The American Driver
From Drivers - For Drivers
What's News - February 2008
OPEC may pump less crude; oil companies declare record profits
Just two weeks after president Bush pleaded with OPEC to pump more oil, a spokesman for
the cartel says it will not pump more, and in fact may pump less.In other oil news, the world’s
biggest oil company, Exxon Mobil Corp., announced record profits Friday, Feb. 1, of $40.6
billion for 2007. Shell Oil Co. also announced record profits of $27.6 billion.
Winter storms complicate truckers’ lives across nation
A powerful winter storm that moved through parts of the Midwest on Thursday, Jan. 31, pushed
into the northeast Friday with a mixture of rain, freezing rain and snow. When weather like this
sets in, a trucker going from Seattle to Utah could have to chain and unchain four or five times
if he isn’t stopped entirely, said one trucking company spokesman.
Truck parking ordinance outrages Hutchinson, MN, truckers
A local ordinance banning trucks from parking in residential areas has been on the books in
Hutchison, MN, for at least 15 years. However, just recently, the City Council voted to start
enforcing the ban. In recent weeks, truckers have been expressing their outrage about the city’
s decision to enforce the truck parking ban by writing Letters to the Editor to the Hutchinson
Leader.
Connecticut bill would require removal of snow, ice from trucks
If a leading state lawmaker in Connecticut gets his way, motorists and truck drivers would be
forced to remove ice and snow from their vehicles before taking to roadways in the state. And,
New York state Assemblyman Mike Spano has offered a measure in his state’s Assembly that
would require truckers and others to clear their vehicles of snow, ice, sleet and hail.
Rhode Island bill would ban tolls on Mount Hope Bridge
Concern about what the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority will do to close a long-
term funding gap has one state lawmaker looking to ensure that Mount Hope Bridge isn’t
pegged for tolls.
Ohio legislation would ban ‘texting’ while driving
Since the calendar turned over to 2008, lawmakers in several states have taken the opportunity
to pursue legislation that would prohibit drivers in their state from text messaging while driving.
 
[Top Of Page]
 
Weekly Featured Article  [02/03/08]
WHEN DISASTER STRIKES
(By Michael Howe - Challenge Magazine)
Interstate 75 shut down coming
If you haul to Canada and use the Ambassador Bridge, get ready for the orange barrels. The
Michigan DOT says, beginning Feb. 25, it will shut down a stretch of I-75 in southwest Detroit
for the $231 million Ambassador Bridge Gateway Project, and it will stay closed for nearly two
years.
TSA says oops - twice as many have to enroll in TWIC
For years, the federal government has estimated that 700,000 to 880,000 truck drivers and port
workers need to enroll in the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program. They
were right; however, they missed an additional 750,000 workers.
Missouri bill would add tolls to I-70
A bill in the Missouri Senate would eliminate a couple of barriers prohibiting toll roads and
bridges in the state. Sponsored by Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Lee's Summit, the bill would enable the
state's Highways and Transportation Commission to fund, build and operate toll roads and
bridges, specifically, on Interstate 70 between Kansas City and St. Louis.
Feds seized $200 million in counterfeit goods in 2007
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security seized an estimated $200 million in counterfeit
merchandise during the 2007 fiscal year - an increase of 27 percent from the year before.
Utah House approves bill that would outlaw ticket quotas
A bill halfway through the Utah statehouse is intended to prevent law enforcement officers from
going on ticket writing sprees.
Ohio bill would mandate 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.
National average price of diesel jumps to $3.28
The national average price of on-highway diesel increased 2.1 cents to $3.280 per gallon for
the week ending Monday, Feb. 4. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that the
price for diesel was 84.5 cents more than it was one year ago.
Oklahoma bill would restrict drivers' cell phone use
A bill in the Oklahoma House would require drivers in the state to keep their hands off their
phones. Truck drivers would be exempted in certain instances.
Minnesota trucker takes on City Hall
Trucker Jamie Marx knows he will be the underdog when he takes on the Hutchinson , MN , City
Council. Nonetheless, he told Land Line on Monday, Feb. 4, that he feels like he has no other
choice. That's because of the Hutchinson City Council's recent decision to start enforcing an
existing truck parking ordinance, which “bans tractors from parking in residential areas.”
Trans-Texas Corridor opponents organize
The state of Texas has scheduled public meetings to try to sell the public on the Trans-Texas
Corridor. If the roads are built, they'll feature up to 10 lanes of toll roads, with truck-only lanes,
and will be as much as four football fields wide. The proposed Interstate 69 corridor would run
near or through the small town of Libby , near Nacogdoches . Libby is Larry Shelton's
hometown, and he's one of the organizers of a grassroots opposition movement that recently
drew more than 300 people to a pair of organizing meetings.
Trucking company investigated for alleged payroll fraud
Federal officials have searched the offices of a St. Cloud , MN , trucking company and the
company owner's home to investigate alleged payroll fraud. Watab Hauling is being
investigated for not paying the prevailing wage on federally funded highway work as required by
law and for not paying overtime, according to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune .
