New Cypress Driver



Mr. Butler looks very proud standing beside his International :)






Congress likely to suspend some hours-of-service provisions, require FMCSA to further study rules’ impacts

After nearly a year and a half of asking Congress for it, the trucking industry got its wish Tuesday evening: A potential rollback of some of the more restrictive elements of FMCSA’s 2013-implemented hours-of-service rule for truck operators.

Congress likely will send a bill to the White House in the coming days that includes a provision that will put a stay on enforcement of two key elements of the 2013 rule: The requirement that a driver’s 34-hour restart include two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods and the provision limiting the use of the restart to one time per week. The suspension of enforcement will last at least until Sept. 30, 2015.


Trucking rallies behind Congressional action to suspend HOS restart provisions

Several trucking industry groups offered their support over the weekend for a provision that would, if included in a looming bill in Congress, suspend two ...

If the $1.1 trillion spending bill — which prevents a government shutdown and funds most government departments through next September — passes both chambers of Congress and President Obama signs the bill into law, enforcement of those provisions shall be halted immediately, according to the bill.

The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, as the bill is called, was produced by the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday night, and it has received praise from the Senate Appropriations committee, too.

It is said to be a deal crafted by the top brass from both chambers of Congress and is expected to be passed by both chambers this week.


Restart rollback among ‘higher level’ items in budget talks – stay tuned

A suspension of the restart provisions in the hours-of-service rule is among the more controversial riders still being negotiated, but time is running out as ...

In addition to suspending enforcement of the two restart provisions, the bill also directs the Department of Transportation to initiate a “study of the operational, safety, health and fatigue impacts of the restart provisions,” according to the bill.

It requires the DOT to submit to Congress its conclusions from the study, which the bill says will show if the 2013 HOS rule “provide[s] a greater net benefit for the operational, safety, health and fatigue impacts” than previous hours regulations.

The bill also requires the DOT Inspector General to oversee the agency’s study.

The hours-of-service suspension provision was reported to be a point of contention among members of Congress, but it ended up making the cut in the bill’s final version.

The Senate Appropriations committee had voted in June to include the provisions — the so-called Collins Amendment — in its version of the annual appropriations bill for the DOT.

Squabbling between Senate leaders, however, prevented the bill from making it to the Senate floor, where the Collins Amendment was expected to face opposition.

Both the American Trucking Associations and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association — among other trucking groups — support the Collins Amendment’s inclusion and implementation.

Safety Spotlight - CDC says to prepare for potentially severe flu season

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning that the current 2014-2015 flu season could be severe. The CDC urges immediate vaccination for anyone still unvaccinated this season and recommends prompt treatment with antiviral drugs for people at high risk of complications who develop flu.

So far this year, seasonal influenza A H3N2 viruses have been most common. There often are more severe flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths during seasons when these viruses predominate. For example, H3N2 viruses were predominant during the 2012-2013, 2007-2008, and 2003-2004 seasons, the three seasons with the highest mortality levels in the past decade. All were characterized as "moderately severe."

Increasing the risk of a severe flu season is the finding that roughly half of the H3N2 viruses analyzed are drift variants: viruses with antigenic or genetic changes that make them different from that season's vaccine virus. This means the vaccine's ability to protect against those viruses may be reduced, although vaccinated people may have a milder illness if they do become infected. During the 2007-2008 flu season, the predominant H3N2 virus was a drift variant yet the vaccine had an overall efficacy of 37 percent and 42 percent against H3N2 viruses.

"It's too early to say for sure that this will be a severe flu season, but Americans should be prepared," said CDC director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "We can save lives with a three-pronged effort to fight the flu: vaccination, prompt treatment for people at high risk of complications, and preventive health measures, such as staying home when you're sick, to reduce flu spread."

Depending on the formulation, flu vaccines protect against three or four different flu viruses. Even during a season when the vaccine is only partially protective against one flu virus, it can protect against the others.

"While the vaccine's ability to protect against drifted H3N2 viruses this season may be reduced, we are still strongly recommending vaccination," said Joseph Bresee, M.D., Chief of the Influenza Epidemiology and Prevention Branch at CDC. "Vaccination has been found to provide some protection against drifted viruses in past seasons. Also, vaccination will offer protection against other flu viruses that may become more common later in the season."

Influenza viruses are constantly changing. The drifted H3N2 viruses were first detected in late March 2014, after World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for the 2014-2015 Northern Hemisphere vaccine had been made in mid-February. At that time, a very small number of these viruses had been found among the thousands of specimens that had been collected and tested.

A committee of experts must pick which viruses to include in the vaccine many months in advance in order for vaccine to be produced and delivered in time for the upcoming flu season. There is always the possibility that viruses will drift during that time.

