Profile For Brett Aquila

Brett Aquila's Info

  • Location:
    Keeseville, NY

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:
    Brett Aquila On The Web

  • Joined Us:
    14 years, 5 months ago

Brett Aquila's Bio

Hey Everyone! I'm the owner and founder of TruckingTruth and a 15 year trucking veteran.

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Posted:  1 day, 3 hours ago

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Autonomous trucks outpacing self-driving cars, will come to market sooner

Yeah, I more than doubt it.......I know it isn't happening anytime soon. How many years have they been saying we're almost there?

Here's an article I wrote over 4 years ago and every word rings true today, and will for years to come:

Self Driving Trucks Are Not Coming Anytime Soon

I went to a business seminar in January 2020 and one speaker said, "In 5 years there will be no truck drivers." Well, we're 1 1/2 years into it and we haven't lost a single driver to self-driving trucks. Do you know how many drivers we'll lose to self-driving trucks over the next 3 1/2 years of his 5-year prediction?

Zero.

It's a money-making scheme is all this is. University professors and tech startups are raking in billions and billions of dollars of investments on the promise of self-driving vehicles. But without the proper infrastructure to support self-driving vehicles, it simply won't happen at a level that would cause any sort of disruption.

Remember, they have promised us technology for decades that never came true. How about the Jetsons? Does anyone remember that? Flying cars, robot maids, a tiny pill that suddenly bursts into an entire meal. We have none of it. I still wash my dishes, mow my lawn, and take my garbage to the curb the same way we did 50 years ago.

Show me a true self-driving lawnmower that is sophisticated enough to mow my lawn flawlessly, every time, no matter how many new obstacles appear or move in between mowings, and then we can begin the discussion about self-driving cars. Don't forget, that lawnmower must safely identify and avoid my pets, any obstacles in the lawn, and my property line no matter how often they may change.

Good luck with that!

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Posted:  1 day, 4 hours ago

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Birthday Shout Out!!! IDMtnGal !!!!!!

dancing-dog.gif Happy Birthday IDMtnGal! Hope you have a great time, and here's to many more!

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Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Anyone nosy, read previous drivers outbox?

Do you feel he was right or wrong to expect that kind of special treatment?

I agree with Bobcat Bob, it doesn't hurt to ask. "Ask" is the key word. Asking and demanding are wildly different things. Many people make demands without understanding how realistic those demands are.

Trucking is a dynamic environment. It's all about opportunity. Freight is constantly changing along with the weather, the cycles of holidays, the strength or weakness in the economy, and a million other factors.

Trucking companies must stay on their toes to keep up with fluctuations in freight. They must adapt quickly and go with the flow. If their drivers have restrictive demands regarding where and when they'll run, the type of freight they'll haul, how often they must be home, and things of that nature it prevents the company from taking advantage of the opportunities.

The other problem is the demands you're placing on the other drivers at your company. We'd all love a lifetime of gravy runs. Who wouldn't want to be in glorious weather, light traffic, and running full-out on flat ground so you can make that big money the easy way? Unfortunately, there is only so much of that to go around.

So if you give some drivers nothing but gravy runs, the rest of the drivers have to mop up the less desirable runs. That's obviously not fair to the others.

A new driver can benefit from a conversation or two with their dispatcher, a load planner, or an operations manager. They can help you understand where the company's freight lanes are, how much the freight fluctuates, and how they try to keep all the drivers as happy as possible. It's a tall order!

Top-tier drivers make big money because they understand how the trucking industry works and how their company works internally. They understand that there are fluctuations in freight. They know their company has some turnover with their customers. They know there are a ton of drivers making demands or coming up short in their performance (or both!).

They reward drivers who will run the less desirable freight and do favors for dispatch from time to time. You must develop a strong relationship with your dispatcher, get to know how your company operates internally, and make all of your appointments on time. If you're flexible and willing to do some of the dirty work, dispatch will make sure you turn great miles and they'll treat you well.

Trucking really is a team effort. Everyone must be willing to compromise and be flexible. Do whatever it takes to turn as many miles as possible safely and make all of your appointments on time.

Some drivers make demands, others make things happen. Which one do you think goes home at the end of the week with the bigger paycheck? If you were running the company, who would you reward?

Posted:  2 months ago

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How Do I Update My Email Address?

Send your new email address to me at brett@truckingtruth.com and I'll update it. I don't have an automated way to change it.

