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Trucker’s life made a little easier by tech like cell phones, on-board cameras, chargers, other gadgets

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Every once in a while, something crosses our desk that we need to pass along.

The Commercial Truck Trader’s mission is to bring everyone who needs commercial trucks to the dealers who sell and lease them. They believe in supporting small business and civic needs through search capabilities while delivering an easy visitor experience.

The company has compiled a list of eight essential gadgets for drivers to make their lives easier.

The list begins with a reality of which we are all too familiar.

Life as a truck driver is not easy. Even with a decent remuneration package being offered by companies, there’s still an ongoing shortage of drivers. The shortage of drivers is due, in part, to the hardships of life on the road, including isolation/loneliness and negative health impacts.

Fortunately, there are a lot of gadgets that can help make the trucking life better.

Comments are courtesy of .

  • GPS. For any driver, having a GPS can be a time-saver. While some still prefer looking at a paper map to determine their route, using a GPS can give drivers the fastest route possible and save a couple of hours by helping avoid traffic jams and road closures. Even experienced drivers who know their routes like the back of their hand can benefit from traffic updates that GPS technology can offer.
  • Electric blanket. Not all drivers have the luxury of sleeping in a hotel. Sometimes it’s a night in the cabin, parked outdoors where it’s possible to have freezing temperatures in the evenings. An electric blanket will heat up those cold nights to give a more comfortable and relaxing sleep.
  • Handpresso portable espresso-maker. Coffee is one of the best friends a truck driver will ever have. This drink helps them get through the long haul, where staying bright-eyed, focused, and safe is of utmost importance. With a portable espresso maker, drivers can enjoy a nice shot of espresso any time of the day.
  • Portable refrigerator and grill. Life on the road can be harsh on a driver’s health. Truck stops or roadside diners don’t always serve the healthiest of meals. Having a portable fridge helps drivers store healthy drinks and a grill to cook meals that are good for the body instead of going for the soda and burger option all the time.
  • Dash cams. Quickly becoming an essential for all professional drivers, dash cams record the road conditions and actions of drivers in cases of accidents. It’s not just to determine fault and liability, but data from dash cams can be used to improve driving habits and increase safety for the drivers, their cargo, and everyone else on the road.
  • Hand-held tire pressure monitor. Cross-country drives can be punishing to the tires, even more so when there’s a full load to carry. A hand-held tire pressure monitor allows a driver to check on tire health any time without having to look for the nearest truck stop or gas station. The best thing about this is that they can check the tire pressure without leaving the driver’s seat.
  • A smartphone. No matter what brand, a smartphone is another all-in-one gadget important to every truck driver. Aside from being the line of communication to the company, it’s also the line to family and loved ones. It provides access to the internet and entertainment, especially during stops that can tend to be lonely.
  • A power inverter. You can have all these cool gadgets, but they’d be pretty useless if they have no juice. Here’s where a power inverter can come in handy. This device acts like a wall socket and lets you plug in all your gadgets for power. This little thing can power or charge every gadget listed here and then some. Just plug your inverter into the cigarette lighter and you’re all set.

While life on the road isn’t always ideal, it doesn’t have to be boring and difficult. Thanks to these gadgets, living the trucking life is now more appealing because drivers can have a safer and easier ride ahead of them.

 

 

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Digital Edition

The Trucker Newspaper – May 15, 2019 Digital Edition

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FMCSA wants comments on possible 2nd pilot program for 18- to 20-year-olds

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FMCSA requests comments on the training, qualifications, driving limitations, and vehicle safety systems that FMCSA should consider in developing options or approaches for a second pilot program for younger drivers. (The Trucker file photo)

WASHINGTON — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Tuesday said it is seeking public comment on a potential pilot program that would allow drivers ages 18-20 to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce.

“Commercial trucks and buses are essential to a thriving national economy, and the department wants to ensure the public has an opportunity to comment on this important potential change,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

Drivers ages 18-20 may currently only operate CMVs in intrastate commerce.

In July 2018, USDOT announced the details of the Commercial Driver Pilot Program required under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which allows certain 18- to 20-year-olds with military training to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.

Tuesday’s action requests comments on a second pilot program to allow non-military drivers ages 18-20 to operate CMVs in interstate commerce.

