Industry News & Tips for Truckers
- Written by: Tyson Williams
Every February in the United States, the country comes together to celebrate Black History Month. There is tremendous value in looking back to recognize the important people and events in American history that would not have happened without black men and women. The transportation industry has profited from countless innovative ideas, achievements, and acts of service by black Americans that continue to propel our industry and our country as a whole. In this article, we will highlight just a few of the notable African Americans in transportation industry history.
Rosa Parks became a canonized household name in American history after she refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama bus in 1955. Her bravery inspired the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the first large-scale protest against segregation, that lasted for over a year before desegregating busses in Montgomery. Activism continued after gaining momentum from the Parks-led Montgomery Bus Boycott, creating a larger movement that ultimately ended all segregation of public facilities nationwide.
Garrett Morgan became known as the “Father of Transportation Technology” due to his innovative contributions to the industry. In 1923, when automobiles were still relatively new and accidents were abundant, Morgan invented the traffic signal. The idea came to him after he witnessed a fatal accident between a car and a horse-drawn trolley that unfortunately ended a young girl’s life. Traffic lights are still used today and have made roads all across America an exponentially safer place.
Robert Abbott was a publisher in Chicago who creatively used coast-to-coast rail transportation networks to distribute and consequentially popularize his newspaper, The Chicago Defender, starting in 1905. The work of the paper focused on civil rights issues and eventually became known as “America’s Black Newspaper” around the country.
Abbott and his staff were forced to find alternative ways to distribute their writing because of the racial discrimination they endured from the traditional national newspaper distributors of the time. Abbott benefitted from utilizing Pullman porters, who worked on the sleeping carts operated by the Pullman Company, to spread Abbott’s newspapers. Thanks to Abbott’s ingenious use of the transportation system to circumvent the traditional supply-chain, The Chicago Defender became the first African-American newspaper with far-reaching influence to be in mass circulation.
Frederick McKinley Jones
Frederick McKinley Jones invented the mechanical transport refrigeration unit, contributing enormously to the presence of today's reefer freight haulers. Before this innovative idea, transporting food was wildly inefficient because the only way to keep foods cold during transport was to keep the freight on blocks of ice. Jones’s invention made it possible for long-haul trucks and railroad cars to transport fresh and frozen foods around the world, an absolutely game-changing proposition for the transportation industry.
Jones won the National Medal of Technology in 1991 for his creation, becoming the first African American inventor to ever win the award.
Meredith Gourdine was an Olympic Silver medalist and a graduate of Cornell University. After college he became a United States Army officer and later received his doctorate in engineering from California Institute of Technology. He is credited for his development of an exhaust purification system. His invention, designed in 1967, is referred to today as the catalytic converter, which helps to minimize environmental pollution by reducing harmful emissions released into the air. With over 30 patents, Mr. Gourdine was a true pioneer of energy conversion.
CDLjobs.com is honored to look back and appreciate some of the historical black figures who have made transportation the great industry it is today. We celebrate the diversity among truck drivers, trucking companies, and driver recruiters and their ability to build an even greater industry in the future.
- Written by: Kate Williams
Truck drivers across the country exceeded expectations by delivering the goods and products necessary to keep the country going in 2020. The federal government helped by untying the hands of truckers, so they could get the job done. But no one — except hard-working truckers — could have predicted that everyday families would not go without essentials despite the global pandemic.
As we roll into 2021, certain aspects of the truck driving profession will likely change. Federal agencies typically consider new regulations, and existing laws come under review. Although regulators and lawmakers largely hit the pause button in 2020, a new White House administration and Congress plan to shift priorities that will impact CDL professionals. There are a variety of ways that these anticipated changes and trends for 2021 may impact the trucking industry and the good people who keep America flourishing,
FMCSA Extends HOS Exemption for Some Hauls
The pandemic demonstrated how vital truck drivers are to the health of the nation. During the early days of the outbreaks, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) relaxed the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. This action allowed professional CDL drivers to replace sometimes inflexible rules with commonsense when hauling the following necessities.
- Livestock and Feed for Livestock
- Medical Supplies and Equipment
- Paper Products
- Goods & Products for Grocery Stores
- Sanitation Supplied such as Gloves, Masks & Hand Sanitizers
The recently updated waiver now includes loads that include the COVID-19 vaccine and medical equipment related to testing. Truck drivers carrying essential relief supplies also enjoy the exemption that will now run through May 31, 2021. However, nominal mixed loads associated with routine deliveries, or rigs that have been deemed out of service for any reason, may not enjoy the exemption.
