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Paradigm shift begins when you remove negative thoughts from assessment of other drivers



Truckers should remember that every driver is also a person, a person who might be a mother, father. They could be someone's wife or child, a friend, relative, mentor or fiancée, even your friend or loved one. (©2019 FOTOSEARCH)

By CLIFF ABBOTT/The Trucker Staff

“Did you see that idiot?”

Drivers who still use CB radios often hear things like that. Chances are you have said something like that about another motorist. Or, maybe it was, “Those #&%@* four-wheelers!” Increasingly, you’ll hear statements about other professional drivers, usually with a label of “steering wheel holder” or worse.

Chances are someone has made a similar comment about your driving, too.

Years of defensive driving training have taught us to anticipate the actions of other drivers and to take measures to keep them from involving us in a collision. We are indoctrinated to drive defensively.

A paradigm shift begins to occur when we remove the negative thoughts from our assessment of other drivers. While it may be true that the driver of that “#&%@* four-wheeler” does not possess driving skills on par with our own, it might also be true that the driver is having a serious emotional problem. Or it could be an elderly person who doesn’t have the eyesight or reflexes he once had. Or it could be a person driving under the influence who made a bad decision or two.

If you’re thinking that those circumstances don’t excuse their unsafe driving, you’re right. The point is, until the robots take over, every driver is also a person, a person who might be a mother, father. They could be someone’s wife or child, a friend, relative, mentor or fiancée – YOUR friend, relative or loved one.

If you took a poll asking people to rank their driving skills as “above average,” “average” or “below average,” it’s doubtful the results would mirror their actual driving skills. Few drivers would admit that their abilities are “below average,” but, mathematically we know that at least half the drivers on the roads are average or below.

If our mindset changes from one of “defending” ourselves from these drivers to one of protecting everyone, including ourselves and those other drivers, we can make the roads safer for everyone.

One aspect of this mindset is to understand how our actions might be perceived by other drivers. A left turn in front of oncoming traffic is an example. We might assume that the drivers coming towards us see our vehicle and will, if necessary, slow down to avoid a collision. But, what if they don’t? Could an oncoming driver be fatigued or under the influence of some substance? Could they be distracted by a passenger, pet, or even a text message? We can argue, after the fact, that their actions contributed to the collision, but it’s still a collision we might have prevented.

Another example might be the ubiquitous merging onramp. We know that oncoming traffic should yield to our vehicle and is usually, legally required to yield. We know that some won’t, rolling down the ramp until a collision is imminent before cutting in front of our vehicle or braking and falling in behind. Those drivers cause muttering and sputtering and negative comments, and sometimes they cause accidents, too. But, again, we can anticipate the actions of the other driver and take action to protect ourselves and the driver and occupants of the other vehicle from a collision. A lane change or a speed adjustment might make the situation safer for everyone, even if the other driver is at fault for causing the situation.

Traveling in the center lane of a three-lane Interstate highway is another example. Many drivers believe, and are trained to believe, that the center lane is safest because the right lane is left open for merging traffic and the left is available for faster traffic to pass. Except we know that some will pass on the right. It’s wrong and it’s dangerous – and it happens all the time. And those other vehicles that are changing lanes multiple times to get around our tractor-trailer are causing a hazardous situation for others. Once outside of an urban area, it might be safer for everyone to choose the right lane.

Every professional driver encounters these and other situations daily. Some will scoff at these simple examples and may even be moved to send emails or letters to the editor, explaining the right and wrong of each situation. The reality, however, remains. When someone dies in a collision, does it really matter who had the right of way? The safety people, insurance companies and courts will ultimately decide who was at fault, but no driver wants to spend a lifetime knowing that a death occurred that he or she could have prevented, even if the deceased person was “wrong.”

If you can do so without endangering yourself, let the other driver “win.” It’s doubtful they’ll appreciate your actions or even notice, but you’ll know.  You’ll have more than the knowledge that you defended yourself against an accident. You’ll know that your decision(s) may well have saved lives. You’ll know that you helped the kids in the back seat of that “#&%@* four-wheeler” get home safely, even if you don’t respect the driving skills of the person behind the wheel.

Because when we all get home safely, everybody wins.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Miguel Cazares

    January 16, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    Most of us used to be that “#&%@*” on the four wheeler during our early years. Maybe next time we come across such drivers we think of it like “That is the young ‘me’ in that four wheeler”!

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Schneider says it will use its assets to enhance middle mile capabilities



With its acquisition of Watkins & Shepard Trucking in 2016, Schneider became a provider in first to final mile delivery of over-dimensional goods for omnichannel retailers and manufacturers. (Courtesy: SCHNEIDER)

GREEN BAY, Wis. —  With its end-to-end delivery portfolio, Schneider says it is able to deliver seamless shipping that keeps businesses one step ahead from the first to the final mile. The middle mile, which provides connectivity from and between local last-mile terminals, is equally as important as its first- and final-mile counterparts.

To optimize the movement of freight through its 24 terminal networks across 48 states, Schneider is broadening its middle-mile configuration to include its van truckload and intermodal owned assets, according to Rob Bulick, senior vice president and general manager of First to Final Mile.

With its acquisition of Watkins & Shepard Trucking in 2016, Schneider became a provider in first to final mile delivery of over-dimensional goods for omnichannel retailers and manufacturers.

Schneider now capitalizes on the full force of its broad network for the middle and final mile, with access to more than 10,700 trucks, 22,000 intermodal containers and a suite of technology tools for comprehensive freight management, Bulick said.

Throughout this process, Schneider is able to fully apply its proprietary network optimization system to freight within the middle mile to enhance consistency of the engineered network. An engineered network determines required departure and processing times, expected delivery times and regulates workflow through the terminals.

