Knowing the Difference

With Insure My Rig

Operating a trucking enterprise is a lot harder than most folks realize. At Insure My Rig, we know the difference. Here, we offer you insights, analysis and opinions on America's trucking industry.

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Want to thank your truck drivers for all their service during the holiday season? Find him or her a parking spot. Seriously.

Of all the issues, truck parking ranked second by drivers in the recent American Trucking Research Institute’s (ATRI’s) annual study of the Top 10 Driver and Carrier Issues, concerns about Hours of Service (HoS) mandates ranked, not surprisingly number one.

Carriers, on the other hand, ranked driver shortage number one, placing driver retention in the number-two slot.

ATRI announced the results of its annual survey the end of October at the 2018 American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference and Exhibition in Austin, Texas. Survey results were tabulated from more than 1,500 responses from motor carriers and commercial drivers.

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Semi-Truck Insurance

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced that 2017 highway fatality numbers dropped 1.8% following two consecutive years of large increases. That is good news, but the bad news is that even though preliminary estimates for the first six months of 2018 appear to show that this downward trend is continuing, fatal crashes involving heavy-duty trucks were up 9% in 2017 compared with 2016.

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National Truck Driver Appreciation Week

If there ever was a time to publicly thank the truckers in your life, National Truck Driver Appreciation Week might be a great opportunity. Designating the first full week after Labor Day to celebrate our country's toughest laborers, America's professional truck drivers, The American Trucking Associations (ATA) started the party September 10. The entire week, said ATA, is set aside to honor the country's ~3.5 million truck drivers, those everyday heroes that safely and professionally deliver everything that is making America great right now.

Defining what National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, is all about, ATA President and CEO Chris Spear wants the national media and everyone living in the U.S. to know that "Truck drivers are an integral part of the nation's growing economy and deserve to be celebrated by their companies, customers, neighbors, families and friends."

These Drivers Improve Our Quality of Life

Everything that we consume says Spear, from food and clothing to shelter and medicine, is delivered by a truck driver and there is...

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Recreational vehicles have been with us for a long time. It’s a mature industry that has seen its share of cycles; boom and bust. Right now the RV industry is in a tremendous growth cycle and it is pushing a new and significant trend across the commercial transport and shipping landscape. But don’t think it’s just Grandma and Grandpa spending their pensions on one last shot of freedom.

Here come Justin and Jessica

For those of us pushing past 50 the stereotype of Bill and Barbara driving the Winnebago down to Clearwater from Indianapolis after Christmas is forever etched in our minds; especially having spent so much time behind them heading south into Chattanooga.

Chances are the folks you see rolling out of a shiny new Sprinter conversion to fuel up or kicking the tires on a spiffy new Airstream at the rest stop are decidedly NOT Bill in Barb; more like Justin and Jessica. Along with hundreds of thousands of other millennials shedding house-filling materialism for experiences on the open road. Justin and Jessica don’t have a ton of coin, but...

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It wasn’t all too long ago that among the persona non grata eschewed by the beltway glitterati were truckers (drivers) and their dirty, smelly big intimidating and dangerous trucks. Ask the EPA, DOT SEC, IRA, FMCSA or any other agency concerned with U.S. commerce, trucks hauling freight on their roads was a necessary evil, to be tolerated, but only after reigning in their social and environmental transgressions with comprehensive regulation.

It wasn’t so long ago that trucking came to dominate the freight industry in the latter portion of the 20th Century -- achieving national attention during the ‘60s and ‘70s. Remember the CB craze? Thank a trucker. Remember when the charts were topped with songs and movies about truckers? Anybody remember the song and movie Convoy? How about Sally Field and Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit? That truck based Hollywood vehicle drove everyone to the movies. Trucking was American, trucking was sexy, drivers’ were the warriors and at times, heroes of the road.

Popular culture complimented the industry but it wasn’t all Coors east...

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Two months since the inception of the ELD mandate and already legislators are looking to change settled law. Ah well, nothing new in the land of (to paraphrase the house minority leader) “you’ve got to pass it before you can know what’s in it” lawmaking – or something to that effect. Recent headlines focus on the relief being sought by congress people for two groups within trucking suffering some indigestion from ELD implementation: livestock haulers and owner-operators.

It’s Been Churning for a Long Time

It’s not like proponents and opponents of current law didn’t have enough time to sort it out before now. An analyst for GPSTrackit offers its web viewers a quick trip down memory lane citing that by the mid-1980s, motor carriers had begun implementing relatively functional ELDs (AOBRDS) to record HoS for drivers. However this was early in the devices technical development and downloading data was challenging because of telemetry issues transmitting data among others.

Then came the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) which lobbied the...

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At just a little over a month out from the April 1, 2018 start of the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate and the sense out there on the trucking industry’s prairie seems to be that of an unsettled peace, as the various players turn inward to try and figure out how to satisfy the “man,” live the American dream and keep just a little more pay in their pockets in the face of ELD-era regulation.

To truck owners and fleet operators America’s roads are analogous to the fields of opportunity that John Steinbeck used as the setting for his characters in his iconic novella Of Mice and Men. The title is taken from Robert Burns' poem "To a Mouse", and offers this Shakespeare-worthy word of caution regarding the human condition: "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley." (For non-18th century Scotts: “The best laid schemes of mice and men / Often go awry.”)

To the federal government, ELDs are indeed a “best-laid” scheme. By design. What’s not to LOVE? Awesome application of trouble-free modern (relatively) cheap technology, no paper records, unambiguous HOS...

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A new energy is going to be required to recruit and retain truck drivers and the industry is agitating for some fresh ideas to get more “butts” in the driver’s seat of America’s trucks. American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) statistics projected in 2015 that it would take hiring almost a million drivers over the coming decade just to maintain the existing labor force.

Although officially known as the “Driver Shortage” the issue has been a chronic PITA for the industry for decades. The sources of this malaise are as numerous as they are challenging to overcome, but for the most part, stem from the rapidly aging demographics of the current population of drivers who are leaving the industry, and the inability of said industry to attract and retain new drivers and bring them into the profession at a rate faster than attrition.

Demographically one of the largest groups to offer a potential pool of new talent are people from 18 to 25 years of age; a truck driver has to be 21 to obtain a CDL for interstate commerce, which naturally prevents those younger than 21...

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