Down, Under, and Through

Have you ever heard the saying that “there’s nowhere to go but up?”  Well, with highway construction that is not always the case.  In fact, sometimes down is the best direction – down and under, that is. 

North End of Massey Tunnel
Midday Traffic, Massey Tunnel

In the September 2013 edition of Woodward Publishing‘s Western Trucking News, I wrote about the George Massey Tunnel project in British Columbia and the Washington State Route 99 through (err, under) Seattle.  Both quite interesting.

Read the story by Clicking Here (pdf).

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:

Online Education – Good for Drivers

As a long time college instructor, both in traditional and on-line settings, I am an advocate for easy and affordable access to education.

There is simply no reason an over-the-road truck driver (or anyone for that matter) should not be able to earn a college degree, certificate, or even just take a class or two for personal interest/knowledge.

On-line education offers the flexibility that over-the-road truck drivers need, thus making it very possible to acquire any education a person might want.

My latest feature in Western Trucking News from Canada’s Woodward Publishing talks a little about online education and how an over-the-road driver might benefit from it.

READ THE STORY HERE

Special thanks to my friends at Selkirk College, GPRC, and Rasmussen College.


Success With Social Media

There’s little doubt that social media has had a significant impact on the way we communicate.  In another aspect of what I do I have given presentations to and trained small and large groups on the basic use of social media, so I know the value.  But, it’s more than just a basic means of keeping in touch – it is an effective advocacy tool as well.

My latest feature in Woodward Publishing’s Western Trucking News (and also published in the June 2013 editions of Ontario Trucking News and Eastern Trucking News – all Canadian publications) highlights two social media successes in the trucking industry.

While the brevity of the feature does not do these efforts the justice they deserve it is my hope that my readers will take the opportunity to learn more on their own.  I have sincere respect and admiration for both Hope Rivenburg and Kylla Leeburg!

Read the feature by clicking here.

Learn more about Jason’s Law and Truckers Against Trafficking.

Special thanks to Allen Smith, AskTheTrucker.com and Trucking Social Media Convention, for his contributions to the article.

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!

 

Border Crossing By Ferry

What a great way to cross the US – Canadian border if you are a truck driver.

My latest feature in Western Trucking News profiles the M.V. Coho Ferry which connects Vancouver Island (Victoria, BC) to the US (Port Angeles, WA).

Having personally enjoyed the amenities of the ferry, I can vouch for its comfort.  Having spoken with truck drivers and trucking company managers about the ferry, I can say that this is an effective way to go to or from Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.

Read the full story by clicking here (PDF).


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.

 

 

 

 


Long Term Highway Funding, Step 1

Congressman Tom Petri

The first step toward authorizing a long term highway funding bill takes place Thursday, March 14.  The Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, under Chairman Tom Petri (R-WI) will hold a hearing on the implementation of reforms and requirements including in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).

Petri told me this hearing will lay the foundation for a series of hearings over the next year or so that he hopes will lead to a “real highway program reauthorization before the Congress is over.”

When asked what he meant by “real highway authorization” Petri told me, “A 6 year one that is adequately funded.”  He suggested adequate long term funding is needed to ensure the country has a first rate infrastructure.

Click Here To Listen to my brief conversation with Congressman Petri.

MAP-21 is the current surface transportation law, which was enacted last July and expires at the end of Fiscal Year 2014 (September 30, 2014).

“Ensuring that the Department of Transportation is making progress in implementing MAP-21 provisions, and preparing for the next surface transportation reauthorization are both priorities for the Committee and Subcommittee this Congress,” Petri said in a prepared statement.  “I look forward to hearing from the Department on its efforts to implement major reforms, such as project delivery and program consolidation required by MAP-21.”

Scheduled to appear are:

  • Victor M. Mendez, Administrator, Federal Highway Administration
  • Peter M. Rogoff, Administrator, Federal Transit Administration
  • Anne S. Ferro, Administrator, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
  • David L. Strickland, Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Additional information, testimony, and live webcast link will be posted here as it becomes available.