The Supreme Court ruled against the truckers who carried out a strike

The Supreme Court ruled against the truckers who carried out a strike

It was because they left behind their loads of concrete and caused huge losses to the company they worked for.

Right to strike, but always with limits. This sentence summarizes the opinion of Judge Samuel Alito who explained that the Federal National Labor Relations Act “does not protect striking employees who engage in the type of conduct alleged here”. What was he referring to? To the Supreme Court ruling on June 1 that condemned the workers who left their trucks full of a load of wet concrete to go on strike.

Liberals and conservatives were united in this sentence. It was only Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson who opposed it and argued that this ruling: “would erode the right to strike”.

The story is different for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, as published by Transport Topic. On behalf of the majority, this magistrate wrote that the union acted without taking minimal precautions with the load of concrete they were transporting and which belonged to the Glacier Northwest company.

“The Union’s actions not only resulted in the destruction of all the concrete that the Glacier had prepared that day; they also represented a risk of foreseeable, aggravated and imminent damage to Glacier’s trucks”, Barrett detailed along with the names of 4 more judges.

The conflict with the company and its workers occurred way back in 2017, when Glacier Northwest and the local Teamsters union failed to reach an agreement in their negotiations. At that moment, the truckers went on strike and left the trucks full of concrete. The company promptly sued this union, alleging that they intentionally damaged company property. However, the state court dismissed the complaint.

The lawsuit went all the way to the Supreme Court and there Judge Barrett clarified that by: “presenting themselves for duty and pretending that they would deliver the concrete, the drivers promoted the creation of the perishable product. Then they waited to get off work until the concrete was mixed and poured into the trucks”.

“The fact that the drivers returned the trucks to the Glacier facility does not do much for the Union: refraining from stealing an employer’s vehicles does not demonstrate that reasonable precautions were taken to protect them,” the lawyer continued.

The union did not take long to reply. On his social media, Teamsters general president Sean O’Brien wrote: “Ca n’t depend on employers to treat workers with dignity. Can’t trust elected officials / the courts to protect our liberties… But one thing I know… the labor movement has strength in numbers. And Teamsters will never give up our right to strike. Too many fought for that right”.

Texas, the paradise of autonomous trucks

Texas, the paradise of autonomous trucks

Several companies test their shipments in the north of the State. The case of Fort Worth, El Paso, Dallas and Houston.

North Texas has been transformed into a space where autonomous trucks have earned their place on the roads. In this state, companies are carrying out what would be something like “reality tests” to determine the effectiveness of these systems on routes where traffic is fluid.

There are several companies that already work with this automated system. One is Kroger who has the support of Gatik to be able to ship to local Dallas stores from a Customer Fulfillment Center (CFC). These are trucks that preserve the cold chain of the products and that “work” seven days a week at different times.

Kroger’s Mike Baker explained in a video as the launch of this new operating system occurred: “We are implementing consistent automated delivery runs; we run approximately 18 to 20 hours a day. Every time a customer wants an order, we are there to try to deliver it to them”.

Gatik’s co-founder and CEO further detailed in a statement: “Kroger’s commitment to redefining service levels for its customers through innovative technology meant our collaboration came to fruition very quickly. We are deeply familiar with operating our autonomous fleet within the Dallas ecosystem, and we are very excited to bring that experience to support Kroger in its mission to reshape the future of freight delivery”.

Sam’s Club announced earlier that it had implemented automated box trucks in its Georgia-Pacific deliveries to its 34 area locations. These are six trucks that replaced the Class 8.

At the moment the trucks have the presence of a human behind the wheel to verify that everything works well and that there are no faults. However, the ultimate plan is for the trucks to be truly autonomous.

In this state and in 2018 a law was passed that gives autonomous vehicles the same status as conventional ones. And for this reason several of the great leaders in this type of innovation established their bases of operations in North Texas. The sunny climate of the area also helps, say the experts and the exports to Mexico.

The case of Volvo and Waymo

Volvo is another of the companies that he established in the area. In April, he opened an office on Fort Worth’s Near Southside. With autonomous driving technology company Aurora, the Swedish automaker wants to deploy a fleet that delivers goods in two directions: between Fort Worth and El Paso and between Dallas and Houston.

“A growing demand for cargo, a shortage of drivers and rising health and safety concerns – the long-haul industry is poised to benefit from autonomy. Our Autonomous Transport Solution (ATS) for highways offers autonomous charging capacity for shippers, carriers, logistics providers and freight forwarders who want to be at the forefront of industry transformation,” Volvo reports on its official site.

The autonomous solution of this company already has many allies. Convoy, Ascend, Uber Freight with whom they already offer the service in Texas on selected routes and, finally, DHL.

But there is much more, in June of last year the autonomous truck company Waymo tested its deliveries on the routes of this State together with Wayfair, a client of JB Hunt. He did it with his Class 8 autonomous truck and hauled merchandise on Interstate 45 between Houston and Dallas. During the test time, human drivers were also used to verify the process.

