The American Driver
From Drivers...For Drivers
What's News - February 2009
Stimulus bill includes $300 million for diesel emissions funding
While most talk regarding the federal $819 billion stimulus package centers on construction and
infrastructure, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association hopes one $300 million
portion of the bill will also help small-business truckers.
Virginia State Police recommend hotels, better trip planning for truckers
Truckers who pass through Virginia are pretty much out of luck if they run out of hours in the state.
There is a two-hour parking maximum at rest areas, and some truck stops only allow parking for
up to four hours before drivers are forced to move on.
Paccar offers CARB-approved diesel particulate filters
Paccar, the parent company of Kenworth and Peterbilt, says it’s come up with an aftermarket
passively regenerating diesel particulate filter that meets EPA and California clean air standards.
Diesel drops for third straight week
The national diesel average continues to drop by a few pennies the past three weeks – dipping
another 2.2 cents to average $2.246 per gallon. The U.S. Energy Information Administration is
reporting on Monday, Feb. 2, that the price for diesel is down more than $1.03 per gallon from the
same week in 2008.
Senate revives possibility of delaying DTV transition
Despite being shot down by the House of Representatives this past week, the Senate revived the
bill to delay the transition to digital television, giving the extension a new shot at becoming reality.
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OOIDA members react to Virginia State Police's 'get a room' advice
Many truckers have weighed in on the Virginia State Police's recent advice to "get a room" if they
are out of hours and needing to take a break when passing through the state. "Get a clue" has
been the overwhelming response from truckers to the VSP's recommendation.
Sen. Boxer unveils cap-and trade-emissions plans
U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer unveiled the principles and goals for federal global warming legislation
Tuesday, Feb 3, preparing the way for cap-and-trade emissions system that likely would cast
major changes on every U.S. business, including small-business truckers.
Maine inching toward fuel surcharge legislation
It's not a done deal yet, but an OOIDA member from Maine is reporting progress on behalf of
anyone who has had a fuel surcharge pocketed by someone else in the freight chain.
Carrier group pushes for uniform speeds in 'Slowhio'
The Ohio Trucking Association has stepped up its effort to change the posted speed limit for
trucks from 55 to 65 mph on interstate highways.
New Florida law boosts traffic fines to bolster budget
Officials in Florida have figured out a way to squeeze out a few more dollars from traffic violators.
Meeting during a special budget-cutting session early this year, lawmakers endorsed legislation
to raise the cost of all traffic tickets by $10 while speeders would pay $25 more.
Arkansas committee advances bills to limit driver distractions
Multiple bills on the move in the Arkansas statehouse address one of the pet peeves of
professional drivers - focusing on anything other than the road.
CVSA Roadcheck set for June
The annual inspection blitz conducted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is set for June
2-4 in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Washington communities weigh dock tax to recover road cost
Several towns located in the valley between Tacoma and Seattle are looking at ways to stabilize
road maintenance – and they’re banking on truck traffic generated by nearby ports as a way to get
back into black. Fife, WA, located near Tacoma, is considering adding a $100 tax per door for
warehouse owners that house freight hauled by commercial trucks.
Ain’t Rite: CARB fines retailer for windshield washer fluid
Truckers have known for some time that the California Air Resources Board isn’t messing
around when it comes to emissions. Now a large retail chain has found out about the state
agency’s commitment to cutting emissions.
California DMV cuts hours
Truckers who need to do business with the California Department of Motor Vehicles will find
those offices closed two weekdays each month as the state cuts back on services to reduce its
$42 billion deficit.
Kansas bill would hand over turnpike to state DOT
A Kansas state lawmaker wants to turn over control of the Kansas Turnpike Authority to the state.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is skeptical that the outcome would benefit
turnpike users.
Bids invited for 11 service plazas on Mass Pike
In an effort to raise money, the cash-strapped Massachusetts Turnpike Authority has invited
“responsible bidders” to bid on the 11 service plazas it has up for sale or lease in the state.
Mobil Delvac to sponsor MATS 2009 concert
On Friday March 20th at 7:30 PM, Mobil Delvac will present Aaron Tippin, Halfway To Hazard, and
Krista Marie in concert at Freedom Hall as part of the 2009 Mid-America Trucking Show.
Maryland increases tolls as truckers call for relief
Truckers and trucking associations are still hoping a flood of appeals to the governor and other
lawmakers will stave off a 50 percent toll increase in Maryland. Turnpike officials voted Thursday,
Jan. 29, to increase rates starting May 1.
California budget crisis freezes diesel money
California’s budget crisis may affect some truck drivers who were counting on diesel emission
reduction funds from the Golden State.
