Archive for November, 2012

Thankful for truck drivers

By Jena Williams

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Today many of us are recovering from a four-day weekend full of turkey, stuffing, gravy, and pumpkin pie. Black Friday shopping ensued either in person or online. We drove hours to visit loved ones and watched the game on a big screen. We relaxed, shopped, cooked, cleaned, visited and decorated. For all of this, we can thank truckers. They brought the turkey, the cranberries, the big sale items, the coffee beans that fueled the late nights and early mornings, the gas for our cars…

Their work continues, as in response to Cyber Monday, we look forward to truckers delivering packages to our doors or to those of our loved ones. Yeah, yeah, the loss leaders may be gone, but mainly, everything we need will be available to us because of truck drivers.

We depend on truckers, warehouse workers, dispatchers and all the others in the background to make our holiday traditions continue. Few of these dedicated workers get to enjoy much time off and their families sacrifice as well.  We normally don’t consider the hard work and hours put in by others to deliver all the essentials (and not so essentials) to our stores and homes. Yet they are vital to our economy, our family get-togethers and our traditions.

Keep up the good work truckers! We do appreciate you. Today and every day, I am thankful for truckers. Who or what are you thankful for?

Interesting Thanksgiving Facts: http://www.thanksgivingnovember.com/thanksgiving-facts.html

Does turkey make you sleepy? Link to article from Scientific American: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=fact-or-fiction-does-turkey-make-you-sleepy

The cost of cleanup

crashBy Jena Williams

Truck crashes are devastating. Lives are lost, property is destroyed, loads are ruined. Sometimes the cost even extends to the environment. Spilled loads or fuel can contaminate soil and waterways. Sometimes, even when there are no major injuries to people, the trucking company may spend years paying for the costs to the environment.

One example is the horrific crash November 4th, that killed a dedicated truck driver and spilled aviation gasoline from his double tanker truck. The Department of Ecology reported that “all oil spills cause environmental damage, regardless of size. A single quart of oil has the potential to foul more than 100,000 gallons of water.” (reported by King 5 News)

I’ve talked with companies that had to provide bottled water to residences after crashes that might have impacted the water supply. One manager confided that a spill of herbicide cost their company over a half a million dollars to clean up. Thankfully, the driver walked away, but the load and truck were a loss.

More surprises.  This article suggests that maybe we should cry over spilt milk. Apparently even a substance as innocuous as milk can be disastrous to fish and wildlife.

So the point of this article…It’s just one more reason, though maybe not the most important one, to drive safely around trucks. Don’t text and drive. Give trucks space. And drivers, please stop and rest when you are tired.

What stories can you share on this topic? Please tell us in the comments below.

Useful links:

Distraction.gov: http://www.distraction.gov/index.html

Share the road: http://myata.truckline.com/str/bsdemo.htm

Effects of blood alcohol level: http://www.cdc.gov/Motorvehiclesafety/Impaired_Driving/bac.html

Driver fatigue: http://www.smartmotorist.com/traffic-and-safety-guideline/driver-fatigue-is-an-important-cause-of-road-crashes.html

*Photo from the Bellingham Herald, credit South King Fire & Rescue

Veteran’s Day

By Jena Williams

Veterans have given so much to our country. Many, upon returning home, enter the transportation industry. (Notice how they continue to serve.)

We are facing a driver shortage, where once there were 100 applicants for each position, now it takes creativity to capture the attention of just a few.

Returning soldiers are perfect candidates for the industry. Many have already been trained to drive big trucks or are heavy-duty mechanics. They are disciplined, hard workers.

This is why new programs are being developed to recruit veterans.

The Department of Transportation and the Department of Veteran Affairs have teamed up to develop the Veterans Transportation Career Center. Large truck or bus training in the military may even substitute for traditional CDL training. Link: http://www.dot.gov/careers/veterans/commericial-motor-vehicle-driver

At KeepTruckingSafe.org, we appreciate our veterans and our drivers. You have all made sacrifices to make our country great. Happy Veteran’s Day!

US DOT Veterans Transportation Career Center: http://www.dot.gov/veteranstransportationcareers

US DOT blog article: http://fastlane.dot.gov/2012/11/on-veterans-day-and-every-day-dot-honors-americas-heroes.html

Journal of Commerce blog article on driver shortage: http://blog.pe.com/economy/2012/11/07/logistics-truck-driver-shortage-could-get-much-worse/

Driver shortage: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/31/truck-drivers-wanted-jobs_n_2048995.html

Veteran’s Job Fairs: https://events.recruitmilitary.com/exhibitor-schedule

Tanker driver killed in 3 car collision

By Jena Williams

Washington lost another driver, Joseph Bartkowski of Sumner, early Sunday morning.

Article from the News Tribune: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/11/04/2355729/3-vehicle-crash-in-federal-way.html

Article from the Bonney Lake Sumner Patch: http://bonneylake-sumner.patch.com/articles/multi-car-accident-on-i-5-near-federal-way-kills-sumner-man

TIRES thoughts are with his family and friends.

Security

By Jena Williams

No truck parkingEveryone has a fundamental need for safety and security. If we don’t feel safe, stress levels rise, affecting many systems of the body, including blood pressure, gastro-intestinal, and emotional health.

Whether it is the economy, apathy, or societal indifference, it appears that theft is on the rise. My parents have lived in the same house for over 25 years without a major incident. However, over the summer, their house was burglarized and now they are fighting identity theft. Last week our cars were prowled and my brother’s sheds were broken into. We all live in different areas of town. Our family has definitely felt the surge in crime and lack of security. We feel violated and stressed even though we never came face-to-face with our perpetrators.

Jason Rivenburg was not so lucky. Many of you know his story, but for those who don’t, Jason was a truck driver delivering a load to a South Carolina delivery site. He was ahead of schedule and not allowed to deliver early so he needed to find a place to park and sleep for the night. Ultimately, he ended up parking his rig at an abandoned gas station. That night he was robbed and murdered for the $7 in his pocket.

Jason’s wife responded by lobbying for the passage of Jason’s Law to promote the use of existing government facilities like weigh stations and inspection sites to offer free and safe parking facilities. Jason’s Law was included and passed in the federal transportation bill. Although, this is an important first step to improve driver safety on the road, it leads to the question, is there anything else we can do to promote safety for drivers? And, most especially, safe places to park and rest.

Drivers, is it safe to park in Washington? Where? Is there a location where safe truck parking needs to be made available? Please let us know in the comments below.

More about Jason’s Law: http://jhlrivenburg.com/cgi/wp/

Bureau of Justice Statistics: http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=4494