Anticipate Increased Truck Emission Regulations in 2021
The new administration plans to make carbon emission reductions a priority, and leadership at the Department of Transportation (DOT) and FMCSA are expected to begin promulgating rules to that effect. Why is this important? Simply put, carbon dioxide is the largest contributor to airborne pollution. When it is released into the air, it absorbs the sun’s warmth and keeps too much heat in our atmosphere. The effects of these greenhouse gas emissions may be linked to abnormal weather patterns across our nation, heat waves, drought and increased intensity of natural disasters.
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was tapped as United States Secretary of Transportation. He has gone on the record indicating he wants “net-zero” emissions from industrial vehicles by 2040. Now working for the Biden Administration, the goal hovers more closely to 2050. But many sustainable energy advocates anticipate Buttigieg will steer the DOT towards a California standard.
Known as the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the mandate calls for 100 percent zero emissions on all medium- and heavy-duty trucks by 2045, when “feasible.” It also sets a 2035 target date for drayage trucks. New Jersey already followed suit, and as many as 13 states lined up to adopt the rule.
Big corporations are already investing in electrifying vehicles to get ahead of this trend. Should the federal government put these benchmarks into place, independent truck drivers may have to invest in low- or zero-emission technology.
Speed Limiter Mandate Back On The Table
Politicians like to say that elections have consequences. The changing of the guard in January appears to be putting the issue of 18-wheeler speed limiters in play, again. The previous administration did not favor over-regulating the trucking sector and put executive orders in place that slow-rolled and then nixed proposed speed limiter regulations.
Back in 2017, a draft highlighted the fact that federal officials wanted to cap truck drivers at a maximum of 68 miles per hour. That threshold failed to account for many of the country’s higher MPH highways. It would have put truckers at a safety disadvantage with other vehicles moving at rates of 75 MPH or higher. The proposed regulation was scrapped.
Trucking industry insiders expect the speed limiter issue will be dusted off, and another attempt to regulate wheels-on-the-asphalt truckers by people sitting in Washington, D.C., offices will resume after a current regulatory freeze expires.
FMCSA To Nix Vision-Impaired Truck Driver Exemptions
The FMCSA has not reportedly received enough opposition to get rid of vision-impaired truck driver exemption applications. A rule published in 1970 forced drivers to secure an exemption when one eye did not meet vision standards. Many were relegated to in-state hauls only.
But the science indicates that having one “bad eye” prompts the human anatomy to compensate. A new “Qualifications of Drivers; Vision Standard” rule would require truckers to have a “good eye” that tests at 20/40, enjoys a 70-degree field of vision, and can distinguish traffic signal colors.
The FMCSA reportedly set a March 15 deadline for public comments. If the new rule passes muster, drivers would demonstrate vision proficiency when taking a CDL test, allowing them full access to OTR trucking jobs.
regulations Could Increase Insurance Premiums
An issue of increasing the $750,000 insurance liability requirement for motor carriers was tabled during the previous administration. Organizations such as the American Trucking Associations and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association also opposed the mandate. However, given that the current limits were set in the 1980s, some believe that the values set have not kept pace with inflation costs and are insufficient to cover today's medical and other accident costs.
Many expect the incoming White House and Congress could revive the issue. Since prior rulemaking was withdrawn due to lack of information and feedback from key stakeholders, future action remains uncertain, yet the move would cost the industry millions and take a bite out of owner-operator earnings.
West Coast Truckers Could Get Stuck In AB 5 Traffic
California’s A.B.5 law has been embroiled in a series of lawsuits that include truck driver associations. Truckers won an early injunction that prevented the state from making Owner Operators and other independent drivers company employees. But the misguided law prompted carriers to distance themselves from independent drivers.
Although A.B. 5 has been California law since Jan. 2020, an injunction remains in effect as the case makes its way through the courts. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the initial injunction against the state from negatively impacting truckers. The 9th is expected to render a decision in 2021, and the outcome could have wide-reaching implications regarding your right to work for yourself. Hard-working truckers can anticipate that if the state loses, it will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Although this case applies to only one state now, others could follow suit if truckers do not prevail.
