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

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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

FMCSA reminds truckers drug, alcohol clearinghouse coming soon

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The clearinghouse will be a professional truck driver database that will serve as a centralized record of all failed drug or alcohol tests, whether from pre-employment screenings, post-crash tests or random. (©2019 FOTOSEARCH)

Remember two years ago, when it seemed like the entire trucking industry was counting down the days to the ELD deadline?

Well, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) wants drivers to be aware of another countdown happening right now, although with much less hoopla than the Great ELD Panic of ’17.

At the recent Mid-America Trucking Show, Joe DeLorenzo, FMCSA director of enforcement and compliance, gave a presentation to raise awareness about the soon-to-be launched federal CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.

Mandated as part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, or MAP-21, in 2012, the same piece of legislation that bore the ELD mandate, the drug and alcohol clearinghouse is scheduled to launch January 6, 2020.

The clearinghouse will be a professional truck driver database that will serve as a centralized record of all failed drug or alcohol tests, whether from pre-employment screenings, post-crash tests or random. All refusals to take a drug or alcohol test will also be recorded.

“I came here with a bit of a mission on the drug and alcohol clearinghouse rule,” DeLorenzo said to the MATS audience. It has come to the agency’s attention the clearinghouse has been flying under the radar, a bit, and not enough drivers seem to know about it or they haven’t gotten a full explanation of what the clearinghouse will contain and what it will be used for.

DeLorenzo said drivers have said to him, “Well, I don’t do drugs, so I don’t have to worry about this.”

“Actually, that’s not the case,” DeLorenzo said. “Everybody needs to know about this and get going on it.”

Starting in January, carriers will be required to query the database as part of the new-driver hiring process to ensure that the candidate does not have any failed tests or refusals in the previous three years. Carriers can only gain access to a driver’s record and make the mandatory query with the consent of the driver, and the only way a driver can give that consent is to be registered in the clearinghouse.

So, technically, drivers are not going to be required to register in the clearinghouse, DeLorenzo said. However, if you ever want to get hired anywhere again you’ll have to be registered in the clearinghouse.

“If you’re just kind of staying where you’re at, no intention of leaving, or if you are working for yourself, or if you are nearing retirement, you may decide not to register,” he said. “But in an industry with 100%-plus turnover, I know people are always looking for a new job, a different job, a better job. Any driver who’s going to apply for a new job after this rule goes into effect is going to have to have an account and is going to have to be able to go in.”

DeLorenzo explained why the clearinghouse has been set up this way. Today, when someone applies for a job, they get tested as part of the process. They fail the test and the carrier doesn’t hire them. Three months later, they stay clean just long enough, the apply somewhere else and that company hires them, not knowing about the prior failure.

Starting January 6, carriers will be required to upload notices into the clearinghouse of all failed drug tests by drivers and driving applicants, as well as all refusals to test, as they occur.

The database is designed to go back three years. At first, employers will have to conduct both electronic queries within the clearinghouse and manual inquiries with previous employers to cover the preceding three years to meet the mandated hiring requirement. As of January 6, 2023, they will only need to check the clearinghouse.

Drivers’ records will only contain positive tests and refusals. When a prospective employer makes a query, they will be told if the record is clean. If there are entries, they will be able to get more details.

If a driver has a failed test, the database will also record whether that driver has completed the return-to-duty process.

Drivers will also be able to review their own records, DeLorenzo said, which is another incentive to register. If a driver finds an entry they wish to dispute, they can file a DataQ request to have it corrected.

The clearinghouse website is already up and running. Drivers can go to Clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov to read about the clearinghouse and to register their email addresses for any updates. Actual registration is scheduled to begin in October.

DeLorenzo said he is hoping to raise more awareness about the clearinghouse now so they start registering in October instead of finding out the hard way come February when they try to apply for a job.

“What I’m trying to avoid, actually, is human nature, which is to wait until the very last minute.”

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Drivewyze completes Missouri weigh installations, now fully deployed with 19 locations

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Drivewyze President and CEO Brian Heath noted that Missouri is a centralized state in the U.S., home to major trucking lanes connecting the west and east coasts. (Courtesy: DRIVEWYZE )

501 drivewyze Missouri.doc

DALLAS — Drivewyze has completed its service site rollout in Missouri at all 19 weigh stations across the state. Drivewyze PreClear weigh station bypass is now operational at all Missouri locations, delivering weigh station bypass opportunities to its customers driving in the state.

“Our bypass service network is second to none in Missouri,” said Brian Heath, president and CEO of Drivewyze. “Drivewyze is the largest provider of weigh station bypass service by a factor of almost two — with more than 750 service sites in North America. By providing more bypass opportunities than our competitors, we enable our customers to earn a higher safety return on investment than anyone else in the industry. The time has never been better for carriers to adopt weigh station bypass, or switch away from transponder-based systems. Now, they can maximize our bypass services in Missouri and enjoy the same extended coverage of our transponder-free services offer across the country.”

The final four activated Missouri Drivewyze sites are located in Kearney (northbound), Platte City (northbound), and Willow Springs (both east and westbound). Kearney is on I-35, northeast of Kansas City (between Kansas City and Des Moines, Iowa); Platte City is on I-29, northwest of Kansas City (between KC and Omaha, Nebraska); and Willow Springs is on Highway 60/63, southeast of Springfield.

