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2020 Corvette: A Long and Winding Road to Production

2020 Corvette: A Long and Winding Road to Production

The new 2020 Corvette has finally reached production. But boy–has it been a bumpy ride.

The new model looks sleek and speedy. Running just under $60,000 when purchased new, it boasts 500 horsepower and a mid-mounted V8 engine. It comes fully loaded with all kinds of tech. This shiny new sports car has Apple Car Play and Android Auto. The rear-view mirror also acts as a display for a rear-view camera. An optional system tracks speed bumps using GPS and raises the car so as not to damage the front when you’re driving.

The aerodynamic design is aesthetic but functional too. Chevy built this car for life in the fast lane. It easily outperforms manual transmissions, operating on an automatic transmission that makes driving smooth and easy. But getting this puppy to production has been anything but smooth and easy.

The 2020 Corvette: Up Against the World

Chevy had hoped to have shipped the first round of pre-order cars to customers in December of 2019. But a strike at General Mills halted labor for months. Finally, the United Auto Workers came to a compromise with Chevy and production resumed.

–Only to be stopped nearly immediately by the COVID-19 pandemic. It seemed for a time that perhaps the 2020 model was just never going to properly make it to market. But recent reopening procedures bring hope that they might still be able to fulfill the early orders. Collectors and car-lovers may be determined to have a first-year model. But Chevy has good news for other interested parties: the 2021 model will be identical. Even its base price will remain the same.

Sometimes that which is hard-earned is better appreciated. The 2020 Corvette certainly faced obstacles but perhaps that just makes it all the more precious. Those with a first-year edition will have a doozy of a story to tell for years to come.

Truck Drivers Protest Defunded Police

Truck Drivers Protest Defunded Police

Truck drivers are refusing to deliver freight to cities with defunded police departments. In the wake of suggested police reform, tensions run high. According to statistics provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, truck driving ranks consistently as one of the country’s deadliest occupations. In the midst of a global pandemic, truck drivers already feel an increased sense of stress and urgency. Decreased police funding has only heightened wariness.

The CDLLife App posted a poll, asking drivers: “Would you pick up/deliver to cities with defunded or disbanded police departments? Why or why not?” By June 13, 2020, the app had accrued over 1,283 responses. Seventy-nine percent of participants polled as unwilling to deliver to cities with disbanded police departments.

Truck Drivers’ Fears

Responses to the poll include:

“If something was to happen, you have to take matters into your own hands. You risk being prosecuted for protecting yourself.”

“For my own safety and the security of my customers’ loads, I have already informed my dispatcher that I will refuse all loads to cities that have defunded their police departments.”

“I will not deliver to an area with a disbanded police department. My life matters and I do this for my family. We are already at the mercy of these towns and cities with laws and hate against us for parking, getting a meal, or even using a restroom.”

“This is not an area you need to act fearless and think you’d look like a fool for saying no…Imagine what kind of fool you look like for driving into a hot spot and putting your life in danger.”

“Most places we go already can be dicey. About the only time you see a cop is when lights are on behind you.”

“Simple. We may not like it all the time but law and order is necessary.”

The Associated Press reports that the majority of Minneapolis’ city council members will support disbanding the police department. Councilwoman Lisa Bender added that they are devoted to severing their relationship with the police force. She cites the system’s failure to protect the communities it is meant to serve. Other cities are discussing reallocating funds towards social services that may decrease the need for armed police forces.

The impact these changes will have on the trucking industry remains to be seen. New budgets are still in the works. Communication between drivers and city officials may inspire new solutions.

Multiple Protests For George Floyd in LA

Multiple Protests For George Floyd in LA

Multiple protests are coming together in Los Angeles over the death of George Floyd – a POC who was pronounced dead in police captivity.

A video surfaced online of Floyd’s arrest which depicted the unlawful apprehension of Floyd. Derek Chauvin, as well as three other members of the Minneapolis police force, used excessive force when apprehending Floyd. Chauvin, with his knee of Floyd’s neck, you can hear Floyd choking for air and trying to muster the strength to say “I can’t breathe.”

Public outcry over his death has led to protests in all 50 states and multiple countries across the world. These protests (mostly peaceful) have enacted police brutality among those expressing their 1st amendment right.

In Los Angeles, a city with a history of unethical treatment of POC’s, protests have sprung up throughout the city.