We want to take this opportunity to thank our friends on the road for your extraordinary efforts in 2020 and success throughout 2021. CDLjobs.com will continue to support you by posting news about changes, trends, job opportunities, and issues affecting your trucking lifestyle.
- Written by: Kate Williams
Professional truck drivers will often tell you that life on the road is a lonely experience, and while many drivers excel in solitude, some wish the experience was different. Many trucking companies are seeing the writing on the wall and expanding their policies to include team truck driving jobs.
While some corporate leaders may worry about the potential conflicts arising from two people operating in such close quarters over long durations, many others see the benefits of a team over solo operators. People can mitigate common conflicts through scheduling and task management. However, more importantly, a team driving experience can improve the psychological health of solo drivers.
The Significance of a Team
Many companies tend to overlook the effects of being alone on a truck day in and out. Researchers suggest that feelings of isolation can reduce productivity by up to 21%, meaning that lonely drivers tend to be slower and less attentive on their routes.
Being alone for long periods can also lead to depression and weariness. Truck drivers are cut off from their families for weeks at a time, and no amount of phone time is enough to recover from time away from your children. Having someone else to share the traveling experience and burden can help mitigate feelings of isolation and depression. Still, for a team to be truly effective, they need to know how to work together.
How To Make a Partnership Work and Last
It is not enough to put two hard working drivers together; you also need to match personalities and driving styles. While having two people with conflicting personalities can work, it more often leads to distraction and frustration, leading to failure over the long run.
The key to creating a lasting driving team is to focus on the three elements of successful team building: common ground, individual roles and outside socialization. However, while it is easy to say these things, team building is an intricate process, and each area will require equal participation and commitment.
Find Common Ground
Did you know that 97% of workers believe that a team's lack of alignment affects performance and project outcomes? While not every team member needs to think and act the same, they must find common ground, especially when working in a truck.
The purpose of a partnership is to get a reprieve from solitude and feel like you are still a part of the world. While two truckers need not mesh on every issue, it is beneficial to have an interest outside of work. Perhaps they both enjoy the same music, or both have families. The goal is to match people with similar styles and interests to establish a strong foundation for a lasting partnership.
Discuss Individual Roles
Before committing to a partnership or assigning a partner, it is critical that drivers participate in some communication training. Nearly 86% of workplace failures stem from ineffective communication. Therefore, it is fair to assume that two drivers who cannot communicate openly will not last as partners. If a company wishes to avoid such driver turnover problems, some focus on positive communication strategies is necessary.
The team will need to discuss individual roles and responsibilities. They will need to layout specific sleep schedules that abide by federal and state regulations. More importantly, however, each team member must feel they have a voice and the respect of their partner because, without those things, conflict is inevitable, as is team failure.
Socialize Outside of Work
Many trucking companies will favor married couples for team drivers because of their communication skills and proven teamwork. However, automatically viewing married couples as capable driving partners is often oversimplified because the small shared space is a strain on any relationship.
Instead of focusing on the potential for two people inside of a truck, consider ways of building trust and communication before the added stressor of a long road trip. Socializing outside of work can improve communication patterns by nearly 50%. Therefore, if people can share time outside of work, they may stand a better chance against truck driving long and confined hours.
There is growing evidence to support the long held belief that solo truck driving leads to poor physical and mental health. Many trucking companies now understand the importance of addressing this current crisis for new and existing drivers, which is why some companies are now allowing for team drivers; some are even encouraging it.
There is a growing opportunity for team truck driving jobs, and do not count yourself out of luck because you don’t currently have a partner. Many employers will assign partners, allowing you to enter the potentially lucrative transportation field without the fear of isolation. However, before committing to a team opportunity, make sure you understand the three aspects crucial to team-building: common ground, communication, and socialization.
- Written by: Tyson Williams
Pete Buttigieg (Boot-Edge-Edge) has been nominated as President-elect Joe Biden’s Transportation Secretary. Buttigieg is the former mayor of South Bend, IN and gained significant national recognition during his 2020 presidential campaign. If confirmed as Secretary of Transportation, Buttigieg would make history as the first openly gay person to lead a Cabinet department.
Biden confirmed reports of Buttigieg’s nomination via Twitter. In a tweet, Biden said, “Mayor @PeteButtigieg is a leader, patriot, and problem-solver. He speaks to the best of who we are as a nation. I am nominating him for Secretary of Transportation because he’s equipped to take on the challenges at the intersection of jobs, infrastructure, equity, and climate.”