California commission to vote on toll road through state park
The California Coastal Commission is planning to accommodate at least 1,000 people
expected to show up to a public meeting about a proposed toll road through state parkland. The
commission is scheduled to meet Wednesday, Feb. 6, in Del Mar, CA, to review and vote on an
application to build and toll a 16-mile extension of state Route 241 on a route that goes through
parkland along the San Onofre State Beach.
Trucking companies consider suing Canadian province
Some trucking companies in Quebec are considering suing the province's Transport Ministry
for effectively putting 135 bridges off-limits by increasing the weight restrictions.
Pennsylvania police identify slain woman
Police in Pennsylvania have identified a woman whose dismembered body was found in trash
bags along two interstates. She's 36-year-old Deanna Marie Null. Police say she led a
semi-transient lifestyle, had once done prison time on drug charges, and had a troubled
probationary period.
Producers find new ice road for TV series
The producers of the popular documentary-style reality TV show “Ice Road Truckers” say there
will be a second season. The first season, which launched in June 2007 on The History
Channel , had record high ratings of 3.4 million overall.
Mexican company drops out of cross-border program
One of the companies participating in cross-border trucking program with Mexico called it quits
Feb. 1. Trinity Industries of Mexico withdrew from the cross-border program and reinstated its
OP-2 commercial zone authority Feb. 1, according to a notice posted on the Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Administration's Web site.
Secretary Peters defends her position on tolling, privatization
U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters went before the U.S. Senate
Committee on Environment and Public Works this week to defend her position on tolling and
privatization.
Limited access to ‘black boxes' sought in Indiana
A bill in the Indiana House would make it harder for Big Brother-type data from any motor
vehicles to be used against drivers.
OOIDA's Rajkovacz to give presentation on food security
Following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on this country, there has been a heightened awareness
that our nation's food supply chain could come under attack, as well.
South Dakota bills intended to increase safety on roads
Highway safety is the theme of multiple bills offered for consideration in the South Dakota
statehouse this year.
Utah Senate approves bill to allow anonymous reporting of ‘bad drivers'
A bill in Utah that would allow people to call in anonymous tips about dangerous drivers is
halfway through the state's Legislature. It is intended to help people report relatives who might
not be able to drive safely.
Mother Nature continues onslaught; twisters claim lives, flip rigs
The death toll is now at 57 after the worst outbreak of tornadoes in 23 years swept through five
states on Tuesday, Feb. 5. In Tennessee, a group of truckers heading in both directions on
Interstate 40 near Jackson found themselves directly in the path of a tornado. A Struthers, Ohio,
truck driver was shocked when he saw the devastation 12 hours after the tornado hit.
Kansas bill would require drug testing in 'serious' wrecks
A bill in the Kansas House would mandate that any people - drivers and passengers - involved
in "serious" traffic wrecks be required to submit to drug testing. Supporters say changes are
needed to make it easier to test people involved in wrecks. Opponents say it is unconstitutional
to force someone to submit to a blood or urine test if there is no probable cause to suspect
them of a crime. Others say the bill doesn't do enough to define "serious injury." They don't want
drug tests ordered for simple fender benders.
[Here's another government's attempt at taking our 4th amendment right away.  Not to
speak of the potential for government DNA data-basing of U.S. citizens.]
Senators swiftly counter plan to beef up Strategic Petroleum Reserve
In an attempt to counter record fuel prices, a bill introduced in the Senate seeks to limit the
amount of oil diverted to the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This isn't the first time limiting
contributions to the reserve has been suggested. In fact, Jim Johnston, president of the
Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, encouraged doing just that in a Jan. 30 letter
to President Bush.
Group votes against toll road through state park beach in California
A California beach and state park that's popular with surfers may not end up with a highway
running through it after all. The proposed toll road, a 16-mile extension of state Route 241,
would run through the San Onofre State Beach south of Long Beach and would carry spillover
traffic from the congested Interstate 5
Tennessee bill would mandate English-only driver's license tests
A legislative effort in Tennessee is intended to make sure aspiring truckers and other drivers
have a firm grasp of the English language before they obtain their licenses to drive. Sen. Bill
Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, introduced a bill that would require all written driver's license
examinations in the state to be given only in English. Tennessee law now allows the written
part of the test to be given in Spanish.
Missouri bill would implement biodiesel standard
A Missouri Senate panel has approved a bill that would mandate biodiesel use in the state. The
state already mandates that gasoline sold in the state contain 10 percent ethanol.
New Jersey bill mandating snow-free vehicles advances
A New Jersey Senate panel has approved a bill that would have the state get tough with drivers
who fail to clear snow and ice off their vehicles. The rule would apply to commercial and
non-commercial vehicles. Similar efforts are being pursued in Connecticut, New York and
Pennsylvania.
No funny Valentine: CA issuing fines for missing emission stickers
A DOT officer stepped out from the crash lane and motioned Joseph Gomes to pull his 2000
Kenworth over alongside Interstate 805. Gomes and a buddy recently purchased the Kenworth
at auction. The truck looked good and had a good price, Gomes thought, but a CARB officer
found one flaw that only recently became an offense in the Golden State: the lack of what CARB
refers to as an Emission Compliance Label.
