The American Driver
From Drivers - For Drivers
What's News - June 2007
Investigators claim corruption at St. Louis trucking school
Federal investigators say the owner of a St. Louis trucking school bribed a third-party CDL
administrator to approve CDL exams for some 600 of his students, many of whom were
Bosnian and spoke little English.
Trucking stocks on the rise amidst company privatization rumors
Publicly held stocks some trucking companies are going up – partially because, the Houston
Chronicle reports, investors hope the companies will go private and offer top dollar for the
shares.
Chinese tires questioned over potentially dangerous defect
There hasn't been an official recall, but the Wall Street Journal reported that nearly 1 million
car tires that were made in China and sold in the U.S. could be dangerously defective.
Pennsylvania governor drops lease effort; seeks other funding solutions
In hopes of spurring an agreement in the Pennsylvania House and Senate on a new state
budget, Gov. Ed Rendell made three concessions this week.
New Missouri law provides tax breaks for certain trucks
Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt has signed a bill into law that includes a provision that offers tax
breaks for certain trucks. It also modifies rules for household movers.
New Texas law gives small business more say
Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a bill into law intended to aid small businesses in the state,
including trucking operations.
Lawmakers want big oil to testify about hot fuel
Some powerful federal lawmakers say subpoenas could be necessary to get oil company
executives to testify about hot fuel.
Trucking family deals with loss of young husband, father
Darrell Nunley called home on Friday, June 1, as he did every night before bed when out on
the road. However, on this night, he said he felt sharp pain “like a knife” in the middle of his
back.
Wisconsin APU grant applications must be mailed this week
Truckers headquartered in Wisconsin can apply for a reimbursement for idle-reduction
technology – but the applications must be mailed this week.
Legislative mix-up gives New Jersey governor privatization power
Although they didn't plan to, New Jersey lawmakers have given Gov. Jon Corzine a free pass to
get ready to lease or sell state assets, such as the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State
Parkway.
Pennsylvania may limit idling statewide; Massachusetts pursues effort
A bill in the Pennsylvania House is intended to reduce unnecessary idling of large trucks
throughout in the state. In most instances, drivers idling their trucks while sleeping or resting
would be exempt from the rule.
Red-light camera restrictions OK'd in Texas
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has signed a series of bills into law that put restrictions on red light
cameras in the state.
Louisiana bill clarifies tax exemption for certain trucks; other bills of note
The Louisiana Senate has approved a bill intended to clarify the sales and use tax exemption
for certain trucks and trailers. Other bills also making their way through the statehouse include
a bill to repeal a tax on household movers and add more state troopers.
Deadline only days away to comment on Mexican truck program
OOIDA is encouraging truckers – even if they have commented before – to comment again on
the issue of the Mexico-based trucks coming to the U.S.
Pennsylvania House plans offer alternatives for transportation funding
A plan unveiled this week in Pennsylvania would add tolls on all the state's major interstates.
Truckers would be called on to provide the bulk of revenues.
DHS to toughen land and port entry requirements in January
U.S. citizens don't always need photo IDs and birth certificates when they head to Mexico or
Canada, but that requirement is coming, according to the U.S. government's top anti-terrorism
department.
Florida governor signs toll road lease bill
The Florida Department of Transportation can lease most toll roads in the state to private
groups, under a bill signed into law by Gov. Charlie Crist.
New Jersey privatization push may be delayed
New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine's plan to lease the state's toll roads to private investors is now
on hold until after the November elections, according to the Star-Ledger .
Senate committee aims to close loopholes in biodiesel blending
Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance hope to close a loophole to stop foreign
traders of fuel from taking advantage of subsidies earmarked for the biodiesel industry.
New Texas law expands truck enforcement
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has signed a bill into law intended to allow more police in the state to
enforce truck rules. The new law takes effect Sept. 1.
Michigan bill targets predatory fuel pricing
If a Michigan state lawmaker gets his way, it would be illegal for fuel stations to limit the
amount of fuel they sell to customers.
Police release name of Canadian trucker ‘hero'
Police investigators in Ontario, Canada, say they agree with eyewitnesses who described a
tanker-truck driver who died in a recent traffic wreck as a “hero.”
Illegal Brazilian nationals charged in alleged CDL scam
Twelve men were arrested in Philadelphia last week on charges of obtaining or using
fraudulent CDLs – and most of them were also charged with being in the country illegally.
