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If safety No. 1 priority, why has Santa not been put OOS?



I’m sorry to have to write this, but we’re going to have to get real about Santa Claus.

I don’t mean the bit about whether he exists or not.

No sir. I’m talking about whether his reindeer and sleigh are up to safety code and if he even has a CDL or more to the point, a pilot’s license.

Also, I’m sure he has Hours of Service violations each year and flagrant violations of air pollution standards.

You don’t think flying reindeer have some pretty polluting emissions?

Come on. They’ve got to be worse than any greenhouse gases.

How much do the reindeer contribute to global warming? Why aren’t we reading about that in the newspapers, huh?

That’s not to mention that Santa is probably driving without his safety belt on. I bet he doesn’t even have electronic stability control on that thing, much less in-sleigh cameras or rear-view mirrors.

Heck. I doubt Santa has an ELD. No wonder he’s been able to get by with HOS violations for eons. What do you want to bet that some poor kid each year accidentally gets Santa’s “comic book” logs mixed in with her presents?

Come to think of it, maybe Santa wraps some gifts in his fake logs, what with the price of wrapping paper, tinsel and ribbon going up each year.

And speaking of eons, I bet that legally, Santa is too old to be driving a freight-delivery vehicle in the first place. How long has that guy been around?

I would venture to say that his body mass index is off the charts and his neck circumference is indicative of sleep apnea.

Think about it. He consumes cookies, hot chocolate, maybe even sandwiches and soda pop at EVERY SINGLE STOP.

No wonder he’s overweight. Sheesh.

And just because the reindeer are pulling the sleigh doesn’t mean it’s safe for Santa to nod off in his seat. And if he’s sleeping on the job because he has sleep apnea, you can bet the reindeer don’t keep to the prescribed route. Which means a bunch of kids are missing out.

I ask you this: Was there ever a Christmas when you were growing up that you didn’t get something you asked Santa for?

See, he was probably asleep in the sleigh while the reindeer did their own thing. They probably were making unscheduled rest and meal breaks so they could eat and take a load off.

What do reindeer eat you ask?

I looked it up and they eat leafy greens, bird eggs and “treats” like carrots and apples.

Oh, and mushrooms.

My goodness, you don’t want me to go there. Can you imagine having to hair test a herd of reindeer for magic mushrooms? Let’s not think about getting them to pee in a cup.

I’m not sure either kind of drug screening would turn up hallucinogenic mushrooms, anyway. That’s an accident waiting to happen.

And what if some of the eggnog left out for Santa is spiked? It could happen. Probably has happened.

And who’s to know if he inhales a bit of weed now and then?

He doesn’t get pulled over by troopers because even in a helicopter I don’t think they could keep up with him. Who’s ever heard of a helicopter landing safely on a roof, anyway. Doesn’t make a bit of sense. And no law enforcement department in the world has the finances to follow Santa around on Christmas night. Can you imagine the paperwork it would entail just to ask?

Yep. No doubt about it. Santa is one of the last of the lone ranger type of drivers and a safety risk if ever there was one.

And although I hate to suggest it, it might be better if he were put out-of-service.

Yeah, that would be a bummer for the whole planet, especially for the children.

But is safety the No. 1 priority or not?

Sometimes tough choices have to be made.

Wait just a minute. … Maybe that doesn’t have to happen. I mean, what if Santa could get an autonomous or a driverless sleigh? Sure, it would put the reindeer out of a job, but that would be better than placing the whole kit and caboodle OOS on Christmas Eve wouldn’t it?

I’ve ranted on about autonomous and driverless vehicles in this column many times but I may have to eat my words in this case.

Could I get some hot chocolate with that?

Be safe and God bless.

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The Nation

Diesel heads up 4 cents a gallon to $3.006



Diesel prices jumped 4 cents a gallon to ring up Tuesday at $3.006. (The Trucker file photo)

For the past several months, including the end of 2018, all the “experts” said oil (and consequently diesel) was going nowhere but up. It had to, they reasoned, after prices had almost literally scraped the bottom of the barrel.

