It’s complicated: Channel 19 year in review, part 3

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The countdown continues from Part 1 of this 2016 in review, “When the time bombs started going off…”, and part 2, “A little learnin’ and its opposite,” picking up from number 5 to ….


The “real Leroy Mercer” reared his head, yet again (sort of — yeah, it’s complicated), J.D. Terry and his “Driveway Dream” KW got the “Rolling CB Interview” treatment from Big Rig Videos’ Chris Fiffie, and some good news emerged for dry van rates and volume in the weekly spot market update, for a change in what had been a down year by and large, presaging vans’ run at its biggest rate month later in the year.

Change potential for the hours of service reared its head in a report on what many readers refer to as the required “milk and cookie” break, which enforcement and industry associated with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance asked to be eliminated from hours requirements. Some jurisdictions seemed to have grown weary of enforcing it, meanwhile, and if FMCSA wasn’t going to remove the break as requested by CVSA, there was at least some rationale for reducing its severity weighting in the CSA Safety Measurement System.

Josh Foster’s Trux ’06 custom Volvo turned a few heads following the Great American Trucking Show.

Overdrive readers responded more forcefully than to any proposed regulation in recent memory against the notion of a mandate for speed-limiter use on most large trucks, as proposed by NHTSA/FMCSA, viewing safety compromises as perhaps chief in arguments against the rule.

Constituencies around the nation, including elements of the so-called “safety advocacy” community marshaling crash victims’ stories toward political purposes, jumped in quickly following the speed-limiter proposed rule’s release to hound the agencies about not going far enough, in part illustrating the ease with which data could be manipulated. By the end of the year, nonetheless, some truckers were optimistic about the possibility the speed limiter mandate might wither away on the vine, in light of the many arguments against it, the incoming federal administration and more.

“I think this is one of those rulemakings that is going to die an ignominious death … especially in light of the new administration coming into Washington.” Joe Rajkovacz on NHTSA/FMCSA’s speed-limiter proposed rule

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There were 500-plus owner-operator stories to be told in Joplin, Mo., at the Guilty by Association Truck Show, including that of this cabover’s comeback from ruin.

A letter from a truck-stop maintenance man pled for professional behavior by the professionals, the elusive holy grail of a load-board-like service for shipper-direct freight continued to prove elusive, and other things were happening in Joplin, as news of a brother of the highway’s patriotic convoy and yet more rolling video work by Chris Fiffie emerged.

The Chicago Cubs were doing pretty well as the playoffs got under way, to the delight of an old acquaintance, Dave Marti of Dave Marti Trucking, and reader Don Christner brought some cabover classics out into the light of day following his shoot in the truck yard at Supply Sargent in Cheyenne, Wyo.

Singer-songwriter/trucker Paul Marhoefer in some ways channeled the wisdom of Wes Memphis to further reinforce the “it’s complicated” message as regards most things in life, eschewing the plague of reductionism that had characterized so much in American politics and culture this year, particularly as the presidential and a myriad state and local elections winded down. America’s No. 1 greatest problem, he said, is reductionism. The tracks on his “Old Black Epiphone” record succeeded in running against that grain, to surprising degrees.

Another truck-parking-capacity expansion plan hit a wall of NIMBY opposition, smaller carriers were in fact singled out for inspection by the federal system, and an owner-operator business commentator told a roomful of brokers that many of his listeners thought they were by and large “lying, cheating scumbag parasites sitting in a room with a phone and an internet connection sucking all the profit out of the load.”

The old ways of finding freight were surviving in the face of technological wizardry that wanted to upend them.

Independent Zach Beadle wrapped up a rebuild-and-extend job on a 48-foot Trailmobile flatbed he planned to put to work hauling hay and other things, and a custom fuel hauler out of the Chicago area got its day in the sun.

The election happened. The reductionism inherent in all the political battle began to meet complicated reality in a variety of ways. Change was in the air.

My daughter signed the trailer hauling the big Idaho spruce that would become the U.S. Capitol Christmas tree, which was pretty cool.

Owner-operator Chuck Shaffer reported a sizable revenue decline his first year on e-logs, giving voice to a worry of many operators, and the ELD mandate presented a double bind for Randy Carlson, owner of a post-1999 truck not exempt from the mandate’s requirements to use e-logs but which was powered by a mechanical engine, presenting technical challenges conforming to mandate tech specs.

A new resource emerged for those who would be parking-needs advocates, and contentions were contested around the pre-2000 model year exemption to the ELD mandate.

Owner-operators Mike and Tammy Groom found hub-cover brand loyalty.

Wal-Mart reportedly tested in-cab video cameras, an 800-pound gorilla said it would be entering the trucking space in the “uberization” mold, and Howard Salmon‘s following-too-close case, caught on his dashcam earlier in the year (yes, the Prius won there), came to a nolo contendere close — he called it a win-win — after he lost, and then found, a couple suspension bolts following a botched repair.

Elves Trucking LLC settled on a time-card strategy in lieu of logs, though the prospect of “compliance-review waterboarding” didn’t exactly portend that strategy’s success in perpetuity.

All in all, an eventful year. Here’s hoping your next one is all that it should be — and more! Keep the tips coming.