Disruption in the industry

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Innovation has long disrupted the transportation industry, from the advent of the motorized vehicle to a conceivable future of automation.

Opening the Canadian Transportation Research Forum’s (CTRF) annual conference in Vancouver, B.C., today, a panel discussed how transportation has evolved over the years, as well as how turning points have spurred innovation and change.

Geoffrey Wood, senior vice-president of policy for the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), was on hand to highlight how the Humboldt tragedy, perhaps the most significant “disruption” to impact trucking in recent memory, led to several changes within the industry.

Several of those changes included mandating technological innovation, such as electronic logging devices (ELDs), which will become law in Canada in 2020.

The CTA composed a 10-point action plan following Humboldt. In addition to mandating ELDs and pushing for mandatory entry-level training, the list included such efforts as the feasibility of requiring carriers to use forward-facing cameras; increasing the use of in-cab technologies to monitor distracted driving behaviors; assess market readiness of advanced driver assist systems; and explore ways to expand pre-screening technology like weigh-scale bypass – all of which are technological innovations that have potential to disrupt the industry.

“Trucks need to go everywhere, they need to be reliable, and they need to be safe,” said Wood. “There’s a lot of stuff here that is in the works, and it’s important to continue working with our partners to have them move forward.”

The CTA’s efforts following Humboldt were to address one of the alliance’s top priorities, truck safety. The driver shortage, ELDs, Driver Inc., providing a level playing field and effective enforcement, and the elimination of emissions tampering round out the primary efforts the CTA aims to achieve.

The ultimate innovation that could have a significant impact on the trucking industry is automation. Already available with various advanced driver assist technologies, Wood said when it comes to full automation, the industry needs to be realistic, as driverless trucks are nowhere near a reality in the foreseeable future.

John Niles of Harmonize Mobility added that he found it interesting all the talk surrounding autonomous trucks and cars considering in the U.S. trains have not even become autonomous due to labor issues.

“There are many barriers, twists and turns getting to (driverless vehicles),” said Niles, “if we get there at all.”

Driver assist technology, however, is a here now, and beneficial to the industry, according to Wood, who believes much of these new innovations should be mandated because they save lives and reduce collisions.

Asked about platooning, Wood said there is a lot of research currently happening and the technology is at the industry’s disposal, but the market has not bought in.

“We have a big and diverse industry, and keeping all these things on the menu is fine,” Wood said about platooning and if there is a place for mandating its use. “But we have to leave it up to the market on whether they want to use it.”

Wood said the industry has long adopted new technologies both because some have been mandated, like ELDs and emission controls, and because of individual preference, where it helps a business’ bottom line by providing a good return on investment.

Geoffrey Wood.

The panel also discussed issues around connectivity and the potential a 5G network would provide to the idea of connected vehicles and a move toward full automation.

Eve Hue, project manager of new mobility for TransLink, said a 5G network is essential for connectivity and automation, which would ultimately make transportation safer and more personized.

She pointed out that statistics show 94% of vehicle collisions are related to human error.

Hue said the four disruptors of transportation – electrification, connectivity, automation, and ride sharing – all impact the industry, particularly when taking all into consideration.

A university graduate with a degree in English, I have worked in the media and trucking industries as a writer, editor, and now as western bureau chief of Today's Trucking and TruckNews.com. I have several years of management experience in journalism, as well as hospitality, but am first and foremost a writer, both professionally and in my personal life, having completed two fiction novels.

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  • Quote:
    “Eve Hue, project manager of new mobility for TransLink, said a 5G network is essential for connectivity and automation, which would ultimately make transportation safer and more personized.

    She pointed out that statistics show 94% of vehicle collisions are related to human error ”

    Every mishap on this planet is in some shape or form caused by human error and or a lack of awareness to counter it which is in fact a human error !

    Does that mean that the “solution” to eliminate human errors would be to eliminate human beings ?

    Definition of insanity: Humans thinking about ways to eliminate themselves , LOL ! That’s insanity at its finest !

    Unfortunately I agree , the planet would be a safer environment without the primitive human being mind-set in this day and age . However, I don’t believe in eliminating human beings . I believe in awakening their consciousness and helping humans evolve from their current primitive mind-set .

    My goodness , no wonder the trucking industry is in such a dreadful state . Just look at the mind-sets running it .

