March 31, 2015

Document: What Professional Drivers Are Saying

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From time to time, CERT has had the opportunity to visit with drivers of its member companies to learn about their views on the proposal. Professional drivers are the most important piece of the safety puzzle and provide practical, real-world insight on the behavior of twin trailers under every imaginable condition.

Jerry Cosby, Driver, Con-way Freight

ON ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS: “It would have an impact because less trucks means less emissions. I think it would have a big impact.”

ON SAFETY: “I actually went through Con-way’s driving school before I started here. Adding the extra feet will take a lot of trucks off the highways, so people won’t see that many trucks on the highways so there’s no need to really get worried. You know, fewer trucks, fewer accidents, to be honest. I mean that’s the best way to put it.“

ON TWIN 33s: “I’m Jerry Cosby. I’m from Richmond, Virginia, and I agree with twin 33s on the highway.”

Steve Fields, Driver, YRC Worldwide

ON ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS: “As a father, what really got my attention [with 33s] is they’re going to reduce 4.4 billion pounds of carbon emissions. And when I think about my little girl, I owe it to her to do whatever I can to make the world a little better. I’m all about it.”

ON SAFETY: “Going from a 28 foot trailer to a 33 foot trailer is not going to do anything but help the stability of the vehicle.”

ON EFFICIENCY: “In the LTL industry, a lot of times our trailers aren’t to capacity weight wise. For instance, if we have a lot of paper towels – paper towels are not going to weigh nearly as much as car batteries. By cubing those trailers up a little bit, it makes financial sense, economical sense, and we need to do the right thing.”

David Grim, Driver, Estes Express Lines

ON ROADWAYS: “When you take an extra truck off the road, you’re reducing wear on the roads. Therefore, roads last longer.”

ON SAFETY: “The safety increases for all other motorists because the longer the wheelbase you have on a trailer, the more stable it’s going to be. Fewer accidents are going to occur, and there’s going to be less congestion too.”

Willie Hester, Driver, Con-way Freight

ON ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS: “You would also be able to carry more freight. It will cut down on some of the fuel consumption.”

ON TWIN 33s: “And they track—really pulling a set is sometimes easier than pulling a 53.“

ON SAFETY: “Con-way’s number one priority is safety.…No, I don’t have any concerns whatsoever.…It’s a good thing because there would be less trucks on the road—we’d be carrying more freight, but it’s safer, it’s a whole lot safer.”

ON EFFICIENCY: “They’ll be a whole lot more efficient.”

Luther Joiner, Driver and Driving School Instructor, Con-way Freight

ON TRAINING: “When we do our training program here at Con-way with somebody who’s never driven twins before, it’s a twelve week program that we go through that contains various classroom instruction, testing that we do, as well as we put in numerous hours of time that we do behind the wheel. We actually have to keep it documented and on file logs of what we do as far as training hours for each student. That has to be accessible in case there’s any question is this person qualified to be doing what they’re doing; we have to keep record of that.”

ON TWIN 33s: “As long as that vehicle is in motion, that trailer is going to track behind the lead trailer. The rear behind the lead; it’s going to track behind it, where it goes that goes. When you’re pulling twins you’re looking at an additional 10-feet of trailer. When you’re pulling twins you do have that pivot point between your first and your second trailer. When you compare that to pulling a 53 as far as turning, making left, or right-hand turns, it is a little bit easier with twins because, like I said, your rear trailer tracks your lead trailer and…having that pivot point.”

ON EFFICIENCY: “When you look at population in this country, population is growing and demand for goods and services is going to grow, so you have to look, foresee problems that you’re going to have in the future with especially logistics and what can we do to improve upon that. It’s sort of like, do you want to see more and more trucks on the road, because think about it, if you look back thirty years ago there wasn’t as many trucks on the road then as there are now.…Companies are looking at ways they can change that and actually cut down on
the number of trucks that are on the road.”

Chris Lloyd, Driver, Con-way Freight

ON SAFETY: “We have a front radar collision system. So if you have cruise control set and you approach a vehicle in front of you it will automatically slow the truck down and adjust to keep the distance. That’s a great feature. We have a lane departure system so if the driver was to slightly drift in either direction there’s audible bumps and noises, like speakers on the side [to] alert you, bring your attention back if you were just distracted by whatever.”

ON EFFICIENCY: “Like the fins on the bottom, that’s basically to improve fuel mileage and also to improve the stability of the trailers. I feel like if you’re going to make the trailer longer it probably would be more stable in certain situations. When you’re pulling a set of trailers, if you swing wide the first one follows basically right behind the other one, so I don’t think there’s any problem.”

Greg Oliver, Driver, Estes Express Lines

ON SAFETY: “33s hold more freight, which means fewer trucks on the road. Fewer trucks mean fewer accidents. Everybody wins.”

ON EFFICIENCY: “With 28-footers you cube out before you gross out. We’re not asking for any increase in overall gross, we’re just asking for an increase in length. That way we can get more freight on the trailers, get down the road with fewer trips, and be more efficient overall.”

Antoine Seegars, Driver, Con-way Freight

ON SAFETY: “Pulling twin 33s gives you more stability on the road…gives you more breaking points in the axles versus pulling a 48- or 53-footer.”

ON ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS: “We’re able to put fewer tractor trailers on the road, which means there’s less fuel being burned.”

Jeff Wade, Driver, Southeastern Freight Lines

ON SAFETY: “There’s a lot of good benefits to having two trailers: number one you have two units that pivot in the middle, so your turning radius or length it takes to make a turn is shortened quite a bit, the rear trailer follows the front trailer wherever you go. So from a safety standpoint, a practicability standpoint, my standpoint, the two trailers are really good to have. They’re easy to handle and easy to drive. I’d just as soon pull two trailers any day of the week because it simplifies the job.”

ON TRAINING: ”Well you know, we as professional drivers are no different than the mom who’s carrying her kids to school. When we’re in congestion situations in traffic we are the same way as they are; we have a place that we want to be. The difference is that we have the training to have that safe following distance and be able to control those situations.”

ON EFFICIENCY: “Everything that we use everyday of our lives is moved by truck one way or another, the food we eat, the clothes we wear—I mean every aspect of our life is moved by truck. Anytime you can get more freight on there without adding any additional weight. In the end you are going to have less traffic on the highways.”

ON SAFETY: “I don’t think that we are asking for anything special. I think we are asking for something that makes sense for the whole country—not just our industry or our company—and at the end of the day I would feel safe with my family riding in the car beside me just like I would your family riding in the car beside me.”

Eddie Weeks, Driver, AAA Cooper Transportation

ON EFFICIENCY: “I’m in favor of twin 33s because it’s a win-win situation for everyone. You can haul more freight with the same amount of drivers. And a lot of people don’t realize that everything you eat, wear, and use is delivered by a truck. And the more economical you can make it, the better it is for all of us.”

ON ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS: “By using twin 33s versus twin 28s, you’re making less trips,
you’re using less fuel, which results in less emissions.”

 

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