Posts Tagged ‘Trucking’
MEDIA CONTACT: Kristine M. Gobbo
REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. to Host
Inaugural Lady Truck Driver Conference Cruise
LAKE WORTH, Fla. (August 16, 2016) – REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. (RWIT) is hosting a conference aboard the Carnival Conquest to unite and honor women in the truck driving industry. The “Queen of the Road on the High Seas” conference, taking place Sunday, March 26 to Saturday, April 1, 2017, will include education sessions on a broad range of topics, including personal safety, discrimination, sexual harassment, and driver health. The agenda also includes a driver advocacy forum, a lady truck driver roundtable and an awards ceremony recognizing women who have overcome obstacles in the truck driving industry. The six-night cruise will depart from Ft. Lauderdale for the Eastern Caribbean with stops at Grand Turk, Dominican Republic and Nassau.
The conference will provide tools for truck drivers while advancing a voice for RWIT and its members. The sessions will include information on improving technical skills for drivers, promoting advocacy through social media, transitioning company drivers to owner-operator, and much more. A forum of truck driver advocates will also discuss issues that affect the industry. Notable speakers include Allen Smith, host of ‘Ask the Trucker;’ Anne Balay, published author of Steel Closets: Voices of Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Steelworkers, a former truck driver, and writer of a recent op-ed published in The New York Times “Long-Haul Sweatshops;” and Christine Gray, Becca Kennedy and Shannon Morris, truck drivers, and advocates for the safety and success of women truck drivers.
All interested drivers, professionals within the truck driving industry, and others who encourage and support women truck drivers are invited. Families or significant others are also welcome. The conference schedule has been planned to allow plenty of leisure time to enjoy cruise activities. For those interested in supporting this important event, sponsorship opportunities are available at five levels with details provided at RWIT Lady Truck Driver Conference.
Nominations for outstanding female truck drivers, the “Queen of the Road” awards, are welcome. Awards will be presented to three outstanding women who have demonstrated dedication and tenacity in their efforts to become professional commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operators. Nominees must either be past or present CMV drivers that fit the R.E.A.L. criteria, which stands for Reaching Out, Encouraging Others, Achieving Personal Success and Leadership. Nominations will be accepted beginning Thursday, September 1 with a deadline of Monday, November 7, 2016.
“This conference is important to our efforts of ‘breaking the silence’ about the treatment of women in the trucking industry.” said Desiree Wood, one of RWIT’s founders. “At the conference, we hope to provide the tools women need to be more successful in their chosen field. Along with information sessions, participants will have the opportunity to network with fellow drivers. Learning from one another and unifying on important issues is one of our primary goals.”
RWIT was initially formed in 2010 as a 501(c)(6) membership organization by female truckers to protest poor conditions that were not being effectively addressed by the trucking industry. “Queen of the Road on the High Seas” is the organization’s first fundraising event. Proceeds will help establish a 501(c)(3) foundation which will provide a headquarters and facilities with modest truck parking availability for members, scheduled learning conferences and advanced training for entry-level driver training students to develop their skills.
– RWIT –
About REAL Women in Trucking, Inc.:
REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. promotes safety by educating the public about unsafe truck driver training and has created a network of support for women entering trucking. The mission of REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. is to deliver highway safety through leadership, mentorship, education and advocacy.
Posted in CDL Training, Entry-Level Driver Training, Trucking, tagged CDL Training, CRST Van Expedited, Entry-Level Driver Training, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, FMCSA, safety, Trucking on January 18, 2016| 4 Comments »
What do you think? Would it be okay with you if people just learning to drive, that held only a learners permit and who had little to zero highway experience, could legally operate an 80,000 lb. vehicle for work in a 24/7 operation while their “on-the-job” instructor slept and was not sitting in the front passenger seat to observe and teach them?
That is a pretty scary thought, isn’t it?
Unknowingly to many, this is exactly what is happening within the trucking industry TODAY.
Does it sound safe to you? Whether the learners permit holder is a teenager, a newly licensed adult or a commercial learner permit (CLP) holder, a written test is all that an individual is required to pass in order to receive any kind of learner’s permit. It is only a permit to learn the driving portion requirements for the designated license with an instructor; it does not signify the ability or aptitude to drive. While a finals skills test is the ticket for a CLP holder to become a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder, it does not mean that the individual actually knows how to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) moving real paying freight loads on the open highway.
Background on CDL training for CMV drivers:
For over 20 years, many within the trucking industry have been seriously concerned about the entry level training standards for CMV drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is the regulating body over the trucking industry has also recognized that there is a lack proper training standards.
