

Week-long inspection spree set to beginCCJ readers in October were on top of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s annual Operation Safe Driver Week, which ran from Oct. 15-21. During the week, enforcement officers were watching for speeding, distracted driving, seatbelt usage and more.

EPA to rescind glider kit emissions regsThe Environmental Protection Agency proposed in October to repeal the emissions regulations placed on glider kits. The regulations would have forced glider kit manufacturers to dramatically change their operations to meet the new standards.

Fleet involved in deadly human smuggling operation shut downPyle Transportation, based in Schaller, Iowa, was shut down by FMCSA following a compliance review that was triggered by a grisly human smuggling operation that left 10 people dead in San Antonio in July.


Tesla Class 8 Tractor

Tesla unveiled its Semi Class 8 tractor in November, boasting up to a 500-mile range fully loaded.

FMCSA announces ELD violations won’t ding carriers’ CSA scores until AprilThe agency that oversees the trucking industry announced in November that carriers hit with violations of the ELD mandate would not have points recorded against them in the CSA rating system until April.

Babin asks Trump directly for ELD mandate delay: Rep. Brian Babin was still fighting with just over a month before the ELD mandate took effect, as he wrote a letter requesting President Trump issue an executive order to delay the mandate until at least April 1.

Tesla Semi unveiledThe Tesla Semi made its debut in November at an event in Hawthorne, Calif. Tesla promises a range of up to 500 miles at maximum weight and highway speed.


Livestock Hauler

FMCSA delayed the ELD compliance date for livestock and other agricultural commodities haulers for 90 days.

Truckers rally in opposition to ELDsOwner-operators and other drivers gathered as part of a so-called “ELD Media Blitz” two weeks before the mandate took effect. The rallies were held across the country in an attempt to bring attention to what drivers said were security, economic and safety issues associated with the mandate.

FMCSA clarifies personal use of trucks with ELD mandateFMCSA released a proposal to alter guidance issued to carriers and drivers involving the use of their truck as a personal vehicle to travel home or to restaurants and motels along their route. The key change in the personal conveyance guidance is the removal of the requirement that trucks be unladen to be used for personal conveyance.

FMCSA issues waiver to delay ELD mandate for ag, livestock haulersThe U.S. DOT granted drivers hauling livestock and other agricultural commodities a waiver from compliance with the ELD mandate until March 18. The extension gave these drivers an extra 90 days to comply and gave FMCSA extra time to consider other ELD-related exemptions requested by drivers in the ag industry.

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Driver Turnover at Big Trucking Firms Jumps to 95 percent

Big motor carriers are having trouble holding onto drivers.

The pace of driver turnover at big motor carriers rose to 95 percent in the third quarter of 2017, up 14 percentage points from the same period a year earlier.

The third quarter turnover rate is up five percentage points from 90 percent in the second quarter of this year, according to the American Trucking Associations’ latest report.

Turnover at small trucking fleets — those with less than $30 million in annual revenue — increased two percentage points from 82 percent to 84 percent for the same period in 2016. However, the rate dropped one percentage point compared with the second quarter of this year.

The turnover rate is a “reflection of the current state of the driver market,” said Bob Costello, chief economist at the ATA.

“When turnover rates are lower, that tells us that the driver market is not as tight, that drivers are not in as high of demand,” Costello told

“Since bottoming out at the end of 2016, the turnover rate at larger fleets has steadily risen — a function of an improving economy, rising demand for freight transportation and fierce competition for drivers,” he said.

The driver shortage could increase to more than 50,000 drivers by the end of 2017, the ATA said. Click to Tweet

The increasing churn rate may be attributed to truckers jumping from fleet to fleet as carriers offer sign-on bonuses to attract drivers.

“Fleets continue to tell us that competition for good, safe and experienced drivers is fierce, pushing wages higher in hopes of attracting the best talent,” Costello said. “However, unless steps are taken to make it easier for individuals to pursue careers in trucking, demand for drivers will continue to outstrip supply — eventually even leading to supply chain disruptions.”

In an effort to attract more drivers, the ATA suggests “lowering barriers to entry by creating a graduated licensing regime beginning at age 18 for commercial drivers, taking steps to make it easier for veterans to turn their practical military experience into a CDL, reaching out to underrepresented communities who may not have previously considered trucking as a career and continuing to increase pay and benefits as fleets are already doing,” Costello said.