In Hollywood, approximately 20,000 people marched in the streets for police reform, and the unethical treatment of the black community.

Largest Human Riots Protest In History

These events have turned into a global protest with the inclusion of 17 countries. Many city police departments are currently standing with protesters.

The protests also bring to light the use of police to subdue the crowds. With tear gas, riots clubs, and rubber bullets, The National Guard as well as many local authorities have been shown using excessive force on all types of protesters. For one 75-year old who was videotaping the protests, police, using excessive force to ground the man, experienced severe head trauma and laid bleeding while officers moved around him.

These protests continue to grow in support of police reform. The President, Donald Trump remains opposed to the public and continually uses force. The President was seen moving into the White House bunker while thousands of protesters sat outside. The next day, President Tear gassed a church and did a small photo-op of him holding The Bible.

This has only moved to exacerbate the situation and cause more turmoil.

Truck Driver Charged With Murder

Truck Driver Charged With Murder

A truck driver has been accused of multiple murders. From “Large -Marge” from Pee-Wees Great Adventure to the “Joyride” franchise, truck drivers have a haunting stipulation about them.

Well, sometimes the horror of the big screen comes to life. Barry Clark Baldwin was found and charged with multiple accounts of murder.

Between 1990-1993, Baldwin is suspected of murdering three individuals in association with him being a truck driver.

Evidence led to the arrest of Baldwin due to having similar routes throughout that time. Later, in custody, Baldwin admitted to the killings of three women. DNA tests matched that of the victims which also led to the arrest of Baldwin.

Links to Other Murders: A Truck Driver Homicide

Interrogators say that Baldwin may hold clues to other unsolved murders along those same routes.

Baldwin has openly discussed with officials the process of the string of these murders.

One victim, who was so badly mutilated that no record of her can be found, was nicknamed “Bitter Creek Betty”.

The truck driver was caught by matching DNA from a shopping cart in a walmart after being followed by police.

The truck driver has been under prosecution before. A report from one of his victims says that he tied her up, gagged her, and abused her. She got away and pressed charges. The charges were ultimately dropped and Baldwin was sent on his way to continue his murders.

Truck drivers are currently the heroes of the road. With almost everyone serving for the greater good, it makes it extremely difficult to look over how current DNA testing can help identify murderers even over 30-years after it happened. For some, they can rest knowing the story of their daughters disappearance has been solved and the case closed. For others, they await answer.

Baldwin is being held without bail in Black Hawk country jail. He is cooperating and did not challenge his extradition to Tennessee. There he will await trial.

Protests Crowd Huntington Beach, DTLA

Protests Crowd Huntington Beach, DTLA

Flouting stay at home orders implemented by Governor Gavin Newsom to stem the spread of covid-19, protests gathered crowds in Huntington Beach and downtown Los Angeles to demonstrate their opposition to the executive order.

The two separate but coordinated protests took place on May 1, or May Day. Ordinarily, May Day marks a point in spring in which weather begins turning towards summer. With the warmer temperatures and traditional California sun reemerging, adhering to social distancing proves even more emotionally taxing.

However, Newsom maintains the state’s social distancing orders. While he announced Monday the state will begin phase 2 by the end of the week, many argue it isn’t fast enough. Thus, protests sprung up over the past several weeks demanding an immediate reopening.

Signs called quarantine unconstitutional and called all jobs essential. Signage paired with American flags, which protesters waved in abundance. Though, despite invoking solidarity with the general public, polls suggest most disagree with the demonstrators.

Protests Counter Public Opinion

In a poll conducted by Pew Research Center, a prominent polling institution, a majority of Americans expressed fear of an early reopening. Furthermore, other polls demonstrated a majority disapproved of Trump’s handling of the pandemic. These polls included registered Republicans, who also demonstrated their fear and disapproval.

In response, a number of conservative political groups fostered resentment for Democratic governors in states like Michigan and promoted protests earlier in April. Organizations like the Michigan Conservative Coalition and the Michigan Freedom Fund, with connections to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, take aim at Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s high approval rating and promote Trump’s 2020 candidacy. Trump himself caught on to the potential for political gain amid growing criticisms, taking to Twitter to promote the protests.

Following these April demonstrations, more continue to spring up. The two on May 1 in California were organized by a group known as We Have Rights.

With Monday’s announcement by Newsom that phase 2 will begin this week, protests may abate, but their political nature and origins suggest otherwise.