I-70 closed in Colorado; other interstates reopen
Interstate 70 in Colorado remained closed in both directions at midday on Friday, Feb. 8,
because of what the Vail Daily News described as "dangerous conditions."
Drink the Kool-Aid: DOT holds PPP summit
The U.S. Department of Transportation held its fourth annual summit this week aimed at
bringing local, state and federal officials together with private investors to talk about
public-private partnerships. OOIDA's Mike Joyce, associate director of government affairs,
attended several of the speeches including an address by Tyler Duvall, assistant secretary for
transportation policy for the U.S. DOT.
Pennsylvania bill would authorize lease of turnpike
As an alternative to putting tolls on Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania, a state lawmaker has
introduced a bill that would privatize the Pennsylvania Turnpike in three sections to help pay for
road and bridge work throughout the state. Sen. John Gordner, R-Berwick, said the bill also
would repeal a seven-month-old law that authorized the state to pursue charging motorists and
truck drivers to use the interstate.
Oklahoma bill would create penalty schedule for overweight trucks
Drivers of overweight vehicles would face escalating fines depending on just how heavy the
trucks are loaded, under a bill filed in the Oklahoma Senate.
CARB: California clean idle may be short lived
For months, engine manufacturers worked to develop a heavy-duty diesel truck engine to
enable drivers to idle in California and travel to other states without having engine control
software that would shut the engine down after five motionless minutes.
Wisconsin governor calls for review of I-90 traffic jam
Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle is calling for an investigation of how well state emergency crews
responded to a massive traffic backup on Interstate 90 on Wednesday, Feb. 6. According to the
Wisconsin State Patrol, the traffic jam involved more than 2,000 vehicles on a 17-mile stretch
south of Madison. The area had just received 20 inches of snow.
New Hampshire Senate OKs leeway on weight limits; other bills in play
Several bills of interest to truck drivers in New Hampshire have been offered at the statehouse.
Among the bills focusing on the trucking industry is a measure that would allow truckers a
small helping hand.
Missouri bills addressing truck-related issues advance
Several bills of interest to truck drivers are on the move in the Missouri Senate. Among those
efforts are incentives to reduce idling, mandate biodiesel use and allow local enforcement of
truck rules.
Weekly Featured Article  [02/10/08]
THE NEW DRIVING FORCE
(By Staff Writer - Challenge Magazine)
Employee-driver proposal in L.A. slowed by politics
Truckers, one federal agency and attorneys on both sides of a labor-centered debate may have
to hold their horses. It appears the harbor commissions at the twin ports of Long Beach and
Los Angeles will wait until at least March to vote on a new requirement that truck drivers
entering the ports be company employees.
Study looks at food terrorism risks
Following the September 11 attacks, there has been a heightened awareness that the nation's
food supply could be at risk for possible attacks. Arizona State University Associate Professor
William Nganje, along with four other ASU faculty members, are studying the transportation of
produce coming into the U.S. between Arizona and Nogales, Mexico. "There is no way
inspectors can examine every truck and every box of produce that comes across the border," he
said.
Corzine drops Route 440 tolls from overall plan
New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine no longer intends to toll state Route 440 as part of his overall
plan to refinance state debt. Corzine had proposed a 35-cent toll for a section of Route 440
connecting Interstate 287 with the Outerbridge Crossing.
U.S. DOT issues OK for construction of I-73 in South Carolina
Interstate 73 is one step closer to construction following the recent approval of an
environmental document by the U.S. Department of Transportation. If and when it is
constructed, I-73 will be a brand-new interstate from Myrtle Beach, SC, to northern Michigan.
New Hampshire bills targeting toll rates are rejected
A handful of bills offered in the New Hampshire statehouse that would have affected toll rates
and how they are used to benefit roads in the state will have to wait until next year. Toll rates are
getting a lot of attention at the capitol following the recent increase in fees along the state's 93
miles of toll roads. The New Hampshire Executive Council voted last fall to raise tolls for trucks
and passenger vehicles effective Oct. 22, 2007.
Virginia Senate OKs bill to repeal 'bad-driver' fees
The Virginia Senate unanimously approved an effort to rid the state of so-called bad driver fees.
It now moves to the House where a similar bill also was approved. An amendment was added
on the Senate floor that not only would repeal the surcharges applied solely to Virginia drivers
but also would set up a process to refund fees already collected. Payments still due would be
waived.
National average price of diesel stays the same
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports no increase from last week's national
average price of $3.280 per gallon for the week ending Monday, Feb. 11. However, diesel still
costs 80.4 cents more per gallon than it did a year ago.
GAO wants transportation policy ‘re-examined'
Officials with the U.S. Government Accountability Office are calling for a fundamental re-
examination of the current strategy for tolling, congestion pricing and public-private
partnerships being promoted by U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters.
Senators urge GAO to investigate EPA's emission decision
Several U.S. senators are calling for Congress' top investigative arm to look into the EPA's
recent decision to deny California 's request to enforce its own greenhouse gas emission
standards for cars and light trucks.