FMCSA requests comments on the training, qualifications, driving limitations, and vehicle safety systems that FMCSA should consider in developing options or approaches for a second pilot program for younger drivers.

“We want input from the public on efforts that offer the potential to create more jobs in the commercial motor vehicle industry, while maintaining the highest level of safety.  We encourage all CMV stakeholders to submit comments on a potential interstate pilot program for younger drivers,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez.

Support for a pilot program among the general population dates back to October 2, 200, when the Truckload Carriers Association, petitioned the FMCSA to conduct a younger driver pilot program.

Motor carriers, truck driver training schools, a trade association and an insurance company joined in the petition asking FMCSA to authorize a pilot program to determine if CMV drivers under age 21 could operate CMVs safely in interstate commerce.

The petitioners said that this pilot would address the shortage of CMV drivers in the trucking industry. The petitioners also asserted that recruiting young persons as truck drivers would be easier if they could be approached immediately after graduation from high school.

In February 2001, the FMCSA published a notice requesting comments on the TCA petition and received 1,600 comments with more than 90 percent opposed, most of the basis that  individuals under 21 lacked the maturity and judgment to operate a commercial motor vehicle and on June 9, 2003, the FMCSA denied the petition.

TCA still strongly supports a pilot program, said David Heller, vice president of government affairs at TCA.

His association believes the pilot study is crucial in determining the safety performance of younger drivers.

“If you look at interstate commerce, I can stand on top of TCA’s roof and look into D.C. and turn 90 degrees and look into Maryland, but if I’m a younger driver, I can’t drive into those areas,” Heller said, “but I can drive into the far southwest corner of Virginia, which in and of itself a long haul. In saying that, what is truly the line of demarcation. So once and for all let’s glean data to show and prove whether they can be safe. This is an effort to collect the data that can verify whether these drivers are as safe or safer in those magical words that truly matter. As safe or safer than their seasoned counterparts.”

Should in the end drivers under 21 be allowed to drive interstate, there would be a whole new demographic from which carriers could recruit.

Just because a new demographic opens up, it doesn’t mean carriers would naturally recruit from that pool, Heller said.  recruit from that pool. \

“There are a lot of different things that go into that equation, insurance for one, that certainly play a major role in whether carriers will recruit from that demographic,” he said. “And just because we get the new demographic doesn’t mean they are going to like trucking.”

The American Trucking Association also supports the pilot program.

“ATA supports FMCSA’s efforts to expand on its current work examining younger commercial drivers,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “Right now, 18-, 19-, and 20-year-old drivers are driving trucks in the United States.  What these pilot programs will do is set out a path for these drivers to fully participate in our industry by allowing them to drive interstate.

“Allowing younger drivers, who are already moving goods intrastate, to drive interstate is a common sense step that has support not just from the trucking industry, but from a broad coalition,” Spear said. “Between FMCSA’s opposed pilot project and the bipartisan support for the Drive SAFE Act in Congress, we hope we will soon create a path for more young people to fully participate in our industry.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association in opposition to the second pilot program.

“Rather than developing ways to allow more teenagers behind the wheel of commercial trucks, the federal government should be taking steps to reverse the incessantly high driver turnover rate, which remains above 90 percent among large truckload carriers,” said Todd Spencer, president of OOIDA. “Efforts should focus on improving the industry instead of trying to hire more cheap labor.”

Spencer said OOIDA contends that younger drivers – especially teenagers – generally lack the maturity and experience to operate a CMV at the safest levels. Research has consistently shown that CMV drivers under 21 are more likely to be involved in crashes.

“Launching this pilot program would go against FMCSA’s goal of improving highway safety,” Spencer said. “The agency should not be used as a tool for large motor carriers to expand their driver pool instead of fixing the problems that have led to their extremely high turnover rates. “If highway safety is the priority, the age should go up, not down. Instead of efforts to entice the least experienced, the focus should be hiring and retaining the most experienced drivers, not expanding the funnel of driver churn.”

 

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The Trucker News Channel Episode #049

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In this episode we cover…

– 2 flatbed carriers flatline
– Bail hearing in Colorado crash
– Amazon gets in the trucking biz
– Trucker road rages with wasp spray

All this and more news along with our Cat Scale Rig of the Week on this edition of The Trucker News Channel.

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