The American Driver
From Drivers - For Drivers
What's News - June 2008
Roadcheck starts Tuesday, June 3
The annual three-day inspection blitz known as Roadcheck takes place this week at more than
1,000 inspection locations at weigh stations and roadside checkpoints across the U.S.,
Canada and Mexico.
Diesel prices average $4.70 nationwide
The national average price for a gallon of on-highway diesel was $4.707 for the week ending
Monday, June 2, down 1.6 cents from the previous week according to the U.S. Energy
Information Administration.
Arizona cops say passenger seat laptops violate FMCSA’s TV ban
Gerald Cook watched the Arizona DOT officer open his handbook to a dog-eared page toward
the back. The words “television receiver” and an entire paragraph of text were highlighted.
(SilverSurfer): [ AZ DOT violating our 4th Amendment Right... ]
Louisiana House panel OKs bill that would outlaw ticket quotas
A bill nearing passage in the Louisiana statehouse is intended to prevent law enforcement
officers from going on ticket-writing sprees.
Wisconsin APU grant applications now available online
Wisconsin trucking companies can now download forms to apply for Wisconsin’s $2 million
APU grant program – which reimburses trucking companies for 50 percent of the cost of an
APU.
Connecticut bill dies that was intended to curb car, truck idling
A failed effort in the Connecticut statehouse was intended to reduce unnecessary idling of
motor vehicles throughout the state.
Rhode Island House votes to remove sunset clause on red-light cameras
The Rhode Island House has approved a bill that ensures red light cameras in the state will
be around longer. It now moves to the Senate for further consideration.
 
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SPECIAL REPORT: Speculation blamed for one-third of fuel prices
A third of the price that American consumers are paying for diesel and gasoline is because of
foreign-driven speculation in U.S. oil markets, and a recent attempt to close the "Enron
loophole" hasn't fixed the problem, several economic experts told U.S. senators on Tuesday.
Wisconsin trucking firm closes dry van operation; plans to lay off 340
A Wisconsin trucking company plans to lay off 340 employees because of rising fuel costs.
 
Alabama bill to give small towns more ticketing authority dies
A bill that has died in the Alabama House called for giving law enforcement in small towns the
authority to ticket speeders on interstate highways that pass through their cities' limits. It is the
second year in a row the effort has failed to gain passage.
Louisiana bill would put limits on red-light cameras
A bill in the Louisiana Senate is intended to protect the identity of people in vehicles that are
caught on camera running red lights in the state.
Missouri bill to further limit locals' traffic ticket revenue dies, again
For the third straight year, an effort in the Missouri General Assembly that has died was
intended to curtail communities in the state that pad their budgets with speed trap revenue.
GM to close four plants, may jettison Hummer
Faced with sharply declining sales of its fuel-guzzling pickups and SUVs, General Motors Corp.
has announced it's closing four of its truck plants in Moraine, OH; Janesville, WI; Oshawa,
Ontario; and Toluca, Mexico.
Hurricane season is here
As if tornado season isn't worrisome enough for truckers, hurricane season officially began on
Sunday, June 1. Citing a continuation of warmer-than-normal temperatures in the eastern
tropical Atlantic, weather experts have announced that projected climate conditions are pointing
to a normal or above normal hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin this year.
Illinois to leave most roadkill for buzzards; two cattle trucks overturn
Truckers who run through Illinois may notice a lot more roadkill beside the highways this
summer.
OOIDA poised to comment on Ontario speed limiter proposal
Officials with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association are prepared to make their
argument against government-mandatory speed limiters on heavy trucks during a public
hearing Thursday, June 5, in Toronto, Ontario.
Georgia governor freezes fuel tax rates until at least January '09
Gov. Sonny Perdue this week signed an executive order to suspend a scheduled increase in
Georgia's tax collected on fuel purchases that was due to take effect July 1. The action will
result in a loss of as much as $80 million in state revenue for roads during the next year. The
diesel tax was slated to move up 4.2 cents per gallon to 16.5 cents - up from the
12.3-cent-per-gallon tax now applied.
North Carolina proposes five-minute idling limit; solicits comments
Trucks in North Carolina that weigh 10,000 pounds or greater would be banned from idling
beyond five minutes per hour under a recently proposed state rule. The North Carolina
Department of Environment and Natural Resources Division of Air Quality is accepting public
comment on the rule until June 20.
Oversight commission demands TxDOT reform
Members of a state oversight commission want to strip the Texas Department of Transportation
of its power to set its own agenda. The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission released a staff
report dated June 2008 "against a backdrop of distrust and frustration" many Texans have with
the TxDOT.
Louisiana Legislature approves bill to rein in bridge deals
The Louisiana House sent a bill to Gov. Bobby Jindal that would address concern about the
possible sale or lease of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. House lawmakers voted
unanimously to approve changes to a bill that would require legislative approval prior to any
deals to sell or lease bridges in the state. The Senate removed a provision in the bill that
applied the rule solely to bridges more than five miles long.
Ohio House OKs heavier loads of steel coils
Trucks loaded with three steel coils in Ohio would be allowed to run heavier on certain
highways under a bill headed to Gov. Ted Strickland's office. The state's House voted to
approve a bill that would allow trucks traveling state or local highways to haul three steel coils
at 120,000 pounds.
SPECIAL REPORT: Testimony flows at Ontario speed limiter hearing
The controversial issue of government-mandated speed limiters drew heavy hitters and
testimony from all corners of the U.S. and Canadian trucking industries for a public hearing
Thursday, June 5, in Toronto, Ontario. During his testimony, OOIDA Board Director Terry Button
of Rushville, NY, said that OOIDA had "retained legal counsel" to research whether speed
limiters in one jurisdiction would violate the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Truckers warned of scammers seeking financial information
Officials in at least two states are warning trucking companies to be on the lookout for an
apparent scam. They say someone is sending letters to trucking companies on what appears
to be, but is not, U.S. Department of Transportation letterhead stationary.