Self-driving technology startup Embark is also in this state.

When will they walk without drivers? In Dallas, it is estimated that 20 trucks will circulate fully autonomously in a year and a half, by the end of 2024.

(Image credit: Volvo and screenshot by Kroger Gatik).

Strong response from FMCSA on safety limiters: “We continue to fight”

Strong response from FMCSA on safety limiters: “We continue to fight”

“When decisions are made in Washington that affect our members, ATA will always be in that room with a seat at the table,” they begin.

A bill was recently introduced in the Senate that seeks to do away with the speed limiters proposed by the Department of Transportation. It was late 2022 when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented the speed limiter discussion for trucks and other large commercial vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds.

Republican Congressman Josh Brecheen (Representing Oklahoma) introduced the Deregulation of Restrictions on Interstate Vehicles and Eighteen-Wheeler Vehicles (DRIVE) Act. This rule, as reported by the CCJ portal: “would prohibit the Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from issuing a rule or regulation that requires certain vehicles to be equipped with speed limiting devices, and for other purposes.”

The FMCSA did not take long to respond and did so with a harsh statement published on its website.

His words:

“When decisions are made in Washington that affect our members, ATA will always be in that room with a seat at the table. Others stand outside, banging their fists on the door and yelling for attention like they always do, with no result to show for it.
ATA engages any legislator who knows our history and appreciates what our industry does for every American across the economy and across our country. When regulators introduce new regulations, we make sure that data should drive the process, not press releases disguised as real-world policy.

We do not point fingers or blame. We drive real results. That’s why we win.

Regarding speed limiters, the official ATA policy allows for 70 MPH on trucks equipped with automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. On trucks without these safety technologies, our policy allows for a maximum posted speed of 65 MPH.

To be clear: A USDOT rule on speed limiters is coming up. ATA will be back at the table, driving an outcome with policy based on data, not baseless rhetoric.

We continue to fight efforts by anti-truck groups to enforce a speed limit rule that sets speeds in the 60s. Anti-truck advocates lobbied to include that in the recently enacted Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, and ATA successfully fought to keep those provisions out of the final bill.

As a member-driven organization, ATA policy is set by our member companies. Our speed limit policy was last reviewed and voted on in 2019 by the Safety Policy Committee, made up of 120 small, medium and large carriers. We are a committed and dynamic association, and our policy committees meet in person twice a year to set direction.

ATA policies are not static, nor should they be. When new data emerges, new technologies appear online, or new safety concerns arise, such as increased speed limits for passenger vehicles, we evaluate and modify as necessary. As the world changes, we adapt to the environment in which we operate. That is called common sense.

When legislative text or regulations do not align with our policies, we work through the process to achieve alignment. If those bills or rules ultimately don’t align, we will oppose and work to defeat them, just as we did with the 2016 speed limit rule and the Obama administration’s flawed hours-of-service reset rule. We’ll do it again if USDOT’s newly anticipated speed limit rule doesn’t meet our policy.

That is precisely why we have policies. “No” is not a policy; It’s an excuse to do nothing. Challenging safety, “no” amounts to saying drivers should go as fast as they want for as long as they want while operating 80,000-pound vehicles.

Blaming the ATA for a USDOT regulation that hasn’t come out yet is hopeless indeed, but what can you do? Not everyone is equipped or capable of navigating the federal process today. In an attempt to stay relevant, many are falling into despair. But that is not a winning strategy.

After all, we don’t lose sleep over the impotence of others. We are too busy delivering results for our members”.

Science says it: what truckers are like and how they live

Science says it: what truckers are like and how they live

Feelings, lifestyle and personal organization.

An investigation carried out by the VINCI Autoroutes Foundation for responsible driving determined how truckers behave and how they take care of their health. In order to do so, different aspects of the lives of 515 drivers from 18 countries were analyzed.

It was Patricia Delhomme, research director of the Applied Psychology and Ergonomics Laboratory of the Gustave Eiffel University and Loïc Josseran, of the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines and the Raymond Poincaré de Garches Hospital (AP-HP) who carried out this large study with the idea of helping carriers prevent future accidents.

What are the most experienced truck drivers like? The investigation determined that these are people satisfied with their professional life who feel free and need to be independent.

In their jobs they feel limited mainly by the traffic jams that arise on the roads and secondly by the distance they have to endure with their families.

Most of them demand more amenities in the rest areas. The average experience of the respondents was 22 years of work.

Those most exposed to accidents:

Scientists determined that truckers are highly connected. Something that helps them in their safety, but harms them when driving if this connection generates distractions.

More than 8 out of 10 truckers communicate with the Bluetooth system while driving often or very often. In addition, 67 percent adjust or program the radio or GPS, also while driving.

