Thursday round-up: What deer whistles, elections and NASTC’s annual meeting have in common

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Tools designed to mitigate hazard, maybe? I’ll be out at the National Association of Small Trucking Companies’ annual meeting tomorrow here in Nashville. Look for updates here at through early next week from what always proves to be an informative gathering of small fleet owners and operators. Topics of discussion on tomorrow’s schedule: Hours of service, e-logs, sleep apnea and medical certification, CARB, efficiency and more. 

If you’re one of those in Nashville for the meet, get in touch; it’d be great to put a name to a face, as it were, if we’ve not previously met. 

Readers’ hopes for the national elections (illustrated in the above poll results) were realized, given the shellacking Democrats took across the nation. Which reminds me of the NASTC meeting in one way in particular. Joe Rajkovacz of the California Construction Trucking Association and its Western Trucking Alliance will be giving an update tomorrow on the California Air Resources Board’s emissions regs there. And given the election results, Rajkovacz won’t have to eat his hat — at least not for the next couple years.

Now, for the record I don’t know that I’ve ever seen Rajkovacz wearing a hat, but that’s neither here nor there. Here’s what he told me in September about the prospects for the House bill that would force FMCSA’s hand on the call for CSA scores to be removed from public view, at least until the agency repairs onerous parts of the scoring regime: 

I think you’re going to see more of this, especially if the Fall election gives the Republicans control of both houses…. Other than that, right now, my opinion is there’s zero chance this will ever get through a Democratically controlled Senate. I’d eat my hat if that happened, but I feel safe in that bet today.

His digestive system no doubt thanks the voters. How’s that for hazard mitigation? 

roadkillAvoiding the deer ‘hitting you’
Yes, as I was politely reminded following a post to Overdrive‘s Facebook page that issued the query “What were conditions the last time you hit (or closely missed) a deer in the roadway?”… drivers don’t hit deer. Rather, deer hit them.   

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Here’s reader Randall Riggins, commenting under that Facebook post: “No. Don’t say it like that. You say, ‘a deer hit me.'” Or, as Hanley Garrett had it, the deer “committed suicide,” as did the one that ran “into the tandems” of Vickie Lee Thomas‘ rig and another that “bent up my bumper on the left side when it lost the race across the highway.”

At least one reader out there swears by deer whistles of the kind that catch the wind as you’re rolling and issue a sound that is purported to keep the animals out of the vicinity, warning them of your approach. The commenter wrote: “Deer whistles work great…. Six or seven dollars at a Walmart. I’ve never hit one deer.” Even one positioned on one the side of the hood, in the wind, is good, but two of the peel-and-stick implements “is even better…. If one comes off, the other will still work. This is much cheaper than a big ol’ bumper,” obviously. 

You don’t have to look far, however, to find counterclaims and studies that say such air-activated devices, well, just don’t work — owner-operator Joey Slaughter, writing under his own blog post on the subject, says that after using those for years he became convinced they weren’t effective after seeing “deer feeding next to the road, and they would never move as I approached them…. I just blare my air horn and slow down now.”

Six bucks isn’t much for a little bit of superstitious mojo, though, I’ll say. Knock on the woodgrain dash and all that.  

And if you ever come up on a moose, Thomas noted, “give up. They don’t chicken out very easily and can total out a truck in a heartbeat.”

Stay safe out there in this top month for deer strikes — excuse me, deer suicides. Good luck.

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