Illinois begins aggressive speed enforcement in construction zones
The Illinois State Police are using vans with cameras and radar guns to photograph motorists
and other drivers who speed through highway construction zones, and are enforcing strict
penalties for alleged offenders. Citations for a first offense are $375, and a second offense can
cost $1,000 and a 90-day suspension of driver's license.
FMCSA says laptops shouldn't fall under Arizona's 'TV' interpretation
The Arizona Department of Transportation recently began issuing citations to truckers who have
open laptop computers in their cabs. The state is using a broad interpretation of a federal
safety reg that bans televisions from being within a driver's view. The Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Administration, however, doesn't see the issue the same way.
House committee hears testimony about infrastructure needs
Evoking images of the Interstate 35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis, the chairman of the U.S.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee opened a congressional hearing Thursday
with strong statements about the importance of maintaining America's highways and
infrastructure.
West Virginia cuts truckers some slack on registration fees
In West Virginia, state officials have decided to give truckers a little bit of a financial break in
light of the high price of diesel.
Louisiana bills advance; focus on trucking permits, UCR
Two bills on the move in the Louisiana statehouse are of interest to truck drivers. The bills
would change permitting for sealed cargo containers and implement the Unified Carrier
Registration program. The Senate Transportation, Highways and Public Works Committee
approved a bill that would change how permits are issued for sealed cargo containers. Permits
would be issued to containers rather than transport vehicles.
Colorado bill would double fines in work zones
In Colorado, a bill atop Gov. Bill Ritter's desk would authorize the use of speed cameras in
highway work zones. Another provision is intended to protect truckers who are chaining up.
Tolling, privatization bills in Alabama fail to advance
Multiple efforts in the Alabama Legislature that have died sought to make toll roads and
privatization available as options to fund roadwork. Gov. Bob Riley is in favor of pursuing
alternative methods to fund transportation projects. The governor said revenue collected from
the state's fuel tax cannot keep up with road and bridge needs.
Minnesota bridge closed because of rusted gusset plates
The Minnesota DOT closed the 67-year-old Highway 43 bridge at Winona this week after
inspectors found a buckled plate and rust and corrosion on gusset plates. The Associated
Press reported that the two-lane bridge over the Mississippi is expected to remain closed for at
least several weeks.
Street racer who caused fatal truck crash gets house arrest
The widow of a Canadian trucker who died in a crash after his tractor was hit by a street racer
said, "The whole justice system is going to hell." The Toronto Sun quoted Debbie Virgoe as
saying that after the young man who caused the crash was sentenced to two years of house
arrest instead of prison time and also to a lifetime ban on driving.
SPECIAL REPORT: Ontario extends comment period on speed limiters
A legislative committee in Ontario, Canada, has extended the public comment period on the
issue of speed limiters to 5 p.m., Tuesday, June 10. The comment period for legislation known
as Bill 41, designed to require speed limiters on heavy trucks doing business in Ontario, was
originally scheduled to end at the conclusion of a public hearing Thursday, June 5, in Toronto.
Click
here to read the text of the speed-limiter bill.
DOT offers to help truckers affected by fraudulent financial scam
Earlier this week, trucking companies in at least three states reported they received fraudulent
letters requesting their financial information on what appeared to be, but was not, U.S.
Department of Transportation letterhead stationary. In fact, DOT officials have added
information about the scam to the agency’s fraud hot line at 1-800-424-9071.
Federal safety officials parse enforcement of TV ban on in-cab laptops
Only days after some truck drivers were warned and ticketed for having a laptop computer
in-cab at an Arizona checkpoint, regulators in the highest levels of the Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Administration are scrambling to answer one controversial question:
Oil futures post biggest ever one-day gain, hit $139.12 per barrel
Wall Street plunged Friday, with the Dow Jones industrials closing down more than 400 points
after oil prices shot higher in the biggest one-day gain ever and neared $140 for the first time.
Alabama bills die; would have lowered speeds, granted APU exemption
A handful of bills that have died in the Alabama statehouse were intended to make the state’s
roadways safer. They included efforts to lower speed limits and make way for emergency
vehicles. Another bill was intended to be used as an incentive to reduce truck idling.
New York Senate OKs text messaging ban for drivers
A bill halfway through the New York State Legislature would ban so-called “texting” while
driving. The state Senate voted to advance a bill to the Assembly that would make it illegal to
type, read or send text messages while at the wheel.
Bill to expanded photo enforcement in Illinois falls short
The Illinois Senate fell four votes shy of approving a bill to expand the use of cameras to ticket
red-light runners at intersections. Illinois law now allows local governments in eight counties to
use the enforcement tool at traffic signals. A bill – HB5288 –sought to add six more counties to
the list needed 30 votes to pass the Senate. The tally was 26-24, effectively killing it for the year.
Researchers secretly track 100,000 cell phone users
A first-of-its-kind study tracked the movements of about 100,000 cell phone users, who were
selected at random from 6 million users.
Connecticut to seek retrial in Avon Mountain insurance fraud case
State prosecutors in Connecticut say they’ll seek a retrial in the insurance fraud case against
dump truck company owner David Wilcox. Wilcox owned the dump truck that crashed into
vehicles that were stopped at the base of Avon Mountain on Route 44 in July of 2005. Four
people died in the fiery crash, and 19 others were injured.
Arizona halts citations for laptops until FMCSA issues TV opinion
Drivers with laptop computers won’t be cited for having laptops at Arizona Department of
Transportation checkpoints – at least for now.
Legislation filed to lease Pennsylvania Turnpike
Two state lawmakers in Pennsylvania have filed legislation that would enable Gov. Ed Rendell
to lease the Pennsylvania Turnpike to private investors for 75 years.
154 truckers lose licenses in British Columbia
In British Columbia, 154 truck drivers have been stripped of their commercial licenses following
an investigation into forged documents.
Missouri bill would mandate English-only CDL tests, forbid ‘sanctuary’ cities
A bill atop Gov. Matt Blunt’s desk would call for trucker-hopefuls in Missouri to prove they have a
firm grasp of the English language to obtain a commercial driver’s license. The bill also would
outlaw “sanctuary” cities in the state.
