The American Driver
From Drivers - For Drivers
What's News - August 2008
Toll roads feeling the fuel-price pinch
Traffic is decreasing on some toll roads around the nation and officials say it’s because of high
fuel prices.
CARB wants to require 2007 engine standards for many trucks by 2012
California’s latest proposed regulation would cost billions in engine retrofits and replacements,
but a variety of compliance options appear to show that the state’s environmental board has
acknowledged at least some of the difficulties that would pose for the vast majority of small
fleet operations that dominate trucking.
West Virginia officials fret over road dollars
In order to cope with a shortage in funds available for road work and higher expenses for
construction materials, West Virginia’s Division of Highways is focusing more on road
maintenance instead of road building. One solution being touted won’t make truckers too
happy and that is tolling roads that feed into the West Virginia Turnpike.
U.S. rep to meet with truckers in Washington state on Aug. 8
In recent months, truckers in Chehalis, WA, have staged two fuel protest rallies in hopes of
gaining the attention of media and lawmakers on the dire situation truckers face as they
continue to be squeezed by soaring fuel prices. It seems their efforts are paying off.
California bills would mandate ignition interlocks in DUI cases
With California state lawmakers scheduled to resume their work in Sacramento next week
multiple measures that could draw consideration would mandate the use of ignition interlock
devices for drunken drivers.
Washington state announces rest area renovation to start on Aug. 4
Truckers traveling through Washington state may want to take note of a two-month renovation
project scheduled to start on Monday, Aug. 4, at the Maytown Safety Rest Area, on Interstate 5
south of Olympia.
Arizona officials say they will wait for CVSA input on laptop rule
Truck drivers who use laptop computers in their cabs apparently won’t hear an official federal
opinion on such use after all.
Illinois city approves additional 2-cent tax on diesel
Known as an oasis for truckers because of the its three large truck stops along Interstates 57
and 64, Mount Vernon, IL, is poised to impose an additional 2-cent per gallon diesel tax,
following a recent City Council meeting. This is bad news for truckers already struggling with
record-high fuel prices.
Anniversary of I-35 bridge collapse marked with memorial service
Friday, Aug. 1, is the one-year anniversary of collapse of the Interstate 35 bridge in Minneapolis.
Thirteen people, including one truck driver, were killed in the incident.
California announces plan to sue EPA about greenhouse gases
California is again suing the Environmental Protection Agency about greenhouse gas
emissions – this time targeting emissions from ships, aircraft and construction and agricultural
equipment.
Bendix explains stability control confusion
Electronic safety equipment that helps a driver correct after a sensor tells the truck to do so
sounds simple. In truth, unless you have an engineer’s brain, it’s extremely complicated
technology.
FCC approves merger of XM and Sirius satellite radio operations
It took 412 days for a ruling, but the Federal Communications Commission has approved the
merger of the XM and Sirius satellite radio operations.
Arkansas Truck and Tow Show under way at Alltel Arena in Little Rock
Trucks that were “tricked” on season three of “Trick My Truck” are scheduled to reunite Friday
and Saturday, Aug. 1-2, at the Arkansas Truck and Tow Show at the Alltel Arena in Little Rock,
AR.
 
[ Top Of Page ]
 
Take note: Primary election season has begun
Truckers out on the road across the country should take note of the calendar. Primary elections
are scheduled in several states in the coming weeks.
Australian truckers win concessions
In spite of the fact that their strike ended after just two days, long-haul truckers in Australia
seem to have made their point.
National average price for diesel drops a dime to $4.50
For the third straight week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration is reporting a significant
decrease in the average price for a gallon of diesel, down 10.1 cents from a week ago.
U.S. representative says I-80 tolls will hurt Pennsylvania’s economy
U.S. Rep. John Peterson, R-PA, wrote to Gov. Ed Rendell last week to say that placing tolls on
Interstate 80 is equivalent to placing a “closed for business sign” on the state line.
California bill could result in more toll roads
A bill in the California Senate is intended to make it easier to open toll roads in the state. Two
more bills of note also address tolling.
In-cab laptops may be safe in AZ for now, but not at the border
Planning to swap a load of car parts for tomatoes in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico?
New Jersey Senate OKs ‘move over’ rule
A practice that has been followed by professional truck drivers for decades would become law
for all drivers in New Jersey if a bill halfway through the statehouse becomes law. The
legislation is designed to protect emergency personnel during roadside stops and certain
other vehicles.
FEMA’s handling of Katrina supplies questioned nearly three years later
Nearly three years after Hurricane Katrina killed more than 1,800 people in Louisiana and
Mississippi, and displaced hundred of thousands of others, FEMA is still being called on the
carpet for its handling of relief supplies meant for hurricane survivors.
Seattle trucking firm owner convicted of taking Rolls-Royce
A trucking business owner, a Rolls-Royce and the Saudi Royal family – sounds like a bad Eric
Roberts movie, doesn’t it?
Trucker unhurt in I-94 overpass attack
Police in Kalamazoo, MI, say a trucker was the target of a potentially deadly attack early Tuesday
morning, Aug. 5, when he approached an overpass on Interstate 94 in the southeast part of the
city. Police are hoping someone saw something around 1:15 a.m. Tuesday on I-94 at the
Kilgore Road overpass in Kalamazoo. Anyone with information should contact the police at
269-337-8120.
Lawmaker angry with extension of cross-border program
The continuation of the cross-border program with Mexico for two more years struck a raw nerve
with U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, an outspoken opponent of the program who has been
instrumental in several attempts to shut down the program. The Oregon Democrat recently
sponsored legislation designed to shut the program down after one year, which would be Sept.
6. Four days after the bill passed out of committee, and lawmakers headed out of DC for their
August recess, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration John Hill announced the program
would be extended two more years and would not end Sept. 6 as originally announced.
As Congress eyes speculation, company charged in oil futures case
Some in the U.S. government are going after those who scheme to artificially drive up the price
of oil and oil futures. Several congressional proposals are aimed at limiting trading of oil
futures, which analysts say have increased the cost of diesel and other fuel as much as 50
percent.