Influenza activity is currently low in the United States as a whole, but is increasing in parts of the country. "We are just at the beginning of the season. It's not too late to get your vaccine," Dr. Frieden says.

Influenza antiviral drugs can reduce severe complications such as hospitalization and potential death for people who are at high risk of serious flu complications or are very sick. The CDC says treatment of high risk patients should begin as soon after symptoms develop as possible, without waiting for lab tests to confirm flu infection.

Those at high risk from influenza include children younger than five years (especially those younger than two years); adults 65 years and older; pregnant women; and people with certain chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart or lung disease, and kidney disease.

The CDC recommends that people at high risk check with their doctor or other health care professional promptly if they get flu symptoms. Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started in the first 48 hours after symptoms appear. Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

For more information, visit:

Safety Spotlight : The next big wave: how video and data will transform trucking

Four large rooms full of cubicles join at the center of SmartDrive’s 25,000 sq.-foot office in San Diego’s Sorrento Valley neighborhood like the wings of a butterfly. Employees call this central area the “truckstop.”

This is no ordinary meeting area or break room. Anyone that passes by to grab a cup of coffee or snack can see that what they do in their cubicles ends up in the adjoining Configuration Room, and from there, goes into trucks all over the nation to increase safety and save lives.

The Configuration Room is visible through large glass windows. In here, racks are filled with SmartDrive devices that will soon be installed in vehicles. These recording devices and integration hubs are tested for quality and provisioned for specific customers before being shipped out.

SmartDrive has devices installed in refuse haulers, Class 8 tractors, taxicabs and many other types of vehicles, even rail. The technology is designed and configured to factor the size, weight, load, routes, and other characteristics of vehicles and fleets to detect risk. It also captures information from various sensors, electronic control units (ECUs) and third party safety systems to detect risky driving behaviors.

When it does, in the form of a driver making a U-turn, speeding, swerving, or any other number of things, the event data — including a video — is sent to servers in the cloud immediately and to fleet management for review.

SmartDrive is currently shipping between 50 and 100 of these recording devices from its Configuration Room each day. Developments are now underway to increase its capacity to between 250 and 500 units per day, says Wendy Wyatt, vice president of client services.

SmartDrive has been in business for approximately eight years, but much of its growth has come during the past two. This year, the company has grown by 90 percent and expects to double again in 2015 and beyond.

Its employees come from a diverse background. It has experts in data analytics, computer science, digital content and other high-growth technologies. They are all focused on creating a big data risk management platform for the transportation industry.

“Every industry on the planet has been impacted by video and data. It’s a transformational capability,” says Steve Mitgang, chief executive officer of SmartDrive. “We are starting the big wave of getting value out of data.”

Turning data into action

Transportation companies already have more data than they know what to do with, explains Mitgang. The purpose of big data platforms like SmartDrive is to provide their fleet managers with optimal recommendations, such as an e-mail alert that specifies what needs to be done right now to prevent the next accident.

“Yes, we have cameras, but we want to be the video and ECU data company that wants to use data to transform the efficiency of fleets. If you think of it that way, you actually do things really different,” he explains. “You have to be good at understanding a huge volume, variety and velocity of data. We understand it in real time and give you recommendations and optimizations.”

Insights gained from the system go beyond safety to fuel, maintenance, workers compensation and worker compliance, he says. “Those things are worth multiple points of profit margin.”

Some of the SmartDrive units leaving its office right now are going to Cypress Truck Lines, a flatbed carrier based in Jacksonville, Fla., that operates 500 power units in the eastern half of the United States. The company began outfitting its fleet in September following a six-month testing and evaluation period.

Prior to using SmartDrive, the company was relying on critical event data from its PeopleNet telematics system. The system reported how fast the driver was moving at the time of a sudden deceleration or “hard braking” incident along with other details. The data in the report was not as conclusive as video.

“We felt like we could take it to the next level,” said Thad Penland, vice president of Cypress Truck Lines. Cypress Truck Lines was first introduced to video-based driver risk management systems by an insurance company. This video below is a recent example of how Cypress used the SmartDrive system to avoid a potential lawsuit and exonerate one of its drivers.


Cypress began testing two systems from DriveCam and SmartDrive. Its reasons for ultimately choosing SmartDrive were to have a longer length and more immediate access to video clips as well as the more robust driver risk management tools of the website, he says.

As part of the rollout, the company is putting cameras in all trucks with new drivers to “get a good look” at who they’ve hired. Within weeks of implementation, the company has seen its SmartDrive safety scores improve by 57 percent with reductions in speeding and distracted driving by 58 percent and 48 percent respectively.

Cypress Truck Lines began installing SmartDrive in September to take its safety program to the next level, says Thad Penland, vice president. Click on the image to view a photo gallery of CCJ's visit with SmartDrive.