In 2014 the FMCSA announced that there was need to establish truck driver training standards since few requirements were in existence. They established the Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee (ELDTAC) to conduct a negotiated rulemaking on entry-level training for drivers of commercial motor vehicles.
– See more at: “About the Entry-Level Driver Training Committee”
The ELDTAC committee is still working on a rule to IMPROVE training standards. Ironically, CRST Van Expedited of Cedar Rapids, Iowa has requested an exemption from the FMCSA in regards to the very same existing training procedures which are in question by the FMCSA that are making our national highways less safe rather the improving safety. While it may seem obvious that the FMCSA would soundly reject such a request, the truth is that they have granted another carrier in the same class as CRST this type of exemption despite broad public opposition. The exemption request letter submitted by CRST Van Expedited of Cedar Rapids, Iowa to the FMCSA asks to grant permission so that CRST commercial learner permit CLP holders may operate a tractor-trailer while another CDL Holder is in the truck but not in the passenger seat. In the letter that CRST Van Expedited wrote to the FMCSA, they stated that the CLP holder will have completed a skills test which would entitle the student to return to their home state to receive their actual hard copy commercial driver’s license CDL but they claim that it is a financial hardship for them to do this, and that they are losing “control” of the student. Therefore, CRST is requesting a safety exemption. CRST goes on to request that the FMCSA allow them to let the CLP holder be able to drive on the learner permit for the duration that it is valid, which can be several months.
Please understand something: CRST Van Expedited operates a “team driving” business model. This means that they have established customers who want their freight moved 24/7 without stopping for sleep breaks. That means that the entire operation is based on freight moving fast. Student truckers work from day one at CRST to make a profit for CRST. These students often choose CRST because they cannot afford to pay for truck driving school on their own and they want to learn to drive a truck. They agree to repay their tuition in exchange to learn on the job. The debt they incur to CRST is about $6500.00 which is comprised of food, lodging and instruction to become a qualified truck driver.
The internet is littered with complaints about CRST Van Expedited training practices, they are easy to find, just Google “CRST Complaints” and start reading.
This morning I spoke to a female trucker who is still in her 1st year of trucking. She has finally been able to get out of the clutches of CRST Van Expedited. I told her about the exemption request and she said none of it made sense to her because she came to them with her hard copy CDL in hand which meant she had only driven around the block a few times at her CDL School in Florida. She said the testers at the state facility included a former CRST employee who was really easy to pass students. She said there were people being sent on public transportation (Greyhound) back and forth before they were even hired for things like not having a background clearance by the company before arriving at their facility, so why is CRST claiming a “financial hardship” to send their graduate CLP student’s home on public transportation in the exemption letter to the FMCSA?
Here are a few other things I learned from this student:
There is no pay during CDL training while they are a CLP holder. The student is charged for lodging and food in addition to the tuition. The students are told the tuition repayment will be $40 a check but in reality it is $80.00 a week since they are paid twice a week. The first few weeks the students have no check at all so they are pretty broke and their personal bills are going unpaid. In her case it was about 5 weeks before she got her first check.
So how much is the pay? She said it was about .24 CPM range but that amount was split so she got about .12 cents per mile. If you are not a trucker you may not understand the way many truck drivers are paid which is only when the wheels are turning and mostly not every single mile at that! Here is an example: her first week she did about 2400 miles with her trainer so let’s do some simple math: 2400 miles x .13 CPM = $312.00 gross pay. Let’s say her taxes were about $18.15 and take out her $80.00 tuition payment: $312.00 – $18.15 – $80.00 = $213.85 net pay after going 5 weeks of no pay and letting her bills get behind.
She said that her and her trainer did a lot of sitting since her trainer was pretty unmotivated, an owner operator that got paid by the load. Still, she had been away from home all of this time so technically she was at work 24/7. If they had been running team miles she could log legally 70 hours and so could her trainer.
When I asked her how much time her trainer sat in the passenger seat supervising her, she said none. She said that when she got on her trainer’s truck she drove from day one at night until after midnight unsupervised which was technically against company policy. Is this an isolated incident? Not according to the vast driver complaints available on the internet from past CRST students.
This particular student ended up quitting CRST after a number of unsafe situations occurred. The problem though was that she wanted to keep driving someplace else and no one would hire her because she left CRST before her debt to them was repaid. Remember, they bill each student like her $6500.00 for their “training”, food and lodging.
For months she tried to get hired at other carriers but when the prospective employers heard the letters “CRST” they said they could not hire her. She had been blacklisted.