Poll shows Pennsylvanians disapprove of I-80 tolls, Turnpike lease
A majority of Pennsylvania voters disapprove of Interstate 80 becoming a toll road as well as
the possibility of the Pennsylvania Turnpike being leased to private investors, researchers from
Quinnipiac University said Tuesday, Aug. 5.
New Jersey bills focus on truck inspections
The topic of trucking has been an item of interest this year in the New Jersey statehouse.
Multiple measures offered there address truck inspections. Sen. Shirley Turner, D-Mercer,
introduced a bill this spring that would authorize “appropriately trained” local law enforcement
officers to inspect trucks.
Ports of L.A., Long Beach order Volvo, Mack trucks
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach recently ordered new Volvo and Mack trucks as part
of the ports’ initial purchases for their “Clean Trucks Program.” Both ports have approved
programs that will require trucks to meet 2007 engine emissions standards by December
2012, although that implementation may be delayed because of legal and regulatory action.
Agents bust truck from Mexico with $8 million in cocaine, weed
Federal agents patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border recently busted two drug-smuggling loads
coming into the United States.
California bill would ban drivers’ ‘lap dogs,’ other animals
With California state lawmakers returning this week from a one-month recess, a bill that could
draw consideration is intended to encourage pet lovers to keep their animals off their laps
while at the wheel. Sponsored by Assemblyman Bill Maze, R-Visalia, the measure would
prohibit people from driving while holding a live animal in their arms or lap.
Daimler Trucks recalls 650 workers to jobs at Freightliner plant
Daimler Trucks North America has laid off more than 2,600 workers since last spring. The
company, which produces Freightliners, is now calling 650 employees back to work at its
Rowan County, NC, plant.
U.S. representative seeks truckers’ input in Chehalis, WA, on Friday
Since June 2007, more than 633 log haulers in Washington state have gone out of business
with only 352 registered log haulers remaining there, according to data from OOIDA member
Sherrie Bond. Their plight gained the attention of U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, D-WA, who announced
recently that he will have a community forum from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 8, at W.F.
West High School in Chehalis.
South Carolina may consider tolls, privatization for road funding
The leading transportation official in South Carolina says the state no longer can depend on its
traditional funding source to pay for road work because of rising prices at the fuel pump. Buck
Limehouse, secretary for the South Carolina Department of Transportation, said the state's fuel
tax cannot be relied on to keep up with the current level of spending. He said the state must
consider other options for money, such as tolls, privatization or the state's general fund.
Public influence keeps Knoxville Parkway toll free
A parkway project in Knoxville, TN, will not be built as a toll road, top officials have announced,
and public opinion had a lot to do with the decision. Tennessee Department of Transportation
Commissioner Gerald Nicely stated in a letter to Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam that a lack of
public support for a toll road became clear at a Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning
Organization workshop and public hearing in mid-July.
Congressional subcommittee visits Port of Long Beach
Several members of Congress visited the Port of Long Beach to discuss funding needs and air
quality on Monday, Aug. 4. Representatives also addressed Clean Truck programs approved by
both ports.
Massachusetts bill dies; sought to OK statewide use of red-light cameras
The Massachusetts General Court wrapped up its regular legislative session Thursday, July
31, without approving a bill that sought to set statewide standards for red-light cameras. The
measure - H3512 - would have allowed communities to contract with companies to install and
maintain cameras.
I-5 toll bridge project makes federal priority list
President Bush signed an executive order this week to expedite the construction of a new toll
bridge on a major trucking route in the Pacific Northwest. The order authorizes state officials to
speed up the environmental review process for the Columbia River Crossing, a five-mile
reconstruction of Interstate 5 that includes a new bridge over the Columbia River linking
Portland, OR, with Vancouver, WA.
Maine lawmakers target driver distractions
Two Maine state lawmakers would like to see the state's distracted driving law tightened. Maine
already prohibits drivers from watching television while behind the wheel, but it doesn't exclude
watching a computer. One lawmaker said he would like to see an overhaul of the distracted
driving laws in the state to specify behavior that is inappropriate.
Victim's family sues Maine trucking company for 'wrongful death'
A wrongful death lawsuit filed against a trucking company in Mars Hill, ME, alleges that the
company has routinely engaged in unsafe and illegal practices. Glenn Shumate, 68, was killed
Jan. 23 when his pickup was hit head-on by a tractor-trailer on state Highway 89 in North
Carolina. According to the lawsuit, the semi had lost its brakes, was 37,000 pounds
overweight, and was sent on the two-lane Highway 89 route to avoid a weigh station on nearby
Interstate 77.
Sea-to-Sky Highway reopens ahead of schedule
The Sea-to-Sky Highway reopened Saturday, Aug. 2, ahead of schedule. Originally, it was
estimated that it would take five days to remove the debris and reopen the road following a rock
slide.
Congress considers cash incentives for crash avoidance technology
Truckers will be able to get a tax break on the purchase of crash-avoidance technology if a bill
that was just introduced in the U.S. Senate becomes law. The bill - like one already introduced
in the House - calls for tax credits of up to $3,500 per truck on the purchase of four specific
types of crash-avoidance systems. The four systems are collision avoidance, lane departure
warning, stability control and brake monitoring.
Pennsylvania officials seek comments about I-80 toll locations
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is seeking public comments about proposed
locations for toll-collection sites along Interstate 80. Turnpike Commission officials announced
Wednesday, Aug. 6, that they are hoping to construct nine collection points along I-80, provided
the federal government approves their application to toll the 311-mile portion of interstate.
New Jersey changing overweight permitting process, delays expected
New Jersey is moving toward implementation of an automated overweight permit application
process, but until the system is fully operation next summer, it could take two to three days to
get your permits.