Colorado Senate advances road funding bill; includes tolls, truck fee increases
A bill that is likely to rub truckers the wrong way is halfway through the Colorado statehouse.
Senate lawmakers voted 19-16 Thursday, Feb. 5, mostly along party lines to send a bill to the
House that includes increasing some truck fees and tolling existing roads.
T. Boone Pickens seeks stimulus funds to repower America’s trucks
Pushing forward with his plan to decrease America’s dependence on foreign oil, Texas
billionaire T. Boone Pickens is vying for stimulus money to help diesel-dependent truckers
convert over to natural gas-powered engines.
CARB fines limo-maker for not meeting emissions standards
Trucks aren’t the only vehicles being aggressively pursued by the California Air Resources
Board. CARB fined LA Custom Coach $10,000 for modifying California-certified vehicles by
transforming them into stretch limos.
Pennsylvania enforcing new idling limits
Pennsylvania began enforcing its new idling limit on Friday, Feb. 6. The law restricts diesel idling
to five minutes per hour for vehicles that weigh 10,000 pounds or greater. Motor homes and farm
equipment are exempt from the restriction.
LaHood asks states for transportation wish lists
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has invited the transportation directors from all 50
states to bring their wish lists to Washington, DC. LaHood spoke of “shovel-ready” projects
during an address to open the Mid-West Truckers Association convention on Friday, Feb. 6, in his
hometown of Peoria, IL.
TxDOT selects Cintra to add tolled lanes to Dallas loop
Whenever Spanish toll road operator Cintra lands the winning bid to take over a toll road or build
a new one, highway users should read the fine print, trucking officials say. Cintra is the leading
partner in a consortium most likely to rebuild and add tolled lanes to 13 miles of the Northeast
Loop in the metro Dallas area.
Arizona bill would rein in photo radar usage
A bill on the move in the Arizona House would prohibit the use of speed cameras on highways.
U.S. Marshals seek trucker in suspected rape
The United States Marshals Service is asking for help from the public in locating a long-haul
trucker who is wanted for rape of a minor female. Marshals are seeking the whereabouts of
Robert Ellsworth Williams, 50, a white male with a couple of known aliases, Bill Luciano and
Terry L. Mayer, and a possible nickname of “Sparky.”
Stimulus sets aside $300 million in diesel emissions reduction cash
Truckers upgrading existing equipment or adding APUs may soon see some relief coming from
Washington, DC. After both the House and Senate approved different versions of the stimulus
package in recent days, truckers may soon see diesel emissions-reduction programs, such as
APU reimbursement programs, funded.
Indiana portion of I-69 moving forward
Transportation officials in Indiana have called two public hearings in March to discuss the
proposed Interstate 69 that will eventually connect Indianapolis to Evansville. The question on
everyone’s mind is how the interstate extension would be paid for.
Vermont community resists truck stop proposal; cites ‘rural character’
As more companies announce layoffs or put off major expansion plans for now, one business
wants to build a truck stop, but has been met with pushback from one Vermont community that
wants to protect their “small-town rural history.”
New Hampshire bills would boost road funding via fuel tax increase
Multiple measures offered for consideration in the New Hampshire statehouse would cost
truckers and other drivers more at the fuel pump. The legislation includes boosting the fuel tax
and rerouting tax earnings.
New Jersey law mandates moving over for emergency vehicles
Gov. Jon Corzine signed a bill into law that is intended to make New Jersey roadways safer for
emergency personnel and other highway users
CARB reefer rule includes March registration deadline
The Environmental Protection Agency has approved California’s new limits on reefers entering
and operating inside the Golden State, giving truck owners and drivers about five months to
prepare before enforcement hits on July 17, 2009.
DOE predicts diesel will average $2.28 per gallon in 2009
The Energy Department is forecasting some good news at the pumps for truckers, projecting
diesel to average $2.28 per gallon in 2009.
Understaffed Illinois DOT could lose stimulus funds
The last thing Illinois transportation officials want is to be left without funding from a proposed
economic stimulus package being finalized on Capitol Hill. The worst-case scenario is that it
could happen, but officials are taking steps to prevent it.
Arkansas bill would mandate that loose loads be covered
A bill up for consideration in the Arkansas Legislature would require a motor vehicle or trailer with
an open bed and transporting sand, gravel or rock on public highways to secure such loads with
a cover as to prevent the load from “dropping, sifting, leaking, or otherwise escaping.”