Posted:  2 months ago

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WTH Is Going on

How long is this shortage going to last? Every time I turn around there's a new shortage of some everyday product that drives up prices and causes hysteria. When will it end?

I believe we're in for the mother of all economic collapses. The government has been artificially holding up the markets and the economy for the past 15 months. They have pumped trillions and trillions of dollars into both, and they're passing laws like the ones that prevent evictions so it doesn't appear as if things are as bad as they are.

Unfortunately, it's all a house of cards. 2008 will look like good times compared to what's coming. The great depression might look like good times compared to what's coming.

Prepare yourselves. Watch the stock market for the first signs of collapse. Once the market goes, everything follows, like 1929 and 2008.

I wish the news was better, but it isn't. I've said all along that you can not shut down the economy and then just flip it back on like a light switch. People are all excited that we're getting back to normal and business is booming. Prices are up, real estate demand is high, used cars are selling for a fortune, work is backed up for months, etc.

We're booming?

Think about it. How could that possibly happen after shutting down so much of Western society for over a year?

Crash.

Posted:  2 months ago

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How many of you quit trucking?

How long have you been behind the wheel? any regret in having your CDL , was it a joke?

So much for objectivity, right?

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To be clear, trucking is not for everyone. In fact, it's not for most people. It's a challenging job and lifestyle which requires large doses of mental fortitude, independence, creative thinking, people skills, and time management. It also includes taking on some genuine risk.

That being said, it can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling occupations in the United States. The pay is some of the best you'll find in any blue-collar profession. The adventure is unmatched. The good deed you're doing for our society is critical; truckers are literally the lifeblood of our society. We circulate needed goods.

I can say with full confidence that trucking is no joke. Getting your CDL could be the key to an amazing future or a stepping stone to even greater things. It's a very challenging and rewarding profession, but many people never find their way successfully in this industry. No one can guarantee success, but I do not know of a better example outside of the sports world where you will succeed or fail based on your own merits.

If you'll work hard, get along well with the people you work with, listen well, and do everything in your power to be safe and reliable, you'll almost certainly earn a great wage and be treated very well. If you look for opportunities to enjoy yourself out there you will find an endless array of adventures at your fingertips.

Posted:  2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Three top carriers sign up for 6,775 TuSimple self-driving trucks

I said 20 years, however, reading your statement and re-thinking the developments, I think we are way off from a fully self-driving environment, and nowhere near it.

If they were to build a specialized, self-driving infrastructure, I would sit up in my seat and take notice. Trying to build an autonomous vehicle for today's roadways makes no sense. It's a great science project! It's a horrendous way of trying to improve safety and efficiency on the highways.

We have yet to see how liability cases will be settled when "self-driving" technologies are involved.

They would almost have to eliminate any liability for the people building or operating these things. Otherwise, who would take that risk? It's inevitable that crashes will happen. If you don't know what the economic impact will be you simply won't take the chance.

I'm shocked that I never hear serious proposals for self-driving infrastructure. Even one lane of Interstate dedicated to self-driving vehicles could have a massive impact on the uptake of this technology.

The research funding they generate for self-driving vehicles produces a much larger and more immediate economic windfall for the players in this game than the cars or trucks themselves ever could. If they actually invented fully functioning autonomous vehicles, their research funding would dry up and there goes the free ride.

Instead, they keep promising they're on the cusp of greatness and your next investment in their company or university might be the one that pushes them into the realm of immortality and makes you incredibly rich! That sales pitch has worked for decades, so just keep milking it! There is no shortage of people with far more money than knowledge. They'll place their bets on anything if they think it could mean big payoffs.

Posted:  2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Anyone have an alcohol evaporator in their air brake system?

It's good to update the High Road, but without looking at official tests it's hard to know what you can drop.

Last week one of my students took the Tennessee permit test. Afterwards she asked me what an alcohol evaporator was (on the Air Brake Test). So the old stuff doesn't seem ready to go away.

Yeah, I'm definitely keeping everything there. I won't drop anything. Sometimes the challenge is figuring out which information to ask about when I'm building the multiple-choice questions. You don't want to waste anyone's time drilling information into their head they won't use, but it's worse to skip over things they'll need, even if it's just for the test.

Posted:  2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Three top carriers sign up for 6,775 TuSimple self-driving trucks

I love how hard they're selling this concept. Not a day goes by without multiple technology failures involving the most basic of things; my headphones won't connect, my Bluetooth won't connect, calls get dropped inexplicably, software crashes, etc.