Arizona bill would split speeds
A bill in the Arizona House would require large trucks traveling along certain stretches of
interstates to slow down by 5 mph. Other traffic would continue at current speeds.
New Hampshire bill to boost road funding advances; fuel tax hike fails
A New Hampshire House panel has approved a bill that is intended to help generate revenue
for transportation. Another effort to boost fuel tax rates, however, has died. The House Ways
and Means Committee voted 15-3 to advance a bill that would route title fees from the state's
general fund into the highway fund. A provision to also route motor vehicle fines from the
general fund into the highway fund, however, was removed in committee.
New York lawmaker pursues tougher rules for snow-free vehicles
Concern about chunks of frozen precipitation falling off moving vehicles has led a New York
state lawmaker to pursue legislation intended to improve safety on roadways. Assemblyman
Mike Spano, D-Yonkers, has offered a bill that would force truckers and other drivers to remove
ice, snow, sleet and hail from their vehicles before taking to the state's roadways.
Anti-littering bill advances in Utah
A bill nearing passage in the Utah Legislature would boost the fine for littering on highways in
the state. The increase in fines would apply to “trucker bombs.”
GM posts loss, offers 74,000 UAW workers a buyout
General Motors on Monday, Feb. 11, reported a fourth-quarter loss of $722 million on its North
American operations last year, the biggest loss ever reported by a U.S. car maker.
DOT officials hint at rulemaking on public-private partnerships
While a congressional hearing on transportation funding dealt with several important issues,
the media circus on Capitol Hill was reserved for another hearing down the hall. Rep. James
Oberstar, D-MN, incorporated a few quips about the baseball scandal into the transportation
hearing: "Secretary Peters will not be under the same scrutiny as (pitcher) Roger Clemens next
door," Oberstar said, "... but we could sure use a transportation system on steroids."
Environmental group threatens lawsuit on truck diesel PM
The National Resources Defense Council is threatening to sue one California port, claiming
that trucks working there are breaking a law that prohibits disposal of hazardous waste. The
NRDC's threat has been met with skepticism. "It's such a novel legal theory they're trying to
stretch; it does make me wonder what they're smoking," said Joe Rajkovacz, OOIDA's
regulatory affairs specialist.
Missouri bills address radioactive waste shipments, truck enforcement
Since the Missouri General Assembly opened the 2008 regular session last month, several
bills noteworthy to the trucking industry have been offered for consideration. Among them are
bills addressing shipments of radioactive waste and commercial motor vehicle enforcement
officers.
Pennsylvania Senate OKs bill to reduce idling
A bill that is intended to reduce unnecessary idling of large trucks throughout Pennsylvania is
halfway through the statehouse. In most instances, drivers idling their trucks while sleeping or
resting would be exempt from the rule.
West Virginia bill would expand price gouging protections
A bill in the West Virginia Senate is designed to further help protect consumers in the state from
being gouged at the fuel pump. Offenders would face up to $1,000 fines and/or one year in jail.
Council in Minnesota to revisit truck ban after truckers speak out
All truck drivers basically have the same philosophy when it comes to trucking: If the truck's not
moving, they aren't making any money. But money isn't everything for Hutchinson, MN, trucker
Jamie Marx, who lost approximately $3,000 in wages, in order to be home on Tuesday, Feb. 12,
to attend a Hutchinson City Council meeting.
Road funding solutions sought in Iowa
Iowa lawmakers are working on possible solutions to a widening budget deficit for road and
bridge work throughout the state. Democrats and Republicans in the statehouse have offered
different methods to help chip away at the $200 million annual shortfall in money for highway
construction and maintenance. The plans are expected to draw consideration at the capitol in
the coming weeks.
Four finalists chosen for Goodyear Highway Hero Award
Four heroic truckers have been selected as finalists for Goodyear's 25th annual North
American Highway Hero Award program.
Public outcry continues about Trans-Texas Corridor plan
Texas residents continue to pack into meeting halls to speak out against the proposed
Trans-Texas Corridor. More than 9,000 people attended the first 10 of 12 scheduled "town hall"
meetings according to Texas Department of Transportation officials. Once the town hall
meetings are complete, TxDOT turns its attention to 47 official public hearings in regions that
will be affected by the proposal. Click
here to view the meeting schedule.
Truckers have 14-day comment period on CA emissions plan
California's $1 billion plan to cut diesel emissions includes the promise of free money. There
is, of course, a catch: Trucks participating in the goods movement emission reduction program
will be asked to install monitoring devices so state officials can track their whereabouts.
Truckers and other interested parties have two weeks to comment on the plan, which will be
considered formally by the California Air Resources Board on Feb. 28.
Virginia lawmakers reject bills to test truckers for drugs, alcohol
Commercial drivers are accustomed to being the object of heavy-handed law enforcement
efforts. Two bills in the Virginia House that have died would have widened the scope of law
enforcement officers' authority in the state. Shortly after their introduction, the House
Transportation Committee voted to kill two bills that focused on how truck drivers are tested for
alcohol and drugs in the state.
Government goes after $175,000 from trucking companies
Federal prosecutors moved this week to seize $175,000 gained by two trucking companies as
a result of a truck driver visa fraud scheme.