Trucks move 70 percent of the domestic freight tonnage annually, according to the ATA.

Original Source:

Original Date: Dec 18 2017

Original Author: Clarissa Hawes


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There’s still a big demand for truckers, according to one Top 10 jobs list

Trucking, a big jobs engine for the Inland Empire, remains a top career option for people without four-year college degrees, according to CareerBuilder.

Truck driving tops the employment companies’ 2018 list of hottest in-demand jobs for people without bachelor’s degrees, as compiled by data company Emsi.

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers earn a median salary of $19.26 an hour, according to the list. Total employment for 2017 was 1,966,281 drivers, with 107,845 monthly hires.

Transportation and warehousing accounted for 101,400 jobs in the Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario metropolitan area in October, according to the California Employment Development Department.

The trucking industry, however, faces changes due to an impending requirement that drivers use electronic logging devices (ELDs). The rule by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is scheduled to kick in Dec. 18.

In the two years since the rule was published, many small fleets and independent truckers have resisted the switch from paper logs.

The average annual cost of an ELD is $495 per truck, according to a 2015 FMCSA estimate that is still being cited by the trucking industry.

Supporters say electronic monitoring will cut down on unsafe driving during long hauls.

“By using an ELD, fleet operations will be centralized, and fleet managers will be able to monitor their drivers’ activities in real-time,” BrightFleet, a driving technology company, wrote on its website.

Critics have organized to stop the rule. They say it is intrusive, that service fees could run up the price of ELDs, and that forcing drivers to rest when they’re not tired will make roads less safe.

They include Forrest Lucas, president of Corona-based Lucas Oil Products, who said in a phone interview he had met with Vice President Mike Pence on the matter.

The ELD rule will cull the trucker population, Lucas predicted.

“A lot of them are just going to quit. I’m quite sure of that. And that’s going to create a huge shortage.”

CareerBuilders’ Top 10

Heavy, tractor-trailer truck drivers: $19.26 median hourly salary

First-line supervisors, retail sales: $17.10

Food service managers: $19.82

Insurance sales agents: $23.17

Computer user support specialists: $23.81

Social, human service assistants: $15.33

Real estate sales agents: $17.92

Pharmacy technicians: $14.87

Medical assistants: $15.18

Tax preparers: $19.60

Original Source:

Original Author: Fielding Buck

Original Date: Dec 4 2017

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Tesla’s Electric Truck: Here’s What We Know

Electric vehicle maker Tesla is notoriously close-mouthed about its future products, preferring to tease out tidbits of information to generate interest. The company has stuck to that playbook when discussing plans to unveil a heavy-duty Tesla electric truck this week.

Still, some details have leaked and others can be intuited from what’s known of Tesla’s technology and design philosophy.

The prototype will be a futuristic, battery-electric, Class 8 tractor powered by Tesla-built electric motors, batteries and power electronics, all components the company already makes and can be scaled up for a heavy-duty truck.

Spy photographs indicate Tesla’s electric truck will look quite 22nd century — a tall, imposing cab inspired by the helmets worn by Imperial storm troopers in the “Star Wars” movies that Tesla’s designers watched growing up.

It will be gleaming white — or maybe Tesla red — with smoky black glass windows and curves and angles that slope up and back from a menacing, grille-less front end sporting LED projector headlamps and emblazoned with the company’s iconic “T” logo.

There won’t be a hood — no need in an electric truck. The power electronics and battery pack will be installed beneath the cab. The electric motors — and there will be two, based on Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk’s references to “motors” in tweets about the truck. They will likely be mounted on the rear axles, inboard of the wheels.

The basic design is intended to shout, “Here’s the future, and it is sleek, fierce, and powerful.”

Tesla Semi truck spotted

Potential Tesla semi-truck prototype. (Photo: Reddit)

Musk has promised that the truck’s torque will be best in the business, by far. In a tug-of-war with a diesel semi, he once boasted, Tesla’s semi — Musk calls it “the beast” — would pull its opponent uphill.