Stimulus bill finalized at $789.5 billion
Members of the U.S. House and Senate have agreed to terms on a $789.5 billion bill that will cut
taxes and increase spending in an effort to boost the economy. Conferees finalized language on
Wednesday, Feb. 11, agreeing to an amount smaller than the $819 billion proposed in the
House and $838 billion proposed in the Senate.
Illinois bill would double base plate fee
Truckers would have to pay twice as much to base plate their trucks in Illinois under legislation in
the state’s House.
Missouri seeks comments on proposed truck-only lanes
Truck-only lanes are at the top of the Missouri DOT’s list to expand lane capacity on 200 miles of
Interstate 70 from Kansas City to St. Louis. State transportation officials are accepting public
comments until March 16 on the proposal.
Warning: sinkholes ahead
On top of all the other challenges that truckers face these days, including the collapsing
economy, there appears to be a new one: collapsing pavement.
SPECIAL REPORT: $300 million for DERA, truckers remain in stimulus
Friday, Feb. 13, 2009 – The ever-changing economic stimulus package appears to be going to
President Obama’s desk with $300 million aimed at helping small-business truckers obtain
diesel emissions reduction equipment.
Ontario speed limiter protest set for March 2
An Ontario trucker who has planned a peaceful protest of the government’s speed-limiter
regulations says there are now three convoys planned for the March 2 event.
Four-year statute of limitations upheld in OOIDA truth-in-leasing case
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association praised a decision by the U.S. Court of
Appeals Thursday, Feb. 12, in its lawsuit against United Van Lines LLC. The 8th Circuit in St.
Louis reversed a lower court ruling and held that court actions filed by small-business truckers to
enforce the federal truth-in-leasing regulations are subject to a four-year statute of limitations,
rather than two-year limitations.
Swift was third-party tester in CDL debacle
After months of questions and two Freedom of Information requests the Tennessee Department
of Safety finally coughed up the name of a third party CDL tester whose practices have put
thousands of CDLs in jeopardy.
LaHood poised to roll out state transportation funds
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said money from the economic stimulus plan will
begin flowing to state DOTs as soon as Congress and President Obama complete the approval
Georgia Senate OKs legislation to transform transportation funding
To help curb traffic congestion, the Georgia Senate approved a funding plan that would let
residents vote by region to tax themselves to pay for needed transportation improvements.
Alabama bill to regulate hauling of steel coils advances
An Alabama House panel approved a bill to address the problem with steel coil “fall-offs” in the
CARB approves Bergstrom’s NITE system
The California Air Resources Board gave the Bergstrom NITE No-Idle System a big thumbs up
when it certified the system for use in the Golden State.
SPECIAL REPORT: Highway dollars wasted on luxury rentals, dinner parties
Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009 – Transportation dollars are a precious resource that truckers and
other highway users have fought to protect from those who want to siphon it away for other uses.
Calls for oversight and accountability are louder than ever as highway users learned this month
that their fuel taxes and other user fees have fattened up engineering and design contracts for
luxury rental cars, dinner parties, sporting events and trips to places like Atlantic City.
Legislation filed to halt interstate tolling
Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-PA, thinks enough of keeping interstates toll-free that he filed the
“Keeping America’s Freeways Free Act” as his first official legislative act in Congress.
VDOT weighs in on state police’s ‘get a room’ advice for tired truckers
When the Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board passed a law limiting parking to two
hours at rest areas more than 20 years ago, Martin Krebs said the intent was not to force tired
truckers back out on the road, but to discourage people from sleeping inside the facilities.
Colorado House panel OKs road funding bill with tolls, truck fee increases
A bill that continues to advance in the Colorado statehouse will no doubt draw the ire of truckers
and others opposed to the notion of charging tolls to access existing free routes.
FDIC to Flying J-owned bank: No more loans to ‘The Hook’
One day after diesel retail-giant Flying J filed for bankruptcy in December, the Federal Deposit
Insurance Corp. prepared to pull federal bank insurance from the Transportation Alliance Bank –
a financial subsidiary run by the Ogden, UT-based diesel retail giant.
RFID tag problems cause jams at Los Angeles, Long Beach ports
The first day of using RFID tags caused a reported 1,500 trucks to be turned away from the Port of
Los Angeles and delays of more than an hour at the Port of Long Beach.
Toll increases mean profit for private investors
Private-sector companies that operate a handful of toll roads in North America have stayed
profitable despite significant declines in traffic. It would not have been possible without toll
increases, company officials say.
Beware new round of bogus DOT letters
Fraudulent “phishing” scam letters, purported to be from the U.S. Department of Transportation,
are being sent to trucking companies across the country. According to Doug Morris, Director of
Security Operations at OOIDA, trucking businesses large and small need to beware, as the
fraudulent letters request bank account information for “procurement contracts.”