27 percent send text messages or surf the internet. And 26 percent make calls with a hands-free kit.

Heavier the older they are

73 percent of respondents were overweight. However, truckers between the ages of 18 and 24 had a normal body mass index. Those most affected by obesity and overweight were those drivers between 55 and 64 years of age.

They rated themselves as follows about their style of nutrition: 33 percent considered it balanced, 33 percent considered it unbalanced, and 34 percent did not know.

There is more, only 29 percent claimed to practice a sport and most of this percentage was under 25 years of age. With age, according to this study, sedentary lifestyle increased significantly.

An interesting fact: a large part of the drivers who recognized themselves as sedentary or who registered a high body mass index are willing to receive advice and counseling to improve their quality of life.

Ohio bets on trucker stops and proposes to renovate 33 rest areas

Ohio bets on trucker stops and proposes to renovate 33 rest areas

The plan was announced by the governor, Mike DeWine. They should be finished by the end of 2026.

Four years and 33 renovated rest areas at 17 locations. This is the plan announced by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, who already inaugurated one of these spaces in Ashtabula County on westbound I-90 in March. In May he also opened the Preble County Welcome Center located off Interstate 70.

The rest area buildings should be completed by the end of 2026 and will showcase the culture of the area. “Our rest stops provide commuters, truckers and families with a safe place to rest, which can increase focus and confidence when they get back on the road… While you stretch your legs, we want to share Ohio’s incredible history and tell you about our innovative Ohioans, beautiful natural resources, and exciting attractions. We want you to know that Ohio is full of great opportunities,” the Governor announced.

ODOT currently has 85 rest areas on its highways. Ohio Department of Transportation Headquarters Press Secretary Matt Bruning told to Transport Topics: “These reinvented rest areas will include better amenities and cleaner, more modern facilities”.

For this year there are three renovations on the agenda that will take place on the west side of the state. They will be in the counties of: Portage on I-76, Washington on I-77 and Meigs on Route 33.

As early as 2024, buildings and rest areas will be renovated in Belmont, Muskingum and Fayette counties. While 2025 will be much more intense with the renovation of seven areas.

The state currently has more than 14,000 truck parking spaces. Of every 10 stops, almost 2 are public and the rest are private. But more than most are found in rural areas.

Rest spaces and parking lots for truckers are a priority for the sector and with these restorations the aim is to provide more and better quality services to those who travel long distances.

After the HOS exceptions, the infractions increased

After the HOS exceptions, the infractions increased

The reasons that led to the increase in violations during rest hours are not yet known. The history.

At the end of 2020, four rules came into force that increased flexibility in the rest of truck and plane drivers. Now an analysis by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has determined that HOS violations are on the rise. In order to analyze them, two periods were compared: that of the change prior to the rule, which was from January 1, 2018 to September 30, 2020, and a period after the change, which was from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021.

In the analysis, sent to Congress, it was determined that the violations were “significantly higher” in terms of rest hours, something that did not occur with accidents according to this Administration.

What were the exceptions? Changes were included for short-haul pilots, two more hours of driving allowed in adverse weather conditions were added, more berths were provided for sleeping, and the mandatory eight-hour driving rest was made more flexible.

For all this, Congress asked the FMCSA to analyze the two years prior to the implementation of these changes and the two years after. In addition, the “safety data” was requested, including, but not limited to, the number of crashes, the type of crash, the number of fatalities classified by occupant type, the number of serious injuries, the rate of involvement that large trucks have accidents, and the time of day and on what type of road the accident occurred”.

There is still no official conclusion that explains the increase in offenses related to HOS. It is believed that the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with more thorough inspections may have influenced the result.

“The data does not show a significant difference in accident or fatality rates, although it is important to note that initial trends may have been confounded by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on industry operations and the declaration of FMCSA emergency that provided HOS regulatory relief for commercial motors, vehicle operations providing direct assistance in support of COVID-19 relief efforts”, detailed in the analysis.

What were the FMCSA rules implemented in 2020?

With the idea of providing greater flexibility to motor carriers, these regulations were approved in the HOS that came into effect on September 29, 2020.

Short Haul Exception: Allows for a 14-hour shift to be carried out as part of the exception on short-haul flights of up to 150 air miles.

Exception for adverse driving conditions. Increase driving time in adverse conditions by up to two extra hours.

Rest of 30 minutes. Requires a break of at least 30 consecutive minutes when the driver has accumulated 8 hours of driving time and allows time on duty or non-driving to qualify as rest.

Sleeping bunks. “Amends the cabin exception to allow a driver to meet the minimum 10-hour off-duty requirement by spending at least 7 hours of that period in the cabin combined with a minimum off-duty period of at least 2 hours spent inside or outside berth, provided that the two periods add up to at least 10 hours. When used together as specified, neither qualifying period counts against the 14-hour driving window”, the FMCSA ends.