On The Move 2018

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ON THE MOVE • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018

on effective brake light checks COURTESY OF MAINE PROFESSIONAL DRIVERS ASSOCIATION The Maine Professional Drivers Association recently received the following question via its website. Professional driver (and MPDA Executive Director) Denis Litalien responds. Question: I have been professionally driving for two years for [a local company] out of Auburn. A fellow driver was watching me do a pre-trip [inspection]. So I did as I have done since day one. I turned on all the lights, put on my four ways, thumped the tires, etc. So when I completed my circle check the guy asked me if I was going to check my brake lights. So I said “What do you mean? I already did.” He said “No, you didn’t.” So I asked him how to do that. He said to shut my lights off and put a weight on the trailer brake lever, which no one had ever suggested I do. My question is: Is that the proper way to do that? Is it necessary to do that? If so, why don’t trucks have a way to set the trailer brake so that it shows that the brake lights are working?

Answer: We (drivers) have been discussing this topic for years and have recommended that a better way be made available to check your brake lights. None has come about. When drivers do a circle check (pre or post-trip inspection) the procedure for checking the brake lights is usually done by rigging some makeshift item onto the trailer brake handle, which activates the brake lights without having to step on the brake pedal. To do it properly, two trips to the back of the trailer are required as most trailers combine the brake lights and taillights into one fixture. So the taillights have to be checked then the brake lights have to be checked separately because the brake lights are brighter and override the taillights. I have seen drivers make one circle, check the brake lights, and assume the taillight is working, figuring that it is more important to have a working brake light than taking the time to make two trips to the back of the trailer. While partially true, it still leaves the taillight unchecked and opens the driver to a violation if the light is actually out and he/she couldn’t tell. School buses have a neat feature that allows all the lights on the bus to cycle on and off as the driver walks around the unit, observing each light as it cycles. I think that will eventually come to happen with trucks to make the pre-trip inspection more thorough. As you know many trucks now have a feature that will indicate a defective light on a dash indicator, which is a step in the right direction. In the meantime, it is absolutely the responsibility of the driver to assure that all the parts and accessories are in working condition as he/she is the one who will suffer the consequences if any of those parts are not working. So I would suggest that whatever way you choose, the important thing is to cover all bases to cover your responsibilities.

ON THE MOVE • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018



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New Hampshire State Truck Driving Championships Associated Grocers of New England, Pembroke, NH contact NHMTA at 603-224-7337 or Vera Tucker at 603-415-8311 (nhmta.org) Massachusetts State Truck Driving Championships New England Tractor Trailer Training School, N. Andover, Mass. contact Fred Schenk at 781-469-5988 or fschenk@jandstrans.com (mass-trucking.org) Annual CVSA Roadcheck Nationwide Inspections (cvsa.org) Linde Driving Competition Linde Facility, Kittery – 8:00am contact Denis Litalien at 468-7373 or director@mpda.org (mpda.org)


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ATA National Truck Driving Championships Columbus, Ohio contact Randy DeVault at 623-4128 or randyd@mmta.com (trucking.org) Ride for Camp POSTCARD Hannaford Office, South Portland contact Dick Brown at 415-4734 or email at gbrown@hannaford.com

20th Annual Northeast Professional Truck Drivers Charity Challenge Devens, Mass. contact Fred Schenk at 781-469-5988 or charitychallenge@comcast.net (necharitychallenge.org) National Truck Driver Appreciation Week Tentative Trucker Appreciation Day Maine Turnpike Scale Facility, York/Kittery - 11:00am to 4:00pm contact Rob Fernald at 838-1074 or fernald2@aol.com (mpda.org) 20th Maine Trucking 4 Kids Convoy 8:00am to 4:00pm – Location TBA contact Jim Costa at jcosta@sacoriver.net or 420-1816 (mpda.org/trucking4kids)

National Move Over Day contact Kevin Marstellar – tram_kmarstaller@yahoo.com



ON THE MOVE • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018

infrastructure among top challenges facing Maine truckers BY ALAN CROWELL At a time when autonomous vehicles are getting all the press, one of the biggest challenges facing Maine’s trucking companies is replacing a generation of human drivers nearing retirement. Brian Parke, president and CEO of the Maine Motor Transportation Association, said finding the drivers and technicians to drive and maintain the trucks of both today and the future is the single most important issue facing the industry. Following close behind that challenge is the need to invest in Maine’s infrastructure and the importance of a strong economy to grow the economic pie for all Mainers, said Parke. The MMTA is a voluntary trade organization that advocates for sound trucking policies and provides training and other assistance to trucking companies on issues such as meeting new regulations and technological requirements.


According to the American Trucking Association, there was a shortage of 36,000 truckers at the end of 2016. Final numbers were not available for 2017 but that shortage was projected to reach 50,000 by the end of last year. Parke said despite the publicity about autonomous trucks, he doesn’t expect self-driving rigs to take over the highways any time soon, especially in Maine where frost heaves and sometimes hard-to-see lane markers can create difficult conditions even for human drivers. And while autonomous trucks may eventually become common on the nation’s highways, Parke said they won’t necessarily replace human drivers. He can envision a day when a human driver engages the autonomous system and remains in the truck, ready to take control of the vehicle if necessary in much the same manner that airline pilots today use autopilot systems. He said human drivers will also always be needed to drive the last mile or so of a trip as the truck leaves the highway and reaches the more difficult-tonavigate areas just before the delivery point. “This is not a job that is going to disappear in ten years and it is transferable to all 50 states,” he said. National statistics indicate that wages are rising for truckers and Parke said for people who enjoy the lifestyle, trucking can be an attractive career. For hands-on people who don’t see themselves in a cubicle for the rest of their lives, a career in transportation can offer a chance to see the country and work in an independent atmosphere. “There is a freedom involved,” said Parke. The industry has also shed the cowboy image of decades ago, he said. Modern truckers are professionals who take their job seriously, especially when it comes to safety. Safety is also bolstered by a spate of new systems on modern trucks, including automatic emergency braking, collision warnings systems and other safety equipment. While trucks have, overall, become safer and more technologically advanced, Parke said there is a need to invest in the state’s infrastructure. Transportation companies are so much in favor of improving the state’s roads, highways and bridges that the Maine Motor Transportation Association supports an increase in gas and diesel fuel tax so long as the additional money is used on the state’s transportation infrastructure. “Our concern is that these are our employees’ work places and we want safe roads just like everybody else,” said Parke. The Maine Department of Transportation has done an admirable job doing more with less but sooner or later the state will have to invest more on roads, or the infrastructure will be affected, he said. “An investment in our roads is an investment in our economic prosperity,” he said. Helping the state to find ways to grow the economic pie is also a priority, said Parke, because if the state is producing more and Maine people are purchasing more, truckers will be transporting those goods to market. Another major issue facing the trucking industry has been new regulations that require trucking companies to adopt electronic logging devices that are connected directly to the truck’s computer system. The electronic logs record, among other things, who is driving the truck and for how long. They are almost impossible to falsify, which was not true of paper logs, said Parke. The new logs, which can look like an iPad or a cell phone, were a big change for many trucking companies, especially smaller firms, but Parke said today many truckers, particularly those who were early adopters, have come to appreciate the systems. Federal regulations requiring electronic logs are part of an effort to improve safety by preventing truckers from driving tired.

ON THE MOVE • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018

Providing safe, reliable motor carrier service since 1948 COURTESY HARTT TRANSPORTATION Hartt Transportation Systems has been providing professional, reliable and safe motor carrier service to Maine and the nation for over 70 years. Starting in 1948 with a single truck designed to haul gravel and pulpwood, Delmont Hartt and more recently his son William have directed the company’s growth to include 370 company tractors, 150 sub-haulers, 2160 dry vans and hundreds of dedicated employees. In a time of motor carrier consolidations and corporate ownership, Hartt Transportation Systems is extremely proud of its family ownership and management. William oversees the entire operation as CEO with Jeffrey Castonguay as president and each is available daily to assist in meeting our customers’ needs. Hartt Transportation Systems has been recognized by the American Trucking Association’s Safety Management Council, the Maine Motor Transport Association and Great West Casualty Company for its superior safety record. Our equipment is late model, consisting of 53ft air ride dry van trailers and 30 flatbeds. Our drivers are professional, courteous, proud and productive with a 98 percent on-time delivery rate. With the advent of PeopleNet platform tracking system, every employee aspires to beat that record. If you are shipping from the heart of Maine or the heartland of America, we’re confident you’ll be pleased with the dedicated services of Maine’s family owned and managed Hartt Transportation Systems Inc.



ON THE MOVE • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018

electric truck fleet AP–UPS says it will soon start using electric delivery trucks that cost the same as conventional diesel- or gas-fueled ones. The company has been developing the trucks with Ohio-based truck maker Workhorse Group Inc. for four years. Electric trucks are usually more expensive because of battery costs. UPS says it will deploy 50 of the trucks by the end of this year in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Dallas. It expects that fleet to grow next year. The trucks have a range of 100 miles between charges. UPS wants 25 percent of its global fleet to be alternative fuel vehicles by 2020. It’s already using 300 electric trucks in Europe and the U.S. It added three Daimler eCanter electric trucks to its fleet last fall and recently ordered 125 electric semi trucks from Tesla Inc.

to require trucker human-trafficking course AP–A new law in Colorado will require truck drivers to complete a class on how to recognize and prevent human trafficking. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the measure into law April 12. The Denver Post reports the bill had broad, bipartisan support. It will require people seeking a new commercial driver’s license to complete the half-hour training at no extra cost. Police and advocacy groups say they hope more trained eyes on the road will help stop sex and labor trafficking. The trucking industry supported the bill. The law goes into effect this summer.

ON THE MOVE • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018


MPDA rep is judge at SkillsUSA

COURTESY OF MAINE PROFESSIONAL DRIVERS ASSOCIATION Maine Professional Drivers Association Publicity Officer Ron Round had the honor of judging the trucking aspect of the local SkillsUSA Competition, held on January 18 at the Northern Penobscot Region 3 Vocational School in Lincoln. This competition is focused on the Pre-trip Inspection and judging students on their ability to identify all the necessary parts on a commercial vehicle and to be able to describe any defects with those parts. “The SkillsUSA rules allows them to send two high school students to the state competition and they have a competition in their own schools to decide who gets to represent their school at the States,” said Round. “As an advisory board member, I was asked to be an impartial judge in their school competition.” “They had the score sheets printed out and I had to follow them around the truck as they did a pre-trip inspection and score them on everything they checked. When they were done we took a few minutes to go around again to show them what they did well on and where they needed improvement.” He added, “The students all did a very good job on their inspections, especially given that they are first year students in the CDL class. It’s too bad they won’t have the opportunity this year to move on to the national competition. We are optimistic that in the future this will become possible. We will be meeting again with folks from SkillsUSA to work up a component of truck driving for the students to be part of.”

“Six high school level technical school students will compete on the pre-trip inspection portion of the state competition along with an inspection written test, using tractors to do Class A & B truck inspections,” said Round. “In three years we are planning to be able to send the kids to the SkillsUSA Nationals as they will adopt this part of the competition.”


ON THE MOVE • Bangor Daily News Special Advertising Section • May 18, 2018