Trying to get a good night’s sleep


sleep1In the trucking industry where there is a need for long periods of acute mental awareness during long stretches of physical inactivity, quality sleep is vitally important. From time to time we hear of incidents where sleep was related to a crash and we must not glaze over the seriousness of proper rest.

Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep per night, although some need more or less sleep to be adequately rested. And when you have not gotten the right amount for your body, “oh boy” does it let you know. Well, sorry to say that there isn’t much that can take the place of a good night’s sleep to keep you alert. So, let’s first discuss what a good night’s sleep is and along the way talk about things to keep your alert level as high as possible while you’re awake.

Located in the brain is your body’s biological clock that tells it when it’s time to sleep and when to be awake. Your clock runs on a 24 hour cycle and regulates body temperature, alertness and the daily hormone cycles which stimulate cells into action. Disruption to any of the phases of the clock can cause physical and mental-related issues.

There are two main types of sleep, rapid-eye-movement (REM), and non-rapid-eye-movement (NREM). In most adults, sleep begins with the NREM phase. NREM sleep has three main stages. NREM begins with the 1st stage of gently dozing off until reaching the 3rd stage which is the “couldn’t wake you up with a bullhorn” stage of the NREM phase. In the progression from stage 1 to stage 3, brain waves slow and become more synchronized, and the eyes remain still. In the 3rd stage, the brain becomes less responsive to external stimuli, blood pressure and body temperature drop and muscles relax. The 3rd stage is where scientists believe physical and mental recuperation occur like protein building and hormone release. The NREM phase then reverses stages to a more awake stage 2 then stage 1 at which point the REM phase begins.

During REM sleep (aka “active sleep” state), muscles in the arms and legs are temporarily paralyzed, the slow brain wave sleep of NREM quickens as does your heart beat and breathing. The blood pressure rises and the eyes move around in all directions. Scientists believe these eye movements are related to dreams. REM can last from 5 to 30 minutes. NREM sleep and REM sleep continue to alternate throughout the night with the length of NREM stage 3 declining during each cycle. The average length of the NREM-REM sleep cycles are between 70 and 120 minutes.
Many of us have awake times that do not match our internal sleep clock which wants to be awake during the day and asleep at night. For those that do, you’ll have to work extra hard to get the sleep your body needs.

There are a lot of factors that affect the quality and quantity of sleep which include stress, what we eat and drink, medical conditions and the medications we take, the environment in which we sleep and the times at which we finally get to sleep. Any one of these can disrupt the depth of sleep we need so badly.

STRESS: Stress can stimulate an arousal response making restful sleep more difficult to achieve. Search out ways to help decompress e.g., exercise, yoga, music, deep breathing techniques, etc.

ALCOHOL: Alcohol can cause a person to fall asleep more quickly, but the quality of sleep will be compromised. Ingesting alcohol before bedtime has shown to cause increased awakenings due to the arousal effect the alcohol has as it is metabolized throughout the night.

CAFFEINE: A chemical called adenosine, which naturally builds in the brain during awake times is believed to inhibit brain cells that promote alertness. Hence, the longer we’re awake, the more sleepy we become. Interestingly, caffeine works to block the adenosine receptors of the brain allowing nerve cells to maintain activity. However, the more caffeine we ingest the longer it will take for the affects to wear off which can interfere with sleep cycles.

LIGHT: Exposure to light in the evening tends to delay the phase of our internal clock and leads us to prefer later sleep times. Bright light bulbs and electronic devices are common examples and should be minimized before bedtime.

PAIN: Pain and discomfort limit the depth of sleep we get. Those with chronic and acute pain should limit caffeine and alcohol consumption and practice stress reliving techniques. Use of pain killers and/or sleeping pills, while effective, should only be used under the supervision of a physician.

DRUGS: Many medications contain alpha and beta blockers used to control heart rhythms and reduce blood pressure both of which affect sleep. Talk to your doctor about the affects they may cause.

