From technology that improperly seizes control over trucks, making drivers unsafe to the, “out of luck drivers,” that run out of hours at receivers, this year’s FMCSA town hall meeting was bundled out with top driver issues.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) director of enforcement and compliance Joe DeLorenzo came out to the Guilty By Association Truck Show (GBATS) in Joplin, Missouri to address leading trucking transportation issues and to take questions from drivers about their concerns at an OOIDA Town Hall.
Mr. DeLorenzo was joined on a panel of three by OOIDA President Todd Spencer and Collin Long, OOIDA’s director of government affairs.
HOURS OF SERVICE:
DeLorenzo commented that, “Hours of Service (HOS) is one issue that’s been driven by drivers more than any other.” He smiled and said drivers should keep their paperwork in order to avoid issues, “We’re all government employees looking for the easy way out.” And he noted that this year he’s seen, “an uptick in violations of HOS rules.”
Not surprisingly, HOS caused perhaps the most heat when drivers asked questions– Drivers expressed outrage that even when they documented personal conveyance properly, they are often written up by their companies.
Both OOIDA and FMCSA asserted that is the company’s personal choice. DeLorenzo said that if you’re at the receiver and you’re out of hours, “you’re kind of out of luck.” But they urged drivers to still make the notations so that they could avoid issues with law enforcement.
After one trucker heckled him saying that you’d have to drive 90 miles to find safe parking Houston, DeLorenzo did make a nod toward an intentional legal loophole for drivers–
He said there are legal exceptions for hazardous road conditions.“We don’t specify an amount (to drive) on purpose.” Drivers should note that DeLorenzo specifically mentioned safe parking as part of this provision.
But he joked, “Roadside Inspection is not considered an adverse driving condition.”
Another driver questioned why the FMCSA gives passes to older trucks but not older drivers? “E-Logs are for new drivers.” To which DeLorenzo called them, “entry level overnight legislation,” that’s still in progress.
In a surprising insight, DeLorenzo shared that law enforcement also has resisted having to enforce E-logs. “It was a tough transition.”
The final issue the FMCSA rep. highlighted was to briefly caution drivers against Marijuana products. He said that just because it’s legal in the state doesn’t mean that you can be using Marijuana. A positive test will still cost drivers their CDL.
“Be really careful about CBD products. Getting positives… the reason why doesnt matter (it’s just) that you came up positive.”
QUESTION AND ANSWER:
Truck tech: Telematics and Driver Assist
On trucks that have been detrimentally seizing control of trucks– “The tech itself leaves drivers vulnerable. Tech people think we’re going to learn by “crunch,”’ OOIDA President Todd Spencer commented. Drivers also commented that there’s no place for them to report issues.
Drivers raised concerns about teenage drivers and their impact on insurance rates: “me and my little company are going to be paying for their mistakes.
One driver noted that people that dare to question broker rates often get black listed from loads. In response, DeLorenzo said that drivers need to watch for identity theft among brokers– they may be dealing with a scam.
Automated trucks: One driver commented that automated trucks don’t have the pre-check or legal hoops that she has to go through. “They are pushing them through at our expense.” DeLorenzo countered that “they still have the same regulations.”
Ultimately, “If it ain’t good for the person behind the wheel, it ain’t good for trucking.” OOIDA President Todd Spencer commented.