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:

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!

 

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

 

Too Much Regulation?

My January 2013 ”Driving Through DC” Column in Challenge Magazine focuses the relief efforts that followed Hurricane Sandy.  Specifically, the federal government stepped in to help, in part, by waiving certain regulations that limited efficiency.  Though I applaud the federal government for recognizing the inefficiencies created by over-regulation, it also makes me wonder….

In the column I ask, “While it would be silly for anyone to argue the government should not be involved in an emergency relief effort, it does seem reasonable to question whether the regulations that were waived are perhaps too stringent as is. If they must be waived to create greater efficiency, why is it that efficiency is only important after a storm?”  Read the full article here.


Howe to talk Border Trucking on Denver Radio

Michael Howe Hosts "In the Booth"Michael Howe, seasoned trucking industry writer, will join the Peter Boyles Show on Talk Radio 630 KHOW in Denver tomorrow, December 5, at 6:00am Mountain Time.

Visit the KHOW website to listen online.

Mike has been a frequent guest on the show, updating listeners about the Cross Border Program with Mexico and other transportation issues.

Mike will specifically talk about his December Challenge Magazine “Trucking Through DC” column “Cross Border Program Lacks Participants.”  Read the column here.


2012 Election – Now What

By Michael Howe

The 2012 election is over, the results – for the most part – are in, so now the question becomes “what does this all mean for the trucking industry?”

The one thing we knew for certain prior to the results being announced was that we would have a new Secretary of Transportation.  Current Secretary Ray LaHood had already made his intentions clear that he plans to step down at the end of President Obama’s first term.  When that will happen exactly is somewhat unclear, but certainly within the first few months 2013.  Will policies change much at the DOT?  Probably not.  There will continue to be an emphasis on stronger safety regulations for the trucking industry, concerns about infrastructure and more.  What will matter with the new Secretary is the level of emphasis placed on each area.

With the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) I would be surprised if current Administrator Ferro did not continue in that role for at least another year or two, unless the President decides to elevate her to Secretary (which I also doubt).  Under Ferro’s Administration the FMCSA has not been shy about shutting down high risk truck and bus companies.  In addition, FMCSA continues to work on EOBR mandates, Distracted Driving regulations, and of course the cross border program.  They also continue to research the Hours of Service regulations.

Outside of the bureaucracy, President Obama’s economic and tax policies create some concern for trucking companies.  This goes back to the old adage of the only thing you can count on are death and taxes.  Well, it’s the taxes part – specifically increasing taxes – that are most worrisome to the trucking industry.


In a second term Presidents don’t have to worry about re-election, so there is a tendency early in the term to be a little more aggressive.  The first 2-3 years might be the time when President Obama makes a big move on climate change issues.  Any such legislation from Congress or regulation from the EPA such as a carbon tax, stricter emissions regulations, or other climate related regulations would undoubtedly result in increased cost pressures on the trucking industry.

Fuel prices will continue to be a concern, though they would be a concern with whoever was in office.  The real issue here is what is our nation’s energy policy?  The Keystone Pipeline likely won’t easily become a reality – ok, it likely won’t become a reality at all.  You can also expect the administration to look more at fracking and perhaps work to impose regulations on that.  We’re not going to see a significant increase in domestic drilling and offshore drilling permits, so the largely unnecessary dependence on foreign oil will continue.  Expect prices to continue rising, fluctuating for seasonal demands, but rising overall.

Congress really didn’t change much either.

In the US Senate the Democrats were able to pick up 2 seats, though they are still far shy of the 60 seats needed to stop a filibuster.  This is interesting because with a filibuster the Republicans will still be able to prevent legislation of force a compromise.   Something to watch, however, will be an early attempt by Democrats to force a vote on limiting filibusters.

In the US House, Republicans retained control.  Rep. John Mica, Chair of the Transportation Infrastructure Committee (and friend of trucking) was re-elected, as was another friend of trucking Rep. Tom Graves.  Obviously there are other “friends of trucking,” but these are just two who I found to be of interest based on my interviews with them.