Kentucky judge: highway bill a no-go
A Kentucky judge has ruled that the General Assembly in the state cannot stop the clock and
work beyond its constitutional deadline. Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled
that a bill that sought to authorize money for road work is invalid because it was not forwarded
to Gov. Steve Beshear before midnight on the final day of the legislative session earlier this
year.
Public input to shape final layout of North Carolina toll road
The North Carolina Turnpike Authority has one public meeting remaining on the subject of a
proposed toll road known as the Garden Parkway or Gaston East-West Connector. A public
meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Monday, Aug. 11, at Gastonia Adult Recreation Center, 519
W. Franklin Boulevard, Gastonia, NC.
Illinois bill would outlaw talking while walking
With lawmakers in many states looking into ways to curb driving while distracted, an effort at the
Illinois statehouse is focused on walking while distracted. Rep. Ken Dunkin, D-Chicago, is the
sponsor of a bill that would fine people who are caught using cell phones or other wireless
devices while crossing streets. Anyone foolish enough to attempt such a maneuver would risk
a $25 fine.
Smugglers caught with nearly five tons of marijuana in truckload
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials say a tractor-trailer load of marijuana was intercepted
on its way into the U.S. from Mexico.
SPECIAL REPORT: OOIDA to talk speed limiters with Canadian officials
Officials from OOIDA's Washington, DC, office are traveling to Canada to speak with provincial
and federal officials on the topic of speed limiters.
'Public' process criticized on Pennsylvania I-80 toll plan
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission officials have vowed to keep the public in the loop and part
of the process during the proposed conversion of I-80 into a toll road across the state, but many
highway users and local residents are still feeling left out.
Swiping a card to pay at the pump? Crooks scam millions from drivers
Consumers already paying high diesel and gas prices reportedly have another adversary at the
pump - out-of-sight thieves who skim credit and debit card info directly from truck stop and gas
station card readers.
California port container fee bill clears statehouse
California's Senate voted 22-9 Tuesday, Aug. 5, to sign off on Assembly changes to a bill that
would allow the collection of $30 fees on every 20-foot equivalent unit passing through the Los
Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland port complexes.
OOIDA, Volvo recognize drivers for safe driving
OOIDA recently announced August honorees in the Association's Safe Driving Award program.
The drivers have been recognized by the Association and program sponsor Volvo Trucks North
America for truck driving excellence.
Michigan bills target driver distractions
As state lawmakers prepare to head back to the Michigan statehouse Wednesday, Aug. 13, for
their final push to approve bills before the regular session ends late this year, a legislative
package that could come up for consideration is intended to improve safety on roadways.
Mexican driver arrested after 2.7 tons of marijuana found at border
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol recently arrested a Mexican truck driver for allegedly hauling
more than two tons of marijuana into California through the Calexico, CA, port of entry.
August weekend construction to keep traffic slow in Seattle
Multiple Seattle-area construction projects scheduled during weekends in August could lead to
traffic back-ups as long as 13 miles, some media outlets are reporting.
Deadline is Aug. 15 for Wisconsin exhaust retrofit grant program
Wisconsin's diesel particulate filter retrofit program has enough money for a few more grants
before closing out the emissions-cutting program for the year. Applications will be accepted
through Aug. 15.
Wall Street analyst upgrades trucking industry
One of the trucking industry analysts that Wall Street relies on for investment tips upgraded his
assessment of the trucking industry Thursday, Aug. 7. The analyst sent a note to his investment
clients saying the trucking industry isn't "out of the woods" yet, but that carriers are less
despondent than they were just two months ago.
Truck Wash and Chrome Shop show slated for Aug. 16-17
America's Truck Wash and Chrome Shop Truck Show is scheduled for Aug. 16-17 at the truck
wash at Exit 11 on Interstate 70 in Dallas Pike, WV.
Economy tough on trucking in second quarter
Trucking companies going out of business continued at a record pace in the second quarter,
according to a report released by trucking analyst Donald Broughton.
On-highway diesel prices down fourth straight week
The national average of on-highway diesel dropped nearly 15 cents per gallon to $4.353 per
gallon the second week in August, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Driver dies as rig plunges off bridge
John Robert Short, a 57-year-old truck driver from Willards, MD, was killed Sunday, Aug. 10,
when his truck plunged off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge following a three-vehicle accident.
Fatalities, injuries among three recent bus wrecks
Three bus wrecks over the weekend resulted in at least 20 fatalities and dozens of injuries.
Nebraska firm recalls beef due to E. coli concerns
Nebraska Beef Limited has issued its second recall of beef in a little more than a month over
concerns of E. coli contamination.
Economy affecting Florida toll road traffic
A regional tolling authority in Orange County, FL, is experiencing a slowdown in traffic and
revenue this summer.
Illinois governor calls for interstate cameras
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is in hot pursuit of adding cameras along interstates in the state to
catch speeders. Tickets issued would pay for more state troopers.
Massachusetts bill to ban phoning, texting while driving dies
The regular session recently wrapped up in Massachusetts without lawmakers approving a bill
that called for prohibiting drivers in the state from talking on hand-held cell phones and text
messaging while driving.
Mexican city to fine Americans buying diesel
Ciudad Acuna, which is located just across the border from Del Rio, TX, is now fining U.S.
drivers who are crossing the border to buy more than their share of cheap diesel. And two
Texas residents had their pickup truck seized as they were on their way home after filling up.
SPECIAL REPORT: L.A., Long Beach OK truck grants for MX carriers
The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach boast of bringing in 40 percent of the nation's
imported goods, and plans to cut emissions at each port have been highlighted in mainstream
news. A Land Line investigation into the ports' multibillion-dollar clean truck program, however,
shows that the $2.2 billion program could pay for the replacement of trucks owned by Mexican
trucking companies while it excludes U.S. trucks that run any miles outside of California.
