My BIG GREEN Idea
I currently live in Texas, when I am able to get home.
Mostly, I live in my truck delivering Americas Food & Clothing.
California is where I was born & raised.
I am of a Family of Migrant Field Workers who came to California before the Freeways.
I grew up at the beaches in Venice, Oxnard, Malibu, Arcata, Trinidad, and Carlsbad as a child of the Welfare System.
After a life of struggles as a Single Mother, I am now an “Over the Road” Trucker.
I fully understand where the miscommunication lies between Activists, Environmentalists & Truckers because I have lived on both sides of the argument and I have an Idea that can help.
I am New to Trucking and I quickly learned to not tell people I was from California because of the manner Truckers are looked upon in my home state.
Similar to the way I conceal I am Mexican as I travel across the U.S. as a Trucker in areas that Mexicans are also misunderstood.
The Geography of my home state isolates population centers from understanding that Industry requires dirty stinking trucks that work 24/7 to move high dollar freight from Long Beach, San Diego, San Pedro and Bay Area Ports. Agriculture from central California is equally sensitive to move outside the State of California.
Trucking is a detail oriented job that requires much more than driving skill. Good planning to move freight out of California in particular, makes this State this one of the least desirable places to haul freight from if you are a Trucker.
Mostly because California targets Truckers without regard to how difficult the job they do for Californians and California Industry.
California has some of the worst infrastructure I have seen since I became a Trucker. No Parking is available to accommodate sleepy drivers, especially in areas where freight must be shipped from.
Most people do not understand that truckers are bound by federal laws that require them to stop the truck after 14 hours; at that time the truck is forbidden to move for at least 10 hours so the driver can sleep. If the driver cannot sleep, the driver is a public safety hazard.
The transit time to move freight out of the state at the Truck speed of 55 mph thru the traffic centers of Southern California & geographic locations in Central California affect a driver’s ability to NOT violate Federal “Hours of Service”.
Currently, it is the driver left “holding the bag” if they violate these Federal “Hours of Service” or “HOS”.
Therefore, California places Truck Drivers at risk by NOT providing them adequate space to rest, forcing them to continue to drive out of the state in many cases to get to “Friendlier States” where they can sleep safely.
Sleeping safely includes Idling because currently no other system in California has other options for drivers to sleep properly & have temperature controls in their cabs.
A safe driver is well rested, not roasting or freezing which is the case now because Idling laws do not take into account that Truckers live in their Trucks & must congregate where shippers are located for proper planning to move sensitive California Freight out of the State.
Truckers are targets for Hijackers, especially in this economic downturn.
Much of the Freight from the Port is extremely High-Dollar that must not stop for at least 200 miles from the time the trailer is sealed at the shipper. Freight moves 24/7 so a driver must be on call to drive 24/7, this is why many trucking companies have Terminals in the Long Beach Port & other Port Areas.
Owner-Operators commonly referred to as O/O, do not have anywhere to go so they are forced to sit on city streets like sitting ducks for criminals and law enforcement officers citing them and disturbing their rest periods. Both Company Drivers & O/O must idle to rest & be ready at a moment’s notice.
Many times, arriving at the shipper, the load is not ready. Sometimes I have waited 14 hours, my entire Legal shift for a load at the shipper. I am only paid to drive, nothing else.
Legally, I cannot drive. I must be in the sleeper 10 hours to go back on duty, but with no temperature control? Even if I am in the sleeper in the shippers dock during those 14 hours I cannot have temperature control to sleep properly under California’s current policy.
When I am waiting at my company terminal in Long Beach, Pomona, French Camp waiting for a load, sometimes for days on end I have nowhere to go. I live in my truck to move freight.
Many O/O in this downturned economy do as well. California needs to implement in their Infrastructure plans a “Green” solution for Truckers that everyone can afford, not just targeted at “Mom & Pop” Truckers who have only their Truck in the whole World where they live & work to move California’s Freight out of the State.
Shippers, Receivers, Big Trucking Companies who have Terminals in California & the State of California need to combine forces to reduce emissions. The burden on O/O is too great, they are being singled out because they have just that “Old Truck” that is their life’s blood.
