News, Interviews, and Happenings From The Trucking World
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
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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
Motorists soon may encounter a different kind of truck convoy
Last Updated: Mon, April 15, 2019
The "It's a convoy!" of lore and ballad is morphing into an entirely new concept for truck transportation on America's highways. But, it's doubtful that movies and songs will spring forth in honor of what motorists may soon be encountering along this country's interstates.
The new buzzword among truck industry innovators is something called platooning. Think of it as two or more big-rigs travelling with minimal gap between them as if chained together and, once fully autonomous vehicles hit the road, the only active driver is the one in the front vehicle – all this for an estimated 7 percent to 10 percent increase in fuel efficiency.
But, this being the 21st Century, the "chain" is actually a wireless digital tether, and the following trucks are actually autonomously directed for following distance, acceleration and braking by being given instructions from the lead vehicle.
Platooning made the news lately because one of its earliest innovators and most-active implementers has ended its participation in the concept.
In January of this year Daimler, the parent company for Freightliner trucks, announced it was ending experimentation and testing for its platooning program.
After several years and thousands of miles of testing on America's roads Daimler said that the fuel savings from platooning was less than expected, and was made even less when less-perfect conditions were experienced, such as something that causes the platoon to disconnect and makes trucks have to speed up to connect again.
Among the problems needing addressing before platooning becomes mainstream are:
- Having to rely on motorists to resist trying to swoop in and fill the very narrow gaps inherent in the platooning scheme.
- That the guy in the front truck, like the lead bird in a flock, takes the brunt of fuel hit. There wouldn't be much incentive for that lead truck in a mix of trucks from different trucking companies.
- Not all states have following-distance laws that allow a small enough gap to capture the fuel savings from platooning. Those that do, generally have restrictions on the following distance, none less than 40 feet, and they require digital tethering, and automatic braking.
CCJ reports that not everybody is as negative about platooning as Daimler is.
Josh Switkes, CEO of Peloton, told CCJ, “In our initial operations with very large customers, we have seen excellent fuel savings, high utilization and a perfect safety record,” he says. “Over the last five years, as we have developed platooning to commercial readiness, we have found that to get the benefits our customers seek, the system must combine the right functionalities around Vehicle-to-Vehicle communication, cloud supervision and coordination and the right driver experience.”
Switkes said Peloton has been working with state regulators to ease up on the gap restrictions in order to allow for platooning. So far there are 18 states that have amended their laws to allow platooning, and several more states are allowing limited use and testing.
The size of the gap is crucial because if there is too wide of a gap platooning loses its fuel-saving effectiveness; and encourages "cut-ins." But too narrow of a gap invites safety issues. Switkes said they typically run a 40-foot to 60-foot gap, and do see some cut-ins, but they are rare on most highways.
In order to minimize the gap and maximize fuel-efficiency and safety trucks are arranged in line according to their braking ability; which Switkes says means that the trucks cannot swap order.
Steve Boyd, vice president of external affairs and market development at Peloton, told Transport Topics recently that although the system automates braking and acceleration drivers are still on-board steering manually in all vehicles in the platoon.
To make that work, Boyd said that the heavier truck with the longer stopping distance is always in the lead.
Drivers work together to cooperate with issues such as vehicles in their blind spots.
“The benefit of platooning is here now, is very concrete, and a lot of fleets are excited about this immediate and profound impact to their operations,” Switkes told CCJ. “Many of our customers buy Freightliners as part of their fleet, so we know directly of many major Freightliner customers that are excited about platooning, and the fuel savings and safety improvement possible with it.”
But Jack Van Steenberg, chief safety officer of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, has the last word, saying he would like to see demonstrations in “uncontrolled environments. They need to show that we have safe vehicles out there.”
Trucking Industry Concerns