Yesterday alone I had all of those things happen to me, and I'm a tech guy using the latest and greatest of everything, almost all of which is software and hardware made by Apple. So if Apple can't get their hardware to connect reliably to other devices using their own software, nor can they keep their software running reliably without crashing, how in the world do they propose self-driving trucks will work without glitches?

With the recent pipeline attack, imagine how much fun a cyber attack would be for the bad guys on self-driving trucks!

I don't think it's lost on anyone here what would happen if the computer system lost control of the truck for even a few seconds.

For years I've stood my ground and said we're nowhere near self-driving trucks having a real impact on the industry. Many years have gone by and I see no evidence that we're even an inch closer.

Posted:  2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Anyone have an alcohol evaporator in their air brake system?

Yeah, I think the combination of an air dryer and a heater to prevent the air dryer from icing up is all that's needed. The alcohol may have been used before they started putting heaters on there.

Posted:  2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Anyone have an alcohol evaporator in their air brake system?

I'm going through the CDL manual as I build a new version of the High Road CDL Training Program and I came across this statement:

Some air brake systems have an alcohol evaporator to put alcohol into the air system. This helps to reduce the risk of ice in air brake valves and other parts during cold weather. Ice inside the system can make the brakes stop working.

Check the alcohol container and fill it up as necessary every day during cold weather. Daily air tank drainage is still needed to eliminate water and oil (unless the system has automatic drain valves).

I have never driven a truck with an alcohol evaporator in it that needed to be filled. Has anyone here had this type of system?

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Working load limit for flatbed

I'm putting together a new version of the High Road and I think there's a typo in the manual.

The old manual said:

The combined strength of all cargo tiedowns must be strong enough to lift one and one-half times the weight of the piece of cargo tied down.

The newer version states:

Federal regulations require the aggregate working load limit of any securement system used to secure an article or group of articles against movement must be at least one-half times the weight of the article or group of articles.

It says "one-half times the weight."

Shouldn't that read, "One and one-half times the weight" ??

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Good bye Pepsi

Banks, I respect you for standing up to them and their tyranny. Seriously, anyone who believes the mask and distancing thing at this point is as simple as a twig, has been asleep at the wheel for the past 15 months, and lacks any critical thinking skills.

Florida, Texas, South Dakota, Sweden, Taiwan, South Korea, etc......no mandates for masks or distancing, and no problems. Life goes on normally.

Wake up, people!

The more we refuse this tyranny, the faster it will go away. Companies will discover that it's nearly impossible to find enough good employees or customers if they enforce this type of nonsense.

Good for you, Banks! I support the move. I'm sorry you have to look for work now, but hopefully, that won't be a problem for you.

All the best!

Posted:  2 months, 4 weeks ago

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Lost consciousnesses went to hospital and cdl revoked after 3 days on 1st job

Big Scott, The only thing I can think of is that I had Pfizer V 3 days prior.

You received an experimental vaccine that throughout the world has caused many allergic reactions and even death. Three days later you had what appears to be a one-time incident. It's safe to say there's an excellent chance the vaccine was the cause.

Of course, if you listen to mainstream media, everything that happens after you're vaccinated is a coincidence. I am no fan of mainstream media.

Personally, I would do all I could to get that medical card back. Keep pursuing this. If the doctors can't find anything wrong with you, I'm confident you'll find one to sign off that you're cleared to drive. If you have no further symptoms during this process, and doctors can't find anything wrong with you, they should clear you.

I wouldn't just give up, I can tell you that. I'd look into it thoroughly.

Posted:  3 months ago

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The Effect Of Vehicle Weight On Stopping Distance

Fortunately I've never had to test this theory while empty or loaded, so it's only gut feeling and opinion on my part.

It's interesting that after years of driving, none of us can really say with 100% certainty that we've experienced this for ourselves. We all understand the variables that factor into stopping distance, but how that equates to the minimum stopping distance in the real world is hard to say.

I will say this.........I do not expect that the rule will apply under all circumstances. I suspect there are some circumstances that a fully loaded truck will stop faster and others where the empty truck will stop faster. Slick roads vs dry, uphill vs downhill, a road surface temperature of 120 degrees versus -10 degrees, etc.

Who knows? Someone must.

Keep in mind, also, that rarely do they build anything to perform its best at the maximum recommended usage. If the GVWR is 80,000 pounds, did they really build the entire suspension and braking system to perform at its peak at 80,000 lbs? It's possible, but I do not know.