Hot fuel lawsuits consolidated to Kansas courtroom
A federal judicial panel has ruled to consolidate the many “hot fuel” lawsuits, assigning the
case to a single judge in a federal courtroom in the state of Kansas.
California bill tackles ‘hot fuel' issue
A California state lawmaker is calling for a study to analyze the problem of so-called “hot fuel”
along with possible solutions to make sure consumers get what they pay for at the pump.
Massachusetts bill would alter idling rules
A Massachusetts bill, sponsored by Rep. Frank Smizik, D-Brookline, would alter the state's
rules on idling of vehicles.
Corzine reassures privatization skeptic Oberstar
New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine says that if his state privatizes any toll roads, it will do so in a
way that will satisfy Congressional skeptics.
Tax and fees hikes for Delaware roads sidelined
An effort that would have helped Delaware cover a six-year, $1.5 billion shortfall during the next
six years for transportation has been scrapped. Among the concerns that led to the bill's
demise were higher truck fees.
Trucker called ‘hero' after fatal accident
Eyewitnesses to a fatal tanker-truck crash near Bradford, Ontario, Canada, on Monday are
calling the trucker who died in the wreck a hero.
Bring on the chicken lights?
Truckers who add lights around the three-lamp identification cluster now have a free pass to
do so – or do they?
Amendment would require temperature-compensating fuel pumps
Fuel retailers should be required to eliminate the “hot fuel” problem by installing temperature-
compensation equipment on all fuel pumps, a U.S. senator from Missouri says.
ATA says driver turnover on the rise
Driver turnover among large truckload carriers increased in the first three months of this year,
according to the American Trucking Association.
Groups to issue report card on cross-border program
Organizations representing U.S. truck drivers, safety advocates and motorists will issue a
“report card” and a study detailing how the Bush administration is defying Congress with the U.
S. DOT's attempt to open the border to trucks from Mexico.
Regional council prefers Texas public agency to build toll road
Opponents of privatization have won a noteworthy victory in Texas.
Port container tax bill advances in California
The California Senate approved a bill that would generate more than $525 million annually
from shippers at ports in the state. It has been forwarded to the Assembly for further
consideration.
Effort to toll I-70 in Missouri fails, again
A legislative effort in the Missouri General Assembly to eliminate a couple of barriers
prohibiting toll roads and bridges from being built in the state has died.
U.S. House says passport rule should be delayed
The U.S. House Rules Committee chairwoman has announced the House “overwhelmingly”
voted to delay implementing the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative – which includes
passport rules for North American travel – until at least June 2009.
Road delay bill vetoed in Georgia
Gov. Sonny Perdue dropped the ax on a bill that sought to get tough with contractors who
cause construction delays on Georgia roads.
Good Samaritan trucker shielded crashed motorcyclist
Cement truck driver Roberto Gauna slammed on his brakes and swung the back end of his
cement truck across two lanes of traffic, preventing motorcyclist Jeff Blessing from being hit.
OOIDA launches new ‘hot fuel' Web site
In an effort to educate the general public about the issue of “hot fuel,” the Owner-Operator
Independent Drivers Association has taken its fight to the Internet.
Residents claim boycott of expressway is working
Residents of Montgomery, AL, are claiming their boycott regarding increased tolls on a bridge
there is working.
Indiana and Illinois reach agreement on toll discounts
Officials in Indiana and have Illinois resolved a dispute over toll discounts on the Indiana Toll
Road.
Toll road bill sent to Tennessee governor
With the state struggling to pay for needed transportation work, the Tennessee Legislature
approved a bill that would authorize tolling as a method to pay for new road and bridge work in
the state.
Michigan bills would end tax exemptions for rolling stock
An initiative in the Michigan House intends to give the state another avenue to collect taxes on
the trucking industry.
Several trucking bills put on hold in Illinois
A bill in the Illinois House that intended to allow some large trucks access on local roads in
the state has stalled. A handful of other truck-related bills also have been sidelined for the year.
Now that's a hot tamale
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized one-and-a-half tons of undeclared
Mexican white cheese and a half-ton of frozen pork from a Mexican truck pulling a reefer into
the U.S. through the border crossing at Pharr, TX.
Boyda: It may be up to the courts
Democratic congresswoman Nancy Boyda of Kansas says stopping Mexican cross-border
trucking may now be up to the courts.
Illinois bill stalls; would have blocked hand-off of tollway
A bill in Illinois to block any effort to sell or lease the state's tollway system has been set aside
for the year. It was moved to the House Rules Committee where it can be brought back for
consideration once the 2008 session begins.