Toll road funding sought in North Carolina
A renewed effort in the North Carolina Senate would set aside extra money to help pay for toll
roads throughout the state. The General Assembly adjourned their 2007 regular session
without reaching agreement on a plan to require most drivers in the state to pay $8 more per
year for their vehicle registration stickers. The money would be used to leverage revenue bonds
for toll road projects.
Ohio task force collecting opinions on transportation
A task force of the Ohio Department of Transportation continues to collect public input into
transportation issues relating to the movement of people and freight. The Ohio 21st Century
Transportation Priorities Task Force has three public meetings this week and two additional
meetings before the end of the month
Alabama bills that died called on taxes, bonds to fund road work
The Alabama Legislature recently wrapped up their regular session without approving any
major initiatives to fund road work throughout the state. Among other things, legislators there
looked at fuel tax increases and bonds to help pay for transportation projects.
Truckers protest fuel prices abroad
The record high price of fuel is sparking protests around the world. Reuters reported Tuesday,
June 10, that long lines were forming at Spanish and Portuguese supermarkets as trucking
strikes triggered fears that people could run out of fresh food in days.
Hampton Roads, VA, port drivers want safer chassis, containers
Trucker Paul Yurkovac recently spent six hours shuttling unsafe containers from inspection
lines to port maintenance shops - burning precious earning time because of faulty equipment
owned by shipping lines but managed by port systems.
Port of San Diego kicks off own clean truck program
The Port of San Diego is the latest California port to start a clean truck program, joining Long
Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland and other West Coast ports that are targeting trucks to cut
pollution.
Dipetane fuel additive proven to improve fuel economy
Just in time for what could be another summer run of increasing fuel prices - on top of already
record highs - Dipetane Fuel Technology passed the SAE and TMC testing and can back up the
company's claims that the product does increase fuel mileage.
Infrastructure funding in Congressional spotlight
A handful of bills currently under consideration in Congress aim to put billions of dollars toward
fixing the nation's transportation and infrastructure crisis, elected and private-sector officials
said Tuesday, June 10.
Louisiana bill that died sought to ban trucks from some left lanes
Truck drivers traveling in Louisiana no longer have to worry about the adoption of a statewide
rule prohibiting them from accessing the far left lane on certain roadways.
Lawmakers OK $300 million in bonds to pay for roads, bridges
Oklahoma roads and bridges are set to get a boost in funding, under a measure signed into
law by Gov. Brad Henry. The new law, previously HB2272, authorizes a $300 million bond issue
to pay for repairs to roads and bridges throughout the state. County roads and bridges are
tabbed to receive $25 million.
Missouri bill dies; would have split speeds, shortened driving hours
A bill has died at the Missouri statehouse that sought to slow down large trucks along major
routes throughout the state. It also called for further limiting how many hours commercial
drivers can spend on roads in the state each day.
Pennsylvania lawmakers want I-80 toll law repealed
Highway user groups, including OOIDA, joined U.S. Rep. John Peterson, R-PA, Chamber of
Commerce groups and a dozen state lawmakers this week in calling for the repeal of a law that
includes a proposal to toll Interstate 80.
North Carolina bill would ease length restrictions on certain roads
A bill on the move in the North Carolina Senate would allow longer tractor-trailers on more
roads throughout the state. State law now allows 53-foot trailers on interstates and designated
highways. Trucks are limited to 48-foot trailers on all other roadways.
Maine announced low-interest loans for APUs
Maine Gov. John Baldacci announced a program recently to help truck drivers save fuel and
comply with a growing number of idling restrictions. Maine truck drivers are eligible for low-cost
loans to purchase auxiliary power units, diesel-fired heaters and other idle reducing
technologies.
Connecticut lawmakers to decide on cash discounts for fuel, delay tax hike
The Connecticut General Assembly is meeting in special session Wednesday, June 11, to
discuss a handful of hot topics. Lawmakers are expected to decide whether to allow more fuel
stations to offer cash discounts and delay a scheduled fuel tax hike.
Foreign investors lining up to lease Alligator Alley
Eight private investment groups have submitted qualifications to the Florida DOT in hopes of
leasing the Alligator Alley toll road for 50 to 75 years. All of the firms have offshore roots.
Missouri bill dies; would have split speeds, shortened driving hours
A bill has died at the Missouri statehouse that sought to slow down large trucks along major
routes throughout the state. It also called for further limiting how many hours commercial
drivers can spend on roads in the state each day.
Port of San Diego kicks off own clean truck program
The Port of San Diego is the latest California port to start a clean truck program, joining Long
Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland and other West Coast ports that are targeting trucks to cut
pollution.
Dipetane fuel additive proven to improve fuel economy
When it comes to fuel additives designed for improving fuel economy, the testing standards set
by the Society of Automotive Engineers and the Technology & Maintenance Council are the gold
standard. And few products can stand up to the tests.
SPECIAL REPORT: Ontario government fast-tracking speed-limiter bill
Thursday, June 12, 2008 - Legislation that would make speed limiters mandatory on all heavy
trucks is on the fast track in Ontario, Canada. The Ontario Legislature's Standing Committee on
Justice Policy showed no letting up in advancing Bill 41 from committee on Thursday, June 12.
The bill goes back to the full Legislature for the third reading and final vote as early as Monday,
a committee official said.
Iowa flooding to close I-80 beginning Friday, June 13
If you were planning to travel Interstate 80 through Iowa during the next few days, here's a
heads up. The Iowa Department of Transportation has announced it will close a 30-mile stretch
of I-80 in both directions sometime Friday afternoon, June 13, because of rapidly rising
floodwaters.
No Cat engine in 2010, but look for a Cat truck
Caterpillar Inc. won't be rolling out a 2010 compliant engine. Instead, look for a Cat-branded
truck thanks to a new agreement with Navistar International Corp.
Some produce truckers shy away from tomatoes
As officials attempt to sort out how Salmonella ended up in fresh tomatoes, OOIDA member
and produce hauler Gayland Monday said he made the decision more than a week ago to play
it safe - no tomatoes of any kind on his five trucks - for now.
Connecticut lawmakers approve cash discounts for fuel, delay tax hike
The Connecticut General Assembly endorsed legislation Thursday, June 12, to offer
consumers a break from high fuel prices.