It took threatening litigation for some of the things that were done to her to get CRST to release her from her contract to them. She wants to drive and work, not sue the carrier, nor does she want to be blacklisted by the trucking industry.
When I applied what I learned from her to the letter CRST wrote to the FMCSA for an exemption to safety I saw that CRST wants to control more students who quit on them before they have repaid their debt rather than address their poor training and they want the federal government to help them do that.
The “Skills Test” that CRST claims makes the CLP holder qualified to drive on is only a test after just a few weeks of driving the truck at a fenced in yard and going around the block a few times. It is not open road 18 wheeler driving experience with passenger cars whipping and weaving around you and cutting you off.
Of course CRST is entitled to get their tuition investment back from the students they are sponsoring but if those students are not really getting the instruction they thought they were paying for and they are scared to death by the situations they are being placed in they probably do not feel they should have to pay for an education they did not get.
Let’s all understand that a written test is all that is required to issue a commercial learner permit CLP. The FMCSA itself confirms that a few weeks of instruction does not constitute qualified truck driving for the open highway.
Student/Trainees overwhelmingly report that they are pushed to drive “team” right after passing a their “skills test” but some say that there was methodical coaching given to them during the test and that they really didn’t understand what they were doing to the extent that they could operate the truck alone.
The exemption request letter from CRST to the FMCSA asks to legally sanction CLP holders who have passed such a “Skills Test” and who have no open road driving experience to operate the truck with another Commercial Driver’s License CDL holder that is not required to be in the passenger seat. The exemption request letter does not specify if the CDL holder would be a trainer. Since CRST is known to allow two students to do team-driving I think this is important to clarify.
CRST claims in the letter to be seeking the exemption to safety due to financial hardship for transporting CLP holder’s home on a Greyhound bus to get their hard copy CDL. They go on to claim that the exemption will be a “…equivalent level of safety that is greater or equal to the level of safety provided under the current regulations…” though they offer no data, studies, safety statistics or financial documentation to support such remarks.
One part of the letter mentions a “…severe shortage of qualified and well-trained drivers…”, though the CRST business model is not reliant on qualified and well-trained drivers to move their freight. Instead, they rely on new entrants who are a low wage, exploitable workforce with very little truck driving skill that are indebted to them in exchange for an education to become qualified drivers. They are also not producing a significant number of well-trained qualified drivers from their program.
Another concern I see in the exemption request is that CRST asks the FMCSA to allow the CLP holders to drive in a team driving situation with another “CDL holder” for potentially as long as the CLP is valid which can be several months.
This could create an obstacle for the student later if they decide to quit. These are students who have been away from home already for several weeks with no pay. They are entitled to some home time. The argument CRST presents in the exemption letter about delays at state DMV facilities for students to get appointments makes no sense to whether the “CDL Holder” should be in the passenger seat supervising or in the sleeper not supervising them. This has no impact on how fast someone can get an appointment at a State DMV.
What this exemption can do is help CRST control student truckers who have a tuition debt to them. It can prevent students who are being trained in an unsafe manner from quitting and going to work someplace who will train them the right way to be a qualified driver. It can make them more un-hirable elsewhere since they really do not have their CDL yet. It encourages student truckers to be unsafe because they have no other choice and it increases CRST Van Expedited profits.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is supposed to be overhauling the entry-level driver training system to improve safety standards, therefore they must not grant such exemptions that degrade and compromise safety for certain carriers like CR England who they have already granted this exemption despite broad opposition and CRST Van Expedited who both operate a “Team Driving” business model using student trucker labor.
If you believe the FMCSA should NOT grant this exemption to CRST Van Expedited, please sign this petition on “We the People” and do not forget to validate your signature by checking your email after you sign and clicking the correct link that will validate your email address. If you did not get a validation email please check your spam folder for it.
Thanks for Reading.
You can read the actual letter CRST Van Expedited wrote to the FMCSA to request this exemption with this link:
Posted in Interviews and Such, Truck Parking, Trucking, tagged Alex Wagner, American Trucking Association, Anne Ferro, Fatigued Truck Drivers, FMCSA, Hours of Service, Jason's Law, Kevin Roper, MSNBC, safety, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), Tracy Morgan, Truck Drivers, Truck Parking, Trucking, Walmart on June 15, 2014| 14 Comments »
Over the past year in addition to finishing college and forming the REAL Women in Trucking organization, I have been completing the Jason’s Law Truck Parking Survey Presentation with PDF’s at the bottom of the page that have more information on the open comment questions.
I was working on question 35 regarding “…shippers and receivers who are the most difficult…” at the time of the tragic Walmart truck crash that killed Comedian James McNair and critically injured Actor/Comedian Tracy Morgan and others who were riding with him.