So, the end result – not much has changedWe have the same people in charge that were in charge before the election.  This is the same group of leaders that negotiated themselves into the corner that is the looming “fiscal cliff.”  This is the same group of leaders that has been largely unable to pass any meaningful long term highway bill (and no, the recent one was not long term in my opinion). 


Major issues facing the trucking industry in the next 6-12 months:

  • Fiscal Cliff
  • Electronic On Board Recorders (EOBRs)
  • Hours of Service (possibly)
  • Cross Border Trucking with Mexico
  • Who is the new Secretary of Transportation?
  • New Environmental Regulations
  • Additional Distracted Driving Regulations
  • Tax increases?
  • Infrastructure Funding
  • Fuel Prices / Energy Policy

And how will the trucking industry fare with any or all of those issues?

With Congress we have and will continue to have gridlock.

With the President, we have an administration not afraid to impose costly regulations on the trucking industry, and because Congress is in a perpetual state of gridlock there is little hope they can effectively legislate a way out of the costly regulations.  With the President, we have an administration not afraid to propose tax increases, and because Congress is in a perpetual state of gridlock they are almost always in a situation where a forced “compromise” is necessary to get anything done, thus opening the door for less than industry friendly proposals.

In essence, buckle up…….we may need to steer around a pot hole or two.


Related articles of interest:
Rough Road Ahead (Fiscal Cliff), Challenge Magazine October 2012
FMCSA’s Safety Resolve, Challenge Magazine November 2012
Talking Safety with Anne Ferro, Challenge Magazine June 2012
A Conversation with Ray LaHood, Challenge Magazine March 2012


EOBRs and the American Dream

There have been several news stories in a variety of publications talking about how Electronic On Board Recorders are dividing the industry between the large carriers and the small independents. Based on my recent observations (and I am posting this later than I wanted to, but hey, things happen), this is so very true.

Last week the FMCSA held the second “listening session” on driver harassment and Electronic On Board Recorders (EOBRs). The session was lightly attended, primarily by a few already at the CVSA conference, and it was broadcast over the web (though that seemed to have minimal attendance as well). My kudos though to the FMCSA for making it available on the web – that was a nice way to reach out.

During the session (which I also live Tweeted about @TruckingDC), there were a few things that struck me:

  • It’s obvious there is a divide between large carriers and the smaller independent carriers / owner operators (recent news stories have also reported on this, including this one in the Journal of Commerce).
  • FMCSA appeared, from my perspective anyway, to be more accepting of supportive comments and wanted to delve further into the unsupportive comments, almost debating the issue right there and wanting to change minds instead of “listening” or asking more probative questions.

  • FMCSA will move forward with EOBR mandates regardless. Don’t be surprised when FMCSA concludes EOBRs will not create new harassment issues.
    Much of the session was not about harassment.
  • Questions about EOBRs remain: If a carrier operates primarily intrastate, but has a few trucks that run interstate, will all trucks require an EOBR? What if the EOBR stops working – will drivers be required to maintain a paper log book anyway? How will EOBRs be mandated for buses? How can we assure the data from an EOBR won’t be manipulated?
  • I think the questions that remain (other than the bus question) will be addressed after the rule is implemented to see if they are even an issue.

There’s little doubt an EOBR mandate is coming. This, like so many government mandates will be an unfunded mandate. Independent owner operators will be required to reach deep into their already thinned out pockets to plop down around $1000 to be in compliance. It will simply be a cost of doing business. Unlike the larger carriers who can absorb the cost or pass it on to their customers, the independent will have a more difficult time doing this as they work to remain competitive or accept the rates dictated by larger carriers.

New unfunded mandates are not the solution for improved safety. Unfortunately though, we tend to regulate/manage to the lowest common denominator (thus punishing those who are proven safe) instead of rewarding and incentivizing desired behavior. In the end, its small business – the American Dream – that becomes just a tad more of a challenge to succeed with.

See the Tweets form the April 26 Listening Session at www.twitter.com/TruckingDC