Wisconsin governor's veto stands; no protection for road funds
The Wisconsin Assembly was unsuccessful in its attempt to override Gov. Jim Doyle's veto of a
budget-repair bill to protect funds for transportation.
Ohio bill advances that calls for English-only CDL tests
An Ohio House panel has approved a bill that would require aspiring truck drivers to have a firm
grasp of the English language to obtain a commercial driver's license.
OOIDA media recognized by KC Press Club
OOIDA media professionals were among the Missouri and Kansas print and broadcast
journalists who gathered June 7 in Kansas City, MO, for the 2008 KC Press Club Heart of
America Awards. OOIDA won eight awards for excellence in reporting, including four Gold
awards.
No leads on latest fraudulent letter scam targeting truckers
Truckers are the latest targets in a long line of fraudulent letter scams seeking financial
information on fake U.S. Department of Transportation letterhead stationary. Truckers and
trucking company officials should verify personally that they are sending their information to an
authorized DOT official before submitting any sensitive information. The DOT's main number is
(202) 366-4000.
As TWIC enrollment lags, truck drivers reluctant to sign up
Only 20 percent of port employees who will required by next year to have a Transportation
Worker Identification Credential have enrolled in the biometric card program, and recent federal
data on the program shows truck drivers are part of that lag. As of June 6, the Transportation
Security Administration showed 331,042 workers had enrolled out of the agency's estimated
1.5 million who will be required to have a TWIC card by April 2009.
Sen. Lautenberg questions DHS about shipping container security
The U.S. can't meet a congressional deadline to screen every shipping container entering the
U.S. by 2012, a Customs and Border Protection official told the U.S. Senate Commerce
Committee on Thursday, June 12.
Fuel crisis affects truckers worldwide
In recent days, two truckers have died in massive fuel protests in Europe, including one driver
from Spain, who was run over by a van as he, and others, tried to block traffic at a market in
Granada. Truckers in South Korea and Thailand are also protesting high fuel prices. In South
Korea, demonstrators have paralyzed some of the country's biggest ports as they demand
guaranteed minimum wages.
FMCSA awards $1 million in grants to 9 driver training programs
Officials with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced this week that the
agency has awarded a total of $1 million in grants for CDL training programs at nine technical
schools and community colleges.
Flooding closes interstates in Iowa, Wisconsin; Des Moines evacuating
With stretches of several highways already closed or under threat of closure because of
flooding, much of the country is preparing for even higher water as weather forecasts call for
more rain this weekend. Routing is becoming increasingly troublesome for truckers.
Interim rule paves way for reporting positive drug tests, refusals to test
Any CDL holder who pops positive in a drug screening or refuses to test may have those
results reported to their state licensing agency thanks to a new interim final rule.
North Carolina House supports funding for state's first toll road
The North Carolina House has approved funding for a toll road in western Wake County. It
would be the state's first toll route. The roadway would extend I-540 from Morrisville to Holly
Springs. The route is slated to be toll-free north of state Route 55.
Alabama-Florida toll road hitting roadblocks
Public opinion is having an impact on plans by a private investment group to build a new toll
road connecting southern Alabama with Interstate 10 in the Florida Panhandle.
State road funding plan falters in Missouri
A legislative proposal to amend the Missouri Constitution will have to wait until next year. It
sought to increase funding for highways without increasing tax rates. Sponsored by Sen. John
Loudon, R-Chesterfield, the joint resolution - SJR43 - failed to come up for consideration on the
Senate floor before the regular session ended last month.
Toll lanes, congestion pricing coming to Capitol Beltway
The state of Virginia, a private investment group and the federal government have worked out
an agreement to add lane capacity and congestion pricing to the Capitol Beltway system in the
Washington, DC, area.
Seven-year sentence for trucker in multi-fatality Florida wreck
A former driver for Crete Carrier Corp. was sentenced to seven years in prison on Thursday,
June 12 - one year for each of the children who died when he rear-ended their car on a rural
Florida highway two years ago.
SPECIAL REPORT: Speed limiter bill passes in Ontario
Legislation to require speed limiters on heavy trucks operating in Ontario was approved
Monday, June 16, in the Ontario Legislature.
Tombstone thrown from overpass; injures truck driver
An Arkansas trucking company wants information about the person who injured one of its
drivers last week. In fact, the company wants the information badly enough that it's offering a
$25,000 reward to get it. Anyone with information can call Frank Thompson Transport directly at
1-800-548-3802.
Nationwide average diesel price stays steady at $4.69
For the past two weeks, the national average price for a gallon of diesel has stayed the same at
$4.692. However, the cost for fuel is still up more than $1.88 per gallon compared with the
same week a year ago, the U.S. Energy Information Administration is reporting on Monday,
June 16.
Thief steals diesel from trucking company
Between June 1 and June 13, someone made off with between 600 and 1,000 gallons of
diesel from trucks parked at a Yellow Freight lot near Athens, GA.
Massachusetts governor offers bridge repairs plan
In an effort to quickly repair the most neglected bridges in Massachusetts, Gov. Deval Patrick
has filed legislation to speed up repair and replacement work on 250 to 300 bridges. The
governor's repair plan calls for borrowing $3 billion to fix "structurally deficient" bridges during
the next eight years. State figures show there now are 543 structurally deficient bridges.
Louisiana bills advance; drivers' cell phone use, texting would be restricted
Driver distractions are receiving a lot of attention this year in the Louisiana Legislature. Multiple
bills that are nearing passage at the statehouse would restrict people from talking on cell
phones while behind the wheel.
California bill would authorize GPS installation on windshields
The California Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill that would allow drivers to take
advantage of technology intended to help with navigation. State law now prohibits anyone from
driving with objects or materials placed, displayed, installed, affixed or applied upon
windshields. The Senate voted 38-1 to advance a bill to the Assembly that would allow global
positioning system devices to be affixed to vehicle windshields in specified locations.
FCC chairman recommends XM-Sirius merger
The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission has recommended approval of the
proposed merger between XM and Sirius, bringing the deal one step closer to reality.
