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Category : Flatbed Trucking

Take a Ride In a Self-Driving Semi

The automated, driverless vehicle is something we keep hearing more and more about. They could potentially remove the human error factor in driving, it could save a lot of lives. But it’s expensive, and not everyone is going to want to give up control of their vehicles.

But you have to admit, there’s something fascinating about the idea. Take a ride in world’s first road-ready self-driving truck:

What do you think? Is this our generation’s “Flying Car”? Fun to think about, but never gonna happen?

Enraged Driver Cuts off Semi-Truck!

In an moment of, what we can only call road rage inspired insanity, a motorist in Salt Lake City became enraged when a semi-truck changed lanes in front of their car. Instead of simply slowing down and giving the truck room, they decided to get “revenge” on the truck driver. The small red car passed the truck, changed lanes in front of it, and slammed on the breaks. The semi driver lost control, and rolled; blocking 4 lanes of traffic and causing 5 more accidents. Luckly, the only injuries were minor. The highway was closed for 7 hours while the cleanup was underway.

The accident happened on an interchange from I-15 to I-215. The trucker admits he was unfamiliar with the interchange and should have been going a little slower for the curve.

Police are searching for the driver, but so far, they have no leads. Utah Highway Patrol says that if they do find the driver, he will be facing reckless driving charges, in the least.

Driving a Semi isn’t easy, and they don’t have the same sight lines as someone in a car. Most drivers know that they need to give trucks room and understand that they have blind spots. Apparently this driver didn’t get the memo, or maybe he just didn’t care.

Let this be a lesson to all drivers: Give. Trucks. Space. That driver is doing a difficult job, and delivering goods you depend on every day! Cut them more slack, they’re often traveling routes they’re unfamiliar with. And always, always give them plenty of space.

Road Rage is never, ever, an appropriate response in any situation. But when it comes to trucks the damage is multiplied. This drivers desire to “Get back” at the truck driver could have killed people.

Moved: 3 Komatsu HD 785-7

Here are some pictures from a recent move of 3 Komatsu HD 785-7 Off Highway Rock Trucks.  These weighed in at a massive 165,000 lbs, 35′ L x 22’6″ W x 18’6″ H on the ground. The trucks were split – removing the beds and outside tires.  Chassis shipped at 30′ L x 18′ W x 15′ H at 100,000 lbs, while the beds shipped at 28′ L x 22’6″ W x 16′ H at 65,000 lbs.

Have pictures of a recent move you’re proud of? Drop us a comment or contact us!











Highway Bill, and what it means for You

Congress approved the Highway Bill, and President Obama is set to sign it on Friday, July 6, 2012. The report contains the TIA-OOIDA-ATA compromise language almost exactly.

How will this affect you?

Read the great blog post and summary from DAT.com.

Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

Ban On Cell Phone Use While Driving Hits Commercial Drivers

Well, it’s official.  Effective January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and others implemented a rule banning the use of cell phones while driving for all commercial truck drivers.

Violations can be severe – up to $2,750 fine for each offense and possible commercial license suspension for multiple violations.  It’s not just the drivers either – companies that allow their drivers to use cell phones while driving could be hit with fines up to $11,000.

While this restriction will undoubtedly affect many carriers, Freight Tec strongly supports the FMCSA in this decision with the ultimate objective in keeping our public roads safer.

Watch for Red-Flags and Avoid Cargo Theft

The FBI estimates the loss value of Cargo Theft at roughly $30 Billion dollars a year.  Don’t think that effects you as an every-day consumer?  Think again.  That $30 Billion loss causes retail business everywhere to mark-up their products an additional 20% for consumers!  … And that’s on items you buy everyday!  Electronics, food and clothing were the top three commodities stolen in 2010. 
(National Insurance Crime Bureau)

According to the NICB’s report, most Cargo Thefts happen within 200 miles or four (4) hours from the driver’s starting point.  Criminals view Cargo Theft as relatively ‘low risk’ and usually produces a ‘high return’ for them when they turn around and sell the product they’ve stolen.  Criminals follow drivers they’ve targeted and can usually steal the cargo within five (5) minutes after the driver stops.  That is scary!  Another growing trend is ‘Fraudulent Pickups’ where thieves access load information online and impersonate a legitimate carrier to pick up a load directly from the shipper… and after they’ve picked up the load, they disappear.

Ways to Prevent Cargo Theft:

  • Run Background Checks and Screen Employees.
  • Train Employees and Educate them on hijack awareness and prevention.
  • Consider In-Transit Security when choosing shipment routes and avoid stopping again within 200 miles (or four hours) after picking up a load. As well, use secured lots and avoid parking in theft hotspots.
  • Conduct periodic supply chain audits to discover gaps in shipment protection.

Let’s work together to keep the cargo we haul safe from criminals and thieves.

