News, Interviews, and Happenings From The Trucking World
Are trucker strikes a thing of the past?
Friday Short Haul - Passenger car drivers, spotted lanternfly, women drivers
OOIDA makes final push for better HOS rules
Car-truck crash fatalities continue to increase
Friday Short Haul - Amazon's fleet of day cabs, legislator's disclosure, WTA petition
ATA chief takes on truck-accident lawyers
Lonely on the road? Get a furry friend
Friday Short Haul - Lab-grown meat, fraudulent freight brokering, FMCSA HOS committee, FMCSA Clearinghouse
UPS takes giant leap in its drone delivery program
Female drivers are safer bet for trucking companies
Friday Short Haul - Embark gets financing, FMCSA announces safety grants, Covenant exits Mexico routes, and trucking statistics
Emissions standards battle heats up between the EPA and California
Smog checks in the future for California truck drivers
Friday Short Haul - Volvo Dynamic Steering, Meals for 18 Wheels, speeding crackdown, OOIDA opposes legislation
Telematics could be insurance-premium-saving boon for fleets
54 percent of survey respondents still not impressed with telematics technology
Friday Short Haul - Walmart video, it's churn, not shortage, California's independent contractor bill, hemp drivers plea
TCA honors three Highway Angels
Now they're talking about "smart" trailers
Friday Short Haul - Detention-time comments, truck orders decline, diesel fuel shortage
Berkeley study says reducing independent truckers can alleviate climate change
Clearing up concerns about the drug and alcohol clearinghouse
Friday Short Haul - Hurricane Dorian, Speed limiter bill, Thank a Driver campaign
Georgia jury awards $280 million for truck-driver-caused multi-fatality
Friday Short Haul - New eCascadias, Top cities for truck driver jobs, Push against driverless trucks
Decision on California drivers' employee/contractor status coming down to the wire
UPS jumps on autonomous bandwagon with TuSimple investment
FMCSA publishes proposed HOS rule changes
Fleets, drivers coming to like automated manual transmissions
CVSA asks for new truck crash study
Friday Short Haul - HOS revisions delayed, AEB mandate proposed, Koch sued for sex discrimination
Kodiak Robotics takes lead in autonomous truck industry race
New York City combats rash of cyclist/truck clashes
Friday Short Haul - CRST wins lawsuit, OOIDA opposes insurance hike, UPSNav
Mechanics shortage equals driver shortage in intensity
DOT announces almost 1$ billion in grants to fix infrastructure
Friday Short Haul - DOL on sleeper pay, UPS drone delivery, Geowiz ELDs
FMCSA takes a look at assault, harassment of female and minority drivers
It's hot out there, what's a trucker to do? Can't idle.
Friday Short Haul - Utah truck rollovers, aging truckers, lifetime CDL bans
Truck-mounted LED billboards coming under fire
Trucker 'drones on' with unique approach to teaching driving skills
Friday Short Haul - Rhode Island tolls, human smuggling, contractor vs employee status
ELD mandate deadline looming, many still not compliant
New "boot" device being deployed to threaten Walmart overnighters
Friday Short Haul - Prime Inc vs Amazon, mother fights HOS changes, truck drivers appreciation week
Proper way to fly the American flag on your truck this Fourth of July
Roundabouts are becoming popular; but are they best for trucks?