OOIDA member pleads not guilty; will fight AZ laptop citation
An OOIDA member pleaded not guilty before a judge in Bowie, AZ, on Tuesday morning, June
17, advancing his legal challenge to a citation against having a laptop computer near his driver’
s seat. An Arizona Department of Transportation enforcement officer cited Cook for allegedly
violating Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation 393.88, which prohibits drivers from placing
television screens within view of the driver’s seat.
Judge approves sale of IdleAire, denies request for investigation
A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge recently approved the sale of IdleAire Technologies Corp. while
at the same time denying a request for an investigation into the sale. An auction for the
company is set for July 3 if the company receives more than one qualified bid.
PACA says truckers shouldn't have to pay when produce is recalled
As officials continue to search for the source of Salmonella-tainted tomatoes, some truckers
have shied away from hauling any tomatoes as buyers and sellers sort out who is financially
responsible for transportation costs when a consumer advisory is issued after a product is in
transit.
Nevada panel endorses toll road plan
In hopes of tapping into public-private partnerships to build toll lanes in Las Vegas, a special
panel has decided to call on Nevada state lawmakers to take action. The Nevada
Transportation Board has endorsed a plan to build express lanes and charge tolls on the
Interstate 15 corridor through Las Vegas.
New Hampshire bill to aid road funds moves to governor
New Hampshire lawmakers have approved a bill that is intended to help protect funding for
transportation work throughout the state. The House and Senate voted to forward a bill to Gov.
John Lynch that would limit the amount of money that can be transferred from the highway trust
fund for non-transportation uses. A portion of the diverted funds would be returned for roads.
It’s wait till next year for Alabama bill to restrict young drivers
A bill in the Alabama Senate that has died sought to put additional restrictions on the state’s
most inexperienced drivers. Supporters said they wanted changes to driving rules because of
the frequency of fatal wrecks involving teens. Only Wyoming has a higher death rate for teen
drivers and passengers, the
Montgomery Advertiser reported.
New York trucking company charged in fraud case
A New York state trucking company that transports mail for the U.S. Postal Service has been
accused of underreporting its payroll by $2.2 million.
Driving school owner sentenced in CDL fraud scheme
Mustafa Redzic, owner of Bonsa Truck Driving School in St. Louis, has been sentenced to more
than six years in prison for his role in a scheme to help students cheat on their CDL exams. He
was also ordered to pay a $17,500 fine.
Truckers set to convoy to NY Capitol; meet with lawmakers
Even though OOIDA life member D. J. Brown doesn't live in the state of New York, he's planning
to convoy with truckers on Thursday, June 19, to the statehouse in Albany to protest the state's
ton-mileage tax, high fuel taxes and increasing toll costs, which are crippling truckers there.
Consumer, business groups want action on energy prices
Every member of Congress received a letter Wednesday, June 18, calling for immediate action
on skyrocketing energy costs because of the devastating impact on the budgets of American
families. The 77 groups represent a huge cross-section of U.S. consumers and business
owners, from groups such as the American Bakers Association and the National Funeral
Directors Association all the way to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
OOIDA applies to be a partner for $50 million EPA grant program
The Environmental Protection Agency is focusing on small trucking operations for its new $50
million emissions reduction program, and OOIDA hopes to be one of several groups that will
dole out the grant money. The program is set up to fund the purchase of engine replacements,
retrofits, and anti-idling devices such as APUs.
Missouri bills about radioactive waste shipments, truck enforcement die
Several bills noteworthy to the trucking industry that were offered for consideration in the
Missouri statehouse didn't make it very far in the legislative process. Among them were bills
addressing commercial motor vehicle enforcement officers' training and shipments of
radioactive waste.
Blowin' smoke: Florida to consider California-style idling regulation
Florida may soon become the next state to clamp down on truck idling. The Florida
Environmental Regulation Commission is scheduled to consider a five-minute idling limit at its
meeting on Thursday, June 19, that is similar to California's idling regulation. The regulation
would go into effect on Dec. 15, 2008.
New border crossing announced for Detroit-Windsor
The announcement that officials have chosen a site for a new border bridge linking Detroit and
Windsor, Ontario, is welcome news for truckers who are frequently caught up in customs
delays or who are not allowed to haul hazardous loads across the aging Ambassador Bridge.
Louisiana Senate OKs bill to boost vehicle liability coverage
A bill nearing passage in the Louisiana Legislature would require drivers to carry more liability
insurance. A change made to the bill in a Senate committee would mandate less insurance
than previously sought.
California bill would ban drivers' lap dogs, other animals
The California Assembly has approved a bill that is intended to encourage pet lovers to keep
their animals off their laps while at the wheel. Violators would face fines between $35 and $100.
Lawmakers express support at truckers' rally in New York capital
Truckers in New York - fed up with high fuel prices, increasing toll costs and other taxes -
proved on Thursday, June 19, that grassroots actions to wake up lawmakers and the media
can work. More than 150 truckers converged on Albany, where they rallied in front of the
statehouse. Many New York lawmakers, including New York Gov. David Paterson, addressed
the protestors.
New York Assembly OKs bill to kill some tolls
The New York State Assembly has approved a bill that would eliminate a toll plaza from
Interstate 95. Another bill would remove a separate toll facility. Lawmakers said the Authority's
actions to increase tolls by 5 percent in 2009 and an additional 5 percent in 2010 spurred
passage of the bill to dismantle tolls.
Pennsylvania lawmakers test turnpike lease with vote
A lawmaker's proposed amendment to an unrelated bill in the Pennsylvania House generated
a buzz this week about the proposed lease of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. House lawmakers
soundly defeated the amendment with a vote of 185-12. Reasons for the vote varied from flat
out opposition to the lease to the need for further discussion on an existing bill to lease the
Turnpike.
L.A. City Council approves port Clean Trucks Program
The Los Angeles City Council approved a plan Tuesday, June 17, to require all short-haul truck
drivers entering the Port of Los Angeles to be employees of licensed motor carriers by late
2013. OOIDA has worked closely with the port on its emissions regulation, and is working to
develop a day-pass system that long haulers can use for occasional port visits.
