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Perspective February

Perspective February 15-28, 2018 • 14 Letters Longtime ELD users should already have lower accident rates, pay increases In regard to Mr. Williams’ letter, published in The Trucker, he states that drivers’ lifestyles will now be improved, being well rested [and] that driver pay is going to improve as well [with ELDs]. I have to wonder why it’s taken this long for his drivers to realize these advantages. Maverick, his company, has used ELDs for years. Shouldn’t his drivers already be on the receiving end of better pay, rest, benefits, etc.? ELDs are supposed to prevent fatigue [and] we’ll look at that in a moment. But right now, let’s look at the safety records of two members of The Alliance. Swift Transportation and J.B Hunt both have higher than industry average crash rates, both have experienced astronomical increases in their crash rates since 2012. Swift is up 50.4 percent, J. B. Hunt is up 86 percent. Both have ELDs [and] have had them for years. Those examples beg the question: Are those drivers not getting the same benefits that Mr. Williams talks about? They’re both members of The Alliance [so] wouldn’t those carriers have the same goals in mind as well? Mr. Williams tosses out some crash numbers on our highways, yet doesn’t want to assign any fault. Absolutely ridiculous; sounds like we’re all going to get a participation trophy. So using the numbers from DOT, in 2015, there were 400,000 truck accidents. So using figures recently released by ATA, we know 80 percent of these accidents are the fault of car drivers. That takes the number of truck-at-fault accidents to 80,000. According to FMCSA statistics, less than 2 percent of drivers were judged to be fatigued at the time of the crash, which leaves us 1,600 fatigued crashes. So ELDs are going to prevent .0045 percent of accidents? Mr. Williams says ELDs along with other safety technologies will significantly reduce accidents. Let’s look at the “other” technologies: speed limiters, collision avoidance radar, lane departure systems. So the Tracy Morgan crash in New Jersey had three out of the four systems, I know for sure. ELD, speed limiter, collision avoidance radar. But it failed to prevent the accident. We have another recent example of an ELD not preventing a fatigued driving accident. Just this month a driver for National Carriers with an ELD fell asleep, crashing into some truckers who were parked on the shoulder of the ramp to a rest area on Interstate 81 in Virginia. Those drivers are going to get tickets for parking on the shoulder, which is illegal in Virginia. Mr. Williams says that the data gathered from the ELDs will improve our supply chain. Shouldn’t he and his partners at The Alliance already have this info, as ELDs have been in their business model for years? They should already know who the culprits are that hold drivers at docks for hours on end. It’s as though Mr. Williams just became CEO of Maverick yesterday. He talks about “real world evidence” providing insight to Hours of Service reform. Again, Mr. Williams See Letters on p15 m High number of road deaths, injuries spurs governors to develop wide range of strategies to reduce accidents Lyndon Finney editor@thetrucker.com Eye on Trucking Traffic accidents and deaths have reached epidemic proportions in America, so much so that the National Governors Association has released a report called “State Strategies to Reduce Highway and Traffic Fatalities and Injuries — A Road Map for States.” The report begins by restating a sad and scary fact: Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death in the United States.” In 2016, there were 37,461 traffic-related deaths, a number that is 5.6 percent higher than in 2015. This follows the record number of traffic fatalities in 2015, which marked the highest number of traffic fatalities since 2008. Last year’s 4,317 large truck fatalities were 5.2 percent higher than the 4,094 in 2015, while 2015 had 4.5 percent more truck-involved fatalities than the 3,908 recorded for 2014. Those figures mean that 11.5 percent of the fatalities in the U.S. in 2016 occurred in large truck-related crashes. The report points out another often-forgotten fact. Although most of the research on traffic We need parking in the cities, country, desert, mountains, coastal [areas]. I see endless picnic tables and open areas everywhere that nobody will ever use … and I think about how many trucks would fit in there if anyone knew how bad it’s needed for proper trip planning. — James Myers crashes has been based on fatal injuries, nonfatal injuries are also of major concern. In 2016, there were an estimated 4.6 million medically consulted motor vehicle injuries — that is, injuries serious enough to warrant going to the doctor. In addition to causing fatalities and injuries, traffic crashes impose a large financial and economic toll. In 2016, the estimated cost of motor vehicle deaths, injuries and property damage was $432.5 billion, a 12 percent increase from 2015. These costs include lost wages, productivity loss, medical expenses, administrative expenses, employer costs and property damage. In 2012, traffic crash injuries totaled $18 billion in lifetime medical expenses alone. The report cites factors that have contributed to the historic rise in traffic-related