Interesting conversation. I enjoy these.

Posted:  3 months ago

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The Effect Of Vehicle Weight On Stopping Distance

Driving a tractor without the trailer attached (Bobtail) is very tricky and indeed does require extra care when driving. They bounce around like a hard rubber ball...

So the statement in the manual is highly accurate.

That's true. They also put a limiting valve in tractors to limit the braking force on the drums when you're not attached to a trailer. This is to help prevent the drive tires from locking up. Unfortunately, that also means it takes a lot more pressure on the brake pedal than it normally does to stop. So you ease on the brake and the tractor barely slows down. You press harder and harder until finally the tractor slows down.

When I was bobtailing, I would always remind myself that I would need more pressure on the pedal.

Posted:  3 months ago

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The Effect Of Vehicle Weight On Stopping Distance

You asked for member opinions & thoughts, but if they disagree with yours that's a problem?

Drops mic.

I have no problem with anyone disagreeing, but it sounds like you do Errol. I'm just having a normal conversation. I don't know what you're getting upset about.

Websites copy/paste stuff from each other all the time. All they're doing is creating an echo chamber where everyone repeats what everyone else is saying. Just because many people say something doesn't make it true.

Well, I've yet to hear any evidence, only theories, that a loaded truck stops faster than a lighter truck, as if the energy of the extra 46,000 pounds wasn't in the equation.

Where's Kearsey? She's in good with the higher-ups at her company. Maybe she can talk them into doing a little test somewhere, see which stops faster. I'd put my money on the empty truck on dry roads.

Posted:  3 months ago

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The Effect Of Vehicle Weight On Stopping Distance

I'm afraid the "money quote" from that article was copy/pasted from the CDL manual. I just read that passage recently, so I recognized it.

From the article:

This would lead one to think that loaded trucks take longer to stop than empty ones, but I'm afraid that's not right. The breaks, springs, shock absorbers, and tires on heavy load trucks are specifically designed to work better when the vehicle is loaded.

From the CDL Manual:

The heavier the vehicle, the more work the brakes must do to stop it and the more heat they absorb. The brakes, tires, springs and shock absorbers on heavy vehicles are designed to work best when the vehicle is fully loaded. Empty trucks require greater stopping distances because an empty vehicle has less traction.

So you can see they took that passage from the CDL manual and tried to massage it to appear "original enough."

Oh well.

Posted:  3 months ago

View Topic:

The Effect Of Vehicle Weight On Stopping Distance

Errol, from the article you quoted:

As a general rule of thumb, the faster the truck is going, and the heavier it is, the longer it takes for it to come to a complete stop.

I've yet to hear anyone mention the momentum generated by the heavier truck as a factor in stopping distance. You keep talking about traction as if that's the primary factor in getting stopped. When you have 46,000 fewer pounds to stop it makes a huge difference.

I'm not yet convinced that empty trucks take longer to stop than loaded trucks on dry pavement, especially with antilock brakes.

Yes, a heavier truck has more grip on the tires, but there is only so much braking force to stop the momentum of that extra 46,000 pounds the loaded truck has.

It just sounds odd to say, "I can't get this vehicle to stop as quickly because it's so light." That doesn't seem to be how physics works. Ask a race car driver, "If you take more weight out of the car but keep the same brakes and tires, does it stop faster? Or does it take longer to stop when it's lighter?"

The race car driver will wonder why you're asking such an obvious question. "Of course it's going to stop faster if it's lighter. "

Posted:  3 months ago

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The Effect Of Vehicle Weight On Stopping Distance

I'm putting together a new version of our High Road Training Program and I came across a statement in the CDL manual that I've always questioned. Here is the exact quote from the CDL manual:

The Effect of Vehicle Weight on Stopping Distance. The heavier the vehicle, the more work the brakes must do to stop it and the more heat they absorb. The brakes, tires, springs and shock absorbers on heavy vehicles are designed to work best when the vehicle is fully loaded. Empty trucks require greater stopping distances because an empty vehicle has less traction.

The extra weight on snow-covered or icy roads can certainly help you maintain a grip on the road surface, potentially allowing a heavier truck to stop faster than a lighter truck.

But what about on dry roads?

I don't know about you guys, but a heavily loaded truck on dry roads did not stop faster than an empty truck. No way.

I've always thought they should revise that statement to specify the difference between dry and slick roads.

What do you guys think?

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TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

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