SLEEP ENVIRONMENT: Increase your chances of better sleep by controlling your sleep environment. 1) Use no/low lighting such as nightlights to minimize the effects on the internal clock; 2) Reduce noise that can prevent transitions to the deeper stages of sleep, and; 3) Maintain a comfortable temperature to avoid disruptive sleep; 4) Invest in quality bedding.

Driving without the proper amount of quality sleep makes it harder to pay attention to the road and dramatically impacts your reactions. Signs of drowsy driving are trouble focusing, heavy eyelids, an inability to remember the last stretch of road that you just drove, yawning constantly, bobbing your head, and drifting from your lane. If this starts to happen while you’re driving, find a safe place to pull over and take a quick nap or stretch, breath deeply and take a short walk, or buy a cup of caffeinated coffee to help keep you alert. STAY SAFE AND GET SOME REST!

EPA proposes to remove gliders from regulations

Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards Phase 2

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to repeal emission standards under its Phase 2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards that apply to glider vehicles, glider engines, and glider kits. The proposed repeal is based on the interpretation that glider vehicles would not be considered “new motor vehicles”, glider engines would not be considered “new motor vehicle engines”, and glider kits would not be treated as “incomplete” new motor vehicles. Under this proposed interpretation, EPA would lack authority to regulate glider vehicles, glider engines, and glider kits under the Clean Air Act.

Opposition to the proposed changes is fierce. Environmentalists and large trucking associations have commented strongly against the change stating that the EPA has clear authority to regulate rebuilt engines and that creating such a loophole could potentially upend the agency’s ability to regulate emissions from the trucking sector. Considering language used in their comments, the American Trucking Association appears to see this as a slap in the face from the EPA. The association commented, “ATA members buy a tremendous amount of new equipment and pay a premium price investing in clean engine technologies.”, and “The Continued Growth of Gliders Creates a Competitive Disadvantage to Fleets Purchasing New Equipment”.

The comment period ended January 5, 2018. You can view comments and actions at, RIN 2060–AT79.
A glider kit is a new truck chassis, special ordered from the factory, without engine or transmission. This allows for a customized powertrain to be added that better meets the needs of the consumer.

Cummins unveils electric truck ahead of TESLA’s November reveal date


Cummins AEOS Electric Truck

Aug. 29, 2017 — Indiana based Cummins, Inc., a leading maker of engines and engine components has unveiled an all-electric, 18,000 lb, Class 7 semi truck called AEOS. AEOS with its 100-mile range and 20-ton payload capacity is designed for local hauling. It is equipped with a 140 kWh battery pack that — at present — takes an hour to charge. However, Cummins says that by 2020, improvements in battery technologies are expected to reduce that time to 20 minutes. Additionally, technologies such as regenerative braking and the potential for solar panels on the trailer roof can extend its range by sending energy to the battery pack. Along with the expertise of Roush Industries, AEOS is expected to be ready for market by 2019.

In August of 2016, electric car maker Tesla said it expected to unveil an electric semi-truck in the following six to nine months and then enter production in less than five years. Most recently, the company has set a November 16 date for the unveiling and test ride of that truck in Hawthorne, CA.

In his “Master Plan” released last year, CEO Elon Musk wrote, “We believe the Tesla Semi will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate”. Along with the tentative October date, Musk tweeted “Worth seeing this beast in person. It’s unreal.

Unreal is just what a pair of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University believe. In a paper they wrote, the two found that the heavy-duty truck that Musk is looking to produce would need a 14 ton battery for 600 miles of non-stop driving at a cost exceeding $250,000. Taking into account the limits on truck weights and the room needed for the battery, cargo capacity would be reduced by one third. Compounding the problem would be the lack of infrastructure and regeneration times. However, the researches did agree that a next generation “beyond lithium battery pack” could produce a 600-900 mile range and increased cargo capacity, but that 300 to 350 miles is probably the limit of what the vehicle could be designed for with current technology.