Based on Tesla’s cars, expect the cab to be plush and dedicated to making the driver as comfortable and operationally efficient as possible. That’s a Tesla trademark and one way the company helps justify the premium prices needed to pay for the lithium-ion batteries that power its vehicles.

The truck will have autonomous driving features to enable platooning and maximize fuel efficiency and safety. Tesla’s truck, as Tesla’s cars do already, will probably carry the hardware to become fully autonomous with a wireless software update when federal highway safety regulations allow driverless trucks.

Look for a day cab, intended for short- and medium-range work, with a range of up to 300 miles and, more likely, a range of somewhere between 150 and 225 miles. The batteries just get too heavy and too costly to pencil out economically after that, according to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.

They found that the cost of current lithium-ion batteries alone would run between $160,000 and $210,000 per truck for trucks with 300 miles of range — more than the average $120,000 cost of an entire Class 8 diesel tractor. A 300-mile electric truck would require a battery pack capacity of 1,000 kilowatt-hours and would weigh almost nine tons, dramatically reducing cargo capacity, the study found.

A sleeper cab model for long-distance hauling is in Tesla’s future, but even if the cost and weight obstacles were overcome, the batteries available with today’s technology would require many lengthy, and thus costly, recharging stops — or the construction of a national network of battery swap stations — to keep the trucks rolling long-haul distance.

Rivals, including Toyota, General Motors, U.S. Hybrid and Kenworth, are working on fuel-cell electric trucks, from medium-duty models to over-the-road semis that use hydrogen fuel-cell technology to deliver longer travel distances and quicker refueling. Don’t expect that from Tesla. Musk is a vocal critic of fuel-cells.

Tesla Semi Truck Teaser

Tesla released this teaser of its upcoming electric truck. (Photo: Tesla)

Still, a Tesla drayage truck, designed to haul freight in 100-300 mile loops between port areas and freight hubs and regional warehousing and distribution centers, could be a big seller.

California and New York are big boosters of transitioning regional freight hauling and port truck traffic from fossil fuels to green technology.

The annual market for short-range, heavy-duty electric trucks in the U.S. will hit 15,000 units by 2025, Walter Rentzsch, a Michigan-based trucking industry analyst with consulting firm Roland Berger, told

Those sales will all be in states, such as California, with heavy financial incentives that will help truck operators offset the higher purchase costs of electric models, Rentzsch said.

Rentzsch and colleague Stephan Keese said that a short-haul electric truck with about 100 miles of range and a five-ton, 600 kWh battery — a lesser truck than the Carnegie Mellon study envisioned — could earn payback for its price premium in three to five years if that premium were no more than $60,000 over the cost of a comparably equipped diesel model.

That’s a conservative look at the financials.

Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas recently called the Tesla truck “the biggest catalyst in trucking in decades,” and predicted that its operating costs could be 70 percent lower than for a Class 8 diesel tractor.

Tesla’s Musk hasn’t been shy about pitching the truck. At a shareholder meeting in June he urged investors to “show up for the semi-truck unveiling, maybe there’s a little more [to it] than what we are saying here.”

Musk repeated that “more to it” claim in an Oct. 6 Twitter exchange with a follower. “Semi specs are better than anything I’ve seen reported so far,” he wrote.

One last thing: Tesla often promises release dates and production schedules that are revised multiple times before things actually start appearing on the road. Expect a lengthy gap from the Tesla truck’s introduction to commercial use.

Original Source:

Original Date: November 13 2017

Original author: John O’Dell

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How truckers can stop human trafficking

Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery that’s trapping hundreds of thousands of people, many of them children, into forced commercial sex and abuse. It is also big business, worth some $150-billion-a-year criminal market globally. Truck drivers and fleet owners, however, can play a big role in stopping this horrific enterprise. To that end, Steven Spencer, vice president of transportation solutions at background screening company HireRight, and Laura Cyrus, operations director for Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), offer some tips to help spot and stop trafficking.

The red flags of human trafficking might not be obvious, at first. But, a closer look into the faces and activities at truck stops, highway motels and rest areas across the country can reveal the victimization of countless women, men and even children.

There’s the strung-out boy who never leaves the sight of a controlling older man. Or the teenage girl, branded with a tattoo on the back of her neck. Or simply a distressed face glimpsed peering out from behind a darkened window.

