Our company just sent out an intranet email to every employee in the company - which includes all drivers of course - that all new trucks that are purchased will have automatic shutdowns installed which initiate after 5 minutes and that all trucks will be governed at a top speed of 65mph.
No existing trucks in the fleet will be changed, but drivers are expected to comply with the new rules, regardless.
Now, I don't really care one way or the other about the 65mph thing - although the semi I currently drive is governed at 79 mph - yes, that's 79mph in a company truck.
But, have you ever sat in 115 degree heat in a truck turned off, ie: no ac? I have. Even with the windows opened, you feel like you are in an oven, baking, and should be cooked and well-done in a couple of hours. You end up getting out of the vehicle and find some shade somewhere (usually the trucks own shade), and sit outside and bake, because inside of the cab of that truck, the temperature will get up to 135 or more degrees.
Now, if I pull up to a construction site and I get unloaded immediately, well and fine, I'm not in the truck anyway, I'm outside helping unload the thing. But - as frequently happens - if I pull up to a site and I have to wait for hours to get unloaded, then what? Sit there and fry? Call me a wimp, but I left those days behind in my 20's. I am not a UPS driver in one of those brown vans with no AC, and I don't WANT to be, just for the reason of the heat if nothing else.
I'm not sure that I am going to comply with this new rule in excessive heat. Heck, the local news stations come out with "excessive heat warnings" in the summer that advise you to not be outdoors during whatever time of the day they say. I have to wonder if that doesn't equate, on the opposite end of the scale, to being in, say, 20 below temps in some northern state in the middle of winter. Would you shut your truck off then? No, because you'd likely freeze to death. Well, plenty of people die out here each summer because of heat stroke and other heat related illnesses that take those people's lives in the end.
My main concern here is that hell-hot summers are just around the corner. We've already had high-90's days, but that's just a little speck of heat in contrast to what's a comin'.
Well, since I'm writing a post, this next thing has nothing to do with idling, but today, in traffic, I'm pulling a half load in terms of weight on my truck. It's near 50,000 pounds. I'm going 45 mph in a 45mph zone. I'm approaching a side street - there is a truck sitting there, waiting to pull out into traffic. I MIGHT have been 150 feet from that truck when that driver decides to pull out directly in front of me. Not only that, but this "driver" takes his sweet ole time making the turn and then very, very slowly gets up to about 25 mph and stays at that speed.
I, on the other hand, had to slam on my brakes as I had nowhere to go (but the side of his truck, since that is what I would have hit). My load was pipe - it's large and heavy underground water pipe. Fortunately for me, as is my modus-operandi, I had strapped the frank out of that load and had it tightened down to the point you could play harp music on the straps. It's the way I know I have my pipe secure - pluck it like a string on a guitar and hear for the sound to come off of it. If it is too low a pitch or no sound at all, it ain't tight enough. That pipe is HEAVY - and to come off the truck could easily mean death or destruction to whosover would be unlucky enough to have it land on them.
So, slamming on my brakes didn't move that pipe an inch. But - I was infuriated at that driver, it's a rare moment for me where I wanted to get my hands on that person and let them have a physical experience..........
........and finally, on yet another unrelated note, a co-worker that left for Heartland Express came back yesterday. I had talked to him at length before he quit at our company about not going to that company - and I was basing my information on what I have read here about that company. I mean, some people might have a real pill against a trucking company and make up things, but I figure if you read enough about one company from enough different posters, you can come up with a general idea of what that company is like. Anyway, the big boss let him come back (perhaps now he will see how good our company is compared to a LOT of trucking companies) - his words to me? "NEXT TIME, I'LL LISTEN". LOL - I got a laugh out of that, he was referring to when I had told him what I had heard on this forum about that company, and that what I had said was completely true.
Well, enough griping, I'm still quite happy with the company I work for even with the 5 minute idling rule. I'll figure out some way to cope.......
Just did some research and landline had an article back in 2005. I believe there is going to be alot of this in the future and we need to address this now. Driver health and rest is very important. If the companies don't want the idling, provide and alternative.
OOIDA took a strong stance on the impact of anti-idling regulations around the country and their negative impact on driver health and drivers' ability to get a decent night's sleep.
OOIDA believes that anti-idling rules pose a big challenge to the success of HOS.
"The growing patchwork of anti-idling rules in states and localities is a very real threat to drivers who rely upon their sleeper berth to obtain sleep and rest," OOIDA stated in its comments.
The fundamental problem is that no one is able to get quality rest in extreme temperatures.
"Anti-idling laws that expect drivers to rest in their cabs and sleepers in extreme temperatures for long periods of time without air conditioning or heating create an unreasonable health and safety burden on those drivers," OOIDA wrote.
OOIDA used some federal heavy-hitters to back up its position, citing both the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Both agencies have extensive information warning of the negative effects of temperature extremes on worker health and safety, including fatigue.
"These agencies ask employers to make special provisions for workers in extreme temperatures, including limiting their exposure to such temperatures and giving them frequent breaks, proper clothing, and sufficient liquids and nutrition," OOIDA's comments stated.
OOIDA then explained that truckers do not always have the same resources as "stationary employees" or flexibility to heed that kind of advice.
As far as dodging the heat or freezing cold by getting a room at a hotel, OOIDA lets FMCSA know that is not a real financial option on a continuing basis - it's simply cost-prohibitive for too many drivers
Everyone needs to write OSHA and FMCSA with concers about rest, OHS compliance, when expected to work in extreme temps.
Where is OOIDA in this. One article in 2005 and a mention to OSHA and DOT is not very proactive. This is a serious problem that needs to be adressed by everyone including OOIDA.
IMO this issue is more important than worring about hot fuel and some of the other petty issues they take on.
I'm trying my best to get other organizations involved with the fight in CA, but the ONLY organization helping at all is CalOSHA! Since the first time I made contact with them, they have had reps at every CARB meeting. Progress is slow, but it IS being worked on!
a lot of the newer trucks have this option available on them, most companies disable it when the trucks get to their shop. what happens after 5 minutes, the 'check engine' light will flash, at that time press the brake pedal which over rides the shutdown feature..... give it a shot