Here are Land Line’s top stories and podcasts for 2020

December 31, 2020

Greg Grisolano

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While the coronavirus pandemic was without question the defining event of 2020, there were plenty of other earth-shattering news stories and events that occurred this year. Here’s a look back at what Land Line readers and listeners made our most-read and most-listened to stories of the past year.

Top 10 most-read stories of 2020

1. Sonic in Arkansas features drive-thru for big rigs

We’ll credit this one to the power of social media. Readers were absolutely captivated by photos of the Sonic Drive-In in Fordyce, Ark., which features a custom-built platform that’s perfect for Class 8 tractors. The steps also give carhops an easy means of delivering burgers, shakes, onion rings or chili cheese Tater Tots to hungry drivers. This story also happened to publish right around the same time many states were shutting down indoor dining at restaurants and truck stops, leaving drivers without means to find a hot meal. The sight of a restaurant going the extra mile to make sure truckers stay fed was a welcome one. Here’s hoping businesses become more accommodating of truck drivers in 2021.

2. FMCSA plans to roll out new HOS rules on Sept. 29 

The biggest non-COVID story in trucking was the release of FMCSA’s updated hours-of-service rules. Sparked by a petition from OOIDA, the rulemaking sought to implement changes to give drivers more flexibility. The new provisions include adding a 7/3 option for split sleeper berths, modifying the 30-minute rest break, and adding a two-hour driving window for adverse conditions.

3. COVID-19: The latest info brought to you by OOIDA and Land Line

No surprise to see OOIDA and Land Line’s COVID-19 resources guide near the top of the list. When lockdowns first started to become widespread in March, OOIDA and the Land Line team sprang into action, compiling the latest need-to-know information about shutdown orders, mask mandates, truck parking, expiring credentials, hours-of-service waivers, and restaurant closures. The resources guide also includes information about COVID-19 testing in your home state.

4. Let truckers use the restroom, group tells shippers, receivers

Another story about the impact COVID-19 had on trucking and supply chains. In response to reports that shippers and receivers are refusing to let truck drivers use their restrooms, the American Logistics Aid Network sent a request to thousands of U.S. businesses. OOIDA played a key role in alerting ALAN to reports it received from members who were denied access to sanitary restroom facilities, despite their essential status as frontline workers.

5. Hours-of-service changes expected to arrive on time

Despite a recent lawsuit from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and a coalition of safety groups, FMCSA rolled out the new hours of service rules on Sept. 29.

6. Prime’s false message could have ‘lingering effects,’ truckers’ lawyers say

About 40,000 current and former Prime truck drivers and trainees were notified – most by email – on Oct. 5 about their potential eligibility to receive funds from a $28 million court-approved settlement. According to court documents, on the same day a supervisor at Prime allegedly sent a message through the company’s app and Qualcomm system telling its drivers not to click on the link of the email because it was a “phishing” scam.

7. YRC suspends health benefits for employees

In May, workers for YRC Worldwide found themselves without health insurance, as the company suspended payments to its health insurer. Officials with YRC cited the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 as a factor in its inability to make its payment obligations to Central States Health Fund. Bonus story: In November, YRC announced that it would change its name to “Yellow” – the “Y” in YRC. Contributing Editor John Bendel authored a remembrance of Roadway – the “R” in YRC that resonated with many readers.

8. FMCSA releases final rule on hours of service 

A final rule that included four major changes promising to add flexibility to the hours-of-service regulations was announced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Thursday, May 14. The announcement revealed the final plan that started with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s push toward hours-of-service reform more than two years ago.

9. Welcome to the trucking life, RV drivers

A recent report by CNN found Wal-Mart was cracking down on overnight parking for large motor vehicles. While the issue may have seemed like new information to some, Land Line Staff Writer Tyson Fisher wrote about how it’s been a frustrating problem for truckers for some time.

10. Marijuana bill passes House; measure wouldn’t remove testing for truckers

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a historic bill that removed marijuana from the list of controlled substances. But even if the bill were approved by the Senate and signed into law by the president, employees in safety-sensitive transportation jobs, such as truck drivers and pilots, would still be subject to marijuana testing under U.S. DOT guidelines.

Top 5 Land Line Now podcasts of 2020

Land Line Now’s podcasts are available to stream on our website, or via the podcast streaming service of your choice.

1. IFTA tracked by ELDs? Not a good idea

IFTA is being tracked by some truckers using their ELD – and in many, if not most cases, it’s going to get them in trouble. We have some advice.

2. No ELDs, no crashes – how’s that work?

Some in law enforcement are noticing a trend involving pre-2000 trucks, ELDs and crash statistics that defies what federal regulators expected.

3. Changes to the hours-of-service rule

Changes to the hours-of-service rules are moving ahead as planned. Plus, other news from the FMCSA Trucking Safety Summit.

4. OOIDA objects to rest area shutdowns

Rest areas are being closed by two states, just as truckers are trying to keep urgently needed supplies moving, depriving drivers of a place to rest. OOIDA is fighting to keep them open.

5. Fate intervenes with fallen flag

A missing Navajo Code Talkers flag finds safe harbor when a trucker stumbles upon it, and fate intervenes in bringing all parties together for the reunion. LL

 

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Greg Grisolano

Greg Grisolano joined Land Line in 2013. He was formerly a reporter for the Joplin Globe. He brings business writing and photography skills to Land Line, and has a passion for finding and telling stories about the people who make up the trucking industry.