Friday Short Haul - Skills test proposal, driver shortage, hemp sentencing, driverless trucks
Experts warn of active wildland fire season
More states signing on to enlist truckers against human trafficking
Friday Short Haul - Shippers of Choice, insurance rates, wheel spikes, WIT award
Freight numbers not holding up to 2018's highs
Truck safety group urges purges of drug abuse drivers
Friday Short Haul - Self-driving certificate, truck platooning, trade war stacking up cargo
HOS waiver coming soon for fireworks haulers
FMCSA takes a further look at detention time
Friday Short Haul - Autonomous delivery, HOS rules changes, CDL retest
Roadcheck 2019 in effect this week
Hemp arrest prompts USDA memo
Friday Short Haul - Waymo big rigs, Move over sting, Under-21 comments
Severe weather prompts renewed emergency declaration
Memorial Day holiday is prime time for cargo thefts
Friday Short Haul - Hauling hemp, road rage fatality, new rules for autonomous vehicles
Autonomous trucks on USPS test run
Future era of cab-less trucks will be the end of HOS rules
Friday Short Haul - FMCSA under-21 comments, Tesla autonomous car crash, 24,000 drivers sign contract with YRC
Under-21 interstate drivers getting serious look by FMCSA
Trucker Buddy program matches drivers with a classroom; everyone wins
Friday Short Haul - Driver awarded $80 million, ODFL driver wins, loading dock black hole
Storm breaks out from Rockies, slams into Midwest, South
Capacity issues have shippers looking at private fleets
Friday Short Haul - HOS rules, dark skies, Falcon drivers
'Bug' permits now required for four eastern states
Simulator use is catching on for schools, carriers
Friday Short Haul - Thinking electric, Penske opens charging station, border crossing crisis, railroads taking trucking business
ELDs might not be the panacea that was hoped for
Truck drivers may soon see "phantoms" driving yard trucks
Friday Short Haul - Nikola big rigs, WIT welcomes Peterbilt, Oregon crashes, Border crossings
Carriers claim financial benefit of putting up drivers in hotels
Uber's IPO application reveals interesting data about its freight brokerage business
Friday Short Haul - CDL examiner arrested, tolls proposed for trucks, marijuana use on the rise
Smart Load Board will get carriers the loads they need
Huge lines and long wait times greet carriers at Mexico border
Friday Short Haul - Marijuana, ATA campaign, personal conveyance rules
Over-the-air downloads revolutionize parameter updates
Don't get scammed by skimmers
Friday Short Haul -- New Cascadias honored, motorist survey, U.S, Xpress awarded, rest stop parking
Legislators address underride collisions, propose more underguards for trucks, trailers
Motorists soon may encounter a different kind of truck convoy
Friday Short Haul -- Women in Trucking, irate motorist, FMCSA eases HOS, Safe-Cap
Recent survey shows cost of roadside repairs is rising
FMCSA announces drug and alcohol clearinghouse website
Friday Short Haul - Swift settlement, driver shortage myth, TCA Best Fleet award
The hidden danger of looking but not seeing
Accident scammers target trucks for financial payout
Friday Short Haul - Snow on the roof, bypassing toll road, Waze under fire
Retailers blame driver shortage for price increases
Drivers' smartphones may be clue to road roughness
Friday Short Haul -- Freight rates, HOS changes, tonnage reports
New tax changes hit drivers hard
FMCSA to implement under-21 interstate driver program for former military
Friday Short Haul -- Connecticut tolls proposed, hydrogen fuel-cell trucks, cell phone use
Congress committee looks at state of America's highways
Number of cargo thefts is down; but dollar value about the same
Friday Short Haul -- Crossing the border, CA sues FMCSA, Lobbying against larger trucks
Detention - A problem still in search of a solution
February Highway Angels honorees named
Friday Short Haul -- C.R. England announces pay raises, eCommerce impact on trucking, TCA announces best fleets
Is a guaranteed minimum pay the solution to the driver shortage?