Fuel prices help save trucking companies on the brink
The substantial drop in fuel prices through the final three months of 2008 are credited, by at least
one analyst, with saving trucking companies that were “running on fumes.” A quarterly report on
the trucking company failures by industry analyst Donald Broughton reflected that the number of
companies going out of business in the fourth quarter of 2008 dropped significantly.
Milwaukee’s best: Wisconsin brews up clean diesel funding workshop
Wisconsin truckers trying to keep pace with ever-changing diesel and idling regulations may
want to attend a workshop next week, Feb. 26, in Milwaukee.
Wyoming bills address chain laws, distracted driving
A bill that is halfway through the Wyoming Legislature would specify how truck drivers must equip
tires with chains. This bill and another that addresses driver distractions carry hefty fines.
Ports of Long Beach and LA: All is well with RFID program
One day after nearly 20 percent of trucks encountered difficulty at the Ports of Long Beach and
Los Angeles, the following day went smoothly, Long Beach and LA officials said.
Wisconsin governor clarifies stance on tolling
Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle reportedly told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper that he had
an open mind to tolling and privatization to pay for state transportation projects. But Doyle issued
a statement to clarify his stance, which is that if tolling were to become an option, it is still at least
five years away.
Obama visits Canada to talk trade, energy
The United States and Canada will continue to set themselves apart from all other trade
relationships in the world, elected leaders of both nations said Thursday, Feb. 19. President
Barack Obama visited the Canadian capital in Ottawa to talk trade, the environment and clean
energy with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Missouri trucker heard Amber Alert and spotted vehicle
In Missouri, a trucker who heard an Amber Alert on the radio led police to a missing 3-year-old
girl on Wednesday, Feb. 18.
Kenworth adds anti-siphon device as standard on Class 8 trucks
Kenworth Truck Co. now offers a tamper-resistant, durable, metal anti-siphoning device as
standard on all Kenworth Class 8 vehicles specified with round diesel fuel tanks.
Money trumps safety as VDOT proposes closing 25 rest areas
Less than a week after one Virginia Department of Transportation official admitted the state was
“deficient” in providing adequate truck parking, the agency announced plans to close 25 of its 41
rest areas in the state.
Cross-border program funding on chopping block, again
The funding for the cross-border trucking pilot program with Mexico is close to being yanked by
Congress for the second time.
Obama administration nixes vehicle-mile tax concept for now
This past week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told The Associated Press that he
was considering the replacement of the federal fuel tax with a new tax assessed on miles
traveled. But during a daily press briefing on Friday, Feb. 20, White House Press Secretary Robert
Gibbs said President Obama will not be pursuing a tax on miles traveled.
Highway tolls considered to fund rail
Regional transportation officials in southeastern Pennsylvania are studying whether to charge
tolls on U.S. 422 to pay for a proposed railway line linking Philadelphia to Reading.
OOIDA to Congress: Improve inefficiencies to kickstart ‘road to recovery’
Approving stimulus packages and tinkering with home mortgage factors may help the U.S.
economy to begin growing again. Helping truckers avoid waiting hours at a time to load and
unload, however, can save the economy billions right now without costing a dime, OOIDA told a
Congressional panel this past week.
Flying J’s bank in good shape
The bank owned by truck stop retailer Flying J is in good financial shape.
Diesel drops another 5.6 cents to average $2.130 nationwide
The national diesel average dropped another 5.6 cents this past week to average $2.130 per
gallon, with two regions of the country selling fuel for just over $2 per gallon.
TWIC recount? Florida considers bill to cut redundant credentials
Truckers who visit some Florida ports are asked to present three different port security
credentials, costing them hundreds annually and untold hours spent to make appointments to
apply and obtain security cards. The Florida legislature, however, may be about to eliminate
some of those redundancies.
CARB fines mid-sized carrier $6,000 for inspection failures
The California Air Resources Board appears to be stepping up its diesel inspection enforcement
for smaller and medium-sized motor carriers.
Much ado about a mileage tax
Now is not the time to rule out replacing the federal fuel tax with a tax on mileage according to a
powerful member of the U.S. House as he defended statements made this past week by
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
Massachusetts transportation system in a state of flux
The only thing Massachusetts lawmakers and transportation officials can seem to agree on is
that the state has a budget shortfall that needs to be addressed. The question is whether to
increase state fuel taxes or adjust toll rates on the Massachusetts Turnpike – or both – in a push
to generate more revenue.
