HOS Impacts Both US and Canada

The US’ new Hours of Service rules for truck drivers went into full effect on July 1, 2013, and there are very real implications for drivers on both sides of the border (US / Canada).

CLICK HERE to read the full story in the July/Aug 2013 Edition of Desi Trucking Magazine.

 

Special thanks to Chett Winchell of C.W. Enterprises for his commentary on this topic.

 


Interestingly, the article is also translated into Punjabi:

HOS – Guest OpEd

The Revised Hours-Of Service is coming!!  By Chett Winchell 

How have times changed! Used to be we all knew that dispatch was going to ask you two questions, how long were you on today and how many hours do you have for tomorrow? Times changed and the 34-hour reset came into being and changed that thought process. It was almost like a circus…Step right up folks, get your time off and get a new 70! What a deal, what a deal! The driver actually trying to stay legit just went out the window. So much for home time, seeing the family or friends…reset on the road – another two + weeks out…

If drivers keep their logs correct, the 34-hour reset is not a blank necessity. When I drove, I knew the hours available all the time. If companies would go back to requiring a recap, and notification to dispatch about hours available, there would (Oh No) be communication between dispatch and driver and none of the “I can’t do that talk.”

Sometimes change is good, but I believe that some of the old school mentality is a great baseline in understanding how to correctly log, knowing the hours available and where you stand in general as far as HOS goes.

Unfortunately, I believe that this new legislation coming 1 July is going to absolutely put the hurt on team drivers. The truck is going to sit about four hours a day. Old school of 5 on, 5 off, you could run forever!

We are going to have continual depletion in the HOS arena and it is past time to wise up and get the proverbial act together. What I would like to see is actual input from lawmakers and groups that really have knowledge in the HOS area, instead of micro-management from groups that really don’t have a clue in the real world of trucking about what is going on, their demands and the long term effects of enacted legislation.

Guess I need a drug test…

 

 

 

This article was originally published on the CW Enterprise Facebook page on May 29, 2013.  Learn more about Chett Winchell and CW Enterprises at www.YourComplianceCenter.com

CW Enterprises, LLC is here to serve your needs. They are current in the HOS arena and can train your drivers to the new rules effective 1 July, 2013!

 

Earth Day – Environmental Con

Michael Howe Hosts "In the Booth"Today is Earth Day, a day celebrated by environmentalists since 1970 in hopes of creating greater awareness of environmental issues. The trucking industry has long been a target of environmentalists, whether it is emissions, fuel efficiency, tire disposal, or for other reasons.

The Federal Highway Administration even has a web page devoted to outlining the vast number of environmental regulations affecting transportation that is worth checking out.
While no one in the trucking industry is an anti-environment, there are many who question the extremes to which regulators and legislators go. With every new environmental regulation costs go up for those in the industry. Are these regulations and costs always necessary?

The answer is NO! Interestingly, there is evidence that many environmental regulations are the product of pressure to appear environmental, not actual science. Some legislators and regulators even know certain policies are ineffective or worse yet, bad for the environment.

Click Here to Listen to what Todd Myers, Director of Washington Policy Center’s Center for the Environment, had to say about Earth Day and current environmental policy. He was a guest on my local radio program this past weekend.

Random Tolling

How do you pay for a bridge that was constructed before funding was secured?  You toll an entirely different road of course!

The 520 bridge in the Seattle area is just this project.  One plan to pay for the bridge, which also has experienced $100 million in engineering snafu’s, is to toll Interstate 90 to help pay for the $1.4 billion shortfall.

This proposal, and how we arrived at this point, is just too outlandish to write about…..so why not listen….

Learn more about this “fundamentally flawed” proposal, as well as other disturbing and related issues with this project by listening to my interview with Paul Guppy, VP of Research for the Washington Policy Center (originally aired on my local radio program, In The Booth).