deaths: • Increased exposure and mobility. In 2015 Americans traveled more than 3.1 trillion miles, creating a new record high for total vehicle miles traveled. • Risky road behavior. Impaired driving, not using seat belts and speeding represent a majority of the causes of traffic fatalities in 2015. Additionally, there were 3,477 distraction-related traffic fatalities in 2015. Sadly, the report says, half of all teens will be involved in a car crash before graduating from high school. • Deficiencies in post-crash response. Access to emergency medical and trauma services presents a challenge for rural communities, the President Trump recently asked Congress for a $1.5 trillion infrastructure package. In your opinion what are the most serious deficiencies in the roads today, and what areas of the country are the worst? Pick a state — every state has some bad highways. — Joey Word report says. Studies have shown that the farther a fatal crash occurs from a Level 1 or 2 trauma center, the more likely it is that the driver will be listed as “died at the scene of the crash.” In more rural areas, persons may live more than 45 minutes away from a Level 1 or 2 trauma center. The report identifies strategies to address those factors, among them: • Policies that permit violators of seat-beltuse laws to be stopped and cited independently of any other traffic behavior. • Increasing seat belt use penalties. • Setting appropriate speed limits. This strategy comes at a time when more and more states are increasing speed limits. • Encouraging the use of driver logbooks for commercial drivers (seems sort of superfluous since that’s already the law, but reinforcement never hurts). • Promote and utilize high-visibility enforcement of laws on texting and cell phone use to reduce distracted driving. • Graduated driver’s licenses (GDL) policies that include restrictions for the full length of the leaner’s permit period, requirements for a period of supervised hours and effective restrictions for nighttime driving and for how and when GDL holders drive passengers. The report does list numerous positive outcomes from states as a result of crash reduction strategies. We will cover those next issue. 8 As far as just bad highways, Michigan, Indiana and some parts of Oklahoma and Kentucky. Now as far as truck stop parking, four corners, northeast, southeast, southwest, northeast, northwest need help badly. — John Brohl

thetrucker.com b Letters from page 14 b would seem ignorant of these issues when his company should know first-hand. At [the] Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association we have been pushing for shippers/receivers to be responsible for uncompensated loading time for over 40 years. Mr. Williams only mentioned training once, but he mentioned technological gadgets several times. OOIDA has always believed a welltrained, well-compensated driver is the best safety device you can have on/in a truck [and] still do. We recently got passed into law an entry-level driver training rule. This was vigorously opposed by many ATA, TCA companies for more than 30 years. OOIDA has been pushing HOS reform since 2003, when the latest HOS came into effect. We’ve known about all the issues drivers have faced, because we’re made up of drivers/owner-operators. We didn’t need an ELD to tell us what’s right/wrong with the trucking industry, we were listening to our members and “real world experience.” — Monte Wiederhold OOIDA Board Member Afro-American truckers: ‘Trucker War’ stories omit role blacks played in strikes The Afro-American Truckers Association thinks “Trucker Wars,” the true story of the three trucker shutdowns, is oversimplified and mixed with too little truth and too much distortion in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” video Perspective February 15-28, 2018 • 15 that highlights the horrific events which caused widespread panic and disruption throughout the U.S. economy during the tumultuous 1974, 79 and 83 shutdowns. Those highly effective unpredictable revolts were most impactful in cities rife with government corruption, fierce labor disputes and mass civil unrest. However, this very grainy, low-budget cinematic production that has been mass marketed and sold in major truck depots nationwide is highly misleading on a number of accounts — besides slashing a giant tax hike, ending two bogus oil shortages and inspiring several ill-conceived truckerthemed movies. Conversely, the mass majority of industry leaders, paid-off insiders and fake union bosses were grossly negligent and very slow reacting to the escalating violence of U.S. truckers and citizens being triggered by huges spikes in fuel prices from an alleged Mideast oil embargo. They vastly overstated their own, misguided intentions during the lead-up, height and immediate aftermath of the truckers’ revolt. But more importantly, they deliberately downplayed the prominent role Afro-Americans played to help revolutionize trucking. ... It is my responsibility to speak out and correct the omission, pay proper tribute to some of the film’s unsung road warriors and advance the collective interest of Afro-American truckers who were at the forefront of social and political change but have not received the kind of high-level endorsement, fringe benefits, corporate promotion and movie roles they deserve. … — Shakir Muhammad 8