Alabama bills die; left-lane use, traffic cameras, probable cause unchanged
Several bills of interest to the trucking industry drew consideration during the recently
completed regular session in Alabama. Among the efforts that failed to gain passage was
legislation to limit left-lane use, authorize red-light cameras in two cities, and give law
enforcement officers more power to arrest people for misdemeanors.
Police in Georgia add fuel surcharge to traffic tickets
Drivers who get a speeding ticket in Georgia could soon be paying for more than just the fine.
Beginning July 1, anyone caught speeding in Holly Springs will have to pay an additional $12 to
cover the fuel costs for the police who stop them. The City Council approved the measure by a
13-0 vote.
Hand-held cells illegal for drivers in California effective July 1
In California, drivers who don't keep their hands off their phones soon will have to pay up if
caught. The state's youngest drivers also will be prohibited from using any mobile
communications devices while at the wheel.
Trucker sues Interstate for overtime wages
A former driver for Interstate Distributor Co. has filed a lawsuit against the Tacoma, WA-based
company, claiming it failed to pay him and other drivers legally required overtime wages.
Six trucks hit by gunfire in Florida
Sheriff's officers in St. Johns County, FL, just south of Jacksonville, say they have no suspects
yet in a series of sniper attacks on tractor-trailers on Interstate-95. Three trucks were hit
Thursday night, June 19, including a gasoline tanker that spewed about 50 gallons of gas onto
the shoulder before the bullet hole could be plugged.
National average price of diesel drops 4.4 cents; protests continue
While high fuel prices continue to hammer truckers, there may be some good news in sight for
truckers at the pump. The U.S. Energy Information Administration is reporting a drop of
4.4-cents a gallon to put the national average at $4.648 for diesel on Monday, June 23. Truckers
on both coasts have been staging protests to bring media and lawmakers' attention to the fact
that high fuel prices are crippling their livelihoods.
Driving rights laws take effect July 1 in New Jersey
A legislative package in New Jersey intended to make it easier for drivers with suspended
licenses to keep their driving privileges takes effect Tuesday, July 1. One new law helps
truckers stay on the road. The legislation stems from a report issued more than a year ago that
said suspending licenses creates unintended consequences, such as job loss and difficulty in
finding employment.
Port of Los Angeles prepares for Oct. 1 'Clean Truck' launch
The Port of Los Angeles is moving quickly to implement its Clean Truck Program. The port's
Board of Harbor Commissioners approved several contracts last week to begin
implementation of the emissions cutting plan by Oct. 1.
Massachusetts Turnpike Authority considers reviving, increasing tolls
Officials with the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority are exploring revenue proposals including
possible toll increases, state-funded discounts for local Boston commuters and the possible
reinstatement of tolls on routes where tolls were rescinded in the 1990s.
Louisiana bills aid red-light runners, tighten teen-driving rules
Two bills nearing passage in the Louisiana statehouse are intended to limit the effects of
red-light running violations and to tighten driving requirements for teens. The first measure
would prohibit red-light citations generated by enforcement cameras from being recorded as
part of individuals' driving records for insurance purposes.
Missouri bills die; focused on idling reduction, repeal of HHG mover regs
Two bills that died in the Missouri General Assembly were of interest to household goods
haulers and truckers who want to reduce the amount of time spent idling their rigs.
XM-Sirius merger appears on FCC's action list
The Federal Communications Commission has added the proposed merger of the XM and
Sirius satellite radio companies to the commission's master to-do list.
OOIDA urges Pennsylvania truckers to speak up now on turnpike lease
A committee of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has scheduled a public hearing
next week on a bill that would allow the governor to lease the state's turnpike to private
investors - but only invited guests will be allowed to testify. To read the OOIDA Call to Action,
which includes the mailing address and e-mail for Committee Chairman Rep. Joseph
Markosek, click
here.
OOIDA members to stage protest rally Saturday in Chehalis, WA
Truckers in Chehalis, WA, plan to stage another fuel protest rally on Saturday, June 20, to gain
media and lawmakers' attention about the dire situation they are facing as they continue to be
squeezed by soaring fuel prices and falling freight rates. The rally is set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at
an open lot at Exit 72, west of Interstate 5, and visible from the interstate.
Midwest flooding continues down river
Floods and severe weather along the Mississippi River have killed 24 people and injured 148;
forced more than 38,000 from their homes; and inundated at least 3.4 million acres in three
states, an area larger than Connecticut. Moving goods by truck is still difficult in the effected
areas, with many state and U.S. highways still submerged in floodwaters.
Wyoming law takes effect July 1; doubles certain truck fees
Starting July 1, a new law on the books in Wyoming will boost the fees charged per mile
traveled for oversized and overweight trucks in the state.
Connecticut governor signs bill for cash discounts on fuel, delayed tax hike
Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell put her signature on a bill Tuesday, June 17, to offer consumers a
break from high fuel prices. The new law, previously SB1000, stops a scheduled fuel tax hike. It
also allows more fuel stations to offer cash discounts.
A toll protest certain to draw attention
The instructions are simple: Everybody conga! Residents along Interstate 80 in Clarion County,
PA, plan on forming a large conga line later this month to protest a state law calling for the route
to be tolled. The line will begin forming at 9 a.m., Saturday, June 28, at Trinity Point at Monroe
Park at I-80 and Route 68.
Missouri bills die affecting cell phone use, young drivers
In Missouri, two safety-related measures died during the recently completed legislative
session. A Senate bill stalled in committee that would have required drivers in the state to keep
their hands off their phones. Another effort that failed to advance from committee during the
recently completed regular session sought to boost the legal driving age for teens.
OOIDA member named second Truck-Lite Trophy qualifier
The second show of the National Association of Show Trucks season for 2008 kicked off with a
spectacular light display - courtesy of both Mother Nature and the competitors. Light judging
kicked off the Great Lakes Fifth Annual Truck Show Friday, May 30, in Tecumseh, MI. Mother
Nature got in on the act with lightning lighting up the sky while NAST competitors lit up the
parking lot.