Click Here to Listen: Bad Tolling Plan

I’ve long been an opponent of toll roads in most cases.  Proponents of toll roads generally argue tolls are nothing more than a “user fee,” while I argue the gas tax is that “user fee” – unfortunately states and the federal government generally don’t use the gas tax entirely for what I believe it’s intended purpose is, to fund highways.  This proposal, however, takes the idea of tolling to an entirely new disturbing level.

Driver Shortage In Canada?

Driver Training at Saferway
Driver Training at Saferway Driver Training School in British Columbia, Photo Courtesy of Randy Eckert

In the US we have heard for years about the driver shortage.  But, what about in Canada – are they experiencing the same issues?  That’s the topic of one of my latest columns for Western Trucking News.

Is the story really in different on either side of the border?

Article Highlights:

    • A new report (February 2013)  by the Conference Board of Canada (CBC) suggests that due to aging in the driver workforce and a growing demand from trucking services, “the for hire trucking industry can expect to face a driver supply and demand gap of nearly 25,000 drivers by 2020 in a business-as-usual scenario.” But, it could become worse if labor productivity is lower in future years.
    • A 2012 report by the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Driver Shortage identified truck drivers as the most important asset of the industry and that respect would go a long way in helping with recruitment and tenure.
    • Randy Eckert, President of Saferway Driver Training School in British Columbia says the demand for new truck drivers is palpable.
    • Eckert suggests that the standards are too low, the testing at the Drivers Service Centers is too low, and the training standards are too low.
    • North America has known of the driver shortage problem for many years, yet it is as if the governments have had their heads shoved in the sand

READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE


Hours of Service Questions

It’s fascinating how the new US Hours of Service rules are impacting drivers across North America.  Quite frankly, there is significant concern about the financial impact to drivers of the new rule.  And, that concern is not just relegated to American drivers.  Interestingly, that’s the topic of my latest column in Canada’s Western Trucking News, where I try to get some clarification.

US DOT
US DOT Headquarters

Read the column, which includes commentary from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and an expert in DOT rules, Chett Winchell of Your Compliance Center.

 

 

 

 


Canada’s Pipeline Controversy

The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Project appears to offer an impressive upside for the Canadian trucking industry and North America’s energy and economic future.  However, not unlike the Keystone XL Pipeline Project controversy I addressed last week (calling on President Obama and his Administration to approve it), Canada is also experiencing it’s own share of pipeline controversy.

Click here to read my feature about the project in the February 2013 Western Trucking News, a Canadian trucking industry publication from Woodward Publishing.

Kitimat Terminal



On a personal note, I’m honored to have this new opportunity to contribute to Western Trucking News.

Truckers and Guns

  The gun control issue has really heated up in Washington as of late (be sure to scroll down for my interview with NRA President David Keene).  And, as I wrote in my January 2013 Layover.com column, it will continue to be a topic of discussion:

  “Over the course of the next several months the President, Congress, and special interest groups will continue to debate how to best address the issues related to gun violence. The elevation of this issue to primacy has also raised questions in the trucking industry as many truckers wonder if they are allowed to carry a gun while operating a commercial motor vehicle.”

  Click here to read my entire Layover.com column “Can Truckers Carry a Gun”, which includes a discussion of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, Part I, Chapter 44, Section 926A (18 USC Sec. 926A).  This actually allows for the transport of a gun across state lines, yet it’s not quite that simple and in fact can become rather complex for OTR drivers.  If nothing else, do your research!

  On a side note, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to interview David Keene, President of the National Rifleman’s Association, back in October 2012 for my local radio program “In the Booth.”  Though some of it is specific to the 2012 election, including some of the more local races, much of what he says is quite prophetic regarding President Obama and his intentions on gun control.  I share that audio here:  NRA President David Keene

 

Keystone XL – Approve It!

Keystone Oil Pipeline Contruction - North Dakota; Copyright © TransCanada Corporation. All rights reserved.

The TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline Project had been the source of much controversy during President Obama’s first term.  Opposed by environmental groups, touted by the energy industry, the debate is endless.  The Governor of Nebraska had to address to pressures from environmental interest groups in 2011 and ultimately denied a pipeline siting permit for the project that stalled the remainder of the planning.