Coalition says Los Angeles area ports ignored port overhaul plea
A coalition of retailers and shippers say they proposed a restructuring of the Los Angeles and
Long Beach ports aimed to reduce emissions from rail engines, ships and trucks that
wouldn't punish owner-operators or small trucking companies.
Louisiana House OKs plans for road work
With the end of the regular session in Louisiana less than two weeks away, a bill still drawing
consideration would pump about $450 million more into transportation projects.
Nevada ports of entry bill dies
When the clock struck midnight on the Nevada regular session, a bill to establish four ports of
entry in the state officially died.
Water company still has FEMA contract, despite audit findings
Pentagon auditors say the feds have overpaid a Georgia company more than $8 million for
delivering bottled water to disaster areas.
History Channel to air series on ‘Ice Road Truckers'
The story of six truckers who drive 18-wheelers on Canada's ice roads is coming to The
History Channel this weekend.
Trucker jumps from burning cab to save himself
A driver reportedly saved himself from being hurt or killed by jumping from his truck's burning
cab.
Massachusetts lawmaker wants to post tolls along state's borders
If Massachusetts Sen. Karen Spilka, D-Ashland, gets her way, tolls would be introduced in the
incoming traffic lanes at the state's borders.
New Nevada law boosts funding for roads
Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons signed a bill into law that will cover 20 percent of the state's shortfall
in road funding. A provision that would have boosted taxes on truckers was removed before
the bill was sent to the governor.
CARB collected $1 million-plus from trucking companies in 2006
The California Air Resources Board wrote 1,992 citations, collected $6.7 million in penalties
and inspected 17,000 heavy-duty vehicles in 2006 to enforce emission laws, according to a
recently released CARB report.
Truck manufacturers oppose CAFE standards in Senate bill
As U.S. senators prepare to debate a large-scale energy bill, truck and engine manufacturers
are speaking out against proposed fuel-mileage standards for heavy trucks.
Bloomberg recommends congestion-pricing discount for some trucks
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says “fuel-efficient” heavy trucks should get a
discount if the city starts charging fees to vehicles that enter Manhattan during the day.
California emissions lawsuit ‘inevitable'
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says it appears “inevitable” that the state will sue the U.
S. Environmental Protection Agency.
No charges in wheelchair-truck incident
A trucker who unknowingly pushed a man in a wheelchair for four miles down a Michigan road
will not be charged in relation to the incident.
DOT Web site for submitting comments offline
The online ability to submit comments to the feds is down for four days because of the
relocation of the Department of Transportation’s computers.
Trucks being checked for explosives residue during NYC inspections
Ever had your tires swabbed during a road-side inspection? New York City police have added
that to their checklist on some inspections, to detect if there are traces of explosive material on
the tires.
FMCSA limits lighting on trucks, trailers
Truckers who have auxiliary lights on either side of the three-lamp cluster on their trucks or
trailers face violations, thanks to a revision of the lighting regs issued by Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Administration officials.
J.B. Hunt sues pickup truck driver
It's usually the four-wheeler who sues the trucker after a wreck. But Arkansas-based J.B. Hunt
Transport is suing two Canton, MS, men after a Hunt truck collided with the back of a pickup on
May 1.
Texas bills with eye on trucking rules now law, others advance to governor
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has signed a couple of bills into law that are of interest. Two other bills
await a decision by the governor.
Georgia lawmaker calls for special session on fuel tax
A leading Democratic state lawmaker in Georgia is calling for a special legislative session to
pursue a decrease in the state's fuel sales tax rate.
California's next step: low-carbon fuel?
The California Air Resources Board is expected to soon issue regulations for new kinds of
fuels – diesel and gasoline that will have lower carbon content than today's versions.
Big oil companies cancel expansion projects
Instead of expanding their refinery capacity – which could drive fuel prices down – big oil is
canceling expansion projects, according to the Wall Street Journal .
China bans ethanol production to conserve corn
While the U.S. and many other countries are racing to increase their production of corn-based
ethanol, China has just placed a moratorium on the production of the biofuel.
California trucker shot in road rage incident
A 43-year-old San Pedro, CA, trucker remained hospitalized in stable condition Monday after
being shot in an apparent road rage incident in Long Beach early Friday.
Truck toll increase proposed for Delaware Memorial Bridge
A proposed toll increase on the Delaware Memorial Bridge could have truckers carrying more
of the burden for repairs than the drivers of passenger vehicles.