Climate change is a big driver of aggressive electrified technologies with China and California leading the way. If it were up to California Governor Jerry Brown, the success of these two companies couldn’t come sooner. According to Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, the Governor has expressed serious interest in barring the sale of vehicles powered by internal-combustion engines. A ban on sales would help both company’s interests and would assist the state in meeting its aggressive 2050 emissions target of an 80% reduction. “The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California,” Nichols stated.

It appears that electrification has some serious business allies in a very large market. Electric vehicles around the world are increasing rapidly and electric trucks… well they’re gaining momentum and are here for the short haul, but how long before engineers find a way to build a better battery for the long haul? Stay tuned!

FMCSA to review/remove crashes from CSA data

In an effort to right the ship in regards to its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, the FMCSA has launched a new pilot program that allows a review of crashes for potential removal from CSA records.

The Agency has stated that its “Stakeholders”, referring to those that commented during a 2016 notice of proposed rulemaking, have expressed concern that their Safety Measurement System (SMS) may not identify the highest-risk motor carriers and that the listing of crashes on its public website without an indication of preventability can give a misleading impression of a company’s safety.

As of August 1, Requests for Data Review (RDRs) are being accepted into the FMCSA’s Crash Preventability Demonstration Program for crashes that occurred on or after June 1, 2017. Motor carriers and drivers can submit RDRs through the Agency’s website at:

It’s important to note that not all types of crashes are reviewable. Following are the eight crash types that qualify for a review:
• When the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) was struck by a motorist
driving under the influence (or related offense);
• When the CMV was struck by a motorist driving the wrong direction;
• When the CMV was struck in the rear;
• When the CMV was struck while it was legally stopped or parked, including
when the vehicle was unattended;
• When the CMV struck an individual committing, or attempting to commit,
suicide by stepping or driving in front of the CMV;
• When the CMV sustained disabling damage after striking an animal;
• When the crash was the result of an infrastructure failure, falling trees,
rocks, or other debris; or
• When the CMV was struck by cargo or equipment from another vehicle.

The Agency says that carriers/drivers must submit compelling information and documentation to show that the crash was Not Preventable. Suggested documentation/evidence includes, but is not limited to: Crash reports; Police Accident Reports; Insurance documents; Videos; Media reports; Affidavits; or Transcripts.

Once FMCSA completes its review of the crash, the Agency will post results to SMS within 60 days. FMCSA says it will continue to list Not Preventable crashes on the SMS website, but that the crash will appear with a notation that reads, “FMCSA reviewed this crash and determined that it was not preventable.”

Editorial — The FMCSA tells us that their studies show crash involvement is a strong indicator of future crash risk. Common sense tells us that a crash that was NOT preventable (e.g., when the CMV was struck while it was legally stopped or parked) would NOT aide in determining a carrier’s crash risk. Yet, here we are seven years later only now discussing that as a possibility. Stakes are high for motor carriers as the Agency’s “public risk calculator” is used by a number of industries to determine rates and even whether or not to do business with a carrier. Is it a step in the right direction? Yes, but it is both unfortunate and disappointing that it has taken this much time to only be at this point. Get involved and stay involved.

Operation Airbrake set for September 7

On May 3, 2017, more than 9,500 commercial motor vehicles were inspected for an unannounced brake safety enforcement event coordinated by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). Enforcement personnel throughout North America conducted inspections on large trucks and buses to identify out-of-adjustment brakes, and brake-system and antilock braking system (ABS) violations.

Inspection data from the enforcement initiative produced the following notable results:

  • In all, 9,524 inspections (U.S. 8,140; Canada 1,384) were conducted as part of Brake Safety Day
  • 79% of the vehicles inspected did not have any critical item vehicle violations.
  • 21% (1,989) resulted in a vehicle being placed out of service for vehicle violations of any kind.
  • 12% (1,146) resulted in a vehicle being placed out of service for brake-related violations.