Beyond state siting issues, the US State Department must also issue a Presidential Permit for the project (because it crosses international borders).  The President has enjoyed the cover of the state of Nebraska’s delay since 2011, but that delay is now over.  On January 22, 2013, Governor Dave Heineman gave approval for the pipeline’s siting through Nebraska.  The new path avoids the controversial “Sand Hills” area of Nebraska.

Read the Governor’s Approval Letter by clicking here.
Read TransCanada’s Statement on the Governor’s Approval by clicking here.


On the same day Gov. Heineman approved the pipeline, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked if we could expect the project to move forward now.  Carney largely avoided the answer, suggesting these things take time, and reminding folks that the Obama Administration blames the Nebraska Governor for the delay.  “One of the things that delayed or postponed this process had to do with the opposition of the Nebraska Governor and others in that state to the route that Keystone was proposed to take, the pipeline was proposed to take,” said Carney.  The “others” mentioned by Carney will likely oppose the pipeline regardless.

   If the President’s State of the Union is any indication, it’s unlikely he will move quickly on giving final approval for the pipeline.  The only comments related to energy security or independence in that address were directed at “green energy.”  “The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult.  But America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it.  We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries, we must claim its promise,” said Obama.

Read the President’s State of the Union Address by clicking here.

What the President and others in the Administration need to understand is that no matter how promising new energy technologies might be in the future, the United States and the globe are largely a carbon based society.  To do anything significantly different that would truly eliminate the need for carbon based energy will take much larger investments and infrastructure than most are willing to discuss.  That, in part, is why we need to continue to look at new energy technologies while still working to become more energy independent in the current reality.

  We need the Keystone XL Pipeline Project to be approved.  As such, I send kudos to my old friend, U.S. Senator John Barrasso and about 52 other Senators for sending a letter to President Obama encouraging him to “finish the review process and approve the Keystone XL pipeline by the Administration’s own March 2013 deadline.”

Read the text of the letter by clicking here.

  The letter concludes, “After four and a half years of stude, we urge you to stick to your deadlines.  The American people need a timely decision on the Presidential Permit.”

  I would argue that the American people not only need a timely decision, but they DESERVE a timely decision.  Far too often government delays important decisions in the name of appeasing certain interest groups.  Any delay in approving this project only hurts the American people.  The American people deserve the 5000-6000 temporary construction jobs; the American economy deserves the private sector investment of $20+ billion; states and communities along the pipeline route deserve the $585 million in new taxes; and the nation deserves strengthened energy security with the pipelines 1.1million barrels per day capacity (with contracts to support it).

Learn the facts by clicking here.

   Mr. President, approving the pipeline is good for America!


Marijuana Legal – Not for Drivers!

USDOT Reminds Drivers Marijuana is Still Illegal

It’s my hope that professional truck drivers really did not need a reminder that marijuana use is not permitted, but with Colorado and Washington voters making recreational use legal it was probably a good idea for the US Department of Transportation to remind drivers of just that.

So, because the November 2012 elections not only elected a President of the United States but also legalized recreational use of marijuana in two states the US DOT issued a clarifying statement about marijuana.

In that statement, issued January 24, 2013, the US DOT says, “We want to make it perfectly clear that the state initiatives will have no bearing on the Department of Transportation’s regulated drug testing program.”  In other words, marijuana – recreational or medical use – remains illegal.  The drug is still illegal on the federal level after all.

Read the text of the full notice here.

While Colorado and Washington were the first two states to legalize recreational use of marijuana, despite the fact that the drug is still illegal at the federal level, other states and local governments are likely to follow suit.  This could be the beginning of a change in how the nation views marijuana, or it could be setting up quite the battle between governments (hang on to your hat federalism).

Regardless, truck drivers should make certain they understand the implications the new laws.

Learn more about FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Programs by clicking here.