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How are the new hours-of-service rules affecting your operation?
“I think it is still too early to tell. I think it is going to be a major change, but I don’t think anybody is seeing the result of it yet because of the enforcement moratorium until March 1. I think that it is going to be very enlightening for shippers. It is going to change the industry drastically. Obviously, because of the industry and probably because the general economy has picked up, there will be a major shortage of trucks. After the completion of the moratorium, there is going to be a much higher percentage of equipment that is not available.”
Donald Carpenter, president
Trux Transportation Inc., Coraopolis, Penn.

“I don’t like it. We’re slower – we can’t unload in Chicago and deliver in Philly the next day. We’re losing a full day a week.”
Sandra Waite, owner
Norfolk Contract Carriers, Norfolk, Neb.

“It’s impacting the drivers because they don’t fully understand it, but short of that, I think it is working OK. We’ve had our drivers in for training, but they don’t have much experience with it yet. I think it will work for the best once they learn it. Fortunately we’re long haul, and we have the sleeper berth. It is not going to be detrimental, since all our folks do have sleepers, but those with a day cab may be more difficult.” Bob Williams, president
Baldwin Trucking, Springfield, Mo.

Next month’s question:
Are shippers paying your
detention charges? Send answers to talexander@randallpub.com;
fax (205) 248-1046.

Be sure to snub
I read your article in the January issue of CCJ (“Science is safer than intuition,” page 8) and totally agree with your explanation of brake snubbing. I was a New Hampshire state certified commercial driving instructor in past years and taught the snubbing method to all my students.

I have over 30 years and 2 million miles driving tractor trailers coast to coast and border to border without a commercial accident, have tried both methods of downhill braking and religiously use snubbing to maintain my downhill speed.

As far as the control problem during a tire failure, I have a thought on that. If you had a tire failure, and there was a good possibility of the vehicle going out of control, would you rather crash at your present speed, or speed up and crash at a faster speed? I think that I would not increase my speed, but, as you recommend, maintaining the present speed and after gaining enough control, slow down and stop. Control is everything.

When I speak with my drivers I advocate deciding what they will do well before the incident happens, so they will not have to think and make a split-second decision when the time is short. Tire failures, animal hazards, erratic operators and road rage are high on my list of “think about it now and decide what you will do when it happens” situations. All the good luck in the world won’t help you if you don’t know how to use it when it appears. Bad “luck” is manageable too…. if you’re ready for it.
Paul Heider, terminal supervisor; maintenance coordinator
Jack Cooper Transport; Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Snubbed again
Your article in the January issue (“Science is safer than intuition”) is good.
Thanks for getting the word out.

I was a third-party CDL examiner for the state of Colorado when the CDL license first came into being; as such, Colorado did a good job of keeping me up to speed on changes regarding the road test, which reflected changes in the CDL manual.

One of those changes (about two years into the program if memory serves) was a change from drag-braking to pulse braking (snubbing).

I took the time to read the research information behind the change. It’s about 100 pages long. The bottom line is in line with your article – the brakes of most commercial vehicles are not equally adjusted, so under light braking pressures, a few brakes do all the work. By using 20 to 25 pounds, all the brakes get a chance to share in the work.

Here’s some info you may not know – at least your article didn’t have enough room for it:
· On rigs where all brakes were equally adjusted, the drag braking method resulted in lower brake drum temperatures. Pulse braking results in higher drum temperatures.
· The whole reason for the change in the CDL manual – and the change in our road test observation points – was based on the (accurate) assumption that few rigs have all their brakes properly adjusted.

Good article. Thanks for getting the word out.
Steve Reeves, CDS
Fleet Safety Services, South Sioux City, Neb.

An unsafe safety rule
I’m with you! We are already behind the curve, mostly because the wrong changes were made in the first place (“What’s next?”, January, page 6). In the name of “safety,” we are encouraging our drivers to sit behind the wheel for 11 hours straight because if they don’t, they risk some normal occurrence using up the 14-hour clock before they get a full day’s pay. I truly believe anyone that knows anything about how the body works will tell you this is the most unsafe situation we could promote.

If our concern was really safety, we’d make sure the driver got out from behind the wheel after no more than four hours driving for at least 15 to 30 minutes, do a few push ups or walk around the rest area and wake up the body. We’d make sure he had an opportunity to get eight consecutive hours of sleep every 24 hours, sleeper or no sleeper, and that’s all we’d care about! We wouldn’t care about what happened after 14 hours or if he drove 30 days in a row because we would know that we got him out of the truck before he could fall asleep, and we made sure he got eight straight hours a day off.
Jeff Jenks, president
Truckmen Corp., Geneva, Ohio

Not so fast
Just had the chance to read your thoughts on the hours-of-service rules (“What’s next?” January). Safety is most affected by behavior. With that in mind, your suggestion about waivers would have to be reviewed with the actions of CEOs such as Worldcom and Enron. I think we both know what can happen.
Dale Goetz
Overland Park, Kan.

Make your point
Have a comment on something you read in CCJ or on an industry issue? Send letters to Feedback, Commercial Carrier Journal, 3200 Rice Mine Road N.E., Tuscaloosa, AL 35406; fax(205) 248-1046, e-mail feedback@ccjmagazine.com. We reserve the right to edit submissions for length, grammar and appropriateness. All letters must include contact information.