Many participating jurisdictions were able to survey ABS compliance, as follows:

  • 4,635 air-braked trucks and tractors were identified as requiring ABS; 8% (391) had ABS violations.
  • 3,222 trailers were identified as requiring ABS; 15% (487) had ABS violations.
  • 723 hydraulic-braked trucks required ABS; 6% (41) had ABS violations.

Brake-related violations comprise the largest percentage of all out-of-service violations cited during roadside inspections. Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce the braking capability and increase stopping distances of trucks and buses, which pose a serious risk to driver and public safety.

CVSA’s Operation Airbrake Program is holding one more brake safety enforcement event this year on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017 throughout Canada, Mexico and the United States.
Brake Safety Day is part of the Operation Airbrake Program sponsored by CVSA in partnership with the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Operation Safe Driver Week set for October 15-21

Get ready for more inspections! Law enforcement agencies throughout North America will engage in heightened traffic safety enforcement and educational outreach as part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Safe Driver Week, Oct. 15-21, 2017. Throughout the week, enforcement personnel will identify and issue warnings and/or citations to commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers and passenger-vehicle drivers exhibiting unsafe driving behaviors on our roadways.

DOT shelves speed limiter proposal drops financial responsibility and sleep apnea proposals


The FMCSA has decided to withdraw a 2014 Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) which sought to increase minimum financial responsibility limits for motor carriers. The Agency stated that it does not have sufficient data or information to support further rulemaking.

Despite receiving thousands of comments in response to the ANPRM, commenters did not provide responsive information necessary to allow the Agency to proceed to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking – which oddly enough hasn’t seemed to stop them in the past. And a formally announced withdrawal is very odd as well.

In accordance with the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), the FMCSA was required to conduct a study on the issue of minimum financial responsibility limits for motor carriers. With skyrocketing medical costs and high-profile crashes i.e., Walmart vs Tracy Morgan and the Skagit River bridge collapse that far exceeded the insurance limits, FMCSA floated a proposal to more than triple those minimums to somewhere around $3.5 million. However, studies (including FMCSA’s own study) have shown that roughly half of 1% of all truck-involved crashes even exceed the current minimum levels.


FMCSA has also withdrawn its 2016 ANPRM on obstructive sleep apnea.

Per the Agency, “Upon review of all public comments to the ANPRM, FMCSA has determined there is”, — again — “not enough information available to support moving forward with a rulemaking action and so the rulemaking will be withdrawn”.
See RIN: 2126-AB88


In an under-the-radar move by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Department’s proposed speed limiter mandate was moved away from their active rulemakings list to a long-term agenda item. The proposed rulemaking would require the installation of speed limiters on all new heavy trucks & buses over 26,000 lbs.

The proposal was announced last September by then U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. Foxx touted the proposed mandate as a safety measure that could save lives and more than $1 billion in fuel costs each year.

The move away from the active list gives an indication that the Department will not pursue a rulemaking any time soon.
Given that federal regulation since President Trump’s inauguration has slowed to a crawl, the Administration’s stance on implementing new regulations likely had an impact on these regulations.


The end of the year will be here before you know it. It’s time now to begin discovering what is expected of you to be compliant with Electronic Logging Devices.

Beginning on December 18, 2017, motor carriers required to maintain records of duty status (RODS) must select compliant Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), and ensure they are installed and drivers and administrative staff are trained to use them (December 16, 2019 for carriers using AOBRDs). Additionally, motor carriers should know how to annotate and edit RODS, certify RODS, and collect required supporting documents.

ELD Requirements

Devices must be synchronized with the Engine Control Module (ECM) to automatically record the following:

    • Engine power status
    • Vehicle motion status
    • Miles Driven
    • Engine hours
    • Date & Time
    • Geographic location information
  • Must have a display or printout function
  • Must have a wireless connection or be able to locally transfer data via USB and Bluetooth®
  • Must have volume control or mute option for any audio feature

Supporting Documents

The ELD Rule still requires drivers and carriers to retain supporting documents (in paper or digital format) to verify HOS compliance. Drivers must submit all their supporting documents to their motor carriers, and motor carriers must retain (not more than eight) supporting documents for each 24-hour period that a driver is on duty.