Relief for Truck Insurance and Leases

Relief for Truck Insurance and Leases

Truckers are petitioning for further relief due to closures. Insurance rates have taken a nosedive as many truck drivers simply aren’t driving right now.

Due to the current issues stemming form COVID-19, many drivers are currently out of business, but they are still paying out large quantities of money to insurance policies. This has forced many to take their trucks off the road.

Relief From FMCSA and DOT

For truck drivers currently on the road, many are experiencing relief in the form of less restrictions. This has given many a larger opportunity for many truck drivers.

For starters, drivers are no longer forced to stop driving after the 8-hour mark. This has helped not only get drivers where they need to go faster, but it also helps small towns and grocery stores across the country receive the proper food, water, medication, and other necessary supplies. For small towns, the sight of a truck driver means that their local shop will be restocked.

Insurance Hasn’t Helped in Relief

Many insurance agencies are still expecting non-working drivers to pay their insurance which has forced them to either take their truck off the road and look for other means of work while under lock down.

For those leasing their truck, they are still obligated to pay off their agreed upon lease. This has put another large scale hit to many owner-operators across the nation. Some drivers are hit twice as hard. They have had to take their truck off the road. They have also needed to give that truck back by either returning it or by having it repossessed. This has led to a number of drivers who had previously been in good standing to forfeit their careers and potentially move to something else. With the current issues facing the country, the opportunity to work has been cut in half.

Layoffs Result From Coronavirus Downturn

Layoffs Result From Coronavirus Downturn

As the coronavirus drags on, unemployment skyrockets, and freight drops off. Trucking companies, faced with decreases in volume and margins, turn to layoffs to weather the storm.

While March demonstrated less impactful numbers, surveys conducted by Commercial Carrier Journal showed a harsher April. In March, 15 percent of carriers responding to their monthly survey said they reduced their non-driver workforce. On that same survey, 13 percent said they reduced their driving workforce.

In April, both figures rose. 19 percent of respondents said they cut non-driving workers, and 24 percent cut drivers from their payroll.

Fleets struggle from plummeting rates and decreased orders from their customers. Some drivers opt to remove themselves. Fears over contracting the virus compel them to remain at home. Nearly half of respondents from the CCJ survey said some of their drivers volunteered to come off the road.

One respondent said most were older drivers. “It is their choice. We do not force dispatch,” they said.

Unemployment in Other Industries Leads to Layoffs in Trucking

The unemployment figures for the country rose to an estimated tenth of the workforce in March. While some companies work from home, others furlough their staff for the duration of the pandemic. The resulting impact on trucking amounts to fewer orders. Furthermore, the public as a whole spends less when so many lose work.

“I have watched fleet of 20 drivers go from all working to three-quarters now sitting,” one for-hire carrier said in their response to the CCJ survey.

Nearly two thirds of respondents also predict continued drops in freight for the next 30 days. That may proceed beyond May, as well. State officials began discussing timetables to reopen their economies this week, but many, including those of the largest economies in California and New York, emphasized caution.

It may be some time before this crisis resolves, and truckers in the meantime continue to feel the pain.

Masks Mandatory At Essential Businesses

Masks Mandatory At Essential Businesses

On Tuesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced an order mandating face masks for all workers in essential businesses. The decision comes amidst ratcheting numbers of cases and deaths. Many health officials conclude this week as the peak of the coronavirus outbreak. As such, face coverings help prevent its continued spread.

Initially, health experts debated the value of the general public wearing face masks. Few studies provided insight into the issue. While healthcare providers wear masks while treating covid-19 patients, they also discard after each use.

Furthermore, healthcare workers access higher grade protective equipment not available to the public. Some health experts express concern over public use. When used inaccurately, masks actually pose a greater risk. One study found higher rates of transmission among healthcare workers wearing cloth coverings. The researchers attributed the higher rate to cloth masks inability to filter, their moisture retention, and their reuse.

CDC Changes Opinion on Cloth Face Masks

However, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, after weeks of not recommending use of masks, reversed their opinion on the subject. Now, they recommend all people venturing into spaces where social distancing is more difficult, such as grocery stores, to wear a facial covering.

Their recommendation includes instructions on crafting a cloth face mask.