Class-action lawsuit against Swift gets second chance
A class-action lawsuit challenging Swift Transportation's alleged practice of shorting drivers on
pay for miles driven got a new lease on life Monday, Aug. 11. An Arizona appellate court judge
reversed a lower court decision that had effectively killed the 3-year-old case. The order
reverses a ruling on a motion for class certification filed June 8, 2005, which alleges the
trucking giant used a flawed method to calculate mileage, shorting the drivers.
Forum addresses wide range of topics hurting truckers in Washington state
Although the turnout was a little less than what OOIDA member Sherrie Bond said she was
hoping for, Bond said she wasn't disappointed at all in the quality of information that was
discussed at a community forum in Chehalis, WA, on Friday, Aug. 8. U.S. Rep. Brian Baird,
D-WA, who sits on the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, hosted the
two-hour forum with about 50 truckers and lawmakers.
Massachusetts bridge repair plan signed into law
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a bill into law that allots nearly $3 billion to
speed up repairs for up to 300 of the most neglected bridges in the state.
Wyoming panel taps severance tax to help pay for highway work
A legislative panel in Wyoming is talking over plans to tap into severance tax revenue to help
pay for widening and expanding some of the state's more congested highways. Severance
taxes are levied on resources extracted in the state. It is estimated the allocation for road
construction could amount to $10 million to $15 million annually.
West Virginia cuts truckers some slack on registration fees
In West Virginia, state officials have decided to give truckers a little bit of a financial break in
light of the high price of diesel. Instead of being due July 1, the $1,100 payment for Class 8
trucks will be due by Sept. 1.
Researcher warns: electronic tolling vulnerable to hackers
A California researcher warns that electronic tolling transponders are vulnerable targets for
computer hackers.
Northeast governors slam federal transportation policy
The governors of five states in the Northeast said this week that the Bush administration policy
to toll and privatize infrastructure does little to solve their transportation problems. New Jersey
Gov. Jon Corzine and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell have both proposed unpopular plans to
lease public infrastructure in their states to investors. Despite their proposals, on Monday both
Corzine and Rendell criticized the federal government for shifting the burden of transportation
funding to the states.
Drafting behind big trucks isn't the answer to fuel mileage woes
The phrase, "If you can't see my mirrors, I can't see you," is a common sight on the rear doors
of many tractor-trailers traveling on America's highways - maybe even yours. As both truckers
and motorists strive to increase their fuel mileage as both fuel prices hover above the $4 mark,
a tip recently published in Woman's World Magazine actuallyencouraged its readers to drive
behind a tractor-trailer to save "about 10 percent on gas."
Ohio bill calls for English-only CDL tests
A bill in the Ohio House would require aspiring truck drivers to have a firm grasp of the English
language to obtain a commercial driver's license. Sponsored by Rep. William Batchelder,
R-Medina, the measure would require the state's CDL test to be given entirely in English.
Judge sets Sept. 8 deadline for port 'clean truck' injunction
A federal judge will hear arguments for and against stopping "Clean Truck" programs at the
ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach just three weeks before the ports are scheduled to begin
implementing the program. In July, the American Trucking Association filed a civil lawsuit to
stop both ports from implementing their own versions of "Clean Truck" programs.
Michigan bills seek expanded price gouging protections
A pair of bills in the Michigan House are intended to further help protect consumers in the state
from being gouged at the fuel pump. It could come up for consideration once lawmakers return
to the Capitol on Wednesday, Aug. 13.
Massachusetts bill to require drivers to move over dies
In Massachusetts, the clock ran out on a bill that called for mandating a practice that has been
followed by professional truck drivers for decades. Dubbed the "Move Over Act," the measure
was designed to protect police and other emergency personnel during roadside stops.
Truck Wash and Chrome Shop show on tap this weekend
Owner Carol Watson is hoping for great weather this weekend in West Virginia. America's
Truck Wash and Chrome Shop Truck Show is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Aug. 16 and
17, at the truck wash at Exit 11 on Interstate 70 in Dallas Pike, WV.
Hazmat to bypass DNC; parts of I-25 in Denver will be off-limits
Truckers who haul the type of hazmat that's restricted to designated hazmat routes will be
detoured around downtown Denver later this month - except for local pickup and delivery. Click
here for details about specific detour routes and a map showing them.
Large-truck crash related fatalities down 4.4 percent
With the exception of motorcycle-related fatalities, highway deaths in 2007 decreased in every
other category, including large-truck crashes, to bring the overall number of highway fatalities to
their lowest level since 1994. Overall, traffic-related deaths showed a 3.9 percent decline from
2006 numbers, while large-truck crash fatalities dropped 4.4 percent.
New Louisiana trucking laws take effect this week
Three new laws in Louisiana that are set to take effect Friday, Aug. 15, are of interest to
truckers. One prohibits the issuance of commercial driver's licenses to haul hazardous
materials to people who fail to pass background tests. Another amends rules on motor carriers
who allow drivers to violate out-of-service orders or get behind the wheel without a valid CDL.
The third requires the loss of driving privileges for CDL holders who are convicted of felonies
punishable by at least one year in jail.
City tax on diesel set to go into effect Sept. 1 in Mount Vernon, IL
Truckers traveling through the state of Illinois might want to fuel up before they get to Mount
Vernon. A two-cent, per-gallon tax on diesel is set to go into effect there on Monday, Sept. 1.
California toll lane bill dies; other tolling efforts advance
The California Senate soundly defeated a bill that was intended to make it easier to open toll
roads in the state. Still, two more bills of note that address tolling are on the move.
Violation of CARB's reefer restrictions cost company $63,300
The California Air Resources Board has fined a Los Angeles-based subsidiary of Hormel
Foods more than $60,000 for violating multiple air regulations in the Golden State. According to
CARB documents, Clougherty Packing/Farmer John failed to report refrigeration facility data,
and also failed to inspect its diesel truck fleet during 2006 and 2007.
Drop in U.S. driving continues
For the eighth straight month the number of miles driven in the U.S. has dropped. The U.S.
Department of Transportation reported that Americans have driven 53 billion fewer miles in the
past eight months than in the same period a year ago.