Trucking companies, truck stop personnel, and especially truck drivers themselves, are on the frontlines of this global epidemic. They frequent or work at the truck stops and rest areas where traffickers force their victims – some as young as elementary age – into prostitution and subject them to constant physical and sexual abuse.

Because they’re constantly traveling and stopping at destinations also used by traffickers, transportation professionals can make a difference. Already trained to be aware of their surroundings, when truckers know how to identify potential human trafficking victims and how to get them help, they save lives.

Modern-day slavery

Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery that’s trapping hundreds of thousands into a life of forced commercial sex and abuse. Victims may have been kidnapped or recruited, sometimes online or during face-to-face meetings at schools, shopping centers or the street.

Sadly, it’s big business, fueling a $150-billion-a-year global criminal market. This crime has exceeded the illegal sale of arms and is expected to outstrip illicit drug sales, according to statistics compiled by the International Labor Organization (ILO).

And its victims are often very young. Anti-trafficking organizations don’t agree on how many American children actually fall prey to human traffickers each year. But of the 18,500 runaways reported in 2016 to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, one in six were likely sex trafficking victims. Globally, the ILO says that 26% of the world’s 21 million human trafficking victims are children.

This crime can take place at any location, but it is not uncommon at truck stops and welcome centers, which can be isolated from the broader community and serve transient customers, according to the Polaris Project, which works to eradicate modern slavery. These secluded locations also make it difficult for victims to escape. That’s where truckers can help.

Truckers to the rescue

Simply knowing the signs of human trafficking can make all the difference. Truckers should be on the lookout for warning signs, trust their gut and jot down notes, such as descriptions of vehicles and people; specific dates and times; and the address when something looks suspicious.

Specific red flags that likely signal a human trafficking case include:

  • Any minor who appears to be engaged in the commercial sex trade.
  • Anybody who appears to be under the control of a pimp, regardless of that person’s age or gender.
  • Signs of branding or tattooing of the trafficker’s name, often on the neck.
  • Indications of other abuse or drug addiction.

Once truckers have recognized the signs and identified a potential victim, time is of the essence. Truckers should immediately notify the truck stop manager and call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. The hotline is staffed 24/7 with trained operators who can relay information to local law enforcement and look for trends to turn over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Truckers also can call 911.

In nearly a decade, the hotline has received more than 1,830 calls specifically from people who identified themselves as truck drivers. Those calls uncovered 525 likely cases of human trafficking that involved 972 victims. About a third of those victims were minors.

Training is critical

Since the inception of Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) in 2009, more truckers and trucking companies are getting involved in the work to end human trafficking.

An industry training program, designed specifically for truckers and truck-stop employees, is at the core of TAT’s work. The program, which is free, available online and takes no more than 30 minutes, highlights those red flags and others, along with ways that truckers can help.

So far, more than 453,000 people have completed the program. And a growing number of trucking companies are requiring their employees to get TAT trained. Many are making it a part of new driver orientation or screening the program during regular safety meetings.

What’s more, lawmakers are recognizing the value of the trucking industry in the fight against human trafficking. Ohio, Arkansas, Texas, Washington and Kansas now use TAT training as part of the curriculum for licensing either entry-level or all commercial drivers in their states. Other states are considering similar requirements.

But, ultimately, the biggest heroes in this fight will be the truckers.

They’re men and women like Con-way Truckload driver Kevin Kimmel, who called authorities in 2015 because something didn’t look quite right at a Virginia truck stop where he had stopped one morning. Through the darkened window of a recreational vehicle, he saw the face of a distraught young woman and, later, watched a man enter the vehicle, which, he told media, started “rocking and rolling.”

Thanks to his observations and subsequent call, police rescued the 20-year-old woman, who had been kidnapped by a couple two weeks earlier from Iowa. Physically and sexually abused and forced into prostitution, the woman was not far from death because of the injuries and starvation she endured.

Kimmel also received Truckers Against Trafficking’s 2015 Harriet Tubman Award, which honors those in the trucking industry whose direct actions help save or improve the lives of human trafficking victims.

He’d pulled into that truck stop to sleep. Instead, by following his instinct and not turning a blind eye, his call resulted in the rescue of a young woman from an unimaginable situation.

