Good news! One of our original AnnaLeah & Mary Stand Up For Truck Safety Petition requests has been upheld in court to be required by December 2017. Electronic Logging Devices to monitor truck driver hours on the road instead of paper log books:
Now, I hope that the Hours of Service rules will be finalized with truck driver input as to the best way of structuring them. And I hope that there will continue to be work done to eliminate the reasons that paper log books didn’t work to begin with. Because this important technology will not solve everything.
Take a look at one company’s option for an Electronic Logging Device app to satisfy requirements for electronic logging of truckers’ hours of service.
Makani notes the KeepTruckin ELD remains a $20/monthly subscription product, with an ELD Plus option at $30 that includes mostly automated IFTA collection and reporting. Other features, Makani notes, are coming to that package, from vehicle diagnostics to driver performance monitoring and other features.
KeepTruckin’s self-certification on FMCSA’s device registry means it joins three others also detailed in Overdrive‘s quick-glance comparison chart for a variety of ELD vendors old and new.
We are excited to see that the FMCSA has released the final rule for Electronic Logging Devices designed to keep better track of truckers’ driving hours and to reduce truck driver fatigue.
After our truck crash on May 4, 2013, for which we never saw the truck driver’s paper log books, we are very happy about this. We never found out for sure why the truck driver who hit us was unable to slow down with the rest of the traffic–which was stopped for another crash two miles ahead of us. But we suspect that fatigue –drowsy driving — may well have played a part.
We are thankful that FMCSA has taken this important step to protect travelers on the road. We hope that it will also be followed by the best possible Hours of Service rules and better wage compensation for truck drivers who work hard to deliver the goods.
Thank you to everyone who signed the AnnaLeah & Mary Stand Up For Truck Safety Petition which we delivered to DOT on May 5, 2014. One of the three requests in that petition was for Electronic Logging Devices to be implemented.
Earlier this month, I met with Congressman George Holding’s Constituent Services Representative, Doug Wegman, in Sharpsburg, North Carolina. I was the only one at the “Town Hall meeting” and was able to share the story of our truck crash and some of our concerns about truck safety. It seemed like a productive meeting.
I had emailed Congressman Holding’s office in June asking for an opportunity to meet with him while he was in recess in North Carolina. That never came about until I emailed my contact again early this week and repeated my request. I was then asked if I could meet with him in Raleigh on Friday, August 21, at 11:00 a.m.
Actually, that worked out very well (couldn’t have planned it better myself) because I was dropping our son off at the airport to go back to college in Texas that morning and then proceeded to the meeting with Holding. Doug Wegman was also there along with Holding’s District Director, Alice McCall.
I shared with Congressman Holding that I had grown up as a Republican and was quite surprised after our crash to find out that, in general, the Republican party line related to truck safety legislation consistently appeared to be pro-trucking industry and anti-safety. I am puzzled why there cannot be bipartisan solutions to these issues.
His response — a typical one — was that Republicans generally oppose government involvement and regulation. The problem I have with that is the reality which I have painfully discovered that “safety is not an accident” — it doesn’t just happen by itself. Without rules and regulations and enforcement and justice and requirements, chaos and injury and death are more likely to occur.
At least I have not seen a better alternative. Have you?
However, thankfully, I came away from the meeting feeling that it was productive — a thought echoed by another son who attended with me. We had the opportunity to raise several truck safety concerns, including driver fatigue (electronic logging devices and hours of service), underride guards, and the minimum liability insurance for truckers.
I had a binder put together to leave with Congressman Holding. It had numerous articles about the insurance issue, including what the opposition (the trucking industry) has been saying about premiums skyrocketing if the minimum liability is raised — from $5,000 to $20,000. I showed him what I had found out from a couple of insurance companies which indicates that it would be more likely to go up to maybe $9,000. A bit of a difference.
This kind of potentially inaccurate and misleading information has been publicly disseminated and has influenced many truckers (most vociferously by representatives of OOIDA, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which by the way happens to sell insurance to truckers, http://www.ooidatruckinsurance.com/) and legislators. In fact, I showed him the House Roll Call in which he had voted to freeze the funding for FMCSA to study this issue — even though Congress had previously authorized them to do so.
I was gratified that Holding took the time to look over the roll call and examine the 10 Republicans who had supported the need to allow FMCSA to proceed with rulemaking on this issue. He indicated that he intends to make some contacts for us, asked Doug to write down some of the names and the people both in the Senate and House with whom he is willing to connect us so that we can continue to shed light on this concern and ensure that the truth of the matter is uncovered.
I was also appreciative of the District Director’s input. When we discussed our pursuit of underride research to support the improvement of underride guards, Alice McCall mentioned that they could help with some contacts at universities, among other things.
In addition, she asked me how to pronounce AnnaLeah’s name (An-na-Le-ah) and said that it was beautiful. I told her that AnnaLeah loved her name and its uniqueness–although she had planned on publishing any written works under a pen name. I had showed them Mary’s braids and said that I was thankful that the nurse saved them and gave them to us. I had also brought along a shoulder bag which AnnaLeah had knit from a pattern in her head.
