Cell network outage could impact ELDs, telematics, more

Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024:

Cell service interruptions among AT&T customers reported 

Thousands of AT&T customers have reported widespread issues across the cellular service network this morning, according to DownDetector, a website that tracks outage reports.

More than half of the reports (51%) cite issues on a mobile device, with 41% claiming no service. Only 8% claim issues with mobile internet. Verizon and T-Mobile, too, have seen a spike in outage reports, although the volume of complaints is less pronounced.

DownDetector's figures are self-reported, so the actual number of service outages across all affected providers is orders of magnitude larger than the more than 73,000 reports from AT&T customers as of 8 a.m. Central Time Thursday. 

In a statement Thursday morning, AT&T acknowledged "some" customers are experiencing service interruptions and encouraged users to use Wi-Fi when possible. The reason for the outage is not known, nor is a timeframe for service restoration. 

By noon Central time Thursday, AT&T said in a statement it was making progress in restoring service to "tens of thousands of customers affected by this morning's nationwide outage... Our network teams took immediate action and so far three-quarters of our network has been restored. We are working as quickly as possible to restore service to remaining customers."

Verizon spokesperson told USA Today Thursday morning that its network "is operating normally. Some customers experienced issues this morning when calling or texting with customers served by another carrier. We are continuing to monitor the situation." T-Mobile similarly inferred that it was not having any internal problems, noting that any issues its customers are having are likely the result of them attempting to reach "users on other networks."

Many AT&T users turned to social media Thursday morning stating that iOS devices were only available for SOS calls, an indicator that the device can make emergency calls only due to available service levels.

Cellular communication supports a variety of trucking functions: from engine control module updates, to asset tracking and telematics, to electronic logging devices. 

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Trucker named Highway Angel for shielding traffic from police-involved shooting

The Truckload Carriers Association has named truck driver Jason Corino, from Deltona, Florida, a Highway Angel for stopping to shield other motorists from a shooting taking place at a roadside traffic stop in front of him. Corino drives for Melton Truck Lines out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

Jason CorinoJason CorinoAround 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 29, Corino was driving on US 491 in Cortez, Colorado, when he noticed a vehicle acting abnormally, preventing him from merging. He later found out a case of road rage between the driver of the car and three pickup trucks led to someone calling police to assist. The car passed him, as well as the three trucks, and then a police car passed Corino, evidently in pursuit of the car. 

A few miles down the road, the vehicle was pulled over right in front of him. Since there was not a proper shoulder to pull over, the stopped cars were partly in the right lane. Corino was in the right lane and had to try to pass them on the left. 

“It’s just me, and the officer’s car in front of me and the suspect’s car in front of him, and I’ve got traffic behind me,” Corino said. “I got about 100 feet away and the kid got out of the car, and I heard the first two rounds (of gunfire) and I slammed on my brakes right there to stop traffic behind me.” 

Within seconds, Corino witnessed a deadly shootout erupt between the suspect, Jason Campbell, and the officer, Cortez Police Department Sgt. Michael Moran. Fortunately, he was able to turn on his truck camera and capture the entire incident in a recording, which was later submitted to police. 

“I could see the bullets bouncing off the ground,” Corino said. “I stopped right there to protect the people behind me.” 

He became a key witness to the incident and the camera footage was extremely helpful to the officer’s investigation. Unfortunately, Sgt. Moran died as a result of his wounds. The suspect, Campbell, and his passenger were later contacted on private property, where a member of the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office and a member of the Cortez Police Department engaged him, resulting in an officer-involved fatal shooting of the fugitive, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.