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Posts Tagged ‘Transportation’

Jason’s Law Survey

 

On October 1st, 2009 U. S Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY 21) joined the Twitter Misfits on “Truck Star Radio” who Support H.R. 2156 & S 971 “Jason’s Law” for Safe Trucker Parking to clarify the misinformation being spread by the underdeveloped brain of my FANatic  @TerenceSmelser  . (You are finally getting a plug Terry that should get your little ding a ling stiff)

It was following the “Distracted Driving Summit” in Washington D.C. that Mr. Tonko assured our active group that indeed “The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease” and to continue to do what we have been doing to spread the word about “Jason’s Law”.  I joined @DanielAudet on “Truck Star Radio” to ask Congressman Tonko who was Onboard so far and what we needed to do to help get this bill more attention.

Some of the cheap shots from the FANatics have been to make light of the loss of Jason Rivenburg which prompted Hope Rivenburg, his young Widow to defend her Husband’s memory. It was a sickening display and watching our trucking industry leaders sit back while she did so was even more repulsive.

While some may not understand the relevance of our participation in the “Distracted Driving Summit”, those in Washington D.C. most certainly did.  Not only did my dog @TruckinDogKarma get a @replies from the Summit on #WoofWednesday, I received an encouraging “Direct Message” in my Twitter account which happened to be one of my most favorite quotes.

“Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History” ~ Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, followed by “Go Get Em”

So there you have it, our squeaking will continue to distract and we are not driving when we are doing it.

I 100% Support the @DontTwive Campaign because it seems like everyone is doing something other than paying attention to the road while they are behind the wheel these days. I’m not sure if anyone has noticed lately but if you look UP, our highways already have cameras every mile or so watching YOU, so #TweetSafe.

Back to “Jason’s Law”, the arrogant attempts to spread misinformation hit a peak last week with some unlikely participants showing they truly do not gather their own information but follow along like “Sheeple”, a term my friend @Longhawl likes to use.

In hopes of providing a credible source to make one’s own determination, @Longhawl took the time to include the text of H.R. 2156 “Jason’s Law” on the website he shares with @RockingJude called “Project World Awareness”.

Upon reading the text of the bill you can also follow the progress of H.R. 2156 & S 971 on Open Congress link provided at the lower left corner, or click here. Open Congress for Jason’s Law

In addition, he has provided us a quick 3 question SURVEY that cannot be spammed to test our knowledge on the funding of this pilot program that is called “Jason’s Law”.

Please share these links together or individually on your site, facebook, twitter anywhere you like. I have put all these brown links here for you to share the information. I do not put things here to take credit but to make it easy for others to find information.

As always, Allen & Donna Smith are putting their personal time and effort into an upcoming “Blog Talk Radio” show that will comb through the upcoming Transportation Bill to further dispel the ignorant claims being spread.

Please visit “Ask the Trucker” to learn about other archived shows regarding “Jason’s Law” that feature additional background information about Jason Rivenburg from his Uncle Timothy Hardendorf who did much of the research to bring this bill forward.

Hope Rivenburg has made a Twitter account for both @JasonsLaw and herself @HopeRivenburg , she is a spunky little fighter who I am proud to have met. She is blessed with a strong family support system and she will need them as the trial approaches for the scumbags who murdered her Husband.

Please educate YOURSELF on H.R. 2156 & S 971 and if you have questions please contact Congressman Paul Tonko’s Office for the FACTS.

You can also find out who has signed on to be a C0-Sponser of “Jason’s Law” by becoming a FAN on Facebook, Just by clicking here

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In the September Issue of ‘Trucker’s New’s” I chatted with Senior Editor, Todd Dill’s. You can check out the Digital Version HERE.

It’s pretty cool that you can read an entire magazine online by turning each page right on your computer screen!

Todd Dills and Lucinda Coulter from Overdrive Magazine have gone  above and beyond the call of duty to accurately cover the Mission of Hope Rivenburg who is the Widon of slain Trucker Jason Rivenburg.

On the “Channel 19 blogspot” , you can watch a You Tube Video I made with Todd when he caught up to me in Nashville.

Remember that Hope Rivenburg is pursuing “Jason’s Law” to benefit the entire trucking community despite the fact that her Husband is never coming home.

Let’s quit with the pissing match and help her out.

At this time, there is only 1 GOP signed onto this bill which is a Trust to benefit Safe Trucker Parking.

There are lots of other groups vying for these transportation funds so please GET INVOLVED, someone is getting this money and it may not be Truckers unless YOU help out.

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Getting involved is much easier if you know where to start. I just spent some time today contacting my Representative with this Easy Link

I simply put in my State and Zip Code and I got the contact information I need to get involved and ask my Represetative to Support “Jason’s Law” HR 2156 for more Safe Trucker Parking.

Can you take a few minutes and get involved too?

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                     CRST Sexual Harassment Case

I am disturbed but glad at the same time that some women are coming forward to speak about what is happening in the trucking industry to female students.

The  35 cases of sexual harrassment at CRST is just the tip of the iceberg but the tenacity to keep the story under wraps is precisely why I wrote my student trucker story on “Ask the Trucker” .