It reminded me of the many triggers which daily life brings of the loss we bear; as we drove to Raleigh I had seen a car on the side of the road. There was something sitting on top of the trunk of the car and for some reason that reminded me of our car after the crash — demolished with broken bodies inside. And it took my breath away once more to think of AnnaLeah’s life instantly snatched away. And the joy and creativity that were abruptly cut short.
Alice also mentioned that she has several daughters. And, I had noted that Congressman Holding has 3 young daughters and a son himself. It is helpful to know that people understand that this is not just a matter of corporate profit but a life and death matter which could happen to anyone at any time.
Interesting articles, letters, and documents on the minimum insurance topic:
All in all, we felt that we were heard and are hopeful that Congressman Holding is likely to make decisions and take actions in the future to positively affect road safety as a result of the time which we spent with him.
A reporter from Rocky Mount has been following our story since we got back to North Carolina in May 2013 after the crash. She published an article in today’s Rocky Mount Telegram following the recent Advance Notice of Public Rulemaking for rear underride protection on Single Unit Trucks–encouraging readers to write a Public Comment and make a difference.
Trucking industry has attempted to get an amendment passed this summer on the THUD Appropriations Bill which would take away funding from FMCSA for continuing the rulemaking process.
“Based on the petition, available information, and the agency’s analysis in progress, NHTSA has decided that the Petitioners’ request related to rear impact guards merits further consideration. Therefore, the agency grants the Petitioners’ request to initiate rulemaking on rear impact guards. NHTSA is planning on issuing two separate notices—an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking pertaining to rear impact guards and other safety strategies for single unit trucks, and a notice of proposed rulemaking focusing on rear impact guards on trailers and semitrailers. NHTSA is still evaluating the Petitioners’ request to improve side guards and front override guards and will issue a separate decision on those aspects of the petition at a later date.“
Proposed Rulemaking was issued for rear impact guards on tractor-trailers on July 10, 2014. This is the rulemaking stage in which an agency proposes to add to or change its existing regulations and solicits public comment on this proposal. Recommendations for revision of existing regulations are expected to be issued for Public Comments before the end of 2015.
The Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) for Single Unit Truckswas issued on 7/23/15, with the Public Comments Period closing on September 21, 2015. This will be followed by an analysis of the Comments and a determination about whether or not, or how best, to initiate a rulemaking.
This means that the Electronic Logging Devices rule could be going into effect by September 30 and the industry would have to comply with it within two years.
“Still seemingly on target for its projected Sept. 30 publication, a Final Rule to mandate the use of electronic logging devices has been sent from the DOT to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget for final approval before being published.
The DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sent the e-log rule to the OMB July 30, along with a Final Rule that will implement stiffer penalties for carriers, shippers, brokers and others who coerce or pressure drivers to not abide by federal safety standards like hours-of-service limits.
The OMB legally has 90 days to approve the rules or send them back to FMCSA to be changed, which is unlikely.
The rule, which will take effect two years following its publication in the Federal Register, will require all truck drivers who are required to keep records of duty status to use an electronic logging device, formerly known as electronic onboard recorders.”
“In responding to the report, the DOT noted the GAO had recognized achievements associated with the hours rule: A decrease in the frequency of long work schedules, lower risk of driver fatigue generally, and reduced fatal truck crashes. It agreed with the GAO recommendation to adopt guidance outlining research standards for future analyses and promised a detailed response to the entire effort within the next 60 days.”
Yet, there is still opposition to this method of keeping track of the hours that drivers are behind the wheel (paper log books are a joke, not considered reliable, & never shown to us after our crash).
From that report on the THUD Bills: “The House version also chose not to expedite mandates for electronic logging devices or speed limiters, which – like the insurance issue – are items opposed by OOIDA and small-business truckers but supported by large carriers and the American Trucking Associations.” – See more at: http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryId=29323#.VZUr1_lViko
You’ve got to be kidding!
In our petition, we also asked for increases in minimum liability insurance for truckers–currently at $750,000 for over 35 years.
This, too, is being opposed. Read what that article said, “The House of Representatives has already passed its version of HR2577 for Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD). That occurred on June 9. OOIDA and small-business truckers won a victory in that version because it contained language to prohibit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from pursuing an increase to insurance requirements for motor carriers.” – See more at: http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryId=29323#.VZUr1_lViko
At least there is some hope for moving the insurance issue forward, “Specific to the insurance issue, the Senate version says FMCSA may continue pursuing an increase to insurance requirements, but only if the Department of Transportation secretary reports to the Appropriations Committee about the effects of raising the financial responsibility. The report would have to include an assessment of crashes that exceed the damage limits and assess the effects of higher insurance premiums on large and small motor carriers.”While hardly a glowing endorsement for increasing insurance requirements, the Senate version of HR2577 does not prohibit an increase as the House version does.” – See more at: http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryId=29323#.VZUr1_lViko
“I applaud Sen. Fischer for her work on this bill. I have been saying for years, and hopefully it can be added to this or another bill soon, that what we need is a panel of veteran truck drivers, not company executives or industry stakeholders, but the actual guy who has his butt in the seat everyday, to oversee and review all existing FMCSA Regs, and also to be a part of all new regulation writing, so we can finally get rules and regs that are actually about safety and not money.”