"No More" - Some gas stations begin refusing credit cards
Many motorists around the country are pulling up to fuel pumps and seeing a sign that says
"No more credit cards." In fact, their ability to pay at the pump may be in jeopardy because
station operators say higher gas prices mean higher credit card fees for them.
American bargain hunters cause diesel shortage in Tijuana
Fuel stations in Tijuana are in the midst of a severe diesel shortage as drivers from the U.S.
have begun crossing the border looking for cheaper fuel.
Layover.com buys MyTruckingSpace.com; Web sites to be merged
Layover.com, a Web site tailored to the trucking industry and a resource for over-the-road truck
drivers, has acquired the trucker social networking Web site MyTruckingSpace.com. The two
Web sites will be merged.
From coast to coast: Florida approves California-style idling limits
A Florida state environmental body recently approved a five-minute idling limit for all diesel
vehicles of 8,500 pounds and larger that closely resembles California's idling regulation. The
Florida reg goes into effect Dec. 15 and fines can be as much as $1,000.
Pennsylvania's war of words over funding
For many in Pennsylvania, the battle over transportation funding has become a game of
Interstate 80 tolls versus a lease of the Pennsylvania Turnpike to private investors. Meanwhile,
highway user groups say both plans are flawed and that the state needs to reform its spending
habits first.
Colorado laws double work zone fines, protect truckers while chaining up
In Colorado, Gov. Bill Ritter has signed a bill into law authorizing the use of speed cameras in
highway work zones. Another provision is intended to protect truckers who are chaining up.
Increasing number of big trucks hitting Ohio bridges
A crash Monday, June 16, on Interstate 75 near Dayton, OH, marked the 15th time a vehicle had
hit and damaged an overpass since June 2007, according to the Ohio Department of
Transportation.
Tennessee bill to limit left-lane use dies
A bill that has died in the Tennessee Senate was intended to keep most traffic out of the left
lane on the state's multilane highways.
Indiana law takes effect July 1, requires 'passenger responsibility'
In hopes of preventing needless deaths along roadsides, a new law in Indiana requires
passengers of vehicles to act and call police in life-or-death situations. It takes effect July 1.
California trucking company owners booked in log book scam
One Nijjar Brothers company driver was on the road for at least 19 hours before slamming into
a vehicle, killing a father and 13-year old son. As a result, several federal agencies began
investigating logbooks for company drivers of the Madera, CA-based company. Investigators
found plenty.
Drivers complain about virtually all aspects of Indiana Toll Road
In Indiana, several state offices are being bombarded with complaints from drivers about the
Indiana Toll Road, which is operated by two foreign companies.
SPECIAL REPORT: Feds tighten up drug testing policies
Beating a DOT drug test is getting a lot tougher thanks to a new final rule issued by the
Department of Transportation. The final rule, issued Wednesday, June 25, takes aim at CDL
holders who attempt to defeat drug tests with substances or substitutes that will hide positive
results. The new regulation goes into effect Aug. 25.
From the editor's desk: Federal 'suggestion' slowly gaining some traction
Remember the federal law from a few years ago that was intended to give truckers a
400-pound weight exemption for auxiliary power units? That law is finally gaining some traction
in some states. Here's some quick background from our
Land Line Magazine coverage,
followed by an update.
Senators call for Highway Trust Fund to be fixed - now
Sixty-seven U.S. senators have signed a letter calling on Senate leadership to approve
legislation to fix the Highway Trust Fund. In the letter dated Friday, June 20, the senators get
right to the point, stating that the purchasing power of the Highway Trust Fund continues to
decline in hard times and without new revenue.
Auto transporter files for Chapter 11; affects 16 companies
The parent company of 16 individual automotive transport companies filed for bankruptcy in
U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the District of Delaware on Tuesday, June 24. JHT Holdings Inc.,
based in Kenosha, WI, won't be closing its doors though. Reuters reported that the Chapter 11
filing followed an agreement with creditors to restructure through a "prepackaged" bankruptcy
deal.
Truckers in Montgomery County, MD, have chance to speak out on parking
Truckers who live in Montgomery County, MD, may want to make plans to attend a public
meeting in July to voice their opinions regarding a bill that seeks to regulate where drivers can
park their rigs. The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on July 22.
North Carolina bill would trim fuel tax
If a North Carolina state lawmaker gets his way, motorists and truck drivers would get some
relief at the fuel pump. Other states have approved similar fuel cost savings rules.
Effort to toll I-70 in Missouri fails, once again
A legislative effort in the Missouri General Assembly has died. The bill would have eliminated a
couple of barriers prohibiting toll roads and bridges from being built in the state. The failed
initiative would have enabled 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 link alleged Canadian drug smugglers to Hell's Angels
Federal prosecutors have charged two Canadian men who allegedly ran a drug smuggling ring
for the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club that involved stuffing hollowed out logs, cargo containers
and propane tankers with cocaine and marijuana.
Fuel crisis deepens, touches all forms of energy
As America's fuel crisis deepens, more and more trucking companies are reacting by lowering
speeds and raising prices. Economist Gerald Miller, Ph.D., at Rockhurst University in Kansas
City, MO, said the ripple effects of the price of oil aren't causing only "pain at the pump." He cited
natural gas bills this winter - which are expected to rise by 35 percent or more.
West Virginia Legislature OKs fuel tax freeze
Truckers and other drivers who fuel up in West Virginia will be spared from a scheduled fuel tax
increase. Lawmakers in other states have authorized, or are seeking, similar fuel cost saving
rules.
Pennsylvania allows half-gallon pricing at some fuel stations
With gas and diesel prices soaring above $4 a gallon in many areas in the state, Pennsylvania
Gov. Ed Rendell is allowing older fuel pumps to display half-gallon prices if they apply for the
proper permits.
Utah law takes effect July 1; intended to reduce littering along roadsides
A new law in Utah that takes effect Tuesday, July 1, boosts the fine for littering on highways in
the state. The increase in fines will apply to "trucker bombs."
California toll road hearing likely to draw big crowd
A proposed 16-mile toll road that would bisect coastal parkland in California continues to make
waves, despite being rejected earlier this year by the California Coastal Commission. The U.S.