The important thing to remember is how to use them. An NPR article expressed proper usage as single use, never taken off and put back on without washing, and never adjusting once firmly in place. Furthermore, you should wash your hands after removal. Contaminants could reside within the cloth and transfer to your hands upon touching.

Originally, face masks were meant to shield the sick and prevent them from expelling virus particles. However, given many could carry the virus without symptoms or with unnoticed symptoms, everyone wearing a mask covers those asymptomatic cases. Additionally, there is benefit to those uninfected, so long as they follow usage instructions correctly.

Mayor Garcetti’s order takes effect Friday. It also permits managers of essential businesses the ability to reject customers not wearing face masks.

Truck Drivers Push Forward For COVID-19

Truck Drivers Push Forward For COVID-19

Truck drivers have stepped up their game since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. With many bare shelves across America the industry has had to step up its game. Due to the required demand of goods, many are left working long hours and distances in order to meet public demand.

Truck Drivers and The Empty Road

Traffic accidents are the number 1 reason US roads are so dangerous. Due to self-isolation protocols, this has left them empty. So empty, that some truck drivers have been able to make record time getting from place to place. No, this does not mean that they are speeding, but due to fewer cars on the road, they have had a pretty easy time. This provides truck drivers with a clear and open road. Free from traffic jams and unnecessary accidents.

Longer Hours for Truck Drivers

Where the trucking industry used to have restrictions of the hours they were able to drive per day, these restrictions have been lifted. Due to the high demand for products, the government has pushed a few things back. One of them is the restriction on the standard 8-hours of driving. In order to make their deliveries on time, truckers are now able to drive upwards to 14 hours per day. This is to cut down on wait time between their cargo being shipped and it’s delivery.

Inspections Have Been Pushed Back

This time of year has the trucking industry on edge. This is when inspectors are sent out in droves to randomly select trucks and pull them over for inspection. Now, as most trucks and their drivers have clean records and are deemed operatable, there are a few that aren’t. This is why these inspections are to occur. As of right now, the demand for more truck drivers is greater than any other point in US history. With so many leaving due to retirement, the industry has had a hard time pulling in new recruits. On top of that, the panic-buying craze that many have become accustomed to has put the toll on drivers even further. With so many truck drivers now overextending themselves, plus the current emergency that the country is facing, these inspections have been pushed back to June.

Increase Demand Means Increase Benefits and Wages

With the current state of things, many trucking companies have pushed for higher wages and benefits for their drivers. This not only gives the ones currently on the road a higher incentive to get the job done, but it also allows those looking for a new career path to look into the trucking industry. If you are thinking of becoming a truck driver, there are plenty of online resources in order to gather further information. Right now is the perfect time to sign up and help the country fight against COVID-19!

Recession Looms Large Over California

Recession Looms Large Over California

The economic impact of the coronavirus and the measures taken to combat it are pushing the country into a recession. California faces some of the steepest consequences.

UCLA economists revised last week’s predictions to accommodate for the rapidly changing situation. For the first time in the 68-year history of their quarterly forecasts they updated a report.

It began with a revision to the first quarter’s prediction, down to 0.4 percent growth. It proceeds to correct the second quarter, foreseeing a much worse outcome. Its previous prediction of 1.3 percent growth in the second quarter reversed to a 6.5 percent contraction. Additionally, they see the third quarter contracting by 1.9 percent, down from a growth rate of 0.6 percent.

The economists from UCLA are joined by Goldman Sachs in predicting second quarter woes as a direct result of the outbreak.

But how will the recession impact specific California industries?

Recession Felt Far and Wide

For the state of California, the recession poses a uniquely harrowing prospect. For one, the state comprises over a fifth of the country’s tourism industry. Los Angeles alone accounts for over half of that. The dropoff in travel and closures of popular tourist destinations essentially pauses that entire industry.

Additionally, the massive service industry in the state is at a standstill right now. Governor Newsom’s orders directing restaurants to dramatically limit capacity all but kills business for them. Takeout and delivery orders can’t make up for the lost income.

The same goes for bars and movie theaters. With the closures comes massive unemployment. As a result, the UCLA economists predict a rise to an average of 6.6 percent through 2021.

Furthermore, the outbreak comes on the heels of the trade war with China, a double whammy for supply chains and the shipping industry that operate around California ports.

While the federal government intends to introduce a hefty stimulus package, it appears lasting economic consequences will continue to impact the state for an indeterminate length of time to come.