Something’s wrong with this picture! When will it end?
Let’s make sure that it is not just about $.
And let’s not just point our finger at someone else to take the blame. Let’s figure out what we can do to end this senseless, tragic heartache happening on our roads. Let’s work together.
My parents grew up in a relatively small town. After they married, they moved to a bigger city. But my dad’s brother married my mom’s sister, and then my aunt and uncle took over a dairy farm which was in the family. For years, my family drove an hour north on many Sundays of the year to have a big family meal with two sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and lots of cousins.
I often spent vacations there, including a few weeks in the summer when I helped with the haying, feeding the chickens, gathering eggs, playing in the hayloft, cutting the big country lawn, chasing the cows out of the cornfield, repairing the fences, and picking strawberries from the patch.
Now it is no more. For one thing, the government bought them out to put an expressway through the old farm. They moved into a new house which they built nearby next to the family sugarbush. These days, it seems odd to shop at a major grocery store where I used to pick apples, explore old family outbuildings, bale hay, and hide in the tall, waving grass.
Two of their sons–my double cousins–bought some property a few miles away and managed a dairy farm of their own. They took out some loans to build a new barn and get new milking equipment. It got to a point where it was no longer affordable to run the small family dairy farm and make a living wage.* They sold the cows. And now they have sold the farm. An era is over.
I thought about all of this, on a recent trip “back home”, as I reflected on the plight of small trucking companies and independent owner-operator truck drivers. Are the costs of owning a company and the pressure to drive many miles creating a situation where they won’t be able to stay in business?
Frequently, I hear that changes of one kind or another in the trucking industry–in order to improve safety (i.e., reduce crashes, injuries and deaths)–will result in increased costs for the trucking companies. I hear that it will put them out of business.
Is this true? According to whom and based on what information? If it is true, then does something need to change in the trucking industry itself in order to allow for the beneficial work, which trucking provides, to continue but to also allow for truckers to make a decent living wage–without jeopardizing their health and the safety of travelers on the roads?
Will this someday be an era that is over, or can we fix the problems for the benefit of all? Who pays for Safety? And can we figure out how to fairly and logically spread the increased costs around? The alternative seems to be unacceptable: Forget safety and let the cost be spilled blood.
(* I might not have gotten all of the details of the family farm history exactly correct, but I hope you can see the picture that I am trying to paint.)
OOIDA contends that an increase in insurance would be a death nail for the small businesses that comprise over 90 percent of the trucking industry.
In response to OOIDA’s comment about “fewer than one percent,” our son Peter made this observation prior to our meeting with FMCSA on May 5, 2014,
The 1% issue is at best a red herring. Refusing to raise a limit because such a small percentage reach the limit only indicates that the increase in cost should be minimal. It can’t be both ways, either this increase should raise the cost of doing business or the effect should be minimal.
This isn’t life insurance where all the money is always paid out. Nor is this homeowner’s insurance in which you have a set amount of house that can be destroyed. This is liability insurance in which the amount paid out is based on the amount of damage being done. If such a small percentage of claims reaches the limit, then greedy lawyers, increased costs, and mythical “windfall” payments are all proven absurd or irrelevant.
We are a 23 truck fleet and carry 25 million in liability insurance. We carry that much to protect not only us but our customers. The argument that only 1 % of the claims exceed the current threshold for insurance makes no sense. You carry insurance to cover you no matter what happens. 1 % exposure is too much. The fact that it seldom happens makes the coverage cheap. The actuaries price according to probability. I don’t believe that this coverage will be cost prohibitive unless the carrier has a dismal safety rating in which case they shouldn’t be in business. When carriers don’t carry enough coverage the expose responsible carriers, shippers and the general public. We need responsible carriers, pricing their services correctly to cover all costs and excepting responsibility for the liability created by their business. Skirting this liability and charging for services is deceptive to shippers and puts the public or state at financial risk in the form of a claim that is part of a service they get no remuneration for. When you provide a service, charge fees and profit you must also be responsible financially which means carrying adequate insurance.
“. . . many of the truck drivers/companies which I see making comments complain about how the premiums will skyrocket. But on what are they basing that opinion?
John Lannen, executive director of the Truck Safety Coalition, has shared background information with us which he has gathered from numerous sources, presentations, and conversations regarding the economics of additional insurance coverage for motor carriers. It turns out that the first million dollars’ worth of trucking insurance is the most expensive and each incremental amount is cheaper. . . . ” (For more details, go here: http://annaleahmary.com/2015/06/trucking-minimum-liability-insurance-trucker-wages-a-facebook-conversation/ )
The Cartwright Amendment, which would allow FMCSA to continue the process of updating trucking minimum liability insurance–to protect both trucking company and crash victims–was defeated in the House today: