NewsBlitz: Bureaucrats, Teamsters, and falling planes

NewsBlitz: Bureaucrats, Teamsters, and falling planes

This week’s round-up of this and that from the wide world of trucking reminds professionals that they can never be too careful out there.

Smile, driver: The National Transportation Safety Board has released a safety report on the benefits of commercial vehicle onboard video systems.

The safety report discusses many of the advantages of onboard video systems in addition to highlighting areas for improvement, such as the need for to be able to see the driver and each occupant seating location, the need to be able to see forward of the vehicle, optimized frame rate, and low-light recording capability. The report also addresses the importance of proper installation and maintenance of all onboard video systems. 

Sit in on the pre-release webinar below:



Watching the watchers: Based on the request of a U.S. senator, the Dept. of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has initiated an audit of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) investigative practices for high-risk carriers.

While the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program is designed to identify high-risk motor carriers for intervention, high profile crashes have raised concerns about the timeliness and effectiveness of FMSCA’s reviews of these carriers, according to the OIG notice.

The notice specifically cites a 2014 accident in which a motor carrier known to FMCSA as high-risk was involved in a fatal crash in Illinois. Despite the carrier’s risk status, FMSCA did not conduct an investigation. Following this crash, Sen. Dick Durbin requested that OIG audit the agency’s investigative practices.


FedEx wins, again: The Teamsters lost another vote to organize a FedEx Freight terminal. A union election was held Friday, May 8, at the service center in Chicago Heights, IL., and the company is “pleased to report” that a majority of city and road drivers at the Chicago Heights facility voted against union representation. 

“FedEx Freight drivers overall continue to reject the union and demonstrate their strong preference for a direct relationship with the company,” a FedEx statement said, adding that there are currently no petitions at other FedEx Freight service centers.

On the pro-union website, a post praised the workers who “honorably exercised their right at the ballot box,” and called for both sides on the issue “to join together and move forward.”

“The votes tonight entrust the company to make good on its commitments to address the issues or it will ultimately lose the trust it’s been granted tonight 12 months from now,” the post said. “The battle in CGT was not won tonight but rest assured the campaign to form our own Union here at FedEx Freight is not over.”


Got your goat? The Washington State Department of Transportation is putting a herd of goats to work at about a dozen locations this spring and summer. The goats will dispatched to control weeds at DOT facilities, according to The Columbian.

WSDOT spokeswoman Tamara Hellman said the agency has hired local herders to provide weed-eating goat power. The goats aren’t necessarily a cheaper option, she added. But by using a more natural alternative to weed killers or gas-powered machines, “we’re saving on the environment,” Hellman told the newspaper.


Quick reaction: The truck driver knew something wasn’t right as he headed down I-285 in Atlanta last week.

“I guess it was just God telling me to slam on the brakes,” the trucker told WSB-TV.

He had narrowly avoided being killed by a small plane that clipped the front on the truck and crashed into the freeway median. Four people on the plane died in the crash and fire.


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