Document Types

Bills of lading, itineraries, schedules, or equivalent documents that show the starting and ending location for each trip.

  • Dispatch records, trip records, or equivalent documents;
  • Expense receipts (meals, lodging, fuel, etc.);
  • Fleet management system communication records;
  • Payroll records, settlement sheets, or equivalent documents showing payment to a driver.

Required Information

Each supporting document must contain the following information: Date, time and Location (including the name of the nearest city, town, or village); driver name (or a carrier-assigned ID number) that allows the carrier to link the document to the driver. The vehicle unit number can be used, if that number can be linked to the driver.

Editing and Annotating Records of Duty Status

Limited editing is allowed to correct mistakes, enter missing information, and provide notes or explanations (annotation) for ELD records. All edits, whether made by the driver, or suggested by the carrier, must be annotated.

Driver Certification of RODS

The driver must certify each RODS. A driver must certify any edits he/she makes; and should certify carrier edits if they are accurate. Certification is intended to protect drivers from unilateral changes to the RODS.

Carrier Retention of ELD Information

Carriers must retain original ELD information (on the device, or on a separate back-up system) for at least six months, along with the associated required supporting documents. Carriers must ensure ELD information is stored with appropriate security, to protect driver privacy. Carriers must also provide drivers with access to the records, on request, for a period of six months.

Displaying and Transferring Data

Starting on the compliance date, enforcement officials may request access to RODS through data transfer. An ELD must be able to either: Transmit data using wireless Web services and email, or Transfer data locally using a thumb or flash drive (USB2.0) and Bluetooth®.
Installation of these units is a bit cumbersome, but not so much that you couldn’t do it yourself. Basic installation for most units consists of locating, connecting and routing the adapter cable to the ECM and the ELD module and (in some models) connecting the Bluetooth® connection. Check the FMCSA website for a list of registered ELDs.

When choosing a compliant device, you will have two basic options. 1) a unit designed only to track HOS requirements; and 2) a management system (requiring a wireless web connection) that includes tracking, monitoring and mapping options. Some devices do not include a tablet. Instead, carriers connect their own tablet or phone to an application via Bluetooth®.

The costs vary greatly between the two. For example, with both systems you will be charged to lease or purchase the connection equipment and with a management system you also pay a monthly fee for the connectivity and the additional system features. Lease/purchase charges can start around $100 and monthly fees can start as low as $15.

IMPORTANT: a smartphone or tablet alone will not meet the ELD requirements. A device must be “integrally synchronized” with the truck’s engine to comply.

Docket No. FMCSA-2010-0167

International Roadcheck June 6-8, 2017


CVSA Puts Special Emphasis on Cargo Securement

Mark your calendars for June 6-8, 2017. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) 30th annual International Roadcheck will take place during those three days. International Roadcheck is the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial motor vehicles in the world covering Canada, the United States and Mexico.
Over the 72-hour period, CVSA-certified commercial motor vehicle inspectors Throughout North America will conduct inspections of commercial motor vehicles and their drivers. Each year, International Roadcheck places special emphasis on a category of violations. This year’s focus is cargo securement. While checking for compliance with safe cargo securement regulations is always part of roadside inspections, CVSA is highlighting cargo securement safety this year as a reminder of its importance to highway safety.

According to the CVSA, damaged or defective tiedowns, loose or unfastened tiedowns, and not having the required number of tie-downs are the most common violations. Drivers need to take specific care in calculating the weight of the cargo plus any length requirements when determining the correct number of tiedowns required.

