Senate confirms Chao to head DOT under Trump

The Senate confirmed Tuesday Elaine Chao as the next Secretary of Transportation. With broad bipartisan support, the Senate voted 93-6 to confirm President Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Transportation.

Chao told a Senate panel earlier this month her three main goals as head of the U.S. DOT will be to bolster infrastructure funding, bridge the divide over rural and urban transportation needs and find better balance between federal regulations and the concerns of businesses regulated by the DOT.

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Truck driver shut down after two alcohol-related arrests in four-day span

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared Tennessee-licensed truck driver Eric Ronald Scott to be an imminent hazard to public safety and has ordered him not to operate any commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in interstate commerce.  Scott was served the federal order on January 18, 2016.

Since receiving his commercial driver’s license (CDL) from the state of Tennessee on October 26, 2016, Scott has been arrested in two separate alcohol-involved events spanning a four-day period.

On the morning of December 31, 2016, the Berlin, Vermont, Police Department, in response for assistance at a local hotel parking lot, subsequently found Scott asleep in the cab of his tractor-trailer.  Following a preliminary breath test for alcohol that detected the presence of alcohol, Scott was arrested for domestic assault.

On January 2, 2017, Scott was released from police custody.  The following evening, the Berlin, Vermont, Police Department responded to a multi-vehicle crash that involved a tractor-trailer operated by Scott.  According to the police report, while en route to Burlington, Vermont, with a final destination of Memphis, Tennessee, Scott jackknifed his tractor-trailer, striking a stop sign and causing three passenger vehicles to be forced off the road.  An alcohol breath test conducted by police at the scene on Scott detected the presence of alcohol.  Scott was subsequently arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.

FMCSA’s imminent hazard out-of-service order to Scott states that his continued operation of a CMV in interstate commerce  “ … substantially increases the likelihood of serious injury or death to you and/or the motoring public if not discontinued immediately.” 

Failure to comply with the provisions of a federal imminent hazard out-of-service order may result in action by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for equitable relief and punitive damages.  Civil penalties of up to $3,100 may be assessed for each violation of operating a commercial motor vehicle in violation of the order.  Knowing and/or willful violation of the order may also result in criminal penalties.

Scott also may be subject to a civil penalty enforcement proceeding brought by FMCSA for his violation of the agency’s safety regulations.
Updated: Thursday, February 2, 2017

Building the gremlin wall

Our truck has magical powers, but clearly they’re not as strong as the force gremlins have. It’s a daily battle with an older truck, and sometimes with brand-new trucks. There is nothing in the world more aggravating than evil spirits who won’t act up when the truck is in a shop bay.

I know very little about the workings of our diesel, but I’ve ridden enough miles with her to know when something isn’t right, just by the sound of it. George, like most all owner-ops, spends the first fifteen minutes of every day listening and looking intently for anything that sounds expensive. It’s the most stressful fifteen minutes of the day for me, especially when the truck is cold and she needs to chug a minute before she gets her groove. Those first few gurgles and chokes make my blood run cold, but when the bubble and perk start cycling good, relief is as warm as the engine.

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