Rear impact guards now included in annual DOT inspection checklist

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021:

Rear impact guards now included in annual inspection requirements

Rear impact guards have been added to the checklist of annual truck inspections, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

FMCSA announced the new rule follows recommendations from government agencies and a truck safety advocate whose two children were killed in a truck accident eight years ago.

Rear impact guard inspections will begin Dec. 9. Trucks that fail to pass will not be placed out of service, but each violation could result in a max fine of $15,876 for carriers and $3,969 for drivers.

FMCSA said the new inspection rule follows “a recommendation from the Government Accountability Office, and petitions for rulemaking from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and Ms. Marianne Karth.”

Karth became an advocate for truck safety following a 2013 truck collision that killed her two underage daughters. A faulty impact guard failed to prevent the family car from sliding under a truck trailer, fatally injuring the teen girls.

While conducting research for FMCSA, the GAO discovered that “in fiscal year 2017 inspectors document[ed] more than 2,300 violations related to rear impact guards and rear end protection, more than half of which are for components that are missing, damaged or improperly constructed.”

[Related: States where vehicle-related enforcement is most intense around tires, brakes, lights, more]

Love’s, Chester’s Chicken hosting ‘Truckersgiving’ event this week

Chester’s Chicken and Love’s Travel Stops have teamed up to host a celebration to say thanks to truck drivers – Truckersgiving.

On Thursday, Nov. 18, a week before Thanksgiving, Chester’s and Love’s is inviting truck drivers to their locations to receive a specially designed trucker hat and a free side of Chester’s new mac and cheese.

To participate, truckers can simply stop by any Chester's within a Love's location during operating hours on Nov. 18 and show their commercial driver's license to receive one of more than 2,000 trucker hats and a free side of Chester's new mac and cheese, while supplies last.

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Within Love's more than 560 locations in 41 states, there are more than 140 Chester's restaurants – and more opening every week. According to Love's, the week prior to Thanksgiving is busier with truck traffic than Thanksgiving week, making it the ideal time to treat these drivers.

"Love's enjoys any reason to celebrate professional truck drivers, and Truckersgiving is a fun and festive way to do that," said Joe Cotton, company vice president of restaurant services. "We know drivers enjoy Chester's Chicken, so this is a great way to say thank you to truck drivers during the holidays."

The mac and cheese along with two additional new homestyle sides, mashed potatoes with roasted chicken gravy and green beans, are part of Chester's continued brand refresh. Available now on Chester's menus, the sides make their debut alongside the brand's dipping sauces and fried chicken.

Montgomery Transport offering Appreciation Pay through January

Birmingham, Alabama-based flatbed carrier Montgomery Transport has announced a new pay program and other benefits to show appreciation for its truck drivers.

Over-the-road drivers will now receive extra Appreciation Pay of $0.05 for every loaded mile from Nov. 2 through Jan. 31, 2022. Dedicated drivers will also receive an increase in daily pay over the same time period.

"This recent cycle has been one of the most dynamic, yet difficult times many of us have seen. Our drivers stepped up and kept America moving forward," says Rollins Montgomery, CEO of Montgomery Transport. "We are excited to show them our deep appreciation in many ways."

This year, Montgomery has implemented a number of initiatives to express gratitude for its drivers and elevate their benefits. During the colder months, when tarping is more challenging (Nov. 2 to Feb 1), Montgomery increased tarp pay for legal standard loads from $35 to $50 and over dimensional loads from $50 to $60.

Drivers who have been with the company for at least 30 days are also now eligible for guaranteed weekly minimum pay of up to $1,200, depending on tenure. Previously, eligibility was after 6 months' tenure with the company. Additionally, those who have been with the carrier for 6 months are now eligible for vacation pay rather than at one year.

In July, MT increased breakdown pay from $100 per day to $150 per day.

[Related: Inside the veterans-support mission of MSR Transport]