People outside the trucking community who have read my story “A Day in the Life of a Lady Trucker” have been shocked, while people inside the trucking community can ussually add 10-15 chapters of horror story material of their own. (more…)

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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?

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I have only been a Trucker for a little over a year or so before I become “De-Sensitized” to this New World I’m writing about what I see and hear. Like you, I had a lot of “Pre-Conceived” notions about Truckers. After all, the only time a Non-Trucker hears about Truckers is when they are pissed off OR, they crashed into something.
Hearing about Truckers before I became a Trucker meant nothing to me.
My first impressions were; “They sure complain a lot!” Pretty hard to feel sympathy or even pay attention when the only image you get is negative. As I began my training & began living the life of an “OTR – Over the Road” Trucker, I quickly saw how disrespected these American Workers are treated.
The hardships I encountered during my nightmarish training period which I write about on:
“Ask the Trucker – A Day I the Life of a Lady Trucker” are only a fraction of how poorly these individuals are regarded in this Country.

http://www.askthetrucker.com/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-lady-trucker/
Telling my story to Truckers is like “Preaching to the Choir”, the task at hand is to tell Non-Truckers to help effect a Change to the Trucking Industry. The reason there are Bad Truckers is because they are cultivated by the way the Industry Operates. As long as the bad image of the American Trucker can be instilled in our psyche, Lobby Groups and Government will make poor choices affecting Truckers.

Non-Truckers don’t relate to Truckers, but they are curious about Truckers at the same time.
When I arrived on Twitter, I was taken aback by how some unlikely people told me “It was their Secret Dream to be a Trucker” I was busily sending Tweets about my chief complaints about Industry failures and the Government Funds perpetuating it all the while I was receiving fan mail about the romantic life I was living from office dwellers that were yearning to tear off their pantyhose and join me for a road trip across our beautiful country! I was also being asked the same questions about Truckers.
What a stroke of luck for me! Avenues to spread my message by answering the number one complaint by Non-Truckers, or “4-Wheelers” as Truckers call them on the CB.
So instead of answering the same 3 questions in 140 characters or less every day I decided to share my answers here, in a place that is predominately Non-Truckers.
First, I have to say that Truckers dislike “4-Wheelers” because” 4-Wheelers” are oblivious to how close to death they are each day by lingering around Big Trucks
Now, this is sort of funny to me because at some point all Truckers will have to ride in a “4-Wheeler” so embracing this idea to dislike them does not serve any sort of real purpose.
Furthermore, that opinion does not represent a Professional Driver. There is a huge difference.
We ALL must share the same highway; neither of us is going anywhere, so how about getting to know each other better?
Tolerance, Education these things can help us have safer highways.
So, here is the number one question I have been asked by Non-Truckers about Truckers:
Why do Trucks pull out in front of me when I am about to pass them?
This is an Excellent Question because before I drove a Truck I used to get aggravated to no end about this!
Consider this:
Trucks are all different weights because the Freight they are carrying for example: Bottled Water, Paper Rolls being sent for Recycling, Rolls of Carpet is very heavy.
Trucks have Cruise Control; most people do not realize this.
Many Truck s are also “Governed”, that means they only go “up to” a certain speed, mine goes only up to 63 mph. This is especially true of Big Companies for Fuel Efficiency but it affects a driver’s pay also because we only get paid for the miles we drive, not for time working.
Governed Speeds are the reason you see groups of trucks on the highway seemingly riding each other’s tail. They are too closely governed and cannot pass each other. Sometimes, they are faced with a decision that they will have to lose their momentum by hitting the brakes because they are inching up on the Truck or Vehicle in front of them, even though they cannot go too much faster to pass them.
For instance, there are some large companies I know I can overtake, and some I need to lay back or it will take me a half an hour to pass them. By breaking my cruise control, my momentum I lose fuel efficiency and I also may struggle to regain my full speed, especially if I have a heavy load that will require downshifting to get the Truck pulling us forward again.
All this is occurring when I see a car coming up in my side view mirror, they are hesitating or they are not really going fast enough to pass me before my heavy load will begin pulling me back or pushing me forward into the bumper of another.
I have to use my best judgment of ‘Time & Distance” & that sometimes require me to make the executive decision to pull out in front of you. If I slam on my brakes, I may cause an accident that could involve many lives. The best advice I can offer you as the driver of a “4-Wheeler”, is be observant you’re “Time & Distance” before trying to pass a Big Truck who is being placed in sudden merge of oncoming traffic or getting too close to the vehicles in front of it which may force them to change lanes. Trucks have a difficult time seeing “4-Wheelers” so do not linger around them. Get by them if you need to but do it safely and quickly so you are not hindering them from moving out of the way of other traffic that you cannot see, but they can.
If they pull out in front of you it’s not to antagonize you, it’s because the weight is affecting the speed and safe distance in front of them. This can happen rather quickly if the road has any incline to it.
Be patient, we are trying to deliver you new Plasma Screen, Backyard Bar-B-Que, Children’s Play Set, Organic Food, Dog’s New Bed and much more.
I hope this helps.
I have two other common questions but that’s all for now.
Twonk! Twonk!

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