SPECIAL REPORT: L.A., Long Beach OK grants for Mexican carriers
The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach boast of bringing in 40 percent of the nation's
imported goods, and plans to cut emissions at each port have been highlighted in mainstream
news recently. However, a Land Line investigation into the ports' multibillion-dollar clean truck
program, however, shows that the $2.2 billion program could pay for the replacement of trucks
owned by Mexican trucking companies while it excludes U.S. trucks that run any miles outside
of California.
Truck, electronics load hijacked at Port of Long Beach
Long Beach port police are reportedly looking for three suspects in an expensive truck heist this
week. According to the Los Angeles Times the tractor's license plate reads 7556776, and the
accompanying trailer's license plate read GT66777.
Hit-and-run driver kills trucker on I-80 near Scranton, PA
In Pocono Township, PA, southeast of Scranton, a 63-year-old trucker was killed Tuesday night,
Aug. 12, when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver. Police are looking for a dark sedan -
possibly a 2000 Hyundai Elantra sedan, black with a white pinstripe. They say it could have
severe damage to its right side and could be missing part of the front passenger door.
Trailer wheels bounce across I-95, kill motorist in Philadelphia
In an accident Thursday, Aug. 14, on Interstate 95 in South Philadelphia, a motorist was killed
when wheels flew off of a semitrailer.
FMCSA shuts down another bus company
Federal officials announced on Thursday, Aug. 14, that they've shut down the operation of a
third Houston bus company in the wake of an Aug. 8 crash that killed 17 people in Sherman, TX.
Shenandoah Travel Plaza re-opens after five-year hiatus
After being shuttered for nearly five years, the historic Shenandoah Travel Plaza is slowly
coming back to life. The truck stop was originally built in the 1970s and has been closed since
2003.
Economy tough on trucking in second quarter
Trucking companies going out of business continued at a record pace in the second quarter
according to a report released by trucking analyst Donald Broughton. In the second quarter of
2008, 970 trucking companies with five or more trucks went out of business. They join 935
companies that were shuttered in the first quarter.
Michigan pursues road funding solutions via tax proposals
With their state struggling to come up with solutions to help pay for road work, three Michigan
state lawmakers are hopeful their tax proposals will gain favor at the statehouse. Local voter
approval would be required for their passage.
Stricter seat-belt rule, teen driving restrictions sought in Nevada
Lawmakers in Nevada are busy filing bill draft requests for possible legislation that could be
brought up for consideration during the 2009 regular session. Among the efforts getting
attention are proposals that are intended to make the state's roadways a little safer, including
primary seat belt enforcement and teen driving restrictions.
Northeast governors slam federal transportation policy
The governors of five states in the Northeast said this week that the Bush administration policy
to toll and privatize infrastructure does little to solve their transportation problems.
World's Largest Truck Convoy for Special Olympics coming up soon
There's an image Cpl. Norm Schneiderhan sees when he thinks about the World's Largest
Truck Convoy for Special Olympics. It's a truck driver, standing next to a law enforcement officer,
with each looking up at the Special Olympics athlete they carry on their shoulders. Truckers
across the country are making plans to join in regional celebrations of the eighth annual convoy
- combining the efforts of truck drivers and law enforcement officers to raise money for Special
Olympics.
Truckin' for Kids Truck Drags set for Sept. 27-28
The 28th Annual Truckin' for Kids Truck Drags and Show & Shine will be Sept. 27-28 at the
Irwindale Speedway in Irwindale, CA. More than 250 trucks from the U.S., Canada and Mexico,
including owner-operators and small fleets and a crowd of at least 5,000 are anticipated.
Study finds Canadians' driving habits unchanged
Although the government has been telling us that Americans have reduced their driving by
billions of miles due to the high price of fuel, a Canadian study says our neighbors to the north
haven't changed their driving habits.
SPECIAL REPORT: OOIDA, Canadian officials discuss speed limiters
Two OOIDA representatives traveled to Canada this past week to educate federal and provincial
officials on the topic of speed limiters. Discussion included how a new law in Ontario, which
makes speed limiters mandatory on heavy trucks, will affect both U.S. and Canadian truckers.
Florida examiner traded bribes for CDLs for undocumented drivers
Yolanda Pippins issued all kinds of driver's licenses from her post at the Florida Department of
Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. As it turns out, Pippins was handing out some of the most
important licenses - commercial driver's licenses - to unqualified, sometimes undocumented
applicants brought to her by brokers. In fact, court documents show Pippins was the key player
in a scheme to hand out licenses to countless would-be commercial drivers.
National average price for diesel drops another 14.6 cents
After months of watching helplessly as diesel prices soared to record-high prices across the
country, there's some good fuel news for truckers. The U.S. Energy Information Administration
is reporting an on-average decrease of 14.6 cents per gallon to put the nationwide average at
$4.207.
Florida braces for Tropical Storm Fay
Officials in Florida are preparing major routes to handle evacuation traffic and emergency aid
as Tropical Storm Fay nears landfall. The storm could make landfall late Monday, Aug. 18, or
early Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.
Prosecutors say Mendenhall tried to have police, witnesses killed from jail
Police detectives spent months and likely years trying to get inside the mind of Bruce
Mendenhall, who is accused of slaying multiple women he abducted from truck stops while
working as a long hauler. Those detectives, however, probably didn't predict Mendenhall would
attempt to solve his problems from jail while ordering police officers and witnesses in his case
to be killed.
Iowa DOT requests public comment on transportation plan
Iowa truckers who have a beef with a frequently used state roadway, now is the time to push for
a fix. The Iowa Department of Transportation is asking for public comment on its four-year
transportation improvement plan. Proposed projects include work on interstates, highways,
local roads and bridges.
California bills advance; would mandate ignition interlocks in DUI cases
With the end of the regular legislative session in California fast approaching, multiple
measures nearing passage at the statehouse would mandate the use of ignition interlock
devices for drunken drivers.