Biodiesel advances in Oregon, despite price warnings
Beginning in July, all diesel fuel sold in Portland, OR, must be a blend of at least 5-percent
biodiesel.
Colorado governor approves stiffer fines for chain law violations
Despite the fact that summer is approaching, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter has signed a bill into
law intended to make a difference when winter precipitation starts to wreak havoc in the state.
Failed Alabama bills addressed fuel taxes, left-lane use and probable cause
As the clock winds down on the regular legislative session in Alabama, several bills of interest
to the trucking industry have fallen by the wayside. Among the failed efforts were legislation to
increase fuel taxes, limit left-lane use and give law enforcement officers more power to arrest
people for misdemeanors.
As Roadcheck wraps up, inspection stories begin rolling in
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Roadcheck 2007 came to a close on Thursday and
reports from inspection points are starting to come in about the results of the annual blitz.
Feds shelve passport rule after overwhelming response
Travelers sweating the federal government’s ability to process passports can breathe easier –
at least for the summer.
Texas eyeing plan to make driver’s licenses into mini passports
Texas is looking at a plan that, if approved, would create a driver’s license that also acts as a
passport for those who drive to and from Mexico on a regular basis.
Busted for pot in Hempstead County
A driver from Texas was busted in Arkansas on Thursday, June 7, after police found more than
1,000 pounds of marijuana in his truck.
Kansas Highway 54 reopens in Greensburg
For truckers who use Kansas Highway 54 to get to or from the southwest, there’s good news.
Wheelchair-bound man survives ride on truck grille without a scratch
A man in a wheelchair went for a quite a ride this week – attached to the front end of a semi.
Trucker’s body found in river leaves investigators few clues
Sheriff’s officials in Elmore County, ID, hope the trucking community can help them determine
how one trucker died last month.
Which border ID will you need? Take your pick
The federal government has backed way off from its original plan of requiring returning
truckers and other Americans to show a passport at the land border crossings beginning next
year.
Price gouging protections fail in Missouri, Texas
Efforts in two states to help protect consumers from being gouged at the fuel pump have died.
Indiana, Illinois squabble over toll discounts
Scheduled toll increases and a planned discount program for residents of seven Indiana
counties have upset Illinois users of the Indiana Toll Road.
Minnesota law offers emissions reduction incentive; heavier truck bill dies
Two bills of interest have gone in different directions at the Minnesota capitol.
Canadian rail strike coming to an end
A three-week strike by Canadian Pacific Railway workers is effectively over, after the railroad
and the Teamster’s union reached a tentative three-year contract on Wednesday, June 6.
Roadcheck turns up non-English-speaking driver
Wednesday, June 6, is the second day of CVSA’s International Roadcheck, with an estimated
10,000 to 12,000 officers pulling trucks over for inspections in the U.S. and Canada.
Truck Show Las Vegas starts Thursday
If you happen to be traveling through Las Vegas this weekend, it might be a good time to stop
– and not just for the slots and cheap buffets.
Six die in botched smuggling operation
Six people died in a tractor-trailer Monday in southern Mexico Monday during a human
smuggling operation gone awry.
New Jersey truckers can claim $17,000 in free idling reduction money
Help may be on the way for New Jersey-based truckers whose profits are shrinking during hot
weather and rising fuel prices.
Oklahoma lawmakers reinstitute ‘speed trap’ law
Just when former “speed trap” towns in Oklahoma thought they could get their ticket books
back out, legislators in the statehouse opted to undo an effort granting police that authority.
Kansas Highway 54 reopens in Greensburg
For truckers who use Kansas Highway 54 to get to or from the southwest, there’s good news.
Effort to expand truck enforcement sent to Texas governor
A bill sent to Texas Gov. Rick Perry is intended to allow more police to enforce truck rules.
Louisiana bill would boost vehicle liability insurance minimums
A bill halfway through the Louisiana Legislature would require drivers in the state to carry more
liability insurance. The Senate voted 22-19 May 29 to forward the bill to the House.
Annual Roadcheck inspection blitz is underway
Tuesday is the first day of CVSA’s International Roadcheck 2007.
Bid to end split speed limit moves to Illinois governor
For the third time in recent years, legislation headed to Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s desk could
bring an end to split speed limits in Illinois. The margin of support in the statehouse would be
enough to withstand a veto.