    The true problem is found in the “mind-set”(mentality), not the actual ” human being” !

  • Concerning autonomous highway trucks .

    Think about it for a moment . They are attempting to eliminate the part in trucking that pays the driver the most by decreasing employer costs through a “safety” reason rant .

    Haven’t they manipulated the public enough through safety BS rants ? Their speed limiter was supposed to increase safety . Though today statistics show that since speed limiters came into enforcement commercial truck collisions have INCREASED ! In the last 10 years commercial truck collisions have increased ! They haven’t decreased ! Then it was a story about emissions . Really ? What about DEF ?

    Now Ontario the most populated province in Canada wants to increase the speed limit on their highways in September 2019 .

    So anyone other than a commercial truck will be allowed to increase their speed , burn more fuel and contribute to an increase in emissions WITHOUT using DEF and or an exhaust fluid to diminish emissions !

    Again , the truth about BS is coming to the surface .

    Ok enough about that for now . Back to the part in trucking that pays the most on road .

    Let’s assume a drop and hook long haul route . Let’s assume 13 hours of driving within Canada , half an hour for the vehicle inspection and two 15 minute fueling periods . That equals to a full day of 14 hours on duty . Plus the 2 hour breaks concluding to 16 hours .

    With a drop and hook run you eliminate loading and unloading time , detention/waiting. It’s more efficient , more loads can be shipped .

    On a 70 hour cycle you would be working 5 days a week and have 2 days off , and or your 36 hour log reset time .

    You wake up at the wheel . This eliminates your personal costs from driving from your home to the terminal to pick up your truck every day and saves time . So you’re saving personal costs and time .

    You’re paid by the mile . So assuming you average 53 miles per hour multiplied by 13 , it equals to 689 miles at .55 per mile gross hauling dry freight . However , you should start being paid overtime after completing 40 hours of driving and or after 2,120 miles which unfortunately is not the case . That too is a major issue .

    But let’s assume in all fairness you would be of which you should be . The salary starts to become quite interesting .

    on average you would earn approximately $34.385 per hour multiplied by 70 hours for a 5 day work week which includes time and a half after 2120 miles . Which is still under indexed inflation since 1980 but very close . Specialized transport would be paid at a higher rate which would be equal to indexed inflation .

    Now rather than pay you by the mile , you should be paid by the hour . And ELD’s record time on duty . So there isn’t any denying the time spent on duty nor the “normal” time it takes to complete a trip under normal circumstances . The same goes for paper log books .

    A driver who cheats the log book is actually cheating himself/herself because you’re taking more time to complete your trip without getting paid for that “actual” time . This is what drivers need to understand . Don’t fool yourselves into cheating yourselves ! The flexibility comes from understanding that things don’t always go perfectly . And one must be willing to accommodate those imperfections .

    Example : if you’re delayed due to a break down , you should be compensated by your employer at the same rate at which you would be driving . The same if you are in a forced layover position . You need to be willing to layover at the same wage as if your were driving + accommodations . And the employer must be willing to pay that fair wage and accommodation . It all comes down to time and being fair/honest and ethical behavior .

    In conclusion : long haul is what pays the driver the most and reduces personal costs as long as there are no breakdowns/delays based on today’s exploiting scenario , not the scenario above . Regional and or city driving pays the least and raises employee personal costs as well as increases in personal time waste and increases risks of collision .

    If you work 60 to 70 hours on duty city driving , you are certainly not “sleeping” 8 hours a day ! Count it ! 16 hours including breaks per 24 hour day , but then you have to drive from and back home every day ! Then you take time to wash up etc.

    That’s just one tiny reason why the CTA is out to lunch with their “safety” ELD BS !

    Even in long haul , most do not sleep 8 hours a day unless extremely exhausted ! You need to decompress , relax a bit . Sometimes your mind just keeps on ticking for awhile . Perhaps the driver calls home before going to bed , catches up on what is going on at home etc. This either helps them unwind from the day or can increase stress . Most people regulating the industry don’t have a freaking clue about what drivers go through and experience .

    Most drivers are burnt within 5 to 10 years .

    Which is another problem . Why do many tend to burn out within 5 to 10 years in general ?

    Stress and exploitation ! Some adapt some cannot . It’s not a one size fits all situation . And you cannot make it into one ! The industry needs to adapt to people , not people adapt to the industry .