Vermont bill would boost fines for uncovered loose loads
Anyone who fails to cover certain loads of loose material in the back of trucks in Vermont would
face hefty fines, if a state senator has anything to do with it.
Mississippi bills focus on open containers, headlights
A bill in the Mississippi Senate would ban consumption of alcohol and possession of open
containers of alcohol in vehicles traveling public roadways in the state. The bill would also free
up millions in federal dollars for improving roads. Another bill would require drivers to use their
headlights during bad weather.
Indiana's 'passenger responsibility' bill advances
In hopes of preventing needless deaths along roadsides, the Indiana House unanimously
approved a bill that would require passengers of vehicles to act and call police in life-or-death
situations. It now moves to the Senate where a similar version died a year ago.
Transportation issues barely a blip on candidates’ radar
Perhaps the transportation network – often referred to by truckers as the lifeblood of the nation’
s economy – hasn’t gotten top billing from presidential candidates so far, but a few direct and
indirect transportation issues are becoming part of the discussion.
Port of Long Beach considers employee-only plan Feb. 19
The Port of Long Beach will consider requiring truck drivers entering the port to meet a series of
restrictive measures next week in an apparent reversal of previous intentions to delay
consideration of the program until March.
Unwieldy lumber claims truckers’ lives in separate incidents
A truck driver was crushed in California on Thursday, Feb. 14, while reportedly working to
remove a heavy lumber load from his flatbed.
Expanded speed radar use sought in Mississippi
Multiple bills in the Mississippi Legislature would expand the use of radar by sheriff’s deputies
in the state. State law now restricts the use of speed radar detection equipment to the
Mississippi Highway Patrol and city police departments. Several bills seek to change that.
Connecticut governor’s budget emphasizes road safety
Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell unveiled her new budget that includes an emphasis on traffic
enforcement on the state’s highways.
Alabama lawmaker pursues English-only driver’s license exams
If an Alabama state lawmaker gets his way, the state’s driver’s license test would be offered
only in English. The measure is intended to make sure anyone licensed to drive in the state
has a firm grasp of the English language.
Weekly Featured Article  [02/17/08]
ATLANTIC CITY
(By Joan Tupponce - Challenge Magazine)
Washington bills to alter state HOS rules, add heavy haul corridor
Two bills of interest to truckers have been offered in Washington state that would make
changes to hours-of-service rules and allow large trucks on more roadways in the state.
Winston-Salem cleared for bypass; Greensboro urban loop opens
North Carolina has received federal clearance from the U.S. Department of Transportation to
build a $1 billion beltway around the northern and eastern sides of Winston-Salem. The state
can now begin right-of-way acquisition and construction planning.
Mississippi legislation seeks to clear left lane
Two bills involving lane restrictions are up for consideration in the Mississippi Senate are
intended to increase safety on highways in the state.
China now biggest U.S. trading partner
For the first time, China has replaced Canada as the largest exporter to the U.S.
National average price of diesel jumps 11.6 cents in one week
Across the country, the average price for diesel fuel remained steady for two weeks in a row;
however, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that the average price has jumped
11.6 cents from this past week's numbers.
State lawmaker calls for audit of Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
Pennsylvania state Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre County, is calling for an audit of the
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. A spokesman for Conklin said Tuesday, Feb. 19, that
Conklin had seven co-sponsors and counting as he prepared to file a resolution in the General
Assembly.
Connecticut bill would require snow, ice removal from vehicles
A bill in the Connecticut statehouse would force car and truck drivers to remove ice and snow
from their vehicles before taking to roadways in the state. There have been at least nine
attempts since 1991 to enact such a law.
Goldman-Sachs raises U.S. trucking stocks
If the investment bankers at Goldman-Sachs know what they're talking about, the worst may be
over - or at least nearly over - in terms of declining trucking volume.
Port of Long Beach approves restrictive truck measures
The Port of Long Beach approved a complicated new concessionaire licensing program on
Tuesday, Feb. 19, that's intended to cut pollution but likely will shut large numbers of long-haul
owner-operators out of the port.
USDA initiates largest beef recall ever
The United States Department of Agriculture recently announced the largest beef recall in U.S.
history - more than 143 million pounds - based on new evidence the agency received in the
past few days that meat from at least one "downer" cow did make its way into the food supply
chain.
Arizona Senate committee reins in public-private partnerships
The Arizona Senate Transportation Committee voted down an attempt to grant broad authority
to the state DOT to pursue public-private partnerships.
Indiana bills die that addressed road restrictions, truck weights
A couple of bills in the Indiana General Assembly died that were of particular interest to truck
drivers. One would have opened more roadways to heavier trucks while the other would have
diverted revenue from overweight truck violations to the law enforcement agencies that issued
the citations.
New Hampshire safety bills: thumbs up, thumbs down
A New Hampshire House panel rejected a bill that called for changing speed limits and lane
use fines in the state.
Florida bill would OK statewide use of photo-red cameras
A bill in the Florida House would allow cameras to be posted throughout the state to nab
red-light runners. This is the fifth straight year legislation has been offered in the state to set
statewide standards for red-light cameras.