Original Source:

Original Date: Nov 1 2017

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LTL (Less than Truckload) shipping service is the most used method of shipping products using a truck. An LTL carrier is used to pick up several small shipments from customers that do not require a whole trailer to be used. In other words, they may be renting space in the back of the trailer. Once the company has turned all of their pickups for that day, they will bring the freight back to their port. It is also likely a terminal will receive delivery from other terminals that were indexed the last time. This space renting technique helps the truck owners to give a reasonable discount to customers while also making extra income from renting the space. This is extremely useful as there are companies or individuals only need to transport small goods, this saves them money as they do not need to pay for the whole truck which they might not be able to afford.

If you want to use LTL shipping for your goods, there are things you will need to consider and some steps you will need to follow. In this article, we will help you go through some of the steps to follow if you want to use the Less Than Truckload Service.

Perform extensive research

Find a shipping and delivery company that offers a wide variety of services and options to their customers.

  • Have a list of general transport requirements for your business, both immediate and potential needs in the foreseeable future.
  • Make a set of all providers you will like to work with.
  • Speak with an account manager at each one.
  • Get and check sources.
  • Make sure the companies you want to work with have the right license for the goods you want to transport.

After the research

It is important to note that not all LTL companies render perfect service, so it is important to spend more than enough time researching on the right LTL service to use. After you have found a company you feel is the right option, you will also need to how the company in particular works as different people have different ways of doing things. You will need to take these few necessary steps before the driver arrives at your end for pick-up to keep your business running smoothly:

  • Prepare your packaging: Appropriate packaging helps ensure trouble-free shipping. It also helps limit any possible damage coming from Trans loading the packaged freight. Most of the time you want your items on a pallet, but you can double check with the carrier.
  • Label every part clearly: Total names and addresses on each piece are needed to ensure that packages found in your shipment arrive undamaged.
  • Have a bill of lading: It is a legal contract between the shipper or possibly a 3rd Party Logistics Supplier (3PL) and the carrier. It contains details of what is being transported.
  • Order Placement: Depending on the time of your purchase, most companies bring a truck at the location that same day or usually the subsequent day at the most recent. Other hints needed will be made known to you by your carrier.
  • Contact your supplier/shipper to find out when your shipment was first shipped, what carrier that was directed at, and an approximate arrival date.
  • On arrival, inspect the shipment immediately for evident signs of damage.
  • Sign the delivery receipt if everything is fine by you.

Learn more about Matrix Transportation and the transportation services they offer including: dedicated truckloads, JIT truckloads, less than truckload (LTL), same day expedited FTL and LTL, full truckload, warehousing, cross-docking, and trailer rentals at  To contact one of our trucking experts call toll free 888.896.2405 today.

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50,000 drivers needed: Can technology save the trucking industry?

The trucking industry has a big problem: Millennials don’t want to drive trucks.

As a result, the industry could be short 50,000 drivers by the end of the year.

That’s according to Bob Costello, chief economist for the American Trucking Association (ATA), who this week presented findings from a report on the driver shortage.

“We experienced a freight recession last year, which eased the pressure on the driver market,” Costello said. “Now that freight volume’s accelerating again, we should expect to see a significant tightening of the driver market.”

The shortage comes as truck manufacturers are accelerating development of autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles. If you’ve read any headlines about trucking recently, they’ve probably heralded the coming of the autonomous fleet.

Peterbilt and Freightliner are both developing self-driving technology for their tractor-trailers, as are a number of startups, such as Embark and Otto, which was purchased by Uber last year and is now part of the company’s Advanced Technology’s Group.

Elon Musk is set to unveil Tesla‘s electric semi in late October.

Freightliner received the first-ever license to test a semi-autonomous truck on the highway a few years ago, and just a few days ago a truck became the first autonomous vehicle cleared for regular use on an American highway–albeit at slow speeds.

It’s certainly a ripe market for early adoption of autonomous technology. The American economy relies heavily on trucks, which move 10.5 billion tons of goods each year. The industry employs about 3.5 million drivers.

At the same time, congestion costs the trucking industry more than $63 billion each year. There are also around 4000 deaths and 10,000 injuries attributed to trucks each year, with drivers faulted in the majority of cases. Autonomous vehicles could mitigate both problems.