    Some people need only 5 hours of sleep and can run the marathon . Others need 8 and or 10 hours of sleep .

    Some need to act physically in their duties , others not . Not everyone can sit behind a desk and not everyone can work physically in a construction trade . Some try and then realize it’s not for them .

    You can brainwash a human being to act at your will but they will develop negative alignments if it is not their true calling . Even though you keep conditioning their mind frame , they will rebel from within subconsciously . Either through bad behavior ,bad habits , self sabotage , etc etc . People need to feel truly happy to perform at their best . Rather than try to “condition” a human being , why not teach them and provide them with the tools to condition themselves to attain their true desires ?

    Most people who drive trucks don’t like it .They are there for the money until the pain surpasses the superficial pleasure they CONvinced themselves they would receive in the trade .

    Some enjoy trucking for the “freedom” it provided but that “freedom” is becoming extinct . The so called pleasure in the trade is dissipating . Either it being due to higher costs and lower wages ,lack of freedom , increase suffering due to lack of organization , realizing one is being exploited , ect ect ect .

    The young are attracted to the “look” of the machine . Wow it’s big and looks like fun . All beliefs . Beliefs based on a preconceived idea . Some can still find some sort of comfort and stick to the trade . As long as they can somehow experience a little more pleasure than pain they will stay in the trade .

    But listen to what most of the experienced have to say about the trade . They will say find something else . Don’t become a truck driver . Why ? They are not speaking from a preconceived notion . They are telling you based on experience and FACTS !

    Now we have a discriminatory insurance issue concerning new drivers , and an issue concerning small fleets . Appears to me that they want to push independent brokers to large carriers or to become employees at large carriers . Rather than creating a solution which is fair , they are now creating another problem . Again , leading to a lack of freedom and injustice .

    They decided to ask for more immigrants to solve a “supposed” driver shortage . However, they realized a different culture tends to act a little differently . So that caused another sort of problem .

    It also caused some to react with racism . Again leading to division . But who actually caused this problem ? Those that are is a position to lobby regulations ! And regulators !

    Now those same people who screwed up many times in the past are trying to enforce something else . Why not simply get rid of the problem , the one’s making the mistakes at the top ? It’s enough . Truck drivers are not lab rats . Everything those so called lobbyists tried has failed ! EVERYTHING ! Now it’s the hocus pocus stories about ELD’s increasing safety , LOL ! When will the insanity stop ? I’ll tell you when . When we will make a change at the top ! That’s when it will be beneficial at the bottom and in between .

    So while trucking associations blame drivers and their lack of savoir fair , I blame the one’s at the top and their lack of savoir fair based on their frequent mishaps and ridiculous attempts at manipulating the public and government . That’s the true cause of the trucking industry problem , the one’s at the top ! Their mind-set is flawed in my humble opinion and this needs to change .

    Wow , the trucking industry is truly an unfortunate huge can of worms ……………

    And it’s not because of drivers . Drivers are simply labourers . They are not the one’s at the top pulling the strings in the industry ! At least not yet ! (wink)

  • I’ll try to keep this one short.

    Next time you go for a truck driving interview and face your recruiter who states that you’ll be paid only after two hours of waiting time for a mediocre amount of money , ask if you can speak to them as a friend and put the employer / employee status aside for a moment .

    Then ask them if they would be willing to start their day in their position and be paid only after their second hour of being on duty and at a lesser rate than normally paid for general working hours . Ask if they find this would be fair ?

    Watch their face and their mind be dumbfounded and searching for an excuse of why you should except to be cheated and they not be .

    What happened to the notion of treating others as one would like to be treated in all fairness ?

    You see , most of these recruiters don’t “think” . They just push what their superiors tell them to . I would be ashamed to try and push exploitation on a recruit . Then they wonder why less and less people want to join the trade ,lol !

    The clever recruiter should explain to their superior that it is unethical to “demand” for charity in a business transaction . And suggest that there are more ethical ways to diminish costs while increasing profits rather than attempt to exploit an employee . But then again people would be required to actually “think” before acting !

    The trucking industry is filled with flaws . It’s not even a challenge to find them . I truly feel empathy and compassion for the drivers .

    Those at the top on the other hand , need to get their act together . If they want to be authoritative and respected then they better be ethical . Otherwise it will be my genuine pleasure to shake up their “status quo” and put them in their place , diplomatically of course ,lol ………….