As a Student Trucker I appalled to see companies charging drivers to Idle in Freezing Winter Temperatures at a price higher than Diesel per gallon & the turning around and accepting the “Smart Way EPA Award”!
A true Smart Way would be to require innovation to combine existing technologies in Trucking & provide adequate space for Truckers to park & rest.
This includes at Shipper/Receiver facilities, Terminals & areas for O/O.
A unit is available that can be fitted to the cab of the truck and provide temperature control and power, it is called an APU. Unfortunately, some companies that manufacturer APU units to reduce idling are also struggling to survive in our downturned economy. Others than have been developed, such as a Solar/Wind/Electric Unit cannot get proper funding, even though it has proven to work better in tests than the current best selling APU on the market.
Some Truckers who have purchased expensive APU units to comply with emissions regulations now have an additional concern that they cannot get warranty or repairs done.
Another emissions reducing solution is Idleaire, which is in use at some Travel Plazas but is not a viable option for mass appeal because technology has advanced to the point that their product is quickly becoming obsolete.
Currently, Wal-Mart has a no idle policy on at their Distribution Centers. For Wal-Mart Tractors a unit is provided in the bobtail parking section that keeps the engine block from freezing in Winter Temperatures. This unit currently does not provide temperature control for the driver, only for the engine.
Some Tractors come equipped with bunk heaters, but many Big Trucking Companies buy only the Standard Model for their Fleets that do not have bunk heaters.
In California, Temperatures do not fall low enough to jeopardize the engine block, but they do get to cold & too hot for the driver to rest properly without temperature control.
RV’s can plug into electric power, Ships in port can receive shore power but nothing is available to Truck Drivers to accommodate their comfort for safe driving or proper parking facilities to move freight.
My Idea is a unit of similar size which is currently used by Wal-Mart to provide warmth to the engine block. It is less cumbersome than Idleaire. It would not pump in foreign air like Idleaire which is and added security risk because of Hijackers & Criminals who target Truckers and rob them.
This unit could run off electricity but could be developed into a solar unit, perhaps wind power as well.
When I watched the Long Beach “Green Port “Project & read about other “Green Truck” Projects, I saw a key component was missing when we consider that reducing emissions forgets to address the human being who lives inside the truck, perhaps his or her spouse and companion animal as well.
I read about the Conference entitled “Faster-Freight, Cleaner Air” which did not include Speakers who are Truckers who live this life, http://www.ffcacalifornia.com Only a large company that finances and manufactures trucks and it made me concerned.
In the Port of Long Beach Webcast about The Green Port Project I heard about Innovations for Ships but not for Trucks that move the freight and fight Southern California Traffic to do it.
This problem is easily solved with some truth and understanding. Californians need to understand Industry of this State is conducted away from the beach and the beautiful scenery.
The parking situation is worse in other states as well such as Virginia. When we jump on the “Green” bandwagon, let’s hold everyone accountable.
Companies should not be permitted to buy only the standard model of truck that do not provide for driver comfort and leave them “holding the bag”.
Some companies’ buy a few APU’s and say they are “testing them” then turn around to accept the Smart Way EPA Award while they are charging their own underpaid drivers to idle when they are freezing or burning up inside that truck trying to sleep, That is wrong.
The money saved by not having a banquet award ceremony for the “Smart Way EPA Award” photo op ceremony, the food and travel expenses for the attendees to slap each other on the back could actually by more APU’s or other true “GREEN” development projects & assistance to create a REAL solution.
My Green Idea is actually a unit I have seen used in a parking area in on the Ohio Turnpike. It is a unit that provides power at a designated parking spot for RV’s. In an alternate parking area there is a vast amount of trucker parking as well, with great facilities for comfort and safety, just one thing is missing. A unit compatible to keep commercial drivers comfortable while they rest.
Why do we put innovations to reduce idling for RV’s which are leisure travelers and not for commercial travelers who move this countries industry?
Hmm? I love to know…. I mean, I KNOW, but Dontcha think if everyone REALLY cared they should think a little more on this?