Buttigieg tweeted a statement of his own accepting the nomination. “This is a moment of tremendous opportunity—to create jobs, meet the climate challenge, and enhance equity for all. I’m honored that the President-elect has asked me to serve our nation as Secretary of Transportation.”
“Innovation in transportation helped build my hometown,” Buttigieg went on to say, “and it propels our country. Now is the time to build back better through modern and sustainable infrastructure that creates millions of good-paying union jobs, revitalizes communities, and empowers all Americans to thrive.”
Buttigieg’s announcement echoed Biden’s comprehensive plan to Build Back Better from the COVID-19 pandemic. The recovery plan aims to create millions of good-paying jobs and provide immediate relief to working families, small businesses, and communities.
Build Back Better is one of many plans Biden detailed that would directly impact the trucking industry. To “build back better,” Biden and Buttigieg will ensure that the future is “made in America,” and in all of America; build a modern infrastructure and an equitable, clean energy future; create a 21st century caregiving and education workforce to help ease the burden of care for working parents; and advance racial equity across the board in America.
As a top candidate in the 2020 Democratic primaries, Buttigieg was the first prominent millennial and LGBT presidential candidate in one of the two major political parties. After Buttigieg dropped out of the presidential race and immediately endorsed Biden in March, Biden was propelled as the frontrunner among Democratic candidates.
The Road Toward Nomination
The nomination has received mixed feedback. Critics of the news attack Buttigieg’s lack of experience. As mayor of South Bend, Buttigieg did not manage transportation operations on a massive scale. The city, with a population just over 100,000, has fewer than two dozen public bus routes.
Advocates for the newly nominated Secretary of Transportation point to his successful leadership on transportation initiatives as mayor. Buttigieg secured $200 million in private investment in downtown South Bend, funding that would spark citywide job growth and facilitate innovative private partnerships that improved city transportation. Additionally, he revitalized the city by redesigning city streets and spurring major economic investment through his Smart Streets initiative that brought life to what was once thought of as a “dying city.”
Others celebrate the move for its historical significance. President of the Human Rights Campaign, Alphonso David, said in a statement that Buttigieg’s “voice as a champion for the LGBTQ community in the Cabinet room will help President-elect Biden build back our nation better, stronger and more equal than before.”
Buttigieg replaces another “first” in the Department of Transportation. Elaine Chao, who served as President Donald Trump’s Transportation Secretary, was the first Asian American woman to be appointed to the President’s Cabinet when she served under President. George W. Bush as the Sectary of Labor from 2001 to 2009. Both Buttigieg and Chao are graduates of Harvard University.
Confirming the Next Department of Transportation Leader
There is little reason to suspect Buttigieg will not be confirmed as the next Transportation Secretary. Historically, only three Cabinet nominees have been rejected in the past 100 years. A series of Republican senators told Politico that they would vote to confirm President-elect Biden’s Cabinet nominees as long as they are “mainstream.”
GOP Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said in November that, “If (Biden) does win (the election), then he will have the right, I think, to a Cabinet. I don’t mind voting for people I wouldn’t pick or have a different view than I do. I’m just not going to vote for a socialist.” In the presidential primaries, 38-year-old Buttigieg was widely regarded as a younger alternative to 78-year-old Biden since the two share many moderate views.
The timetable for when the Senate will vote on Buttigieg’s appointment is unclear. Democratic Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer has repeatedly lobbied for confirmation hearings to begin immediately after the Georgia Senate runoff election on Jan. 5. However, it appears far more likely that Republicans will opt to wait until after Inauguration Day on Jan. 20 to begin voting on Biden’s Cabinet appointees, including Secretary of Transportation-elect Pete Buttigieg.
- Written by: Tyson Williams
A new president brings a lot of uncertainty to the trucking industry, but it also brings a lot of promise. On the campaign trail, Joe Biden laid out plans that would make an enormous impact for truck drivers across the country.
Here is what the new Commander in Chief could mean for the industry:
It’s no surprise to anyone in the industry that truck drivers are “essential” workers. Our country can’t function without truckers — you remember the toilet paper shortages! Biden has laid out a plan to support essential workers like the truck drivers that society depends on.