“Missouri is a centralized state in the U.S., home to major trucking lanes connecting the west and east coasts,” Heath said. “With hundreds of trucking companies based in the state, we are pleased to offer state-wide services to all carriers operating in Missouri, as well as those passing through. This is another step forward for Drivewyze — and our customers — and we look forward to continue revolutionizing the freight industry with world-class service and technology. More bypasses not only improve a carrier’s bottom line, it makes a positive impact on driver’s lives.”

Carriers can eliminate the cost and administration of traditional transponders with Drivewyze. The Drivewyze PreClear weigh station bypass service is integrated with existing in-cab equipment like electronic logging devices, smartphones, tablets and other in-cab telematics systems. Customers can now receive bypass opportunities in 42 states and two Canadian provinces.

The Drivewyze PreClear weigh station bypass application is available on a number of Drivewyze partner platforms, including Omnitracs, Orbcomm, PeopleNet, Transflo, Rand McNally, Zonar, Platform Science, ISSAC and Switchboard. The application is also available for drivers to download on Android and iOS-based tablets or smartphones.

Fleets can request a free weigh station activity report to help them determine how much time and money they could save by using Drivewyze PreClear.

Drivewyze comes with a free Weigh Station Heads-Up service for real-time notifications at more than 1,200 weigh stations and inspection sites nationwide.

To learn more about Drivewyze, please visit www.drivewyze.com. 8

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Pilot Flying J to hold in-person, virtual hiring event May 2

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Pilot Flying J is hiring an average of 10 positions per location with some states adding more, including Illinois, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia. (Courtesy: PILOT FLYING J)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Pilot Flying J will conduct its first-ever National Hiring Day on May 2 – the largest in-person and virtual hiring event in the company’s history.

Gearing up for the influx of travelers this summer, the company aims to hire more than 5,000 new team members across its network of more than 750 travel centers in the U.S. and Canada. Pilot Flying J invites job seekers to experience and explore what it means to be part of the Pilot Flying J team with on-the-spot in-person and virtual interviews.

“Making the decision to start a career at Pilot Flying J provides the opportunity to work hard, have fun and live up to one’s full potential, while also advancing professionally,” said Paul Shore, chief people officer of Pilot Flying J. “Hiring 5,000 enthusiastic team members to join our company in a wide array of positions across North America is an exciting challenge, especially during a time of low unemployment. To help candidates get a feel for our values and culture, learn about the great benefits we offer and find the right job opportunity, we can’t rely on standard outreach. That’s why we’re inviting everyone to join us on National Hiring Day.”

Shore said Pilot Flying J is seeking hands-on, high energy individuals with a people-first service mentality.

Candidates are invited to visit all Pilot and Flying J travel centers and Truck Care service centers on Thursday, May 2, from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. for on-the-spot interviews and information. To make it easier for candidates to learn more and apply wherever they are, the company also is offering virtual job tours and interviews available at pilotflyingj.com/hiringday.

Open positions include:

  • Travel center leadership and entry level part-time and full-time roles in quick-service restaurants, deli, retail and maintenance
  • Truck Care mechanics and certified technicians
  • Professional drivers for fuel transport, DEF, crude and refined fuel

The company is hiring an average of 10 positions per location with some states adding more, including Illinois, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia.

For technology candidates, Pilot Flying J is hosting Tech Night, a meet-and-greet at the company’s support center and headquarters in Knoxville. On May 2 from 5-7 p.m., interested individuals are invited to bring their resumes, meet the company’s IT leaders, enjoy light refreshments and learn more about the growing Technology Innovation department. The company plans to hire 55 professionals in technology fields, including mobile developers, data scientists, engineers and more.

Pilot Flying J promotes a team member-first culture and offers both part-time and full-time team members benefits, such as weekly pay, tuition assistance, 401(k) participation, dental and vision plans and paid time off.

On average, the starting salary for hourly, entry-level employees at Pilot Flying J travel centers is $10.75 per hour, $3.50 more than the federal minimum wage. Comprehensive and affordable medical plans are also available to full-time team members, including a $10 per week plan for Travel Center team members, and access to no-cost medical consultations with Teledoc. In addition, team members enjoy unique perks, including free beverages and 50% off on deli and made-in-house PJ Fresh meals while at work.

“Giving back to the communities in which the company operates has been a core value of Pilot Flying J since the beginning. Team members are encouraged to take part in volunteer opportunities, fundraising efforts and other philanthropic activities in support of their local communities,” Shore said.

For more information about National Hiring Day events, visit pilotflyingj.com/hiringday. To learn more about the company, benefits and view open positions, go to jobs.pilotflyingj.com.

Pilot Flying J has more than 750 retail locations in 44 states, Roadside assistance available at over 135 locations nationwide and growing as part of its Truck Care program, 44 Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Centers, and 34 Boss Shops. The Pilot Flying J network provides drivers with access to more than 72,000 parking spaces for trucks with Prime Parking at more than 400 locations, 5,200 deluxe showers and more than 6,200 diesel lanes with 5,200 offering diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) at the pump. Pilot Flying J is currently ranked No. 14 on Forbes’ list of America’s largest private companies.

Visit www.pilotflyingj.com for more information.

 

 

 

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