Commerce Department has scheduled a public hearing on the project for July 24 and/or July
25.
Louisiana lawmakers OK limiting drivers' cell phone use, texting
The Louisiana Legislature has sent to Gov. Bobby Jindal multiple bills intended to limit driver
distractions. On the final day of their regular session, House and Senate lawmakers voted to
approve three measures to restrict use of mobile communication devices.
FEMA water, truckers sit for a week in Iowa
Ten truckers who were hauling FEMA bottled water for Midwest flood victims finally unloaded
the 47,000 gallons of cargo on Wednesday, June 25, after sitting for eight days in Rock Island,
IL, awaiting instructions on where to take it.
ICE arrests 4 men for conspiring to smuggle goods into U.S.
Four Texas men were arrested by immigration authorities for their role in an alleged "in-bond"
shipment fraud, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Roadcheck inspectors put fewer trucks, drivers out of service
CVSA officials say this year's Roadcheck inspection blitz is proof that drivers of commercial
vehicles are getting the message about safety and that year-round enforcement efforts are
working. CVSA Executive Director Stephen Campbell said Friday, June 27, that the rate of
vehicles placed OOS is the lowest in 21 years.
Flooding woes persist; I-70 closed in both directions in Ohio
Truckers traveling both directions on Interstate 70, east of Columbus, OH, were detoured along
with everyone else Friday, June 27, when the Licking River - at state Highway 79 - overflowed its
banks and put the interstate under water in both directions.
Fuel crisis deepens, touches all forms of energy
As America's fuel crisis deepens, more and more trucking companies are reacting by lowering
speeds and raising prices. Economist Gerald Miller, Ph.D., at Rockhurst University in Kansas
City, MO, said the ripple effects of the price of oil aren't causing only "pain at the pump." He cited
natural gas bills this winter - which are expected to rise by 35 percent or more.
Pennsylvania allows half-gallon pricing at some fuel stations
With gas and diesel prices soaring above $4 a gallon in many areas in the state, Pennsylvania
Gov. Ed Rendell is allowing older fuel pumps to display half-gallon prices if they apply for the
proper permits.
Australian truckers could strike in protest of fuel costs
The head of the trucker's union in Australia says his members are prepared to go on strike if
something isn't done soon about soaring diesel fuel prices.
TxDOT chooses design firm for portion of new I-69
The Texas Transportation Commission has awarded a $5 million to an American and Spanish
firm to develop a portion of the proposed Interstate 69. The project includes upgrading U.S.
Highway 77 to interstate quality from Brownsville to Corpus Christi. If all the pieces fall into
place, it could become part of the proposed I-69 as part of the TTC-69 phase of the
Trans-Texas Corridor.
Tennessee laws on traffic camera restrictions take effect July 1
Two new rules in Tennessee that take effect Tuesday, July 1, put restrictions on cities' use of
traffic cameras to nab red-light runners.
California toll road hearing likely to draw big crowd
A proposed 16-mile toll road that would bisect coastal parkland in California continues to make
waves, despite being rejected earlier this year by the California Coastal Commission. The
Commerce Department has scheduled a public hearing on the project for July 24 and/or July
25.
Louisiana lawmakers OK limiting drivers' cell phone use, texting
The Louisiana Legislature has sent to Gov. Bobby Jindal multiple bills intended to limit driver
distractions. On the final day of their regular session, House and Senate lawmakers voted to
approve three measures to restrict use of mobile communication devices.
FEMA water, truckers sit for a week in Iowa
Ten truckers who were hauling FEMA bottled water for Midwest flood victims finally unloaded
the 47,000 gallons of cargo on Wednesday, June 25, after sitting for eight days in Rock Island,
IL, awaiting instructions on where to take it.
EPA grants LoneStar certification with SmartWay program
The new International LoneStar recently joined an elite group of Class 8 trucks with the
Environmental Protection Agency's SmartWay certification.
Trading of Navistar stock resumes June 30
More than 16 months after the New York Stock Exchange suspended trading of Navistar
International stock, the company stock will return to trading on Monday, June 30. The Exchange
suspended trading of the company's stock on Feb. 7, 2007, because the Navistar officials had
not issued financial statements since September 2005.
ICE arrests 4 men for conspiring to smuggle goods into U.S.
Four Texas men were arrested by immigration authorities for their role in an alleged "in-bond"
shipment fraud, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Iowa 80 Museum Visitors Center grand opening set for July 10
The Iowa 80 Trucking Museum will celebrate the opening of its new Museum Visitors Center
with a ribbon cutting at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 10, during the Walcott Truckers Jamboree.
North Carolina bill advances; would ease length restrictions on some roads
A bill moving through the North Carolina House would allow longer tractor-trailers on more
roads throughout the state. The state’s Senate has already approved it. The House
Transportation Committee voted to advance a bill that would increase the length of trailers
allowed on the state’s primary roads to 53 feet. From the main roads, trucks would be allowed
to travel up to three miles on their tributaries.
Florida seeks qualified bidders for Alligator Alley
Transportation officials in Florida have put out another call to private investors in an effort to
lease a portion of Interstate 75 known as Alligator Alley for 50 to 75 years.
Fuel thieves hit Washington trucking companies, Florida storage tanks
Rising gas and diesel prices have sparked some creative forms of theft recently. Owners of
some Washington state trucking companies reportedly believe someone may be using stolen
company fuel cards, and stockpiling diesel to be sold in the black market.
Indiana toll collectors talk strike
About 150 Teamsters Union members who collect tolls on the Indiana Toll Road could go on
strike if their contract talks break down.
New cell phone law takes effect July 1 in Washington state
As of Tuesday, July 1, drivers in the state of Washington will risk getting tickets for talking on the
phone. The state already prohibits text messaging while at the wheel.
OOIDA member continues winning ways in NAST series
Jerry Kissinger, an OOIDA member from Stoughton, WI, picked up his second Best of Show –
Working Combo at the National Association of Show Trucks’ Second West Michigan Truck
Show and Industry Expo in mid-June.