FMCSA WILL REQUIRE EOBRS

Some big news today, as I read that the FMCSA is working on a plan, that will require companies to equip all trucks in their fleet with Electronic On Board Recorders (EOBRs, or Black Box).  This plan will go into effect on June 1st, 2012.

The EOBRs will only be required by the FMCSA if the carrier violates the H.O.S. rules more than 10 percent of the time.  It is believed that carriers that frequently violate H.O.S. rules have a much higher risk of causing a crash.  Along with CSA 2010, the FMCSA will use this to crack down on unsafe drivers, and carriers.

I know that most of you have very strong opinions about this issue.  I expect the comment section to be hopping today.  Keep in mind that I do not know how this plan is going to effect us as an Owner-Operator company, or you as an Owner-Operator. The big question would first be, where do O/O’s find the money to put an EOBR in their truck?  As soon as we can gather some more info, we will update you all.  Stay safe, and go Mercer!

Here are some related links:

http://www.trucknews.com/issues/story.aspx?aid=1000366347

http://www.thetrucker.com/News/Stories/2010/4/2/DOTissuesrulerequiringEOBRsforcompanieswithseriousHOSviolations.aspx

http://www.truckinginfo.com/news/news-detail.asp?news_id=69964


RANDOM TUESDAY

We should see an announcement today from the Department of Transportation, about banning texting while driving for all commercial drivers.  We talked about this on the blog previously, and I think that most of you are in favor of this ban.  In fact, I  know that the majority of you don’t even text at all anyway.  The only concern I have is if you are driving past a D.O.T. officer on the highway, and you are dialing someone on your phone, how will the officer be able to tell the difference between dialing and texting.  Best bet to not do either.  With the wonderful new rules of CSA 2010, you really don’t need to give an officer another reason to pull you over.  I’m sure that they will really be enforcing this at first, just to prove a point.  It wouldn’t hurt to use a bluetooth headset, and also use voice activated dialing on your cell phone if it’s capable. It’s official – http://blog.fleetowner.com/trucks_at_work/2010/01/26/banning-trucker-texting/

We have had several issues with the contractor web lately.  The problem occurs when you try to search for freight by an individual state.   The site will either be really slow in displaying the freight available, or it will be completely unresponsive.  We are addressing this issue, and hopefully it will be back to normal very soon.

I know that there has been some confusion about the drayage/flip service in California.  We do have drayage/flip service for our non-compliant trucks in Southern Cal. We are using a couple of different services out there so I don’t know the exact rate to the driver.  It may be different on each load, depending on which company performs the service for us.  Best I can tell you for now, is talk to your coordinator about the container freight that is available, and they will be able to look in the order comments of the load to see what the charge will be.  I would imagine that it will be in the $100-$125 range, but it could change.   I will probably post more on this later, so stay tuned!

News released today that 2009 saw the biggest decrease in goods shipped by truck since 1982!  On the good side of that is that Truck Tonnage reached it’s highest peak in December.  Hopefully, we will continue on the uphill climb!


RANDOM NEWS AND VIEWS

I was sitting at my 5-year-old son’s Christmas Concert the other night.  Nothing like 90 five-year olds singing Christmas songs.  That’s what I love about him going to a Catholic school…they can talk and sing about Jesus all they want to.  They actually sang “Happy Birthday” to Jesus.  Can’t find that in a public school anymore!  So Merry Christmas everyone!  I hope that everyone is safe and in good company this weekend!

– I do want to say that I still hear that some guys have the wrong idea about CSA 2010.  Some people think that Mercer is the bad guy in all of this, and that we are the one that is “dropping the hammer” on you.  Fact is, if you have too many strikes against you under CSA 2010’s new rules, then Mercer, or any other company for that matter will have no choice but to cancel your lease.  Too many violations, and you will be uninsurable, and unemployable, anywhere.  We have no control over that.  The only factor in all of this that we have control over is keeping you compliant, safe, and violation free.  We can only try to educate you about CSA 2010 as much as we can, so you will be prepared for it.  We want you all to be successful here, and we want you all to stay leased here for a very long time.  That’s why Uncle Lennie and I are really trying to drive this home.

– I am hearing news today that Arrow Trucking has closed it’s doors.  Sad to see trucking companies still going down, especially during the Holidays.  Arrow apparently just shut down, and told their drivers to find their way home.  I was told one of our drivers, Jim Show, unit 8389, helped feed a few of these guys today in West Memphis.  Big props on that!  Just further proves that we have the best Owner-Ops in the country.

– Mercer will be half staffed on Thursday, December 24th, and we will be closed on Friday, December 25th for Christmas.  If you are on a load for the long weekend, it is probably a good idea to get info and advances through your coordinator by end of business Wednesday.

– A Mercer contractor informed me of a lady who is trying to get people to sign up to be pen-pals to our troops overseas.  The email for this is letters-from-home@hotmail.com.


Trucking News Links

Click here to read an interesting article about a New Jersey Senator, that is criticizing President Obama’s decision to appoint Anne Ferro, to lead the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.  We have discussed Ferro before in the blog, and note that she backed the Bush Administration during the changes in Hours of Service a few years ago, and she was also involved with the American Trucking Association, which is largely backing the gross weight change to 97,000 pounds.  EOBR’s, and the cross border trucking program is also discussed in this article.


Trucking News Links

To add to my previous comments on driver health, here is a link about a book called Roadcookin’, which is a cook book made especially to improve the diet of over the road truck drivers.

DOT issues report on Mexican Truck Safety.

Flying J gets out of the truck repair business.


Monday Morning News Links

Good morning!  I hope that you all had a safe weekend, and I hope that all of you dad’s had a great Father’s Day.  I won’t have many posts til after lunch, so here are some news articles to hold you over.

Good article on the increased gross weight issue.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, not only wants to increase gross weight, now he wants to raise taxes on diesel.

New tolls on I-80?


Monday Morning News Links

Futuristic new weigh station on I-10

We talked in my previous post, “Are you sleepy?”,  about the checklist that Indiana, and Minnesota D.O.T. was using to determine dirver fatigue.  Here is an article on that topic.

ATA is still pushing the Freedom From Tolls Act.  Some gov’t officials are starting to listen.


ATA's New Safety Agenda

American Trucking Association (ATA) unveiled there new Safety Agenda yesterday at a press conference on Capitol Hill.  Here’s a link to the story on it.  They are proposing stricter enforcement on use of laptops, cell phones, and other electronic devices, while driving.  They are also pushing for a uniform national CDL test, additional truck parking, and a nation wide 65 mph speed limit.  Click here, for a link to the entire 25 page pdf document that outlines the details of the Safety Agenda.  Pretty good read, if you are trying to fall asleep.


Weekly News Links

Here’s a link for an article about new software created for Trucking Companies, and Owner Operators.  I can’t find a price on it though, and that usually means it is expensive.

Can you reduce fuel consumption by using certain brands of tires?  Check this story out.  A company ran Continental tires, and saved 0.4 mpg!  That’s a lot of fuel savings over the course of the life of a tire.  I honestly don’t know too much about truck tires, so if you have certain preferences, please leave a comment to tell us what works for you.

This link might get some good comments.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is considering enforcing a mandatory screening of overweight drivers for sleep apnea.