Of course the backlash goes to the lone driver, Kevin Roper. The Walmart truck he was driving was equipped with all the bells and whistles the government says will make trucks safe. The media reported the driver had not slept in 24 hours and the public interpreted this to mean he was driving for 24 hours. Walmart trucks have e-logs, not paper logs. There is also a great deal of unpaid labor time in trucking. Drivers are expected to watch freight be loaded when they should be napping, take their shower breaks and conduct their personal errands that any normal person has, during designated sleep break times. This plus a number of other labor issues that most civilians and legislators just do not want to educate themselves on until a high profile tragedy occurs.
In the days before the crash, the trucking industry was buzzing over calls for the resignation of Anne Ferro from the Federal Motor Carriers Administration. Following the crash, an ill-timed muscle move to suspend the new 34-hour restart rule was made by the American Trucking Association with the help of “friend” Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine). Then I received a call from MSNBC to comment. Although my moment on television was short, I was able to get one point out of my mouth that is an issue that must be addressed to prevent fatigued driving which is truck parking. You can follow this link to see my comments on the NOW with Alex Wagner Program.
Here are some of my other personal observations: Anne Ferro and her research data miss the mark on what causes fatigued drivers. The American Trucking Association is a lobby group that does not represent truck drivers. They represent corporations like Walmart that think of workers as robots. Productivity is the focus of corporations not necessarily safety. This is not something that is socially acceptable so it makes sense that the same corporations that claim safety comes first will silently shift the burden of safety on an individual if they can get away with it. Senator Susan Collins either does not know this or does not care about this. The new 34-hour restart rule is a joke because how it is being implemented and so is the 30 minute break. It is a poorly designed solution made by people who do not care to get out of their comfort zone to see how their rules work in practice. Drivers DO need a break! Unfortunately though, they also need help to stand up against harassment from carriers that insist they keep working even though they are not driving. Truck drivers are considered unskilled labor, employers are not held to the same labor standards in the way they manage productivity from their in-house employees. When a trucker does feel fatigued and must stop for rest, the current federal regulations AND the ones the ATA is fighting for DO NOT allow for enough driver flexibility. Only the driver knows when they need sleep, not the government, not the ATA, not the carriers, not the shippers and receivers. On top of this, when the driver does feel the need to stop and rest there is often no place to stop the truck. This is especially true in the northeast as identified in the “Truck Parking Special Report“.
These are issues that go year after year unresolved though they are well known problems in the trucking industry. Below I have included the text from the most recent PDF compilation that is part of the truck parking survey open comments section. As in the previous sections, Walmart was the most mentioned. My personal hope is that the investigation of the Walmart crash does not focus on one driver, but instead examines an industry, a regulating body and the elected public servants who are not seeing what is as plain as the nose on their face.
Question 35 Below pertains to Shippers and Receivers, HOS, Fatigued Truck Drivers and Safety (more…)
Posted in "Jason's Law" HR 2156, @TruckerDesiree, Truck Parking, Trucking, tagged Hope Rivenburg, HOS, Jason's Law, MAP-21, Paul Tonko, safety, Transportation, Truck Drivers, Truck Parking, Truck Stops, Trucking on May 30, 2013| 3 Comments »
A national truck parking survey has been launched by Hope Rivenburg that aims to collect data for the research mandate that was included in the 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) highway bill.
If you are a truck driver I encourage you to take 15 minutes today to complete this survey, AND share it to other drivers that you know or come in contact with. If you are in operations, please share the link with your fleet. Share it on your Facebook page, twitter stream, email it, and help other drivers get access to the survey who would like to participate. You can always email me or Hope and we will email or text it back to you. Survey Link. ( Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org )
The collection of driver information is crucial to prepare an accurate assessment of the current state of truck parking from the end-users themselves.
Hope Rivenburg as you should recall is the widow of truck driver Jason Rivenburg who was murdered in 2009. Her husband had experienced parking issues and truck stop crime in the past. He decided to keep rolling to his destination in South Carolina to deliver milk.
The receiver of this milk would not provide parking for Jason or accept the delivery early. This is a common issue for truck drivers that contend with strict appointments and remote destinations where they are unwelcome to park for rest once loaded or unloaded regardless of their HOS restrictions.
Jason parked at an abandoned gas station and was shot for $7.00. His Wife Hope was pregnant with twins at the time; the couple already had a 2 year old son. That was four years ago and Hope Rivenburg has not stopped fighting for safe truck parking since, even though her husband is gone forever. (more…)