Poll shows opposition to Corzine plan
New Jersey voters are unhappy with Gov. Jon Corzine and his plan to increase highway tolls. A
new poll issued by Quinnipiac University on Wednesday found that 73 percent of those
questioned oppose Corzine's plan for massive increases in tolls.
Long Beach port's truck restriction perplexes Los Angeles
Truckers waiting for the other shoe to drop in the "clean truck program" that was engineered by
the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are going to have to wait a bit longer.
Pennsylvania still accepts public comments on proposed idling ban
Pennsylvania lawmakers and regulators want to approve a new statewide idling restriction -
they're just deciding whether it will be a regulation or a law.
New Nebraska law targets 'super speeders'
Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman signed a bill into law that increases maximum speeding
penalties. A measure still moving through the statehouse would route more revenue toward the
completion of a roadway in the northeastern portion of the state.
Kentucky lawmakers want accountability in toll legislation
A bill in the Kentucky Senate Committee on Transportation would allow local public
infrastructure authorities to issue bonds, implement tolling for new roads and bridges and
enter into contracts with the federal government.
Tennessee bill would limit left-lane use
A bill introduced in the Tennessee Senate is intended to keep most traffic out of the left lane on
the state's multi-lane highways.
West Virginia bills geared toward truck issues, road safety
A handful of bills of interest to truckers have been offered in the West Virginia statehouse. The
measures address truck weights, lane use and blood tests after vehicle wrecks.
Group ranks states on safety legislation
The group Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety has issued its annual grade card on which
states have adopted what it considers to be key highway safety legislation, such as required
seat belts and motorcycle helmets.
TWIC enrollments hits six additional ports
The Transportation Security Administration rolled out six additional Transportation Worker
Identification Credential enrollment centers in mid-February.
Virginia Senate OKs fuel tax increase
With officials in Virginia searching for ways to generate transportation revenue, a bill that would
increase the state's fuel tax by 30 percent is halfway through the statehouse.
'Hot fuel' case will proceed
The case against hot fuel will proceed and not be dismissed, a U.S. District Court judge has
ordered. Judge Kathryn Vratil of the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas issued an order
Thursday, Feb. 21, denying a motion by the defendants to dismiss the case.
Tennessee bills would amend tollway act
With the state struggling to pay for needed transportation work, multiple measures offered for
consideration in Tennessee would expand the number of projects that could be paid off
through tolls.
Get off the credit card come-on lists
It turns out that it pays to read the fine print. Not a week passes that you don't get at least one
junk mail enticement to sign up for a credit card. Airlines, hotels, associations, the credit card
companies themselves - they send out probably billions of these offers every year.
Buyers left 'holding the beef'
The United States Department of Agriculture recently announced the largest-ever meat recall of
more than 143 million pounds of beef products from the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co.
in Chino, CA. Now many buyers of that recalled meat are left wondering, "What do we do with it
now?"
Indiana legislation tackling time zone issues die
An Indiana bill died that sought to require a public question to be put on the ballot asking voters
in certain counties in the state whether they prefer the Eastern or Central time zone. A separate
effort to put the question to a statewide vote met the same fate.
South Dakota bill seeks to speed removal of roadkill
Concerns about the amount of time it takes to remove roadkill along South Dakota roadways
has led the state's Senate to pass a bill intended to speed up the process.
I tawt I taw a puddy tat
A cat named Meatloaf will soon be flying back home to Florida after taking an unauthorized
three-week-long journey across the country.
Weekly Featured Article  [02/24/08]
SILLY SEASON RUNDOWN
(By Brookes Versaggi - Challenge Magazine)
Channel 3 News - Memphis TN
FBI Raids Memphis Trucking Company [Swift Transportation Commercial Driving
School]
FBI agents have served search warrants at a Memphis based trucking company.
I-65 to close for 9 months in Gary, IN
Beginning Saturday, a 1.5-mile stretch of the interstate will be shut down and remain closed
until November. The Indiana DOT plans to rebuild the bridges that carry I-65 over I-80/I-94.
South Carolina DOT tallied $1.5 million in D.C. lobbying
South Carolina 's Department of Transportation spent $1.5 million on Washington D.C.
lobbyists from 2001 through 2007. South Carolina has worked with the U.S. DOT on multiple
tolling projects in recent years, including the recently approved Interstate 73 – a six-state
highway running from the Atlantic shore northwest near the Canadian border.
[ Tax dollars being mis-managed again! ]
Governors join coalition to seek funding
A group of governors has thrown support behind a new coalition pushing to increase federal
funding for highways, bridges and other infrastructure. During a press conference Sunday, Feb.
24, coalition leaders called on the federal government to develop an economic stimulus
package geared strictly for infrastructure development and improvement.
Oklahoma bills to increase road funding advance
Two committees on opposite ends of the Oklahoma statehouse have approved bills intended
to make sure that more money is available for improving roads and bridges.
Red-tape parade: Oakland port to eye emissions plan
The Port of Oakland is developing two truck-related emission reduction regulations, which it
plans to consider this spring. The Maritime Air Quality Improvement Plan has the goal of
reducing 85 percent of port-related emissions by 2020. The port's Comprehensive Truck
Management Plan aims to address congestion, parking enforcement, and designated truck
routes to the port.