Schneider’s engineering management tools apply data-driven recommendations to optimize operations and manage the movement of freight through the middle mile. The overall engineered network will also contribute to standardizing pricing and transit, he said.

“Full incorporation of Schneider’s assets into the middle-mile service offering will reduce the number of freight handlings through the terminal network, ultimately reducing product claims. This optimization will also improve driver efficiency and increase consistency in service standards and delivery times,” Bulick said.

Along with middle-mile optimization, Schneider is implementing a standardized delivery day for ZIP codes, creating predictability.

Customers will be provided with the exact transit flow of their shipment, as well as a projected day and time for delivery from ZIP code to ZIP code for a holistic, end-to-end scheduled solution.

“A seamless delivery experience – whether it’s the first mile, the last mile or the miles in between – means there’s a consistent, reliable network working hard for a customer’s business,” Bulick said. “Expanding our middle-mile strength to include Schneider’s owned assets and data-driven network optimizations ensures we’re constantly meeting the high expectations for final-mile delivery that customers and consumers can depend on and trust.”

To learn more about how Schneider’s and Watkins’ end-to-end portfolio of services makes for smooth first to final mile deliveries, visit




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No spring break for spot van, reefer rates



The map shows the various rate ranges for van load to rate ratios. (Courtesy: DAT TRENDLINES)

PORTLAND, Ore. — National average spot van and refrigerated freight rates slipped again during the week ending April 13 as the number of load posts fell 4% while truck posts increased 3%.

The arrival of produce season in several southern markets failed to make up for the effects of more capacity in the spot market and bad weather across much of the country, said DAT Solutions, which operates the DAT network of load boards.

Here are the national average spot rates:

  • Van: $1.83/mile, 2 cents lower than the March average
  • Flatbed: $2.37/mile, 3 cents higher than March
  • Reefer: $2.15/mile, 2 cents lower than March

Van trends

How soft are spot van rates? Pricing was lower on 76 of the top 100 van lanes last week. Only 23 lanes saw rates rise and one lane was neutral.

Van load-to-truck ratios have not held up after a promising start to April, with the national average sitting at 1.3 loads for every available truck. The good news is that load counts rose nearly 5% in Chicago and Houston, and more than 3% in Los Angeles last week—major markets for spot van freight.

Markets to watch: Outbound rates were down from Los Angeles, Columbus, Ohio, Philadelphia, and Charlotte, North Carolina. Charlotte to Allentown, Pennsylvania, gave up 13 cents to $2.08/mile, and rates fell on two Buffalo-inbound lanes: Columbus to Buffalo, down 19 cents to $2.66/mile, and Chicago to Buffalo, off 19 cents to $2.31/mile.

Reefer trends

Prices rose on 38 of the top 72 reefer lanes last week. Thirty-one lanes were lower and three were neutral. Higher volume in Florida and California was balanced out by lower volume from the Upper Midwest and Texas, which hurt spot reefer pricing overall.

Markets to watch: Lakeland, Florida, volumes spiked nearly 27% last week while the average outbound rate climbed 2 cents to $1.57/mile. Let’s see if Lakeland rates trace the pattern in Miami, where a big jump in volume two weeks ago was followed by a nice gain in the average outbound rate ($1.80/mile, up 13 cents). Meanwhile, several lanes from Florida and California produced strong rates:

  • Fresno, California, to Denver up 40 cents to $2.24/mile
  • Fresno to Boston gained 19 cents to $2.23/mile
  • Miami to Baltimore up 29 cents to $2.00/mile
  • Miami to Elizabeth, New Jersey, rose 15 cents to $1.82/mile

The Imperial Valley is underperforming for reefer freight: last week the average outbound rate from Ontario, California, was $2.51/mile, down 8 cents, on 9% lower volume.

DAT Trendlines are generated using DAT RateView, which provides real-time reports on spot market and contract rates, as well as historical rate and capacity trends. The RateView database is comprised of more than $60 billion in freight payments. DAT load boards average 1.2 million load posts searched per business day.

For the latest spot market loads and rate information, visit and follow @LoadBoards on Twitter.

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March used truck sales down 14% from last year



ACT Research Vice President Steve Tam said slowing growth in the freight market is also a likely contributor to the lower sales of used trucks. (Courtesy: ACT RESEARCH)

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Preliminary used Class 8 volumes (same dealer sales) jumped 25% month-over-month in March, following a modest decline in February, according to the latest preliminary release of the State of the Industry: U.S. Classes 3-8 Used Trucks published by ACT Research. However, the report indicated that longer-term comparisons yielded a 14% decline compared to March 2018.

Other data released in ACT’s preliminary report included year-over-year comparisons for March 2019, which showed that average prices rose 7%, while average miles contracted 2%, and average age was 8% higher.

“We continue to hear from dealers that the lack of inventory is a limiting factor inhibiting sales volumes, an observation corroborated by the current demand and pricing environment,” said Steve Tam, vice president at ACT Research. “Despite the impressive sequential increase, volumes remain well below last year’s year-to-date level. It is important to note that slowing growth in the freight market is also a likely contributor to the lower sales. Truckers may be getting to the point where they have the trucks necessary to meet their needed freight demand.”

ACT’s Classes 3-8 Used Truck Report provides data on the average selling price, miles, and age based on a sample of industry data. In addition, the report provides the average selling price for top-selling Class 8 models for each of the major truck OEMs – Freightliner (Daimler); Kenworth and Peterbilt (Paccar); International (Navistar); and Volvo and Mack (Volvo).

ACT Research is a publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies.

More information can be found at



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