News, Interviews, and Happenings From The Trucking World
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
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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
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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
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Self Driving Trucks Are Not Coming Anytime Soon
Accident scammers target trucks for financial payout
Last Updated: Sun, March 10, 2019
A spate of fake accident claims against commercial vehicles in the New Orleans area highlights a growing problem for trucking companies.
Robert Runnels, a driver for Mississippi-based Whitestone Transportation, learned the hard way what it is like being targeted by a "cash for crash" scam. He told how he was flagged down by a motorist on Interstate 10 a little over a year ago and informed that his 18-wheeler had sideswiped another vehicle.
There was no damage to his truck, however, and there were no impact alerts recorded on his on-board data system.
That lack of evidence has not stopped the "victims" from suing, and Whitestone is set for trial this month facing what they believe is an obviously fake accident scheme that is out to reap a hefty reward from the commercial carrier. The complainants, there were several in the vehicle, are seeking $1 million in damages from the carrier for medical expenses, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, physical pain and suffering and inconvenience.
During preparations for the trail Whitestone's attorneys have discovered evidence of more than 30 other "accidents" in the New Orleans area with similar MOs to their own incident.
“These similar questionable facts included alleged accidents on Interstate 10 and/or 610 in the New Orleans area where an unknown third vehicle waves down an 18-wheeler driver that is unaware that he or she was allegedly involved in an accident,” Whitestone attorneys said in a counterclaim.
According to the Transport Topics news article, the New Orleans area has been experiencing a large number of similar cases that involve multiple people in a vehicle that sideswipes a commercial truck, but where there is little damage to their vehicle, and little or no damage to the commercial vehicle.
Furthermore, the commercial vehicle driver usually is unaware of having hit another vehicle.
The problem is that these scammers know that trucking companies are easy pickings for their scam.
Chance McNeely, executive director of the Louisiana Motor Transport Association, says why he believes trucking companies are victims of such staged accidents. “In our state, trucks are guilty until proven innocent,” he said.
“It’s always the same thing: Four people in a sedan, and there’s always a random witness who gives a loose statement to the cops and has a random appointment and has to get away," McNeely said. "And all too often they use the same attorneys and the same doctors."
McNeely said these kinds of scams drive up insurance rates; which he said in Louisiana are three to five times higher than the national average.
A short history of staged accidents
A blog at Automotive Fleet magazine gives some insight into this staged accident scenario.
Apparently this phenomenon got legs in the United States in the 1990 by scammers who would hire immigrants for as little as $100 to cause a crash with a commercial vehicle. Authorities became aware of the scam when one driver, Jose Luis Lopez Perez, died in his effort to effect the scam and it was discovered that he was part of a widespread fraud ring.
These "cash for crash" schemes are becoming a world-wide problem, with countries like the United Kingdom, Russia, Australia and Singapore reporting escalating incidences.
In the United States, the states most prone to commercial vehicles being targeted by these scams are what are called no-fault states, where laws require insurance companies to reimburse policyholders for medical expenses no matter who is at fault.
The states with the highest number of these incidences are Florida, New York, California, Texas and Illinois, with the top five cities being New York City, Tampa, Miami, Orlando, and Houston.
What are the typical staged accidents
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, there are some typical scenarios that will get a commercial driver ensnared in a fake accident scam. The more-sophisticated scammers have "witnesses" to these fake accidents who add their stories to the police reports implicating the innocent truck drivers.
- The Drive Down -- On entering traffic the truck driver is motioned by a "helpful" scammer motorist that it is safe to do so. But, as the driver begins to merge, the scammer speeds up and crashes into the truck. Naturally, the scammer denies making the helpful gesture.
- The Left Turn – A truck driver wants to make a left turn off the road into a destination and receives a gesture from a "helpful" motorist to go ahead and complete his turn. The scammer then speeds up and crashes into the truck, knowing that in virtually every case the truck driver will be "at fault" for failure to yield to oncoming traffic.
- The Panic Stop – A vehicle driving in front of a truck has a passenger watch for the truck driver to avert his gaze for a second who then alerts the scam driver to make a panic stop. When the truck rear-ends the vehicle it is a guaranteed win for the scammer because virtually everywhere it is considered the truck driver's fault for following too close.
- The Panic Stop With Friend – Same as the panic stop, but even more aggressive. This is where the scammer has an accomplice or two who drive alongside the victim trucker, thus preventing him or her from being able to change lanes to avoid the collision with the panic stopper.
- The Side Swipe – This one usually occurs at double left-turn lanes where the scammer side swipes the truck claiming the truck driver had driven outside his lane.
How to Avoid Becoming a Victim
The NICB offers these tips to avoid becoming a victim of these types of fake accident scams:
- Avoid tailgating.
- Immediately call the police to an accident scene.
- Use the camera function on your cell phone or carry a disposable camera to document damage and the number of occupants in other vehicles.
- Avoid “runners” and “cappers” – people who suddenly appear at an accident scene to try to direct you to particular doctors and attorneys, as they are typically part of the criminal scheme.
- Be wary of physicians who insist you file a personal injury claim after an accident, especially if you are not hurt.
- Steer clear of tow trucks that appear when you have not called for service, as they are often “cappers” for body shops.
Sources: Transport Topics, Automotive Fleet, NICB
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