Maryland bills to clear left lanes, move traffic over for emergency personnel
A Maryland House panel is reviewing a bill that would limit the use of traffic lanes for cars and
trucks on certain roadways in the state. Another bill would mandate a practice followed by
professional truck drivers for decades.
Washington DUI checkpoint bill dies
An effort to crack down on drunken drivers in Washington state will have to wait until next year.
As a result, Washington will remain one of 11 states that prohibit spot checks to nab drunken
drivers.
Kansas House approves bill to require drug testing in 'major' wrecks
Drivers and passengers involved in "major" traffic wrecks in Kansas would be required to
submit to drug testing, if a bill approved by the state's House becomes law. State law now
allows law enforcement officers to order drug testing, frequently a blood sample, if there is
"reasonable suspicion" that the person is under the influence. If the bill becomes law, officers
would no longer need a presumption of a drug violation to force drivers to submit to the testing.
[ This is another step to removing your 4th amendment right. ]
FBI mum on raids in Memphis; Swift says it is not the target
The FBI still isn't saying why it raided the offices of two truck driving schools and a licensing
office in the Memphis area on Monday. No arrests have been made. The two driving schools
are operated by Swift. A Swift official says he's been told the company, is not the focus of the
investigation.
National average diesel price sets new record two days in a row
The national average price for a gallon of on-highway diesel fuel increased more than 27 cents
per gallon in just two weeks, reaching a new all-time high of $3.552 per gallon for the week
ending Monday, Feb. 25. Then, on Tuesday, Feb. 26, ProMiles reported that the price had gone
up again overnight, hitting a new national average of $3.59. That means a 200-gallon fill-up will
cost you $718.
Meatpacker may close its doors; truckers may not be paid
The meatpacking company involved in the largest meat recall ever may have to close its doors.
The news that Hallmark/Westland may close could prove financially devastating for truckers
who may not be paid for hauling cattle to a California slaughterhouse or transporting the
finished meat products across the country.
Nebraska panel advances bill to add wholesale fuel tax
A bill on the move in the Nebraska Legislature would add a new tax to wholesale fuel
purchases. The Revenue Committee voted 6-1 to advance a bill to the full Legislature that
would add Nebraska to the list of nine other states that apply a general sales tax on motor fuels
at retail or wholesale levels.
[ This action is double taxation.  Fuel tax & sales tax. ]
Company to pay almost $65,000 for CARB truck violations
One California company will pay almost $65,000 to settle with the California Air Resources
Board after failing to test emissions of its fleet in 2006 and 2007.
Crude prices affect all oil-based products
It's no surprise that fuel prices are going up as the price of crude oil rises, but the realization
that everything else that's made from oil is going up, too, is sinking in for many.
New St. Louis bridge expected; tolls reportedly not part of the plan
Political leaders in Missouri and Illinois are expected to announce on Thursday that they've
reached an agreement to build a new bridge across the Mississippi River at St. Louis. U.S.
Rep. Jerry Costello, D-IL, said the bridge will not be privatized or tolled.
South Carolina bills seek road funding solutions
Lawmakers in South Carolina are pursuing different paths to solve the state's funding crisis.
One lawmaker is looking to take the toll route to ease the state's funding crisis and has
introduced a bill that would require the South Carolina DOT to collect tolls at one location along
Interstate 95.
Delaware bill would prohibit 'texting' while driving
In an attempt to improve safety on Delaware roadways, a state lawmaker has offered
legislation that would prohibit drivers from text messaging while behind the wheel. Exceptions
would be made for emergency calls. Of particular interest to truckers, the bill also would make
exceptions for Qualcomm-type devices.
Minnesota Legislature overrides transportation veto; fuel tax will increase
For the first time in 20 years, car and truck drivers fueling in Minnesota soon will see the state's
per-gallon tax on fuel increase. The Minnesota Legislature voted Feb. 25 to override Gov. Tim
Pawlenty's veto of a 10 year, $6.6 billion transportation bill. In addition to higher fuel taxes,
roads, bridges and transit will get a boost from higher sales taxes and license tab fees.
Congressional resolution proposes crash-avoidance tax break
Truck equipment vendors and a safety advocacy organization are touting a proposed resolution
in the U.S. House that would give tax credits to truck owners who purchase anti-rollover
systems, lane departure warnings and other crash avoidance truck add-ons. The resolution
would allow truck owners maximum tax credits of $1,500 per technology and $3,500 per truck.
Oklahoma bill would prohibit foreign ownership of state turnpikes
A bill sent from committee to the Oklahoma House of Representatives would prohibit foreign
investors from leasing or owning turnpikes in the state. The bill's sponsor says she does not
want Oklahoma to follow Indiana 's example by leasing a major highway to foreign investors.