Proposed LA/Long Beach port plan meets staunch criticism
As the massive twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach approach an operations overhaul,
critics of the proposal say it could lead to decreased competition at other U.S. ports.
Mandatory Highway Watch provision cancelled in GA
Truckers in Georgia no longer have to take a one-hour training session on homeland security
to get or renew their CDL.
Road safety bills die, stall in Delaware
An effort intended to improve safety on roadways in Delaware by restricting drivers’ cell phone
use has died. Another bill to toughen the state’s open container law is stalled.
Louisiana House approves bill OK’ing local bridge authority
With transportation officials in Louisiana struggling to find money to pay for road and bridge
projects throughout the state, a bill halfway through the statehouse would help foot the bill for
a bridge over the Ouachita River.
International Roadcheck ’07 begins Tuesday
Don’t forget – the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's International Roadcheck inspection
program starts Tuesday and runs through Thursday.
Connecticut bill would increase weigh station hours
A Connecticut legislative panel has advanced a bill intended to increase safety on the state’s
roadways by keeping truck weigh stations open longer hours.
WI, PA governors want to tap Big Oil profits for transportation
If voters don’t want higher fuel taxes or new toll roads to pay for their transportation needs, how
about getting big oil to pay part of the bill?
Texas trucker tears trailer roof in Manhattan tunnel
A Texas trucker unwittingly made headlines after destroying his company trailer by dragging it
a mile and a half through New York’s Lincoln Tunnel.
 
Fire destroys MD trucking company
A six-alarm fire Sunday night destroyed the offices and warehouse of a trucking company that’
s operated in the Baltimore, MD, area for more than 100 years.
TravelCenters of America acquires Petro
There's been a big shake-up in the world of truck stops. Travel Centers of America has
announced it acquired Petro Stopping Centers in a $700 million deal that involves both
outright ownership of some facilities and the lease of others.
Congress calls big oil to the Hill for ‘hot fuel' hearing
OOIDA Foundation Project Leader John Siebert has been called to testify on Capitol Hill on the
issue of “hot fuel.”
Edwards calls for investigation of big oil
Presidential hopeful John Edwards wants the Justice Department to investigate a rash of
recent mergers in the oil industry, and determine what impact those mergers may have had
on high fuel prices.
New Oklahoma law intended to speed up truck permitting
Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry has signed a bill into law that is intended to modernize the state's
truck permitting system.
Louisiana bills seek funds to complete I-49 in state
The Louisiana House has approved a pair of bills that would supply funds to complete the
state's portion of Interstate 49. A separate bill also would dedicate revenue for the project.
Chicago photographer charged in Mexico-based fake ID scheme
Federal authorities have charged another alleged member of a Chicago cell of a
Mexico-based criminal organization they say made $2 million to $3 million annually by
producing fake IDs.
Truckin' Bozo moderator, friend to truckers dies
Barb Wyatt, long-time moderator of the Truckin' Bozo Interactive Forum, died Tuesday, May 29,
2007. She was 70.
Truck with $5.1 million in drugs stolen in Arkansas
Authorities in Forrest City, AR, are looking into the reported theft of a tractor-trailer loaded with
millions of dollars in pharmaceuticals.
Miami tops ‘road rage' list
For the second straight year, Miami drivers have earned their city the title of “road rage capital”
of the nation.
Driver distraction bills signed into law in Washington state
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire has signed two bills into law that are intended to limit driver
distractions. Another new law increases the testing fee for commercial driver's licenses.
Rare EPA public hearing in California considers emissions waiver request
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency held a public hearing Wednesday to consider
whether to grant California a waiver for the Federal Clean Air Act. The waiver would allow that
state to implement tougher emissions rules.
Bill to clean up diesel engines passes Oregon House
The Oregon House unanimously approved a bill that is intended to clean up old diesel
engines in the state. It now heads to the Senate for further consideration.
Biodiesel producers support bill to define renewable diesel
Stakeholders in the biodiesel industry are rejoicing now that a bill has been introduced in the
U.S. House of Representatives to protect biodiesel producers from losing out to big oil. But the
battle over federal tax credits is not over yet.
Louisiana bills would aid highway funding
A pair of measures in the Louisiana Senate are intended to route more money to roadways in
the state to help pay for a $14 billion backlog of needed improvements.
Tonnage down, despite increase in consumer confidence
The total number of tons of freight moved by truck was down in April by a little more than 2
percent compared to March, according to a monthly survey by the American Trucking
Association.