Still, the shift will likely happen in phases, and fully autonomous trucks face stiff regulatory roadblocks.

I reached out to Brian Fielkow, president of Jetco Delivery and author of the book Leading People Safely, for some industry insight.

“Even though the technology is clearly here for self-driving trucks, I do not see self-driving trucks decreasing the demand for professional drivers any time soon.”

Fielkow envisions a rollout where technology gradually augments the human driver, making trucking safer and more efficient. Uber’s trucking solution, for example, still utilizes the driver for maneuvering off-highway and in high traffic situations, but automates the long lonesome highway portions of the trip.

“Tomorrow’s professional truck driver may be analogous to an airplane pilot, where the much of the function is automated but the human element still is critical.”

Fielkow does see technology as a possible way to alleviate the driver shortages, however. That’s because new technology in the cockpit may take strain off long hauls and make the job more comfortable.

“Technology, including advances that we cannot even see today, will continue to make trucking more efficient and safer. It will create a new experience for tomorrow’s driver, and I hope that will be a breakthrough for our industry’s ability to attract new drivers.”

Original Source:

Original Date: Oct 24 2017

Original Author: Greg Nichols

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Three Technologies Volvo Says Will Radically Change Trucking

The future of trucking and transportation will involve three main elements: connectivity, electromobility and automation. Each one is evolving in its own right, but the forthcoming convergence of the three is what will create a paradigm shift in the world of transportation.

That’s the belief of Volvo Group Chief Technology Officer Lars Stenqvist, who hosted a roundtable discussion with media at the House of Sweden in Washington, D.C., earlier this week.

These technologies will not only benefit companies through increased efficiencies but also society at large with improvements in safety, reductions in traffic, better urban design and improvement in socioeconomic conditions, he said.

“We need to come up with these solutions rapidly,” Stenqvist said. “And we can see, when we meet customers, they are waiting for it.  When we meet legislators, they are waiting for it. I would say society’s waiting for it.”

Connected Supply Chain

Connectivity is one of the biggest areas undergoing evolution. All parts of the supply chain, including shippers, manufacturers, retailers, distributors and transport companies are moving into an age of data dependency fueled by sensors, the Internet of Things and cloud-based applications.

Such connectivity will enable trucking companies to enhance existing infrastructure to streamline operations, drive efficiencies and better schedule maintenance. All cargo also will be connected in real time, which will further “optimize the logistical chain,” Stenqvist said.

Most large trucking companies are already using some level of connectivity through sensors and cloud-based software. For example, the technology related to the upcoming implementation of electronic logging devices will track how much time drivers spend behind the wheel of their vehicle. The ELDs are meant to ensure compliance, but they will also create efficiencies.

Connectivity is even being used in truck parts and equipment as manufacturers leverage advanced computers to spur more preventative maintenance.

Michelin North America started incorporating radio-frequency identification, or RFID, tags into its commercial truck tires and retreads in March. RFID uses electromagnetic fields to identify and track tags attached to certain objects. Michelin’s RFID tags will help users effectively track tires throughout their lifecycle.

“We’re already there in different stages of connectivity,” said Satish Jindel, president of SJ Consulting Group Inc., a firm that specializes in transportation and logistics. “It’s not that it’s not being adopted, it’s just that some companies are using it more extensively than others.”

Improving Efficiency with Electromobility

The movement toward hybrid and electric vehicles is also gaining steam, Stenqvist said.

He dispels the notion that internal combustion engines are nearing extinction. They will be around for “for years to come,” he said.

Yet he does believe combustion engines should be further optimized while the industry builds more hybrid and electric vehicles. Stenqvist points to new advancements in aerodynamics, transmissions and piston designs that can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 2 percent.

Volvo introduced a concept truck in May 2016 with improvements in aerodynamics, rolling resistance and reduced weight.

Volvo Trucks concept truck

Volvo Trucks’ Concept Truck is designed to minimize air resistance without sacrificing other features. (Photo: Volvo)

“Those technologies that we have been fostering for decades – we need to continue our investments in those technologies,” he said. “But on top of it, we are also going to invest more and more into what we call ‘the new technologies.’”