Long CDL testing wait times cost economy billions of dollars; not helping driver shortage
Friday Short Haul -- Walmart hiring, Uber Freight App, Speed-limiter Law, America's Road Team
Cranking -- The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
California survives challenge to its low-carbon fuel standards
Friday Short Haul - Highway robbery ... autonomous trucks ... new trailers
LithiumHub enters jump-starter market with Jumpbooster JP30
2019 Looks Good For The Transportation Industry
Raymond Burt named TMC Trainer of the Month for February 2018
TMC Transportation Announces Recipient of Prestigious Wheel Master Award
TMC Transportation Named The Home Depot’s Flatbed Carrier of the Year For Fourth Straight Year
Pay Raises & New Peterbilts for PAM Drivers
New DOT Drug Testing Rules Effective Jan 1, 2018
Amtrak Derailment: Trucks Haul 270,000 Pound Locomotive Engine During Cleanup
Pepsi Places Largest Order Yet For Tesla Electric Trucks
Kavin Hallett named Trainer of the Month for October 2017
Over 100,000 Truck Drivers Likely Have Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea And More Testing Is On The Way
Drivers Share Their Best Tips, Tricks, And Secrets For Life On The Road
Drivers Are Losing Money By Taking The Wrong Approach
Truckers and Guns: What Is and Is Not Legal
Preparing To Go Solo For The First Time? Experienced Drivers Share Their Best Advice
The Truck Stop Survival Guide: Advice From Experienced Drivers
The Worst Cities For Traffic In The U.S. For 2017
We Ask Drivers How They Would Make The Logbook Rules Better
Self Driving Trucks Are Not Coming Anytime Soon
Self Driving Trucks Are Not Coming Anytime Soon
It's common for anyone considering a career in trucking to wonder about the impending takeover of self-driving vehicles. When is this going to happen? Am I going to have a job in a few years? Will they still need drivers for anything at all, or are we all on the way out?
Pleeeeeease! Get serious.
As a software developer myself I'm acutely aware of the difficulty of getting software to do even the most basic tasks reliably, let alone incredibly complex tasks like:
- Navigating busy city streets
- Swerving through twisty construction zones
- Wiggling around in tight parking lots full of busy people
- Detecting and adjusting to icy roads
....and 10 million other things humans have to figure out each day, on the fly, without warning.
The human mind is vastly more powerful and complex than most people would realize. It's not until you try to mimic what the mind can do that you realize how astounding this challenge will be. We can interpret things going on around us with incredible speed and accuracy. We adjust to the unknown, the unpredictable, and the outright bizarre without much difficulty at all.
And yet if you read the headlines it would seem science has all but written off humans as being useful anymore. Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and autonomous vehicles are taking over, or about to, if you believe these clowns.
Yes, clowns. They're clowning us.
Well there's quite a few of them in fact. There's no shortage of people who are looking to drum up attention for the impending robot revolution. In fact, why don't we have our own clown parade?
Researchers At Universities
University research requires large amounts of money in the form of grants in order to fund ongoing research. Well say you're a wealthy graduate of University X looking to get some notoriety, and Mr Researcher at University X comes to you and says, "Listen, University X is leading the way in self-driving vehicles. With just a small donation from you, maybe in the six figure range, max, you'll be able to say you were a part of the revolution that University X created!" You might just cut a check for those Benjamins and wait for the bragging rights to come your way. Heck, you probably won't even wait for it to happen before you tell your friends about it. It's a gimme! A professor told you so.
But if they can't get the word out to you, how would you know? So they have to drum up the excitement publicly. Well that's awesome news for:
Publishers Looking For Link Bait Titles
Oh heck yeah, that's me too! But I'm on the other side of the coin. I don't believe any of this is about to happen, so my 'clicky titles' aren't nearly as clicky as the ones proclaiming:
Man, those headlines are rich with sweet, buttery goodness, aren't they? Seriously, I already know you're gonna read em so go ahead. I won't be mad. Sometimes I can't resist either. They really do sound interesting, and they make it seem so realistic, too, like it's actually about to happen!
Corporations Looking For Funding
And naturally we would be remiss if we didn't mention the corporations and their incessant quest for the almighty dollar. The amount of money you can bring in by getting a tech startup funded, or bringing in a new round of public funding for a large corporation, is staggering. It's in the millions for startups, and billions for larger corporations.
Promising your investors huge payoffs if (or when?) your company produces valuable technology is what drives much of the tech world forward. Right now, many thousands of software engineers are getting wealthy while plugging away at the next phase of our technological advancement. Will any of it ever come to fruition? Some. But mostly in the form of selling your "promising startup" to the next larger corporation looking to buy more promising startups.
