Monday, June 10, 2019

Still 'Trucken'

Running US 70 in Texas
Hi all been a long time since I posted here, in fact, it has been a long time since I have written publicly.

Thank-you to all who have been brave enough to order my books, if you haven't gotten your copy you can find them here, Leslie's books. If you like reading blogs to help your spiritual life check out my website, My Web Site.

Much has changed since I actively wrote on this blog, such as:

                              1.) FMCSA has changed the Diabetes Exemption rules.
                                      ( I will write about this later when I understand it better)

                              2) Hours of Service rules are still in flux and the 'crash numbers' are in and are showing the new HOS as somewhat ineffective, (no surprise there)

Working as a night dispatcher is certainly different than what I had expected. I rarely actually dispatch anyone, for the most part, I am there to try to put out fires when they occur, such as when someone doesn't read their dispatch and grabs the wrong trailer, (happens more than you would think). I do enjoy it, and really enjoy being home most nights, however, it don't pay the bill's,  so I must still drive on my time off.

Driving a truck these days is much different than when I began back in the early 1990's.

Nowadays we have automatic transmissions, (thank God since my clutch knee is worn out), bells and whistles that tell us everything from when we are following to close or drift out of the lane.  The truck's computer gives us way more info than we need or want to get the job done, and of course, those lovely little 'tattle tales' called Electronic Log Books, or ELB for short.

All of this is a move towards driverless trucks which are currently being tested, and that scares me!

All of this tech is awesome, I enjoy it! BUT, and it's a BIG BUT, it is unreliable, there is so much that can go wrong and does with the current systems. For example, our trucks have the "Wingman" system installed, this system provides alerts for when you get too close to another vehicle or when you start to drift out of the lane and that part is all good. However, when you are in cruise control, instead of alerting you, it drives for you and will reduce your speed without letting you know. That's bad but it is not the worst part if the system decided you are way, way too close and you are in cruise it slams on the brakes, without regard to what is behind you or any other consideration such as "is the object in your line of travel". I have had the damn thing read a car in the exit ramp and slam the brakes on. This computer behavior renders the cruise control nearly useless thereby adding to a drivers fatigue because he can seldom if ever use the cruise control.

This is all counterproductive but the real production killer is the ELB.

I work with about 900 drivers most who are contractors. Most do not like the ELB's because they are too unreliable and often do not record the given data correctly hence your log books are more incorrect than when we ran paper logs. Our company has had to add people to our compliance department because of this as well as the fact that the software is difficult to use.

My biggest complaint is and always has been that the ELB now runs my life while driving and has no regard for my physical well being. In other words, if I am tired I can not stop and take a nap because the Tatel-tale will keep counting down my 14 hours while sleeping and may keep me from making my delivery on time and we all know what happens when you arrive late to a shipper or receiver. For those who don't know, those folks get nasty and will often set you aside for 24 hours or more, as I have said before FMCSA is attacking the wrong persons. And, don't even tell me about the split sleeper berth provision, if your running full days it is nearly useless!

All of this being said, I still enjoy driving the Big Steel, I do hope our regulators will get their heads out of the Eutopien clouds (found between their legs) and realize all this tech and driver-less trucks are dangerous vehicles
because tech fails and there is no such thing as acceptable collateral damage in this scenario. It's is yours and my family members they are planning to put next to those driverless trucks, IS THAT SOMETHING YOU WANT????? I DONT!!!!

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