Volvo’s electric bus service in Gothenburg, Sweden, has already transported more than 1.2 million passengers.

Investment in these new technologies is also happening in the U.S. Electric bus maker Proterra Inc. opened a new factory just east of Los Angeles in July, funded in part by a $3-million grant from the California Energy Commission. BYD Co., based in China, built a factory in Lancaster, Calif., to produce electric buses and trucks, and earlier this year it reached an agreement to supply 20 electric shuttle buses to the University of California, Irvine.

These advancements in electric and hybrid buses will also influence city planning. Zero-emissions vehicles that make no noise will be able to use indoor bus stops, opening new possibilities in urban design, Stenqvist said.

Volvo is also developing electric construction equipment that is “surprising many,” he said. This includes a fully electric compact excavator and load carrier. In another application, the company is using a Mack Pinnacle Series semi to test GPS and hybrid technology in a drayage operation. The hybrid powertrain would give the truck flexibility to toggle between gas and electric depending on the emissions requirements of different areas.

Though electric engines are becoming more powerful, they’re a long way from fully powering Class 8 trucks, Jindel said.

The variance and volume of loads could make pulling a 30,000-pound load up a hill “very painful” for a driver, he said.

But these technologies can be very useful in medium- and light-duty applications inside city centers, Stenqvist said. Regional- and long-haul routes will be best suited for hybrid models that can use things like regenerative braking.

Volvo’s also added a hybrid powertrain to its concept truck earlier this year – one of the first of its kind for heavy-duty trucks.

“We see the biggest interest is to have the ability to go electric on the last leg, or the last mile. Most likely, that will be the most popular application,” Stenqvist said.

The Road to Automation

The most advanced – and most distant – technology in this new paradigm is in automation and self-driving vehicles.

There will be multiple levels of automation on the path to driverless vehicles, Stenqvist said.

Many of these technologies, such as cruise control and lane-departure sensors, are already on the market. The next levels move into “sightless” autonomy where less involvement is required on the part of the driver, he said.

There are safety concerns regarding autonomy, but the key is to start small with confined uses that can reduce risk, Stenqvist said.

In Sweden, Volvo is already testing a self-driving truck nearly a mile below the surface in an ore mine. And in partnership with Swedish waste and recycling specialists Renova, the company is testing a self-driving refuse truck that is pre-programmed to drive itself from one bin to the next while the driver walks ahead. Sensors continually monitor the vehicle’s vicinity and force the truck to stop when an obstacle appears in its path.

“It’s a research project where we are testing the boundaries,” Stenqvist said.

Despite the promise of many new technologies, incentives will be needed to drive mass adoption, Jindel said.

While bigger trucking companies are eager to pilot projects, the bulk of owner-operators are unlikely to find the short-term financial wherewithal to upgrade without incentives from insurance companies, he said. “If you have sensors on the sides of trucks that can capture the driver if he is dozing off, insurers should be rewarding companies with lower premiums.”

Stenqvist doesn’t know what the future will look like, but he has a clear view of where it’s headed.

The path forward will be in experimentation, collaboration and partnership to create a “connected smart infrastructure” that goes beyond individual vehicles, he said.

This will create a human and cargo transport system with higher capacity, less congestion, fewer accidents and less environmental impact.

Original Source:

Original Author: Craig Guillot

Original Date: September 20 2017

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How Blockchain Technology Could Transform Trucking

Blockchain, a technology that stores incorruptible blocks of information across a shared digital network, could revolutionize the future of trucking and logistics by creating a new system of completing transactions, tracking shipments and managing fleets.

Blockchain is a shared, distributed ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network, according to Manav Gupta, an IBM cloud computing expert and author of “Blockchain for Dummies.” An asset can be a tangible object such as a car, or intangible, such as a patent.

But virtually anything that holds value can be tracked and traded on a blockchain network, making it an ideal tool for arranging and tracking freight services.

“It’s a framework for designing a whole new way of looking at the world and managing different transactions,” said Craig Fuller, chief executive of TransRisk and co-founder of the Blockchain in Trucking Alliance, a coalition pushing for the adoption of blockchain technology by the trucking industry.