But you see, there's something you have to understand about technology. You don't assess the current state of technology by its successes. You measure it by its failures. It's not about what we can accomplish when things go perfectly, it's about what we can do safely and consistently, even when everything goes exactly the opposite of what we had anticipated.
Measuring The Current State of Technology By Its Failures
Getting a vehicle to navigate today's overcrowded city streets and Interstates is a monumental task. It's staggering the amount of information that would have to be processed continuously, and accurately, in real time. You would have to combine GPS data with all sorts of other technologies in order to detect obstacles in your path, street signs, highway markings, pedestrians and bicycles, weather, road conditions, other traffic on the highway, and a million other variables.
- What if you're on a highway in a storm and there's a live power line down across the road?
- What if you're in a construction zone and they didn't reline the highway to indicate the lane you should be in?
- What if the road only has one lane open and a flagman is signaling for you to do something?
- What if you're on the Interstate and a drunk driver is coming at you going the wrong way on the highway? (I've had this happen to me!)
I could go on all day. Are software engineers able to account for this? Pardon my language, but heck no! (I said that with vigor, mind you).
No, they will not be able to account for such things. How do I know?
Here's something I had happen to me yesterday.
An Incredible Siri Fail
So yesterday I'm driving down I-87, heading back to the campground I'm staying at for the season, Iroquois Campground in Peru, NY. Now I've used Siri on my iPhone to request navigation with Apple Maps back to this campground several times. At the time this happened I'm about 8 miles from the campground. Here's the conversation........
Brett: "Hey Siri"
Brett: "Navigate to Iroquois Campground"
Siri: "I can't find Iroquois Campground"
Brett: "What the....???"
Brett: "Hey Siri"
Brett: "Navigate to Iroquois Campground"
Siri: "I can't find Iroquois Campground"
Brett: "WTH??? (Pardon my abbreviated language, but I'm being real here)"
Brett: "Hey Siri"
Brett: "Navigate to Iroquois Campground in Peru, NY"
Siri: "Ok, navigating to Iroquois Campground in Peru, NY"
Then she was able to find the place and take me there.
I mean, you've gotta be kidding me???
Apple has $200 Billion in cash and well over 10,000 software engineers and they don't know to look for a place in the area that I've asked them to navigate me to?
I mean, I started with the word "Navigate" and I'm doing 65 mph down the Interstate so ya gotta figure I'm trying to go to a location, right? I'm either going to give you the name of the place, or an address. I obviously didn't give an address, and when she repeated it back she even spelled it properly........"I can't find Iroquois Campground"...............well where the hell were you looking?? Obviously not within an 8 mile range of here!
Duuuuuh........I guess she didn't think to look for a place in the area with that name. What a novel idea, huh? Duuuuuuh.
And this is just one tiny example of a software fail, but it's at the most basic level. What happens if we start counting on this technology on a large scale and we have a major failure?
So where are we when we assess our limitations and failures? Well Tesla had a recent failure with their "autopilot" system, (or auto-kill-you system), when a car smashed directly into the side of a tractor trailer, and the findings were startling:
Now get this from the article above:
"Tesla wrote in a blog post following the May accident that the Autopilot system did not notice "the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied."
The autopilot system didn't notice a tractor trailer?? "My God. But why??" you ask? Oh you'll love this. Because:
"Autopilot is not cross-traffic aware, meaning it should not be expected to recognize and react to vehicles crossing in front of a car", Thomas said.
Ok, I can't even think of a response to that without cussing. You're trying to tell me that you've been promising the world we're about to be taken over by self-driving vehicles but they can't even recognize a tractor trailer sitting completely perpendicular to my path?
When considering the use of technology on a large scale we must judge the technology based upon its limitations and failures, not upon its potential. It's as simple as that. And where do we stand right now with regard to self-driving technology?
We're Limited, And We're Failing.
So the next time you find yourself lying awake worrying about self-driving vehicles, just go back to sleep. We're not within a million miles of this happening yet. They're just clowning us.
Trucking Industry Concerns