TIP: unmarked or illegible markings on tiedowns may cause an inspector to error on the side of caution and downgrade your tiedown and its Working Load Limit (WLL) which could cause you to be cited.

Inspectors will primarily be conducting the North American Standard Level I Inspection, which is the most thorough roadside inspection. It is a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of both driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness. Drivers are required to provide items such as their driver’s license, hours-of-service documentation, motor carrier registration and shipping documentation, and inspectors will be checking drivers for seat belt usage and the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The vehicle inspection includes checking items such as the brake systems, cargo securement, coupling devices, driveline/driveshaft, exhaust systems, frames, fuel systems, lighting devices (required lamps), steering mechanisms, suspensions, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels, rims and hubs, windshield wipers, and emergency exits (on buses). Learn more at

America’s Aging Infrastructure


Aging Infrastructure

The U.S. has a failing infrastructure and we have to find a way to pay to upgrade it now. That was the reoccurring message delivered during a recent Senate hearing on Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America.

According to the Senate panel and those testifying before the panel, underdeveloped ports, failing locks, constrained rail, crumbling bridges, congested roads and insufficient waterways are all part of an aging U.S. infrastructure that is straining to meet the demands of the 21st century population and commerce. Testifying before the panel, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka provided an estimate that the U.S. infrastructure deficit is approaching $4 trillion.

Five experts representing different areas of the U.S. economy were on-hand to opine on the state of the country’s network of movement and industry. During the hearing there were suggestions on how to relieve stress and congestion throughout the network, but in no way did anyone suggest that stress relievers would fix the underlying and costly need for maintenance and upgrade. Conversely, David MacLennan, CEO of Cargil (representing food and agriculture) stated that the consequences of inaction will have a rippling effect all the way up the supply chain. MacLennan made specific reference to the devastating effect on corn prices paid to farmers following hurricane Katrina in 2005 that represented $3 billion in lost market value.

Like a broken record from previous hearings, the consensus was that the country’s infrastructure is deficient, but funding the effort to fix it remains elusive. The favored method of payment discussed during the hearing was an increase in the federal fuel tax indexed for inflation and a user fee to address those that are less reliant on fuel but no less reliant on the system. Fedex CEO, Frederick Smith stated “the entire country is moving away from internal combustion engines” making the current fuel tax insufficient. Additionally, he suggested the use of RFID modules on vehicles to track distance traveled as a way to calculate the user fee.

As part of his first 100 days in office, President Trump has pledged to fill the $1 trillion gap noted by the National Association of Manufacturers as improvements needed to our transportation systems over the next 10 years. We can only hope that not only will this happen within that time, but it will happen in an manner that brings the country together. That would be Huge.

New CCIA Gear


Our 2017 shirt design features America’s “Mother Road” Historic Route 66.
New CCIA Gear

Our new design is set on 100% preshrunk cotton in American royal blue. The shirt design showcases American strength, ingenuity and pride starting with the symbolic Bald eagle clasping onto California’s Route 66 highway sign. The trucking industry, a key component to the prosperity of American businesses is featured with an 18-wheeler in silhouette along the road with the sun shinning brightly in the background. The term “Mother Road” is draped across the top of the design on a colonial-aged scroll adding a much needed feeling of maturity and patriotism. To add a little flare and to leave no doubt about the message, “HISTORIC ROUTE” was drawn in a vintage font and prominently place in the center of the design. Stars complete the image by surrounding the artwork and compounding the American theme.

Route 66 was one of the original highways within the U.S. Highway System. US 66 was established on November 11, 1926 and was completely paved by 1938. The highway originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before ending at Santa Monica, California, covering a total of 2,448 miles.

The new highway brought life and economic prosperity to those communities along its path and would eventually lead to the construction of the U.S. Highway System. The trucking industry compounded that prosperity and would eventually form the backbone of the U.S. economy.

The decline of Route 66 began in late 1950’s with the signing of the Interstate Highway Act by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and was officially removed from the United States Highway System in 1985.