For freight brokers, blockchain technology can provide solutions to some of the biggest challenges in the logistics and transportation industry: protecting commodities and maximizing delivery efficiency.

One of the most basic implications is the creation of a streamlined payment system. Blockchain technology can create a “digitized roadmap” of routes, and smart contracts written into the blockchain can trigger the transfer of funds to a driver instantaneously once a delivery has been completed.

Record-keeping within the blockchain is also easier and more accurate.

Trucking companies would be able to maintain immutable records on each truck in their fleet, tied to every piece of maintenance given or damages incurred throughout the truck’s life—from the moment it rolls of the assembly line until it is sold again. Armed with that knowledge, companies can buy, sell, and repair new vehicles more shrewdly, Fuller said.

It also can address other logistics issues.

About 420,000 people die each year globally from eating contaminated food, according to the World Health Organization.

When using the blockchain’s digitized roadmap, distributors can trace a contaminated shipment to its source. In a recent salmonella outbreak at the Chipotle fast-food chain, it took weeks to track the disease to each restaurant location.

If the distributor had been on a blockchain, however, it would have taken only minutes to track where and when the contaminated food had been delivered, said Kenneth Craig, vice president of McLeod Software, a charter member of the Blockchain in Trucking Alliance. The same logic can be applied to defective electronics or recalled toys.

Coupling blockchain technology with the IoT, or Internet of Things, distributors could use sensors placed inside refrigerated trucks to monitor temperature. If the level climbs above a certain degree, drivers could be notified before the food spoils.

Those same sensors could also allow distributors to track and weigh their loads at all times, instead of relying on hand-recorded inventories, which can be prone to error. Using blockchain, shippers could monitor loads and send verifiable data to customers and drivers.

This also opens up the potential for trucking load-matching apps, which can identify excess capacity across distribution networks and coordinate efficient load distribution and transportation. This could help companies adapt to a shortage of truck drivers or trucks, maximize fuel efficiency or identify areas to cut budgets.

2030 Projection of Blockchain Technology Market

2030 Projection of Blockchain Technology Market. (Graph: Autonomous Next)

For customers, doing business with a shipping company that utilizes blockchain means increased transparency.

The technology gives “you access and knowledge of everything that ever happened in it,” Fuller said. “If it’s implemented and managed properly it eliminates fraud and ensures consistency.”

Customers can track routes, see delays and estimate delivery time down to the minute. And when companies start automatically logging their movements in the blockchain, customers will have full access to carrier safety history.

The key to blockchain’s value is that the system is trustless, which means each part of the transaction process is completely transparent and involves no intermediaries, Fuller said. Users can embed “smart contracts” within the blockchain, which trigger self-executing transactions and alerts.

Blockchain has the potential to transform what have traditionally been offline transactions between individuals and companies into online, trackable and transparent ones. “That’s what makes it so powerful,” said Fuller.  

Blockchain systems already have worldwide applications in finance, acting as the underlying technology platform for the digital currency bitcoin.

“It has extensive promise for every industry,” said Craig. “By using blockchain they can reinvent the very nature of commercial activity, remove intermediaries and have much more fluid business processes that can be conducted in various ecosystems.”

Though blockchain has not yet been implemented on a major scale, some technology companies have led the way in piloting test cases. IBM formed a coalition with Walmart, Unilever and seven other food companies in August to experiment with introducing blockchain technology in their food supply chains to cut back on contamination risks.

Walmart and IBM have already run two successful tests using secure digital records in a blockchain based in Hyperledger Fabric to track Chinese pork and Mexican mangoes.

Ambrosus, a Swiss food supply chain company, is using the technology to “reliably record the entire history of food from farm to fork,” using sensors, blockchain and smart contracts, according to a statement from Angel Versetti, Ambrosus chief executive officer and co-founder.

And together with AOS SAS, a Colombian business solutions company, IBM is already piloting a program to outfit its trucks with sensors to measure load weights, measure capacity and estimate delivery time.

“These are not real functioning blockchains in the pure sense,” however, said Craig. “They’re just what you might call alpha tests to prove the concept.”

And because these are isolated experiments, it is not yet clear how disruptive blockchain will be to the existing systems of logistics and operations management in the trucking world.

“The technology holds great promise, but the devil is in the details,” Craig said.

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