Aaron Huff

Aaron Huff is the Senior Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. Huff’s career in the transportation industry began at a family-owned trucking company and expanded to CCJ, where for the past 14 years he has specialized in covering business and technology for online and print readers and speaking at industry events. A recipient of numerous regional and national awards, Huff holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Brigham Young University and a Masters Degree from the University of Alabama.


Safety Spotlight - Weather and Road Conditions

Rapidly changing weather & road conditions pose several challenges during the winter months.  The following are a few guidelines you should follow during hazardous weather. 1 if conditions are bad park the truck do not drive in bad weather. 2. check road conditions on your route during your trip planning. you know where you plan fuel, rest breaks, routes.  3. keep your low beam headlights on. 4. slow down speed limits are for dry pavement and good weather conditions not a rain or snow storm. 5. increase your following distance it will take you longer to stop on wet, snow or ice covered roads. 6. don not use the cruise control. 7. if you believe it is to dangerous to drive or to continue to drive find a safe place to park.  Dispatch can reschedule the load.  Have a safe day.

ATA Management Conference & Exhibition

It’s a Wrap: ATA Management Conference & Exhibition

The American Trucking Association’s Management Conference and Exhibition was held earlier this month in San Diego, CA - and we had a great time!  Rand McNally was pleased to once again sponsor the ATA Truck PAC Event, which included a meet and greet with U.S. Senator Roy Blunt at the San Diego Wine & Culinary Center.

During the conference, Rand McNally also made some exciting announcements, which included new opportunities for our TND™ 760 and TPC 7600 customers – like integrations to Pegasus Transtech for scanning, and Drivewyze Pre-Clear for weigh station bypass services.

The Public Knows:
Professional Truck Drivers Are Dedicated, Professional and Safe!

At one of the sessions during the conference, a special report was provided by Public Opinion Strategies, highlighting the results of a recent national poll with 800 consumers on the topics of trucking, road conditions, and ideas about how to generate more revenue to fix our crumbling infrastructure.

Here are some of the results:

  • 48% expressed a desire for the government to spend MORE money on transportation infrastructure – tied with anti-terrorism, and second behind K-12 education!
  • 65% had a favorable impression of the trucking industry – ahead of rail and airline industries.
  • 57% felt the trucking industry had a good-to-great safety record!  And 71% reported that they believe passenger vehicle drivers are definitely more likely than truck drivers to execute unsafe maneuvers, such as tailgating, aggressive driving, or improper lane changing.
  • 82% felt that they would have a much more favorable impression of the safety of the trucking industry if new technology were put into each truck to make sure drivers weren’t on the road for too long.

Career day at University Christian School!

Career day at University Christian School! Good job Alvin Jones, 15 year Cypress veteran!


Cypress Trucks! We are proud of our equipment!

Beautiful pictures of Cypress trucks, thanks guys for all the pics we will be using to create our calendar. 


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Safety Spotlight: Smith System - The 5 Keys

Smith System - The 5 keys...

1. Aim High in Steering Look 15 seconds into your future. (Don’t just look at the vehicle in front of you)

2. Get the Big Picture Look for Hazards. (Other Motorists, Pedestrians, Vehicle doors opening)

3. Keep Your Eyes Moving Don’t stare. (Use your peripheral vision)(Stop the fixed habit stare)

4. Leave Yourself an Out Monitor the space cushion around your truck.

5. Make sure They See You Use your signals- (Directionals, 4-Way Flashers, Head Lights, Brake Lights, Horn, Hand Signals) Make Eye Contact.


Make it a safe day.




Job Posted 10/17/2014 2:34 PM


Jacksonville, FL 32206


Company Driver




Some of the benefits of this exceptional opportunity are:

More Time at Home – As a local driver, you will be able to spend every night and weekend home while regional drivers will be home every weekend…100% guaranteed!

Driver PAY and Benefits – Cypress Truck Lines offers the best pay in the industry! They also include an excellent benefits package that includes medical, dental, vision, paid vacation and holidays, 401k that matches 50 cents on the dollar up to 6% of your gross!,  long term and short term disability as well as performance, safety, and driver referral BONUSES.

Company Reputation – Cypress Truck Lines has experienced consistent growth since opening their doors in 1972. They are one of the most recognized carriers in the industry and have received the highest rating available from the Department of Transportation.

Room to Grow – Cypress Truck Lines promotes from within the company, which allows you the opportunity to grow and work your way up to positions; such as Fleet or Driver Manager, Safety supervisor, or other maintenance or operations positions. Many of their current directors and managers were once drivers too, so they would never ask a driver anything they haven’t done themselves.


To be considered for this exceptional career opportunity, you must have at least the following:

  • Class A CDL License
  • At least 6 months driving experience OR graduate of tractor trailer driving school