Indiana bill to limit access to ‘black boxes' dies; Kentucky bill still active
A failed effort in the Indiana House sought to make it harder for Big Brother-type data from any
motor vehicles to be used against drivers. The bill would have required the disclosure of the
presence of “event data recorders,” or “black boxes,” in new vehicles. A person who “sells,
rents, leases or otherwise conveys” a new motor vehicle would have been required to notify the
owner both orally and in written form about the presence of an EDR and its capabilities.
Minnesota city votes no on overturning truck parking ban
Trucker Jamie Marx plans to fight on, despite the Hutchinson , MN , City Council's decision on
Tuesday, Feb. 26, to continue enforcing the city's existing truck parking ordinance. The Council
voted 3-2 to keep the truck parking ordinance on the books, even though Mayor Steve Cook and
the city's police chief both disagreed with the Council's decision.
California town reviews truck parking requirements
A review of the truck parking requirements in the city of Hesperia , CA, is on the Hesperia
Planning Commission's agenda for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28. One revision being
recommended would ban truckers from being able to park their rigs in front of their homes.
Alabama bill would regulate hauling of steel coils
The Alabama House unanimously approved a bill that addresses steel coil “fall offs.”
Sponsored by Rep. Paul DeMarco, R-Homewood, the bill would impose stiff penalties on truck
drivers and companies for spilled steel coils. The measure – HB69 – also would require
trucking companies to certify that haulers know how to load steel coils properly.
Stricter seat-belt enforcement effort falters in Wyoming
The Wyoming House rejected a bill that sought to permit police to pull over drivers in the state
for not wearing their seat belts. House lawmakers voted against the bill on introduction,
effectively killing it for the year. The move marks the second year in a row the House voted to kill
the bill. Failure to approve the bill prevents the state from cashing in on a one-time payment
from the federal government.
Senators question administration's petroleum reserve policy
With no real relief from soaring fuel prices, members of the U.S. Senate are keeping the heat
on the Bush administration's policies on managing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. In fact,
Jim Johnston, president and CEO of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association,
encouraged doing just that in a Jan. 30 letter to President Bush. To read the letter Johnston
sent to the president, click
here .
Senators, DOT differ on ways to close highway funding gap
U.S. senators and DOT Secretary Mary Peters differ on ways to close the gap in the amount
raised and the amount spent on surface transportation. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-ND, said the
federal priority on surface transportation has taken second place to an expensive war.
Massachusetts toll takers not packing heat anymore
If you've ever traveled the Massachusetts Turnpike, it probably never occurred to you that your
money was being taken by pistol-packing toll collectors.
The Boston Globe reported
Wednesday that toll takers have been allowed to carry guns for at least three decades as
protection against the possible robbery of toll money.
Tolling bills advance in Washington state
The Washington House approved a bill that would set up a framework for collecting tolls in the
state. Another bill on the move would prohibit sales and use taxes from being used for large toll
projects.
Wyoming bill dies; it would have increased fuel tax
A failed effort in Wyoming sought to increase the state's fuel tax by a dime per gallon during the
next three years. It marks the second straight year the legislation didn't win favor from
lawmakers.
Maryland bills intended to limit driver distractions
Multiple measures under consideration in the Maryland statehouse would target motorists who
use mobile devices to chat with others while behind the wheel.
SC Johnson awarded $147 million in trucking kickback case
SC Johnson, the Wisconsin company that makes Glade and Ziploc brand products, has been
awarded $147 million in damages in a bribery and trucking kickback scheme. The case
involved the company's former transportation director, Milton Morris; his assistant Katherine
Scheller; trucking company owner Thomas Buske; and Tom Russell of Racine and his
company, JMP Intermodal Inc.
Tax break for biodiesel nears passage in South Dakota
A bill on the way to the governor's desk in South Dakota would provide a tax break for biodiesel
use. If signed into law, it might take a few years before the rule would be triggered.
IdleAire co-founder Tom Badgett retires
Tom Badgett, chief information officer and co-founder of IdleAire Technologies Corp. recently
announced his retirement. However, he will continue to assist in the company's transition on a
day-to-day basis until April 14.
'Downer' cattle not a problem for one livestock hauling company
OOIDA member Steve Hilker said he doesn't have a problem with "downer" cattle on any of his
company's trucks. That's because he refuses to load them.
EPA administrator, Sen. Boxer clash over White House meeting
The EPA's administrator, Stephen Johnson, won't say whom he met with at a May 2007
meeting at the White House regarding California's waiver request to enforce new greenhouse
gas rules - leading one California senator to question what Johnson is hiding.
CARB OKs billion dollar emissions plan tied to freight
The California Air Resources Board approved a billion dollar plan on Thursday, Feb. 28, that
aims to retrofit or replace truck and locomotive engines that spend much of their time in the
Golden State. Truck drivers who want a piece of the pie should "go directly to one of the local
agencies that were approved to receive funds," said Patricia Rey, a CARB spokeswoman.
Arizona committee resurrects and approves privatization bills
An Arizona Senate committee switched gears this week and approved three bills to clear the
way for tolling and public-private partnerships, including two bills that did not receive a passing
vote the previous week.
Maine expanding toll collection area on I-95
Officials with the Maine Turnpike Authority are planning to relocate and expand a toll collection
site on Interstate 95.