November deadline set for Highway Hero nominations
The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. is starting its second quarter-century of celebrating heroic
truck drivers. The company announced in recent days that the search is on for U.S. and
Canadian drivers to be nominated for the 26th annual Goodyear North America Highway Hero
Awards. Nominations will be accepted through Nov. 30.
Big Oil lobbying hard
America's biggest oil companies may not be investing enough in exploration to satisfy some
critics, but no one can accuse them of not spending big money on lobbyists.
Texas trial starts in trucker's slaying
In Arlington, TX, the trial of 20-year-old James Curnel was scheduled to start Tuesday, Aug. 19.
Curnel is one of four men charged in the murder of Plano truck driver Sevenler Cavit.
New travel plaza in Oklahoma to offer 18 truck parking spots
The number of truck parking spaces available at travel plazas and rest areas is an important
issue for truckers. Construction is currently under way in Oklahoma to open a new travel plaza -
the Lone Chimney Plaza - just west of Oklahoma highway 18 on the Cimarron Turnpike.
Kansas energy group touts lower speed limit
An advisory panel in Kansas is looking into whether to reduce the speed limit by 5 mph on
some highways in the state. There is expected to be an opportunity this fall for public comment
on the plan to reduce the state's 70 mph speed limit to 65 mph - affecting 8 percent of highways
in the state.
New border crossing for trucks planned in Arizona
Truckers who cross the U.S.-Mexico border south of Yuma, AZ, will soon have access to a new
roadway and a new commercial port of entry. The Arizona Department of Transportation recently
awarded a $43.2 million contract for the construction of a four-lane roadway that will allow
commercial vehicles to bypass San Luis, AZ, on the way to and from the Mexican border.
New Jersey bill would rely on ticket surcharges to pay for patrols
If a New Jersey state lawmaker gets his way, drivers caught speeding would be tapped to help
offset the charge that small towns must pay for State Police patrols. Sponsored by Sen. Jeff Van
Drew, D-Cape May, the bill would add $40 surcharges to all motor vehicle violations to defray
some of the costs of providing local police services. The revenue would be split between two
funds.
California bill advances; would ban pets on drivers' laps
A bill nearing passage in the California Senate is intended to encourage pet lovers to keep their
animals off their laps while at the wheel. The Senate Transportation and Housing Committee
voted to advance the bill to the full Senate that would prohibit people from driving while holding
a live animal in their arms or lap.
Show organizers expect 50,000 at GATS this week
With the doors set to open at noon on Thursday, Aug. 21, the 2008 Great American Trucking
Show in Dallas promises trucking professionals the latest in truck technology, truck gear and
truck entertainment. Free truck parking is available during the three-day event. Click
here for
directions and a map to the lot.
Bridgestone Firestone sets Sept. 30 deadline for hero nominations
Officials with Bridgestone Firestone have announced that nominations for the 52nd annual
Canadian Truck Hero Award are due by Sept. 30. The award is designed to give special
recognition to a Canadian professional truck driver who has demonstrated courage, quick
thinking and integrity in the face of emergency.
Pennsylvania Turnpike seeks private investors for new capacity
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission officials plan on inviting private investors to construct,
operate and maintain portions of the system not yet built.
Denver prepares for interstate closures, detours during DNC convention
The Democratic National Convention will cause several traffic issues in downtown Denver later
this month, including the complete closure of Interstate 25 for several hours on Thursday, Aug.
28. Click
here for details about specific detour routes and a map showing them.
Tropical Storm Fay brings tornadoes, flooding to Florida
Tropical Storm Fay has brought its share of destruction and flooding to Florida despite falling
short of being classified as a hurricane. A number of cities and counties reported flooding and
road closures on Tuesday, Aug. 19, and the early part of Wednesday, Aug. 20, as the storm
tracked to the north.
Driver questioned in Texas after body was found in his truck cab
A truck driver was taken into custody and questioned late Tuesday, Aug. 19, after Houston-area
sheriff's deputies found a woman's body in his truck cab.
Bus companies placed OOS used frequently by schools
Charter bus companies recently involved in a wreck with many fatalities were used extensively
by school districts in the Houston area. One school district had even designated the company
as "a recommended vendor."
South Dakota on the search for road money
In hopes of closing a road funding gap in South Dakota, lawmakers there are giving thought to
applying a tax to drivers based on how many miles they travel in the state. Stopping the
diversion of road funds to other budgets also is drawing attention.
California Assembly OKs authorization of GPS installation on windshields
The California Assembly unanimously approved a bill that would allow drivers to take
advantage of technology intended to help with navigation. The bill - SB1567 -would allow global
position system devices to be affixed to vehicle windshields.
Louisville trucking company closes its doors
Citing a multimillion dollar lawsuit and a lack of government support, a Louisville, KY, trucking
company is closing its doors for good. The Louisville Courier-Journal reported that C.W.
Johnson Xpress has shut down its operations, putting 146 people out of work.
YRC buys Chinese hauling firm
More news from China, but this development does not involve the Olympic Games or Beijing.
YRC Worldwide is buying one of China's largest trucking companies.
Idling OK in Dallas, if you do it right
There's no need to skip the Great American Trucking Show just because of the new anti-idling
reg in Dallas. There's a big exception to the rule. The regulation, which local officials started
enforcing in April, allows truckers to idle their trucks beyond the five-minute limit if they are
complying with the hours-of-service regulations. Click
here to read the entire regulation.
Driver has early September court date in Arizona about laptop
A truck driver who was ticketed for having a laptop in his cab is scheduled to appear before an
Arizona judge in early September. An Arizona DOT enforcement officer who issued the ticket
told the trucker it was for having a laptop mounted near his driver's seat, and cited FMCSR
393.88, which bans screens capable of receiving a television broadcast signal from being
within a commercial driver's view.
Plane crashes into California weigh station
One person was killed Wednesday night when a plane crashed into a California Highway
Patrol truck scale building near Gilroy. Officials with the CHP said that no one was in the weigh
station at the time of the crash because its officers were all out on a training exercise.