Florida Senate panel OKs bill to make weight exception for APUs
An incentive to reduce truck idling in Florida recently cleared its first legislative hurdle in the state.
Expanded speed radar use hung up in Mississippi, again
The majority of attempts in the Mississippi Legislature to expand the use of speed radar by
sheriff’s deputies in the state have once again been sent to the great paper shredder. However, a
couple of efforts remain intact.
SPECIAL REPORT: The real reason behind the Highway Trust Fund decline
Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009 – Question: What affected the Highway Trust Fund more in 2008 – the
fact that Americans drove 100 billion fewer miles or that trucking companies bought less
equipment? The answer might surprise you.
VDOT seeks to cut 54 percent of rest area parking; cites budget woes
Officials in Virginia are attempting to balance the state budget and make up for their $2.6 billion
shortfall in transportation revenue – which may trump safety when it comes to providing adequate
truck parking at the state’s “safety rest areas.”
Illinois truckers mobilize in opposition to bill doubling base plate fee
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association sent “Call to Action” e-mails to more than
1,700 truckers in Illinois encouraging them to contact committee members about the bill. Their
fervent response to Beiser and to other lawmakers helped persuade members of the Illinois
House Transportation Regulation, Roads and Bridges Committee to reconsider the bill.
Early WI budget includes removal of APU program funding
One of the better-funded state programs for APU reimbursement may not exist much longer. The
Wisconsin Diesel Truck Idling Reduction Grant Program has been cut out of the currently
proposed state budget, also known as Assembly Bill 75.
TWIC enforcement hits ports in Pacific Northwest and Northern CA
Truckers who visit ports in the Pacific Northwest and northern California better have their
Transportation Worker Identification Credential in hand. Ports in Captain of the Port Zones in
Puget Sound, Portland and San Francisco Bay begin TWIC enforcement on Saturday, Feb. 28.
Two suspected undocumented workers busted with fake TWICs
Two men face charges after allegedly using fake TWIC ID cards to work at the Port of Fourchon,
SPECIAL REPORT: Cross-border trucking program funding in jeopardy
Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009 – With a new administration and a new Congress in place, a recent vote
by the House of Representatives may mean the end for the embattled cross-border trucking
program with Mexico isn’t too far off.
Illinois truckers credited for stopping bill to double base plate fee
An Illinois state lawmaker gives credit to truckers for helping sideline a bill that would have
doubled the fees for base plates in the state.
Commission recommends tolls and taxes, but no reform
As if truckers and highway users aren’t paying enough in taxes, fees and tolls to run on America’s
highways, a federal commission is recommending that Congress adopt a sweeping array of new
and higher user fees. Critics, including OOIDA, say the report does not address the way
transportation money is spent nor does it call for reform.
Colorado House OKs road funding bill; tolls, truck fee increases included
The Colorado House has narrowly approved a bill that includes the option of charging tolls to
access existing free routes. By a margin of 34-31, House lawmakers voted to advance the bill,
which is intended to raise at least $250 million a year to fix the state’s crumbling roads and
Hackers plead guilty to broker fraud through FMCSA site
Two Russian immigrants from Southern California have pleaded guilty to defrauding motor
carriers out of at least $2.4 million through a double-brokering load scheme using the FMCSA’s
SAFER Web site.
SPECIAL REPORT: OOIDA continues push to end cross-border program
Friday, Feb. 27, 2009 – With a new administration and a new Congress in place, a recent vote by
the House of Representatives may mean that the end for the embattled cross-border trucking
program with Mexico isn’t too far off.
OOIDA members urged to oppose state road plan in New York
Despite a severe economic downtown that has cash-strapped truckers struggling to keep their
businesses afloat, the New York State Department of Transportation is still pushing forward with
the proposed rule to ban heavy trucks from certain state routes in the Finger Lakes region.
CARB approves $700,000 in grants for emissions projects
The California Air Resources Board has approved $700,000 in grants for three projects aimed at
cutting engine emissions, including one that could directly affect over-the-road drivers. Through
CARB’s Innovative Clean Air Technologies program, the agency will fund $700,000 in grants to
develop an aerodynamic device for diesel truck trailers, a specialized drivetrain for commercial
vehicles, and a stationary biogas engine.
Wyoming bill seeks to secure road funding
Wyoming lawmakers have shown a commitment during the current legislative session to
pursuing alternative methods of transportation funding in hopes of squeezing out every last drop
of money for roads.
Mississippi heavy truck bill dies; other bills of note
An effort in the Mississippi Legislature to allow heavier trucks on roads in the state will have to
wait until next year. Two other matters of interest to professional drivers are headed in opposite