A tough reality in the trucking profession is the requirement to be sedentary for the majority of time spent on the job. The average trucker works either 60 hours over the course of seven days or 70 hours over the course of eight days. While drivers cannot work more than 14 hours straight, 11 of those hours can be spent driving—resulting in well over 40 hours a week sitting behind the wheel.
“When I look across the entire agency and the spectrum of technical and vocational training that we do, this is one area where the need for men and women with commercial drivers’ licenses is so great that it just begs the question: why are we only doing it at one location?” he told Fleet Owner.
In my former life with the State of New Mexico’s Motor Transportation Police, I was always shocked by the number of commercial drivers who didn’t make time to do proper pre-trip inspections before getting on the road. Part of this oversight is an inherent trust drivers seem to have in their truck operating well on their last run or with the driver that drove the truck last. The other part was simple math – the less time spent outside of the truck, the more time on the road. Unfortunately, these pre- and post-trip inspections, also known as “kicking the tires,” is the easiest action operators and drivers can take to protect themselves and others.
With over 70% of the nation’s roadways located in snowy regions, staying safe on the road during the cold, wet and harsh winter months means much more than keeping hands at 10 and 2 and checking mirrors periodically. As driving conditions deteriorate to anything but ideal this time of year, fleets and drivers rely on safety technology paired with a comprehensive safety program as defining factors to navigate the winter months unscathed. Many fleets turn to a video-safety program as an essential tool that allows managers to proactively address risky driving behavior early and intervene with targeted driver coaching to ensure roadway safety.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published in the Federal Register on Dec. 27 that it is increasing the minimum annual percentage rate for random controlled substances testing for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) requiring a commercial driver’s license (CDL) from the current rate of 25% of the average number of driver positions to 50%, effective in calendar year 2020.
Proactive beats reactive every time. If you as a potential driver (or fleet executive) knew in advance the concerns about the job from current truckers before deciding to climb into the driver’s seat, wouldn’t you pay attention? Of course you would.
In a wide-ranging interview with Fleet Owner, Wilbur was asked about the spate of truck fleet closures the last year, and did not hold his fire.
Exercise is a big reason.
“It’s a lot of things,” said Cynthia Caldwell, who drives with her husband Tyson and their 10-pound Miniature Pinscher, who she affectionately calls “Min Pig” instead of a “Min Pin” because of the dog’s voracious appetite. For starters, the dog forces them to get out of the truck more often.