New Jersey bills focus on hazmat loads, turnpike use
Hauling of hazardous materials and trucking on the New Jersey Turnpike are among the topics
that have received attention this year at the New Jersey statehouse. One bill would give the
Delaware River Port Authority the authority to inspect hazmat carriers and cargo. A separate bill
calls for limiting traffic in certain lanes on the turnpike. Another bill would require the New
Jersey Turnpike Authority to reduce toll rates for commercial trucks.
New York State Legislature votes to prohibit 'zone pricing' for fuel
Meeting in special session, New York state lawmakers voted Tuesday, Aug. 19, to approve
legislation that would fine fuel companies for pricing gasoline and diesel higher in certain
areas. It now moves to Gov. David Paterson's desk.
Driver questioned in Texas after body was found in his truck cab
A truck driver was taken into custody and questioned late Tuesday, Aug. 19, after Houston-area
sheriff's deputies found a woman's body in his truck cab. On Thursday, the Houston Chronicle
reported that the driver could be cited for moving a dead body. A Harris County Sheriff's Deputy
told the newspaper that the driver told officers that she said she had been assaulted and asked
him for help.
Accused serial killer Mendenhall to face judge next week on new charges
Video footage of accused serial killer Bruce Mendenhall shows the former truck driver calmly
answering a judge's questions with messy hair and pursed lips. Mendenhall was indicted this
week on charges of solicitation of murder for five individuals connected with his prosecution in
another case. Mendenhall faces a jury trial in Tennessee in January on charges of abducting
and slaying Sara Nicole Hulbert.
I-10 near Tucson closed Thursday night through early Monday
If you're driving through Tucson, AZ, Thursday night, Aug. 21, you might want to plan your route
carefully or find another way around. All lanes of Interstate 10 between Prince Road and 29th
Street will be closed Thursday night beginning at 10 p.m. The road will remain closed until
Monday, Aug. 25, at 5 a.m. More information can be found on the Web at
www.i10tucson.com.
Mack, Volvo add disc brake option
Truckers ordering Mack and Volvo trucks now have the option of spec'ing Bendix disc brakes.
Cummins to introduce SCR systems in 2010
Officials with engine maker Cummins Inc. announced earlier this month that they are going to
use the selective catalytic reduction after-treatment system in their heavy-duty engines
beginning in 2010.
Tropical Storm Fay expected to bring up to 30 inches of rain
The National Weather Service is forecasting that Tropical Storm Fay will continue to bring high
winds and flooding Friday, Aug. 22, to the northern part of the Florida Peninsula as it is forecast
to track west across to the Florida Panhandle. Click
here for traffic warnings and updates from
FDOT. If you see price gouging at Florida fuel stops, call the attorney general at 850-414-3300.
SPECIAL REPORT: Fitch gives toll roads a ‘negative’ rating
A firm specializing in financial statistics and economic outlooks has given toll roads and
airports a failing grade just a few months after listing them as stable investments. OOIDA
officials said the report shows that a case can be made against tolling as a philosophy to fund
transportation. “This report certainly shows that toll roads are not a good value for the American
highway user,” OOIDA Government Affairs Representative Mike Joyce said. “We have
government and politicians that want to move more towards toll roads and that’s bad policy.”
Form 2290/HVUT tax due by end of August; OOIDA can help
Truckers are all too familiar with the federal highway use tax for heavy vehicles, also known as
the HUT or HVUT tax. It’s that $550 fee you pay each year when you file an IRS Form 2290. For
trucks and other taxable vehicles in use during July, the Form 2290 and payment are due on
Aug. 31. The Business Services staff at the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association
provides a special service for OOIDA members to help them get the tax paid. This past week
was “HVUT” tax week at the Missouri-based truckers’ association as permit agents scrambled
to get 2290s to the tax office.
California Legislature OKs resolution discouraging longer, heavier trucks
The California Assembly and Senate have both signed off on an effort that urges the resistance
of any attempts to allow longer, heavier trucks on roadways throughout the state. It now moves
to Congress for review. It opposes federal government proposals to increase the size or weight
of commercial vehicles.
Fast Lane discounts could be cut in Massachusetts
As part of an effort to increase revenue and avoid toll rate increases, officials with the
Massachusetts Turnpike Authority want lawmakers to consider rescinding toll discounts
currently offered to drivers who have Fast Lane accounts to pay their tolls electronically.
Two Indiana towns push for red light camera permission
The mayors of two towns in northeast Indiana say they’ll ask state lawmakers to authorize use
of cameras to nab red light runners. Lafayette and West Lafayette mayors are forced to lobby
legislators for use of the enforcement tool. Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter issued an
opinion that cities and towns cannot use cameras to catch drivers who run red lights until
legislation is approved to authorize the enforcement tool.
Texas jury finds man guilty of murder in truck driver’s death
One of four men charged in the killing of a Plano, TX, truck driver has been found guilty of capital
murder by a Tarrant County jury. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that James Curnel was
found guilty of murder on Thursday, Aug. 21, in the 2007 killing of truck driver Sevenler Cavit.
Cavit was killed by a shotgun blast in a motel parking lot in Grand Prairie, TX, in January of that
year.
Truck driver cited after taking corpse on 24-hour ride
Sheriff’s deputies cited a Texas truck driver Thursday, Aug. 21, for taking a dead woman along
with him on his route across the Lone Star State.
Fay continues her attempt to drown Florida
Tropical Storm Fay continued to drop more rain on the Sunshine State for the fifth day in a row
on Friday, Aug. 22. The storm is moving slowly westward and was expected to move up through
the Panhandle Friday night, and into Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama over the weekend. It
was not expected to gain any strength, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Highway closures in Pennsylvania, Arizona this weekend
If you’re going to either Pennsylvania or Arizona this weekend, there are a couple of road
closures you need to know about. An eight-mile stretch of the eastbound lanes of the
Pennsylvania Turnpike between Irwin and New Stanton will be closed for six hours beginning at
midnight Friday as crews install concrete beams for a new overpass. In Arizona, all lanes of
Interstate 10 between Prince Road and 29th Street were closed down Thursday night and will
remain closed until Monday, Aug. 25, at 5 a.m.