Have comments or more ways to prevent Cargo Theft?  Leave us a comment!

EOBRs can Reduce Violation Fines

We love staying up-to-date and reading the Journal of Commerce – Trucking.  Last week an excellent post really got us thinking.  EOBRs can SIGNIFICANTLY reduce violation fines.

You can read the full article here: FMCSA Orders Trucker to Install 700 EOBRs

Basically, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ordered JBS Carriers Inc., of Greeley, Colorado, to install Electronic Onboard Recorders (EOBRs) in it’s 700 trucks by March 2011.  This came about because of many hours-of-service and CDL violations.  Their choice was to take on a $81,780 fine or install EOBRs and take a reduce fine of $16,000. 

With that much in fines, installing the EOBRs seems like a no-brainer.  No question they will help this company reduce it’s future violations significantly, and make them a better carrier in the process.

With upcoming changes regarding CSA 2010, we all should be looking at ways to reduce our violations and become better, stronger transportation providers.  

Be sure to also read our article on CSA 2010 Opinions – The Good and the Bad.

Brokers, Acid Reflux, and Nylon Stockings

Jobs with High Stress can easily help create Acid Reflux Disease.  Clearly, Brokers are in a high stress career and are just as prone to Acid Reflux issues as anybody.  If you don’t have Acid Reflux problems yet, chances are that you will sometime in the future. 

What is Acid Reflux Disease?  This is the painful condition where your stomach builds up excess stomach acid and it attacks your esophagus where it enters into your stomach and other areas.  It can be severe enough pain that most hospital Emergency Rooms will run an EKG to make sure your not having a heart attack.  Although there are some good medications that can help deal with Acid Reflux such as Nexium, Prilosec, and a host of others, many times Acid Reflux can be controlled by diet.  In fact, to avoid side effects from taking medications to reduce the pain, it makes sense to determine what in your diet is causing Acid Reflux.

Since this is such a common ailment, both doctors I have visited over the years automatically pass out a pre-printed sheet of paper with a list of common foods NOT TO EAT to avoid these problems.  The list includes:

            Carbonated beverages such as Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, energy drinks, and others.  Carbonation causes your stomach to produce excess acid.  But to complicate the problem, these beverages also contain caffeine which also stimulate acid production.  To make matters worse, if you drink diet sodas, the artificial sweeteners can also cause excess stomach acid production.  Sometimes, these problems can be handled just be taking a couple of TUMS tablets.  But as the disease progresses, TUMS will no longer work.

            Beer & Alcoholic beverages can cause bloating and slow digestion.  The stomach reacts by creating more stomach acid and so more acid reflux issues result.

            Chocolate is a big acid stimulator as are citrus fruits like oranges (including orange juice) and lemons (including lemonade).  Where possible, eliminate chocolate and O.J. 

            Hot drinks such as Coffee, Tea, and Hot Chocolate all attack the stomach lining and may contain such things as caffeine and chocolate which stimulate acid production.  So the “hot” plus the substances of caffeine and chocolate can hit your stomach with a “double whammy”.

            Sugarless chewing gum is also a problem in that the sugar substitute creates excess stomach acid and when you swallow, you also swallow excess air that causes your stomach to bloat which also creates additional stomach acid.  Since many gum flavors are peppermint, spearmint, etc., these flavors also can create stomach issues.

            Avoid peppers of all varieties, tomatoes, and onions.  Avoid salsa, hot chile, hot soups, and large quantities of ketchup!  Anything that puts acid into your stomach is not your friend when you have acid reflux.  You want to reduce acid, not ingest more.

            Finally, avoid greasy foods as they cause excess stomach acid to build up.  Eat lean meats.  Avoid peanut butter and excess mounts of butter as they require more acid to digest.

BIG QUESTION:   What can I drink and eat?  You can avoid a lot of problems by just drinking water for your primary beverage.  Low-Fat milk is fine for cereal.  Substitute peaches, pears, and apples for oranges.  Although these fruits have some acid it is much less than Oranges or Orange Juice.  Eat vanilla ice cream instead of chocolate ice cream.  Use common sense.

IS THERE HOPE THAT I CAN EAT OR DRINK SOME OF THESE ITEMS ON THE LIST?  Yes!  If you can go “cold turkey” and eliminate your acid reflux than you can consider adding a small amount of one “bad item” in your diet to see if you can tolerate it.  Only add one at a time and if it is food, be sure to eat something else with it to dilute it in your stomach.  Sometimes, you can tolerate a food on the list if you eat it sparingly and avoid Acid Reflux.  If by chance you do get Acid Reflux after eating that one food, then you know that you need to eliminate it from your diet.  Period.