Here’s Biden’s plan: First, ensure all frontline workers qualify for priority access to personal protective equipment or PPE, COVID-19 testing, and any other forms of emergency COVID-19 support. Next, establish and enforce health and safety standards for the workplace. Finally, enact premium pay for the workers putting themselves at risk by working amid a global pandemic.
Truck drivers can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their safety will be prioritized, and their paychecks will benefit because of their necessary work in these times of high-risk. Truck drivers have protected America during this pandemic, and these steps by the Biden administration say that the federal government is finally ready to return the favor.
The top priority on day one of the Biden administration is controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden has repeatedly stated that he will listen to scientists by ensuring that public health decisions are informed by public health officials. Specifically, he’s advocated for a nationwide mask mandate, doubling the number of COVID testing sites, significantly ramping up the production of personal protective equipment (PPE), and following CDC guidance on the implementation of social distancing and lockdown measures.
If these measures are successful, Biden’s more active federal response would massively boost the trucking industry. Defeating the raging public health crisis is the fastest way to reopen the country. In doing so, getting people back inside of stores, buying products, and doing business results in more freight being transported around the country. Finally putting COVID-19 in the rearview mirror isn’t just great for our health, but the economy and the trucking industry specifically, too.
When Joe Biden was inaugurated as Vice President in the Obama administration, the Dow Jones Industrial Average sat as low as 7,939.39, per Yahoo Finance Dow Jones Industrial Average historical records. The same records say that during their administration, the Dow more than doubled, an increase of nearly 130 percent, to 18,175.56.
Economic progress continued under President Donald Trump, but at a slower rate than the Obama-Biden years. Markets are now at their highest levels in history, and they reacted positively to Biden’s recent win in the election. From November 2nd to November 9th, the day before the election to the first day the markets were open after official sources called the Presidential election for Joe Biden, the Dow rose by 2,232.92 points. Since the election news broke, the Dow Jones reached a new all-time high when it surpassed the 30,000 threshold for the first time in history.
A higher level of confidence in the economy means that manufacturers, builders, and other companies are more likely to ship goods, creating a giant boost in the trucking industry. Times of economic optimism around the country advance the outlook for the freight market, and in turn, promote trucking.
One in five miles of United States highways is in “poor condition.” Despite being the richest nation in the world, the World Economic Forum ranks the United States 13th in quality of infrastructure. Biden says that is “unacceptable,” so he has committed to making unprecedented investments in America’s infrastructure to bolster the competitiveness of the middle class.
The Biden administration will propose to immediately allocate $50 billion in the first year of his presidency to repair roads, highways, and bridges across the nation. In order to faster break ground on these projects, Biden says he will expedite construction permits, as there are already hundreds of billions of investments backlogged.
Key initiatives like the Highway Safety Improvement Program will see an increase in federal funding to reduce the number of traffic fatalities and serious injuries on the road. A noteworthy practice of the program done by the Strategic Highway Safety Plan coordinates a comprehensive framework for statewide safety measures to make roads as hazard-free as possible.
Improved infrastructure and safety programs aid in protecting truck drivers from potentially dangerous situations on the road. These initiatives couldn’t come at a better time either, as the industry is primed to boom in post-pandemic life after society returns to normalcy.
Made in America
The proposed tax policy from Joe Biden indicates another cause for optimism in the trucking industry. As part of Biden’s Build Back Better plan, he has announced two bold new steps to create a future that is “Made in America by all of America’s workers.”
The first step is to change the tax code to promote domestic manufacturing by establishing a Biden Offshoring Tax Penalty and a Biden “Made in America” Tax Credit. This policy would close some of the tax loopholes that corporations take advantage of under our current tax law.
The second step involves a series of executive orders that Biden will sign in the first week of his presidency that ensures that the federal government is delivering on its obligation to use taxpayer dollars to Buy American products and support American supply chains.
Bolstered domestic manufacturing is great news for the trucking industry. With products being made within the United States own borders, truck drivers should see a greater demand in business thanks to these changes to the tax code.
Over the next four years during the Biden-Harris administration, the country will undoubtedly undergo countless changes. Many of their policies will directly impact truck drivers and the trucking industry as a whole: ensuring truckers’ safety while working in a pandemic, enacting premium pay for their work, improving our infrastructure, rewarding American companies for manufacturing and transporting products domestically, containing the ongoing pandemic, and more. It’s crucial to understand these policy proposals, so we can hold our elected leaders accountable for enacting the legislation that would benefit the trucking industry.