Dollars & Sense
Trends Have Less to do With Trucks Than Regulations: Drivers Speak
As with the world of new passenger vehicles, the world of commercial trucks is seemingly continuously on a path of advancement--specifically with respect to whatâ€™s included with the purchase of a new truck. Thereâ€™s always going to be some new feature, and itâ€™s almost always going to be sold as though itâ€™ll revolutionize everything you thought a vehicle was supposed to be. This is, of course, very rarely the case, and when it is, itâ€™s not often that these revolutions go fully noticed by everyone.
The most recent trends with respect to expediting and trucking lie within the confines of the cab. It should be noted, though, that the great majority of these trends donâ€™t necessarily relate to a particular gadget or actual component of your truck, but rather in the requirements and legalities, and other trends related to how youâ€™re driving your truck.
Itâ€™s no secret that CSA 2010 and other DOT requirements related to trucking are around the corner, and thereâ€™s been off-and-on talk of EOBRâ€™s for quite some time. Many of these changes and â€œadvancementsâ€ provide answers for the problems that have been identified to exist within the transportation industry, but it doesnâ€™t appear that those making the changes (transportation lobbyists and industry groups included) have directly asked those whoâ€™ll be most in-touch with the changes: drivers themselves.
Naturally, all this has drivers, owner/operators, and the like a bit on edge about the matter. I posed a question about the coming trends in trucks, and their fervor for the matter is, at a minimum, enlightening.
greg334 says, â€œâ€˜What do you think is coming next in trucksâ€™ seems to be a good opener for this - more restrictions in the cab.â€
jjoerger adds, â€œI have to agree with Greg. EOBR's are our new big brother. The only thing I have seen in the new trucks is higher price, less performance and the need to buy BlueDEF to keep the emission levels where the government requires them to be.
I think the sales of rolling chassis will increase. Buy a new truck with no motor and put your old one in it. Or get a motor from the junkyard or buy a rebuilt motor. At least until they work out the bugs on the new ones.â€
Dakota builds upon jjoergerâ€™s thought on rolling chassis (which are commonly known as glider kits): â€œThis is kinda what is happening already, the truck I just got is a 2011 but has a 2009 engine in it. This allowed my truck to be cheaper and not have to meet the new 2011 standards. I guess the laws allow this.â€
ATeam eloquently notes, â€œWhen it comes to new trucks, the new trend is higher prices with no benefits added unless you count the government-mandated emissions add-ons as a benefit. Fuel economy improvements are claimed by the manufacturers but I don't know if they are enough to offset the higher costs.
â€œThere is no new expediter truck trend to talk about that I know of because few if any brand new expediter trucks are being sold. If there is a trend at all, it is that people are hanging onto their trucks longer. Dealers are reluctant to build new-truck inventories. Aftermarket sleeper companies are going bankrupt or dormant because of a lack of sales.
â€œNew truck sales for 2010 are up significantly from 2009 levels but 2009 was a very slow year. Truckload carriers are making money this year and spending some of it on trucks, not to expand their fleets but to replace aging equipment. These buyers run stock equipment so the only new trends you might see there would be those you see coming out of the factory.
â€œThere have been ongoing trends to use technology to boost fuel economy and to monitor and control driver behavior. Those are ongoing trends, not new.â€
These are all, rather obviously, real concerns from real drivers. What weâ€™re not seeing--or at least what Iâ€™m not seeing--is any kind of real answer from the government or those responsible for feedback and input on these legislative movements to the concerns of drivers/owner/operators/etc. To be sure, itâ€™s not often that you hear legislators respond to the concerns of those being legislated, but in a particular case like this, where you have people making points in a reasonable way, itâ€™d sure be nice.
That said, I donâ€™t really have any way of knowing whether these issues and thoughts were legitimately brought up during the process of the creation of, say, CSA 2010, but youâ€™d have to think that someone has said something to the right people somewhere along the line, right? Hopefully thatâ€™s the case, and hopefully things donâ€™t turn out to be as bad as some folks expect. Of course, things almost never turn out to be quite that bad, but that doesnâ€™t mean weâ€™ll all necessarily like whatâ€™s coming down the pike.