One other big problem concerns certain pain killers such as ibuprofen, Aleve (for arthritis pain), and aspirin.  If you need to take these pain killers, always take them with food and always take the minimum amount your pain will tolerate.  Each of these pain killers is tough on your stomach lining.  Modern medicine has recently come out with some hybrid “dual medications” that combine the pain killer ibuprofen with the compound found in Nexium that decreases stomach acid so that people can control their pain and also get the benefits of ibuprofens anti-inflammatory properties.

What do nylon stockings have to do with Acid Reflux?

One medical doctor told me that we should compare our stomach that is under attack from acid-stimulating foods and pain killers to a pair of nylon stockings.  If the nylons get a hole in them, the hole will gradually expand.  The same thing happens to the damage done to the inside of our stomachs when they start creating too much acid.  The stomach lining can heal to some extent, but the damage is done and it is important to take care of what we have left with a little common sense.

The whole purpose of this article is to help Brokers and others in this industry with high stress jobs to be able to work pain free from Acid Reflux.  This is in no way a substitute for visiting a doctor or medical professional who is familiar with the medical issues you face.  We are not medical professionals.  See a doctor when you need to.

Interesting Times for Transportation

Transportation systems are very dynamic.  During the last few years the railroads have become more competitive with rapid service from Chicago to Los Angeles in order to out-compete trucking companies.  With this kind of service available, the large trucking companies have put more and more of their freight on the railroads double-stack container trains.  Truckers are countering this competition with requests to be able to run heavier trucks on the Nations highways with weights up to 97,000# as opposed to the current 80,000# limits on most roads.  This would drop the cost of transportation per ton for the shipper.

But as the railroads have gained market share, they now face an interesting test:  The peak Christmas shipping season is upon us but so is the need to absorb a huge fall harvest of corn and soybeans that must be moved to market.  Will the railroads be able to handle both peak seasons at the same time with their available capacity of equipment and people?  Time will tell but the railroads claim they will be able to handle the heavy volumes of freight.

Union Pacific Railroad, Burlington Northern Railroad, Norfolk Southern Railroad, and CSX Transportation are all bringing on furloughed people who had been laid off during the recession.  Union Pacific is bringing on 900 locomotives and a vast supply of hopper cars and containers to meet the demand.  The locomotives had previously been in idle storage during the recent recession.  Other railroads are doing much the same including bringing on line much new equipment that they were anticipating they would need.  In addition, railroads are hiring new people and matching them with experienced people and moving them to specific areas around the country to deal with the logistics of moving long trains on a timely basis.  So, hopefully, the Nations railroads are up to the task of meeting the demands of two peak seasons.

Meanwhile, the trucking industry has taken its hits from the Recession and many small carriers are now out of business creating a capacity shortage in some areas.  Adding to their troubles are the new CSA 2010 regulations coming into effect on Nov. 1, 2010 that will target driver safety issues as never before.  CSA 2010 will help to eliminate the unsafe drivers over a few months.  The Winter months are normally slower for trucks and the loss of 3% to 5% of the nations truck drivers may not show up until Spring when freight demand picks up.  But by then, trucking rates will increase due to the capacity shortage that will ensue due to a shortage of qualified drivers.

How does this all affect the shipper?  Generally speaking, from a cost point of view, railroad container freight is less expensive for lanes exceeding 1300 miles between cities where both the pickup and the delivery from the rail terminal is within the Commercial Zone.  Trucks are typically more cost efficient when the mileage between two cities is less than 1300 miles or where multiple stops are required along the route.  Trucks have the advantage of being able to drive directly from the shippers dock to the receivers dock.

Property brokers are finding they must also be more creative to provide the best value to the customer.  Larger Brokers move freight both on trucks and container railroads to meet their customers needs.  The brokerage business is unique in that the largest broker in the U.S. only has 5% of the market share.  According to the U.S.D.O.T., there are over 21,000 property brokers registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.  Brokers continue to grow as they provide the best value for their customers.

Another facet of the transportation industry are the freight forwarders—specifically those that are international in scope.  Several years ago it was predicted that the large multi-national freight forwarders would gain more and more market share.  Even though these large companies have grown, so has the market share.  But the gains in market share have been by smaller freight forwarders who provide incredible service to their shippers.  Why?  Shouldn’t the bigger multi-national forwarder be able to drive costs lower for shippers?  Yes, they do.  But many shippers would rather be Number One with the forwarder they use knowing that that forwarder will do everything possible to get their shipments to their customers on time as opposed to being customer Number 273 with a large multi-national forwarder.  The price is slightly more expensive with the smaller company, but the service is great and the shipper doesn’t need to worry about what would happen if the big multi-national has a conflict with the service needs of multiple shippers and the resulting costs and problems that would create with missed deliveries.

Transportation world-wide continues to be dynamic, competitive, and both service and cost oriented.  Different modes of transportation compete with one another to present a better value proposition to the shipper.  This is good!  Despite the rough economy during the past few years, business is picking up!  Shippers have more options than ever.