Then oil and diesel both went down for weeks. After that it stayed the same.

Now diesel prices are finally up — 4 cents a gallon — to $3.006 a gallon Tuesday from $2.966 a gallon last week.

Normally, diesel prices would have been announced Monday, but since it was President’s Day, diesel prices were released Tuesday.

And it may be a testament to how long prices had been going down or stayed flat that none of the U.S. Information Administration’s 10 reporting regions were clocking $4-a-gallon diesel, not even California, where diesel was ringing up at $3.739.

Also, four regions were still below $3 a gallon as of Tuesday.

And although 4 cents a gallon for the on-highway national average was a significant jump from the week before, the Lower Atlantic and Midwest regions each jumped 5.5 cents a gallon. Diesel in the Lower Atlantic sector went from $2.872 last week to $2.927 Tuesday while in the Midwest, diesel prices went from $2.849 last week to $2.904 today.

The Gulf Coast had the lowest prices at $2.809 a gallon, up 3.3 cents from the week prior.

Is this the start of an upward trend? It’s hard to know what oil prices will do in a global economy that is teetering since what seems like a bandwagon jump out of the European Union.

Meanwhile, oil was trading up:

U.S. crude added 48 cents to $56.07 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange after gaining $1.19 on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 16 cents to $66.34 per barrel, The Associated Press reported.

For diesel prices by sector, click here.

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The Nation

Ohio governor to reveal gas tax hike plan Thursday



Ohio's tp Transportation Department executive says the state is facing an "impending crisis" unless more road funding is provided. (The Trucker file photo)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine says he’ll announce Thursday his proposed recommendation for increasing the state’s gas tax to deal with a chronic shortfall in spending on road construction.

DeWine, a Republican, says there are no other solutions outside a gas tax increase, while warning that any increase simply keeps Ohio from falling behind.

He wouldn’t provide details or say what the proposed increase will be. He spoke at an annual forum sponsored by The Associated Press.

DeWine says the increase is “just to keep us where we are today.”

The head of the Ohio Department of Transportation director said earlier this month that Ohio’s road maintenance and infrastructure are facing an “impending crisis” unless more funding is provided.

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The Nation

OOIDA Foundation issues information it says debunks driver shortage ‘myth’



Most carriers with high turnover do so by design, says OOIDA President Todd Spencer. “They could deal with driver turnover by offering better wages and benefits and improved working conditions,” he said.

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s research foundation published two new documents it says debunks the driver shortage “myth.”

A fact sheet explains how the industry isn’t afflicted with a shortage of drivers, but is actually plagued with overcapacity and driver retention, the foundation reported.

A second, accompanying document talks about how wages have decreased for truck drivers at large carriers and many have moved toward smaller fleets.

Last year, the association also created a short video that explains why there is high turnover as opposed to a shortage.

“We are concerned about the perpetuation of a myth of driver shortage,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA President. “This misinformation is used to push agendas that are harmful to the industry and highway safety.”

To address the supposed driver “shortage,” some organizations have suggested that the age requirement to obtain a commercial driver’s license should be lowered from 21 to 18.

“If safety is the top priority when considering a change to a regulation, when it comes to age, the number should be raised, not lowered.” Spencer said.

OOIDA also contends that any issue with retention could be mitigated with other solutions that would be safer for all highway users.

For example, compensation has been shown to be tied directly to highway safety, as revealed in studies that suggest there is a strong correlation between driver pay and highway safety, Spencer said.

“Most carriers with high turnover do so by design,” he said. “They could deal with driver turnover by offering better wages and benefits and improved working conditions. But putting younger drivers behind the wheel of a truck isn’t the solution because it does nothing to address the underlying issues that push drivers out of the industry. It merely exacerbates the churn.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The association currently has more than 160,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Missouri, area.




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