Trucker fired for helping police on company time
A trucker who helped the New York City Police Department make five arrests has been fired for
doing the good deeds on company time.
Member hauls two Air Force One replicas to political conventions
OOIDA member Donald Snare said he received some puzzled looks from people this past
week as he headed down the highway with his oversized cargo consisting of a full-scale replica
of the fuselage of Air Force One.
North Carolina law eases length limits on some roads
A new law in North Carolina soon will allow longer tractor-trailers on more roads throughout the
state. Gov. Mike Easley signed a bill into law that increases the length of trailers allowed on the
state's primary roads to 53 feet. From the main roads, trucks will be allowed to travel up to three
miles on their tributaries. The new law takes effect Sept. 1.
Ports of L.A., Long Beach respond to ATA suit
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have filed a 60-page response to the American
Trucking Association's lawsuit - capping a week chock-full of port emissions news. The ATA
lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California claims federal
regulations protecting interstate commerce prevent the ports from requiring that truckers be
licensed concessionaires in order to enter the ports.
North Carolina committee tackles transportation funding
A committee studying transportation funding in North Carolina has been around for only one
year, but it is already affecting the way the state pays for infrastructure projects. Chairman Brad
Wilson said during a meeting Aug. 20 that all options for funding remain on the table, including
toll roads, an increase in the state fuel tax, and a possible tax on vehicle miles traveled.
California bills would add transit questions to ballots
With the fall elections approaching, two bills at the California statehouse would authorize
transportation initiatives to be placed on certain ballots in the state.
Trucker to address Democratic National Convention
The Democratic National Convention began in Denver Monday, Aug. 25, and one of the
speakers the delegates will hear from during the convention is a Teamsters union official and
truck driver from Taylor, MI.
Hazmat loads rerouted in Denver; I-25 closing Thursday for convention
The Democratic National Convention will cause several traffic issues in downtown Denver this
week, including the complete closure of Interstate 25 for several hours on Thursday, Aug. 28.
Click
here for details about specific detour routes and a map showing them.
IdleAire consultant says the service is 'here to stay'
A consultant for the new management of IdleAire told reporters at the Great American Trucking
Show in Dallas this past week that the company is ";here to stay."
OOIDA taking trucker issues to mainstream
Every day Norita Taylor conducts a search for news ";mentionings" of the Missouri-based
Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association in mainstream media and trade outlets.
Taylor is the Media Affairs Coordinator for OOIDA. Some of those mainstream mentions are
posted and archived regularly on
www.landlinemag.com under ";OOIDA in the news." It's a
brand-new feature, and you'll find it on the menu on the left-hand side of the home page.
National diesel average drops for sixth consecutive week
For the sixth straight week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration is reporting a decrease
in the national average price for diesel, with it dropping another 6.2 cents to average $4.125 per
gallon. The national average price has dipped more than 61 cents per gallon during the past
six weeks, although the price is still more than $1.28 higher than it was this same week of
August in 2007.
LAWSUIT UPDATE: OOIDA leaders consider further action in DAC case
With more than four years already invested in the fight, leaders of the Owner-Operator
Independent Drivers Association are considering whether to pursue further action in a federal
case against DAC Services.
Security tightened along U.S.-Mexican border because of 'credible threat'
Tighter security means that truckers who cross the U.S.-Mexican border may be in for longer
waits. The Associated Press reported that security is being tightened at border crossings after
law enforcement officials received what they called a "credible threat" that members of Mexican
drug cartels intended to kill as many as 20 people in Texas and New Mexico.
Tennessee officer accused of conducting unauthorized background check
A newspaper reporter who has written articles about the Tennessee Highway Patrol was the
target of an unauthorized background check by an officer who's believed to have conducted
similar checks on 182 other people.
Public hearing set on toll road through California state park beach
Federal officials have set a time and place for a rescheduled public hearing on a controversial
toll road project that would bisect state parkland in Southern California. The public hearing is
set for 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Sept. 22, at O'Brien Hall at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar,
CA. Officials are requiring that people sign up in writing at least 10 days in advance if they want
time at the podium. According to the NOAA Web site, written comments will also be accepted at
the hearing.
Transportation ballot initiatives address funding needs
Election Day 2008 is a little more than two months away. While national and state races are
drawing the lion's share of attention throughout the country, there are ballot issues in several
states that also are of great significance for truckers and others who rely on highways and other
roads.
CHP summit proves informative for small-business truckers, industry
As a rule, truckers typically try to avoid drawing the attention of highway patrol officers while out
on the road. However, a Commercial Vehicle Safety Summit, organized by the California
Highway Patrol, actually encouraged interaction between small-business truckers and law
enforcement officers as part of a three-day workshop this past week.
California Senate OKs 'texting' ban for all drivers
In California, a bill on its way to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk would prohibit adults from
text messaging while driving. Another law that took effect in July makes it illegal for teen drivers
younger than 18 to use any type of cell phone, pager, text messaging device or laptop while at
the wheel.
Volvo rolls out program to help truckers boost fuel mileage
Volvo Trucks North America unveiled its Fuelwatch initiative at the Great American Trucking
Show in Dallas. It is designed to help truckers achieve maximum fuel economy. Fuelwatch is a
comprehensive approach to get the most out of each gallon of fuel, encompassing vehicle
spec'ing, maintenance, performance monitoring and driver behavior.
Gustav builds to hurricane status
Oil prices shot up sharply Tuesday morning, Aug. 26, after winds of 90 miles an hour caused
Tropical Storm Gustav to be upgraded to hurricane status. AccuWeather senior forecaster Eric
Wilhelm said states along the Gulf Coast will need to be on the lookout by early next week.